The Good, The Bad, and the New Year

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The Good, The Bad, and the New Year

Post  Ellen-Natalie on Sun Jan 17, 2016 11:02 am

Been about six months since the Fan Comic Event, I should probably update this journal.
It's a long post, but I've had a lot to think about lately. I'll summarize in following comment if you'd prefer not to navigate it all.

2015 was amazing. Just briefly looking over some of the highlights, so many things I wanted to do for so long happened within the last twelve months:


Got to see my family again after two years of moving around the country.
Published a collection of FE Comics
Published an FE Graphic Novel
Attended a Furry convention as a Dealer for the first time
Got FE books to be carried by a few retailers, including Rabbit Valley
Set up a crowdfunding campaign to fund future FE projects and help manage bills


None of those things listed would've happened if it wasn't for all your support. (Except seeing my family again. Maybe.) Whether you pledged on Patreon, bought a book, visited me at events, shared comic updates and announcements with your friends, or just kept coming back to the website when it updated -you helped make this an amazing year. Thank you so much! Reflecting on how far FE has come and how awesome you folks are is always an inspiration, especially after rough times like the last week.

I'm always hesitant to share details about my personal life online, especially not-so-great details. Everyone has problems, and I've always worked to make FE accounts a positive place on the internet. But when life events affect FE's updating schedule, like recently, I feel you're owed an explanation. This past week I was let go from my office job.

That may not sound like it's a serious problem. ("Aren't you making money from your art?") And you're right, thanks to all of you the situation's not nearly as bad as it could be. But it was a pretty big emotional blow. I really loved that job, the company itself, and the people I worked with over the years. Being told by people you trust and care about that you don't have a future together is a very specific kind of pain.

With my suddenly more open schedule and everyone talking this month about the new year and new beginnings, I've been taking time to figure out "what next?" Like the hypothetical question in the previous paragraph says, FE is starting to generate a steady source of income. I could try increasing it, becoming a full-time artist. It's the goal I've been working towards. But it's also a big risk, especially now - not just for me, but for my family. Is chasing my dream worth sacrificing their security? I've been applying to office jobs similar to the one I had, but they're all a considerable commute away. Is having even less time for art than I did before worth ensuring our financial future? Is there a middle ground somewhere so I can have it all like every girl was promised growing up in the nineties?

These aren't questions that can be quickly or easily answered. I can't shake the feeling the choices I make in the next few months are going to have a ripple effect over what place art has in the rest of my life. I can at least take comfort knowing no matter what happens, art always will be part of my life. (For my funeral, I'm having a 24 crayon salute. Preferably on the wall.)

And I can take comfort that no matter what happens, I'm going to keep updating FE. I care about its' characters and enjoy all your fine company way too much to stop. Again, 2015 was an amazing year. 2016 is already shaping up to be an interesting one, as well - I hope navigating it will prove to be a good experience.
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TO SUMMARIZE

Post  Ellen-Natalie on Sun Jan 17, 2016 11:03 am

Going through a career change, 2015 was awesome, evidence of which can be found at these links:

FE's Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/EllenNatalie
FE's Graphic Novel: https://www.rabbitvalley.com/item/9370/1334/Ice-Queen-by-Ellen-Natalie
FE's Comic Collection: http://komiku.etsy.com/
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Re: The Good, The Bad, and the New Year

Post  Cutekitty on Sun Jan 17, 2016 5:54 pm

Oh goodness. You don't owe us anything, but thank you for confiding in us, regardless.

Here's to hoping you find that middle path.

Here's to the weight of responsibility, and the strength it takes to carry it.

Here's to the courage and perseverance it takes to chase a dream.

Here's to a new year. For what it's worth, I think you're an amazing person, and I believe in you. Also, I'm graduating in June. If I land a good job, that'll be one more person pledging on Patreon.
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Re: The Good, The Bad, and the New Year

Post  Rubin_West on Tue Jan 26, 2016 12:27 am

Cutekitty wrote:Oh goodness. You don't owe us anything, but thank you for confiding in us, regardless.

Here's to hoping you find that middle path.

Here's to the weight of responsibility, and the strength it takes to carry it.

Here's to the courage and perseverance it takes to chase a dream.

Here's to a new year. For what it's worth, I think you're an amazing person, and I believe in you. Also, I'm graduating in June. If I land a good job, that'll be one more person pledging on Patreon.

Hear Hear! I second this so strongly!

-Rubin.
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Progress so Far

Post  Ellen-Natalie on Sat Feb 13, 2016 10:23 am

First off, thank you guys so much, you are awesome as always!
I'm still getting supportive, encouraging messages from the last update about life outside of FE. Thanks for sharing your struggle and success stories, how much FE means to you, and your kind words. Been spending the past month seriously looking into what it would take to for art to be a full-time job in my life. Again, I'm hesitant to share about my personal life, (especially finances,) but I'm not the only one who wants to make a living doing what they love - and I hope sharing my experience will help others working towards the same goal.

--

The first thing Husband and I did, as basic as it sounds, is review our monthly budget. Regardless of where the money came from, we needed to know the bare minimum I had to bring in so we could cover our monthly bills. The total came to be three times what my art income currently is.

Next step was to figure out how much time I had to increase the art income to meet our budget. (In this case, determined by how long our savings would last.) The maximum amount of time I had to triple the art income was two months. Even with the tremendous amount of growth FE has had in the past year, that's still a very short amount of time to generate a very large increase.

Because of this, I'm approaching the dream of a full-time art job in a different way: I've started doing temp work for a local call center, and using the art income to make up the difference in pay. My goal is to increase the art income while decreasing the temp income - this way I can work towards being a full time artist on a schedule that won't risk losing our savings.

(By the way, this is why the wrong page got inked last week - Call center was severely understaffed, and temps were asked to work extra hours. I ended up working several 10 hour days in a row, only to be told I didn't have to that. Temp work is strange.)

So, this year I'll be trying out some new things and old favorites while working towards the dream of full-time artist. Keep your eyes open, and if there's a product or activity you'd like to see happen let me know!

As always, thanks for being awesome you guys. Here's to us all having a great 2016!
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