Category Archives: Thoughts

Journal – On Time on Webtoon

 

Here’s what I’ve been working on lately. Remember my little horror comic?

I’ve cleaned it up and added tones and published a couple of pages on webtoons. I still have more pages left to do. I’m repressing the performance anxiety, so I’m fine!

https://www.webtoons.com/en/challenge/on-time/im-late-again/viewer?title_no=276285&episode_no=1

This is why I haven’t been writing a lot lately. I’ve been learning how to use digital software, how to color stuff, clean up lines, add details… resize and save correctly… pretty much everything. Still haven’t really broached color yet. Still nervous about color. Doing this in black and white is good for me though, as a value study. Maybe I’ll try color next time. Or the time after that. Or never. Heh.

So much to learn. One magical day, I will have learned it ALL, and then I’ll be done. Wait, that would actually be horrible. NEVERMIND! I’ll never learn it all. That’s the fun in life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

Anime/Manga style drawing

 

Anime/manga style art is the way it is for many reasons. Here are the things I like and want to emulate:

  • Cartoon styles can be exaggerated, meaning they can be more lively and expressive than realistic styles, which can look static by comparison.
  • It’s simple, attractive, and easy to draw, which helps when you’re going to draw an entire book of manga on a deadline.
  • The pacing and plot lines. They’re beautifully flowing, interconnected  hill climbs, with periodic bursts and falls. They line up perfectly with my EKG. Long-running TV shows also do this well: They’ll have a mini arc within the time between a commercial break, a larger arc in the 30-minute episode, and an even larger arc encompassing the whole season. This makes me happy in a very deep way.  I got distracted didn’t I. What was I talking about? Anime art?

What I don’t like:

  • I’m not good with faces, and I have trouble telling characters apart sometimes if the artist doesn’t do a great job with character design, because all of their faces are the same.
  • It has a standardized visual language to communicate standard emotions or character types. This is cute and very effective, but leaves little room for complex emotions or characters. The best manga writers use these only rarely.

Learning to draw digitally, I was getting pretty frustrated (as my sharpest regular readers no doubt picked up on, haha). I thought, dammit, I CAN DRAW. And I figured I’d do an anime style as a morale booster. It wasn’t as easy as I expected, but it was certainly easier than everything I was attempting. Morale was boosted. I realized I was trying to develop my own style while also trying to learn new software. No wonder I was frustrated.

 

animehug.png

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

Journal – Jacking trades up

 

I am afraid of work. I am afraid of art. I am afraid of failure. I am tired of being hurt by my own inadequacies.
I suck. I have to be fine with this. The only solution is to remain in motion.
Jack of all trades master of none
This is me
But when I dedicate ten years to something
I still cannot master it
I begin to wonder why I came
And why I haven’t left yet

It’s easier to jack trades up
Than it is to master them
A master never actually masters his craft
A master only ever gets good
If you want to lead your field you must dedicate everything
Sacrifice everything
And risk still being outdone by somebody
With easy natural talent
Who is fifteen years old.
Leonardo da Vinci bemoaned his lack of knowledge
On his deathbed he faulted himself
For never having learned it all.
He was a perfectionist
He is the standard for half a millennia
And will be for another millennia more
But even he
Was dissatisfied.
Why do we push ourselves
When there is nothing at the top?
Waiting for us is emptiness
The goal is a hollow point
So what is this drive
This need
This greed
I want to kill it
I want to feed it.
So I fight myself fighting it
And get
Nowhere
On either front.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

Journal – The Girl with no Fear

 

Here’s a funny thing about myself. I always have majorly overblown confidence about a thing until I’m halfway into it.

“I’m not afraid of people. I love talking to people! I can face down a crowd.” Then I blithely stand up to tell a story about a coworker at a small friendly retirement party. I am shocked when, halfway through, my hands are shaking hard. I have to breathe and calm down but my punchline falters a bit. Am I afraid of public speaking? Looking back to when I did theatre in college, it was the same: one hundred percent confidence followed by shakes on stage.

“I like rock climbing! I like nature! I’m gonna sign up for this little class and learn the knots and then I can hang (get it?) with my rock-climbing big brother and sister.” I take the class, start climbing the first little practice tower, and hit critical mass. I am shaking so hard I don’t trust myself to climb any higher. My hands have locked down on the rock climbing nubbins. “I forgot I’m afraid of heights!” I call back to my bemused classmates from a whopping ten feet high.

I got to meet a new friend on videochat recently. No fear there. Slept like a baby. Excited, happy puppy enthusiasm. “Yay, a new person to love!!” We talked, and she was awesome, and the conversation was easy, and everything was fine as long as I didn’t get distracted by my own reflected strangerface and lose track of the conversation.

After I hung up, I started making some oatmeal. As I stirred the pot I thought, “Where is that quiet screaming coming from? It’s getting louder. Oh, right! My own head.” After some puzzling I figured out that it was latent anxious adrenaline rush from meeting her. DID SHE LIKE ME WAS I STUPID DID I HURT HER FEELINGS???

