Best Fans ever…

christmas

Reason #1,247,487 why I have the best fans in the world. Super Bob the Squirrel fan KimMarie Wny sent the WHOLE CAST of the strip holiday gifts!

Treats for the dogs, wildflower seeds for Lezley, a beautiful star ornament for Lauren, a squirrel for me (believe it or not, I DIDN’T have this one) a mini sunflower calendar for Bob and some AMAZING peanut/sunflower vegan cookies. I just have to say… wow. Thank you so much…

I know I sound like I’m stuck on repeat, but I have to say it again.  Each and every time someone sends ANYTHING to me and/or my family because of the strip I get emotional.  After all these years and all these strips, I’m continually amazed someone would go out of their way to do something so great.  Each gift I receive from a fan is special beyond special.  I’m happy that people read my strip… this just ads icing on top of the cherry on top of the whipped cream, on top of the hot fudge, on top of the icing, on top of the cake.

Thank you.

State of the Squirrel: 2015 edition

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Frank Page super cartoonistI do this every year.

I think about what I’ve done and what I may want to do in the next year.

Sometimes, I even entertain the notion of ending the strip… as I did in 2012, the tenth year of Bob.  Come to think about it, I think about ending the strip (albeit in a non-serious way) damn near every year.

Except this one.  Not once in 2014 did I consider the ending.  I came close on a couple of bad, rejection laden days, but as soon as I sensed them coming up the driveway I shut the windows and locked the door to any of those thoughts.

The state of the squirrel is strong… stronger than I think it has ever been.  I try not to question why, but I fail.
Maybe my age?
Maybe familiarity?
Maybe my own stubbornness?
Maybe an overwhelming belief that what I do is good?
Maybe the continued support of readers all over the world?

Maybe it’s all of the above.

2014 was a roller-coaster year.  We lost some very dear friends and loved ones.  We narrowly missed becoming a disaster statistic. I experienced one of the happiest days of my life.

I can honestly say that I have everything.  Everything.  I knew it before, but now I REALLY know it.

I may not be there in a professional sense yet, but I’ll get there.

That being said, why should I change what I do in 2015?  Simple.  Because I can.

I want to explore new creative endeavors with Bob.  I can see that the world is changing, and if I don’t want to become a trivia question, I have to adapt to the change.  I could resist, I could protest… but who would listen?  There has to be a balance between the old and the new.  You don’t burn down the house because the color of the walls stinks… you adapt.

What I see for 2015:

1. I will most likely be ending Squirrelosophy, in its current incarnation, sometime this year.  I started it way back (ha!) in 2012 thinking that it would gain a sizeable popularity over time.  That popularity never really materialized… in terms of the website traffic.  The panels have been very well received… via social media: Facebook especially.  Frankly, I enjoy doing the single panels.  Sometimes, they’re just tiny drawings out of my sketchbook.  Those will not be going away.  Just adapting.

2. I will be amping up my video presence.  I’ve merely dabbled in video.  I’ve always been so damn busy drawing and doing other things that I never gave it much attention.  It’s funny how a squirrel puppet from Barnes and Noble and an iPhone  can make you see things in a different light.   I don’t want to spill all of my ideas just yet… in case something happens to prevent me from bringing them all to life.  Just know, if I can get it to breathe, you’ll love it.

3. More great stories, more squirrel goodness and the same reliability and quality you’ve come to expect of the strip and what I’ve come to demand of myself.

4. Instagram Bob 365.  In March 2015, the Instagram Bob 365 project will be complete.  The entire year will be made available as a downloadable eComic.  It my also be available as a full color print book.

5. Other stuff.  Tweaks and twists that will pop up over the course of the year.  I’m going to try a lot.  If even half of it works, whoa… watch out.

So, thank you one and all that have been reading the strip for days, weeks, months and years… some of you a decade or more.  I appreciate and revere every single one of you.  You’ve always showed me and my family the greatest of respect, support and kindness.  Believe me when I say you all give me much more that I could EVER give to you.  Thank you.  Thank you. Thank you.Now, let’s get back to work.

SQUIRRELOSOPHY… what it is, why you should read it…

I’ve cross posted this entry with what is on the SQUIRRELOSOPHY website…

squirrelosophy by bob the squirrelThere comes a point in a creator/creation relationship where the line  blurs.  It could be a really bad thing…but maybe not.

In the Bob the Squirrel comic strip, I have literally mined my daily existence for material.  Long time readers are well aware of my willingness to put everything, good, bad or embarrassing right in the strip.  10 years of ups and downs…almost 4000 comic strips…

But I wanted to do something more.  Bob wanted to do something more.  He has a unique perspective on being in the world.  How could you not have a unique perspective being only 13 inches tall (on tippy-toes)?  HOw many opportunities does one get to hear the musings of a squirrel?

In April 2012, I started drawing an extra panel of bob and posting on bobthesquirrel.com.  I had all these other ideas for things Bob could say that just wouldn’t fit in the daily strip context.  I didn’t think anything of it, really…they were just fun to do.  But then something happened… the ideas started flooding into my brain.  Sometimes, faster than I could even write them down or draw them.  It’s one of those situations dudes like me pray to be in.  Inspiration overload.

There were days where I would post three or even four panels.  No sooner were they drawn, they were posted.  The production level was addicting…and it showed no signs of slowing down.  Readers seems to dig the little extra Bob in their day.

So, what else could I do?  I was in danger of having the one-off panels taking over the strip.  I was concentrating more on the panels than on the strip that got me there.  There had to be a division.  A clear cut difference between the strip and Squirrelosophy… a name that seemed appropriate.  Once the name was determined, I decided to put my one college semester as a philosophy major to good use.  In addition to shareable images of your favorite sarcastic squirrel, you’ll get a little running commentary about the image… and maybe a few life lessons and assignments.

Bob of course, is way smarter than me.  You’ll see.

Is it more work?  Yes.  Is it more of an investment?  Yes.  Is it a labor of love?  Yes.  Will you like it?  I don’t know…but Bob and I are having fun finding out.

the squirrel and i…

do you have to love the characters you write?
does it help when you love them?
for that matter, does it help when you can’t stand them?

i think it’s all of that and a few other things.  if i thought bob could do no wrong, then the fun of certain situations would be lost.  this may sound kind of out there, but i honestly don’t know what will happen when i have an idea for bob.  i don’t think about him as a squirrel… because if i did, i have immediately put constraints on my brainstorming.  once i have the core idea… which could be anything from a single word to a covered page in my notebook, that when the fun begins.  i either start riffing on that idea… take it in this direction or that… or i just stare at it.  staring can either open something up or cross something out.  some may think that creation starts when that pencil hits the bristol…in some instances that is true.  the riffing, to me, is the best part of this job.

without that riff, there can be no melody… without the melody, rhythm can’t be established… without all of these parts working together… there can be no song… just a loud unorganized jam where no one knows where anyone is.

riffing rules.  you have to riff.