Art Anxieties and Other Adventures

Hello dear readers.

I hope today finds you well.

I am coming to you live from my new art making nook:

wri
Newly dedicated writing and arting space. Also fuzzy.

I keep trying to figure out how to convince my heater that warm does not mean melting all the clocks in the house with epic heat and that likewise cold that stops time dead is not appreciated. These extremes should not be the only settings available, but my heater is unaware of this fact.

Even though it’s not going very well with the heater, other things are going VERY well for me, some for the first time in a long time:

  • Goth Gal is almost a year old and no one has threatened me to stop making comics or face the fish of pain.
  • Goth Gal is now on Tapastic and will hopefully be seen (and liked) by more!
  • My novel is almost two years old–still in first draft editing mode because life interrupted my plans.
  • I have a brand new freaking awesome professional art board to create stuff with thanks to donations from patrons at Patreon and GoFundMe.
  • I just sold my two paintings for the first time to a non-friend/non-family person.
  • And I was just promoted in my part time job to a much higher position.

Things are going well.

So why am I paralyzingly worried?

I should be dancing on the moon in a full on conga line with some little green (or gray) men (or women) right about now. Instead I find myself worrying that I will now not have time for art.

This may sound selfish to some. I know there are plenty who can’t get a job, let alone get promoted in a position that lets them work from home in their pajamas. This is the college dream–well this is someone’s college dream anyway. I saw enough pajama pants on campus to know that. Still, please don’t get the wrong idea: I am so overwhelmingly grateful and excited that I don’t know quite what to feel…but I am also downright terrified.

Why, you may ask?

My first thought after the excitement of the offer fizzled down was what if I don’t have time for art?! I then readily followed a bunny trail of thoughts down a dark road that involved my dreams being locked away in drawers as I was forced to deal with the practical things of life until I died of old age or alien invasion–whichever comes first.

 

now-im-a-superhero
Not my art. Anxiety Girl belongs to Natalie Dee (as far as I can tell).

 

In my epic level disaster scenario (which oddly does not include zombies at all), I age rapidly while my dreams abandon the obviously failed artistic writer person in search of sunnier shores (read people who make money off of their art and don’t have to work a non-art job). Right about now is when my more logical side started giving me the Ben Franklin stare-of-discomfort ™:

960
This is the face of a man who has seen things, or had his parking space stolen–hard to say.

My logical side knows all sorts of stories about all sorts of people who made it while doing a normal person job but it also knows stories of those who had everything going for them and somehow did not make it. (That latter part was really unhelpful logical side!) The one helpful thing my logical side did point out (before I stuffed it back in its cage) is that dreams are not in fact separate entities, so they can’t technically run away.

So, how am I managing this unhelpful fear of change/life/dreams/art?

Up until now, I’ve been working major overtime at work, helping other people with various things, hanging out with friends when possible (I’m so sorry Blanka–I totally forgot until yesterday and I really did have a message sitting in “send”. I WAS NOT FLAKING ON YOU!), and doing all the other things people have to do in life to stay alive.

All of that really needs to change.

The new position means I don’t need to work overtime. Being that I’ve been working almost 80 hours a week for several months and doing Goth Gal and doing all the other stuff, this is a HUGE relief (I began this job as a part time job…life had other ideas). However, a leadership position means more time in other ways. Plus, even without overtime, it is still hard to work a job and create art. And for me it may be harder than for most because I have some remnants from my major health issues of last year that I am still battling. I will be taking some health steps soon in an attempt to cleanse all of that–but that’s another post for another day.

So, to fix my quandary, and make sure my dreams are fed and watered properly, I am setting up some boundaries!

Yay–wait what?

I know, it sounds kind of boring, and vaguely like an adult thing… and even maybe not inclusive. Really though it’s more like YAY! because it is inclusive and I am totally NOT adulting.

Really.

So boundaries, how can they help?

Well Tim, boundary inc. guarantees that as long as you enforce their patented boundary technology, you will be able to decide things and mostly stick to those decisions.

Subject to terms and conditions, special offers do not apply, not applicable in the case of natural disasters or health issues.

Or, in other words, I’m blocking off specific days and times for art. I’m also overhauling my schedule completely. I will do art in time slots before work because that is the only way I can really stick with this. Different strategies will work for different people, but this is what it has to be for me. Nothing but art will fill these specific slots because I will guard them like a rabid hyena. That’s my job. In return for providing them some dedicated time, the dreams with stick around with me as long as I feed them.

Which is why I am sitting here typing this at 6am…my eyes hurt.

Normally, I don’t get into work until noon. This means I’m up all night then get up and go to work. Unfortunately this also means that by the time I get to me time, or art time, or writing time, I am tired and I don’t have much drive left to push myself with. So, I end up giving myself permission to take off JUST THIS ONCE. Which of course becomes JUST ABOUT EVERY TIME.

