Been a while, hasn’t it? (and yes, Saturn’s remark above is a direct reference to the fact that there’s been no new update for a few weeks)
This is a tough blogpost to write. I’ve actually had this strip done for a couple of days, but I didn’t want to post it without an explanation of what’s been going on. And that’s kinda tough for me to put into words.
Saturday (Feb. 23) was the 4th anniversary of Ryan’s Dad. I’ve done this strip on a year-to-year basis, always keeping in mind the possibility that I would reach the end of the road with these characters. And every year, I’ve decided that I just didn’t have it in me to quit yet. This, despite the fact that I draw this in pencil, scan it, print it out on Bristol board in blue line, ink it by hand, scan it in again, color and shade it, and upload it here. That’s a lot of work. (and no, I’ve never considered a drawing tablet, partly because I like the “unsmoothness” of hand inking, but mostly because I don’t want to spend the money on a Wacom) And it’s very frustrating work at times, but sometimes everything would come together and all that work would be so worth it.
This year seemed different. I already had a story I wanted to tell, and I figured I could carry on after that enough to make it to the 5-year mark. But a few weeks into this year, I got sick for a few days, then some family issues came up…
…And then I just didn’t want to do it. I don’t know any better way to say it. The strip suddenly seemed like a job. Worse, a job that I couldn’t bring myself to do anymore. And the irony is that I’m truly excited about the story I’m in the middle of. It’s got a few surprises left in it. But the idea of sitting at the drawing board for a few hours at a time suddenly felt like a ball and chain keeping me from doing… anything else.
I wonder if this is an age thing. Off the top of my head, I know only one webcartoonist older than me, Byron Wilkins of 1977: The Comicthat much older). Maybe it’s just that I’ve run out of ideas for this particular strip. Other than resolution, it feels like I’ve said all there is to say with these particular characters.
In any event, I’ve already paid for the server space through the beginning of next year, so this site is going to be here until then, even if only so someone can peruse the archives. And I do want to finish this story, though I probably won’t have updates on a regular basis for a little while longer.
Maybe this will all change. Maybe I’ll suddenly come up with another story idea so compelling that I’ll be anxious to get back to the drawing board. And maybe not.
One thing’s for sure, while the readership for Ryan’s Dad has never had high numbers, it’s had its regular readers, and I’m grateful for that. All of us who do this pour a little (or a lot) of ourselves into these creations, and the fact that anybody sees something in mine worth reading about is something I find humbling. For now, I’m going to work on finishing this story, probably with weekly updates, and then I’ll decide where to go from there.
Thank you for reading my strip. And I hope to see you back here again… sooner rather than later…