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Not Dead Yet

Journal Entry: Mon Jul 21, 2014, 7:37 PM



Convention Status


MAGFEST: 2-5 January, National Harbor, MD

Katsucon: 14-16 February, National Harbor, MD

BronyCon: 1-3 August, Baltimore, Maryland

Otakon: 8-10 August, Baltimore, Maryland
Most likely will not even attend, however I may just hang out ear the convention...

Any other conventions are pending time, money and interest.




I DO take requests in that I will entertain any request. Whether or not I will actually work on the request is another matter entirely. The fact of the matter is that a request is just that: a request; something that you would like to see me do. This said, I am under NO obligation to do it at all.

If you're still here and want to request something from me send me a note or email and then wait. I will either do it or I won't. If you ask me whether or not I got your message about the request, rest assured that I have and that I have at least skimmed it over and am considering it. Good ways to ensure that I will NOT do your request include, but are not limited to:
- Requests that are outside of my interests (take a look at my gallery and faves to get an idea of what those are).
- Requests that put my characters outside of what they normally do or suggest that they behave differently than how they normally would.
- Badgering, pestering or otherwise being a nuisance is a quick way to see your request sent to a quantum singularity never to be heard from again...you are on my time and I've got stuff to do.
- Should a request actually get completed, you accept it as-is. Period.
- Friends, family and business partners get special dispensation and are far more likely to be considered. Those people know who they are...and no, just because you are on my 'Friends' list here or are watching me does not make you my friend by default.

If you find that these terms are unreasonable, then put some money on the table and commission me. You will find that I am MUCH more reasonable and FAR more inclined to bend over backwards for you.



Yeah, I admit it, I’ve been seriously neglecting this place. I think it’s mostly because I got hooked on Tumblr and in a lot of ways DA’s UI is clunky in comparison when it comes to submitting artwork, dealing with messages, notes and such…not that I get a lot of those mind you…

In any event, I, for those that are still watching, I will be attending BronyCon along with my roommates :iconshrineheart: and :iconrattlesire: selling stuff in the Vendor’s Hall. I will be selling a small number of prints as well as taking commissions while my roommates will have a wider selection of prints… not sure if they’re doing commissions or not though.



You can find us at Table 306, which is rather close to the main thoroughfare as well as fairly close to the Charles Street Lobby/exit. So come on by and say hello!



Commission List:
1)
2)
3)
4)
5)



Katsucon? More like Katsu-Gone!

Journal Entry: Sun Feb 16, 2014, 12:45 PM



Convention Status


MAGFEST: 2-5 January, National Harbor, MD

Katsucon: 14-16 February, National Harbor, MD

BronyCon: 1-3 August, Baltimore, Maryland

Otakon: 8-10 August, Baltimore, Maryland
Most likely will not even attend, however I may just hang out ear the convention...

Any other conventions are pending time, money and interest.




I DO take requests in that I will entertain any request. Whether or not I will actually work on the request is another matter entirely. The fact of the matter is that a request is just that: a request; something that you would like to see me do. This said, I am under NO obligation to do it at all.

If you're still here and want to request something from me send me a note or email and then wait. I will either do it or I won't. If you ask me whether or not I got your message about the request, rest assured that I have and that I have at least skimmed it over and am considering it. Good ways to ensure that I will NOT do your request include, but are not limited to:
- Requests that are outside of my interests (take a look at my gallery and faves to get an idea of what those are).
- Requests that put my characters outside of what they normally do or suggest that they behave differently than how they normally would.
- Badgering, pestering or otherwise being a nuisance is a quick way to see your request sent to a quantum singularity never to be heard from again...you are on my time and I've got stuff to do.
- Should a request actually get completed, you accept it as-is. Period.
- Friends, family and business partners get special dispensation and are far more likely to be considered. Those people know who they are...and no, just because you are on my 'Friends' list here or are watching me does not make you my friend by default.

If you find that these terms are unreasonable, then put some money on the table and commission me. You will find that I am MUCH more reasonable and FAR more inclined to bend over backwards for you.



My first Katsucon was in 2007, the first of three years it was at the upscale Omni-Shoreham hotel in Washington, D.C. I had been attending the convention regularly, even planning a lot of events about attending it every year. I actually met a lot of new people, caught up with folks I had met only briefly before, gained a greater appreciation for art and have met some of my best friends there.

In fact, I remember a lot of good times at the convention, and even the bad times were matters of idiocy and silliness that led up to the con itself, and seemed to be made all better when the convention actually happened…for the most part.

This year I did not go to Katsucon, mostly because I simply cannot afford even a 1-day pass. I just cannot shoulder those unnecessary expenses. While I am no stranger to financial woes, and even having experienced them in the past, I still managed to make sure I could attend Katsucon. This year was different for me. In the past, I would move mountains to make an appearance… crappy finances? Fuck it! I’m going anyway!

I think the main reason why I had this shift in mentality was because I realized that while my primary reason for attending has not changed (I love hanging in the Alley and seeing various folks!), the subject of that reason did.

