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A friend is organizing a fund to commemorate the Good Will Hunting bench in Boston Common in the name of Robin Williams, and you can chip in! (Or at least help spread the word!)

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  • Drinking: Iced Tea
I have been posting recently about having a number of comics projects ready for artists.

First up is "The Witchwood".

The entire script for a 128 page graphic novel is written, and I'm looking for an artist to work with me on it as a creator owned project. The concept here is that the forest itself is more our protagonist than the young hunter trying to claim it as his hunting ground.

The setting is in the Dark Ages (or earlier) in a mysterious forest, long forbidden, with standing stones and other mysteries under centuries of growth. The only human characters are a young hunter, a mysterious ghostly girl, and an old farmer. Aside from the forest, the other characters include a savage badger, a timid doe, a fearsome stag, ravens and crows, a bear, and a pack of skinny wolves.

Here's the non-spoily part of the pitch:

THE WITCHWOOD: In a tale of the Dark Ages, a long-forbidden forest
struggles to keep a young hunter from taming and claiming it.

The premise of The Witchwood is that the forest trying to remain wild, rather than the young man coming of age and trying to set out and claim his own hunting grounds, is the protagonist. The story plays out as a quiet one, showing the interplay between the two observed by a ghostly girl. (The script was completed, aside from a post-art narration pass, as a NaNoWriMo project.)

The Witchwood has been unclaimed by man for countless centuries, though signs like standing stones suggest that it wasn’t always so. Faced with a young hunter, to inexperienced to heed such tradition, it uses everything from roots, to flocking birds, to its few predators to defend itself. The cycle begins with the energy of summer, proceeds through fading autumn to bitter winter, and concludes in the hope of spring.

The story is told in four 32-page acts, designed to be published either as issues or an original graphic novel. It is planned to have a square, prestige-size format.
  • Drinking: Iced Tea
I've been gradually getting back into writing, after far too much time away. Creating makes me feel more alive.

Today, I turned my one-shot FAILSAFE into a series outline and pitch for a series.

From there, I read through my existing materials, and realized two things:

First, I have at least four series ready for me to script a first issue. (Not including many ideas that haven't been outlined yet.) On any given day, I can work on whichever one suits my mood, until an artists is available and then I can focus on having scripts ready for them.

Second, I have three series that are completely ready for an artist to begin work. Outlines, scripts, and in some cases even pitch letters, are written and waiting. Someone could start drawing the comics today.

This makes me realize that more than anything, I don't just need to spend time writing (though I do!)-- I need to find collaborators for these projects. There's no use sitting on scripts.
I've been doing some writing again lately, but I need to be actively creating and working on a project again. I don't suppose any of my artist friends would be interested in starting a creator-owned graphic novel?


The idea would be something like this:

Start by finding a collaborator (penciller, possibly also inking) and work together on choosing a story. Then we'd put together an outline, character designs, and promo image. Then I'd work through the full script of a graphic novel, and the artist would start working the pages.

Once the pitch-- full outline, first issue script, 5 pages fully complete-- was ready, we'd pitch it, but keep working on finishing it too. Get something done, and out there, however long it takes.

All creator owned, equal votes on selling, revenue share on this work tilted towards the artist, other details to be worked out. Artists who have completed sequential works only, preference to people I know and/or have worked with.
A week ago, I went back to the studio for the first time in two years. Two years.

Recently, I started writing again and lined up a couple of interesting comics projects.

It feels good to be alive again. It's interesting to discover the power of finding a muse.
I've actually been writing again, finally.

I recently started a combination personal Life Blog and serious Philosophy Blog at BadEpicurean.com.

Then, this morning I wrote an eight page diary comic script that I'm fairly happy with. (It's not a serious project, but I'd love to find an artist for it. Partly, to see it realized, and partly to add a new genre to my portfolio.)

It's good to be making things, even small ones. I need to keep this up.
It's time to get back to work, and that means it's time to start something I can finish.

I am looking for an artist to collaborate on a creator owned graphic novel.

The schedule can be anything reasonable that we can stick to, no matter how slow-- However, I need someone who can finish a book, no matter how long it takes.

The artist must be a penciller with experience doing pages. Please no inquiries from other artists, especially those who only want to do covers. We can collaborate on the story, or you can choose from my extensive catalogue of story concept notes.

Serious inquiries only.
Wow.

The last Journal I wrote was back in June. I had been laid off from my day job, and my entire focus was on putting the practicalities of my life back together.

