I haven't updated this or uploaded anything in a while. 2017 was an absolutely miserable year for me, but 2018 is looking like it might be a bit better.
I don't like talking about my personal business to the internet (or most people in real life, truth be told; I'm a very private person). What I do feel comfortable saying about this extended break is this: A lot of things went wrong for me in 2017. I've always had struggles with mental health, and 2017 and the first couple months of 2018 have been especially challenging for me. Unfortunately these things don't work on a timetable, like a sprained ankle might.
The good news is, there's a light at the end of the tunnel. I've gotten help and I'm taking care of myself. I'm getting my creative writing/drawing mojo back. I'm doing what I need to do, but getting back into the grind I had before while maintaining my full-time job is anything but easy. I'm not yet in a position to commit to my old schedule, but I can assure everyone I'm feeling a little better each day. Most importantly, the one thing I've been missing for the past year-- the DRIVE to draw and write-- is, shall we say, "waking up" again. Not the bright, perky OKAYI'MAWAKENOW you'd expect from a little kid... more like the "Do I haaaavvveee to?" groan of a moody teenager. So, we're getting there.
If you're reading this... thank you for your patience. And for not abandoning my silly comics. I promise someday soon things will get back to where they need to be.
I haven't updated or posted anything in a while. There's been a lot going on. It's not that I haven't been drawing, I just haven't been drawing comics that much. I just posted a handful of the things I've been working on (and one comic; that's gotta count for something, right?).
So what HAS been going on? A lot. Most of it not necessarily what I'd call good. I literally cannot catch a break. In the past month alone I had my A/C die in the middle of a 100+ degree heatwave, and I was in a four-car accident on a major highway (I was not at fault, for the record), to name a few things. This has been a pretty miserable summer.
I've been spending most of my time reading, drawing non-comic things, building LEGOs, and playing video games. Oh, and cats. Don't forget playing with cats. Basically whatever I think I need to do in the moment to calm down, because my stress levels have been through the roof most days. The days they aren't through the roof I'm sleeping. Turns out it's really, really hard work being a spaz.
I'm not going to make predictions or promises about when this will all be over, because the last month alone I've lost a few teeth from having life kick me in the mouth. But it's not going to last forever and at the time of this post I'm starting to feel a little bit better. I have decided to try and post more non-comic stuff (the nicer stuff, not random sketches) to make up for the fact things have been so dead here for so long. Hopefully that'll be better than nothing. And in the meantime, I'm going to keep my head above water.
I have a page about halfway ready for each strip but have had almost no time to work on either one of them. My stress levels are through the roof and when I do have a few minutes of free time I tend to spend it trying very hard to relax. I know it sucks to hear but I've got to take care of myself.
I will continue to work on the comics as I'm able and post them ASAP, regardless of the day of the week. My sincere hope is that things will be settling down soon. Thanks so much for your patience and understanding.
I'm really sorry to report there will not be comic updates this week. Effective last week I took on some new responsibilities at work, and while it's a great opportunity and I'm incredibly excited to be taking on this new role, it's been a lot of work to get started.
I've spent the past five days in training, and after work doing research and preparing presentations for the next day. It's been a LOT of work, and while it's been rewarding it's been time-consuming. Because of all the extra work I had to do this weekend I was unable to prepare either comic... or do much of anything else. Some of you may have noticed I've been pretty quiet online the past week, and that is why.
The good news is next Monday March 13th we'll have the next "Just Caitlin" strip and next Friday March 17th we'll have the next "I Just Work Here" strip. I'm really sorry for the break but it was necessary for work.
Is this going to be a normal thing? No. In order to take on this new role I had to do a LOT of training up front. There will definitely be extra work coming down the road but from this point forward it will be taking place almost exclusively during work hours. I expect few to no breaks in the future as a result of this additional responsibility. As for right now, though, it's been a VERY long few days and I am desperately in need of some rest and recuperation. I expect to hit the ground running this weekend.
See you all next Monday!
I've been active on DA for over 6 years and there have always been 4-6 deviations displayed. Now there are two and they are asking me to buy an effing Core Membership in order to display more than two at a time?!!?
DA brings in too much revenue to be doing this. Out of curiosity I looked up how much a Core membership costs: $15 for 3 months or $50 for one year. You have GOT to be kidding me. My yearly subscription to Trend Micro costs me $45. Something that is infinitely more important to my security costs less than a dinky subscription to a social media platform. One, I might add, that has lately been featuring more and more fetish/sexual pieces on the front page instead of actual art. I don't value a Core membership here at over $15/year. And that's being generous.