Let me elaborate…

Artist Alley is, in my opinion, no longer what it used to be. What Artist Alley used to be was a means for people who genuinely loved and enjoyed anime a means to show it off. A way for them to practice their craft, either as a hobbyist having fun or a way to gain skill and hope to catch the eye of people in the industry. Now it is simply an avenue to make money such that people use Artist Alley conventions as a means to make their living – this is not a hobby for them, it is their job (or, at least, their primary source of income).

Let me be clear on this, I find absolutely NOTHING WRONG with making money, for artists charging a fair price for their skill and products. There is nothing wrong in trying to break even or even making a profit! Where I start taking issue is the mentality of the process, the intents that are put in place and how they are executed. Many of those in the Alley any more have the general view of ‘money first, hobby second’.

Again, let me reiterate, I am not opposed to the act of making money. But I do take issue with the underlying mentality of many who partake in the Alley. I mean, it seems that anymore, Artist Alley is less like a place for hobbyists to gather and collectively show their love and enjoyment of an art form or fandom through their various crafts and more like a miniature Dealer’s Room. In fact, there are a number of people who, by all rights should be in the dealer’s room, but are not simply because it’s cheaper. Not economically viable (as in, they would be hard pressed dealing with the competition there), but simply cheaper.

Because of this mentality shift, I am finding it difficult to actually care about attending Katsucon…or any anime con for that matter.

Some folks have attributed this to a sort of ‘con-burnout’ or something like that. I can easily see the logic held there. It could also be that because of my depressed finances, I feel that I cannot have the fun that I’m used to having, even if it’s simply due to the fact that the matter is weighing on my mind to the point that it subconsciously interferes with my ability to just enjoy the moment. I could also argue that I’m old and remembering ‘the good old days’ and still have a very strong sense of idealism and favor things based on how they should be rather than accepting them as they are.

…or maybe it’s a combination of all of these things… or none of them…

Regardless, the end result is the same: I did not go to Katsucon this year and I really and truly do not feel any significant loss or regret. In fact, the only thing I seem to feel on the matter is that I don’t like the fact that I feel nothing on the matter…



Commission List:
1)
2)
3)
4)
5)



To the New Year

Journal Entry: Thu Jan 2, 2014, 9:59 AM



Convention Status


MAGFEST: 2-5 January, National Harbor, MD

Katsucon: 14-16 February, National Harbor, MD

BronyCon: 1-3 August, Baltimore, Maryland

Otakon: 8-10 August, Baltimore, Maryland
Most likely will not even attend, however I may just hang out ear the convention...

Any other conventions are pending time, money and interest.




I DO take requests in that I will entertain any request. Whether or not I will actually work on the request is another matter entirely. The fact of the matter is that a request is just that: a request; something that you would like to see me do. This said, I am under NO obligation to do it at all.

If you're still here and want to request something from me send me a note or email and then wait. I will either do it or I won't. If you ask me whether or not I got your message about the request, rest assured that I have and that I have at least skimmed it over and am considering it. Good ways to ensure that I will NOT do your request include, but are not limited to:
- Requests that are outside of my interests (take a look at my gallery and faves to get an idea of what those are).
- Requests that put my characters outside of what they normally do or suggest that they behave differently than how they normally would.
- Badgering, pestering or otherwise being a nuisance is a quick way to see your request sent to a quantum singularity never to be heard from again...you are on my time and I've got stuff to do.
- Should a request actually get completed, you accept it as-is. Period.
- Friends, family and business partners get special dispensation and are far more likely to be considered. Those people know who they are...and no, just because you are on my 'Friends' list here or are watching me does not make you my friend by default.

If you find that these terms are unreasonable, then put some money on the table and commission me. You will find that I am MUCH more reasonable and FAR more inclined to bend over backwards for you.



As we all know that with every New Year there are these resolutions. Things that we, as people, try to do to generally become better people or improve in some way. Many of these resolutions are silly and are possibly impossible goals…many of them (in my opinion) are not necessarily realistic.

This being said, over the past 2 years, I have made a set of generalized resolutions, things that I can do to move forward. Many of these are long-term goals and I certainly do not expect to see them completed in any short term manner. This will be my third annotation of the goals that I have set for myself and my second on reflecting on them and, well, basically grading myself on how well I accomplished these goals.

So, with all that aside, let’s begin shall we?

:bulletblue: Improve My Attitude: Holy hell in a handbasket batman, have I done a lot of positive movement here!
I feel it in myself, and maybe I still look to others for confirmation of whether or not I have made improvements in my attitude and self-image...and maybe this is something that I will always do, but the fact of the matter is that overall, I feel fantastic. I can honestly say, that I am not as Doomy McGloomerson as I have been in the past… yeah, I know that I still have issues both with self-image and my confidence, but I can say that I do, genuinely feel better about myself.

:bulletblue: Do More Fanart: Much better.
My MLP Tumblr is still sleeping with the fishes and due to time and such, I have not taken on as many of the Art Challenges as I had before, but I have done more than a little bit of fanart. I made fanart and sold it at a convention. I have done fanart on my own as well. I can still do more here, but I can honestly say that I am feeling more comfortable with it.

