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The ALA convention has been pretty awesome-sauce, so far, I have to admit. I’m kind of amazed at how it stacks up even with San Diego Comic-Con…in terms of Sheldonistas present. We had so, so many awesome people come by the booth (#2577, by the way!), I was kind of overwhelmed! I never would’ve guessed there were as many librarian readers as there are!

And a lot of librarians were excited to hear the news, today, that Sheldon books can be purchased for their branches/districts through Baker & Taylor and through Diamond Books…a new development that makes it easier for libraries to get copies. So that was fun, as well.

There was one bit of bummer news, I’m sorry to say. For the first time ever, someone stole a piece of Sheldon original art from the exhibition booth…and it has me oddly sad. It’s strange, really, that among such a wonderful day, with so many kind words (and more than a few righteous high-fives distributed), that one little theft would bum me out…but c’est la vie, I suppose.

In contrast, the lads from Unshelved have been an absolute blast to exhibit with…and I have to encourage Sheldonistas who haven’t checked out their strip to head on over.

More news and pics to come as the convention continues into Tuesday! And thanks again to everyone who came by! And to everyone who sent friends – and friends of friends – to come by!

Sheldon’s Last Name “M____________”

I got a lot of e-mails this morning excited at Friday’s hint of Sheldon’s last name.

It’s a little detail I’ve intentionally not included in the strip. It’s a whole story we’ve only had
hints of up to now. Sometimes, the best stories are the ones that take a long time to tell.

So let the guessing begin! Is it “Sheldon McGarry,” “Sheldon Montelban,” “Sheldon Montescue”? Perhaps even “Sheldon M. Dinkle”?

Coincidentally, it might also be fun to note that Gramp and Sheldon don’t share the same last name. Sheldon is Gramp’s grandson via his daughter. A fact I think was hinted at in this strip (fourth panel).

As Bill Gates Exits…

In light of Bill Gates exiting from Microsoft this week to work at his foundation, I thought I’d share this little gem. It’s an internal e-mail from Gates that came to light during the turnover of documents in an anti-trust suit.

There’s something comforting in reading that e-mail, I think.

Librarians! Come say “hi” at the ALA show in Anaheim!

I’ll be putting up more information later on in the week, but I wanted to give a reminder heads up to the librarian Sheldonistas:

I’ll be at the American Library Association conference this weekend, sharing a big ol’ booth with the lads from Unshelved. It’s my first time going to a library conference, so I’m very curious to see how it goes.

We’ll have copies of all the Sheldon books, a dozen or so of the last “How To Make Webcomics” copies, original comic strip art at $25 off, free sketches, generous allotments of high-fives, a sneak-peek at the next book, and information on how you can order books for your branch or district.

So make plans to come by…and I’ll see you there!

Hello Again!

So the first blog post was a warm up, and I hope this one isn’t nearly as cheeky as the last one, although if it’s cheesy I apologize and again reiterate that I’m being sincere.

I’ve always dreamed of being a writer. I didn’t know what kind of publication or what type of writing, but I liked the idea of sitting at a desk, looking out onto the ocean and writing all day. And at times I scribble, but I never took the initiative to get it off paper and into print, let alone someone else’s hands. One day my grandpa asked me to share with him what I’ve written. I refused and then took a second to laugh at myself. How can I claim to be a future writer when I’ve never shared anything I’ve written?

Which brings me to my internship. People have dreams, and they have talents that complement those dreams, but too many times fear and perhaps even laziness tends to hinder their ability to create. Dave shared with me his story of how he created Sheldon; of his move from a safe corporate job toward trying to make a living off of what he really loved to do. Eventually, he had to take that leap. Although Dave has been teaching me the ways of his business, I can’t imagine what it was like eight years ago for him. Starting a self-owned publishing company that is now on its 7th book; attempting to master Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, InDesign, Quickbooks; and 10,000 other programs; learning to deal with quirks of day-to-day business…and all because he just wanted to draw some comics! I asked Dave how he figured it all out, how he had the drive to continue trying to create what is now a smooth business process, and he responded, “…I guess I just did. When you really, really want something, you figure out a way”.

With that in mind, whatever your dream is, just start doing it, even in its simplest form. And then when you feel more confident, share. The artist always just wants to create art, but sometimes they have to power through the kinks behind the business to make it successful. If we quit trying to share our art because of technological difficulties, or shyness, or business difficulties, or because we couldn’t find the email address to our local newspaper, or because we didn’t know what to say to that band manager or gallery owner… then we’ll never show our art to the world. To create art is great, to take the time and energy to share it, despite how hard that may be, is even more “awesome sauce”.

Sheldon Sponsor o’ the Week

A doff of the cap to the online video game
Star Pirates for sponsoring this week of Sheldon!

Sheldon, as you know, is available to readers all over the world via the site, RSS, and daily e-mail delivery… and all totally free! And one of the things that keeps all those 2-million-monthly pageviews free are site sponsors like Star Pirates.

So show ’em some love, and try their free, online, browser-based game.

Bananas vs. Lizards

Lots of readers have e-mailed me, today, asking how a lizard weighs more than two bananas.

People, people, people! Hasn’t science taught us anything??? Can’t we say conclusively that a North American lizard weighs exactly 2.4 Central American bananas?

(Also, I think it’s fair to say the bananas were sittin’ still, while Flaco was his typical jiggly self.)

Comic Recommendation of the Month

Finding good comics on the Web feels like finding a needle in a haystack, at times. There’s truly wonderful work, but it’s hard to find if you don’t know where to look. So I wanted to direct you toward a comic that really stands out for me: Kukuburi.

Ramón Pérez is really putting together something extraordinary with Kukuburi: A lush, fantastically drawn fantasy that, for me anyway, carries with it echoes of the Tolkien or Narnia books: The unexpected child called away on the hero’s quest into a mysterious, magical world where they have unexpected power…and no idea of the challenges they face.

I have no idea where Ramón’s goin’ with his story arc, but I’m as enthralled as everyone else readin’ it. If you haven’t yet checked out the strip, yet, do yourself a favor and head on over.

On Scanners

As a cartoonist, one of the bigger material expenses I have is a large, flat-bed scanner. I draw my original work – especially the Sundays – really large, and it’s annoying and sometimes imperfect work to “stitch” those together in Photoshop from multiple scans.

So, a few years back I plunked down $1,600 for a Microtek 9800XL scanner. It’s a ridiculous cost for a scanner, but if you amortize it over a few years, and look at what it saves you in work hours…it does come out to be a worthwhile expense.

Until it irreparably breaks.
Which is what happened this weekend.

You may be interested to know that the last few Sheldons have been “scanned” (ahem) into the computer by taking mutiple shots with a digital camera, then manipulating the heck out of them for 2 hours in Photoshop. Not the best way to do it, I can tell you that.

So tomorrow I’m buyin’ me another one. If any Sheldon readers happen to work for Epson, and see one of these babies on a discount rack at the company store, let me know. You’d be doing me a favor. 🙂

[EDITED TO NOTE: You know how the Klingons cross their arms and turn around when someone has dishonored them? You’ll be happy to know I have turned the scanner around on my desk, so that I now only have to look at the power port. Somehow, I feel better about the whole thing.]

Actions vs. Repeated Actions

I read this quote today from Aristotle, and I thought I’d share it:

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.

I like how he turns excellence from a singular act into the plurality of habit. Anyone can be nice, kind, generous, creative, inspiring, loving, or giving once, but excellence comes only in repeating that action…making it habit…making it permanent to you.

I found that an interesting thought.