So, from now on, I get up in the wee hours of the morning and I get to arting and writing and my million and one projects that are always flowing through my head screaming PICK ME!!!!! This is also why I made the new nook. I need a space my brain doesn’t associate with my normal job that is easy to get to when I’m bleary eyed. (Right now I am convinced coffee is nature’s superpower). I have also dedicated my weekends to creating deadline specific art so that I am not overwhelmed during the week with it. And I am going to take at least 30 minutes to write every single day. Arting needs to be as much a priority in my life as eating, sleeping and working for my paycheck.

No art can be created without TIME; it is one of the most important ingredients. Many of us (I am looking at you here dear readers) beat ourselves up about our imperfect art. Yet usually we are stealing moments in between other moments to be able to make the stuff in the first place. So in essence you and I are creating time in between the ticks of the clock. That’s magic as far as I am concerned.

Getting off of a full time job and working on your novel even though you are worn out is MAGIC. Painting even though you are going to school and working a part time job is MAGIC. Making videos and uploading them to Youtube even though you have crippling anxiety is MAGIC.

YOU ARE MAGIC!

Ongoing art making is nothing short of heroic. Ongoing art making when you have a million things vying for your time and you have to provide for your family is nothing short of miraculous. So good job to those of you making it despite the odds. To those of you making art in the wee hours of the night because you have to be somewhere in the early hours of the morning: I salute you and admire you, even though we might never meet. You are amazing people.

And to those of you who want to make art, but keep waiting because you are busy or tired or worried, it’s ok. Start small right this very minute. Try to take as little as 15 minutes each day to spend on art. You don’t need fancy tools–any pen and paper will do. My novel started out as random snippets doodled in notebooks and grew from there. Eventually you will find that what art gives back to you is greater than what you put into it. Don’t wait for life to give you the time, because there will always be a more practical thing waiting to fill it. You must take the time you need, life will not give it to you. The struggle is worth it. Somewhere, someone desperately needs your art.

Imagine a world where David Bowie didn’t try because he didn’t believe he was good enough. Even as we grieve his loss, we see his huge impact on the world. If he can do it, you can do it. If you aren’t sure this art thing that you want to try is really what you want, experiment. Art is everywhere if you are looking for it. You can try 50 different art forms until you find one that clicks with you. You don’t have to go all in at once. Work on little dreams. If you take some time out to care for your little dreams it gives them the chance to grow into big dreams.

Take time.

Make art.

Live.

Until later my dear readers. ❤

 

 

The Best & The Worst

Hello dear readers.

It’s been a while since I posted here.

I’ve had many, many ideas but no time / brainpower with which to write.

So, here I am, thinking myself into quandaries as usual. 😉

Today’s musing will cover topics as diverse as Alice Cooper and Murder She Wrote.

Yep.

You heard me right.

So without further adieu, here we go.

I have been quite active on social media the past few weeks. This is due to many factors including lack of creative energy, crazy work schedules, producing/promoting Goth Gal, losing and gaining patrons and a sort of general malaise that comes with the Post Halloween insanity that seems to take over America every year.

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE giving gifts to people. Carefully choosing something for someone you love, watching their face light up when they open it (or cringe depending on what you’re going for) and meals with people I love are great. The insane commercialism on the other hand that hits at midnight on October 31st, I could do without.

Seriously retail places:

Stop pushing products at me. You really don’t change what I am going to buy AT ALL. Also, I’m artistic so I can make  A LOT of my gifts.

SALE SALE SALE BUY BUY BUY messages do nothing but make me AVOID spending my monies with you.

The CUSTOMER is almost NEVER right–please adjust accordingly.

And finally, GIVE YOUR EMPLOYEES PAID TIME OFF to spend their holidays with the people they love.The rest of us can wait a day, or a week or whatever, to buy whatever it is we want.

Okay, retail rant over.

One shopping type thing I have been enjoying is Apple Music. It keeps me from spending way to much on music when I launch into a music obsession. If you have iStuff and you tend to move from obsessive music binge to obsessive music binge (as in MUST HEAR EVERYTHING BY NEW ARTIST), get yourself an apple music family plan. 14.99 per month for up to 6 people. I am THERE. I mean okay I literally AM there…but you know what I mean. 6 friends could totally make this worth it too–if you trust your friends to pay you for their iPurchases.

I’ve been on an Alice Cooper binge this week and I have really been enjoying it. My current favorites is Along Came a Spider, if you’re interested.

Spiked top hat. Need I say more?

Alice_Cooper_2011
I WANT YOU…to dieeeeeeeeeeeee. (okay he really doesn’t. However, it reminds me of that Uncle Same “I WANT YOU” poster…)

 

Speaking of death, I have also been spending a lot of time with Mrs. J.B. Fletcher in Murder She Wrote and thoroughly enjoying Murder She Blogged‘s commentary. I now frequently add “of death” to names. Seriously if you like JB, check it out! I happen to think JB is pretty sweet myself.

who-is-dead-jessica-fletcher

She’s like Auntie Holmes or something. I firmly believe that my childhood love of this show has completely blinded me to any flaws–you have been warned.

Speaking of flaws (I am SOOOO obvious with my transitions this evening), I have also been pondering social media.

