Happy New Year 2022!

Jan 1, 2022, 8:14:00 PM


Happy New Year!

It’s 2022! A brand new year for some new art, comics, and stories to tell.

Today’s comic is a quick sketch I did while I was on vacation. I didn’t have access to my actual hardware, but when I visited a friend, they allowed me to borrow their Cintiq and I made this for today's comic update! Looks like Natsumi would rather celebrate New Years huddled under a kotatsu watching TV while Catherine would like to go to a shrine.

I mean, I don't blame her. I dislike the cold myself and would prefer to huddle under something warm.

2021 In Retrospect

A lot was done for This Mortal Coil in 2021.

I posted an update every Saturday, so that’s at least 52 new posts for the comic, although not all of them moved the story forward. Some of the weeks were just pinup artwork.

Magical Girl Kamiko went through a few visual transformations. Black and white, 4koma, color comics, and then finally a callback to Mortal Coil’s old high contrast style. There wasn’t any plan and rhyme nor reason for all of these different changes. The art style suited the need and I did whatever I felt like doing.

When I realized I wouldn’t have content and had to make it quickly, I resorted to a 4koma style which allowed me to draw more chibis and tell jokes in four panels.

The last chapter I did, “What Are You Doing Here?” had a bit of a horror vibe, so I thought doing that using high contrast would be a lot of fun. It’s a style that I think of as being both complex to do and lazy as hell. Complex because you have to take the interplay between light and dark textured parts of the illustration, shadow and illuminated parts and paint it all with one color to create shape, definition, and separation. Not easy and I don’t always get it right. It’s lazy because sometimes I can use the high contrast to suggest more and avoid painting in the details or it’s lazy because there are a bunch of tricks I’ve learned over the years of doing the style to speed up the process.

I worked a lot with 3D towards the beginning of last year to do backgrounds. I have this idea of reusing backgrounds but alas, that hasn’t happened yet. A lot of the backgrounds I created in 3D were for Natsumi’s apartment. So whenever we can return to that, the backgrounds will prove useful again. At least, that's the idea.

I’m using the full scope of my artistic knowledge from different tools, techniques, and what I know of artistic composition to do this comic.

Another big thing from 2021 was my absence from social media. I quit Twitter, Instagram, and Tiktok. I quit being a user and a content creator. It’s soul draining work to me. I know, I know, there’s the business side of art to consider. If you’re not sharing on social media, then you’re not getting visibility.

But, I say screw it.

I’m making art and that makes me happy. It’s working for me. The social media side of it wasn’t. For a time I got caught up in approaching my art as a side hustle. A business deal. And I was oriented towards the idea of growing a tribe, an audience, and it made me really miserable to chase this idea of a fandom.

Now, I certainly don’t believe an audience will show up if I don’t do anything. To be honest, I don’t know how to proceed to build an audience. I don’t know what tools are best after having engaged with so many of them – ads, social media, forum posting. There are things I haven’t tried yet such as posting to Youtube or livestreaming, but I really don’t want to turn every moment I make art into some kind of performance. Art’s a business, but it’s also meditative. It’s a personal statement.

If I don’t enjoy doing it first and foremost, why do it at all? I could be playing video games or doing something else, but I choose this because I like it. My only rule is that I have to publish something every Saturday.

What that means could even change. What I publish doesn’t have to be a picture.

25,000 Words A Month

Another monthly goal I’ve been making for myself is to write 25,000 words every month. That’s half of a NaNoWriMo. If I sit down and type on a keyboard then words will come out, and from that will be blog posts, story outlines, scripts, novellas, and novels. And if I can do 25,000 words in a month I’ll be well on my way towards something new that I didn’t have at the start of it. It’ll allow me to practice putting words together and forming my thoughts on the page once again.

Over the past few months, I’ve used this as a means of working on the rough draft for my other major story project The Mechanical Bird. I’ve used this to jumpstart ideas for This Mortal Coil. And these are stories you might even seen on this website coming in 2022. No promises when or how that would happen.

The Website

Another major thing I did in 2021 was to overhaul the Mortal Coil website. Gone is Wordpress. Hello Gatsby. It’s streamlined and simplified, lean and fast. I have control of the content organization as well as the code. It’ll be exciting to see how this grows in 2022, but even if it doesn’t, it remains stable enough to run this website, then hey, that's great too.

Onwards…

So that’s my 2021 from a creative point of view with some insights into what will show up for 2022.

  • More Magical Girl Kamiko right here, for free, available to you to read each Saturday.
  • Maybe other Mortal Coil stories serialized on the site, also free to read.
  • Some forays back into the “business” side of art. I’m mostly tinkering with Tapas.io now for re-serializing Magical Girl Kamiko.

2022 is starting out rough with Omicron making the rounds in the US, and we'll end 2022 with the mid-term elections which I'm sure will be rough as well. These are things I can't control, of course. I got my booster shot, that I can do. I'll vote in November. Inbetween I'll do the things I can control. I'll make my art and share it here on This Mortal Coil or as eBooks for purchase. That's what I choose to do with my time. How about you, what will you choose to do with your time in 2022?

Have a great weekend and the start of a new year!