I am back in Brooklyn this summer, working on a big graphic novel project I can’t really talk about. Not because I’m trying to be coy but because I signed a non-disclosure agreement. And it’s all for specific in-house use and there won’t be much of an announcement. The deadline for this project made me skip Comic Con in San Diego this year but going to the US in the summer has become such a habit at this point, both for me and the family.
The great thing is that in certain phases of the comics making process, I can work from pretty much anywhere. I’ve of course picked the hottest time of the year to work in New York because I’m clever that way. So my work clothes contains pretty much of a pair of boxers.
Most weekdays I get up and have breakfast with the family and help get the kids ready. When they’re dressed and smothered in sunscreen, my wife takes them on a day trip somewhere – a park, a museum, a shopping spree – and after doing the dishes, I settle in with a cup of coffee at my computer. I listen to podcasts or audiobooks to drown out the noise from the fan and the construction site right outside the bedroom window while I’m coloring in Photoshop. Sometimes I take my lunch up to the roof to take in the breathtaking view of Manhattan. But mostly I just stay put and get red eyes from staring at a screen all day.
I wouldn’t say it’s hard work but it requires a certain amount of discipline to stay at my desk while the sun is baking down over the city and my wife and kids are out there having fun. But this is the way we could make our vacation work and be away a lot longer than if I had to go back to work in Denmark. My work/life balance is a pretty blurry line and so is my social life. I’ve been hanging out quite a bit with my friend and collaborator Chris Miskiewicz, talking about future projects and the comics industry as well as networking with new people – often involving a lot of beers. I’ve also managed to visit a few Thomas Alsop locations, like the 9/11 memorial and Trinity Church.
One particularly magical evening when I walked into Forbidden Planet comics in Manhattan 20 minutes before they close (at midnight) only to be approached by one of their staff: “You’re Palle, right?” Turns out it was the owner, Nick, who’s a friend of Chris’ and a fan of Thomas Alsop. He recognized me because he follows me on Instagram.
So however futile all this social media, blogging and networking sometimes seems, there is the opportunity to connect and to meet new friends in unexpected places. And you never know what that might turn into. As I like to say: If you don’t turn up to the party, you’re never going to be asked to dance.
Right now my Wacom pen is dancing over the board and colors are spread across the pages on the screen while the deadline approaches like last rounds at the bar. Back to work!