What was that noise?

Oh, it’s just all the people reading this having a different reaction.Gotta slow down on the murder mysteries…

Social Media is a strange unique beastie that brings out the strange and unique in the people who use it–for better or worse.

I have had a blast and been very uplifted by kind comments and people enjoying Goth Gal. But I have also experience such things as being told off for dressing as a sugar skull for Halloween because culture (well actually Dia de los Muertos is a cultural mixing bag to start with), watched people dis the recent explosion of the French Flag everywhere (bad job everyone who uses a symbol?) and general asshole-ishness.

It seems to me like 97% of the people on social media are either OFFENDED BY EVERYTHING HOW DARE YOU!!!!! or are offensive about everything we hate this other group because reasons!

I am neither of these groups.

If I offend you, it probably wasn’t intentional.

I do not hate anyone unless they cause pain/suffering/death on purpose.

So, to recap, DON’T cause pain/suffering/death on purpose and I won’t have any problem with you.

Also, I will not live my life in an “Oh no I might offend someone better not do _____” bubble.

Sorry, NOT SORRY.

We are all imperfect people who screw up, fall in love, are amazing and horrible and more all at once.

Social Media is blowing all of this out of crazy proportion because of MANY reasons.

It’s sort of bothering me because I see it, even contribute to it at times and other then signing off…I don’t know how to fix it. And signing off seems like running away from the problem.

Yet, it depresses me more than I know how to express when I see someone attack something like posting a flag over a profile picture or yell at someone for their lack or possession of a specific cultural heritage.

It just brings up this question: what is wrong with us?

Why can’t we spend time actually helping instead of judging everybody?

Spend all that debate energy helping someone!

I will continue to ponder all of this lest this post become never ending.

So, for now, I’m going to leave you with Neil Gaiman’s words, because I think of them often and because they echo the fairy tales I took to heart in my youth:

Instructions, by Neil Gaiman

Touch the wooden gate in the wall you never saw before, 

Say ‘please’ before you open the latch,

go through,

walk down the path.

A red metal imp hangs from the green-painted front door,

as a knocker,

do not touch it; it will bite your fingers.

Walk through the house. Take nothing. Eat nothing.

However,

if any creature tells you that it hungers,

feed it.

If it tells you that it is dirty,

clean it.

If it cries to you that it hurts,

if you can,

ease its pain.

 

From the back garden you will be able to see the wild wood.

The deep well you walk past leads down to Winter’s realm;

There is another land at the bottom of it.

If you turn around here,

you can walk back, safely;

you will lose no face. I will think no less of you.

 

Once through the garden you will be in the wood.

The trees are old. Eyes peer from the undergrowth.

Beneath a twisted oak sits an old woman. She may ask for 

something;

give it to her. She

will point the way to the castle. Inside it

are three princesses.

Do not trust the youngest. Walk on.

In the clearing beyond the castle the twelve months sit about a fire,

warming their feet, exchanging tales.

They may do favours for you, if you are polite.

You may pick strawberries in December’s frost.

 

Trust the wolves, but do not tell them where you are going.

The river can be crossed by the ferry. The ferryman will take you.

(The answer to his question is this:

If he hands the oar to his passenger, he will be free to leave the boat.

Only tell him this from a safe distance.)

 

If an eagle gives you a feather, keep it safe.

Remember: that giants sleep too soundly; that

witches are often betrayed by their appetites;

dragons have one soft spot, somewhere, always;

hearts can be well hidden,

and you betray them with your tongue.

 

Do not be jealous of your sister:

know that diamonds and roses

are as uncomfortable when they tumble from one’s lips as toads and 

frogs:

colder, too, and sharper, and they cut.

 

Remember your name.

Do not lose hope – what you seek will be found.

Trust ghosts. Trust those that you have helped to help you in their 

turn.

Trust dreams.

Trust your heart, and trust your story.

 

When you come back, return the way you came.

Favours will be returned, debts be repaid.

 

Do not forget your manners. Do not look back.

Ride the wise eagle (you shall not fall).

Ride the silver fish (you will not drown).

Ride the grey wolf (hold tightly to his fur).

 

There is a worm at the heart of the tower; that is why it will not 

stand.

 

When you reach the little house, the place your journey started,

you will recognise it, although it will seem much smaller than you

remember.

Walk up the path, and through the garden gate you never saw before 

but once.

And then go home. Or make a home.

 

Or rest.

Copyright NEIL GAIMAN, not me.

(please don’t sue me, I’m trying to speak in feelings and I’m not paid for this at all. In fact it costs me to keep this website going. Also, I have no money anyway. So please don’t sue.)

Be safe everyone.

 

The Best & The Worst

Hello dear readers.

It’s been a while since I posted here.

I’ve had many, many ideas but no time / brainpower with which to write.

So, here I am, thinking myself into quandaries as usual. 😉

Today’s musing will cover topics as diverse as Alice Cooper and Murder She Wrote.

Yep.

You heard me right.

So without further adieu, here we go.

