Big doozy of a blog today. I know it’s long, but I hope you read it. TLDR at the bottom if you can’t.
So. I’m going to be winding down Juniper within the next six months. If this makes you upset, I apologize for giving you sad feels, but I also thank you for being so invested in this weird little world I’ve been playing around in for the last five years.
I’m gonna be real with you for a sec. When Juniper started, I wanted it to be a lot of things. I can only speak for myself when I say that I wanted to emulate the web cartoonists that came before me and create something that could last for decades. I wanted the strip to save me from a job that I was miserable at. It was so, so important to me back in 2012 that people like it, I think, in order to validate my existence as an artist and as a person. It was success or nothing for a long time, and that attitude brought me a lot of weird turmoil that could have been avoided. My expectations were admittedly grandiose and a little misguided. But now that I’m a bit older, I see that the point of doing art isn’t to gain popularity or validation — it’s to learn, and enjoy partaking in a passion. I’ve learned that there is joy in creation, but there is a lot of bitterness to be had in groping for a vague, evasive definition of success. The fact is, creating is a success in itself. Making someone laugh is a success. Bringing someone joy, even for fifteen seconds a week, is a success. And I’m proud of that.
I’m turning thirty next month. I can hardly believe it. But now that my twenties are drawing to a close and I’ve mellowed out a little bit, I can finally see this project for what it truly is. What Juniper has been for me is a vehicle and an educational tool. I’ve learned how to make comic strips. I’ve learned the limitations and the strengths of the medium through slipping up and recovering. I’ve learned that I’m capable of regimented creative discipline. I’ve learned that my artwork is ever improving. And maybe most important of all, I’ve learned that it’s vitally important to be myself in my work, rather than trying (and failing) to be massively appealing.
After a lot of consideration, I’m finally ready to be completely creatively authentic. I’m ready to create something without caring if anyone likes it. I have another comic that I’m currently writing that is very, very different from Juniper. It’s a story about a woman who can lucidly travel through dreams, and the dangers of venturing too far from waking life. I’m really excited about it, but I know not all of you are going to stick around for it. And that’s okay! But for those of you that would like to see me get weird, I encourage you to follow me on social media so that you can get updates about this new project. Twitter and Instagram are my most used platforms for announcements and art.
So. The way the ending of Juniper is going to work is that I’m going to wrap up a few loose ends via two more arcs. I’m planning to put the strip to bed by mid December, but that doesn’t mean that the archive won’t still be available for you to pick through after that. If there is a book one day, it will probably be a best-of, rather than the entire archive. There are some clumsy, messy parts of Juniper that I just don’t feel comfortable immortalizing on physical pages.
Lastly, I want to thank all of you for reading. You’ve made my first foray into comics very pleasant indeed, and I really have appreciated your time and your patience and your comments. There are a million comics out there, and you chose to spend part of your week reading this one. That’s endlessly flattering, and I’ll never forget it. I hope to see a bunch of you in the comments on future projects, but if this is where we part ways, I ain’t mad. A thousand times thank you to each and every one of you.
If you have questions, I’ll be happy to answer them in the comments. Thanks again, you guys. You’re the best.
(TLDR: Juniper is wrapping up in December, please follow me on Twitter and Insta to get announcements about future projects.)