:bulletblue: Gain Forward Momentum With Arcanum Flux: Moderate.
I have decided to shift from making a comic/novelization and work on it as a setting. Specifically, a tabletop RPG. To be honest though, I think the reason why this has fallen by the wayside that it has is not that I don’t care about it or want it to happen…it is honestly a matter of I don’t know what I want. I know I would like to see things happen, but that is not a concrete goal or something to strive for. This being said, it is hard to make forward movement on a thing if you do not know what you want that thing to be.

:bulletblue: Increase My Online Presence: …bluh…
I think I actually went backwards here. I don’t know. I think it may have something to do with a shifting of priorities. I haven’t streamed as much, nor have I made as much of an effort to become part of the online conversation. I think this kind of segways into my issue with Arcanum Flux in that I don’t know what I want…and since I don’t know what I want, it’s hard to actually work towards a goal.

So, those are my personal ratings. Now comes the new resolutions:

Improve My Attitude:As far as I’ve come this year, I know I still have farther to go. Yes, I do feel better about myself, but I need to continue with this positive momentum and continually improve on my self-image and self-confidence. I feel that I am on the right track, but there is always more that can be done. I am aware that this is one of those long-term not necessarily achievable goals, but I can always be better tomorrow than I was yesterday. So yeah, going to keep working on this one!

Do More Fanart: I need to do more fanart. Plain and simple. I can do it, and I can do more of it. I just need to sit down and do it!

Improve My Art: This is a generalized thing more than anything else. ‘Improve’ is a catch-all term in that it can mean do what I normally do but faster, also do more of it. It could also mean nailing down my style or even trying new things. This is different than fanart, in that this also applies to my own personal projects as well the work I do at my job.

Make A.R.C. Studio A Thing: I got this printer and ideas on things that I can make and sell at a variety of conventions. I can turn A.R.C. Studio into an actual thing that does business and is not just a random collection of artists that like to hang out… I can make it to be so much more and I want to.

Be More Social Online: This is different than increasing/improving my online presence. I think that I first need to learn how to be more social and be part of the conversation than I have been. I honestly do not know how to reach out to people as a general thing. I mean, I feel that if the internet were this big party, I am that guy who hangs out on the far wall holding a drink that he pretends to sip from on occasion to appear social. You know, being present without actually contributing. I need to learn how to get out on the dance floor so to speak.

I think the first thing that folks will notice is that I cut out Arcanum Flux and the desire to improve my online presence. The reason for these is that I do not know what I want for these things, and until I nail that down and make a decision, I’m just going to take them off the table for now.

I feel that the ‘Being More Social’ is different, because this involves me actually talking to people and having a conversation than just posting crap on the internet and hoping someone likes it. I mean, I read somewhere that becoming popular or getting people to like you is not about showing off your awesomeness, but instead it’s about enjoying the awesomeness of others. Basically, it’s one of those things, of if you show a genuine interest in others, others will, in turn, show a genuine interest in you. It is with that in mind that I feel that this is where I need to start getting the ball rolling in a lot of respects.

So yeah, there you have it. These are the things that AF40K is going to be working on this year. I will try to check in on this from time to time, but about this time next year, I will see where I stand and what more needs to be done.

Here’s to a great 2014!



Commission List:
1)
2)
3)
4)
5)



Reflections

Journal Entry: Thu Jan 2, 2014, 9:11 AM



Convention Status


MAGFEST: 2-5 January, National Harbor, MD

Katsucon: 14-16 February, National Harbor, MD

BronyCon: 1-3 August, Baltimore, Maryland

Otakon: 8-10 August, Baltimore, Maryland
Most likely will not even attend, however I may just hang out ear the convention...

Any other conventions are pending time, money and interest.




I DO take requests in that I will entertain any request. Whether or not I will actually work on the request is another matter entirely. The fact of the matter is that a request is just that: a request; something that you would like to see me do. This said, I am under NO obligation to do it at all.

If you're still here and want to request something from me send me a note or email and then wait. I will either do it or I won't. If you ask me whether or not I got your message about the request, rest assured that I have and that I have at least skimmed it over and am considering it. Good ways to ensure that I will NOT do your request include, but are not limited to:
- Requests that are outside of my interests (take a look at my gallery and faves to get an idea of what those are).
- Requests that put my characters outside of what they normally do or suggest that they behave differently than how they normally would.
- Badgering, pestering or otherwise being a nuisance is a quick way to see your request sent to a quantum singularity never to be heard from again...you are on my time and I've got stuff to do.
- Should a request actually get completed, you accept it as-is. Period.
- Friends, family and business partners get special dispensation and are far more likely to be considered. Those people know who they are...and no, just because you are on my 'Friends' list here or are watching me does not make you my friend by default.

If you find that these terms are unreasonable, then put some money on the table and commission me. You will find that I am MUCH more reasonable and FAR more inclined to bend over backwards for you.



2013 had a fair number of ups and downs. Some were more up than down…though to be quite honest there were plenty of moments where it felt the exact opposite. Hell, there are quite a number of folks who had a terrible year and are genuinely glad to see 2013 out the door and would only really be happy if it were to also have died in a car fire.

