2012! The year of extremes?
The year started with crazy hard work drawing as much comics as possible. I had two comics that were supposed to go to print in March. So I slept very little, abused a lot of coffeine, and lost myself in the higher purpose of creating the most awesome comics I could in this insanely short time frame.
One was my contribution to Swedish Comic Sin 3 – the first comic I have ever drawn with grey shading. It was also a bit challenging to draw in smaller format, and it certainly was challenging to draw sex scenes that would really do justice to the characters and their feelings. (But fun!!! :3)
Even more challenging was the other comic I had to finish – Driftwood, which I’d been working on since I was 15. V`(oo)´;V
Even if there were a couple of stupid errors in it (such as an unfinished retouch job on one page, ugh), and I’ve now decided to extend one of the last scenes a bit for the English book version, the book as it was published in Swedish is already incredible. V*(oo)*V
Those crazy months were not made easier by the fact that somebody gave me lots of psychological abuse, but I endured it and just kept drawing one page after the other and drowning out my brain. (And, by all means, it gave me some useful inspiration for Willie’s dad in Driftwood.) As for personal relationships, I figured they could go to hell for all I cared, because I had more important things to do …
(Frida Ulvegren reads my porn at SPX12 – photo by Ilan)
Then I went to SPX12 (or Stockholm International Comics Festival). On one hand it was a really positive experience since I got to meet many of my wonderful friends in the Swedish comics scene, and met some new friends as well. It was exciting to present the Driftwood book and see that people actually wanted to have it. :3 To top it off, my zine Tunguska #9 was awarded the prize for best zine of 2011 by the Swedish Comics Association.
On the other hand I also had to interact with some annoying and insane people. But Ilan was by my side and made it perhaps not quite as bad.
Otherwise, Driftwood got practically no reviews or media attention. I can only speculate about the reasons. Because the press release sucked? Or because a book “doesn’t exist” in Sweden unless it’s on Adlibris, which is too bad since Epix has a policy to delay release to the commercial internet bookstores? Or because nobody wants to read almost 400 pages just for a review? Or because it’s too weird and Swedish people don’t even know where to start categorizing it …?
However, it was surprisingly and heartwarmingly well-received in the libraries. It got a very nice review in the main library catalogue, a mention in the yearly catalogue for the best new children’s and young adult books for libraries, and has been acquired by many libraries across the country. The vast majority of the truckloads of comics I devoured in my youth were borrowed from libraries (Gothenburg city library especially in my heart forever ♥), so that means a lot to me.
Anyway, after I got home from Stockholm, I had to compensate for the fact that I’d taken 3 months off from dayjobs by working my ass off. Since my solar panel was busted and it wasn’t very powerful anyway, I had to spend most of my time in the city to work. So my gardening really suffered this year. But I was still able to grow some cucumbers and other nice things.
At one point early in the year I had to “blackmail” a client (a local comics publisher, and not the awesome one that I’ve been working for since 2006) because they were holding my payments. I’d agreed to do two jobs for them, and I’d had no previous experience with them.
They were 15 days late with the payment for the first job, and after several reminders to which they just replied “yes, we will pay soon”, I stated that I wouldn’t start the second job until they’d paid me for the first … at which they paid immediately. This made them extremely untrustworthy, so to make sure I did get paid for the second job, I demanded the money before I delivered the files. After that was settled, I will of course never work for them again.
Oh the joys of freelancing.
So anyway, during May-December I mostly did lots of dayjob work. I also completed the nearly superhuman feat of teaching my mum to work with InDesign and Photoshop so she could create and publish her first book all by herself!
But I did make some time to enjoy the finer things in life, too. (Hairy men, etc. :3)
I started drawing Dog Island – the sequel to Driftwood. But overall I drew very little comics. Of course, anything would seem pathetic compared to the first three months of the year … ;__;
In other art forms, I am teaching myself to play dombra (slowly but steadily). But it’s extremely embarrassing to play in front of other humans so that’s all I’ll say about that.
In October, a strange thing happened: the Memorial to Romani victims of the Holocaust in Berlin was finally opened after 20 years of delay(!).
In the fall I moved to my winter residence in the city again, and continued working my ass off with dayjobs. But this meant that in the end I got the means to finally end a very strained professional relationship.
I went to some more festivals – Helsinki comics festival, Zinefest Berlin and AltCom Malmö – where I disseminated my comics and met lovely friends, old and new. ♥
Then Ilan and I organized a 24h comics marathon in Berlin, since there hadn’t been any this year at all. This Saturday we will have the opening party for the exhibition with the comics!
As mentioned, because of dayjob overload and other problems, my comics making had been suffering for most of the year, in stark contrast to how it started out. But it seems to have picked up again just before the year ended … :3
* * *
I’ve been thinking a lot about what to do about all the insanity in the world, with the rise of fascism, the disastrous self-destructive capitalism, and the lack of awareness about what we could actually do to make the future better. Just the other day I read a quite thought-provoking text on these issues, written by Malcom Tamale Kyeyune (in Swedish).
I met the new year on a rooftop with fireworks going off all over town around us, and an annoying drunk middle aged fancy sculptor person shouting into Ilan’s ear, “Berlin is the last place on earth!” (he must be new?) and “You aren’t Muslim, are you?” and “It’s just a joke!” …
Bodes well for the new year!