Updates / News / Announcements / Etc. > Archive, May-Junel 2012
I was reminded of something precious last week. Some friends and I went down to the beach, and it was decided that it would be fun to build sandcastles. Not little kid sandcastles, mind you - but big people sandcastles. We even bought army men to populate them, and brought dice to play out some sort of tactical RPG battle scenario when we were finished. (Like Advance Wars or Starcraft.) Almost everyone bailed - it would've been awesome - but never mind.
As I built my city, something rare happened to me. I got lost in the joy of creation.
"The zone". That state of trance-like concentration when you forget you're in your own body, and all that exists is what you're focused on. I wasn't thinking about what would happen to my sandcastle later, or how much work it would take to complete. It wouldn't matter if no-one saw it, or if the tide would come in and it would be gone the next day. In fact, it didn't even matter if I finished. I was content with the simple act of creation. After a while, when my back and arms started hurting I'd stand and let out a long sigh, pacing around and examining my castle from above. I'd contemplate what needed to be built next, then knelt over and went right back to work. (As it so happens, my back is killing me today, but it didn't start hurting until five days later. Weird.)
I daydreamed up a story for my city. I divided it into districts, drew lines in the sand where different types of people would live. I was building for what may have been three or four hours before realizing the sun was on its way down, and that I ought to finish for the sake of having enough light. Fortunately, some friends volunteered to assist and one even offered to bring me a late lunch. I realized I hadn't eaten since the morning (another symptom of being in the zone). Meanwhile, like a little architect, I assigned jobs to people to get this city built. I had some friends dig, others pile sand to where the castle would be carved, others to work on the walls. I did the detail work and "sculpting". Despite the burden on my body, it was oddly fulfilling.
Eventually, I decided it was time to stop. To be sure, I could have kept working, adding intricate details, but I was tired, it was getting chilly and sunlight was waning. Plus, leaving it in an unfinished state made it look kinda cool, like an abandoned, crumbling city or something.
That day, I was reminded of the joy of creation. For someone who draws comics, it was a shock for me to realize how rarely I find myself in "the zone". Too frequently, I get caught up in thoughts like "is this good enough", or "will people see this", or "will I be able to earn a living doing this". But there I was building a sandcastle with all the strength and creativity I could muster, all day, with 100% certainty that it would be gone the next day. Incredibly, that didn't matter. I sit here now, pondering how profound it all is. I suspect this is what it was like when God made the universe. When the Scriptures talk about Him saying "it is good," I kinda understand, in a very very small way.
It's unfortunate when art is made for the sake of anything besides the feeling of contentment in the act of creation. I'm reminded of how rare it is. (The last time I felt "the zone" for a long period of time was last summer when I was building a set for my church's Vacation Bible School. I worked for days on end, exhaustively, but was intensely satisfied by the work.) Maybe this post will seem like nonsense to some of you, but I do think it's important to share things like this. Contentedly spending a whole day building a sandcastle on the beach... in some ways, I feel like that's more important, profound and meaningful than most of the stuff I do on a daily basis. I want to be able to draw comics or write the same way I built that sandcastle. I wish all work felt like that.
June 13, 2012 - Let's Do This
I promise this'll be
the last strip about tuxedo fitting (at least for now). Meanwhile, I've
been developing a "buffer" of Bite-Sizes so it should be smooth sailing
for daily (almost daily) updates in the near future. Professionals like
Charles M. Schulz or Bill Watterson always worked months ahead of time, so
if I want to make believe I'm one of them, I ought to do the same. Daily
updates means more readers. Right? 0_0
June 3, 2012 - Life Update
New Bite-Size added.
It's been some time since I've written a blurb, so I thought I'd jot down what's been going on. Well, I am going back to my "old-old schedule" this week. As long-time readers may recall, I split my schedule working part-time at a real job (the kind where I earn money) and then working on my comics for the rest. The majority of this year, I've been on a full-time schedule at the other job. Around April, I split it to a semi-full-time schedule. However, my heart isn't in that lifestyle (I hate offices where every day is the same) and I've found that kind of life unsustainable. Waking up every morning to a feeling of total despondence isn't really what I aspired to, growing up.
Therefore, what I've done is whittled down my schedule so that I can spend the absolute maximum amount of time drawing comics without going completely broke. I tell myself, "George, you're single, you've got basically no dependents, you've got fabulous taste in movies and are super great-looking. If you're going to take your shot at a better life, now is the time." So here we are.