…and I can’t really fault them. Hell, to a degree I even agree with them…

I mean, just for myself, I spent more time unemployed than employed, looking for work and, generally struggling to make ends meet. I have lost family and I lost a very good friend. Things were difficult, there were times where I asked myself “why do I bother?”. There were plenty of moments where I thought about just giving up...on, well… everything. I mean, who would really care right? I’m nobody that matters and I’m just one fat geek amongst a worldwide population of over seven billion. The world wouldn’t even bat an eyelash much less actually care.

The fact that the world also has seen fit to make sure that the vast majority of the terrible things that happen in my life take place sometime between Thanksgiving and New Year’s hasn’t done much to really give me a positive view on the season…and in a lot of ways this year is no different. I mean, I had just gotten over a pretty good Thanksgiving and I’m just getting stoked about starting my new job the next week (4 December). This all went to hell when I get a call that on Sunday (1 December), my grandmother passes away. I mean, really? FUCKING REALLY?!?

…so yeah, there has been lots of stuff that has happened to me and to others this year that make it really, REALLY easy to just think about how terrible 2013 really was.

...however!

…that is also looking at the year in its entirety in a strictly negative light without also taking the good and positive things that happened into account.

For example, in the beginning of this year, I lost my job. This, to me, was my dream job. I’m working as a graphic designer and illustrator for a small company. I’m making decent money and gaining experience in the field. The fact that I was laid off due to a change in contract was really crappy. The fact that I was no longer in school (and thus had nothing to fall back on financially) made things worse. But the fact of the matter is that I am eternally grateful for the folks at that company who took a chance with me and were very pleased with the results of my work. I learned quite a bit and I also got an upgrade to my clearance…which is something that is rather difficult to do when just to start paperwork (nevermind the investigations and such) costs north of $10,000. Most companies aren’t willing to foot the bill for that, and given the financial state of the country, nor is the government.

So yeah, I lost that job, but I did so knowing that it was not my fault, that the people there genuinely liked me and my work and really did not want to see me go, and I got an upgrade to my clearance that only serves to make me that much more marketable. In addition, I also received my degree in Graphic Communications. Sure, it’s one thing to sit there and say you’ve completed the education and such…but it’s something different entirely when you have that piece of paper in hand. That tangible something that tells you that you’ve accomplished something big that nobody can take from you.

That’s HUGE!

Other great things that happened to me is BronyCon. While BronyCon wasn’t my first convention by any means, it was my first convention where I was actually selling prints. It was my first convention where I actually made a significant amount of money. It has been quite some time since I was that inspired for anything.

…and segwaying into BronyCon is also Starlight Studios. They saw my work and loved the fact that I could reasonably emulate the art style of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, but could mesh it well with the art styles and character designs of Mega Man and make it work. I am now working with them as an enemy/character designer, doing some of their promotion art as well as functioning as an assistant art director. No, I am not getting paid for this work, but it’s been a HUGE boost to my self-esteem, has given me a taste for some of the work that I’ve also really wanted to do (but never thought I was or could be good enough for it) as well as given me something to work towards. I mean, a number of my friends have pointed out that I may have just stumbled across my niche and audience in regards to some of the stuff I’ve been doing with MLP-related artwork.

Other great things that have happened is that that thanks to my aforementioned clearance, I now have a new job working with a similar unit as before, in the same location…that has ties with the place I was working at before. I mean, I’ve run into several folks already who know and remember me, and this made me smile. It will be nice getting in touch with some of those folks again. It’s also great that because of some of the logistical issues and needs of the job, that I can also work remotely. This made dealing with both the passing of my grandmother and the traveling nightmare of visiting family that much easier on me. I mean, they did not have to let me work for most of the month of December from my laptop in Ohio… but they did and it’s been marvelous.

Also, while the passing of my grandmother was a downside to the visit, an upside was that my uncle, who is into a number of different things, gave/sold me a high-end production printer. This means that once I get it put together, set up, configured and running, I will be able to make my own prints (as opposed to working with a print-shop like Kinko’s or something) as well as seriously expand what I can offer and begin offering printing services to others as well!

It may seem that most of this great stuff started coming about in the latter half of the year, and that is a true statement, but I really think that this is mostly due to the fact that I had been given some guidance from some friends of mine and a book and audio tracks that my mom gave me, I started really shifting my mindset and perspective. I started applying some of the concepts and really thinking on a number of things and about the time I started to put these things into practice was about the time things really started turning around for me...which started about mid-September.

So what does all of this mean?

Well, it means that yes, 2013 was pretty hard… not as hard as some years, but it was a bear. 2013 was also pretty cool too, not as cool as some years…but there was a LOT of positive stuff going on as well and, well, the fact of the matter is that I am actively choosing to think upon and reflect on the great things that happened to me. It is very easy to fall into the rut of thinking about the bad things and forget the good. It is difficult to see and find that silver lining when everything seems to be doom and gloom…but it can be done and I am actively choosing to do this. I am actively choosing to spend more of my time thinking about the good things that happen and have happened and savor those instances.

