This was my sixth year hosting and participating in the March Slice of Life Story Challenge. I have so much gratitude for my Two Writing Teachers coauthor team: Stacey Shubitz, Betsy Hubbard, Melanie Meehan, Kelsey Corter, Lanny Ball, Deb Frazier, and Kathleen Sokolowski. Throughout the year I have the incredible privilege of working with these amazing teachers and writers—but nothing compares to March.
Each year I try to set a goal related to the Slice of Life Story Challenge. Last year I wrote a lot of narrative poetry, another year I tried my hand at fiction. One year, I documented my young daughter’s oral storytelling as part of the challenge. This year, I took on comics.
Prior to this year’s SOLSC, I had never created a comic before. Here are all my comics from March, all the comics I’ve ever created, beginning with most recent. This year was my best SOLSC year yet—and I think it’s because I used the opportunity to try something new, outside my comfort zone.
A few reflections, after creating a comic per day:
A lot of people think that comics are easier than writing words. Like it’s a way of getting out of doing the work. Speaking from experience - nope! Just nope. Every bit as much work. Maybe a little more.
I was surprised to learn, from the inside out, at the range of genres comics can be applied to. As the month went on, I became better at steering my work toward storytelling and narrative.
With practice, I began to find my own style. I learned that I prefer hand lettering over using typed fonts. I like the look of squares or vertical rectangles in an array. I like using spare amounts of color, rather than bold colors. I like my stick figures better than when I try to draw more realistic figures.
I discovered mentor authors that I adore. My favorites are Grant Snider at Incidental Comics, and Wendy MacNaughton (illustrator of The Gutsy Girl: Escapades for Your Life of Epic Adventure, and the cookbook Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat). I’d like to be just like them when I grow up. I’m also heavily influenced by The Oatmeal and of course, Jim Davis (Garfield).
I also learned a lot about technology. At the suggestion of a friend, I used the app Procreate to create all my comics and there was so much to learn. For the first half of the challenge, it took as much time to figure out the app, as well as to figure out how to save and upload images and videos, as it did to create the comic!