End of Year Declaration

I’ve condensed Stefan James Monthly Goals Report process into an End of Year Declaration for my art related goals for 2018. I won’t depress myself explaining how many times I revised this list.

End of Year Declaration

It was a fun exercise putting together pending works and scheduling time to work on them. Time will tell if I’m overdoing it.

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Dispatch 4: Slothful, Under-performing, and All out of Chocolate!

I once threw an egg at the brick wall outside of my apartment building. Any activity to battle the bouts of boredom was worth the worried looks of my neighbors. I cleaned the mess afterwards.

I’m approaching this post in the same matter.

It’s been several months since I’ve blogged. In-between that time I’ve poorly manage to finish two other essays on what I’ve learned last year and the joy of spending money on books I’ll never read. I know the content I want to post; it’s having to edit and condense those essays that’s a problem. I’m also writing a pilot story to use as portfolio pieces to present at one of the comic conventions near me[1][2]. Those are simpler to write.

Please don’t ask how my drawing time is going.

My personal life is in worse turmoil than my professional life, but since the few people who’ll read this assume I’m doing alright, I’ll maintain the lie by not going into detail. Any signs of stability comes from prayers and lectures I took from James Clear’s Habit’s Academy. I don’t usually order anything that isn’t a baked good covered in glaze, but the quality of his free newsletters convinced me. I’m not sponsored by him so I won’t explain his courses, but I will give you a link to both his website and the courses [here] or [here]. It’s worth getting his free newsletter if you’re slacker skills are around the same level as mine.

What I will promote is my Instagram page. My Facebook profile is for dank memes and wasting my life away. It’s also how I stay ill-informed to everything political, religious, and health related. My Instagram is quiet from lack of content, but eventually I would unplug myself from social media throughout the day to produce work to show……on……social media. I’ve been a good boy on following only artists and writers on Twitter.

I remember the phrase ‘To know something and not use it is the same as not knowing.” That is my predicament. I own five career books for concept artist, comic book illustrators and logo designing; more than ten books on writing which range from improving grammar, screenwriting, creative, and comic script writing; at least six books on comic theory; and a sleuth of Art of books from games I played or watched on YouTube; yet here I am, not any closer than being a professional artist than I was eightyears ago. I bought my first laptop on the merits of having access on information to aide a career as an artist. Turns out I’ve done the opposite. The most productive activity I’ve achieve was finding how a thousand degree knife would cut crayons. I focused on improving everything external without correcting what has really been the culprit to my slow progress in life; poor daily habits.

Still, it’s too late to quit even when striking out for this long. I’m convinced of the plan I’ve made for my professional life will work when I put it to practice. So here’s to not giving up out of stubbornness! I’m throwing yet another declaration on striving for a fan base and improving as a storyteller and illustrator.

Here’s to hoping this mess looks more interesting than a cracked egg.

[1] Wizard World Con

[2] Gump City Comic Con

The Boy Who Wore Yellow

Giving Up Never Brought Anyone Back

By the time you read this article, my family and I would have laid my brother’s body to rest. The funeral would be over and all of us would continue adjusting to life knowing he’s not with us. I would continue to cope knowing that I’ll never see him live the life and career I’d encouraged him to strive for. I’m force to accept not uplifting him, to convince him to see his value and talent.

As an aspiring writer, I’ve believe in the power of words. They have been the greatest means of communication. Words caused wars and maintained peace among people and civilizations. Words have been the driving force of different ideologies. Personally, the right words have change how I perceive myself and the world around me.

My brother had joy in his life, especially when he was younger. He’s been the go-to person for small mechanical issues we had such as an unreadable cassette or DVD player, washing machine, a couple gaming consoles, and dozens of battery powered toys. Til this day I’m baffled as to how he fixed any of those things without proper education. My brother was smart in the way every engineer began. My brother had an under developed passion for designing. Heck, thinking about it HE was the reason I wanted to take up Architecture; the senior trip Orlando, Florida was only a reassurance!

