Wednesday, February 10, 2010

More from the Bird's Point of View...

I sketched out this picture the other day, thinking about an offshoot story from the one I'm currently working on. I'm really having a lot of fun drawing these characters in these little scenes. They're like little story panels, or something out of a children's book.

I'd like to take this (along with the one in the post before this) & color them up nice in Photoshop.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Back in the Saddle & an Adventure of a Lifetime

Kind of branching off of what I said a few days ago, I dropped out of about half the things that were racking my mind & body for the last few months now. Some of them I'm glad to get off my back, & some of them were really hard to let go. Some of these people are friends of mine, & I never want to let any of them down, but I think it's better now that I'm in a much more healthy state of body & mind, & can finally breath a little again. Now that my to-do list has been shrunken down to a much more manageable size, I'm thinking hell of a lot more clearly & can now focus on the things that are really important to me.

*Also, I'd like to thank all the people who have been thinking about my well-being & have been cheering me up. You guys are awesome friends, & now that I'm not as tapped, I have a bit more free time to chill with you guys.

During the past few months, I never really had time for myself or my own interests. There would be a break here & there, but they were small, few & far inbetween. One of the things that I've put off for a good long time was a book I was working on. I may have briefly mentioned it here before, but I never really went into great detail on it. I've been working on it on & off for about the last 2 years. At this point, I've got about 50 pages roughed out, which I would like to go back & tweak a little when I get some more free time. I pretty much have the complete story all in my head & ready to go, but there's a few small chunks strewn throughout that need some story revision. I've actually spoken to a few comic folk & a to a few publishers who seem very interested, but I decided to wait a little while longer before I jump the gun.

Although this thing means a lot to me, I've put it off because getting my SVA stuff done means just as much to me (& that it's far more important right now anyway). At this point, it's not the most imperative thing on my plate. It's not like it's a carton of milk; it's not going to expire or go away any time soon. It can wait. I've even thought about scraping the book entirely & just using my panels as a rough storyboard & turning it into a film. I think of the story being more cinematic anyway. Still, it's something that I'd REALLY like to finish someday, even if it takes me 20 years to do it.

A few weeks ago, while taking break from some other work, I opened up Photoshop & just started sketching out a little picture of the characters from my story. Compared to some of the other stuff I tried doing in Photoshop, this was actually very relaxing to me. My friend Mike showed me where I could get some really nice custom brushes & since then it's been a lot easier & more fun to draw in the program.

Lately, I like to draw with an inverted adjustment layer on top. It helps me see the lines much clearer, & it's a hell of a lot less taxing on my eyes.

Here's a rough outline of the story in case you're interested: Randy & Steve Owen (known as Steve-O) make a bet against a wealthy aristocratic swan (Reginald Codbottom III) to see who can find & retrieve a legendary gem, known as the 'Phoenix-Eye Ruby', from the deep jungles of Central America. Randy & Steve-O, along with the daughter of one of the wealthiest men in their community, race against Codbottom to find the gem first. They encounter shipwrecks, pygmies, & enemies who try to thwart them. Hilarity, drama & character development ensue, etc. etc. etc.

I know, it sounds a lot like Carl Barks (& it probably is a lot like his work), but I think I'm getting a bit deeper than he did in his Scrooge stories, at least as far as character & emotion goes.

Like I said, it's still in the rough stages, & I know this will take a good long time to complete, but I don't care. It's one of the few things that really make me excited about drawing again.

Friday, February 5, 2010

It's All About ME

A lot has been going on. I know that I do complain about things an awful lot, & that I have gotten more & more pessimistic as time went on, but I feel that something has taken control over me & pulled me down really low. It's probably a combination of things: stress, lack of sleep, loneliness, malnutrition, a messy bedroom... who the hell knows.

Those who've seen Song of the South probably know what a "laughin' place" is. It's that special place, physical or otherwise, that lets you to temporarily escape the doldrums & fears of reality & allows yourself to relax. My laughing place was always the drawing board. Drawing & doodling was the only thing that could relieve my stress; whatever the situation was, a pencil & paper could always turn me around. Instead of punching pillows, I took my anger out in my drawings (& I've wasted a LOT of paper in my time). To me, drawing was just a hobby with slightly healthy beneficial side-effect. When I was young, I never believed that you could actually make a living by drawing, but once I figured out that you could, I knew what I finally wanted to do with my life. & I believed animation could take what I got out of drawing & make it into something alive & entertaining. I'd be doing something that not only made me happy, but possibly other people too.

So time passes, & I gradually improve & hone my craft. I turned it from a casual daily constitutional into a full-blown professional endeavor. I studied in high school, applied for art school & got accepted, & I've been working my ass off since then, still trying to climb higher on the career ladder & learn/inspire something along the way. Opportunities came & went, & I took a fairly decent share of them, perhaps even a bit more than I could swallow.

But somewhere in between all that, drawing changed from a fun little hobby into a stress-inducing chore. I felt that I no longer got joy or relief from it anymore. & on top of that, I began to neglect my own well-being for the sake of other people's well-beings. I started to overwork myself, & got to a point where I couldn't say 'no' to an offer or favor anymore. & on top of that, old regrets & events from my past have come back to haunt me. So everything piles up into one big heap way over my head & I have to figure out a way to dig my way out of it. & when it gets to a point where you worry about every single task & iota so much that you don't get any of them done, you know you've reached a really bad point. Right now I really don't know which way I'll be going. I've thought about quitting everything (school included) & just starting over again, but that's definitely not a financially-sound option, especially this late in the game.

I've kept it inside for a good long time now, & now I'm ready to finally let it out. After all the work that needs to be done is taken care of, I am going to devote all my time to ME. MY film. MY drawings. MY book. My work. ME, ME, ME. I'll say it, screw everybody else! Fuck 'em! I don't care if I sound mean or disrespectful anymore. I've wasted an awful lot of time, money & strength to make sure some other guy/girl gets a pat on the back. I don't care if I have to do a half ass job on all the crap that has piled up so far just to get it out of my face. I'm tired & I want out. Now.

Still, I have to admit, some of those jobs/favors I've done have gotten me some really good opportunities coming my way. I've met so many people & seen so many things that most people only dream of. I may have gotten only a baby step or two closer to the center of the circle, but it's a step closer nonetheless. To those people that have given me a chance & have helped me along the way, I thank them ever so much for it.

While I do have plenty of work to do, my well-being does come first, so I'm going to have the first sleep I've had in 6 days. Tomorrow is another day.