Since then, I got a new job-- Much better, much more senior, much more opportunity. Much less time. So now it seems all there is time for are practicalities. I've barely created anything in almost a year.

I need to get back to it.

Update: Since posting the above, I've had a romantic break-up, and major upheaval at my day job.
This is my official notice that I am looking for employment.

I have almost a decade of experience in software support, technical account management, and to a degree desktop support. I'm also considering a career change to editing comics or similar media. I am open to relocation, but my preference would be near my Cambridge (MA) home.

(I'd like to keep this post positive and productive, rather than a place to vent or seek consolation. There's another place for that. Please respect that.)
The latest print runs to re-stock my first two comics arrived last night.

The cool news: New copies of Black Label Comics #1 (my anthology) are perfect-bound, and it makes a big difference. You'll enjoy these.

They will be available at Albany Comic Con in June, and Baltimore Comic Con in September. I hope to have news about one more comic I'll be bringing to Baltimore soon, too. See you there?
Now that I have some positive news, it seemed like a good time to remind everyone that I am indeed still alive.

First of all, now that DeviantArt allows us to change our usernames, I have made the switch from `ian-x to IanStruckhoff . As time goes on, I feel it's more professional and simple to use my real name as my online identity. This also probably better reflects my shift from showing more photography, to showing more comics work.

Second, there are actually some comic books happening, despite my apparent disappearance off the face of the earth. I recently sent out the final notes for FAILSAFE, and the art is being finalized shortly. From there, I will have some lettering updates and design work to do-- but I expect FAILSAFE to be available later this summer.

I am also back to work on a few other projects-- You may not see as many finished comics, as I focus more on pitching books to the publishers, but where I can I'll try to share some concept and other teaser artwork.

So... I have basically been absent since December. Have I missed much? What have you all been up to?
Some of you will have noticed that I'm not very active here at the moment. I'm not gone for good, just busy with other things.
I don't usually comment on these things, but I just noticed that I am only 33 watchers shy of 3,000. That's incredible!

(I hope the 3,000th will be Uatu.)
I know as a visual art community, we love to focus on the pictures. Just a gentle reminder that it can pay off to at least scan the words too.

Today, I received not one but two notes, both asking me to be the artist on different comics projects. I am not a comics artist. I'm a photographer, and I'm a comics writer, and I honestly couldn't draw my way out of a paper bag. If you paid a second of attention to my gallery, or my profile, or my journal, or the descriptions on any of my deviations, you'd know that.

I don't mean to single these two guys out. I've had it happen before. I've also had people look at my photos, which clearly credit me as the photographer, and tell me how gorgeous I am. Thank you sweetie, that's flattering, but I'm not the model. I know of plenty of models who have the opposite thing happen, with comments like "She's beautiful!" How do you think that makes us feel?

Is it really that hard to cast your eyes on the description everyone once and a while? Certainly, if you're trying to complement someone, or invite them to collaborate, it's worth the time to confirm an assumption or two before diving in. Otherwise, you don't look very smart.

Okay, rant over. Carry on, folks.
A week ago tonight, my life changed dramatically (from where I stand). After four years with my partner and best friend, I made the difficult decision to end our relationship. While it was the right thing to do in the long run, it still hurts-- more than expected. With a week behind me, I feel the need to decompress my thoughts. If you're not interested in this sort of journal, I won't be offended if you skip it.

First of all, I want to say that I'm not looking for pity. This was my choice, and not only did I know what was coming to me, but I know it's worse for her-- She didn't have a choice, and I know as well as anyone how much it hurts. I've had a bad week, but I'm sure hers has been a lot worse.

I don't think I need to, or should, go into why I made this decision. That's private, and not just about me. The summary is that the way I felt had become more complicated, and gained some negative elements, for reasons including thinking about who I should be with for a permanent future and plenty of reasons I probably don't understand.


I just put someone I care about intensely through deep emotional pain that won't disappear overnight.

I lost a partnership that I had built over the last four years, and expected to last for the rest of our lives.

Financially, I'll be absorbing a budget that isn't much smaller for one person than it was for two.

My apartment is pretty big for one single guy and his cat, even if the cat is pretty fat.

I don't know yet how well the friendship will survive. We're trying, we're talking, we haven't really fought-- but I know it hurts, and that can make it hard to stay in touch.

I'm single, and as lonely as I feel sometimes, I think I should probably stick with that for a while.