But that not the life he ventured in. My brother never pursued life as an engineer. He never completed middle school. Nor did he try to attain his GED despite the few people who encouraged him and offered to pay the exam cost. He never made a decent living taking up a suitable trade to support himself. I can assume he had good times, but a good life remains to be proven.

There were so many times we’ve talked to one another. So many instances we agreed, disagreed, and just shared jokes and personal revelations. So many times I’ve used what little I knew to express what I believed about him. I’ve tried to be a decent example.

In hindsight, I believe that I was too late to make an effort. He was already old enough to determine his own lot in life regardless of how detrimental his future would be if taken that direction. I also know that I was not enough. In a social condition where hundreds of people are enticing you with short-term gratification, one voice of reason will always get drowned out. The world is hard enough already, and it’s easy for anyone to pick the road with little resistance. He’s become another victim of that faith.

I did give up on him. I can’t lie about always believing in him. Yet he didn’t know. Our last long calls was him being thankful that I haven’t given up on him. He mentioned – and I do believe he was exaggerating – that no one really made the effort to help him the way I had. Even after our most verbal altercation, there were still times I would help him despite knowing I’m being conned. It took a lot to give up, knowing so much about him. Living with someone since childhood and being one of the older siblings grants you that ego. Maybe I just have…HAD…high hopes. But one day I just force it. He was a man with his own view of the world and I had to respect him enough to make his own choices regardless.

There may have been a reason he thought I had faith in him. Maybe what I have done was so much so that it was hard for him to accept that I have. Yet, that’ll never be enough. No checklist of any size could convince me that I did all I could to help him. He is still gone. He still had so much going for him.

I’m not good at coping. I still have the regret of my mother’s passing still looming my thoughts. But life goes on and giving up completely won’t help since giving up never brought anyone back. I’m a failure with words, but right now it feels like all I have to remember him by. And I want to use these words.

You may know him by the short dreads or the nappy hairstyle he sported. You may have seen him in the baggy cloth style I’m glad to know is phasing out of style. His clothing style fumed with tobacco and mild cologne would have veered anyone off that didn’t know him. If not his tough guy persona would have. He would be classified as a hoodlum, cool ass dude, or thief depending on who you asked. Some may say he’s a hopeless cause or one of the smartest young handyman you’d come to know.

To me he would always be the kid who ran with me to mother to let her know there was a roach spotted. He would be someone who would stay up with you to play the game if you got tired of single player. He is another sibling I could make fun of the neighbors with and devise ways to finish supper without eating mother’s terrible boiled squash. He is the reason I love LEGOs and still have a sparkling desire to finish my Architectural Degree. He is someone who stood up for me when I was bullied, and corrected anyone who had the false notion that I was gay. He’s someone that was worth all the effort even when it felt like talking to a brick wall. He is the boy who was given the name Big Bird because of the yellow outfits he dawned in grade school for some ridiculous reason. No matter how many times I’ve said he wasn’t just to make him mad, he has always been my brother. And I will miss him dearly.

 

 

I might have to rethink this writing thing.

Dispatch 3: Mentorship & Current Reads

I need to read more. BADLY!

Can’t precisely explain how badly, but assuming I have close to two hundred books in my collection and only enough space to house eighty, I have to determine which are worth keeping and discarding the rest to another fortunate soul who’ll find more value in them. And how else can I do that than reading through those two hundred towering books?Even though space is the most important reason, my creative bank account is another. With illustration I have developed a terrific library of both digital and book form to help curb my creative block. My writing lacks that. What I have for crafting stories has done wonders with forming a cohesive concepts and armature, but starting the drafting phase is a boss fight I’m not equip for. And I feel that reading more novels and short stories could combat that.

