Time to pile into the mini-van (you read that correctly, mini-van) of nautically-themed cartoonists and get ourselves to Toronto for TCAF!
I am very pleased to say that I will have copies of "Sea Change: A Choose-Your-Own-Way Story," debuting at the show and available for purchase at my table on the 2nd floor, 234! It's been a hard-fought publication, and I'm leaving a very messy studio space, a daunting pile of printed detritus, and a few hundred unassembled books behind me that I will deal with after this wonderful comics-shindig. "TITS! The Spiny Northern Maid," the mermaid-copulation mini-comic companion to Sea Change, will be at my table as well! (If, should Customs not like the, ahem, feeling-laded penetration of that one, it'll still be available to read online and purchase at my store.)
If you want to connect with me, I'm trying to do this whole "Twitter" thing again... with all the trepidation and confusion of a person born in 1914, but trying! My handle is @caitlin_rude - plus I maintain rosebudskud
+ talkweirdpress on tumblr, if that's more your thing.
Speaking of which, I'm also delighted to say I'll be in the excellent company of Cathy G. Johnson (tumblr) and Kevin Czapiewski of Czap Books at 233! Hell yeah! If you're not familiar, you should darn well get familiar - you won't regret it. Both are wonderfully talented artists and forces to be reckoned with, and two of my absolute favorites.
Plus, my partner in crime and fellow lover of Spanglish grammar jokes, Leigh Luna, will be selling her comics, "Clementine Fox," and "Banjo Girl," with me at my table (and generally keeping me in line and in one piece).
I'm sure, scattershot as I am in the post-Maisie Madness of printing this Xeric book, that I've forgotten something, but it's time to go. I'm so excited to see Toronto and meet a bunch of wonderful people there, united in enthusiasm for comics. Uff da.
Howl, who will be slutting it up for pets and love to all my roommates, I'm sure, in my absence.
I am so happy to be going - and to hopefully to return to a very green and very gay Minneapolis in a few days! Don't disappoint me, Moony City!
At the moment, there are about 30-some good copies finished and ready for the border crossing and the comics-shindig in Toronto happening the 11th and 12th. Which would not have happened without the support and schedule-wrangling and generosity of Amaya and Ian, Nicki, Chrissy, Leigh, Zak, Clint, or Claude. I would have been a pile of wet, blubbering rubble without the help of each of them.
I will do my best to put down these days with coherency and accuracy, but the caffeine high of the last 30 hours or so has finally begun to wane and real exhaustion is setting in.
Day 16, Saturday, May 4th
Or, the first of the three days of furious collaboration.
Worked a busy morning at the cafe - but then again, what weekend morning isn't busy? Collated copies of the book in Amaya and Ian's garage before sitting down inside and playing the first few turns of Tokaido, a game about sight-seeing Edo, Japan designed by a Frenchman. Just about eating things, collecting souvenirs and, as was my favorite, sitting in hot springs with monkeys. Had to jet over to Zak's studio to get the covers printed on the larger press, so, when the clock hit quarter-to and the turn in the game became mine, I promptly knocked the old man character I was playing into the water, announced I'd been eaten by kappas, and scooted out the back door.
Printed covers on the 9810, which went better than I think either Zak and I thought they would. A huge favor paid to me by Mr. Sally, by the way, for coming down to the studio and basically printing the run for me with finishing the next book of Sammy heavy on his mind. While I stumbled about beside him, half-way in the way and tripping on stuff. I had no real familiarity with the 9810, even though the same principals apply, and the time spent this month screaming at Maisie still hadn't worn off. Trimmed down the oversized French 80# cover to 12.5x17.5 and got them going on my make-shift too-small left-over already-printed plates.
And that went pretty damn well. Debated whether or not to do the second color, which, at the press, was very light. I'd changed the covers because full bleed = pain, and the ever-fluid set of circumstances and setbacks around this book meant I needed to make due with the capabilities I had and things I had access too within the time frame I needed to operate within. Setbacks, mind you, that might have been solved in the designing process months ago, so the lesson is - again! - a stitch in time saves nine. So, we scratched the second layer of light blue for toning the front and back, as Zak had to get back home and we'd been at the press for these covers for four hours.
But my Animal-Farm-draft-horse tendencies to just work harder, just endure more menial labor in the face of hardships (remember everyone, that horse dies well before the end of the book) were not disappointed. Decided to hand-color them instead! All of them.
Woop woop. Neigh.
After a 8 to 5:30 shift of insanity at the cafe on Sunday, rose, bones full of ache and energy, and got my ass to MCAD. Where upon I, save for a few instances of having to run an errand and grab the paper out of Amaya's garage so desperately needed, I sat for the last 30 hours. Seeing as it is also the thick of MCADian finals, I was in good company and there was cheap food and good coffee at my disposal. Just like old times. Went to figuring out just how the hell I was going to color these covers A) cheaply enough as not to weep, B) quickly enough to go in to be bound and trimmed by midnight and ready for TCAF on Saturday, and C) to my satisfaction and to the satisfaction of that goddamn voice in my head always bugging me about covers, and markers and that crap. Settled for an acrylic turquoise ink in a water-color brush pen, half-diluted, and colored, colored, colored. Took the majority of the day, all the way up to Leigh calling me up to bat with my books in the Service Bureau, and all the strength in my knotted up hand. Watched a little Adam West Batman in the middle as I did so, thanks to Bob's Intro Class.
