I’m sitting in my small and slightly over-filled Los Angeles apartment desperately trying to stay out of the heat. In trying to find things to entertain myself and not defaulting to turning on the TV, I decided the best thing for me would be to clean and get ready for the week ahead. Aside from the usual chores of laundry and dishes, I started down the rabbit hole of cleaning out old emails (over 6,000 of them!), hard drive and cloud storage space. In the last leg of my cleaning rampage, I opened up all of my best intentions. Hundreds of word documents that I’d meant, one day, to open back up, edit, then post.
I haven’t done that.
The pandemic was weird and even though I’d started this blog during that time as an outlet, I ended up writing without posting anything. As soon as my thoughts were on the page, I felt accomplishment enough and then it was tucked back into some line of code never to be seen again.
I altogether forgot about what I’d started until the reoccurring charge hit my credit card. The intention to post has been there for years but the idea of having to be entertaining or the judgment that comes with putting your thoughts out there had overwhelmed me every time I opened the browser. Starting up this blog is basically stating that I was an artist or a writer and who am I to claim that? I’ve never really done anything with my creativity outside of high school. I was about to just delete everything when I had a change of heart and figured I needed to find something to do with this space and the work I had put into it.
So welcome to the workshop.
Lately, I’ve been putting ink to paper to draw the comic I had been writing since 2015. The comic has undergone so, so many edits and changes but I feel like now I have a solid enough story and I have to get it completed. It just wouldn’t be fair to my characters to have them only exist in my mind. The interesting challenge has been the shift in technology. When I started drawing and being interested in comics/animation, we had to use tracing paper, light boxes, and screen tones. Now with Photoshop, Procreate, and Clipart Studio I feel like a dinosaur! Having to relearn the basics of drawing all over again can be a little disheartening, but it’s all in my head.
Being willing to suck – and suck a lot – for a short while is the only way to be better. Growing up I had parents that were very “if this isn’t perfect the first time, you shouldn’t do it at all” type of teaching style. I’ve been having to unlearn that for the past 30+ years and it never gets easier. The only way out is by taking one step at a time. Steps no matter how large or how small still take you away from what had been holding you back. For me, my steps have been learning new technology and struggling to keep up with various YouTube tutorials and wiki-how’s and trying to translate it into my dyslexic brain!
It’s been frustrating, but fun. It brings me back to being a child and playing Donkey Kong for the first time. Summer days spent at my friend Chris’s house as we took turns being pelted with barrels. Making it to the top of the level is the most satisfying thing in the world. I feel that now. Sure, it’s just about learning shortcuts, setting templates, learning the different brushes and quick ways to shade but setting the foundation is the hardest part. I didn’t go to school for this!
Hell, my family actively forced me to do anything other than being an artist and I went off and got a boring business degree like everyone else. So, for me, picking up the stylus and typing out these words has to be good enough. I know it’s not groundbreaking or revolutionary and I’m not quite sure where this is going to take me, but I hope we all have a little fun on the way.