I think the biggest gut-punch of the past year is not how quickly everything changed but how much it hasn’t. I started 2020 with a low outlook on the world; I was exhausted and disgusted at the political climate and started to explore some free form writing on my website to express these feelings.
During this time, I was also planning a book tour for the month of May to celebrate the first major release of my partnership, In The Shade Publications. I had worked through most of 2019 to finish the trade paperback for the first volume of my all-ages Fantasy book, Legends of Lys, and was eager to share it with the world. The partnership was also fairly new and we were just starting to participate in shows as a company and to figure out our look and brand.
I spent days in January reaching out to various comic book shops in the Northeast, sometimes pulling teeth to see if they would allow us to set up in the store for a few hours and try to market the book. After a few weeks, I finally had the month of May booked with a nice variety of stores and appearances.
Then the lockdown came.
I completely moved to work from home like so many others and continued to quietly work on the other books In The Shade was developing for release and bided my time. I created drawing prompts to keep myself engaged. I couldn’t leave the house and even getting groceries felt too much like Mad Max.
Weeks stretched into months and I was forced to accept that my book tour would not happen. The tour would have been kicked off the first Saturday in May which is always Free Comic Book Day. I typically set up in my local store, Silver Moon Comics, and hang out for the day selling books and taking commissions.
In years past this always was followed by Raw Artworks annual auction in Lynn. I work throughout the winter at Raw to create art that is eventually used in an auction with ten of my closest artist friends. To also have that abruptly stripped away from me took a harder toll than I could have imagined. I was without any future artistic prospects; any and all shows I had planned were canceled, comic cons weren’t happening, art shows were out of the question, and now the auction took a hit too.
2020 was not the year In The Shade anticipated, we made very meager sales at the beginning of the year, we held off on exploring any marketing ideas or new strategies and instead focused on the work.
I would say the only benefit to 2020 was the ability to work more on comics and make steady progress on the titles we are developing. I have taken solace in this as the other comforts of art-making and going to shows have been abruptly pulled away and left me feeling very raw and distant.
– Brandon Gorski