Gosh, where do I start? The Hues launched three years ago today.  (That is, after spending a long time in hibernation after it’s humble beginnings in the margins of my notebooks throughout junior high.)

Today is not only The Hues’ anniversary, but my comics career, as well.  Back on January 18th, 2005, I posted the very first Jigworthy comic strip on a now ancient, forgotten city known as Keenspace:

Check out that sweet Comic Sans.

Check out that sweet Comic Sans.

It’s basically the comic that nearly all cartoonists will tell you not to make: it was based on me and my friends, and full of inside jokes that no one else would really get.  Honestly, don’t read it.  There’s some pretty offensive stuff we wrote (and I illustrated) and I didn’t know any better. I WAS YOUNG AND RECKLESS.

At the time, my favorite comic was Mac Hall, and it had a big impact on my art style.  (I got to meet Ian McConville, the artist, at a convention a few years back, and I very nervously thanked him for his influence.)  Aside from the kinda funky, not-quite-chibi proportions, it started me on the path of the lineless style that I worked in for the next decade.  After Jigworthy petered out, my next comic endeavor was a graphic novel, Garanos.

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I learned a lot about storytelling with this comic.  It was originally a short story I wrote in high school about an OC.  (Here’s the mildly embarrassing part where I tell you that I used to use Garanos as a roleplaying character on the Gaia Online forums back in the site’s early days.)  The comic expanded Garanos’ tale from the short story into a three-volume series, totally 480-odd pages over 4 years.  It’s probably the closest I’ve gotten to a “successful” webcomic in my history– my readership was growing steadily through the final months of the comic, and I had the comic for sale in book form via a print-on-demand service.

If I were to start Garanos again, there are a lot of things I would do differently, from the character designs to the plot and writing, but I have a lot of happy memories of that time, and I can take the things I learned and apply them to my current work.

After doing a Serious Comic for 4 years, I was itching to do some more autobio and comedy, and thus, Alex’s Guide was born.  When I was in my final quarter of study at Ohio State, I decided I was going to conquer the 24-Hour Comic, and so I completed 4 of them throughout the ten-week academic quarter.

Among them, the original 24 installments of Alex’s Guide to a Life Well-Lived– a collection of silly life lessons and funny moments.  Here are some of my favorites:

As happens sometimes, life took over, I changed jobs, I had a lot on my mind, and I didn’t do a lot with AG for awhile there.  I was getting frustrated at my lack of “advancement” in webcomics (note: there’s a lot of complicated ideas to unpack there) and I was feeling pretty discouraged with the whole thing.

The Hues had been in the back of my mind, occasionally coming into the forefront more and more often as time went on, and I decided that I was going to give it one more go; make the comic that was purely self-indulgent and for me, and work to make something I could really be proud of at the end, deadlines be damned.

Some early sketches and finished art from the early planning stages of The Hues 2.0

I had a plan! My job at the time was Monday-thru-Friday, and the weekends had become so much more precious to me than ever before, so I was going to step away from the convention scene so I could use that time to work on comics instead.  Smart, right?

Well, as dramatic twists would have it, I got laid off.  Two days before The Hues launched, actually.  So I had no job, no conventions on the horizon, and a project that nobody knew about.  That’s a story I’ve already told elsewhere, so I won’t bore you with it again.  But a couple Kickstarters, a Patreon, and a LOT of hard work later, I’ve got a more or less stable situation.  My art is my job, and I will work as hard as I can to make sure it stays that way. :)

And you, my lovelies, are a huge part of that.  From your daily comments on new pages, to your retweets and reblogs, to your support on Kickstarter and Patreon, I thank each and every one of you for your help in this.  I create The Hues for the love of it, but it makes me so happy to share it with you, too.

Happy Anniversary. :D