Nate Utesch is not only talented, but busy. Based out of Indiana he’s an art director, an illustrator, he plays in bands and he’s a self-publisher. He recently released the newest edition of Ferocious Quarterly who’s theme this time around is based around the term, “Survival.”
I follow Nate on Twitter and I know he’s been working really hard on this project for a while now, so I thought it would be interesting to hear about the issue itself as well as the process he went through to have it made. What he learned could certainly be helpful to anyone out there who’s interested in self-publishing.
Hey Nate. So the new issue of Ferocious Quarterly was just released, tell us what this issue is about.
Issue no.3 is called, “Be Prepared.” The theme for “Be Prepared” was simply one word: survival. And to make the artist/writer collaborations a little more difficult this time around, we had the artists illustrate their pieces first…then give the contributions to the writers. So all the written word in “Be Prepared” is based on the illustration rather than the other way around.
There’s a good group of people involved with this issue, what are some highlights we can look forward to?
Ah! That’s so hard. Like choosing a favorite child. I think the thing we were most blown away with in “Be Prepared” was how well the writers worked with the illustrators. Switching things up this time around was an exciting element. The writers blew our expectations out of the water. We’re so proud of the folks involved. After all, we’re asking incredible people to donate so many hours to this silly thing. When the contributions came back with as much heart and soul as these did it was truly incredible.
Following you on Twitter it seems like you’ve definitely put a lot of hard work into this issue, how was the process for you? Any interesting challenges you can share?
To back up about a year ago from this time—we were trying to raise money on Kickstarter for our 3rd issue. And it failed! A huge kick in all the soft places. Pretty discouraging. A little embarrassing. We learned some important lessons, but we kept moving forward.
We concepted an online division of Ferocious called “Short Works” headed up by FQ editor, Jason Roemer. It will debut this year with a series of one-off short stories created just for our online readers. Jason put together a little teaser with writer, Joseph Mau, and illustrator, Ward Jenkis, last December. It’s AMAZING!! I can’t wait to see the rest of these stories unfold this year.
We also started more heavily pursuing the physical stocking of our books. Myself and FQ editor/co-officer of distribution, Scott Kirkpatrick, and I are each in bands that tour on and off throughout the year. We let a couple tours last year double as a scouting adventure to find shops who would take a risk and carry these ugly mugs. The result is now nine local bookstores and comic shops that carry FQ on their shelves.
Ok, 2012. This year has been an absolute madhouse. These contributors are hard-working men and women with careers and lives and a slew of extracurricular projects. If somebody needs to drop-out or needs an extension, we have to be ok with it. The least we can do is be accommodating considering what we’re asking of them. And then there’s our own schedules. I am almost inclined to say that I’ve regretfully let the production of issue 3 overlap with a half a dozen other side projects. But damn… we’re all a bunch of workaholic nightmares of a human being right? I live for those seasons of 95 hour work-weeks and consecutive all-nighters. Wherever your studio is, if you don’t find yourself sleeping there at least twice a week, you’re doing something wrong, right? I’m being a little facetious, but seriously, even though it’s been a blur it’s been fruitful. This is one of the most rewarding pieces of junk in my life!
Why does Ferocious mean to you? Is there a particular reason you choose to publish your own magazine still, in a time of digital products?
This whole mess started out as an idea at the design boutique I call home (One Lucky Guitar, Inc.). Amidst the side projects we fill our evenings with, I thought we’d create a blog and spend the summer populating it with interviews and short stories. I finished the design flats, got about two-thirds of the way through the front-end programming…and then we tossed it. Something got in the way (except for the fact that this blog would’ve been a drop in the bucket).
I’d like to believe that even though we are truly in an age where print is diminishing and reading a book has nothing to do with turning a page…by jove, if you create something that is meant to be touched — folks wanna touch it! AdHouse Books, Sing Statistics, Nobrow, Koyama Press—those peeps are my heroes! I want to see Ferocious move beyond its quarterly issues and start publishing the “Short Works” stories on paper, put a comic in print, publish a work of poetry, publish a work from our friends and collaborators… I want to go broke and I want to be surrounded by the smell of offset ink and uncoated paper. I believe in it.
When do you think we’ll see the next issue? Any idea what it might be about?
My FQ partner in crime and co-manager of operations, Matt Beers (No, I’m not making these titles up as I go… sheesh. FQ is legit, man), came up with a theme I’m so stoked on. Issue No.4 is called “Deep.” In “Deep,” we decided to experiment with the way our contributors worked together. Half of our contributors illustrated only one half of an image. Their piece was themed after deep sea. Then the rest of our contributors were given those illustrations and were charged with illustrating the remaining half of the image in their own style. Except their theme was not deep sea. It was deep space. I say all this in past tense, but this is actually happening as we speak. All the deep sea illustrations were handed over to the deep space artists last week. Our goal is to have “Deep” in our hands this August.
Something to look forward to in this issue that we haven’t done before are a couple limited edition goodies. We are going to package them with each issue until they run out. The goodies include a folded “Scout Laws” poster illustrated by Dan Cassaro, Dan Christofferson and myself, and an embroidered merit badge.