Every single person who came close enough to peer at me, with my sprawl of French Paper, French Paper boxes, and ink bottles, I wrangled in to ask them about the covers and weighed all opinions as evenly as I could. Worked on the big tables of the 2nd floor studio and soon found myself swamped with a MCAD finals homework drum circle. Furiously colored 25 covers or so in the 3 hours leading up to midnight.
Then, at midnight, with two energy drinks (totaling 280 mg of caffeine), a large cup of coffee from Dave's, and an Iced Blackout from Le Spyhouse at 11:30 (totaling 400? mg of caffeine? More? enough, in any case, to keep me going until noon today and beyond) in me, Leigh and I went to work.
Or, Leigh did. Again found myself either too damn incompentent (or too damn sleep-deprived to become competent) at any of the tasks required to finish this mini-run for TCAF, except for creasing. Which, still, I managed to screw up on occasion. But Leigh Luna was a star. She was a wunderkin. I pushed her in the river and ella swim-ó. Bound and trimmed my inherently deeply flawed book-shaped things into real, god-damned books. She had also printed, assembled, and bound a run of her own good-looking books, Clementine Fox, before tackling the lumpy disaster box that was my run of books.
Leigh used Bind! It's super-effective! (Yeah, that's just for you, kiddo.)
A night in which we also seriously discussed getting ourselves something like this. This very, very, very nice binder.
Finished at 2:45AM, dropped Luna off at home at 3AM, and finally got my little head under the dark water of sleep at 4AM.
Day 18, Tuesday, May 7th
STILL COLORING. Nope, didn't finish all of it - just the big parts. Went back to color the back to try and balance the annoying color composition I'd saddled myself with. All in all, I'm happy, and they're so damn corporeal it overtakes my perfectionist-streak.
In any case, there's still more to do. Of the 500-750 possibly viable copies of these books, there are forty-some assembled and 30-some ready to go into the mitts of venerable strangers. That's a lot of work. So it is with a noted, obnoxious little asterisk next to my statement I declare this book "done," but I'll take that.
Howl, in the window, on what feels like the first real day of summer. My stomach is eating itself as loudly as a lawn-mower at the time of this picture.
ON TO TCAF!
I promise I'm not dead. I'm just working.
It's halfway through November, and the first issue of "The Godhead" is halfway inked. And I'm calling that as actually halfway, and not that point where I am halfway ready to burn it and throw that ash down a sewer drain. Which is want to happen when things don't go your way while inking. That stuff's goddamn permanent. If I don't manage to pick up the pace, I'll probably just have the Xeric book and Godhead issue 1 out by TCAF (knock, knock) and CAKE in May and June, respectively.
Because Minnesota gets cold in the winter, my printing season should officially be "over," but if the gods decide we're going to have November weather all season long like last year, printing will start on the Xeric book, Sea Change, in a month or two, as well as for Godhead #1, and the "Tiny Room" mini. I like to call the time between the first snowfall and the first 50 degree day in spring, "Cartooning Season," or "Drawing Season," and all the days warm enough to stand outside "Printing Season."
Hopefully, it'll be warm, and I'll print a lot, and draw a lot. Thank god for global warming, huh?
--> The Minnesota Center for Book Arts (MCBA) book festival is this weekend, the 17! I won't be tabling, but I'll be visiting and probably dicking around with Amaya at the Paper Tapir table, whose wares you should come pick up! Come get earrings that are tiny, viable books. Yeah. THOSE.
--> Tom K. of the conquering Uncivilized Books is hosting a Defenders movie screening at the Trylon Microcinema in good old Southie (that's south Minneapolis, my heart, my home). Half of the proceeds from the screening go to the Comic Book Legal Defense fund, and the other half goes to you paying to see whatever awful-wonderful movie Mr. K has chosen, in the most wonderful small film theatre in the cities. So, win-win-win. BE THERE.
--> and SAVE THE 16TH-18th of AUGUST 2013 for something very cool. You can't ask why yet, but you'll wanna do it, TRUST ME.
It's finished! Done! Whammo bammo! 350 viable copies!
Unfortunately, due to me being press-inept the week previous to the deadline and pressed for time (ha!) to print in the first place, there were only blood, tears, and lots of scrapped paper to show for my efforts when the 15th rolled around. Oh, yeah. That deadline thing, Skaalrud.
Thank you thank you thank you again to AE for allowing me to scurry in after the punch and turn in my 160 copies for the show. That is actually too nice to me - but I appreciate it all the same. They also posted a sweet little blurb with a few questions I'd answered before hand, which you can check out here.
Printing round two was so goddamned easy, comparatively. So much better, in fact, that the second passes on each sheet were printing too well and were getting visibly better than the first pass. In order to have a similar baseline of print quality, I found myself trying to dial it down. Which was strange. But good. I didn't scream, or kick. I yelled once or twice. Sang along to the tunes mostly. I'm going to say it was because I'd gone in the second time not panicked, rushed, or frustrated. Or because she like the music that day better.
Maisie. On a good day.
The garage window above the work table.
Knock on wood.