Sometimes, when I haven’t been on Twitter in a while, I go look at my friends’ Likes instead of drinking from the timeline firehose. It feels slightly creepy (sorry, Robin), but often yields real gems outside the wind tunnel of my own circles. Sometimes it’s a whole new person to follow, sometimes it’s just a phrase. Today it was this:
our ever-present mutual responsibilities are more visible when we’re at sea […] seafaring makes obvious something that is always true.
A few months ago I got an invite to pitch a comic for the latest installment of Smut Peddler, the wildly popular, sex-positive anthology series from Iron Circus Comics. The current volume,Sordid Past, captures sexy escapades from days gone by, making this the first time my track record of drawing comics about both maritime historyandsex toys (and also the intersection thereof, sort of) has paid off in the form of a professional opportunity. Never again will I joke that my brand is in tatters; THERE IS ROOM FOR EVERYTHING!
The book is already fully funded on Kickstarter and features a truly stunning lineup of artists. I mean, let’s start with this cover from Yuko Ota:
DELIGHTFUL. (And I’m not just saying that because it features a Good Boat.) It’s also chock-full of stories set everywhere from a temple in Pharonic Egypt to a 1980s American arcade, all of them sweet and sexy and consent-driven and magical. Truly, something for everyone.
I’ll admit: I was scared to say yes to this gig. I’d never drawn Actual Sexy Comics before and the folks in this anthology are…well, they’re very good. So many skillful artists who’ve been doing this stuff for years, including people whose work I’ve followed since I was in high school.
Because I’m me, I said yes on the condition that I could make a comic about queer lady shipwrights plying their trade under the radar in 1750s England. This is partly because of a long-running gag that I’m some kind of Boat Pervert, but also because it seemed like a story premise I could really get excited about.
Even with an exciting premise, though, it’s hard to focus on whether or not something is sexy when you’re busy desperately trying to make sure the page layouts are engaging and the anatomy is correct and the dialogue works and the colors look right while also subjecting yourself to scathing perfectionism. But! Contributor Lyndsay McSeveney had made a Discord channel for Smut Peddler artists, and with some wrangling from Harriet Moulton everyone ended up in the same digital space sharing process shots and trading feedback. Seeing all these amazing creators working through their respective anxieties over the course of the project—and cheering each other on—was an invaluable reminder that we all have our demons and hang-ups in doing this work. (You’d think I’d’ve internalized this by now having literally written a book about it but SURPRISE! I have not.)
Anyway, after a lot of self-flagellation (not like that) I managed to turn in a 12-page story I’m very proud of, and I hope you’ll pick up a copy of the book. Sordid Past funded on Kickstarter almost instantly, so this thing is definitely happening—and every $5,000 raised over the initial goal translates into a $5-per-page raise for us artists! This is such a smart move on the part of Iron Circus: limits liability for the publisher, passes Kickstarter success onto the creative team, and generally forms a more symbiotic relationship between everyone involved. I love it.
I’ll be sharing a proper process write-up (including some of the hilarious reference photos I had to come up with) over on Patreon, so join me there if you’d like to learn more.
That’s all! Thanks for reading about this very, very niche thing. I hope you enjoy it.
I had a ton of fun wrapping up these watercolor paintings for my top-tier backers on the Baggywrinkles Kickstarter last week. Here’s a look at the final lineup of paintings:
Clockwise from upper left, we’ve got El Galeon (hiding behind PDX YAR’s First Mate), L’Hermione, Brig Niagara, and Kalmar Nyckel (in disguise under a different paint job, for reasons outlined in this Tumblr post).
In the process of getting all of these done, I learned a bunch about making time-lapse videos, which you can check out below:
I put up an informative essay each month about some aspect of my creative process, along with a load of other content for folks to read/watch/listen to/generally enjoy. I serious adore Patreon as a platform for making more of this work possible, so if you haven’t already checked it out, go take a peek! (There’s a lot of free stuff there, too, if you don’t want to commit to chucking some money my way each month.)
What ho, friends! I come bearing exciting news today: the Baggywrinkles East Coast Tour Extravaganza is officially launching this week and I’ve got ALL THE TOUR DATES lined up and ready to share. Here’s the plan:
(Huge thanks to my pal Heather Cummings for helping with design and layout for all my tour graphics!)
As you can probably see above, I’ll be hitting tour stops in Portland, Mystic, Boston, DC, New York, and Ann Arbor over the next couple weeks. Some conventions, some book stores, some comic shops, and some MARITIME MUSEUMS (oh yes). It’s going to be a wild and crazy adventure and I really can’t wait to get out to see some maritime history and meet all you East Coast pals who I never get to hang out with!
I’ll be bringing copies of Baggywrinkles: a Lubber’s Guide to Life at Sea to all these locations (not to mention postcards and other treats), and would love to sell you a copy/talk about boats/draw in whatever you have handy.
Not in the area? Still keen to pick up a copy of the book? Here’s a handy graphic you can convey to your local comic shop or book store to pre-order a copy.
I’ll be posting tour stop updates to Twitter all throughout the trip, so keep an eye out there if you’d like to help spread the word about upcoming events!