20-something guy from middle America.
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Stay alive

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It’s been awhile since I wrote a comic that made me feel like I was going to throw up, so I guess I’m overdue. Heads up, this is a little heavy.

It’s also kind of a touchy topic. I want to be honest about my experiences and struggles with self-esteem issues without seeming like I think mine are the worst or that I’ve somehow suffered more than anybody else – I’m Canadian, y’see, so I hate to be a burden – but talking with a therapist has brought a lot of this stuff to the surface. I’ve been working on trying to acknowledge how I feel and build coping mechanisms, rather than drowning or compartmentalizing everything. I’m finding ways to cope and realizing the things I’ve done subconsciously that DO work.

Kids reading my stories works.

Teens emailing me works. Letters, art, poems, even short little tweets of “I get it” from strangers. Sometimes I forget. I get so down and I can’t see logic. I can’t see that my life is incredible and filled with possibility. I get so riddled with anxiety, I get tunnel vision, and it’s hard to break out of.  For a long time, nothing anybody said or did during those moments of despair made a lick of difference. Then, I started writing for kids.

It’s funny, I suppose, because THESE comics are not for children. The connections and friendships I’ve made through them are incredibly valuable to me, but there’s something entirely different – look, a kid bringing you art that they drew based on a story you wrote, because it inspired them or cheered them up or they just thought the fart jokes were funny – I have never felt anything like that. I’ve never felt so… worthwhile. Important. I’m something to one kid for an hour enough to make them want to give back and in the dark cold hours of the morning it keeps me alive. More than that, it makes me want to be a better person for them.

Find that port in a storm. Find the thing that brings you back. Be grateful. Stay alive.

StellaLogan

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TylorWayne
1239 days ago
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Des Moines, IA
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Comic: Time

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New Comic: Time
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TylorWayne
1321 days ago
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Des Moines, IA
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Lorenz

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Every choice, no matter how small, begins a new story.
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TylorWayne
1327 days ago
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Des Moines, IA
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4 public comments
satadru
1328 days ago
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I assume the title is a reference to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lorenz_system (and also click through like @mareino says to do.)
New York, NY
stavrosg
1328 days ago
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...wait, where did the past hour go?
Rodos, Greece
adamgurri
1328 days ago
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whoa
New York, NY
mareino
1328 days ago
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Ignore the graphic and click through. Randall must be burning through servers today keeping this one running.
Washington, District of Columbia
JamesDiGioia
1327 days ago
Thanks! Saw yesterday's comic in the feed and almost skipped over it.

Breakup Survival Tips

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TylorWayne
1451 days ago
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Des Moines, IA
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Small words

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I get asked pretty often about the honesty in my comics, and how I manage to balance what’s personal and what’s public. Here’s how: I’m really not very good at it. I just like to talk, I like to share, and I like to put my raw stuff on the table.

I’ve been going through some heavy stuff lately, friends. Family things, friend things, some pretty serious health concerns with someone I care a great deal about. Is that vague enough? There’s cancer in my life and it is hard. I take it all in and I just keep compressing it, pushing it down and compartmentalizing. It’s not my problem, I’m not allowed to be upset. I’m not the sick one. I make it through the day. I work, I draw, I sweat, I fill my life with enough projects that I don’t have to be alone. I avoid quiet. That’s when the dark parts start creeping in around the edges.

I don’t do drugs, but I drink. I’m usually okay, drinking. Lately, I’m not so convinced. This comic is a true story, about me completely freaking out and running out on a party in the cold at two in the morning by myself. It’s not the first time I’ve done it. I’ll probably do it again. I drink to forget and I start to remember. What’s that line about trying to drown your sorrows, but they just learn how to swim?

That’s me.

It’s scary to share this stuff, but the scary stuff always means more. I draw this, I feel a little less alone.

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TylorWayne
1467 days ago
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Des Moines, IA
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[5 Years] Mouse Cake Is Best Cake!

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Today, Sandra and Woo celebrates its 5th anniversary since the first strip was published on 19 October 2008. This is a quite impressive milestone for a webcomic which are notoriously short-lived. Many good or even great webcomics which started in 2008 or later are now defunct. In 2009, Sandra and Woo was given a Beaky Award as one of the three best new webcomics of 2008 by the creators of the Webcomic Beacon Webcast. There were 31 other finalists. Let’s have a look what happened to them:

So not even a third of all comics are still updated regularly, and those were considered to be among the best started in 2008.

This is a good time to look back at the beginning of Sandra and Woo.

The history of Sandra and Woo began in the summer of 2008. While visiting my grandmother, I had a couple of ideas for a comic strip featuring a talking raccoon and a girl. It was clear from the start that the child character had to be a girl so that the comic strip wouldn’t be too similar to Calvin and Hobbes. I considered using Sally as name for Sandra, but eventually decided against it because Sally is the name of Charlie Brown’s sister in Peanuts. Shadow and Sid, named Squibb back then, were the first two additional characters. They originally lived in a city park instead of a forest. During the first five years of Sandra and Woo, they played a significantly smaller role than initially planned. Cloud and Larisa came later, after the first Sandra and Woo strips had already been published. In some of my first scripts I just used unnamed schoolmates of Sandra if another character of the same age was required. Larisa was initially named Elena and this name was even used briefly in the first strip she appeared in, Russian Revenge. But one reader reminded me in the comment section that Elena is also the name of an important character in Final Fantasy VII and that would have been one reference to that game too much. Larisa’s home country was originally Estonia, by the way, but I changed that to Russia fast.

After writing two dozen more or less finished scripts for individual Sandra and Woo strips, I posted a job offer in the ConceptArt and DigitalWebbing forums in October 2008. Since I was still a college student, I wasn’t able to offer much money. But many people seemed to have liked the concept because I received over 60 replies by interested artists. Powree, who read my offer at DigitalWebbing, was my first choice. Just one week later, we published the first Sandra and Woo strip on our website, A Sly Raccoon. Although I didn’t ask for a sample, several applicants drew the comic characters as part of their application. As you can see, I liked Powree’s initial character design so much that absolutely no changes were made to Sandra’s and only a few to Woo’s:

Sandra and Woo

The following pictures were drawn by other artists who were interested in drawing Sandra and Woo:

2006 to 2010 were very difficult years in my life. I was just no longer able to handle the crushing feeling of unrequited love. I met her again at a reunion this year, and she is still by far the most beautiful woman I have ever seen in my life. I’m sure she’s also still as nice as she was back then. I just hope that her partner appreciates her. On top of that, I was sad because my big Neverwinter Nights 2 mod project Gaia: Tales of the Third Age didn’t work out and I apparently suffered from a burnout so that studying for college became harder and harder for me. Sandra and Woo was one of the few things that gave my daily life at least some structure from fall 2008 onwards. I guess you don’t have to be depressed to create art, but it’s one of the few things that you can still do properly in a state of mental breakdown.

In July 2013, I posted two articles containing my personal top 20 of the first 500 Sandra and Woo strips. If you missed it, here’s the chance to check them out again:

To celebrate the anniversary, I also decided to increase the prize money for decrypting The Book of Woo to $300! If you are interested in solving this incredibly hard puzzle, then you should really check out the comment section where some crucial results are presented by some of our readers.

Sandra and Woo: The Book of Woo

5 Years Mouse Cake Is Best Cake

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TylorWayne
1492 days ago
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Des Moines, IA
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