300 strips and counting. Or not?

Posted on: April 26th, 2013

300 comics. THREE HUN-DRED. It's almost unbelievable. I made 300 comics.

When I started this comic 3 years ago, I had no real goal except that I wanted to stick to the update schedule. Which I did, most of the time. I sometimes got in some trouble when something unexpected came on my path... and I had some minor breaks (when I got married, vacations or when our son was born). But most of the time I nailed the schedule and that's something I'm really proud of.

But lately I start to notice that it's not going the way I want anymore. It feels different to work on the comic. Almost as a chore instead of having fun. The ideas don't come to me as easy as they used to and sometimes it felt that I have to work on the comic instead of want to.

It feels like my mojo (pun intended) for the comic is running out.

Don't get me wrong, I really love the whole gang. Especially Mojo and Merv are (obviously) my favourites. I really have fun interacting with them, making jokes, touching on their personalities and I'm just having a blast drawing them. But sometimes I take a look at my big examples (like Calvin & Hobbes) and feel that the universe of Mojo could (should) have been more it's own. It feels like I've written myself in a corner and I don't know how to get out of there.

I would love to have time (read: the motivation) to actually update the comic more often. I got the feeling that updating it more often would put me in more of a flow and make coming up with jokes much easier - because the comic would be on top of my mind most of the time.

And I COULD do it one more evening. But that would mean I have to sacrifice some of my personal time. Which results in less gaming and less time with my wife in the evening. And I'm not sure I'm willing to sacrifice that.

One of the things which keeps me going is the excitement and love you guys show about the comic. It's so awesome to hear from you, I absorb all your comments and the interaction with you guys is a huge part of the enjoyment I get out of this job. But that also feels like it has changed the last months. I feel that I'm losing the connection with my readers. People comment less often, I reach out less and I really have no idea what resonates with you guys and what not.

It's hard. I should be doing this comic mostly because I like doing it, but lately it feels like I'm doing it to make you (my readers) happy. And even though I'd love to please all of you, I know that's an impossible task. The best thing to do is to stick to my own gut feeling, create what makes me laugh, create what I find fun to do and eventually the people who like my work for what it is, will come around and stick with me.

So lately I started to seriously consider taking a break more and more. It's something I don't really want to consider, because it almost feels like I failed my job as a cartoonist. But on the other hand, this is my first attempt in the comic world. I already learned so much and the way I'm feeling about the comic lately makes it almost the most logical option. The other options would be just keep going and feeling more and more reluctant about it. Or just plain quit the whole thing.

And the last thing I want to do is to abandon Mojo. I love that guy, he's a big part of my life. It would be like killing your friend / pet. The other option (just continue without any change) would work for a short period, but eventually I guess I would burn out and then I have no other choice than to just quit.

So let's be honest. It isn't easy keeping your strip going and I don't want to quit it. But I think I just need some time to explore other possibilities. Just to experiment en broaden my horizon. And I also (FINALLY!) want to start working on making my first Mojo collection. Really looking forward to it… I keep on putting it off, mostly due to a busy schedule. Ok, that's a lie… I put my priorities on other things and I feel that I now have to focus on the book.

So that's what I will go and do: Put the comic on a short hiatus (aprox 1-2 months). Just take a short break to think things over. Maybe come up with a new side-project. After that break, I will come back to Mojo, but will probably lower the update frequency to once a week. That way I will have time to work on other projects besides Mojo as well.

So this isn't the end. It's just beginning.

Keep an eye on my Twitter (@skar) or follow the Facebook Fanpage. And of course just come back often to this site ^^

5 Responses

  1. tmcelmurry

    April 26, 2013

    This is something I find a lot of webcomickers suffering from. It’s better to step back for a bit than to burn out. Your strips are always so fresh with the latest games and tech that moving to a seasonal approach, as some artists have could cause you to have to refocus on how you want the flow of the strip to go.

    Many creators are treating their comics now like TV Series, they take a 2 to 3 month break, build up a really good buffer, then come back and let the strip run once, twice a week for 3 to 4 months, then step back and take a break again. This allows their buffer they built to do a majority of the work, but it does cause them to have those situations where they can’t make a joke based on trending items, unless they break up the story line and post something fitting for what’s going on. So it causes many Long Form comics to have to keep their story lines focused away from the outside influences.

    Yours is a great structure in that you have an ongoing relationship with the characters, but like a Simpson episode each story line runs independent to a degree. I hope you are able to find a solution that brings the joy back to your work for you. I really enjoy your work and look forward to what lies ahead for you.

    Reply
  2. Jeff Couturier

    April 26, 2013

    A huge congratulations on 300. You deserve a break after such a great run, and we’ll all be here eager to read what you come up with next, be it more Mojo or something else.

    Reply
  3. Brian

    April 26, 2013

    Mojo is a comic I have dug since I found it. It usually is on top of my queue of comics to read. Can’t wait to read the next 300!

    Reply
  4. JARoo

    April 26, 2013

    Hi skar,

    I’m a reader from Germany (sorry if my English is a little incomprehensible, I painted in the school subject rather than listening, and now have to use google translator ;))

    Really, i like your mojo comics, but i have to say: think of yourself. Step back, find new energy/mojo. if you have taken some time with yourself and your family, you possibly came back an draw further or possibly you draw a new comic. it does not matter.
    The first main thing is that YOU feels good.
    And the second main thing is… that you come back some time 🙂

    Perhaps your Comic has to.. grow. Like you 🙂 and your family.

    kind regards!
    JARoo

    Reply
  5. Cuz I'm Joe

    April 29, 2013

    Hey Skar,
    I like reading Mojo, but you are right, this should be fun, not a chore. Nothing wrong with taking a step back and come back when you are ready. Mojo and Merv will be there when you are ready.

    Reply

Leave a Reply to tmcelmurry