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What I've been up to...

October 15th, 2018, 11:02 pm

Clear back in May I let you all know I was leaving my job as a software developer to give self-employment a try. I gave you a bit of a status report last month. Consider this a follow up.

Big Plans: Aww, Feathers! Book 2 is in its final review stages. Just making sure every i, t, p, q, and all the letters in between are dotted, crossed, and minded! As before, you can reserve your copy of Book 1 or Book 2 (or both!) by heading over to AwwFeathersBook.com!

Over the past couple of months, I've been looking into some freelance programming work. I have very strong programming skills, particularly in front-end game and app development. I created JayLarkStudios.com as a sort of blog/digital portfolio to showcase some of the work I've done, both in programming and digital art. I've also created a profile on upwork and been submitting proposals to all the jobs I can find that match my skills and that I think I'd be a good fit for. Unfortunately, attracting clients has been difficult. I don't know if I'm just not very good at marketing myself, or if it's just not feasible for me to work as a freelancer right now. But if possible, I would really like it to work out. A successful freelance business would give me the flexibility to scale up the amount of time I dedicate to Aww, Feathers! as it becomes more profitable; something that's harder to do with a full-time job I've found (not for lack of trying!)

We can last a little longer before we need to shelve the whole self-employment idea for the time being. There's something you, my wonderful readers, may be able to do to help though. Something I've never asked of you before but thinking about it now, I kinda wish I had. Ah well, hindsight and all that. Anyway, it's simply this: if you or anyone you know are in the market for a freelance programmer or game/app developer, please give me your consideration! I've set up the following URLs for convenience:

  • upwork.jaylarkstudios.com - My upwork profile contains a comprehensive list of my skills and qualifications as a software developer.

  • resume.jaylarkstudios.com - If a traditional resume is more your style, you can see mine, online and up-to-date, here.

  • hire.jaylarkstudios.com - This page contains links to a wider range of the services I offer, including programming and art related jobs.

If you would share any of the above links with anyone you know of who's looking for a skilled programmer, I'd be most appreciative!

Oh, and one final thing. I haven't been sitting on my hands while waiting for clients to roll in. In order to demonstrate to potential clients that I have the skills they're looking for, I've been working on a simple mobile game! It's nearing completion. I'm just ironing out a few more details. I'll definitely share more with you as it nears release time. So stay tuned!

Thanks all. Be well, and I'll do my best to do the same!

September Updates

September 1st, 2018, 3:22 pm

Hey all. Whew, boy!

These past few months have certainly been a trip! We've funded the second Aww, Feathers! book, which is currently in the proofing stage (and still available for preorder at AwwFeathersBook.com). I also attended Anthro Weekend Utah (AWU) which was amaze-beans! As fun as it's been though, preparing and running both my book campaign and dealer's table for AWU took a lot more out of me than I was expecting. I've been feeling rather drained lately. Excited for what the future will bring, to be sure. But a little low on energy.

On top of that, as I mentioned in a previous post, I'm currently not working full-time. I'm pleased with the success of the book campaign and convention. However, it doesn't provide enough to take care of myself and my family. I'm grateful that I was able to take a few months to focus so much time and energy on my book and webcomic. But now I need to shift focus for a while. Providing for my family needs to be my top priority. That doesn't mean this comic is going away! Just that I'll be taking a break. And if you've been following along for a while, you know by now that when I take "breaks" from the comic, I still leave you all with a little something to at least keep you entertained.

So here's my plan. The current chapter will be placed on hold for a while. During the month of September, there will be a mini autobio chapter that I think you'll find amusing. It'll update on Tuesdays, just like before. During that time I'll be shipping out everyone's book orders, and also focusing on getting a stable source of income that will take care of our needs while also allowing me some time to work on projects that are important to me, including Aww, Feathers! Depending on how that goes, come October I may be ready to finish the current chapter and continue with the main storyline, or there may need to be another intermediate mini chapter while I search further. As always though, I'll keep you all informed.