…no, this does not mean that I am going to ignore the bad things and pretend they don’t exist…that’s just silly.

What I am going to do is not let the bad things that happen dictate my life. Instead, I am going to take the bad things and use them as learning experiences and the good things as moments to enjoy the fruits of my labor and a point of focus to remember that life, is in fact, good.



Commission List:
1)
2)
3)
4)
5)



Word of the Day: Extropianism

Journal Entry: Fri Nov 1, 2013, 9:26 PM



Convention Status


MAGFEST: 2-5 January, National Harbor, MD

Katsucon: 14-16 February, National Harbor, MD

BronyCon: 1-3 August, Baltimore, Maryland

Otakon: 8-10 August, Baltimore, Maryland
Most likely will not even attend, however I may just hang out ear the convention...

Any other conventions are pending time, money and interest.




I DO take requests in that I will entertain any request. Whether or not I will actually work on the request is another matter entirely. The fact of the matter is that a request is just that: a request; something that you would like to see me do. This said, I am under NO obligation to do it at all.

If you're still here and want to request something from me send me a note or email and then wait. I will either do it or I won't. If you ask me whether or not I got your message about the request, rest assured that I have and that I have at least skimmed it over and am considering it. Good ways to ensure that I will NOT do your request include, but are not limited to:
- Requests that are outside of my interests (take a look at my gallery and faves to get an idea of what those are).
- Requests that put my characters outside of what they normally do or suggest that they behave differently than how they normally would.
- Badgering, pestering or otherwise being a nuisance is a quick way to see your request sent to a quantum singularity never to be heard from again...you are on my time and I've got stuff to do.
- Should a request actually get completed, you accept it as-is. Period.
- Friends, family and business partners get special dispensation and are far more likely to be considered. Those people know who they are...and no, just because you are on my 'Friends' list here or are watching me does not make you my friend by default.

If you find that these terms are unreasonable, then put some money on the table and commission me. You will find that I am MUCH more reasonable and FAR more inclined to bend over backwards for you.



So, while having a bit of an existential crisis due to some articles I picked up online earlier in the day, it got me really, REALLY thinking about myself.

This is a little deeper about some of my own personal emotional issues and more in line with something deeper, more intimate. I came to a realization that of the varying levels of consciousness, in regards to self-awareness at any rate, I am nowhere near where I should be…much less want to be. In addition, it got me thinking about what my true purpose is – the things that I should be working towards to lead a more fulfilling and satisfying life.

I must make the distinction here in stating that things such as "having a job", "having lots of money", "a nice car"…or even "being a great artist" or "my legacy" are all material, temporary and quite mortal things.

What I mean, is that after I die… and eventually I will (as this happens to everyone), what next? Well, as there has nothing disproving the existence of a soul (and some evidence to prove its existence…especially if you get into the new-age and spiritual stuff), I am going to ascribe to the fact that there is a greater purpose here than just these things.

…I just need to discover what that is…

Ok, back on track… anyway, after a little more reading into these concepts, I stumbled across "Extropianism" which, for all intents and purposes is the exact opposite of Nihilism.

Where Nihilism is the philosophy that pretty much everything is meaningless and pointless (especially in the grand scheme of things), Extropianism is about finding ways to add meaning or seek out the meaning of live and existence.

…on a spiritual level, that kind of ties a lot into some Eastern philosophies, such as Buddhism and similar schools of thought that point to a form of enlightenment.


All of this being said, I think I stumbled across some really good stuff and I really think it is worth exploring further.



Commission List:
1)
2)
3)
4)
5)



MEGA CONTEST OF VILLAINY

Journal Entry: Wed Oct 2, 2013, 10:40 AM



Convention Status


MAGFEST: 2-5 January, National Harbor, MD

Katsucon: 14-16 February, National Harbor, MD

BronyCon: 1-3 August, Baltimore, Maryland

Otakon: 8-10 August, Baltimore, Maryland
Most likely will not even attend, however I may just hang out ear the convention...

Any other conventions are pending time, money and interest.




I DO take requests in that I will entertain any request. Whether or not I will actually work on the request is another matter entirely. The fact of the matter is that a request is just that: a request; something that you would like to see me do. This said, I am under NO obligation to do it at all.

If you're still here and want to request something from me send me a note or email and then wait. I will either do it or I won't. If you ask me whether or not I got your message about the request, rest assured that I have and that I have at least skimmed it over and am considering it. Good ways to ensure that I will NOT do your request include, but are not limited to:
- Requests that are outside of my interests (take a look at my gallery and faves to get an idea of what those are).
- Requests that put my characters outside of what they normally do or suggest that they behave differently than how they normally would.
- Badgering, pestering or otherwise being a nuisance is a quick way to see your request sent to a quantum singularity never to be heard from again...you are on my time and I've got stuff to do.
- Should a request actually get completed, you accept it as-is. Period.
- Friends, family and business partners get special dispensation and are far more likely to be considered. Those people know who they are...and no, just because you are on my 'Friends' list here or are watching me does not make you my friend by default.

If you find that these terms are unreasonable, then put some money on the table and commission me. You will find that I am MUCH more reasonable and FAR more inclined to bend over backwards for you.