There's no denying that I'm depressed. I need to work on focusing myself on being productive and social, and not spend so much time spinning my wheels emotionally.

I'd really like some company. Human contact means a lot, especially at a time like this. I have basically one friend in the city, a small number in the suburbs, and most of the rest are about an hour away. (Plus I don't have the car full time yet.)

My self esteem is all over the place-- Well, in the range from average to terrible. I don't know what I'm doing with my life, if I'll ever find someone again, if I'm worth it, if I'm a terrible person... and then again, sometimes I'm fine.

I haven't been sleeping enough. It started a couple of months before the breakup, but it has been worse this week. I started to feel sleep depravation symptoms the other night, not from one bad night but from it all adding up. I try to go to bed early, but I keep myself up.


I'm going to be okay. Each day is a bit better than the one before.
I'm not going to get into it on here, since this is primarily a professional/creative space for me, but my personal life has taken a bad turn. I'm having a rough day, and there will probably be a few more to come. I thought the friends I'm in touch with on here would want to know.
Today, I'm proud to announce the launch of my new monthly column on MakingComics.com, called Just Make Comics. (Read it to see what that simple title is all about.)

In the first installment, "Get the Project Started" I practice what I preach by doing two important things-- Doing some actual writing, and starting to look for an artist collaborator for the column.

Yes-- as announced in the column, I am looking for an artist partner for short comics and illustrations to complement the written portion of the column every month. Just to show how dedicated I am, I'm conducting the whole process before your eyes. If I fail, the second installment won't have any visual component, so I'll live or die by my own advice here.

I'll be writing advice on just making some damn comics, and I'd like to work with an artist to illustrate my points and show sample short comics. Some installments may even be purely in comics form. If you're interested in a regular monthly gig, never more than two pages a month (often less) hit me up with your portfolio and a clever comment.
UPDATE Jan. 19th at the bottom

After what seems like ages since my last Journal, it feels like time for an update. Since business travel, the holidays, and everyday life devoured most of my free time, that mostly means stuff other than my creative pursuits.

So, where to start?

On December 1st, my girlfriend got into our third car collision in 10 months. (Our year-old Mazda was totaled in February, in an accident that could have killed her but left her just a little banged up. Then our new Mini was soundly rear-ended in August while we were taking things to the Salvation Army preparing for our move.) The latest was a gentle tap, but led to the usual hassles around body shops, insurance, money, etc.

A few days later, I left for a ten-day business trip to Dublin. It was mostly work, in the main office for my day job, but I also had time to meet the lovely C.E. Murphy and her husband, baby, and other friends and family for a home-cooked dinner, and to see some more of Dublin's sights on evenings and weekends.

While I was there, my grandfather "Struckie" passed away due to complications from his long battle with Parkinsons, at the age of 91. I've 33 years old, and until that day I still had all four grandparents. We knew it was coming, but it's still strange to face death close up for the first time. I'm still not sure how I feel. The funeral isn't until February 18th.

This autumn, I also found out that my stepmother has been diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer. She has been undergoing chemo-therapy, and often it seems like that side-effects are more obvious than the actual illness. It's hard to tell how positive her prognosis really is, but she and my father are handling it all very positively. It's hard to even process what is happening, except through the lens of how it must feel for my father-- He just retired, she's 14 years his younger, and he has always been the one with a health problem looming. He couldn't have prepared for this.

When I got back from Ireland, most of my holiday shopping was done, in the forms of treats and other things that I hope were more special because they came from far away. Still, those couple of weeks seemed to fly by preparing for the holidays. We did a pre-Christmas with Ada's family (having spent Thanksgiving with them, it was "my turn" for Christmas). Then we spent a long weekend with my family up in New Hampshire. It began with Christmas Eve Brunch with my father, step-mother, step-brothers, their wives, and the two new babies. We did Christmas Eve with my mother's family, at a party that has been a tradition since I was little. Christmas morning at my mother's was fairly normal, with the recent addition of her boyfriend and his (adult) son.

Now, it's a new year. I've been struggling working out the direction I want to (or can) take my life in, on a number of levels. I don't think I could say I'm depressed, and I'm not miserable, but I feel full of questions and uncertainty.

I'd like to lose 30 pounds. I'd like to have more of a social life. I'd like to spend more time on my writing, and kick off my "Year of the Pitch" in a big way. I'd like to be able to get back to photography, and working with so many beautiful and creative people. I'd like everything to be the way it was, and I'd like things to change. The usual, I suppose.

