So, once again, I find myself updating the blog portion of this comic after a many months hiatus and quite a few adventures. Of course, I have moved once again, and I find myself back in Virginia. I’m living outside of Charlottesville, on a 30 acre property and doing some of the most intensely diverse gardening I have ever done. Also working with some cool people who create fermented foods from local produce and just generally getting into the groove of small town living. Each step I take, I am getting back to the rural setting of my childhood yet believe it or not I am finding myself missing the city on occasion. Granted, it’s not the same yearning for nature I felt while living in Brooklyn, but there are fleeting moments where I miss feeling like I lived on a movie set. As the comic requires me to be both familiar with the landscapes of man and nature, I have a feeling I will find myself in a metropolis again, if only for a brief amount of time.
So the most important aspect of this blog post is celebrating the benchmark of completing the first chapter of Green Shift. While I don’t consider it to be a masterful and complete tale, I am simply happy to finish something. See, I have had the city of Asphodel and all its characters in my head for quite some time. I remember, eight or nine years ago, drawing the first designs of Max and Kim in art class after discovering online comics for the first time. Let’s bring that sketch up for a moment just so I can marvel at how much my art has improved…

Max and Kim

…Oh. Jeez…uh…Wow. Yeah that is really terrible. BUT, when you compare it to the illustration above…It’s a testament to what you can do with an idea when you carry it with you for almost a decade. When you let the fires of time and experience temper that rough clod of a story into a distinctive world with its own lesson to teach the author.

I had created multiple comic storylines over the years and drawn out numerous “first issues” before eventually trashing them. This latest installment is the first time where I havent been completely disgusted with the art and dialogue. Now, with the setting and characters moderately introduced I can finally delve deeper into a story that I have been waiting quite a while to tell.
In order to even complete this comic I had a major hurdle of confidence to get over. But believe it or not, it was a motto of the regenerative agriculture movement that helped me get over my artistic fears: “Let nature express itself.”

When applied to comics, I realized that no matter how hard I tried to nit pick and make the story perfect, in order to actually produce something I had to just let go and let the natural flow of the story and the characters come out. I had to not let my expectations shape what the story wants to eventually become. Only recently have I been able to accept this idea enough to apply it to my own life.

Speaking of nature expressing itself, the farm property is shaping up quite nicely due to everyone’s hard work and the generous spring rains.There is such a variety of beautiful plants growing on the farm: Valerian, Horseradish, Elderberry, Passionfruit, Lemon Balm, Wormwood and well as Kale, Cabbage, Potatoes and the like.

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There is a lot of agriculture going on in this part of Virginia and I feel like I am finally beginning to mend my relationship with the food system. I have been dabbling in this idea of becoming a farming and making money from the land. I was really considering it a career path for a while and was happy with relegating art to hobby status. But, after much personal deliberation I realised that a life like that is not being true to MY particular nature.
Yes, I grow plants but I don’t consider myself a farmer. I am a tender of nature, a gardener at best. An involved consumer or healthy foods and an avid researcher of plant and soil biology. I hope that my life is filled with many gardens and hope to supply most of my food needs myself and perhaps even the food needs of others one day. But when it comes down to a career path I can’t lie to myself: I am an artist and a storyteller. I shy away from thinking I will ever be able to pursue art professionally because the path is hard and I am afraid. But I need to let my nature express itself, so I am going for it.
Now that this chapter is wrapped up, I am starting to vigorously promote my work. I have created an account on the Patreon platform and I really hope to cultivate a creative relationship with all those who would donate to my cause. Creating comics is a ton of work and it is often thankless and lonely, but I firmly believe that the world for content creators is changing. Won’t you be apart of that change and help me achieve my dream of supporting myself with what I love. You can access the donation page here, among other places around the site.

The blogs I post on this site, as well as the art I share to the public will be much more sparse now because I am saving that content for Patrons, but keep checking back every week for new pages!
Thank you so much for reading and caring, Much Love,
Andrew Rodriguez