Odori Park, by Chris Watkins Odori Park - A webcomic comedy of culture shock in love, life, and family, by Chris Watkins


:: Posts Tagged ‘news’ ::

I realized that, although I’d mentioned it in my Twitter feed, I haven’t yet made notice here about one of the main reasons blog posts (and Tweets) have been sparse as of late. Allow me to rectify:

A little over two weeks ago, the Watkins family grew by 8lbs 12oz (this is not, by the way, a reference to the volume of Nutter Butters I’ve consumed in any recent period). We are now proud parents to two little Sprouts of our own, available in both toddler and newborn varieties.

Surprisingly, I have not found myself significantly more tired than before the birth (which either speaks well of our new baby boy, or poorly of my life in general). Life marches on around us (and comics will keep on coming, on schedule!), but these two guys, and their mama, are pretty much my whole world right now.

You’re not coming here for the blog posts, anyway, right? :)

Born ready for action!

It’s been a cho very busy week here in Odori Park-ville, and I haven’t been able to keep up with the blog and other press notifications enough to keep you all abreast of it. Here’s a rundown of the latest news:

CCA Donation Tally - Lora Innes posted the final tally for donations to the Comic Creator’s Alliance drive to fight human trafficking, and the remarkable number was over $10,000! All from webcomic readers. How cool! Thanks to everyone from this neck of the woods who linked over and donated.

Instances - The “Instances” gallery show at the Colacino Gallery at Nazareth College wraps up today with a closing reception tonight (Fri. 2/5) from 6-8pm. If you’re in the neighborhood, please come! Here’s a link to gallery info.

TWCL Awards - I’ve created an extra-long comic that serves as part of the “awards ceremony” for the 2009 Webcomic List Awards. My strip serves to present the award for Best Comic, and although I’m sorry to say OP wasn’t nominated for any awards itself, just getting to create the presentation comic for what I presume will be the most prominent part of the “show” is gratifying. Thanks to Wendy at TWCL for letting me pitch in. The awards ceremony goes live on Sun., 2/7, at (I suspect) this address: thewebcomiclist.com/awards and I’ll repost my own contribution here on Monday, so you can see it at full size.


It’s been quiet on the blog front for the past few weeks, and although the reasons are several, here’s a pertinent one: I have a number of guest projects in the works–my run on SuperFogey’s Origins, for Brock Heasley, is currently nearing its conclusion, and I have other fun irons (some of them, unfortunately, overdue) in that fire, about which I hope to elaborate soon. You’ve seen the results of my overtaxed plate in the form of comics that post later in the day than is normal for me.

On top of the guest projects, I have also been talking for quite some time now about putting prints of the comic strips up for sale, and about getting an Odori Park book together. I hate how long those projects have languished on the back burner!

In the interest, then, of giving these projects a chance to see the light of day–and for you to enjoy them–and in the interest of sleeping more than three hours a night, I have a plan: Starting this week, and through the middle of April, I’ll be reducing Odori Park comic strip updates to twice a week. (I’ll still aim to make posts on Wednesdays, but rather than comics, they’ll be blog posts with sketches, photos, or sneak peeks at these special projects.) Then, starting in the week of April 18th, I’m going to give you a chance to read something different from me–a comic strip submitted to the newspaper syndicates back in 2008 that few people have ever seen. That strip–Surreality, Inc.–will run three days a week for about a month while I attempt to kick book production into overdrive.

Thanks for sticking around! I’m hoping you’ll enjoy seeing the extra comics and materials I’ll be able to share in the next couple months!

A quick note to those who expected a comic on Monday, and didn’t see one:
I’ll have some interesting news to share in the coming days, and events related to this kept me all tied up the last few evenings, leading to an incomplete comic for Monday. I’ve soundly lashed myself for the failing, and will get a new comic up tonight that I hope is worth the wait. I also promise to demystify these cryptic lines by the end of the week. For now, just imagine I’ve been participating in a secret society working to prevent the coming Mayan apocalypse. Or making cheese. You know, whatever secret societies do.


I promised early in the week I’d explain what I’ve been up to that caused me to gaffe and miss an update (which, I assure you, still genuinely pains me). Here’s the news: I have a new day job starting in late February, and I’m gearing up for a big move. A move from western New York state to Massachusetts. The Framingham area, near Boston, to be more specific.

