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.
So… I was (have been) hesitant in writing my nearly annual year in review… for this year.
You know what? That is not true at all. The fact is, I was (am) terrified to write this. Yes. Terrified.
2020 was a year where I pretty much began to fear everything. I’ve never been terribly fearless to begin with, so whatever progress I’ve made as an adult went out the window. I the closed that window, sanitized it and decided that, for safety sake I would never open said window again. I talked about this fear in a post in April, when the COVID-19 deaths stood at 55,000. Eight months later, the toll stands at about 341,000.
The year started with me having an art show. The lock downs began just as the show was ending. I wasn’t sure if I would even be allowed to get my art at that point. I did get it in case you were wondering.
This just started the downward slide. As more and more limitations were placed on our daily lives, I just retreated deeper and deeper into my work… but not in a way that was outwardly noticed. I was productive , sure… but it wasn’t like there were a million books available to you, or video series (aside from my step-by-step art videos). Those few hours in the morning when the whole world was asleep and it was just me and something blank for me to fill, were the hours that I truly lived for. Not to say that I don’t live for my family… I definitely do that. But, the escape of creating is my way of keeping Frank distinctly Frank… and giving myself a bit of escape. Turns out, seeing a blank page once gave me a twinge in my gut… I wouldn’t call it fear…maybe anxiety. Now, that anxiety is everything around me. The one thing I DON’T fear is my art. Funny, huh?
But… I’ve prioritized things differently. I’ve yet to put a Bob book together. Traditionally, I’d have a new book available for sale right after Thanksgiving. Not this year. I don’t have a reasonable excuse and there’s no point in making one up. The book will be late… if I even decide to do one. And that’s okay. It’s not the end of the world. It once MAY have been the end… but it’s a different world now.
These are difficult times. I’m not sure of anything from one day to the next. I try not to let that anxiety ruin the tiny bit good that does still exist. Some of my friends have contracted the virus…and thankfully have recovered. I have to think that I could get it next…if for nothing more than to maintain my cautiousness.
In an unlucky year, with our income slashed, our anxieties heightened, our milestones paused or re-imagined, I still feel lucky. My family is healthy. We have a roof over our heads, food in our cupboard, dogs that are insane and a squirrel that… well… is still around.
The strip is different now because our days are different. That’s the great thing about Bob… in the nearly 19 years it’s grown with me…with you. Maybe one day I’ll achieve what I want to achieve with it… maybe that’ll happen in 2021. Maybe not.
Today, March 4, 2020 marks the appearance of the 6,000th Bob the Squirrel comic strip. No bells or whistles… in fact I only started really keeping track of the number after I hit 5,000 a few years back.
But, using modern technology (and my obsessive compulsive nature of keeping good dated backup files) I’ve dug up every previous milestone comic strip.
Strip #5,000 – June 8, 2017
Not much to say about this one… I did put together a giant GREATEST Hits show for this one. Took a lot of tape and Funtac to put that show together.
Strip #4,000 – September 12, 2014
Our wedding was in October of that year and I was keeping our plans and anxiety alive and well in the strip… and pretty much in real time. It all worked out to be an amazing day…
Strip #3,000 – December 11, 2011
I was closing in on ten years of Bob the Squirrel at this point… and I questioned if I should continue doing the strip. I had a small, loyal fan base, but the likelihood of the strip being my only job was looking like a longer and longer long-shot. Should I quit and try something else that maybe would benefit me financially? Or did the squirrel talk me out of it?
Strip #2,000 – March 22, 2009
We were in our new house just under a year when I drew this. This was also when I was really into the Ben and Jerry’s ice cream pints. Lucy’s favorite was Pistachio Pistachio … I would get a spoon and feed it to her right out of the container. I tell Lez that she should have known what type of guy I was by witnessing that act. She had every opportunity to grab Lauren and run… 🙂
Strip #1,000 – June 20, 2006
I wasn’t sure if I should include this one… despite it being the 1,000th strip. This may sound horrible… well, it DOES sound horrible. I sometimes forget that I was married once before… and that I had a whole other life in a whole other city. But, I did… and I have the strips to prove it. And really, aside from a few bits of clothes and my drawing board, the strips are the ONLY things I kept from that life.
So, that’s the strip… thousand by thousand. Hope we’re all around for the 7,000th – which, barring any life complications, should be appearing November 29, 2022.