Ripped entirely from :iconbaryonsweep:

Figured that I would jump in on this because it sounds really awesome and a lot of fun. That said, this is my doing my part to get the word out (and secure my place in the contest).

...now I just need to think of a new villain :devil:


If you have entered but your name does not appear on the list please let us know immediately for us to remedy that
Please refer to update box at the very bottom for news!

This has been a long time coming.  This will be the biggest contest I have ever done.  The prizes will be extreme, the competition high...

Because for the prizes to be high, you have to share this contest.  That's right, my first open advertised competition.

First, the rules!

1: You must post a comment that you will be engaging in this contest.

2: After this, you must share this contest be it journal, deviation, anyway for others to see (favs are appreciated also but not absolutely necessary).  To achieve the highest prizes, more people must apply.

3. You will be permitted only ONE submission, so please be sure it is how you want it before submission. (If you have a story to submit ALONGSIDE the character being posted than this will be the only exception to the rule, and you may submit two deviations.  The art piece will be shown as the submission, and a link to the story itself in the description on the art deviation will be sufficient.)

4: PLEASE follow the submission/post rules as will be found below.

5: SUBMISSION will be in note to me under the subject line >Mega Contest Entry<

6: Just commenting with a link will be DENIED.  You must send the link in note.

7: Please refer to the previous three rules.

8: Brony on

9: Deadline will be October 27th.  This is not subject to change.


What's this all about?
Build a Villain!  That's right, a VILLAIN.  Build yourself a baddie, but not just the cliche baddie.  Give this some umph, some honest effort.  Anti-heroes, tragic villains, total scumbags, the vilest of morally bankrupt sadists, YOU NAME IT.  Not just art, any and all mediums are accepted, from all art to art enforced with story to just written tales.  All art, and all genres.

This is a full-fledged contest, in saying this applies to all fandoms.  Whatever you want to do, do it.  Make something entirely original, perhaps a MLP or Adventure Time villain?  Oh, a new and vicious Sith Lord.  Your imagination dictates your work!

--Contest Stipulations--

>All submissions will be ACCEPTED, no matter the style, what you consider as your level of skill, etc.  We want it, please give it.

>Understand that while all submissions are accepted, a hastily and not well thought out post to the contest will likely be overtaken by other pieces.  Give it a little thought, make for yourself a decent and interesting villain.

>If you feel you aren't up to par, stop thinking that way.  Art is one thing, but supplement your work with a bit of back-story will only shoot your chances even higher.

>We (this is a group-judgment, not just me) will be judging not just on art but on character in its entirety.  Some back-story, personality, any factors that make a fully fledged character are VERY MUCH encouraged.  It will only improve your chances.

>This contest will accept ALL submissions.  Not just art, but writing as well, and everything in between.  Can't draw but are a decent writer, write it and submit.  It is fully acceptable to our terms.



Commission List:
1)
2)
3)
4)
5)



Accursed Kickstarter

Journal Entry: Tue Sep 17, 2013, 11:09 AM



Convention Status


MAGFEST: 2-5 January, National Harbor, MD

Katsucon: 14-16 February, National Harbor, MD

BronyCon: 1-3 August, Baltimore, Maryland

Otakon: 8-10 August, Baltimore, Maryland
Most likely will not even attend, however I may just hang out ear the convention...

Any other conventions are pending time, money and interest.




I DO take requests in that I will entertain any request. Whether or not I will actually work on the request is another matter entirely. The fact of the matter is that a request is just that: a request; something that you would like to see me do. This said, I am under NO obligation to do it at all.

If you're still here and want to request something from me send me a note or email and then wait. I will either do it or I won't. If you ask me whether or not I got your message about the request, rest assured that I have and that I have at least skimmed it over and am considering it. Good ways to ensure that I will NOT do your request include, but are not limited to:
- Requests that are outside of my interests (take a look at my gallery and faves to get an idea of what those are).
- Requests that put my characters outside of what they normally do or suggest that they behave differently than how they normally would.
- Badgering, pestering or otherwise being a nuisance is a quick way to see your request sent to a quantum singularity never to be heard from again...you are on my time and I've got stuff to do.
- Should a request actually get completed, you accept it as-is. Period.
- Friends, family and business partners get special dispensation and are far more likely to be considered. Those people know who they are...and no, just because you are on my 'Friends' list here or are watching me does not make you my friend by default.

If you find that these terms are unreasonable, then put some money on the table and commission me. You will find that I am MUCH more reasonable and FAR more inclined to bend over backwards for you.



I mentioned that one of my best friends has been working on this tabletop RPG called Accursed on a prior journal entry

Well, guess what? Not only are they near completion of their project, but they have also started a Kickstarter Project to get the ball rolling.

The game is a home-brewed setting that uses the Savage Worlds game system (details can be found here and they are really hoping to see this thing become a resounding success and not just merely make their goals. For those that follow this spot and are not into tabletop RPGs, I humbly ask that you at least help spread the word to make sure that those who are into tabletop RPGs and horror-fantasy in general can be made aware of the project and hopefully contribute to its success.



