I haven’t e-mailed you guys a Newsletter since New Year’s Eve. What kind of crap is that?

“Way to ‘stay in touch’, Zubkavich… now you’ll have to type out pages worth of stuff to get everyone up to date.”

Okay, get ready for some crazy reading.

2002 has been good to me so far. Busy, busy, busy, but good too. Forgive me as this e-mail rambles in many directions at once.

Okay, bad stuff first. Work’s been especially frustrating since I came back from the holidays. Management changes again, tech and equipment problems mixed with a class with several really unskilled students that were let in because of a money-grubbing registraition system. It’s not fair to them, the capable students who got in with good portfolios or me as their instructor. It’s made this one of the toughest semesters I’ve had for teaching. It’s wearing me down, and raging ‘against the machine’ for changes haven’t helped a lot. I love teaching, but have definitely been entertaining thoughts of change.

Which leads to some good stuff. Gala and I are a couple. To some of you, this probably isn’t a shock to the system. To others, this will come as a surprise. We’re great friends, great roommates and doing just as well as boyfriend/girlfriend. Needless to say, I’m damn happy with that. It hasn’t changed the way we deal with each other as friends and we’ve been rolling along without any problems since we figured out, “Hey, I think I’m in love with you…” on both sides.

Gala’s got plans to head off to university in the fall. Well, they’re not just plans, they’re very much a reality now. She’s been accepted to University of Manitoba (in Winnipeg) and Delhousie (in Halifax). Which is great and a real booster for her. It also means she’s moving to one of those two cities this summer. Which means that I have to decide if I’m going to move too.

It’s given me a lot of food for thought. How long should I keep teaching for? Am I teacher or an animator? Is this gravy train too good to leave or should I pursue other jobs, even if it may mean a pay cut?

If Gala goes to Winnipeg, there’s no animation or teaching jobs currently out there. If she goes to Halifax, there’s a few leads I could pick up on. Or, I could get a job somewhere else entirely. If I’m going to do the long distance relationship thing anyways, I might as well be somewhere that’s going to make me happy, maybe closer to home. Calgary’s been good to me, but I’m getting that wanderlust and think it’s time to pull up the roots.

Choices, choices…

On other fronts, those of you who have been stopping by my webpage know that it’s doing incredibly well. I’ve been invited to join a collective of web comics under a banner called Modern Tales that will allow me a huge amount of increased exposure as well as making serious contacts in the comic book industry. There’s over 25 artists on board, some already with on-line audiences of 40,000+ people. Some of the print comic artists on board have won fistfuls of awards, including two who have won the Eisner (like the Pullitzer or Oscar, but for comics instead of print or movies). The fact that I’m in the mix is flattering, scary and wonderful all at the same time. It’s also a paying gig. Not a lot of money at first, but it has the potential to grow pretty decently. Even if it doesn’t, the exposure alone is worth my time and effort. Considering that I started Makeshift Miracle to get myself into a better frame of mind and draw more regularly, it’s already a success as far as I’m concerned.

Modern Tales is a subscription based site that launches March 1st. The cost is really low (pre-launch subscriptions are $20 US a year) and you get access to 25+ stories crossing all sorts of styles and genres. Many people have said that people won’t pay for on-line content, but the site already has 400+ subscribers and it hasn’t even started yet. We’ll be cross-pollinating our audiences, increasing our exposure and proving that quality content on the web is worth something. You can read up on it in a Question-Answer post I wrote here:
http://forums.keenspace.com/viewtopic.php?topic=31364&forum=471&0

The Makeshift Miracle website’s grown really fast. I’ve got 2000+ readers checking the site out and wracking up over 100,000 page views for the month of February. I even had a chance to do an audio interview that you can hear at:
http://www.talkaboutcomics.com

I’m determined to attend the San Diego Comic Con on the first weekend of August. As part of Modern Tales, I won’t have to pay an entrance fee to the con, and I’ll get a chance to meet pros, interact with fans and party with a pile of other artists. Even if I’ve just finished moving, I’m committed to going to this thing. I really want to be there and join in the fun, as well as pursue possible future possibilities.

The comic thing has obviously kept me busy. It’s also helped me to feel productive even when work’s been shitty. It’s something I’ve got control over that I can plug away at. I can’t believe I’ve done more than 60 pages of story for it. I’m not pleased with every page I’ve done, but there’s definitely more strong ones than weak ones. I’ve learned a lot and improved my work ethic pretty substantially.

Other things…

The weather’s been freezing for the past few days. I wish I didn’t have to leave the apartment. Cutting wind and a bad flu bug going around have made it hard to get out. Gal and I went to the restaurant where her sister works last Friday and had a really nice time. It was a good change of pace and a way to take a break with all the chaos going on around us.

I threw my back out again earlier this month and have been seeing a chiropractor quite a bit. Everyone’s got an extreme opinion about chiropractors, but mine’s worked out well so far and really improved my mobility. At 25, I don’t need to be laid up in bed or out of commission. I’ve been trying to do more stretching and exercising when I get a chance to strengthen the muscles and improve my posture. No hunchback Jimbo here.

Valentine’s Day went really well and I surprised Gala with a dinner out and some little gifts. I’d earlier said that I wouldn’t really have time to do much, and she wouldn’t have minded. But when the day came, I got hit by the love bug pretty good and thought I’d do something a bit more extravagant. I’m trying to save money in case I have to move this summer, but the odd splurge still creeps up.

Drawing like crazy has been good. Between class demos, life drawing, Makeshift Miracle and brushing up my portfolio, I’ve been really cooking along. I definitely haven’t done this much drawing since Sheridan. It’s been sort of neat seeing what I can produce with what I’ve learned since then. It’s not perfect, and I wish I had more time to spend on it, but overall, it’s pretty decent.

Busy, busy. Love life, work, artwork, sleeping and eating and keeping the apartment clean. The weekends are usually a blur of sleep, cleaning and running errands. When I start to see a clearer path for me to take this summer, I think things will calm down. Of course, the possibility of moving and resettling creates a whole new amount of chaos…

Oh well…

Just flying by the seat of pants. Zub Tales continue.

I miss you guys. I hope everyone is well and that 2002 has been prosperous so far.

Take care,

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