I know times are getting hard,
But just believe me girl someday,
I’ll pay the bills with this guitar,
We’ll have it good,
We’ll have the life we knew we would,
My word is good
So, it finally happened: I’m no longer unemployed.
I’m grateful, of course. I’m happy I can provide for my family once again. I’m also relieved: never underestimate the power of feeling that your identity is dictated by something you should be doing, but aren’t. These past seven months haven’t exactly been a vacation. Not by a long shot.
Port Sherry was, at first a way to distract myself from the weird reality of unemployment. By trying to tell ambitious stories with limited skills (I’ve made no excuses in the past about being incredibly rusty after ten years of not drawing) I unintentionally set a grueling work schedule that had me devoting over seven hours on a daily basis to drawing comics. I can swear that I used to play more games and watch more movies when I had a job than in these past months. I devoted myself wholly to the comic, at first just to feel productive; but then, as time passed and I still couldn’t find a job, I began to dream that this little pet project might end up being profitable. I’ve grown addicted to drawing and fantasizing about potential strips, so you could imagine I was excited about the possibility of doing that as a day job.
I put up banner ads, even though I knew how most people are annoyed by them and/or ignore them. I set up a donation page, though I hate asking people for money. I know how is it with webcomics: you gotta rely on the support of readers. A couple of shirt designs where in the works. I just needed a bit more time. I kept telling myself just that, perhaps a little bit deluding myself: just a bit more time, to attract more visitors, to drum up more interest. It killed me, since there was no other way around it: I could only update weekly because it took me a whole week to create a comic. It’s hard to compete in popularity with smaller strips that update at triple that rate.
After my first week on the new job, something is plenty clear from the get-go: I now have a ridiculously low amount of free time. It was worse than expected, as I now feel that I get back from the office and go straight to bed, only to wake up and get back in there. Weekly comics are now, sadly, out of the question. I’ve thought about retooling Port Sherry as a series of one-panel comics. Though they are not ruled out, I bet that if you have a favorite PS comic, it probably isn’t one of those sporadic one-panels I’ve done. And, to be honest, I enjoy telling a short story more than making up a punchy sight-gag.
Checking the archives, I’m amazed by some of the work I’ve done over this period. Not because of its great quality, but because I can’t believe I actually went and started a webcomic. I can see a powerful drive behind these comics, how they were fueled by fear and hope. There was a fire under my seat that pushed me creatively like never before. I’m proud of my work. In fact, I think that for a total unknown, updating weekly, with less than 20 strips published and not even six months online, the 300+ daily visits Port Sherry receives is nothing to scoff at.
Let me pull a swerve here and announce that no, Port Sherry is not dead nor going on hiatus. It’s just going to take longer for me to update this site with the comics I want to make. Unlike other artists that get bored with their webcomics and pursue other projects, rest assured that I love writing and drawing Port Sherry, and I’ll use every weekend and the odd hour I can spare to produce comics. Now more than ever, I can’t stop drawing: I see a brighter future as a comic artist than anything this city could offer me. I don’t plan on starting up again from scratch in another 10 years.
Why was I acting like the comic was dead, then? Well, I’ll be honest and tell you that I’m actually mourning the death of the dream. The pipe dream of making a modest living off Port Sherry. In a way, yeah, I guess it’s laughable; webcomics don’t work that way. For a while, though, I could almost see it happening. It wasn’t the money I craved: it was the freedom to keep doing this all the time.
Expect to see in the future stranger, more personal comics, fueled by something else entirely. Know that they will be the best comics I could possibly offer you. They’ll take time, but they’ll get here, eventually. I probably need to do this more than you need to read it.
Thank you for everything.