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I Never Really Stopped

Been awhile. 

How are you?

Me?  I'm good.  However, truthfully, I wasn't for a long time.  I'm going to be pretty frank because since 2013 when I was laid-off the first and probably only full-time artist position I received I started to question whether or not my commitment to being a creative content creator was something I could do.  I'm never really the first person companies select when it comes to hiring.  Plus, with the video game industry having mass hiring and mass firing, I did not think I could go through a cycle of disappointment.

2013-2016 were some rough years for me personally.  I fell into a massive funk, to the point I ill-fatedly decided to try a career path in Mobile Development mid-2014 and burnt out spectacularly early 2016.  During which I produced little to nothing creatively.  

Barely any doodles. Practically no illustrations.  I have a few things up here on the blog, but nothing compared to when I was in high school still dreaming of being a comic book artist or in college when I was being inspired by my fellow student to just create.  Maybe this was just being an adult struggling in our current times, fooled by the veneer contentment and perfection we all use on Facebook.  Or maybe it was just depression, ignored and unmedicated.  Both.  Why not both?

I could hear the little doubting voices in the back of my head:

"Why are you not drawing?"

"You're never going to get a job if you don't practice."

"Spent all your parents' money and here you are, doing nothing."

I doubt they will ever go away, but let me reveal how I kept sane: I found other ways to be creative.  An old friend from college a few months ago asked about my schooling for mobile and I told them I essentially dropped out.  It had been a few months and I wasn't as bitter anymore.  I realized that going back to school while it wasn't a mistake, I could have gone about it differently.  I explained, if I really wanted to go back, I could but I would find a more affordable option.  They said to me then, and I'm just paraphrasing, "This is why I like you, you're optimistic and you don't really ever give up even if you change course."

Firstly, I was surprised as being called optimistic.  I'm generally pretty content despite the hiccups and dark pitfalls of life, but still a little jaded and pessimistic.  Secondly, they were kinda right.  I had always felt guilty about not creating illustrations or other forms concept art when some of my friends I went to school with remained immersed but I realized I just shifted what it meant to be creative.

One thing about me I tell people almost right off the bat is my love of Dungeons and Dragons.  I've been playing similar tabletop RPGs since around 2007-2008 and in 2015 decided to take creative control and start running games to world build.  I fell into long-form improv-acting by taking on the personas of various characters that populated the world I and my players were creating.  I've always loved storytelling and here I was, telling an elaborate story that could dynamically change depending on the actions of others.  While a small part of me is sad I might never sit down and illustrate the vivid world being created, another part is happy it isn't all in my head.  Other people know about it and are visualizing it with me and that form of creativity is satisfying. 

Added to this is my love of audio storytelling.  It started in 2013 when I got into the medium of podcasting.  Much like oral traditions, it is sometimes soothing to hear someone tell you a story, explain historical facts in a fun interesting way or just talk and be personable and relatable.  I am admittedly not someone who can sit down and watch a movie or television series.  I don't have the best attention span and get bored if I can't multitask.  But an update to my favorite podcast?  Absolutely, yes.  

I've dabbled in simple audio editing from recordings of one of my old D&D games and recorded a pilot episode of what I learned as a Dungeon Master.  None of these were ever publically released.  However, I do have some short recording of myself doing some narrations for my current D&D games.  Recently, I joined LibriVox, a volunteer project that turns public domain novels, poetry collections and plays into free audiobooks.  While the works aren't mine, I'm still lending my voice to a creative project and that is absolutely something that I take pride.

So for a long time, I thought I stopped being creative.  Instead, it just took me a long time to realize I just took a different route.  I might not be the illustrator constantly working on one piece after another, nothing wrong with people who can and do, but I've found my outlet in various hobbies and artistic endeavors.  I finally might be on the road to happy.  

"Jack of all trades is master of none, but oftentimes better than a master of one."

 

 

 

Commissions, Digital Illustrations

The Two Year Commission

I don't take commissions often or ever if I can help it.  Not because I don't like illustrating other people's characters, but because I'm terrible at managing my time.  There is a list of excuses and straight up, I don't want to do it.  I think I've only done two commissions in a reasonable amount of time.  So when my friend asked me to illustrate her sorceress from a 5-year long campaign, I decided it would be fun.  

I started off well enough.  You can actually find the original preview sketch [HERE].

Then school picked up.  Then I fell into a slump.  Then real life.  Then I forgot about it.

This commission has been hanging over my head for two years.  So I finally just did it.

It started with a new idea and a new sketch.

It started with a new idea and a new sketch.

I started over.  I think a lot of why I never finished the original sketch was because I did everything in Photoshop, from the sketch to the grayscale base, then coloring over it.  It never felt right.  So when I decided to finally finish the commission, I was just better to start from the beginning.

A side by side for the new and old drawing.

A side by side for the new and old drawing.

On top of not really liking the old process I used, I found the old pose too static.  This was a sorceress that bathe the world in flame, I felt like she would not just be standing there.  So with a lot of adjustment layers and masking, I finally finished Adara.

Video Work

Full Draw: Ren

It's been awhile since I've done a pencil sketch to digitally colored portrait.  Originally my 3.5 D&D Lawful Neutral Ranger, he's since been converted to 5e Ranger/Paladin.  

He also shares a namesake with my Guild Wars 2 Thief/Daredevil because I liked the name so much.

The original recording was 3 hours long, but has since been condensed to about 30 mins.

Credits:

Intro Music:
Schizophrenic Wolf (0.8511) by The Fucked Up Beat
Body Music:
Mario Bava Sleeps In a Little Later Than He Expected To by Chris Zabriskie
The Life and Death of a Certain K. Zabriskie, Patriarch by Chris Zabriskie
Pick Up a Convict on Alcatraz by Chris Zabriskie