I have been quite active on social media the past few weeks. This is due to many factors including lack of creative energy, crazy work schedules, producing/promoting Goth Gal, losing and gaining patrons and a sort of general malaise that comes with the Post Halloween insanity that seems to take over America every year.

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE giving gifts to people. Carefully choosing something for someone you love, watching their face light up when they open it (or cringe depending on what you’re going for) and meals with people I love are great. The insane commercialism on the other hand that hits at midnight on October 31st, I could do without.

Seriously retail places:

Stop pushing products at me. You really don’t change what I am going to buy AT ALL. Also, I’m artistic so I can make  A LOT of my gifts.

SALE SALE SALE BUY BUY BUY messages do nothing but make me AVOID spending my monies with you.

The CUSTOMER is almost NEVER right–please adjust accordingly.

And finally, GIVE YOUR EMPLOYEES PAID TIME OFF to spend their holidays with the people they love.The rest of us can wait a day, or a week or whatever, to buy whatever it is we want.

Okay, retail rant over.

One shopping type thing I have been enjoying is Apple Music. It keeps me from spending way to much on music when I launch into a music obsession. If you have iStuff and you tend to move from obsessive music binge to obsessive music binge (as in MUST HEAR EVERYTHING BY NEW ARTIST), get yourself an apple music family plan. 14.99 per month for up to 6 people. I am THERE. I mean okay I literally AM there…but you know what I mean. 6 friends could totally make this worth it too–if you trust your friends to pay you for their iPurchases.

I’ve been on an Alice Cooper binge this week and I have really been enjoying it. My current favorites is Along Came a Spider, if you’re interested.

Spiked top hat. Need I say more?

Alice_Cooper_2011
I WANT YOU…to dieeeeeeeeeeeee. (okay he really doesn’t. However, it reminds me of that Uncle Same “I WANT YOU” poster…)

 

Speaking of death, I have also been spending a lot of time with Mrs. J.B. Fletcher in Murder She Wrote and thoroughly enjoying Murder She Blogged‘s commentary. I now frequently add “of death” to names. Seriously if you like JB, check it out! I happen to think JB is pretty sweet myself.

who-is-dead-jessica-fletcher

She’s like Auntie Holmes or something. I firmly believe that my childhood love of this show has completely blinded me to any flaws–you have been warned.

Speaking of flaws (I am SOOOO obvious with my transitions this evening), I have also been pondering social media.

What was that noise?

Oh, it’s just all the people reading this having a different reaction.Gotta slow down on the murder mysteries…

Social Media is a strange unique beastie that brings out the strange and unique in the people who use it–for better or worse.

I have had a blast and been very uplifted by kind comments and people enjoying Goth Gal. But I have also experience such things as being told off for dressing as a sugar skull for Halloween because culture (well actually Dia de los Muertos is a cultural mixing bag to start with), watched people dis the recent explosion of the French Flag everywhere (bad job everyone who uses a symbol?) and general asshole-ishness.

It seems to me like 97% of the people on social media are either OFFENDED BY EVERYTHING HOW DARE YOU!!!!! or are offensive about everything we hate this other group because reasons!

I am neither of these groups.

If I offend you, it probably wasn’t intentional.

I do not hate anyone unless they cause pain/suffering/death on purpose.

So, to recap, DON’T cause pain/suffering/death on purpose and I won’t have any problem with you.

Also, I will not live my life in an “Oh no I might offend someone better not do _____” bubble.

Sorry, NOT SORRY.

We are all imperfect people who screw up, fall in love, are amazing and horrible and more all at once.

Social Media is blowing all of this out of crazy proportion because of MANY reasons.

It’s sort of bothering me because I see it, even contribute to it at times and other then signing off…I don’t know how to fix it. And signing off seems like running away from the problem.

Yet, it depresses me more than I know how to express when I see someone attack something like posting a flag over a profile picture or yell at someone for their lack or possession of a specific cultural heritage.

It just brings up this question: what is wrong with us?

Why can’t we spend time actually helping instead of judging everybody?

Spend all that debate energy helping someone!

I will continue to ponder all of this lest this post become never ending.

So, for now, I’m going to leave you with Neil Gaiman’s words, because I think of them often and because they echo the fairy tales I took to heart in my youth:

Instructions, by Neil Gaiman

Touch the wooden gate in the wall you never saw before, 

Say ‘please’ before you open the latch,

go through,

walk down the path.

A red metal imp hangs from the green-painted front door,

as a knocker,

do not touch it; it will bite your fingers.

Walk through the house. Take nothing. Eat nothing.

However,

if any creature tells you that it hungers,

feed it.

If it tells you that it is dirty,

clean it.

If it cries to you that it hurts,

if you can,

ease its pain.

 

From the back garden you will be able to see the wild wood.

The deep well you walk past leads down to Winter’s realm;

There is another land at the bottom of it.

If you turn around here,

you can walk back, safely;

you will lose no face. I will think no less of you.

 

Once through the garden you will be in the wood.

The trees are old. Eyes peer from the undergrowth.