I like posting things here on DA; it's the only social media platform I check more than once a week. If I believed the platform was struggling but they wanted something more reasonable, like $10/year to maintain the site, I'd very seriously consider signing on. But they make way too much money from advertising, from merchandise sales and from people who currently have Core Memberships to be trying to squeeze more money out of the rest of us. This is greedy and stupid and if they continue to restrict what non-paying members can see and do on the site, they're going to continue to drive them away.
Knock it off, DA.
A reader recently asked me if the current story has anything to do with the current political climate. The answer is NO. This story was written well before the election even happened, and was going to be published regardless of the outcome. I have very strong opinions about the current political atmosphere-- for those who don't know, let us say simply I am unhappy with it-- but IJWH is never going to be used to air my political opinions.
IJWH is a comic about social workers, so it's going to touch on several different social topics. The main story right now is how Javiera tries to navigate an abusive relationship, but it's briefly touching on the subject of immigration and nationality, since Javiera is Latina. The fact it's being published at this time is irrelevant to what is going on in the world.
I just wanted to clarify this in case anyone is wondering if this particular story arc is intended to make some sort of remark about the race relations or talks of building a wall that are front and center in the headlines. It was always my intent for IJWH to explore the issue of race relations but it will be done on my time and will benefit the flow of the story and the development of the characters. Neither IJWH or "Just Caitlin" will ever have stories intended to coincide with politics or current events. If they do coincide, as this one appears to be, please know that it's only a coincidence. I have a clear direction for this strip and the next several arcs are already being written, which will cover the next 3-4 years.
Thanks for reading everyone! See you Monday with the next JC strip!
Welcome to 2017! Good riddance to 2016! The next "Just Caitlin" comic is up, and with it a new Facebook page! The Facebook page will provide links to new comics (similar to what I'm already doing with the RSS feed), and will also feature JC images and pictures and news updates! I seem to have gotten the hang of updating the "I Just Work Here" Facebook page regularly and it's helped make that comic more visible, so I'm going to do the same with "Just Caitlin" and see where things go! (The link for the IJWH Facebook page is here, by the way: www.facebook.com/I-Just-Work-H… )
I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season and are ready for more comics in 2017! "Just Caitlin" is back on a weekly update schedule so long as the comic gods don't frown upon me, and "I Just Work Here" will kick off this Friday, January 6th.
See you Friday!
Both the "I Just Work Here" and "Just Caitlin" holiday images are up! IJWH is late, but it was really, really detailed, so please forgive me.
Neither comic will update next week because I'm going to be spending the holidays with my family and relaxing. "Just Caitlin" will return Monday, January 2nd, and IJWH will return Friday, January 6th! There's a good chance I'll post a LEGO picture here sometime within the next week though, so it won't be COMPLETELY dead around here. 8D
Whatever you celebrate, I hope you have a wonderful and safe holiday season! I celebrate Christmas myself, so I want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
We are, for the most part, past the cafeteria scenes and therefore moving out of the crowd scenes that take so much time to draft, ink, and color. There are a couple pages coming up that will have lots of kids in the background but I don't think there will be as many as were being shown in the cafeteria.... and that's a good thing. If the strip has to slow down again to deliver a quality product then it will, but I'll do what I can to mitigate that.
Thanks as always for being so patient while I try to crank these things out. If I have to sacrifice either a consistent schedule or the quality of the art of the comics, I'm more inclined to sacrifice the schedule. It's a harsh world we live in for sure.
Some people expressed confusion about what Lizzie was eating in IJWH 228: It was Candy Corn. I've updated the page so "Candy Corn" is written on the bag. In IJWH 214 ( www.ijustworkherecomics.com/ij… ) she told Darren Mr. Whiffles accepts payment in candy corn and pixie sticks, so that was her payment on the desk. Sorry that wasn't more clear to begin with, and thanks so much to readers for pointing that out to me!
Also, JC 207 is now colored and posted! Thanks for your patience as I put that together; my day job had me much, much busier than normal these past few weeks (I'm going to try and post something on that here on DA) so between that and lack of sleep during the World Series and traveling the week before it threw me all off.
