So, this is the biggest announcement I’ve made here in a while, are you ready? I’m launching a new webcomic! It’s called Oaks, and it’s a comic soap opera starring anthropomorphic woodland creatures, exploring some very human conditions. I plan to launch it in less than one month, on October 29, but over the next few weeks I’ll be introducing the characters here. So stay tuned for that, and for other updates about Oaks. (I’ll also be posting information on Twitter and Facebook, so follow/like/subscribe, whatever have you!)
For some of you, that first paragraph announcement is all you need. A new webcomic is pretty fun news! But I know that for some of you, this announcement must be accompanied by some crow-eating on my part. Because anyone who has read Picket Line would have likely read this bold claim: “Look for Breena’s next graphic novel, Oaks, in 2012.” Yeah, I promised everyone my second graphic novel this year. And it was going to be Oaks. As it turns out, that was maybe a bit overconfident. I had confused my private goals with a public pronouncement, and now I’m blushing a little. If you’re curious what happened, I’ll tell you. While we were finishing the layout of Picket Line I had simultaneously written a draft for Oaks and begun to illustrate it. This was in early 2011, mind you, so using basic reasoning I figured I could have it finished by 2012 since it took me about 18 months to illustrate Picket Line, which was a longer story than Oaks.
But. That wasn’t accounting for a lot of other things, like when I realized the story still needed a lot of work, or that I’d probably need to be working a day job, or that the business end of promoting and selling Picket Line was almost a full-time job in itself. Not only that, but about halfway into the year I began spending time with another story idea, one that was more personal and new and exciting. I decided to go where the momentum was, and shifted my focus to this other story which became my second, second graphic novel project. Still, I wasn’t ready to give up on Oaks. Really, I couldn’t, because the story and characters existed, and there was no undoing that; there was no ignoring that. About this time I realized that Oaks would make a nice webcomic since the characters were likable and the story was somewhat flexible. But even a webcomic takes time, so I shelved it with every intention to return to it.
This summer I spent a lot of time writing the draft for my second graphic novel (of which I’ve learned better than to promise a completion date) and am really excited about that. But Oaks kept creeping back into my mind until finally I decided it was time. I started to redevelop it as a serialized story, with short, daily installments. I stripped the artwork to simpler shapes and lines, and reached back to my comic strip sensibilities for pacing and structure. Having had a sizable break from the story, I could see plot problems I’d overlooked (or denied) before, and I worked on them. It took on a completely new life. It felt to me like Oaks was meant to be a webcomic all along.
So, I’m not really embarrassed about this. Yes, I promised a new graphic novel in 2012, which was silly. But more than that, I promised Oaks in 2012, and I’m really pleased to be able to deliver on that. It’s the same character and the same story, just in a different format. I hope you enjoy reading it and joining along with me as the story unfolds. It’s been an unpredictable journey this far, so I imagine there are lots more surprises ahead!