Beneath a twisted oak sits an old woman. She may ask for 

something;

give it to her. She

will point the way to the castle. Inside it

are three princesses.

Do not trust the youngest. Walk on.

In the clearing beyond the castle the twelve months sit about a fire,

warming their feet, exchanging tales.

They may do favours for you, if you are polite.

You may pick strawberries in December’s frost.

 

Trust the wolves, but do not tell them where you are going.

The river can be crossed by the ferry. The ferryman will take you.

(The answer to his question is this:

If he hands the oar to his passenger, he will be free to leave the boat.

Only tell him this from a safe distance.)

 

If an eagle gives you a feather, keep it safe.

Remember: that giants sleep too soundly; that

witches are often betrayed by their appetites;

dragons have one soft spot, somewhere, always;

hearts can be well hidden,

and you betray them with your tongue.

 

Do not be jealous of your sister:

know that diamonds and roses

are as uncomfortable when they tumble from one’s lips as toads and 

frogs:

colder, too, and sharper, and they cut.

 

Remember your name.

Do not lose hope – what you seek will be found.

Trust ghosts. Trust those that you have helped to help you in their 

turn.

Trust dreams.

Trust your heart, and trust your story.

 

When you come back, return the way you came.

Favours will be returned, debts be repaid.

 

Do not forget your manners. Do not look back.

Ride the wise eagle (you shall not fall).

Ride the silver fish (you will not drown).

Ride the grey wolf (hold tightly to his fur).

 

There is a worm at the heart of the tower; that is why it will not 

stand.

 

When you reach the little house, the place your journey started,

you will recognise it, although it will seem much smaller than you

remember.

Walk up the path, and through the garden gate you never saw before 

but once.

And then go home. Or make a home.

 

Or rest.

Copyright NEIL GAIMAN, not me.

(please don’t sue me, I’m trying to speak in feelings and I’m not paid for this at all. In fact it costs me to keep this website going. Also, I have no money anyway. So please don’t sue.)

Be safe everyone.

 

I Am Not the Best Thing Ever and That's Okay

Hello dear readers!

It is currently a lovely *trying to pretend it’s fall* day.

It’s eighty degrees where I am, but there is a breeze…and some falling leaves.

It’s FALLLLLLLLL I tell you!

As you may have deduced, fall is my favorite season. It’s been that way as long as I can remember. I love the (typical) chill in the air, falling leaves, pumpkin EVERYTHING, and Halloween stuff everywhere (finally my music is seasonally appropriate).

Today’s musing is on not being the best–as you probably ascertained from the title. Before I get to that, a few words on my morning ritual.

My morning ritual is fairly drab. I wake up, check Facebook for a while, get tea or coffee or guru energy and some breakfast, and watch some Tales From the Darkside (or something similar) for a little while. Then I get about whatever I need to do that day.

This morning I was perusing Facebook like normal when I came across some very good art by the amazing sakimichan (warning, some of her stuff is NSFW). I perused her awesome art with a feeling that began as awe and became insecurity as I looked.

In my head I was comparing my art to hers. Mine, I felt, would be at home in preschool, while hers belonged in galleries. (The logical part of my brain neglected to toss in that my main career choice is actually writing and I have no real technical training in art.) As I struggled with these feelings, I decided to try painting a character into existence.

Normally I am very line focused. I create a line drawing in pen or digital–pencil I always manage to smudge too much. Then I focus on coloring, shading and all the rest. So, today I started with blobs of paint in a human-ish shape and went from there. One hour later, here was the result:

Blue Experiment
Blue Experiment

Now, this is a far cry from Sakimichan. I was frustrated with myself. I mean really why couldn’t I simply draw something like this:

Source: http://sakimichan.deviantart.com/art/Sci-Fi-Elf-398195577
Source: http://sakimichan.deviantart.com/art/Sci-Fi-Elf-398195577

Then, I stopped to think about it. My girl looks fairly human, and her hair (which took FOREVER) has an effect I’ve never seen before… I actually decided I liked the drawing. I had challenged myself and created something new–not bad.

I went on with my morning (website updates GALORE today) then hopped over to my patreon to see if anything needed updated. I started looking into other patreon members…and went through basically the same frustrating process as I had with my art. My thoughts went something like: I am broke. My art is not making money. All these other very good people are. My art must suck, or maybe my jokes suck, or maybe…marketing?

My mum is a business type person, I am not. Marketing myself is like some foreign  language that I need a translator for. It doesn’t help that I despise false positivity. I refer to the EVERYTHING IS GREAT WE DO NOT FEEL NEGATIVES EVER culture that pervades corporate reality in my experience. I am not dissing genuine happiness and optimism. Being happy is totally great. So, my brain sort of hisses at words like “marketing” and “branding” and other terms like them when I apply them to myself.

