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A webcomic by any other name...
The art and soul of this project is to allow my cartoon/comic/story to find its form. The art and soul of this project is to allow me to find my form.
I am beginning a new stage of a project I've been working on for actual decades. It is a comic strip or web comic that may become a graphic novel. Maybe… The Maybe is important. The art and soul of this project in the present is to allow it to find its form. I am not waiting for this to happen before I share it, because I'm pretty sure that the best and quickest way for it to find its form is for me to share it as I go along. That’s what nature does. Does a peony just show up as a peony? No ma’am, it shows up as a plant that puts forth buds which open in their own good and perfect time.
In essence, what I want to do is use the sequential comic strip format in a loose way to create a body of work that will be the raw material of a graphic novel. What would go into that graphic novel is not something I will be able to see until I go further on this path of creating not only characters and incidents, but a form and structure to contain them. I have some very broad-stroke ideas of story, but that’s all. And this secondary project of notes and comments on the process may become part of a book.
I’m offering myself a Development Contract…
When I first began working on this comic I thought I wanted it to be a daily comic strip—a format dependent upon a symbiotic relationship with print newspapers. If you wanted to make a living creating a daily comic strip that appeared in newspapers, you made up a bunch of samples and submitted them to syndicates. If a syndicate agreed to handle your strip they would offer you a contract, one that usually required the artist to give up a lot of power and control in exchange for distribution.
Although I was terrified by the relentless nature of actually making a daily comic strip, I did submit my work to several syndicates and I was offered a 'development' contract by one of them. A development contract is: you make a lot of promises to us, and we don't make any to you. I did not accept that offer. I just wasn’t ready for that kind of commitment on my part with so little commitment on the part of the syndicate. And I probably just wasn’t ready for that kind of commitment.
Since then the possibilities around what you can do with words and pictures in print and on screens has exploded. The creativity in graphic novels is extraordinary.
So when I say I want to make this work public I’m using the word 'work' more as a verb than a noun. I'm offering myself a development contract. I want to allow myself to experiment with and evolve this work in public, rather than thinking that I have to present my work as a fait accompli.
Trusting the process is what we’re doing here…
I want to document what it feels like to allow the interplay, the interior conversation of not-knowing. And if I’m going to get all meta about it, I have to acknowledge the effect that having a public will have on me and on the work. More than anything, I think it will help me to hold myself accountable.
I want 'not knowing' to be my highest value, so that even though I am working in a medium that calls for, begs for, nay, demands! certain kinds of consistency, I can embody and share the process of discovery.
I do not have any idea what value this may hold for you, dear friends. What I have an inkling (and an inking) of faith in, is that seeing and respecting process—exploration, movement, unfolding, cause and effect, the flow and ebb of energy, in ourselves and in the world of which we are a part, is essential to meeting the challenges of the day.
Lots more Daisi & JANE to come... stay tuned.