Hi Buddies, Paige here.
Last year, (2018) I lost my dad to cancer and my son moved out on his own. I was left with an empty nest, a heavy heart and a big void that needed filling. So, I promised myself I’d write a comic strip every day for a year, and post it on Instagram @nowwhatcomics.
Why a comic strip? I have no idea. I’d never written a comic before in my life. I’d written plenty of jokes and drawn some cartoony pictures- but never at the same time. Still, somehow, a comic strip seemed like a good way to sort through my yucky feelings. I could literally draw the people back into my life who had left me. Plus, I thought, “How hard could it be to write a joke a day?” Turns out, pretty hard. Last August, I had no idea how challenging this would be or how much it would change my life. I’m so into it. I wish I would have started writing comics a long time ago, I’d be so good by now! But, there’s no point in looking back. I’m 50 years old and I’m finally doing what I love. I love reading comics and studying comics and drawing and writing comics. I LOVE COMICS!
This passion has led me to some incredible experiences. For instance, I knew my art wasn’t as good as it could be, so I started taking classes at SILA (society of illustrators LA) and The Animation Guild. You know who takes classes at the Guild? Really, really good artists. The kind that get hired by studios and game companies. I am so far out of my league. But somehow they let me, a middle-aged, jackass instagram cartoonist sit in that room once a week and draw with them. Real, live nude people let me sketch whatever parts of them I want to. And a super intense teacher shows me how to sharpen a pencil with a knife! In my graphic novel class, other talented artists give me brilliant insights on my work and challenge me to dig deeper. I even got to meet Cathy Guisewite of “Cathy” comics, and she gave me a hug and called me a brilliant artist. Maybe she was just being kind, or maybe my forehead was shiny that night.
I’ve been studying writing for decades now. I got a BA in creative writing from USC, and started a master’s program in writing at Vermont college, but dropped out to get married. When that didn’t work out, I went through the Groundlings school, and joined their Sunday company. That is intense! You put on a new show every Sunday, kind of like SNL but for 99 people at a time instead of millions. I’ve put up my own sketch shows, and even did a one-woman show. I’ve taken Robert McKee’s Story workshop and writing classes at UCLA Extension. I’ve written 5 movies, a couple of original TV pilots, and a few really stupid web-series. All that work sits in a drawer somewhere collecting dust. Am I bitter? Hell no. All of that was just preparation for COMICS. Have I mentioned I love comics? I do. Writing a daily comic is like putting on a mini-show every day. You’re the set designer, the costumer, the lighting crew, the key grip, and of course the auteur. Sometimes my work is seen by tens of thousands of people. That’s crazy to me.
There’s only one thing I like better than comic strips. Graphic novels! Wow, I’m hooked. I hope you’ll enjoy my first Graphic Novella (available in the shop section) Writing it was a catharsis in so many ways. Purging my most difficult feelings, and shaping them into something beautiful and funny that I hope a lot of people will relate to. Check it out!
What’s next? I’m working on my first full-length graphic novel. It’s the true and remarkable story of a very special lady I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know this year. She’s allowed me over 30 hours of interviews, shared her personal pictures and so many intimate details of her incredible life. I can’t believe no one has written about her yet. I can’t wait to share her story with you all!
I’ll continue to write the comic strip, though probably not every day (after August 5, 2019, which will mark a year) It gives me so much joy. I hope I can continue to make you laugh and feel feelings and get mad sometimes and see the world a tiny bit differently and marvel at how much better I’m getting at drawing for years to come. Seriously, I’ll get better, right?
Thanks for following, buddies!