However, I decided to be brave. Maybe my own artistic self was getting in my way. (Read: maybe I didn’t suck as much as I thought.) I looked up web marketing for oneself. It was like a bizarre labyrinth of bright colors, bad web design and BUY BUY BUY NOW NOW NOW. After a few hours, I found very little useful info that common sense and normal internet use wouldn’t provide. In other words, I found NOTHING. I gave it up as a bad job and stared at other people’s patreon pages trying to figure out what I’m doing wrong. Loading Artist for example is great and funny and living off of his art. (Way to go Loading artist!)

I still haven’t figured out what I’m doing wrong.

I did, however, figure out some interesting things about myself:

1 – I make art for me.

If you are making art only for others, you will quit long before you make any impact on the world. I thought about what would happen if Goth Gal or my other projects never made me a dime. Would I stop doing it?

Nope.

I love making Goth Gal. I make her first and foremost for me. I’m glad I get to share her with everyone else, but I would still make this comic, even if I was the only person on the planet. Maybe that sounds weird, but I’ve been doodling her in notebooks for years now just for me.

2 – I am my only real competition.

I am not competing against the talented Sakimichan, or Loading Artist, or anyone else, not really. I am competing with myself. I try to improve because I want to make the best thing I can possibly make, not because I compare myself to those around me.

I do realize that, as a human being in a world of human beings, there are times I will compare myself to others. That’s okay, as long as I don’t get stuck there. It’s okay as long as it doesn’t poison the passion I have to create, the heart of my creativity you might say. (You can’t spell heart without art, after all.)

3 – I’m not the best and that’s okay.

Artists, Writers, Musicians and others like them are a strange breed. We aren’t so much competing against each other as swimming with each other in the same impossibly large ocean. Learning how to navigate it and survive is difficult, but not impossible.

In other words, I don’t have to be the best, I have to be my best.

That distinction may seem tiny, but to me, it’s the difference between beating myself up with comparisons and being able to enjoy the other artists around me.

After these realizations, nothing external changed. I’m still broke, I still have the exact same problems, I still wonder how to do this thing called life…but now I feel better about it. I can enjoy the swim instead of dragging my fins. As one great fishy once said, just keep swimming.

I hope this helps another fishy out there.

PS – I just published my first set of goth gal comics on the amazon kindle store.

Q1 - Cover

Volume One contains the first 60 comics in high quality format. Visit this link to check it out! Kindle is compatible with PC, Mac, iOS, Android and of course kindle devices. If you have kindle unlimited you can read it for free too! Goth on!

I Am Not the Best Thing Ever and That’s Okay

Hello dear readers!

It is currently a lovely *trying to pretend it’s fall* day.

It’s eighty degrees where I am, but there is a breeze…and some falling leaves.

It’s FALLLLLLLLL I tell you!

As you may have deduced, fall is my favorite season. It’s been that way as long as I can remember. I love the (typical) chill in the air, falling leaves, pumpkin EVERYTHING, and Halloween stuff everywhere (finally my music is seasonally appropriate).

Today’s musing is on not being the best–as you probably ascertained from the title. Before I get to that, a few words on my morning ritual.

My morning ritual is fairly drab. I wake up, check Facebook for a while, get tea or coffee or guru energy and some breakfast, and watch some Tales From the Darkside (or something similar) for a little while. Then I get about whatever I need to do that day.

This morning I was perusing Facebook like normal when I came across some very good art by the amazing sakimichan (warning, some of her stuff is NSFW). I perused her awesome art with a feeling that began as awe and became insecurity as I looked.

In my head I was comparing my art to hers. Mine, I felt, would be at home in preschool, while hers belonged in galleries. (The logical part of my brain neglected to toss in that my main career choice is actually writing and I have no real technical training in art.) As I struggled with these feelings, I decided to try painting a character into existence.

Normally I am very line focused. I create a line drawing in pen or digital–pencil I always manage to smudge too much. Then I focus on coloring, shading and all the rest. So, today I started with blobs of paint in a human-ish shape and went from there. One hour later, here was the result:

Blue Experiment
Blue Experiment

Now, this is a far cry from Sakimichan. I was frustrated with myself. I mean really why couldn’t I simply draw something like this:

Source: http://sakimichan.deviantart.com/art/Sci-Fi-Elf-398195577
Source: http://sakimichan.deviantart.com/art/Sci-Fi-Elf-398195577

Then, I stopped to think about it. My girl looks fairly human, and her hair (which took FOREVER) has an effect I’ve never seen before… I actually decided I liked the drawing. I had challenged myself and created something new–not bad.

I went on with my morning (website updates GALORE today) then hopped over to my patreon to see if anything needed updated. I started looking into other patreon members…and went through basically the same frustrating process as I had with my art. My thoughts went something like: I am broke. My art is not making money. All these other very good people are. My art must suck, or maybe my jokes suck, or maybe…marketing?

My mum is a business type person, I am not. Marketing myself is like some foreign  language that I need a translator for. It doesn’t help that I despise false positivity. I refer to the EVERYTHING IS GREAT WE DO NOT FEEL NEGATIVES EVER culture that pervades corporate reality in my experience. I am not dissing genuine happiness and optimism. Being happy is totally great. So, my brain sort of hisses at words like “marketing” and “branding” and other terms like them when I apply them to myself.