I hope to use this time to push harder than ever to make a living at this. Between a strip, graphic novels, or some job I have no idea about yet, I want to keep reaching for as long as I can. On one hand it's kind of sad to be 26 (almost 27), living at home drawing comics and daydreaming... but I mean... I think it would be worse to be a 9-5 office job making decent cash but hating every day of my life. I confess this because some of you may be considering the pursuit of creating comics for a living as well, and I want you to see my life as one possible example. In America 2012, it is very, so very difficult to earn a living off comics. (Unless maybe you want to go work for DC or Marvel drawing superhero comics but I mean... forget that. There's an even rarer, almost impossibly small sub-niche of people who can make comics which don't fall into that genre, but most of those poor creators aren't really encouraged to write their own stories. They draw stuff other people wrote - which could be fine, but not good for the industry in the long run if that's all that's being published.)
What really should happen is a group of really, really serious creators ought to get together and publish their own monthly magazine, printing new chapters every month of their own work. Why hasn't this happened in America yet? Why is Shonen Jump, Shojo Beat, and Yen Plus (though they discontinued the magazine) only printing translated work? What about original work from people in this country? What about holding contests, getting readers involved? This is a multi-million dollar industry in Japan. I know people would read comics here if there were good ones. There's no reason that business model shouldn't work here. Urgh, I'm getting so upset now thinking about it. So close, but so far. >_<
We'll see what
happens, I guess. All I know is, my schedule is freer so now I can draw
more. I presume habitual visitors of this site will only benefit from
this. If you want, show your support! Join Bite-Size's
Facebook group, tell your
friends! And write e-mails to publishers telling them to get their acts
together, stop publishing lame nonsense stories and put out work like
May 11, 2012 - Say now, Bite-Size
A new strip has been
added this morning. A promising sign of more frequent updates? =D Have I
gotten over the funk? Even I don't have the answer to that question. Btw,
I need to think of a less heavy-handed way to announce new strips. Do
people use Twitter? Would that enhance people's reading experience? If
enough people e-mail me requesting a Twitter thing (not that I know what
it is), I'll look into implementing it.
May 9, 2012 - More Bite-Size
Instead of playing
video games tonight, I drew a Bite-Size. -_-
May 8, 2012 - Inspired by true events
New Bite-Size added
May 4, 2012 - Press "b" to encourage
I've mentioned this
before, but I'm trying to write a long, long script for a story called
"Cloud World" which could end up being my next... er... graphic
novel? (That term sounds very pretentious suddenly.) I recently sketched
what the main characters might look like (below). On the left is May(belle)
Holloway, and on the right is Chris(topher) Engelmeyer.
Writing a script for such a lengthy book by oneself with no prospect of ever self-publishing/selling more than a handful of copies is scary. Exhausting, too. This is my own prejudice, but I feel like most American publishers are only interested in printing shallow fantasy stories or poorly drawn emo diary comics. Books like Essex County might come out once every few years. Or maybe I'm just looking in the wrong places. Maybe there's this vibrant world of comics and it just hasn't climbed past the rabble on the bookshelves of northern New Jersey but is thriving elsewhere. (I hear Europe's comics scene is relatively healthy, on the other hand. And when they aren't producing billions of tons of shonen jump nonsense, Japan has miraculously spit out a few gems from time to time.)
Have I talked about Cloud World already? That it might be like 500-600 pages over two or three volumes? That's scary too. I'm also worried it might not be funny. I'm worried I'll waste five years working on it. Life is short, man. Maybe I should train myself to write prose and convert the story into a proper novel with illustrations. 0_0
What to do? See,
it's over crap like this that people give up their dreams and just go work
in some office somewhere. >:u
May 3, 2012 - Yup
A new Bite-Size, #220: "Best Acquaintances For Life" added this morning.
Thanks to everyone
who bought a copy of volume one! It's very encouraging to see such
enthusiasm. There are still plenty left to go around, so please consider
buying one if you haven't already!
April 26, 2012 - New Bite-Size strip added
A new Bite-Size strip has been added today. OH AND BY THE WAY
Yeah. Bite-Size Volume 1 is officially on sale. As in, you can now buy a copy. The books are 6"x9", 140 pages, and cost ten (10) dollars. Visit the Store to order books from me (it's actually pretty simple even though the store is still under construction). Shipping is a flat rate of $3, so you'll actually save money if you order more stuff! (I highly encourage this.)