Reading more isn’t a new concept. I’ve first came about it reading BAKUMAN, a manga about two artists who try to start a career as Japanese Comic Artists (define as mangaka). Several story craft books has also mentioned it, but Brian McDonald’s Ink Spots resonated with me best. One of his chapters express how important mentorship is in developing your own artistic talent.

Do I have one? A real art mentor I could interact with, yes and soon to be two. Virtual mentor, and for comic writing, it’s Alan Moore hands down. I only have his Watchmen story as a reference point. Mind you I read that book at least once every year. For illustration I have too many to count but I gawk at Kim Jung Gi’s live artwork daily. I’m two books into his collection slowly saving for the other six.

Literary? There was a time I was inspired to read the works and essays of Ralph Waldo Ellison, but his intelligent way with words intimidated my small cranium. For the life of me I can’t remember the short story I read from my college Literature class, but afterwards I grabbed every book the public library had with his name on it. So yeah, I should try him again. He’s only published one novel during his lifetime and three other novels were published afterwards, collected from his notes for his unfinished second one. There are also four essay books I may have to borrow if they’re no longer being printed (I will force myself to get through Shadow and Act this time, notes in hand).

…Hmm!
The more I type the more insignificant the books pictured above becomes. I didn’t really have a plan prior to writing this other than getting something on my blog. Those books are recent purchases and checkouts that I’m enjoying.

One Year to a Writing Life by Susan M. Tiberghien is a book that aides you in exploring many styles of writing for month-long periods. I’ve only gotten through the first chapter and I’ve decided to go the original pace the writer intended. The book is short enough to read in a few day sitting, but again I need to start taking notes from the books I read since my memory is that of an eighty year old with brain damage.

Art Money Success by Maria Brophy compiles alternate avenues other artist could use to boost the profitability of their art. The book is written by someone with twenty years of experience from a husband who art niche is paintings on surf boards. Yes, that was more than enough to convince me to try this book out.

Ready Player One by Ernet Cline, the movie trailer! Also envy.

Finally, The Working Writer’s Guide to Comics and Graphic Novels by Nick Macari. The content of his articles convinced me. And he was very punctual in answering a question some time back. I owe him a review too.

So yeah! Off to a good start. I’m not thinking of how long it’s been since I last posted (self worth contained) and I have a few other mentions reserve for the next post. If by some miracle a person is reading this on the day it’s posted, you are a patient kid. Don’t make my mistake of waiting to start something out of doubt. Plan while you go.

Til next time!

Dispatch 2: Hoarding Woes

Man I’m a colossal hoarder!

Taking this blogging seriously has been the most productive thing I’ve done since moving my stash of chocolate by my bedside. My weekends has been used for organizing online references, weeding out anything no longer worth reviewing. It’s been about two years since I’ve read The Life-Changing Habit of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo (@MarieKondo) that helped simplify my physical space. And now I wish I had the same aide for digital items. I’m going through my YouTube playlists and saved posts from Facebook and Google Toolbar to condense the amount of digital items I have, yet every hour I see a funny animal video is six additional hours lost to internet idleness. I’m loosing the battle of my attention span.

Stashed neatly in the corner of my closet (I’m getting good at this lying thing) is over sixty books I’m unsure are permanent keepsakes in my library. My New Year’s Resolution is to reading through each at least once before donating them. I made a deadline of a book a week – two if it’s longer than 350 pages – to specify the undertaking. So far I’ve finished four and June is coming in very soon (Yet another poorly fought internal conflict). This is of high importance since this is the year I’m adding Kim Jung Gi books to my collection. My hoarding habits extends far beyond my “professional” life, but discussing it further would prolong the ‘heavy crying in feeble position’ I plan to do once I complete this article.

My drive to finish anything becomes paralyze once I overwhelm myself with too many items at once. To compound this, I tend to start new ideas and projects without the incentive to completing any prior ones. And if it’s not me who brings such random projects to life, it’s sure to be a good friend who co-create projects too stupendous to be left out of.