Finally, NEW VOTE INCENTIVE FOR IJWH!!!! It's a PREVIEW of the next page, which will be double-sized! Please vote, IJWH is still climbing up in the ranks thanks to awesome readers like you who take a quick second to vote, and it needs all the visibility it can get! topwebcomics.com/vote/19034
Thanks so much guys! See you tomorrow with (a fully colored) JC 208!
Voting is FREE, you don't need to sign up, just click and your vote is registered! In the past few weeks IJWH has jumped up over 200 places on TWC because awesome readers like you have been voting! IJWH still ranks very low overall (right now it's around 930) but I know it can go higher than that! TWC is an incredible way for me to promote the comic because it's easy, it's free, and it's reliable in getting new readers. So please, take a moment to vote! You get to see a cute, full-color IJWH image, and you're helping the comic out, too!
Thanks so much for reading!
I had prepared a full-color, single-panel joke for the "Just Caitlin" filler art for this week, but in light of this weekend's events here in the US I realized posting it could very well come across as insensitive and, well, stupid. Like the "not funny" kind of stupid. The art was drawn BEFORE all the terror attacks and shootings that occurred this past weekend, and while I was coloring it tonight and watching the news unfold I realized now is not the best time.
I'm going to be putting together something different, probably a quick sketch that I can throw together more quickly. I'll post the image I prepared eventually, maybe in a week or two when I feel it will be funny again.
See you all with some fun art real soon!
"I Just Work Here" will return this Friday, September the 9th! It will be back on track with updates every Friday.
"Just Caitlin" will be back to the biweekly updates starting this Monday, September the 12th. I'm hoping to get that one back to weekly updates as well but I'm trying not to push myself too hard until I'm back to 100% and the IJWH Kickstarter is a go (I'm at like 85% right now). But hopefully that will be back to Monday updates ASAP. I really like the current story arc and want to move it forward, like, NOW.
I'm going to be running some more ad campaigns as I get ready for the KS, and there are just a few small details I need to iron out before launching. I have not done any work on the Kickstarter or the preparations for it since getting sick. Which is probably for the best because making important decisions when you're too tired to think is generally a stupid thing to do.
One thing I'm going to do in preparation for the Kickstarter and increasing readership in general is I'm going to try to step up my presence on social media across platforms other than DA. I'm really good about keeping on top of DA but I suck at everything else. The IJWH Twitter and Facebook accounts tend to be very silent because I don't prioritize them the way I arguably should. So I'm going to work on that. I'm also going to try setting up a Tumblr or something similar, so be on the lookout for an announcement on that!
Thanks so much again for all your patience as I try to get over the fact I literally ran myself into the ground!
Yayyyy there's a comic holy wow we haven't seen one of these in a while!!! Does this mean "Just Caitlin" is back on track? And "I Just Work Here," where did that one go? Well... Neither one is back on track, but I'm getting there! I'm going to be updating as I'm able until I've got my health under control.
Last time I updated here I admitted I was suffering from a vitamin deficiency but didn't really explain how it happened. Last week I went back to the doctor and they acknowledged in addition to Vitamin D and Vitamin B12 I am also low in iron. I got a serious Vitamin D supplement from them, which has helped, and I've been taking iron and B12 supplements. To help with the iron and B12 I've been eating meat again, something I don't normally do.
HOW DID THIS HAPPEN? The short version: I exercised. The longer version: Since May 2016 I've been training for a race... an obstacle course race, or a mud run as they're sometimes called. This means I've been working out 4-5 days per week, running 11 miles about twice a week, rock climbing 2-3 times per week several hours at a time, and doing lots of upper body exercises. I have been working out like a maniac, and it's been good: I've never been more in shape, I've lost 35 pounds, and I was hitting all my training goals. BUT, I made a big mistake. See, I eat mostly vegan. It is very rare for me to eat animal-based products more than once or twice a week.... and meat contains iron and B12. In fact B12 and heme iron only occur naturally in animal products.
I have been eating a mostly vegan diet for several years and never had a problem, so why the problem now? When I doubled my energy output in May to train, I didn't think about how my body would be using more of the vitamins and minerals I need to keep going. I was feeling fine and hitting my goals, and had no idea my body stores of iron, D and B12 were getting low. In other words: I ran myself into the ground. Literally.
Did I start feeling tired before this crash? I did, actually, starting in late May. I've been complaining to my coworkers about feeling tired for a very long time but never made the association between fatigue and lack of vitamins, because I'm an insomniac. If I get more than two truly good nights' sleeps in a month it's been a good month, even though I take sleeping pills. Being tired is nothing new for me and I honestly spent the past few months thinking "Wow I'm tired... same old same old."