 

Anyway, I thought it was just a funny character trait, but now that I’ve written it down, I see it’s my old friend Emotional Repression popping up. Hello again. Let’s never talk.

I have definitely gotten better, but digging my emotional core free is a slow, slow process. Sometimes Repression pops up and bites me in the ass, just like old times. It bites less than before, but it still bites.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

On Finding Your Voice, sort of

People keep asking my advice lately.

Lol wut.

Well, I guess it’s fine. But I’m just a pair of eyeballs posing as a human being. Keep your salt shaker handy to liberally season anything I say. I will not be held responsible for the stupid things you do with my advice.

On having a voice:

When I was in writing classes people kept asking the teacher about how to develop their voice. It confused the hell out of me. What is a “voice?” As long as you’re not trying to be anyone else, you’re yourself right?

Unfortunately, I was so confused by the question I never paid attention to the answer. Or maybe the teacher just bullshitted so I forgot what they said. Bullshit answers tend to lay pretty light in the brain. You can remember them talking but not the words they spoke…
I think, though, that I finally learned what they were asking. They were still kids. They were asking the teacher who they were. Poor kids! Poor teacher!

I don’t know much, and everybody is different. What works for me may not work for you. But lately I keep hearing people talking about their inability to be creative. Not having a voice is a similar complaint, in a way. At least, the solution is the same.

Here goes:

Empty your brain. Upend all that garbage and start fresh, empty. Nature abhors a vacuum, right? The second you empty your brain, a thought will rush in to fill it.

This is fine. Use this. Put your pen to paper and start writing.

Writing poetry, for me, is a conversation with my subconscious. I’m always a little bit curious to see what it will say next. What little monster will pop out of the deep Id? What strange conclusion will be drawn from this inauspicious little starter word?

I read once that creative people actually have a stronger link with their subconscious than non-creative people. It’s that little touch of madness… too strong a link makes you unfit to live in a society; too weak a link, you’re a robot I guess. But all you robots, do not despair. If you envy the wobbly reality on this side of things, you can work on breaking down that wall. Start by emptying your brain. Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.

Oh, you’re done emptying your brain already? Now write, or draw. The first random word or phrase that comes to mind, or the first line you draw. Kick it around. Follow where it leads. The Rationalist inside of you will tug on your sleeve and say, “hey… this is stupid, what is this shit?” Grab that rational person and upend them, over and over. You’ve ears only for your muse and her name is Crazy.

There is a thin, thin line between controlling your verbal rabbit chasing, and pure schizophrenic word salads. It’s like controlling a lucid dream. Very fine balancing act.

However, if you can master the art of tapping into your crazy, you will never be creatively blocked. Once I learned how to do this, I wrote my novel. Every time I found myself slowing down, not knowing where to go from here, I turned off my thinking brain and let the schizophrenic lead the leash for a few seconds. She never lets me down. Sometimes she takes me on a really strange, dumb, or unexpected journey, but if I just leave her to her own devices, she’ll sniff out the truffles. I think I mixed some metaphors there… schizophrenics aren’t good at finding truffles. Who knows, maybe they are.

How does this relate to finding your own voice? Well, I’ve always been an oddball, so I’ve always drawn or written odd things. A logical person will write logical things. And a normal person writes normal things. What if you’re ordinary? If you are, guess what? Ordinary people will love you. And there are a lot of ordinary people in the world. You’ll be a hit.

Help, I don’t have a voice! The anguished writer cried aloud, with her loud voice.

Yes, you do. It’s probably not the voice you wished you had. You can’t iron the uniqueness, or the normalness, out of yourself. That’ll only make you sad. Instead, embrace what you are. Accept the flaws. I must accept that I always write free verse with small words, frequently recurring words. Blah blah darkness blah blah time blah blah wild blah blah me I myself me. I get so bored of myself. I want to write like Edgar Allen Poe or Mark Twain, but that’s not happening. I’m too lazy to try, and if I did, it’d be stilted and wrong. It’d be more like an autotuned voice, or a helium voice.

You’ve got to be who you are. You’ve got to write what comes naturally. Don’t try to impress. Stay true. Don’t fake. Don’t act. Relax your mind and find that thin line between rabbit chasing and schizophrenia, and tread the edge. Don’t let the Rationalist hook you away. If you do this when you put pen to paper, then whatever you write or draw is pure untrammeled you. The hardest part is not about finding your voice; you already have it. It can’t leave you. The hardest part is shutting that inner critic up, and accepting the voice that you have.

Edit:: Conversations with these two are what inspired the above post. Read their stuff.

Lille Sparven speaks the raw truth:

www.lillesparven.com/2019/02/censuring-mirror.html?m=1

Paul Sunstone asks the good questions:

https://cafephilos.blog

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

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