So yeah! Hoarding: bad. Attempts to prevent it: pathetic. Me: dumb. And throughout this week I intend to get a closer grip on things. I don’t expect to have a flawless, organize stash of digital notes and web links, nor a workstation resembling someone who’s a minimalist; I only need to rid myself of the unimportant and have general locations of items that are. Being a perfectionist started this downward spiral, and its reward of blogging twice within a three-year period and rarely making time to draw has me wondering if I could return it for a discount. Never buy into something you know little about kids!

Draw more! Write more! And if a spirit tries to sell you on the idea of doing things later, ask for credentials and surveys on its claim. Doubts are good remedies for superstitious thinking.

Failure & Inktober 2016

Once again I have fail another Inktober run. On a good note, this has been the best fail of all three previous because I actually had work posted on Facebook and Instagram. Besides that…

I write this entry not to just beat myself down with the same literary whip my Grammar teachers used on me in grade school and community college, but to archive the beating for all the world to know. There has been dozens of projects I’ve started ever since I first learn how to hold a crayon. Most of these long-winded projects have been sparked by a concept from other artists or from my favorite cartoon shows. Others were meant to be short runs of daily challenges done with friends.

Before I go any further, it’s best to let anyone who may come across this post before ever hearing about Inktober know what it is. (Wishful thinking is strong within me!) Starting as Inktober Initiative created by artist Jake Parker to improve his drawing skills, Inktober is a challenge to posting daily ink drawings for all 31 days for the month of October – hence the name. The creator usually has a list to based your concepts on, but you have to total freedom to base your daily drawings on whatever you wish. The only ‘rules’ are having daily entries and having them inked.

I thought I planned for 2016 event as thoroughly as needed. I compiled a list of all I’d draw and kept copies near my sketchbook and calendar. I even ordered the Inktober Collection Set from ArtSnacks.co. I’ve even went so far as to add 9 days for extra illustrated ideas.

Alas, I failed. I did twelve days worth of illustrations, and with the addition nine preliminaries, you could say I stopped on Day 3.

Failure is a hard thing to accept when you feel as though you’ve positioned yourself to succeed within reason. I had forty days worth of concepts to cover. I knew how I would explain my reasons picking them. And I gave myself leeway in case I miss at least a week worth of submitting. But days got behind me. I gave into my urge to binge-watch YouTube videos. And too many times I had unexpected guests to derail the days I really wanted to get some art in.

There’s a motto I hear far too many times; If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. What does that say about the failure to this one? Did I not plan hard enough? Did I not put into account the worse scenario possible? Is YouTube’s new algorithm being more effective of robbing me of the one valuable thing I have? Is my bed too comfortable? Wherever I fail, I know well enough to look at the actions I’ve done that has created this result. And what I come to find out is that my inaction is the culprit.

I can’t change how often people feel entitled to waste my time. I can’t change how YouTube or any online video company wants to ensure they retain their viewers. I can’t too much change how irregular some of my utensils fail to work as expected. All I could change is me. My mistake was in not doing.

I’m a great artist because of the many compliments received from people online and in public. I know my storytelling is still good despite plenty of areas to improve. What has hold me back these long twenty plus years I’ve been able to hold a crayon in my hand and draw my imagination is the simple act of taking that crayon and continue drawing. If I’m to complete any other task for now on, I must do them. They may still get delayed or cancelled. There would always be other outside forces to prevent an idea from being shared. But if I just draw, I know I’ve done my part to see my ideas realized.

I don’t know what 2017 Inktober concept would be as of now. Even with the failure of 2016 I feel like this would be one of many I would complete with joy. I may try the same concept if I expose myself to enough media to be inspired by, and create a lot more than I have been. I know in the last post I refuse to share my Instagram page, but to prove I’m not overestimating my talents (I do the opposite, thank you!) here’s my two favorite out of the twelve:

Tork, inspired by the design and origin of Broly from Dragon Ball Z, the Marine Fleet Admiral, Akainu from One Piece, Prince Zuko from Avatar: The Last Airbender, and Shinnok from Mortal Kombat.