Moving forward I'm going to keep resting until the fatigue has passed, and when it has I'm going to ease back into my exercise routine. I still want to lose at least 5 more pounds and exercising does wonders at helping with my extreme levels of anxiety (which is why I have insomnia, incidentally). From this point forward I will be taking daily supplements of Vitamin D, Vitamin B12 and iron. I also may slightly increase my meat/dairy input, but we'll see how the supplements go.
AND THE COMICS? WHERE ARE THEY? I am slowly easing back into the groove of drawing comics again. Most of my energy is going towards my job; I need to be at work and I'm so tired by the time I get home I don't have energy for much else. I AM feeling stronger though, a little bit more each day. It's a slow, uphill climb, but I'm getting there. I'm hoping to do some serious work on the next IJWH comic this weekend, and depending on how I'm feeling I'll update it before Friday if it's ready. Same for JC; until I've got a handle on this it's going to be an "As I'm able" sort of affair. I am very eager to get back to updates but even more eager to feel better.
This past weekend I began suffering from severe exhaustion and dizzy spells. It just hit me out of friggin' nowhere. I went to the doctor and had a TON of blood work done, and there's good news and bad news. The bad news: I am low in both Vitamin D and Vitamin B12. Like I hit the fracking "low Vitamin" jackpot. To clarify, when I say "severe exhaustion" I do not mean "seriously in need of a nap." I am so completely exhausted and so lacking in energy it takes serious willpower to do simple things like sit up... and stay sitting up. I am essentially functioning on the level of a vegetable with appendages. And then there's the dizziness... Never would I ever have guessed getting out of a reclining chair could be such a challenge. First there's the energy to sit upright, but then trying to determine what direction you need to move in to get out? Forget about it. I'll just stay sitting.
BUT! There is good news. Vitamin deficiencies can be fixed. We're pretty sure we know how this happened and I will be making sure this doesn't become a regular thing.
How long will it take to get over this? That is a very, very good question. I was told about a week or so from today if I do everything I was told to do. If I'm still exhausted after that I have to go back to make sure it's not something more serious.
I don't expect to have the energy, mental or physical, to work on either comic over this coming weekend. And I mean... I've got to focus on getting better. Even if I wanted to push through it I couldn't. On the upside, the next "Just Caitlin" strip is about 70% complete. The next IJWH... much less so. My hope is to have them both up and running by the week after next if all goes well. I'm also setting the Kickstarter on the backburner until I'm completely ready AND not feeling sick.
Please forgive me if I am a little silent on DA these days. Hopefully next time I update anything it will be with good news.
Specifically, my comics. I'm thoughtful and all-inclusive that way. ^_^
All joking aside, I'm aggressively running online ads for "I Just Work Here" to try and get ready for the Kickstarter. If I can pull in enough regular viewers and increase the number of Watchers I have here on DA, the KS may actually stand a chance of succeeding! And I cannot tell you how much it would mean to me if I could make that happen!
TopWebComics is one of the most powerful ways to advertise a comic; it's free and many people will browse TWC looking for new comics to read. The higher your comic is on the vote ranks, the more viewers get sent to your comic! Right now both comics have vote incentives, but I'm especially concerned with votes for IJWH. At the time this journal is being posted, the IJWH vote incentive gives you a glimpse into Darren and Lizzie's secret art project! And for JC, you can see the latest strip (202) without the text or ink. It looks pretty cool says me.
Vote for IJWH: topwebcomics.com/vote/19034
Vote for JC: topwebcomics.com/vote/19035
Remember: Voting is free, you do NOT have to register, it only takes 2 seconds and you get to see some cool stuff!
Thank you so much for taking a second to vote! And hey: I am ALWAYS open to suggestions for vote incentives, especially right now since I'm trying to increase IJWH's visibility. If there's a fun sketch or drawing you want to see, respond in the comments below or send me a note and I'll try to make it happen!
First a very quick ad: I have a cousin in Pennsylvania whose school is looking for a new art teacher. If you're qualified to teach art and interested, here is a link to apply! www.hbgdiocese.org/jobs/full-t… It's a private Catholic school, and my uncle says it's a great place to live and work.