There are those who have asked, "How are you doing?" and "How can I help?" First of all, thank you so much for caring about my family and me! We're doing okay for now. We're not in dire straits just yet. The reason I'm buckling down down now is to prevent us from getting to that point in the first place. As for how you can help, first off just keep sticking around. It may not seem like much, but the fact that people keep reading and commenting and sharing means a lot to me. If you'd like to support the comic financially, you can do so by subscribing on Patreon to unlock bonus content, checking out the Aww, Feathers! Store for books, prints, original artwork, and other merch, or even leaving a one-time donation through ko-fi. I am also open for commissions during this time, but be aware that they'll be pricier than normal right now in order to justify taking time away from my job search. If you're willing to pay it though, I'm happy to take it on.

Thanks again for all your support and your patience! I know it seems like I've been taking a lot of breaks over this past year. I take that as a sign that I, and this comic, are growing. And sometimes growing means re-calibrating in order to make sure things continue to run smoothly. So thank you, and stay tuned!

Aww Feathers! Book 2 Campaign and Giveaway

June 5th, 2018, 10:29 am

The Indiegogo campaign for Big Plans: Aww, Feathers! Book 2 is now underway! If you've enjoyed Aww, Feathers! please take a look at the campaign and consider becoming a backer. There are physical and digital copies of the second book available, as well as the first book if you weren't around for the first campaign. You can also pick up a collection of exclusive Aww, Feathers! themed postcards, an invite to a special art stream and hangout event, and more! We have a modest funding goal, but also several stretch goals to make the book even better! Every contribution, big or small, helps get us closer! Also, the level of success for this campaign will largely determine how much time I am able to dedicate to the comic in the future, so by backing the project you'll not only be supporting the book, but the comic as a whole.

Whether or not you become a backer, it would be super helpful if you could help spread the word about the campaign. You even have the chance to win a free art commission from me for doing so! Check out the giveaway below for details on how to earn free entries to the giveaway. The more people who enter, the larger the prize pool will grow! And of course, the more people we'll be able to tell about the book!

Thanks so much for your support!

Aww, Feathers! Book 2 Art Giveaway

Career Change and the Future of Aww, Feathers!

May 2nd, 2018, 2:01 am

I have something very exciting to announce. I'll admit the circumstances are somewhat unexpected. However, this Friday will be my last day at my current job. I've worked there as a software engineer for almost six years, and while I love the company, for a while now I've been feeling like it may be time to move on to something new. I could just immediately look for a new tech job. It probably wouldn't be too difficult in this job market. However, we're in a position right now where we can afford to go at least a few months without me working full-time. So we've decided that for a little while at least, I'm going to give working for myself a try. I am completely aware that this is something of a crapshoot and that there's a good chance it won't work out like I hope. But I'm sure going to give it everything I've got to make it work! If I can give it a go for a while and learn something along the way, I think it will be valuable no matter what happens. I'm prepared to accept the outcome.

SO, what does this mean for Aww, Feathers!? I'm so glad you asked! I'm going to try and be as up front and transparent as I can. During this period, I'll be spending much more time working on some of my own projects, and that includes the comic. It's not the only thing I'll be doing, since at the moment it's not generating enough income to support my family. However, I will dedicate some of my time to improving my art and writing skills. In addition, this is a chance to make Aww, Feathers! a larger part of my career. To do that though, it needs to become more profitable.

I'm not asking anyone to give more than they are able. However, if you've gotten enjoyment from the story and been on the fence about backing Aww, Feathers! on Patreon, now would be the time to join in! Patreon supporters have already made a difference in the comic by unlocking a few extra updates, but that's always been limited by the amount of time I have to actually work on the comic. Now however you have a chance to make an even bigger impact. If Aww, Feathers! does not grow much as a source of income, then it will need to remain a side project that I only work on in my spare time. (And I intend to continue working on it even in that case, because I care about it a lot.) However, the more support on Patreon grows, the more time I'll be able to dedicate to creating new content. And if you haven't seen some of the neat rewards you can get for becoming a supporter on Patreon, you should check it out now! For as little as $1 per month you gain access to some behind the scenes stuff, and if you contribute a little more, you'll unlock some exclusive bonus content.

If Patreon isn't really your bag, that's totally fine. There are other ways you can support Aww, Feathers!, and keep an eye out for other opportunities as well. All of it contributes to helping the comic to grow.

So let's do this! I'm committed to making Aww, Feathers! the best family-friendly furry webcomic that I can produce. Any support you can lend would go a long way towards keeping it going strong!

Guest Comics: Final Final FINAL Deadline!

