A long while ago I wrote a post about my inspirations. Some of those still hold true (looking at you, Paprika). Some, however, have moved to the shelf so I can focus on some new inspirations.
Here’s what been getting my creative juices flowing recently:
KINGDOM HEARTS 3
I loved this series as a teenager. Then I hated it. Now I’m back to enjoying it.
This series is NOT flawless. But it’s like a cup of tea with a bar of chocolate: the best self-indulgence you can get without thinking too hard about it.
Really, the series is at its best when you’re not thinking about the plot. Though, as SuperButterBuns put it, the plot isn’t that confusing: it’s just a lot to remember.
(I also do the Crash Bandicoot logic of boss fights, in that the bosses in the previous games didn’t “die.” They were just defeated once and then came back for Kingdom Hearts 3.)
So what about Kingdom Hearts 3 has been getting me inspired? Well, I’d be lying if I said anything other than “The Organization.”
Or seeing Woody from Toy Story tell one of the Organization members to piss off. That scene gave me SO MUCH LIFE.
Also, Kingdom Hearts fans will get this reference: Yeetas Vanitas.
There’s tons of silly, charming character moments in Kingdom Hearts 3 in particular. Is the voice acting as good as the Union Cross: Back Cover movie? Nope. But the character banter is on point, more so in this game than in any other Kingdom Hearts installment.
And, well, the Organization and the mystery behind each member just intrigues the hell out of me. Not to mention that the characters themselves make good warm-up sketching material. Every character looks and acts differently. And I appreciate that.
Ok, I’ll move on to the next piece of inspiration before I gush anymore:
FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST: BROTHERHOOD
From Kingdom Hearts’ absolutely bonkers plot to a story with a damn-near flawless plot. Yes, FullMetal Alchemist: Brotherhood’s story is so expertly woven that it’s really McFreaking Hard for me to find a fault with it anyplace.
Every character has a purpose. Every motivation makes sense. And the action of this series is driven by the motives of the characters, not some invisible hand dragging them by the nose under plot contrivance.
Also, much like Kingdom Hearts, the character designs for FullMetal are just superb.
Really, though, it’s the writing and how the story moves forward that’s been inspiring me the most. It makes me want to write.
I doubt I will ever write anything like Brotherhood. But it gives me something to aspire to, and a benchmark to look at whenever I lose focus.
Above anything else, the humor (and one other thing) of this series has been inspiring me the most lately.
The other day I was marathoning this show in the background while I was doing studio work. And yet the show still makes me laugh, even when I’m not watching it directly.
There’s a soft spot in my heart for any character who fulfills the Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass trope well, and Vash the Stampede is the best embodiment of this trope.
Also, the very first episode of this show is the best introductory episode of any anime I have seen thus far. Period. Don’t believe me? Watch it for yourself. You’re welcome.
Did you know Studio Ghibli (yes, THAT Studio Ghibli) did the animation of some episodes of Trigun? When I learned that, it blew my damn mind.
This is also another series with some damn good writing to it. But for a different reason: FullMetal’s focus was on the characters and motivation. Trigun’s focus in the writing is on the world-building, and Vash’s connection to it.
Once you see the conclusion of Trigun, you will realize there’s no other story like it. And that’s what inspires me.
That’s all for now. I’m gonna’ get back to drawing.
Thank you for reading!
You. Are. Awesome.
P.S. Another fun fact that blew my mind: the English voice actor for Xemnas in Kingdom Hearts also did the voice of Detective Konakawa in Paprika. Now I can’t look at Xemnas half the time without thinking about Konakawa’s dream antics.
I’ll be blunt – I have generalized anxiety disorder.
It’s not that people make me go, “Oh no I said the wrong thing they’re gonna’ hate me etc.” That’s social anxiety. I don’t have that. I do not fear making a dang fool of myself in front of other people.
No. My anxiety stems more from future-based thinking. Specifically, I’m REALLY good at worst-case scenarios. And my trigger for cooking up worst-case scenarios is getting a bit of unexpected (especially bad) news.
