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Haven't done this since the 2014/2015 season. I got tired of repeating the same goal and failing.
This time last year I had no goals.... and started off the year blocked and unable to draw.
In March/April I took two weeks off between storyboards and started working on the unfinished pages of Wahoo Morris.
Went to my first con in 9 years in May.
Finished the interior pages to Wahoo Morris Book 2 in June/July.
Started building an email list in September - now at 409 subs and counting!
Drew a shitload of covers for Comixology single editions of WM and other things. Coloured 'em all and started colouring another old project for future publication.
Completed and submitted issues 7 - 10 of Wahoo Morris (and a one shot anthology) to Comixology (waiting on release of 8-10!)
And...... (drum-roll) .... I closed out the year by running a successful Kickstarter to fund the printing of Wahoo Morris Book 2.
Not that much actual drawing, and no new creating, but it was a bit of a watershed year in that I cleared a few big things off the to-do list and cleared the decks for a new start this year.
January and February will be dedicated to getting WM Book 2 printed and the Kickstarter fulfilled.
I will also be putting a lot of time, energy, and some money into email list building and marketing in advance of WM Book 2 getting listed in the March Previews and into comic book shops in May.
I'm planning on starting to do cons again, though I will start slow.
I've been invited to King Con in Kingston in March. I will do Ottawa in May, and hopefully ECCC (Moncton) in June. I'd like to do more TCaF style shows, so I will see what is out there.
I will apply for a Pro badge for NYCC, though if I go it will probably just be to walk around and network.
I plan to publish an TPB anthology of my older random short stories through Createspace. Just need a cover at this point.
In new work goals, I have a pitch I agreed to draw that I would like to start drawing this week.
I want to start drawing my creator owned follow up after that - a sequel to the old project I am currently picking away at colouring.
I will launch both of those as limited edition floppies (Sian #1 & Sian #2) as two separate small Kickstarter campaigns as an audience building exercise. If it does well enough, I'll follow up with issue #3 and #4. Then (though we are probably talking 2019 here) a Kickstarter for a collected edition with a big enough print run to get into Previews and Comic shops.
And, I would like to do some front-of-the-catalogue work for hire. That has been a dream deferred for too long.
But.... to do all this, I need an action plan. Over the next week or two, with my wife's help, I will write a business plan for a career in comics. The plan is to figure out where I want to be 5 years from now, 3, 2, and 1 and work backwards figuring out how to get there. Then set weekly and quarterly goals and work towards actually achieving them.
Issue 4 and 5 of Satellite Falling
Conceived, wrote, found agent, found artist, and landed 5-figure book deal for Bowie book
Laid off from day job
Satellite Falling TPB published
Working on book proposal and script for second music book, a Freddie Mercury thing. Found artist
Picked up some fun comics-adjacent freelance gigs
"Over the next week or two, with my wife's help, I will write a business plan for a career in comics. The plan is to figure out where I want to be 5 years from now, 3, 2, and 1 and work backwards figuring out how to get there. Then set weekly and quarterly goals and work towards actually achieving them."
Nice! Good for you. A five-year plan sounds like a really good idea. I've made some partially-finished business plans for my career before. This seems like a really good time to do an actual five-year plan.
Not everything went as planned in 2018, as I changed my mind multiple times on what my follow up to Wahoo Morris would/will be, and I got a little distracted chasing some possible WFH gigs. Then Animation called and I started Storyboarding again in early June. I haven't had a chance to breathe until just before Christmas.
I didn't accomplish a lot of concrete stuff, but what I did do was all between January and the end of May.
* Published WAHOO MORRIS Book 2. Put together the print ready file in January. Got it printed in February. Fulfilled the Kickstarter over the next two months, and released it through Diamond in July.
*Built up my email list to around 3000 subscribers. Kind of fell off of using it back in May which is bad as I'm now paying for it.
* Published a pin-up/art book through Createspace - Beauties & Beasts: The Art of Craig A. Taillefer. I've never been much of a pin-up/fan art kind of guy, so it collects stuff from '88 until early 18 to have enough pages!
* I did some art. Not as much as I hoped, but I was actually getting into it before I had to stop.
1) Drew/finished 7 pin-ups and a wrap around cover, plus a couple Kickstarter commissions, 6 pre-con sketches, and one at-con commission.
2) inked 5 pages of Doom Patrol as a sample for an editor. Did a handful of other random inking sample pages with the intention of putting together an inking portfolio.
3) Fleshed out an old 3 page story into 4 pages and completed it.
4) Fleshed out another old story from 8 pages to 12 pages and got most of the pencilling done by the first week of June.
* Did 4 cons in 2018, which was one of last years goals. I'm a little torn on how many more I will bother with as sales were underwhelming and the social/networking aspect isn't what it used to be.
1) King Con in March (which I was a guest at so my only expense was gas and dinner out with fellow attendees, which is the main thing I do these for) but I didn't sell a thing.
2) Ottawa Comic Con in May. Local, so again, dinner out with fellow guest is the only expense. I did okay, but if I'd had to drive, get a hotel, or pay for a table it would have been dismal.
