With mixed feelings I can announce that my longtime association with Sketch Magazine is seemingly over now after 13 printed ‘Inkblots’ columns for issues 30-40 and now 42, my final printed one for the publisher Blue Line Pro (5 later columns were posted online at FirstComicsNews, 2 originally intended for the magazine here and here, so I’ve done 18 in all). The great benefits from the arrangment, initiated by editor, artist and pal Bill Nichols, allowed me to add the position of columnist to my resume and also gave me a format to ‘create’ The Inkwell Awards concept in issue 35. Unfortunately, there were regrets along the way. My column article names were usually altered, sometimes the wrong titles for the actual feature. Attached files weren’t always used. A two-part column was printed out of order with part two first…it took two issues for them to print both parts together to make ammends, minus files. And scheduling was really behind. It took months to years to get particular issues shipped. One reason for this was due to some personal trauma in Bill’s case, leading to him to drop out as editor, placing John Wilson in charge but only for an issue, and then Bill returned. There might have also been some confusion turmoil behind the scenes with the publisher and staff (my emails were not always replied to and if they were, I wasn’t feeling the love). Anyway, I don’t recall if that’s why my column was skipped for issue 41. But readers didn’t realize that many of the articles were submitted years before they saw print as I wrote up several of them in 2006-7. The most disappointing aspect of this relationship was that I only got cover hype on issues 30-32 and 39 even though I was the only regular columnist they had which felt like a snub. And the last issue not only changed my title again but the magazine didn’t even lable my column as ‘Inkblots’, only the generic ‘Inking’. It’s like they forgot I’d been in ten consecutive issues with that label.
So I may not get paid for typing up articles for Rik Offenberger at FCN, but at least I have full control there. Sadly, between personal issues, work assignments and obligations with running my Inkwell Awards, I haven’t been able to post anything new there for some time. But I intend to once I have a window because I still had other topics in mind while working for BlueLinePro. Another plus from this experience is that early on I asked Bill if I could use my columns anywhere else after they debuted in the magazine and he said yes. My hope is that should time ever allow, I would love the compile all of the articles from both Sketch and FCN in order and make all the necessary edits so that they appear as original intended with proper titles and images. This book would then be sold via the Inkwell Awards so that all sales would go to my official not-for-profit charity. That way maybe some worthwhile and longterm good would come from this history.