Commission List:
1)
2)
3)
4)
5)



Trying Something New

Journal Entry: Sat Sep 14, 2013, 1:36 PM



Convention Status


MAGFEST: 2-5 January, National Harbor, MD

Katsucon: 14-16 February, National Harbor, MD

BronyCon: 1-3 August, Baltimore, Maryland

Otakon: 8-10 August, Baltimore, Maryland
Most likely will not even attend, however I may just hang out ear the convention...

Any other conventions are pending time, money and interest.




I DO take requests in that I will entertain any request. Whether or not I will actually work on the request is another matter entirely. The fact of the matter is that a request is just that: a request; something that you would like to see me do. This said, I am under NO obligation to do it at all.

If you're still here and want to request something from me send me a note or email and then wait. I will either do it or I won't. If you ask me whether or not I got your message about the request, rest assured that I have and that I have at least skimmed it over and am considering it. Good ways to ensure that I will NOT do your request include, but are not limited to:
- Requests that are outside of my interests (take a look at my gallery and faves to get an idea of what those are).
- Requests that put my characters outside of what they normally do or suggest that they behave differently than how they normally would.
- Badgering, pestering or otherwise being a nuisance is a quick way to see your request sent to a quantum singularity never to be heard from again...you are on my time and I've got stuff to do.
- Should a request actually get completed, you accept it as-is. Period.
- Friends, family and business partners get special dispensation and are far more likely to be considered. Those people know who they are...and no, just because you are on my 'Friends' list here or are watching me does not make you my friend by default.

If you find that these terms are unreasonable, then put some money on the table and commission me. You will find that I am MUCH more reasonable and FAR more inclined to bend over backwards for you.



So, after a significant amount of badgering from my mom (and her eventual sending of the materials) I am trying this thing out called 'The Secret'. In a nutshell it seems to be a matter of creating positive thinking and the laws of attraction and similar concepts. In a lot of ways, it seems to be pretty in-line with some new-age thinking…but given some of the source material (ancient philosophers and such), there is some merit to these ideas.

…so yeah, why not give it a shot? I mean, what harm can it do? If it works, well, I end up in a better place and lots of positive stuff. If it doesn't, well, there will be no change… so I have nothing to lose either.


In addition to this thing, I am also starting this thing called the Keto Diet with my roommates. Our current planning is for 30 days…just to try it out. Looking at it, this seems to be similar to the Adkins diet in concept, and I know that this works as well, so I figure that I also have nothing to gain as well… and who knows, maybe I can pick up some better habits regarding the things that I shove down my food-hole.


Lastly, I have started doing formal work with Starlight Studios and Project Cygnus. I cannot say too much about what it is I'm doing other than I will be doing quite a bit of work with the bosses and enemies and that this is going to be a game that is strongly reminiscent of and based on two rather popular franchises.

I am sincerely grateful and very happy to be part of this team and I look forward to working with everyone and will do my best to give to them the awesome.



Commission List:
1)
2)
3)
4)
5)



Moving Forward

Journal Entry: Fri Sep 6, 2013, 11:53 AM



Convention Status


MAGFEST: 2-5 January, National Harbor, MD

Katsucon: 14-16 February, National Harbor, MD

BronyCon: 1-3 August, Baltimore, Maryland

Otakon: 8-10 August, Baltimore, Maryland
Most likely will not even attend, however I may just hang out ear the convention...

Any other conventions are pending time, money and interest.




I DO take requests in that I will entertain any request. Whether or not I will actually work on the request is another matter entirely. The fact of the matter is that a request is just that: a request; something that you would like to see me do. This said, I am under NO obligation to do it at all.

If you're still here and want to request something from me send me a note or email and then wait. I will either do it or I won't. If you ask me whether or not I got your message about the request, rest assured that I have and that I have at least skimmed it over and am considering it. Good ways to ensure that I will NOT do your request include, but are not limited to:
- Requests that are outside of my interests (take a look at my gallery and faves to get an idea of what those are).
- Requests that put my characters outside of what they normally do or suggest that they behave differently than how they normally would.
- Badgering, pestering or otherwise being a nuisance is a quick way to see your request sent to a quantum singularity never to be heard from again...you are on my time and I've got stuff to do.
- Should a request actually get completed, you accept it as-is. Period.
- Friends, family and business partners get special dispensation and are far more likely to be considered. Those people know who they are...and no, just because you are on my 'Friends' list here or are watching me does not make you my friend by default.

If you find that these terms are unreasonable, then put some money on the table and commission me. You will find that I am MUCH more reasonable and FAR more inclined to bend over backwards for you.



Over the past week, I have made a couple of discoveries about myself and a decision about what I am going to do with Arcanum Flux.

Arcanum Flux
As much as I love the setting and would like to see it developed, I honestly feel that doing so as a comic or book series is beyond my capabilities as an artist and/or writer at this time. Every time I sit down to start thinking about developing a story, a particular developmental question crops up that needs to be addressed. Combine this with the fact that I have yet to decide on how I am going to produce a comic (as in, what my methodology of production), I have constantly been feeling that I am going nowhere and making no progress in getting this thing going.

