After years of trying to be some internet “artist” called Jaxtraw, this is the end of that. It is an explanation and apology to website subscribers and the small group of people who have liked what I have drawn, and the Lucy Lastique comic strip. I apologise in advance if I do not attempt my usual jaunty style, but the situation is hardly appropriate for that.

I haven’t managed to produce any more Lucy. I also disappeard offline, leaving readers in limbo. This is of course unforgivable. Here is a feeble explanation. Readers will know I was having a great deal of trouble both with production and my financial situation. I said I was stopping earlier in the year, but some people begged me to continue, and kindly helped me financially, not least by ordering commissions. I was still having trouble. Then the council came to refurbish my kitchen and bathroom, and rewire the flat. What I had thought would be a minor disruption turned into me being unable to do anything for weeks. It was at this point I stopped checking my email and, presumably because I haven’t been entirely in my right mind, effectively hiding from the world.

By the time I could sit at my computer again, the scraps I had done towards the episode were demonstrably inadequate. Unable to think of an explanation, I carried on hiding while things got worse and worse. I have done little for the past six months but try every day to draw Lucy, and fail. I have tried to improve my skills to the standard of adequacy necessary, and failed. I have kept the website live and lived off the small number of rebills while things got steadily worse financially. Unable to afford to get the company accounts done- and ironically missing an email from my accountant offering to do them for free, the company is being struck off, so there is no more “Jaxtraw Studios” and I can only hope I’m not hit with unpayable financial penalties for that as well by the authorities.

None of this is justifiable, morally or legally; but I deluded myself that if I produced a Lucy strip in the end, taking the money from rebills would be justified. In a sense, they would be an “investment” by fans. Maybe they would have been if I’d produced another episode. The last attempt was abandoning the ongoing story entirely in favour of a different filler story which, honestly had a great script, but I never got past the first two panels because every time I finished one, I realised the other wasn’t good enough and had to go back and redraw it. In the end, neither were, after about 3 weeks on this treadmill.

There is obviously going to be no more Lucy. The thing that kept me going was an insane delusion that “tomorrow morning, I will wake up and be able to draw”. This is like hoping to wake up as a concert pianist tomorrow morning. It isn’t going to happen. I am right up against the wall now and starting the process, again, of going on State benefits, but there will be no Lucy revival, obviously. There shouldn’t have been one two years ago. It was insane. As my father said when I explained this situation to him a few days ago, “So, you tried to be an artist who can’t actually draw?” and all I could say, was, “yes”. It’s mad. I can’t really comprehend how I got myself into such an absurd situation, but I did. I can’t comprehend why people kept saying I can draw either. Maybe we are all some kind of mad. This is a Lucy I did a couple of days ago. It shows improvement. It’s still not good enough. The head is the wrong size, or something. As usual.

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And it’s not a whole panel anyway.

Not looking at email, or the website, or the blog- justified that I would when I’d got the illusory episode done- but guessing people would be pretty angry, I am sorry to the bottom of my heart now I’ve read the comments. No, I’m not dead. Wish I was really. I still have my flat to live in, just about. I am sorry not to have communicated. I just couldn’t stop hiding. I am sorry to have taken subscriptions too. It is feeble to say this, but if it’s any consolation they funded me trying, if failing, for these months. I did try.

Also, if I owe you a commission, please email me on jaxtraw AT hotmail DOT com. If you’ve emailed me these past few months, I’m afraid I haven’t got your email. I preusmed the email was backing up on the server while I didn’t look at it, but nearly all has been lost since June on all my accounts. Since the website will shut soon anyway presumably since I can’t afford the hosting, my old emails may not be functioning.

Thank you so much to everyone who tried to help me and make Lucy a success. I am very sorry to have failed you all, in particular in this manner. “Jaxtraw, the artist who can’t draw”. Hell of a thing to be remembered for on the internet.

“Jax”