Bob the Squirrel – August 11, 2022

A look back…

The best picture of me (taken very spontaneously by Lezley) in 2021…after spending a very sweaty afternoon moving Lauren into her dorm room at SUNY Albany. It tells the story of 2021 in one sweaty, exhausting moment.

As of this writing, the last time I managed to post anything here was in July.  July was a LONG time ago…

A LOT has happened… And the only way I’ve kept anyone up-to-date on it is through the comic strip. Seriously. It’s nothing against any of you, it’s me. Even my MOTHER has mentioned this.

If you want to know, go back and check them out.

2021 started with up losing Maggie. That sucked.

Life kept going on. I continued with my Family Styles series… although my heart was slowly falling out of love with the series.

I started running again. Like, I REALLY started running. Every single day.

In January I was huffing and puffing through barely 4-5 miles a day… and that was mostly walking. This morning, I ran (RAN) 10.5 miles. I’ve gone through five pairs of sneakers. I never thought in a million years I would be in better shape at 46 than I was at 18.

I dabbled in running back in 2012ish. Never ran more than 6 miles in one shot. And that was every other day or so.. or when I felt like it. I liked it, but I didn’t love it. I love it now. I start every day with my run. 2am, 3am whatever… I’m on that treadmill getting in my miles. I feel good.

Next: the jobs. Lez and I were lucky to have incomes through the pandemic…but Lez suffered more because a big part of her salary was commission based. Sales dried up, her commissions went down. Despite that, we were okay. Our lavish lifestyle was easy to maintain… mostly because we never had a lavish lifestyle.

Lez left her job in May. She found a better job in July. I left my job (a place I worked at for 24 years (right out of undergrad)) at the end of October. An opportunity,  which I only found out about because a fan of the comic strip, who has become a really good friend, let me know about… was something that I couldn’t say no to. When I had the good fortune to be offered the position, I HAD to take it. It’s a great job with great co-workers. I honestly love it.

In doing that, our lives took an abrupt, yet necessary, change. We both now worked from home. To some, that would be hard… but since Lez and I already worked at the newspaper together, it wasn’t that big a deal for us. Even though we’re working a feet away from each other in separate rooms, we actually see LESS of each other now than we did then.

In the midst of all of THIS, Lauren went to college. She’d completed her SUNY Albany Freshman year virtually. Now it was college in-person… not virtual. We brought her to Albany in August. Another big change.

Bob began to suffer a little. Starting November 1, I was working different hours.. and hours based on the Central Time Zone (main office is in Chicago, I’m in New York). My day became more structured… especially since I was learning a new position. I was under the impression that by working from home, I’d somehow have more free time. Yeah, that was a hell of an impression… one I got very wrong. Because of this miscalculation, I was unable to finish the Bob Tarot Cards in the time I’d originally outlined.

No Bob 2022 Calendar. No new Bob book for a second year. I mean, I really felt like I’ve dropped the ball. But at the same time, I realize that EVERYTHING has changed. Bob has to change too. Just because I can’t top what I once did, doesn’t mean I can’t do ANYTHING. I just need to re-configure… like everything else.

I have no idea what’s ahead for the new year. Not a clue. 2022 will be the TWENTIETH year of Bob the Squirrel…which will be a time of reflection. But not too much. For the first time in forever, I’m beginning the new year with something I rarely had: a sense of optimism.

Trust me, it’s weird for me too.

The Summer of Bob the Squirrel Tarot

Tarot anyone?

Over the last couple of weeks, in conjunction with my never-ending “Family Series”   I did a series of my family and I in the style of Tarot Card art.

What I didn’t expect was the overwhelming positive reaction each piece brought. It was suggested both publicly and privately that I should do an entire deck.  A standard tarot deck consists of 78 cards. That’s a lot of cards. The Major Arcana part of the deck consists of 22 cards. A more manageable amount, but still a lot considering all my other daily obligations.

I resisted. There was just no way. After I’d finished the last image of the series, I began to think… maybe I COULD do it. Thinking is not always a good thing for me. I did some quick printing research and found that the printing costs could be doable, if the demand was there.

So, I will be spending the rest of the summer putting together a 25 card Bob the Squirrel Tart set. 22 Major Arcana and three special cards. Yep. That’s what I’m doing.

As Patreon Supporters at the $5.00 and above level, you will get first look at the process of this deck. I won’t be posting much new art on my social media accounts… It’s all for you. PLUS, when I begin to take pre-orders, Patreon supporters will get first chances at ordering. The number of decks printed depends on the demand.

I hope that this project lives up to the hype… and I hope you all dig it.

I know I’ll be having a great and frustrating time with this. Any words of encouragement would be appreciated.

Bob the Squirrel – The last of the teen years…

Almost completely legal – Bob the Squirrel at 19

Bill Watterson drew 3,151 Calvin and Hobbes strips in 10 years. Charles Schulz drew 17,897 Peanuts comic strips in 50 years.

It has taken me 6,343 strips to get to this point… and in some way I still feel like I’m faking it. Like someone is going to find out my secret and blow the whole show. Seriously.

Today Bob the Squirrel turns 19.  Nineteen years ago I was in the right place at the right time with the right tools and the right desire. Funny how I ignored all that and started drawing a squirrel.  Story of my life really… at least 19 years of it.

In squirrel years, a 19-year-old Bob would be past a fossil and rapidly becoming crude oil… still useful, but hard to write a comic with.

I can’t stop now, I’m just starting to understand what maybe being warmed up feels like.

 

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