I currently rent my house from my mom while she and her boyfriend do the RV-lifestyle thing. And,
Mom said (at the time of the video) that she was looking to sell the house I’m currently renting within the next year.
She has since changed her timeline and decided the house won’t be listed for 2 to 3 years at the soonest. But when I first got the news, when she told me the 1-year plan, my anxiety kicked into High Time Worst-Case Scenario Cooking Mode.
That, coupled with dealing with my emotions around the death of my grandfather at the beginning of the year – and those feelings resurfacing because we sold/auctioned off the estate – meant that I was in Emotional Shutdown.
So there was a period where I took 4 days off of EVERYTHING in order to take care of myself. No studio work. No side hustles. No freelance. Nothing.
And in that four day period, and in the days after, I had a realization.
The thing is, I’ve made drawing and making art my full-time thing. Drawing and making art is what pays my rent, my groceries, and basically everything else. I do not regret making my art be able to do this, and I’m proud of the fact that my art can do this.
There are a lot of self-care guides out there that recommend that people “make art” as part of taking care of themselves and having time to relax.
Let me be clear: I do make art for self-care, as well as for work. It’s just that the art I make for self-care is VERY different from the art I make for work.
I love comics. Otherwise I wouldn’t have made it my job.
But when I’m in Emotional Shutdown Mode, I do not draw comics. That’s work. Instead, I crochet. I bake. I paint. I do anything but make comics.
Most importantly, I discovered – when I take care of myself, I WRITE.
I’ve been writing so god-diddly-dang much these past two weeks, but not on email newsletters or comic scripts or blog posts.
I write stories.
(Granted, the one story I’ve been writing for self-care purposes is fan-fiction, but it still counts as writing. The act of writing, whether fan-fiction or not, is an act of practicing the skill.)
Do all of these stories I write for self-care become comics I make? God no. Especially the fan-fiction. That shit is for ME.
But for some reason, writing is the catharsis that makes me less angsty. It is the thing that stops the Emotional Shutdown train of thought. And it is the first thing I turn to whenever I feel the Worst-Case-Scenario-Cooking Mode begin.
If you’re an artist, I hope this helps you get some ideas of what you can do for your own self-care. Yes, making art is great. Making art for a living is even better. But you don’t have to be making art all the time in order to be valid.
It’s ok to take time for yourself. And it’s ok if taking care of yourself looks like something besides making art. You have permission to not make art in order to take care of yourself.
Even though I’ve been feeling sick lately, I’ve also been feeling a creative slump. When I sit down at the drafting table to draw, I either can’t focus or I can’t muster up the energy draw the thing that’s in front of me.
It’s not just election bullshit, either; it’s the day job scheduling me so I have to get up at 3:30 am (which no sane human being should ever be obligated to do so). It’s trying to handle KickStarter, TWO Patreons, two webcomics, and freelance gigs on top of the day job. And trying to do all of that while trying to remember to eat and sleep. And shower. Grace bless whoever invented showers.
“But,” I can hear you say, “if you have all that shit to do, why blog every day? Wouldn’t that be more work?”
Yes and no.
Yes, on the surface, it seems like more work, but to me, it’s a good way to purge whatever is up in my brain part to make room in the brain part for new ideas. I’m doing this to kick-start the creative juices.
It’s also a good way to keep track of the work I’m doing, and bringing you along for the ride so maybe you can get some ideas.
As far as comics or works-in-progress goes, that’ll all be Patreon-exclusive. So instead, I’ll be blogging about ideas, stories I’ve wanted to share, new books and comics I’m reading, and I GUESS I’ll do list posts. But if I’m going to do a list post, it’s going to be how I want to do one, not just obligatory traffic-boosting clickbait.
If that all sounds like your cup of tea (and I’ll be writing about tea, also), stay tuned and come back tomorrow! (Maybe tomorrow’s post will be about tea… Maybe. Possibly.)