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Goals for 2017

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self portrait new mexico by christian beranek
Photography by Christian Beranek

Alright, first blog post of 2017, almost a full week after the new year has started.

First, I want to catch y’all up on what’s been happening.

For the last two to three weeks of December 2016, I was not only celebrating Christmas and New Year’s with the family, but also…

  • mailing out Thoughtful Dinosaur rewards,
  • finishing a gig I started before Halloween,
  • finishing a private commission, and
  • preparing to transition to full-time freelancing for 2017.

You read right – due to some surprise circumstances from just before Christmas, I will be transitioning to full-time freelance work by the end of February 2017.

As such, when I thought of my New Year’s Resolutions, I thought about what would help me not only stay on track for work, but keep me happy and healthy while working out of a home studio.

(Not to mention that with the ACA being repealed, I would have no health insurance, meaning one of my safety nets would be gone. Gotta stay healthy so I don’t bankrupt myself on the Right-Wing Reich’s medical bills.)

With all this in mind, I came up with three goals to achieve daily: everyday I will

  • Draw one page in my sketchbook,
  • meditate, and
  • write 500 words.

These are to help build up to my big goals of the year:

  • make more art to compile into books, print series, and sketchbooks,
  • edit/rewrite 3 comic scripts to completion, and
  • de-stress more easily,

There are other goals in mind, but most are finance-related and I don’t want to go into those (unless you WANT me to talk about personal finance, in which case leave a comment below and let me know).

There is one other goal I have, but it has a bit of a varying schedule. That is to keep exercising and stay in shape.

My current day job keeps me active, but when I go freelance full-time, that day job activity is gone. I’ll need new ways to keep in shape.

This is going to sound like a sponsor but it isn’t – thankfully I have an app called 7 Minute, which times you through a 7-minute long workout. There’s the classic, abs, legs, and butt workouts to choose from, which is quite the change – back when I first had the app, the last two workouts had to be purchased or unlocked by doing specific circuits. Now that I uninstalled the app, then installed it again, the workouts are just there.

Another goal I have (because I’m an overachiever but also like incorporating new things into my routine) is to write songs on the ukulele.

purple ukulele

This adorable cutie is my new ukulele. Her name is Freddy.

I’ve played ukulele before, but only memorized four chords to heart. Not only that, but I know near-nothing about music theory or how to write songs.

To correct this, I’m going to practice more chords more often, and train my ear and musical ability with a new app that is also not sponsoring this, Perfect Ear.

Keep in mind, though, that my musical background up to now has included a brief stint in concert music in middle school, a failed stint at learning guitar, a successful gig learning to play Taiko drums, and playing ukulele for a year before leaving it for nearly two and coming back to it now.

So, if you have tips or tricks on learning to play instruments and get better at them, or how or what to practice, please leave a comment below.

The other goals I have (drawing, writing, and meditating everyday) I have done before. Now it’s just a matter of getting back into the swing of it.

Next blog post I’ll be talking more about what to expect when I break out of the day job in February.

Thank you for reading!

You. Are. Awesome.

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Poetry for Troubled Times: “Throw Yourself Like Seed”

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Today’s poem is “Throw Yourself Like Seed” by Miguel de Unamuno, translated by Robert Bly.

During these troubling times, I hope this poem inspires you. I know it inspires me.

More poetry is coming soon!

Thanks for watching.

You. Are. Awesome.

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Why I’m Going to Stick to Crowdfunding From Now On, Thanks

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thoughtful dinosaur comic strip panel

Backstory:

I applied for a grant through my state, to possibly get some funding for comics and convention appearances so I don’t have to rely entirely on my day job income, Patreon, and KickStarter. I made it to the next to last round of judging, and saw that there was a panel happening the other day to determine the finalists.

So I requested the day off from the day job, drove to the city, and sat through the panel.

Now, I was expecting to be interviewed or to have to defend my case to the panelists.

Yeah, no. Guests weren’t even allowed to talk to the panelists. So the review process was sitting in a dark, cold room for three hours watching slides and three panelists take notes.

Now, the category I submitted to was Visual Design, because apparently that’s the category you put comics in. The problem? This category also covered furniture design, fashion design, and bookbinding.

That’s right: comics, as an art form, was being judged next to furniture and dresses.

Before I get into the tangent of comics as a medium having an entirely separate language and aesthetic from dresses and furniture, let’s talk about the panelists. There were three of them. One was a fashion instructor. One was a 3D artist specializing in (drumroll, please) furniture, and the third… I think she was there because she got a design degree from OSU. Her critiques were basically, and often literally, “I didn’t like it. It looked strange,” or “this looks nice to me.”

Let’s just say, half of the 16 submissions were comics and graphic novels, and only ONE made it to the top 5 (and it wasn’t me). The rest were costume designers or other 3D artist types.

And in the final elimination round, to the surprise of no one, the comic artist got the boot.

I was really hoping for better on that day. I was really hoping that somebody in the comics field would get this grant, even if it wasn’t me – hell, when I looked at my submission on the slides, it turned out that the system I submitted my work through warped my art and fucked up the dimensions of my comic strips. So I’m not surprised that I didn’t get the grant.

But there were artists who sent work better than me, who were not furniture and fashion designers, and they got the boot because the council could not recognize that comics have a different visual language, and different aesthetic values, than the unbalanced panelists could work with.

So, fuck it. I’m not applying for state grant funding again.

I’ll just stick to crowdfunding and convention sales from now on.

Did you have a better experience with arts councils or state-funded grants? Or was your experience just as awful? Share it in the comments below. I would love to read them.

Thanks for reading.

You. Are. Awesome.

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Review Day Tuesday: Heart of Darkmeat

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Yes! Review Day Tuesdays are back, baby! The only change is there are now new reviews every other week.

You can get a copy of this book through Rubber Punk.

Thanks for watching!

You. Are. Awesome.

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