When I first started creating a webcomic with my husband over three years ago, I was scared of EVERYTHING! I feared typos, haters, comments, creepers, murderers, pedophiles (yes, I was 28 and too old to be pedophile bait but still feared them!), and most of all the opinions of my friends and family. I was essentially afraid of being myself.
It’s not easy stepping out of your comfort zone and sharing your humor with the world. You start analyzing your jokes and assessing if you are really funny or just funny enough. My amazing husband, Jimmy, was the first one to push creating a comic together. He saw that I was uninspired at my day job, and I needed a creative boost. We started the comic, Cuddles and Rage, as an outlet. This was our way of exercising our storytelling skills and making one another laugh in the process.
We posted our first pencil-drawn comic to Tumblr and our Facebook pages on February 6, 2010. My personal Facebook page was immediately hit with my first negative comment. The comment crushed my soul! It was from a guy I went to high school with, and essentially he called the piece unoriginal and linked to an artist I admired. I felt red in the face and told Jimmy the comic was over.
If you’ve ever met Jimmy then you know that he is a pretty determined guy. He doesn’t take smack from anyone (not even me). He dismissed the negative comment right away and told me this is just part of being creative. From him, I learned you will always have somebody out there who won’t like what you’re doing, but as long as you believe in it you have to keep going. And we’ve kept going ever since.
It’s amazing to look back on what we’ve done in the past three years and see the growth. We’ve gone from doodling for our friends in bars to showing our dioramas in some of the biggest pop culture art galleries in the nation. The key to growing is to celebrate the little things, and I mean everything – from getting fun comments from fans to reaching your first 50 followers on Instagram. Sometimes in your long journey to success you can forget all the little steps that make a difference in getting you to the next level. I try to document EVERYTHING and never take each accomplishment for granted.
People aren’t born lucky. They seize opportunities big and small to make things happen. I believe strongly in shutting out the negativity and focusing on what moves me forward in life.
Taking a chance on yourself takes guts. Launching my career as an artist and a writer gave me so much more than just a creative outlet, it gave me a new level of confidence that hadn’t existed before. When you put yourself out there and see how you influence others, it can be pretty awesome. You might feel like you’re just dumping stuff into a massive sea of Internet cat pics, but you really are affecting people. Every time we receive a note from somebody saying one of our comics made their day, it means the world to me.
The deeper I get into webcomics, the more in love I am with the subculture. It’s a world of creative people who challenge traditional media on a daily basis. They too are putting themselves out there whether it’s through a weiner joke or a doodle of what they ate for breakfast. It all comes from some part of their mind that they were willing to share with you. That’s pretty special.
If you’re thinking about starting a project, I encourage you to just do it. There will be somebody out there who loves it or hates it (could be your mom in either scenario…), but all it takes is you believing in yourself and pushing through all the bullshit. It really is that simple.
Liz Reed is a writer and artist based in Maryland. She runs the webcomic Cuddles and Rage with her husband, Jimmy. She is obsessed with her cat, Kio Kitty Face, and dog, London. You can follow Cuddles and Rage on Twitter and Instagram.