3) Fan Expo Toronto. Dismal. F*%&ing expensive. Didn't sell a single book and couldn't hook up with anyone for dinner of socializing except for the last night with some friends from Ottawa. Might have been different if I was in the comic pro section, but artists alley is a sea of print jockeys and crafters with nary a comic book to be seen. Not gonna do that again.
4) Baltimore Comic Con. Drove down with some friends so the trip ended up costing $300 plus table. Much more comic exclusive show than Fan Expo, but at the back of AA it's still a majority of print vendors and crafters. The person next to me selling mugs and Glasses with bootleg logos on them was doing gang busters while I sold a handful of books. Good bar con though, so the socializing aspect was exactly what I was looking for. Not sure if I'll do it again this year though.... and if I do I probably won't table.
I start another episode of Give A Mouse A Cookie on January 14, and the show runs until early June. I doubt I'll make it that far as the work load is inhuman. But my goal is to get three more done without dying. I want to make enough money that we can buy some RRSPs this year, finally replace our leaking windows in the front of the house, finishing up the major important renos, and hopefully have a little bit of padding left over. Our mortgage will be payed off in August and that will really take the pressure off financially.
Then, hopefully I can dedicate myself to trying to revive my comic career.
First up, I have tight layouts to a 7 page Wahoo Morris story that was supposed to go in the IMAGE version of issue 2 as a bonus back up. I've got 8 work days left before I go back, so I'm going to try to set them up in Clip Studio today, then see if I can import them into the iPad and try and figure out how to use the damn thing. If I can finish it in time, I'll offer it up to the Prairie Comic Arts Festival for their fundraising zine.
Once I'm done boarding....
* Kickstart a short run floppy one shot of the Sci-fi and Weird Fantasy shorts I did for Mythography and Forbidden book. 32 pages, 4 stories and a handful of pin-ups.
* Finish the 12 pager left over from last year. Not sure what I'll do with it other than as WFH samples. I have a couple of other themed shorts I'd like to do, so maybe a portfolio one shot once they are all done.
* Draw the follow up to Sian.
* Run a Kickstarter for Sian. Either issue 1 and 2 in succession or a single big floppy combining the 2 stories. If that is successful, then maybe on to another issue or mini series.
* And, I want to land some WFH. I'm repeating myself, but I came close on one project (bizarre chain of events that scuttled it) and had an editor at IDW contact me just before Christmas about a project that got my Trekkie wife excited, but no response back when I sent further samples, so.....
But, I haven't sent new samples since early June as I haven't been able to draw a line of comics since then, so it will be middle of the year before I can start the process again.
All of this is up in the air until I finish up my run on GAMAC, so..... we'll see what happens.
Reading back on last years, some things actually worked out as planned, and some didn't, but it all moved in the right direction for a change.
I was pretty depressed/demoralized when the year started. I had had a couple of close calls/near misses in WFH comics work and I was feeling trapped by animation and storyboards and the workload was becoming inhuman. I was spiralling by May/June to be honest, but as you will see things turned around in the third quarter!
Spent the first half of the year storyboarding on Give a Mouse A Cookie.
Attended 3 conventions:
Calgary Comic Expo
Prairie Comics Festival
Ottawa Comic Con
I finished my last board the first week of June, then the following Monday I paid off the mortgage a month early.
With agreement from the wife (who doesn't want me to die at the drawing board storyboarding) announced my retirement from Storyboarding for the foreseeable future.
Comics work:1) Did some work on the sci-fi short story I had to stop working on June 2018.
2) I did some inking samples for a potential WFH gig the week before we took off for a two week mid-summer vacation.
3) I got offered the gig shortly after we got back and started with helping out on a few pages of Books of Magic #12 in late August.
4) Inked Books Of Magic (DC/Vertigo now Black Label) #13-16 over Tom Fowler's pencils.
We were in Calgary for two weeks at Christmas and took all of January for a trip to Thailand so I wasn't able to squeeze in issue 17, but I got back to work when we got back and turned in issue 18 a week ago.
I believe Tom and I are signed on to Books of Magic 19-23. I'm waiting for pages of 19 to arrive any moment.
So far in my downtime I've drawn a pin-up of my S&S character Sian that I'm thinking of using for a new convention banner if it turns out.
And, I've worked on the short story again, finalizing the script on the fly as I letter. I should have it ready to ink today.
I'm not sure how much time I will have for my own stuff this year, as I would like to see how far I can get at Black Label/DC while I have an editor happy with my speed and ease of working with.
But the immediate plans both booked and wishful thinking are:
1) Kickstart and print 48 page B&W floppy of my sci-fi fantasy anthology Vistas Unknown with the new short story I finished last year and the one I'm working on now.
2) Draw a new Sian story (already written) and Kickstart and publish a colour 48 page floppy including the original short story and the new one.
3) Ink Books Of Magic #19-23
4) Get booked to Draw (as in full art all by myself) a one shot or short arc of something/anything for Black Label or DC Universe. I ain't picky!
I'm still open to booking conventions, but this is what is booked and/or likely:
Toronto Comic Con - March20-22
TCAF - May 8-9
One day show in Ottawa that hasn't been announced yet.
Ottawa Comic Con - not booked yet, but most likely will be there.