Synome (whose name I will one day change when I figure out a better one) who was a child imagination after finishing Metroid II: Return of Samus as a kid, and Venom from Spiderman because he was so freaking awesome on the Maximum Carnage videogame. (As of this writing, Venom is my most liked drawing in Instagram, totalling 156.)

You be the judge of my skills. I would say don’t be too harsh, but I find it improbable to be as harsh as I am to myself.

Here’s to trying this out again for 2017 and beyond! Here’s to keep on keeping on.

Dispatch 1

Two things for myself to note:

  1. Any post is better than no post.
  2. It’s best to start off bad than not start off at all. By starting off bad, you at least have a starting point to work from.

Going the essay route feels like the niche that would gather the type of audience I’m after, in addition to creating a need to improve my researching skills. Listening to analysis and critiques of video games, movies, and television shows for as long as I have has propelled that decision. But I’m terrible at essays! My nine stale drafts confirms it. This post marks that third year I’ve started this WordPress blog, and where most people would have at least gave a serious shot before flaming out, I fail to bring a lighter

Still, I’m determined. And if I’m totally inconsistent in bring a thorough critical essay on things I do have a passion for, at least I could publish updates the same way I do my Facebook and Instagram posts (please don’t ask for links just yet; those accounts are totally unprofessional as of the time of this posted).

IMG_20170508_095034498_HDR

I am in-between three books (if you take away the two hundred plus books I’ve ordered, check out from the library, and received as gifts). The first one I’m reading is David Airey’s Work for Money Design for Love. I came across him when I unwittingly volunteered for a local graphic store, figuring out how to create a logo for a business who provide recreational opportunities for K-6 students. After getting an inter-library loan of his book, Logo Design Love, I was hooked on buying everything he’s authored. To me, Logo Design Love tackled how to approach creating brand identities for companies. And so far, Work for Money Design for Love shares lessons and trials of maintaining a design business. I’ve already completed Logo Design Love and managed to create a few designs for my graphic novel project. You’d think anybody who wants to be a working artist would’ve finished the other book the moment they order it, and you’d be right. I’m only a nobody who wants to be a working artist.

The author’s main website is davidairey.com. He regularly posts articles on design. Logodesignlove.com is his other website that focus on…logo designing.

My next book would be Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, one of THE most praised book in the realm of personal development. It’s been recommend by too many podcast hosts I follow to pass on. It may be just what I need to get that mental boost to not fail at life. However, I have read around eighteen books on the subject sub-ranging from leadership to personal accountability. So this may add to that list of beneficial books I never apply to my life.

More than likely I won’t do a review of these books. If anything I would link you to another reviewer’s opinion.

 

Links

Another great disadvantage I have is not following enough creative, professional minds. Yet the few I do follow are incredible.

Orbital Operations is a newsletter authored by Warren Ellis. I discovered his work while listen to Comics Experience Podcast with Andy Smidth, I don’t remember the episode he was reference in, but they mentioned Ellis’ book, Planetary, as well crafted series, despite many delays in its 27 issue run. Here’s IGN.com review of the book. But yeah, he’s awesome and I swear I’m not saying that just because I’m a fan who worships him!

I can’t do any better justice in explaining Ganzeer’s Restricted Frequency newsletter. Both links have examples of what you’d expect their newsletters to contain. If my opinion is worth the two cents I found on the ground before writing this, they are what make my weekends worth browsing my email for.

(I promise you I would revisit a discussion on these two creators and why I enjoy their materials in the near future. For now, a simple recommendation is all my tiny brain can fart out.)

 

So… 

I did it! It was extremely difficult and it looks cumbersome, but it’s a start. Here’s hoping for improvement and consistency. The only real sign of failure is if I get the next article published on my fourth anniversary.