Monday, October 31, 2011

A quickie for SpeakEasy 2011

Want to see what I've been up to lately, and check out some original artwork?

Come on out to SpeakEasy's Comic Book Art Show on November 3. I'll be on hand to have a chat and answer any questions about comics or art or life in general (accuracy of the answers not guaranteed.)

The Toronto Comic Jam will also be there with the latest edition of Grawlix, which includes the story that I've mentioned here in earlier blog posts.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Sticking to it

It's been almost a year since I started doing the Daily Sketch Challenge over at Outcast Studios and about half that since I started "Rockie's All-Request Weekends" for my friends on Facebook to recommend weekend sketch topics. I've been at it nearly every day. (I missed one day while I was on vacation.)

There have been a few people who have told me that my dedication is admirable.

Mostly, my dedication is just well-developed. It's been hitting the gym. Hard.

Reach for the stars

Being dedicated is a choice.

Dedication, like anything else, is a skill that can be developed.

Your brain is physically affected by choices you make. Over time, neural patterns are reinforced. Every time you choose to stick to something, even if it's hard (maybe especially if it's hard) you're exercising your persistence patterns.  Every time you let yourself slack off or quit, you're exercising your slacker patterns.

It's a choice, every day, but every day it's easier to make the same choice as the day before.

The 20-minute workout
  1. Make a choice to be dedicated to improving your craft. Make this choice over again every day. Choose to make an investment in your muse, and in your own improvement. (You're already doing this, whether you're aware of it or not. Every day, you're either choosing to do your thing or to not do your thing.)
  2. Make a commitment. If you're a set scheudule person or not, make it the same time every day, and don't let anything steal that time away. I'm not a set schedule person myself, so it's not the same time every day for me, but there is always at least 15-30 minutes somewhere between the time I wake up and the time I go to sleep that "I'm an artist right now" takes over.
  3. Make yourself accountable. Even if it's just posting on Facebook or Twitter "I'm doing this new thing every day". When I started doing the daily sketches but before I was consistent with it, I did have friends call me on missing a day. If that's what it takes for you, then that's what you need to do.
Developing a routine

The more often you repeat steps 1 and 2, the stronger your tendency will be to continue doing it. Eventually, you'll get to the point were step 3 isn't needed much, because you start to be accountable to yourself and your muse, and that's enough.

Sure, there are days when I'm tired, or I have a headache, or I have to do the laundry. I just tell my tiredness, or headache, or laundry that it will have to wait a half hour until I'm done practicing.  Because I've got a consecutive days of sketching streak going.

Seeing the results

And, of course, persistence pays off. Drawing #1 is a sketch from November 2010, and drawing #2 is one from August 2011.


Sunday, October 16, 2011

Keeping myself occupied

I've decided to get some practice on the whole writing, drawing, and meeting deadlines thing by starting a webcomic. We'll see how well that works out for me.  I picked a bad time to start, given that my day job tends to eat most of my life at this time of year, and I have a day-job-related study group that is eating the rest of my life right now.

I've had the basic concept and premise kicking around the back of my head for a couple of years now. And now that I have some drawing skills developed, I guess I can start working on it.

So far, I've done some concept sketches for the characters. I'm still trying to figure out how to break down the story, and whether I'm going to do strips or pages. I'm leaning toward strips though, since it's for the web and with a strip I can deal with it panel by panel. I'll also want to set it up so it'll work as well on a netbook or smartphone.

A lot to think about for my first solo project, but I gotta start somewhere.

Anna Schoenberg, super genius

"Names are a human conceit. I know who I am" River Goddess

Anna's friend, Peter. They met when she was a kid genius in college.

He also used to babysit and walk her to the library, because Anna was smart enough to be an undergraduate, but too young to cross the street by herself.