Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Life and Work - What I've learned about myself


Hope you're doing good, it's been a while since I've updated my blog. Wanted to talk about what I've learned lately.

The last time I posted anything was back in October and a lot of things have changed. Back then I was looking to produce StarVeil through a publisher and had shifted my attention back to line art and visual storytelling. Most of my hopes back then were to line up a publisher and get to producing my comic full time. That has changed a bit as the deal doesn't seem to be exactly what I had hoped, plus I'm still up in the air with the whole losing control thing. Might just be me being stupid, who knows, I'm still trying to figure it all out haha.

I wanted to talk about how I've been learning lately. A couple of my previous posts on here have been pretty preachy, and while I try to target myself as well as what's happening in the art community/industry I think I'll focus more on what I'm doing wrong and learning from. 

To start, I found myself in a similar place. There are so many different levels of comfort, so many different excuses you'll find yourself in, reasons why you just can't seem to pursue what you know is vital to growth. I have been falling back into the usual pattern of saying 'well, it's a job, it's an awesome opportunity and I need to take it', resulting in more and more procrastination. Might be profitable procrastination, but it's still procrastination. I'm eternally grateful, of course, to everyone who has granted me with options to work on some amazing properties and projects. There is nothing at all to complain about there. 

What is an issue though, is knowing that I have lingering plans. Sitting in front of me are a hundred 'next steps' that have yet to be taken. It's the constant falling back on the repetition of deadline to deadline work and justifying procrastination with what's most important, with what I know I have to work on. Work has replaced the excuse that 'I deserve a break', 'a new game is out!', 'I need to make time to do X, Y and Z', and 'I have to write a blog post about this problem'. It's the perfect reason to stop chasing dreams because there is profit there.

But I'm done with that! Recently I started making myself focus on drawing, just drawing. Sitting down and warming up in the morning makes all the difference. I've known this to be true for myself for years too. That's the real problem, relearning and re-understanding that this is something essential for me. The warm ups used to be direct studies, and now they are portraits and hand drawings, things from imagination, just anything to get me going. 

The thing that drives me nuts though, is that garbage thought before hand that I just don't want to do it. Shaking that out of your head can be hard for some reason. It should be super easy, it seems like it would be, but it's not. Makes me feel like a huge lazy asshole, but once I break through that goddamn thought, it's like I'm flying through my process. I'm trying new things, I'm excited to work on personal things, I'm motivated.

This motivation carries me through my jobs, makes me really want to jump back into traditional and gives me hope for future places art could take me. Just working and just relying on clients to get me moving on what I should be doing for myself is pure laziness on my part. Every time I'm at this point of realization(happens more than I'd like to admit), it's like the answer was always clear as day but somehow I just missed it. Somehow I just was totally ok not tapping into this wellspring of energy. What the hell was I doing?

So, that's why I'm writing this. This is a reminder to me of how dumb I can be, and maybe it can be a reminder to you if you're caught in a rut. It doesn't matter if you're successful, making money and being recognized for drawing another realistic portrait of somebody's hard-on for nostalgia. The only thing that matters is that whatever it is that you're focused on is pushing you forward towards your personal goals. 

When I started out I was so intensely focused on my goals that I never wavered or let distractions get the best of me. I simply couldn't, I was forced into a mindset of staying on task, if I wasn't, I wouldn't eat. It was almost easier for me to get work done back then because life absolutely demanded that I make it happen. Now I'm looking at the problem of just being goddamn greedy. You see an opportunity coming and immediately think of the implications of gaining more publicity or gaining niche crowds, or just getting a larger paycheck. The whole idea of never getting sidetracked has become this major issue because I never had any of these options starting out. 

I've been locked into the mindset of grabbing onto everything and anything that will get me in front of people and will get me more work. The desperation of someone who doesn't know when they'll get work again, someone who is preparing for the inevitable draught that will surely come if you're not collecting all of the money and supplies needed to survive. But now that, thankfully, people are more aware of my availability to work, it seems I still can't shake that nervous feeling. Sure, a lot of these are exciting jobs, but there is so much more to what I want to accomplish with my life.