And now, as the title suggests, "Just Caitlin" will be slowing down its updates for a little while. The strip will be updating biweekly until I can get my other comic, "I Just Work Here" ready for a Kickstarter. Before going to China I said I wanted to launch it by April or May, and we're now in June and I am STILL not ready. I've been so determined to keep both comics running full throttle after taking a month off, but it hit me this weekend I am not capable of doing that, and getting the Kickstarter ready, and keeping up with my other non-comic activities, and maintaining my sanity. I have not even drafted the cover art for IJWH, urgh. Heck, I haven't even finished drafting the current story arcs of either strip. I have had practically zero time for fun side art projects, something that is essential to help keep me motivated and energized as I navigate the endless cycle of story arcs for each comic. I love both my comics dearly, but with no breathing room and the inability to get essential and even non-essential things done I am both overwhelmed... and burning out a bit. My hope is this will only go 4 weeks, but it may go for 6. I'll keep everyone posted.
But fear not! "Just Caitlin" will NOT be dead during this time! I will continue to update the story every other week; on the off weeks I will make sure to post fun drawings/sketches, maybe even through in a Sunday Strip comic or two! "I Just Work Here" will continue to update like normal, because that is the strip I am desperately trying to get printed and therefore it needs to keep going. JC isn't about to make a run towards becoming a book so it can take a temporary back seat.
That said, I hope this slowing-down of the "Just Caitlin" strip is over as quickly as possible. And more important than that, I do sincerely hope I will be able to provide legitimate Kickstarter updates, including launch dates, expected book prices, and book art very, very soon.
The link for the IJWH RSS Feed: www.ijustworkherecomics.com/ij…
The link for the JC RSS Feed: justcaitlincomics.com/jcfeed.x…
All you need for either feed is a working RSS Feed Reader. I tested each of them using a few different readers and they seem to be working okay, so I am going to add updating the RSS Feeds to my list of web updates when I upload comics.
On my list of Things To Do While Missing Updates Last Week was updating the "Just Caitlin" logo and updating the ad banners for IJWH. I'm still playing with the colors for the JC logo, unfortunately, but I've gotten the look I want, which is very exciting. I'm hoping to finish that up this weekend or next weekend during the nice long holiday weekend. Boy am I looking forward to that!
Oh! Updates will continue as normal this coming holiday weekend unless I lose internet access, which I shouldn't. I will be traveling but I expect to have both comics ready to go so I can continue to work on them while I'm out of town.
See you Monday with the next JC strip!!!
No comics this week! I'm super sorry but I'm doing some major coding on both sites; specifically, building RSS feeds for both comics (the IJWH feed died quite some time ago and I didn't find out until recently, and the JC comic never had one), and revamping the "Just Caitlin" comic logo for the website. I had to take a weekend to do that, which means no comics unfortunately.
The good news is both RSS feeds have been built! From scratch! I'm going to have to remember to update them but I think I can easily integrate that into the normal comic update routine. And the best part is it should help with reader consistency on each site. So good things all around.
I've prepared a drawing for each comic in lieu of the regularly scheduled comics so things won't be dead here or on the websites. I hope you enjoy them both, and I will see you next Monday with "Just Caitlin"!
I've been backing some really cool Kickstarters these days and wanted to share them with you guys!
First up: The Wayward Astronomer. LINK: www.kickstarter.com/projects/k… Unfortunately because I am so unbelievably slow there are only 4 days left to back this project as I'm writing this. The Wayward Astronomer is a very well-written piece of Dreamkeepers fanfiction written by . I highly recommend you check out the original draft of the story for free in its entirety on his DA account. Kafelnikov is a good friend of mine, so he and I would both be grateful if you could take a minute to take a look, and if you like it, back the Kickstarter!
Second up: Blindsprings. www.blindsprings.com/ I ran across this webcomic last Monday and read it from the beginning in one sitting. It's a fascinating story about a lost princess trying to fulfill a contract with the spirits of the earth.... but the intentions of the spirits is questionable at best, and she's trying to fight against a corrupt institution that's destroying them. Blindsprings is currently running a Kickstarter as well: www.kickstarter.com/projects/1… If you enjoy well-written and well-drawn fantasy, this is a comic you should definitely check out! (NOTE: Due to the Kickstarter the author, Kadi Fedoruk, is currently posting pages of an older story she wrote called Vasilisa. It's not part of the Blindsprings story, but it's still interesting, too. You'll need to hit the archives to read Blindsprings!)
And that's all the fun things I have for now! I hope you check out one or both of these projects, and consider supporting the amazing artists behind them if you enjoy them!