Here's my self indulgent end of the year rambling:
Once again, I've reached the end of another year reasonably intact. Lots has happened to me this year, both top-notch and not so much. Professionally, I feel like I made some serious strides forward in 2011. I had the honor of seeing Guns nominated for a Harvey Award. (One of these days, we're going to start winning some of these awards.) My first project with a larger comics publisher, That Hellbound Train, came out this year. I got to illustrate a classic Robert Bloch story, adapted by Joe Lansdale, how cool is that? Let me answer that: it's pretty damn cool. And I'm working on a new project for IDW right now. (Well, not RIGHT right now. I'm writing this mess. In about 10 minutes I'll get back to work) I'm really excited about the work I'm doing on this project, and I'm hoping it will turn some heads. I make a living drawing comic books. Did you hear that? I'll gladly say it again if you didn't catch it the first time. What more can I ask? (Give me a few minutes, I always think of something.)
On a more personal level, there's been a lot of up and down. I lost Rusty earlier this year and it still sucks. He was an awesome little dude and his absence left a hole. I made a concerted effort to get into top shape, and was doing really well until my body reminded me that I'm not in my 20s any more, and that I should buy some health insurance. I got to travel and see a lot of this country I had never seen, and a bunch of our neighbor Canada as well. Hopefully, I can make travel more a part of my life. I'm on multiple roads at the same time. Some have got me going in exactly the right direction, others require some course correction. I'm making a stronger effort to achieve more professionally and creatively. Also, to set aside fears that hold me back, to be more open and honest, and be willing to go out on a limb more often. This goes for both my work and my life. I'm sure to make a fool of myself more than once, but it might just be worth it.
I really dig Pittsburgh, and glad that I moved here. I'm extremely thankful for the friends and family I have, both near and far. I made some great new friends this year. I also got a chance to expand a few friendships. And yet, I've lost contact with some folks over this past year as well. A friend called me very recently just to tell me that I was an important part of his life this year. It meant a lot to me. But it also got me wondering: why can't I do that? Why can't I open up like that to the people who mean so much to me? Pride, resentment, envy, and especially fear, just a few of the little bastards that get in my way far too often. The most difficult challenge is getting past the darker sides of my own nature. These things can be tools for survival, but they always fight for dominance. I guess what I'm trying to tell myself is: Don't be a jerk. Whether it be through action or inaction, just don't be a jerk.
I'm also thankful for my fans. It's weird saying "fans", I'm not comfortable with that and I'm not sure I believe it. Let's just say anyone who follows my work. I'm really surprised when I see how many people seem to be aware of the stuff I'm putting out. It's comforting to know I'm not toiling away in complete obscurity. I'm not doing this just for the big fat paychecks, I also want people to see it. The many words of encouragement I receive feel mighty fine and I'm grateful for them.
I'm looking forward to 2012. Not so much the part where the world ends, but hey, maybe it'll be a fun ride. At least we'll go out with America still on top. Take that, China! Every year has it's fill of triumph and tragedy. Next year, let's try to have more from the former.
And next year I'm sending out Christmas cards. I'm really going to do it next year, I mean it.
P.S. It wouldn't be a proper blog post without some kind of artwork, so here's a little piece I haven't posted yet. I did this for my pal Ukulele Jim for his birthday.