However, I decided to be brave. Maybe my own artistic self was getting in my way. (Read: maybe I didn’t suck as much as I thought.) I looked up web marketing for oneself. It was like a bizarre labyrinth of bright colors, bad web design and BUY BUY BUY NOW NOW NOW. After a few hours, I found very little useful info that common sense and normal internet use wouldn’t provide. In other words, I found NOTHING. I gave it up as a bad job and stared at other people’s patreon pages trying to figure out what I’m doing wrong. Loading Artist for example is great and funny and living off of his art. (Way to go Loading artist!)

I still haven’t figured out what I’m doing wrong.

I did, however, figure out some interesting things about myself:

1 – I make art for me.

If you are making art only for others, you will quit long before you make any impact on the world. I thought about what would happen if Goth Gal or my other projects never made me a dime. Would I stop doing it?

Nope.

I love making Goth Gal. I make her first and foremost for me. I’m glad I get to share her with everyone else, but I would still make this comic, even if I was the only person on the planet. Maybe that sounds weird, but I’ve been doodling her in notebooks for years now just for me.

2 – I am my only real competition.

I am not competing against the talented Sakimichan, or Loading Artist, or anyone else, not really. I am competing with myself. I try to improve because I want to make the best thing I can possibly make, not because I compare myself to those around me.

I do realize that, as a human being in a world of human beings, there are times I will compare myself to others. That’s okay, as long as I don’t get stuck there. It’s okay as long as it doesn’t poison the passion I have to create, the heart of my creativity you might say. (You can’t spell heart without art, after all.)

3 – I’m not the best and that’s okay.

Artists, Writers, Musicians and others like them are a strange breed. We aren’t so much competing against each other as swimming with each other in the same impossibly large ocean. Learning how to navigate it and survive is difficult, but not impossible.

In other words, I don’t have to be the best, I have to be my best.

That distinction may seem tiny, but to me, it’s the difference between beating myself up with comparisons and being able to enjoy the other artists around me.

After these realizations, nothing external changed. I’m still broke, I still have the exact same problems, I still wonder how to do this thing called life…but now I feel better about it. I can enjoy the swim instead of dragging my fins. As one great fishy once said, just keep swimming.

I hope this helps another fishy out there.

PS – I just published my first set of goth gal comics on the amazon kindle store.

Q1 - Cover

Volume One contains the first 60 comics in high quality format. Visit this link to check it out! Kindle is compatible with PC, Mac, iOS, Android and of course kindle devices. If you have kindle unlimited you can read it for free too! Goth on!

When I Do Not Feel Like Writing

e64

Hello.

First, a shout out to Goth Gabi for being the first patron of Goth Gal! Seriously Gabi, your support is SO appreciated! Thanks to you I get to keep making art, and that is really awesome. Goth on Gabi! I promise to try and get my Goth Gal updates out sooner in the day! My eventual goal is that they come out at midnight, but since I don’t make enough to do it full time yet…life blargh.

(Yes, blargh is a word…I just made it up and I am a writer…so it is a word now.)

I do not really feel like writing today, but here I am…writing.

I’ve learned that making myself sit there and write is the best way to actually write. If I allow myself to procrastinate, I could procrastinate indefinitely. There are always other things that need done. I find that my rooms become magically clean when I need to write. I will inevitably come to myself in a haze, moving like a white hurricane through the house. Do not ask me why this is so, but it is so.

These daily project goals (Goth Gal, writing, this blog, etc.) I have are helping me with this problem. Sometimes it is a real struggle to meet these goals, but so far, so good. I have also recently discovered the wonders of eyeliner. This is perhaps a different topic for a different day, but today I will say eyeliner can help make a character REAL. Seriously, it can. Eyeliner is magic.

Soon I will have news for you dear readers about my new “hobby”. I do not have news yet because I have not finished all that I need to do. (SO MANY THINGS I NEED TO DO!) A family affair took over my weekend, but as I have a few moments to myself, I am stopping in to say hi…and to post on Saturdays like I said I would.

Consistency matters to me. Not consistency for the sake itself mind you, consistency for the sake of itself chokes me like weeds choke out a baby flower. Consistency for a project, to learn something new, or for people you care about matters. That kind of consistency has some life to it. Something that makes it more than a mere structure.

Well, I am off now to work some more. Hopefully I will have more to say next time. Until then bonsoir!

Sometimes I Am Not Funny

Bonsoir!

I hope you are well dear readers.

I am having a grand, but strange day right now. I have a new hobby. I don’t know if you can call something that has absorbed all my thought for several days a hobby (I tend to obsess over things), but I intend it as a hobby.

When I was small, I loved watching late night television. It was not just any program that interested me, I needed horror. I needed to sink my fangs into something scary–the spookier the better! I’ve mentioned that I wanted to be a mad scientist as a child. I did not explain that this was so I could live i the same world as the monsters I adored from media.

