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2020: A Year Full of Comics, Creating, and…Carey?

As I generally do, I’d like to offer up a giant heaping of what all happened in my life in 2020. It’s my year-end review — and there’s a lot to it.

I’m pretty sure every 2020 year in review post starts with something like, 2020, the pandemic, riots, an election — what a year! I’ll be a bit more subtle with mine and leave out all the fluff that you’re already painfully aware of.

I’ll stick to making this a topical post about my cartooning and career. Plus, I’ll toss in a dash of something else that happened that was pretty, well, you’ll have to c’mon down and read about it later.

Let’s get to it!

The year started kind of like a firework that didn’t quite take off from celebrations on New Year’s Eve — a dud. Nothing too eventful or exciting. I did work on several caricature projects (which isn’t normal for me since I don’t consider myself much of a caricature artist). Cue sad horn.

A YA (young adult) graphic novel I was pitching at the start of the year never got anywhere. There were no bites from publishers. It was a blow, considering my book that we (my agent and I) pitched before this one went nowhere either.

If you’re a cartoonist or writer, you know that rejection is a part of the game. It can sting, but you have to get used to it. Just grab some Neosporin to toss on the wounds and move on.

That’s exactly what I did.

An idea came to me about writing about my relationship with my ex-stepdad and his struggles with Pick’s disease — a lethal form of dementia.

After some revisions and a nice package to send out to the publishing world, I found a publisher, and A FADE OF LIGHT is a “go.” Its publication date is September 13, 2022.

I wrote a more detailed description of it on my Instagram account, which you can read here.

I’m as excited as ever to be working on this graphic novel (it’s not a novel, considering its non-fiction, so maybe a non-fiction graphic novel is more suitable).

It’s a new direction for me, away from the gag comics that I’m known for. But don’t worry, I’ll continue on with my syndicated feature, Break of Day. As long as I have that one-panel nonsense stuck in my head, it’ll continue to surface.

A FADE OF LIGHT is definitely my professional highlight of 2020. After two books that didn’t make the cut, this one came through. And it’s the best of them all.

Going back to gag comics, I had several new greeting cards picked up for publication via NobleWorks. Greeting cards are a nice little bonus as a gag cartoonist. I’m always happy when new ones make it to the shelves.

Back in August, I was hired to illustrate a children’s book. This particular one I can’t talk about much, but it’s been an enjoyable project to work on and should be completed by March of 2021.

Books, whether they are children’s books, graphic novels, or some other form of them, is where I’m focusing my future on. As a cartoonist, I love books, and I feel like they’re what I’m best at. And call me greedy, but I want to get a ton of them out there.

As you may know, I like to teach cartooning, too. I’ve been keeping my Cartooning Courses going and have had some new students in 2020.

Courses are something I think about a lot. I really want to give all my students everything, and I get anxious if I feel like I’m not. So, I’m planning on adding more drawing-heavy material and new additions to some things I’ve learned (e.g. graphic novel work) to my CC Pro courses.

Plus, I may rebrand the whole damn thing to Fakes Cartooning Academy or something else. Though it’s precisely what they are, Cartooning Courses hasn’t felt like the best name to me ever since I launched them. Expect some branding overhaul at some point.

It’s been great watching my students grow in 2020 and interacting with them regularly. In fact, I’m not sure I’d call them students, but friends at this point.

As you may know, I’m a member of the NCS (National Cartoonists Society). It stinks that we haven’t been able to get together much in the past year. The last event I went to was back in February. It was a screening of Disney’s Onward at the El Capitan theater in Hollywood. After that, eh, we all know what happens next when it comes to get-togethers…

Isolation isn’t all that bad for me. After all, I AM a cartoonist. However, I love the chance to hang out with professionals in animation, cartooning, and art. I admire so many people around here, so looking forward to the days of being in their presence again, eating pizza.

“What’s with the Carey thing in the title of this article?” you might be asking.

I have a fondness for something other than cartooning as well. Any guesses? I’ve dropped more than enough hints in here.

Well, I was on Wheel of Fortune in 2019. And so, after that experience, like a McDonald’s french fry, I wanted more. Therefore, I auditioned and was able to be on The Price is Right with Drew Carey.

During this pandemic, there’s no audience, so they had virtual Zoom interviews. After a few back-and-forths, I taped the show at the studio several weeks ago.

It was a nice finish to 2020. And you’ll have to tune-in on Feb 11th to see how I did. Expect some loud yelling from yours truly.

On to 2021…

I’m more optimistic than ever about 2021. I’ll be locked in my studio for a big chunk of it, finishing A FADE OF LIGHT.

I have some other ideas for future graphic novels. I’m not sure when I’ll start on those, but I’m not too worried about it. My current graphic novel is my main focus, and I’ll be glued to my drawing iPad until it’s complete.

As for my syndicated comic, Break of Day, as I mentioned earlier, it’s not going anywhere. Secretly, I wish I could grow it more, but as newspapers are still diminishing and the market isn’t what it used to be, I’m not sure what new directions I can take.

I may try my hands at some New Yorker comics (I have before with no success) and keep my eyes peeled for other areas. My gag comics are still highly licensable, so it’s nice that they find new homes across the world regularly. I also have a fun time posting them on Instagram (even though their new algorithm is awful — they don’t get near the reach they used to).

And hey, maybe a new game show will come into my life next year? I know I have to wait a year or so before appearing on anything else, but I’ll be scoping out any future game show opportunities from afar in the meantime.

I hope you have, not only a rockin’ New Year’s Eve but a rockin’ 2021. Keep those pencils sharp, sketchbooks full, iPads glowing, and create something awesome (if you’re into creating comics, that is).

Drop a comment and let me know what YOU’RE up to. How was your 2020 and what’s next for your 2021?

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