April 10th, 2018, 6:14 pm

Wow, okay, so this has been a doozy of a year so far. The guest comic event has been sort of up in the air as a result. But now that I'm feeling mostly better and have a good idea of when the current chapter will finish, I think we can finally pin down a definite date to begin showing guest comics!

May 19 is the new deadline, and this time we'll keep it that way. Even if something else comes up in the meantime, I think we've waited long enough. So if you're still planning to submit a guest comic, please get it to me by Saturday, May 19, 2018. Guest comics will be shown starting May 21st and go for about the following month and a half or so. The more entries we get, the more will be posted each week. During that time I'll be working on something very special (details to come)!

If you need a reminder of the submission guidelines, you can read them here. Also, if you'd like to complete a Fill In the Bubble comic, you can still do that as well, and favorites will be displayed during the guest comic event!

If there are any questions, feel free to let me know. Also, if you submitted anything to me and I failed to respond, send me a quick reminder to make sure I don't miss anything. Thanks a lot! This has been a difficult year, but I'm determined to make it a good one!

Reorganizing the Archive

March 10th, 2018, 3:49 pm

Just a heads up that I've done a bit of reorganizing. All previous guest comics and "mini comics" have been moved together to the beginning of the archive. The link to the "First Page" will still take you to the first main story page. A link has also been added to the nav menu that will take you directly to this section.
My plan is to move any mini comics to this section at the close of each chapter. That way anyone who decides to read through the archives will have an uninterrupted reading experience. What do you think of this approach? If you have any suggestions or notice anything wrong while browsing the site, please let me know. Thanks!

Health Sitch

March 5th, 2018, 10:43 pm

For any wondering what's been up with me lately, for the past few weeks I've been having really bad stomach pains. They come and go in waves. Lately I've been getting one really bad flare up per day, which afterwards leaves me very exhausted. I'm fortunate to work for a company that permits me to do some work from home when I'm feeling fine, and has a very generous sick leave policy for when I'm unable. Unfortunately, my condition hasn't been conducive to doing much else except resting and spending some time with loved ones, who've been taking good care of me.

Long story short, I'm not sure when I'll be able to continue updating the story of Aww, Feathers! However, I'm very grateful to the numerous readers who have expressed their best wishes to me as well as their willingness to wait while I recover. And I will try to share a little something at least on the days I'm unable to share a full comic update: a mini comic or some artwork I've done in my spare time. Don't worry, that at least is something I can do without too much trouble.

Oh, and as for the guest comic event, I still plan to do it. My plan is to start it after the current chapter ends, which hopefully won't be too long in the making. I could start posting guest comics now while I'm recovering... but my plan had been to work on something else important relating to the comic while guest comics were running. If I'm not able to do that... then I'd rather wait until I can. I hope those who have submitted their guest comics so far are understanding of the delay. And if anyone has yet to submit one, the good news is you have some extra time to work on and submit one.

So that's all for now. Aww, Feathers! is not going away; just taking a break while I get better. I will continue to keep everyone in the loop. Keep your fingers crossed that it will be soon! And if you could spare a thought or prayer for me, I would be most appreciative. Thanks again for all your support!

Guest Comic Reminder!

February 10th, 2018, 10:08 am

The start of the guest comic event has been pushed back a couple times. The good news though is that puts the deadline to submit your own guest comic to about March 15 or so. That means there's about a month left! It would be really great if we could get just a few more entries. If you need to review the submission guidelines, check them out here.
In the meantime, here are a few ideas to get the wheels turning:

  • What would the characters of Aww, Feathers! look like if they were drawn in the style of another existing comic? What if they were placed in the setting of an existing book, show, movie, or game?

  • Want to give it a try but aren't very confident in your ability to draw? Be creative! Can you make a comic by cutting and pasting photos together? (Make sure you have the proper permission to use them out course.)

  • ‎Also, don't be afraid to use a simpler art style. Toony, chibi or even stick figures are fair game.

  • ‎If a full comic page or strip is a bit intimidating, can you tell a story using just a single image?

  • ‎Many guest comics have featured the male characters from Aww, Feathers! but don't forget about the ladies! Consider a short story about June, Mally, Luchette, Michelle, or Lia.

  • ‎If you want to do one but just don't have any ideas, or if you're fairly new to the comic and not sure where to start, talk to me! I've got a few ideas to spare.

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