My child brain assumed the horror hosts like the Cryptkeeper of Tales from the Crypt, Big Chuck and Lil John from the show of the same name and the other horror hosts lived in the same world as the monsters. Some of the hosts were monsters themselves (Cryptkeeper, Vampira). I didn’t know how one might become a monster, but I knew that mad scientists were often stars of the show. I knew that they went around creating monsters from nothing. It wasn’t long before I had decided this was my path.

My career choice set, I tried many, many, MANY ways to become a mad scientist. This post is not about those. I might do a post about those adventures later if anyone is interested, but today’s post is not that post. I only mention my childhood obsession to explain my new hobby. I am going to become a horror host. If you don’t know what that is, I am so sorry. Please go google it or watch American Scary on amazon/iTunes/your media provider of choice.

Here are some of the great, legendary horror hosts:

Elvira, Mistress of the Dark
Elvira, Mistress of the Dark
Zacherley, Shock Theatre
Zacherley, Shock Theatre
Vampira, generally regarded as the 1st Horror Host
Vampira, generally regarded as the 1st Horror Host

Vampira was inspired by Morticia Addams by the way:

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Normal is just an illusion. What is normal to the spider is chaos to the fly.

I adore Morticia. I actually adore the entire Addams family, but she has a special place in my black little heart. When I have a finished video up, I will post a link here. Until then I will leave you this experiment of mine to imagine with:

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Hello Ghouls!

This post however is not really on horror hosts or monsters, as I keep saying. I’ll try not to get distracted again (it is hard!). I only mention such things because this post does have to do with a particular kind of monster. The “it’s no good” monster:

Artist Rendering of the It's No Good Monster
Artist Rendering of the impossible to photograph It’s No Good Monster

The it’s no good monster mucks about in creative spaces. It boldly declares that art isn’t good enough. It criticizes the particulars of each piece with distinctive viciousness. It does not sleep; it needs no rest. It is always at the ready wherever and whenever art is being born. To a baby piece of art the art monster can be particularly devastating. Those brave souls who dare to study the art monster have found only one weakness in its vast metallic body: the “magical so what formula“.

It works like this. The it’s no good monster slithers into the room focused on an unsuspecting baby art. The baby art is displayed proudly. It sits, waiting to be seen, trying not to tremble with too much excitement. The It’s no good monster begins to criticize: The lines are wrong. The proportioning is off. The colors are bad. The work is bad. IT’S NO GOOD!

In the past you might have tried to parry words with the it’s no good monster. This is a trap that never works. The it’s no good monster does not care. It ignores your reasoning and attacks the art even more viciously than before. When the it’s no good monster begins to criticize respond with the magical SO WHAT? formula as quickly as possible.

It might look something like this:

I.N.G. Monster: The lines are bad.

Artist: So what?

I.N.G. Monster: The proportioning is off.

Artist: So what?

I.N.G. Monster: The colors are bad.

Artist: So what?

At this point the artist could even throw in an “I like it that way.” or “That’s on purpose” formula in there. The monster will most likely get to its main weapon now.

I.N.G. Monster: IT’S NO GOOD.

Artist: SO WHAT?

The it’s no good monster will have nothing left to respond with, so it’s best at this point to throw in a few “I like it” and “it’s beautiful”. The monster, having been defeated, will slither back to it’s smelly cave. It might try a few more things if it is a particularly nasty beastie, or, it might slither out again in five minutes ready for another round. Stick with the so what? magical formula. The monster cannot really deal with it.

I had my most recent fight with the it’s no good monster yesterday. I made a new comic in Goth Gal, like I do every Friday. It had been a struggle to create a comic that day. I was feeling pretty down and I find it particularly difficult to be funny when I am down. However, I had managed create a comic and to publish it before 7pm–the day was beginning to look up. I stretched and waited for people laugh at it, like it, comment on it–the works.

Nothing happened online. Normally I at least get one or two likes. (at the time of this posting there is actually one like, but there wasn’t yesterday.) No one around me got it either. I don’t know why. I thought it was ok. Certainly not as great as some of the comics, but not bad either. Still, everyone has off days. I doubt if there is a single comic in existence that is 100% funny 100% of the time. I’ve realized that this imperfection thing is normal.

Being human is all about contradictions. I am kind, cruel, afraid, courageous, powerful, weak, confident and hesitant all at the same time. And that’s ok. I came across a post today on tumlbr’s post it forward page that said something like “artists can get hung up on the imperfections, but those imperfections are part of what make the masterpiece.” The post was referring to one’s body, but I think it can apply to anything anyone makes. The point is: you can’t let the inevitable imperfections keep you from creating.

Sometimes I feel like it’s no good, but SO WHAT? I did it. I made that thing. I created something that wasn’t there before I put it there. I pushed myself to use my talent, to do something I enjoy, to make art. It does not matter if it’s good or right or near perfect, it matters that I made it. It matters that I keep making it, despite the doubts and fears and it’s no good monsters that I, as an artist, face every day.

Who...me?
Facing Face of Faceness   

Sometimes I am not funny…and that’s ok.