Last year in May, my father passed away. He was the best dude ever, helped me get my head out of my ass and stay focused. He used to ask me when he'd get a chance to see what I could do for myself. I put off ever showing him anything because he didn't want anything spoiled, he wanted to see everything finished first. I never got to share any of the work I had done with him because of that. And although I know thats a small part of life and it wasn't necessarily all about that, I wanted this man I looked up to to see what I could really do given the chance.

The ultimate lesson I learned was that life just passes you by. You're out there, focused on building yourself up and attaining all these things that should prove to be fulfilling. But sometimes those things can feel a little hollow after awhile, and if you're not careful, the well inside you holding onto all of those great ideas can go completely untapped. You may be something to some people, but that is absolutely minuscule compared to who you could be if you invested entirely in yourself. If you embraced and moved forward with absolutely everything you wanted for you.

I guess all I'm really saying is that you have to be careful about your ideas of success and what you deem valuable. All of this is pretty fleeting and it's easy to get distracted and let yourself wander off down rabbit holes that don't even come close to resembling the world you envisioned for yourself. But you can't let shiny glittery things, or videos of people on pcp rolling around on the street making turkey noises, distract you from what really matters. If you know what you want to do with your life, make sure you take the first step to just starting. Make sure you don't let everything you are just fade away, you have value, not the jobs or the notoriety, just you. Invest in yourself, put in the time and stay focused, don't leave anything untapped. 

Anyway, that's the end of my rant. Thanks for reading and I hope this helps in some way, as I wish someone would've said something like this to me years ago.



BryaSaurusRex said...

Thank you for this.

Unknown said...

This was... inspiring and motivating for me although I can fully resonate with it right now I think this would really give a tap in my head when the time comes. Thank you for this!

Emanoel Melo said...

THIS was just what I needed to read today. Really, every line. Thanks Dave.

Emanoel Melo said...

THIS was just what I needed to read today. Really, every line. Thanks Dave.

Unknown said...

Well said Dave. The soul is where we live. I have listened to many wise men over the years and fortunately tapped into "what really matters" for me, years ago. It a nutshell, it's what you said. Now that I'm towards the end of my career, I am glad I got it right. I could of made more money in my career, but it would have been spent, with little more to show for it. I found the balance of work and family and lived through some crappy bosses, which taught me that most of what I fought for and worried about was unnecessary. I took a step back and still got things accomplished without worry or stress. This may be a discussion over a beer or coffee in the future. Good to hear words from the soul.

Sergio said...

Dave... this kind and humble words make me see that person behind the drawings and really helps me to look forward my own work as well... I'm not famous and people might think my work sucks... but you know what, at the end of the day is Me the only person who I have to show what i'm capable of... the likes and the comments sure helps the Ego, but the process of what I had achieved is more important than all that bullshit, the possibility to look back at my works and say... dam I sucked back then, and see my work today and say... i still suck But think about,how good you can get in a few years, that though by it self makes me smile. you are a truly inspiration as an artist and as a person, so thank you Dave.
Peace :)

Unknown said...


turkey noises.


Gerald Situ said...

This is why I have such a man crush for you. Thank you.

Ridell Apellanes said...

"If you know what you want to do with your life, make sure you take the first step to just starting. Make sure you don't let everything you are just fade away, you have value, not the jobs or the notoriety, just you. Invest in yourself, put in the time and stay focused, don't leave anything untapped. "

Thanks Dave. It's like you're standing right over my shoulder being beautiful

Benjamin Bach said...

Your post resonates with a lots of people - Thanks a lot for your rant there Dave. Peace and <3

Praveen said...

I would like everyone I know to read this lol. So when I make such a decision to put my own stuff first, I won't have to hide it..

Anonymous said...

Awesome dude, thank you very much :)

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