I'm not sure if there was much point to sharing all of this, but it was good in a way to say it. Thanks for listening.


UPDATE Jan. 19th

Thanks to everyone for their kind responses to this journal. The strange thing is, when I posted it, I just thought of it as a catch-up rather than unloading a stream of depressing things. The responses made me realize just how tough things have been lately, and how little I have been dealing with it.

I've been trying to stay positive, and focus on being happy and creative. However, I think I need to acknowledge that things aren't going so well right now, including some that I didn't mention. If I don't face these issues, they aren't going to get any better for me.
I just wrote "END" at the bottom of the first draft of the script for The Witchwood.

I still have some dialogue and editing to go, but that's a Na(Gra)NoWriMo.

(Only 30,000 words, but it's a complete graphic novel, 128 pages, so I am satisfied.)
As many of you know, this is National Novel Writing Month-- but I'm co-opting the idea to finish the scripts for my graphic novel "The Witchwood" and I'm calling it my Na(Gra)NoWriMo!

When November 1st hit, I realized how exciting an opportunity NaNoWriMo is for building and maintaining momentum. With my Year of the Pitch officially starting at the beginning of 2012, but work starting a bit early, the timing was just too perfect. (In fact, I have promised Magneticcrow a script by December 1st.)

The typical NaNoWriMo word count is 50,000 words. After some quick napkin math-- UPDATED (and not looking as good) the series outline is about 3,000 words, an issue outline is about 1,000 words, and 32 comic pages worth of script are about 7,000 words. This puts the entire graphic novel in the 30,000 to 35,000 range at best. Originaly I thought it would be about 55,000 which would put the full script for the graphic novel in perfect NaNoWriMo territory. Instead, I may need to pad things out with pitch/submission documentation, a cover letter, or maybe even a supplemental short story.

As part of ensuring I finish this project, I'm using the possibility of public shame as a self-motivator. In other words, I'm saying here that I'm going to do this, and I'm posting regular progress updates to show whether I'm keeping up.

In addition, I encourage others to try doing the same. Short stories, first issues, and one-shots are great, but finishing the complete scripts for a graphic novel or mini-series is an important learning experience and one I am sure will be very satisfying. Plus, I don't want to be in this alone!


Progress Log:

Day 1: (Included some previous work) Revised general documentation such as characters, issue-by-issue outline, setting and concept notes. Now totals 2000+ words of the target 1,667.

Day 2: Further revisions. Full page-by-page outline of Issue 1. Scripted first five pages (opening scene). Now totals 4000+ words of the target 3,334.

Day 3: Wrote the second scene, script for six pages. Some small touch ups and fixes here and there. Started the third scene, script for nine more pages. (Issue 1 scripted up to page 20 out of 32.) Now at 7,000+ words of the target 5000.

Day 4: Finished the third scene, script for ten more pages. Finished the closing scene, script for three pages. More touch ups and clarifications, and went back to add (limited) dialogue/captions. Now at 10,001 words of the target 6,667. The first draft of the entire script for "The Witchwood" Issue #1 is done! (Also, I wrote ahead enough to still be on track if I don't get another chance to write this weekend.)

Days 5-7: Because of plans over the weekend, I didn't get much done-- but with that in mind, you'll notice I had already gotten ahead. Over the weekend, plus tonight, I did the following: The page-by-page outline of Issue #2 (Autumn), the first scene, plus the first page of the next scene-- The script for four pages total. Now totals 12,946 words of the target 11,667.

Day 8: Still on track! (Though alas, still averaging 200 words per comic page.) Wrote up to Page 15 of Issue 2, almost finishing the big second scene. Now totals 14,417 pages of the target 13,333.

Day 9: Still on track, even cutting out early to catch an Adam WarRock concert at my local comic shop! Wrote up to Page 25 of Issue 2, finishing the third scene. (So I wrote the script for 10 pages in a day.) Now totals 16,182 words of the target 15,000.

Days 10-13: Things were tough after a crazy work-week and a busy weekend, but a big push on Sunday got me back on track! I have outlined issue 3, and written up to page 19. Sprinting to over 4,600 words in a single day brings me up to 22,099 words out of the target 21,666!

Day 14: Still on track! I have now written up to page 31 of Issue 3. (Yes, one short page to go until I start the last issue.) Writing 1,859 words today brings me up to 23,958 words out of the target 23,333!