Hello lovely readers!

Jeez, can you believe it’s the end of year already? When the hell did that happen?? How has your year been? Mine has been pretty … steady. Career-wise, I’ve continued to work hard on Zen Pencils – most of the year has been spent working on comics that will form part of my new book collection, which I’ll tell you more about later. Personally things have been great, my daughter is keeping me busy and I’ve been helping look after her more as my wife returned to work. I’ve probably struggled a bit to find a good work/life balance – working from home and having a cute little human running around does mean my productivity has dropped a little. But it’s one of the main reasons I quit my job all those years ago to start Zen Pencils, to have more time for family and life so it’s all good.

I’m really excited about 2018. To be honest, I was feeling a bit burnt out creatively recently and wasn’t sure if I could continue Zen Pencils. After over 5 years and 200 comics I was wondering if I had taken this site as far as I can. But after my recent trip to India, and meeting some amazing readers, that really gave me the kick up the butt I needed. It reminded me that I had built something special and meaningful to a lot of people, and the trip inspired me to keep going. Now I’ve got lots of new ideas to explore next year and I can’t wait to get started (I probably just needed to just get out of the house, I was turning into a cranky cartooning recluse here at home!).

So onwards to 2018! I’d like to thank each and every one of you for your support over the years, of if you’re a new reader, then thanks for coming onboard. Zen Pencils turns 6 in February – its become my life, my sometimes enemy and my constant refuge. I hope you stick around!

The most popular comics of 2017
Below are the top five comics of the year, judged solely on traffic. Here’s the list of all my previous top comics.

1. STEPHEN KING – The Desk: Definitely my favourite of the year too. This was a pleasure to create and Mr King posting it on his Facebook page was a real treat for a lifelong fan like me.
2. DAVID BOWIE – Go a Little Further: I really took a lot from this quote. Bowie’s advice of never playing it safe and to keep pushing one self is something I hope to practice next year. Plus, it was fun drawing the coked-out Thin White Duke.
3. AKIRA KUROSAWA – The Note Taker: I admit, I still read in bed 🙁 Some great books I read in 2017 were Leonardo Da Vinci (Isaacson), Sapiens (Harari), Side Hustle (Guillebeau), Hiroshima (Hersey), The Devil in the White City (Larson), The Old Man and the Sea (Hemingway), The Whites (Brandt), Dream Team (MaCallum), Golden Days (MaCallum), Red Harvest (Hammett), The North Water (McGuire).
4. FRIDA KAHLO – Heroine of Pain: It’s hard not to be inspired by Frida’s story and the popularity of this comic shows how much of icon she still is.
5. BRENÉ BROWN – The Eternal Struggle: A sequel to my first adaptation of a BB quote and a fun little story on how to conquer your inner demon.

Have you pre-ordered my new book yet?

The comics above appear in my new book collection CREATIVE STRUGGLE: Illustrated Advice From Masters of Creativity! It’s released on January 16, 2018. If you pre-order before then, you go into the running to win a Zen Pencils prize pack (pictured above) of signed copies of all of my books and an original, one-of-a-kind ink drawing featuring some of Zen Pencils most popular characters. You can see the full details of the book and competition here. I know it’s Christmas and you’re probably down to your last penny after all the Christmas shopping, but I bet you didn’t get anything for yourself. C’mon, you deserve a little gift after making it through this hell of a year, so I highly recommend you to treat yo’ self to my new book 🙂

Have a happy and safe holidays!
– Love Gav