What does that mean for Odori Park? In truth, really very little (which is part of the whole point of putting a comic up on the Web; it doesn’t matter where you and I are in the world, as long as we both have a net connection), but there are two likely impacts:

  1. I’m probably going to miss another update or two, particularly in the climax of the move, before this is all over (but, by the Hoary Hosts of Hoggoth, I’ll aim to prevent it).
  2. I will need to make some new comic-making friends! Are you a comicker or a reader out near Boston? Care to shoot me a line? I would honestly love to make your acquaintance.

One more thing to consider is that Boston and environs have a lot more comic shows and events going on throughout the year than Rochester, NY. I am, for example, pretty keen on the idea of finally checking out the New England Webcomics Weekend. So there’s that to look forward to.

And that’s the long and the short of it. Mostly a non-event for you on the other side of the screen, but things’ll be hoppin’ over here for the next few weeks! Hope to hear from some of you in the MetroWest and Boston areas!

So, today, March 13th, is technically Odori Park’s third anniversary of being online. Normally, I’d shout that to the hills and celebrate. The half-finished strip I had to post yesterday in lieu of a properly finished comic, however, dampens my personal artistic spirits enough to pretend that the anniversary is actually tomorrow (by which time I should have both the inked version of Monday’s comic, and a new comic for Wednesday, finished and online). In other news, I’m postponing Christmas and indefinitely suspending my birthday. Please file any concerns with management…


So, as the Summer Sketchbook arc winds up this week, I’ve been feeling super that I had a full week of strips in the can ahead of schedule, ready to upload. Until just now, after noon on Wednesday, when I realized that I never actually transferred said comics from the can–which is to say, my home computer–to the website. Zoinks!

Stay with me folks! The new comics will get uploaded tonight!

I’m going to be doing a bit of experimentation with art styles and media over the next couple weeks or so. I’ll be playing with pencils, maybe brush pens, maybe Microns, and some different software and drawing styles, looking for a nice balance of quality, liveliness, and expediency. Hope you all don’t mind coming along for the ride! Please leave comments along the way–I like to hear how things I’m trying go over with you. Thanks!

There’s an idea often stated in creative circles that you can only be really successful creatively–whatever that means for you–if you’re creating something you love. It’s expressed a million different ways. Follow your passion. Make the thing you want to read. Ryan Estrada put it into the context of his own creative productivity by saying something like: “I only work on what I’m excited about.” (From episode 59 of Comics Are Great, if memory serves.)

Tackling a long-term creative project means riding a roller-coaster of enthusiasm for the work. Sometimes you’re up, sometimes you’re down. If you’ve read Odori Park for very long, you know I’ve infused new energy at times by exploring new stories, characters, styles, tools and techniques. Still, there’s even more I’d like to explore: I want to put together another Odori Park book collection. I want to create an Odori Park graphic novel telling the tale of how Arisa and Colin first met. I want to finally get prints up for sale (for really real), and t-shirts, too. And I have other story itches I want to scratch, like a kid-friendly fantasy-adventure graphic novel I’d like to put together before my own kids are too old to appreciate it.

But putting together three strips a week for Odori Park: the Website means I never have the time to walk down those roads. (Heck, these days sometimes I can’t even seem to make all three updates in a week.) So here’s what I’m going to do:

  • Odori Park will be updated with a new comic at least once a week.
  • If I can make other updates–be they comics, sketches, preview pages, podcasts, or what have you–then I’ll do that, too. (Just no guarantees.)
  • Throughout the effort, I’ll keep the site updated with news about progress on these non-Web projects.

I realize this is quite a change for a comic that has generally followed the standard web-strip model. Back in my first life in webcomics, doing the BorderWalker anthology, I learned the hard way that lack of focus can kill productivity, let alone enthusiasm. This time around, I’ve been hyper-focused–one comic, one schedule, one business model–and I’ve started to experience the negatives on the flip side of the coin. So, I’m going to mix things up a bit again, and I hope you’ll join me for the ride.

Let’s go exploring, and by the end of the year, maybe we’ll have some very interesting somethings to enjoy.


The folks at the Maine Comics Arts Festival have released their floor plan for the show, and I found myself! If you would also like to find me (not yourself, as you should generally know where you are at any given time), may I suggest this handy map? (Click it to enlarge.)

I should mention I just printed up a nice stack of Surreality, Inc. mini-comics that visitors can buy, in addition to the first Odori Park collection and, of course, pre-orders for the Odori Park Omnibus! Gonna be fun.

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