Monday, January 2, 2017


Even though last time was the last post of 2016, it didn't really register that today is, then, the first post of 2017, so we should actually do an extra spooshal post that I can refer back to later, so here's our first new drawing of 2017, Vicky hanging out with a giant year-of-the-rooster rooster. I was surprised to find this piece represents a good number of my New Years' resolutions. The question is: is this the year of the cowardly chicken...or the proud...cough.

Last year's resolution was big and tediously labor intensive, but totally doable via daily chip-awayism, so I want to use that same guiding framework this year. The goal was simply to get my site up to date after being sparsely updated over the past two or three years. I was able to accomplish that by spring from working on about three posts every day (I'd still been drawing, so it was 80% a matter of posting from my backlog). So with that same, daily chip-away approach towards something big, I want to enumerate my goals, so it's on the record for me to live or fail by. Onward to this year's resolutions, in no particular order.

Goal 1: Draw more digital pieces.
Quantifiable: 1 digital drawing a week.
Today's lead piece is a great example of that. Originally, I had just wanted to draw this traditionally in my sketchbook, but then I kept thinking...this could so easily be digital, and you'd get closer to what you're imagining, why aren't you just doing this digitally? Perhaps the solution is to pencil traditionally and then carry over to digital, since I find going straight digital is often kinda difficult. Perhaps the solutions is to brute-force it 100% digital until it works. One of my mentors says to go digital 100%...I know...I know...

Goal 2: Draw at least 3 comics and some SLSs
Quantifiable: Coverage Draft, Splinter, and Songs About Chie, + 12 Sick Little Suicides.
Normally, I've found that speaking of anything I'm working on tends to be a death-knell for the project, but I'm treating these as chunks of "chip-away" actions. I have scripts and thumbnails for all of these stories, so it's simply a matter of making the pages. This is all chip-awayable...tedious but doable. As for SLS, since it's current events-based, I already know at least one topic I would like to cover, and I imagine it'll be more necessary and responsible to be more engaged going forward anyway, so doing one a month should be plenty reasonable. Splinter's up first, but Coverage Draft's the ultimate goal.

Goal 3: Draw more fan art.
Quantifiable: 1 fan art a month.
I've had super mixed emotions about fan art. It feels like selling out. It feels phony. It feels like begging for attention because you suck too much to earn it yourself with your own stuff. At the same time, I recognize it's part of the "metagame" of making entertainment. I mean, Garry Trudeau mentioned the very same principle that I used to guide my success with ZLM--to paraphrase an interview, he said something like, "People care about themselves, so I drew comics about my classmates, and they loved it."

Can I let you in on a secret? 97% of the time, I don't care about anything so much I want to do fan art for it, even if I love the subject; it's simply a device to rope people into looking at my stupidity. It's me saying, "I bet you this many hours of my life I'll make you care I drew something, because you couldn't care less that I exist otherwise." Cherishing and being inspired by work is usually enough. I express my love by incorporating it into my own work. Just flat out, "Here's Recognizable Reference, fellow young people!" feels so hollow.

When do I feel fan art is tolerable? When it feels necessary. When the love for the subject is simply overflowing to warrant the hours and hours it takes to make a piece strictly about it--not referencing or subtly indicating it, but directly depicting it. When it is so arresting it quells any feelings of "this isn't actually of me." If anything, I feel much better doing fan art to niche stuff nobody cares about or that is out of the popular consciousness because that feels like a fair compromise...cashing in on stuff everybody knows off the top of their head...monkey dance and parlor tricks.

My attitude has to change this year. Or at least, I silently have to stomach doing more blatant, "dance like a monkey" fan art. I write this all out as a marker of how absurd this all is. I don't know if this also means actually throwing the work in people's of the ways I cope with doing fan art is leaving it for people to discover on their own, rather than sending it to the subjects. I dunno. I haven't figured that part out yet. Maybe I have to think of it like a job interview? I don't know if that makes it better or worse...

Goal 4: Study more.
Quantifiable: 30min+ every day.
Basically do more Algenpractice, like pose studies, lighting, color blob, etc. This is one I feel weird doesn't quite feel as firm in my mind...I feel like I learn more from actually doing pieces rather doing arbitrary stuff for the purpose of study, but if he says it Anyway, 30min is shooting low on purpose. Ideally it'd be an hour at least, but I don't want to overwhelm myself as I did last summer...doing straight up studies makes me physically sad after a while, like eating chocolate-shaped vegetables. This may involve joining up with a group...I dunno. Again, this goal is the shakiest.

So that's pretty much it: Go digital, draw 3+ comics, do more fan art, study. These are all doable. They will take tedious, daily work, but we can freaking do it.

Oh, today's Z and Nyao art was our final art of 2016, actually inspired by that one J.C. Leyendecker piece (see, that's the kinda fan art that doesn't feel gross and predatory). I had thought it a good idea to do a traditional piece for our last of 2016, and a digital for first of 2017, as a representation of our overall goals. I didn't think to redo a traditional as digital until finishing the rooster piece traditionally. Anyway, these two pieces finished off my latest pocket sketchbook, so good times all around.

Not normal,


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