So what I have decided to do instead is turn Arcanum Flux into a tabletop game setting. The core game mechanic I intend on using will be Fusion System, but with some significant changes to the game mechanic itself with lots and lots of home-brewing going on. If I can get enough of this thing together and there is enough interest, I intend on approaching the current holders of the Fusion System and ask for their blessing on making this an actual thing that people can hold in their hands.

As far as telling the individual stories that I do have, I think that these will be regulated to short stories that follow specific iconic characters as they do their thing. These stories can be a small sidebar blurb or as long as a novella or even a comic or graphic novel if there is enough want for it.

The main reason for this, I think, is that I can actually sit down and develop the world and get a foundation going and continually make forward progress on the setting without feeling that I have not made any appreciable progress towards getting it out there. The added benefit is that nothing is stopping me from still doing the comic or novel thing either.

Self-Discovery
I had a rather lengthy sit-down conversation with a couple of very close friends of mine recently, and through this conversation I was asked if I actually wanted to be happy. Part of the reason this came up is because it was also pointed out that I do not seem to be happy unless I am miserable.

If this seems counter-intuitive, it really isn’t. It is in fact a thing, where folks somehow find a measure of satisfaction in their existence by being miserable. This could be a matter of how the brain produces chemicals and thus be completely natural or it could be a factor of one’s living environment… or a combination of the two. Either way, the fact of the matter is, is that while some people seek out ways to be happy and satisfied with their lives, these people seek out ways to be miserable.

For me, I had a hard time answering this question. There are a lot of times where I am, in fact, quite miserable…but I don’t want to stay that way. Unfortunately, I also don’t know how to change either. In a way, I see it as living in a pit of mud. Unlike some folks who are with me in this mudpit, I am well aware that there is something outside and beyond its borders. The problem is that I don’t know how to climb out… or at least climb out and stay out of it, which, unfortunately also means that there is also a degree of comfort in settling back down into the pit. Hence my answer for whether or not I want to be happy was “I don’t know”

Another bit of self-discovery is something that I had inklings about, but I either did not have enough evidence or I simply did not want to face the facts. This is the fact that I am afraid of succeeding. It seems that whenever I have the chance for a significant measure of success, I sabotage myself. This is completely subconscious of course, but this would also go a long way towards explaining why I seem to be so hesitant about taking any measure of risk as well as why I seem to choke at the last minute when I have the chance of taking that next step. I could go on to bigger and better things, but I am content without moving forward, I could stand up and start being more active in getting myself out there, becoming known… to put forth the necessary work and effort… but I think that the part of me that is afraid of what would happen just doesn’t want to see that happen with me, so it highjacks me and causes me to recoil away in fear in such a way that I do not take those necessary steps and instead use any excuse that makes a reasonable bit of sense to keep from actually doing what needs to be done.

Building on both the possibility that I do not know if I want to be happy and my seemingly built in phobia of success, I may also be afraid of also being happy as well. This could be just as easily something like a simple fear of change or something more deeply rooted in that because I do not know how to be happy and my base level of contentment that most people feel as a baseline, for me, is actually a subtle level of depression…and thus, also an innate fear of the unknown that all people have deep down. I mean, I really don’t know how to be happy and changing this, I think, scares me on a fundamental level…

If this seems like I am somehow venting and asking for some sort of pity-party, very little could be further from the truth. I am not writing this to vent so much as I want to keep track of my own path to self-improvement and actually getting out of the pit and staying out.

And the way I figure it, you can’t actually fix a problem if you don’t know what that problem actually is. I mean, sure one can sit down and look at the symptoms and deal with those, but that doesn’t actually fix anything, because the problem still remains and will just keep coming back as long as the problem exists.

All of that being said, I think I have a slightly better insight into what some of my problems are. Will I need therapy? Most likely, yes. But at the same time, there are some things that I can do for myself and that my friends can help me with along the way as well.



Commission List:
1)
2)
3)
4)
5)



Otakontemplation

Journal Entry: Wed Aug 14, 2013, 6:31 PM



Convention Status


MAGFEST: 2-5 January, National Harbor, MD

Katsucon: 14-16 February, National Harbor, MD

BronyCon: 1-3 August, Baltimore, Maryland

Otakon: 8-10 August, Baltimore, Maryland
Most likely will not even attend, however I may just hang out ear the convention...

Any other conventions are pending time, money and interest.




I DO take requests in that I will entertain any request. Whether or not I will actually work on the request is another matter entirely. The fact of the matter is that a request is just that: a request; something that you would like to see me do. This said, I am under NO obligation to do it at all.

If you're still here and want to request something from me send me a note or email and then wait. I will either do it or I won't. If you ask me whether or not I got your message about the request, rest assured that I have and that I have at least skimmed it over and am considering it. Good ways to ensure that I will NOT do your request include, but are not limited to:
- Requests that are outside of my interests (take a look at my gallery and faves to get an idea of what those are).
- Requests that put my characters outside of what they normally do or suggest that they behave differently than how they normally would.
- Badgering, pestering or otherwise being a nuisance is a quick way to see your request sent to a quantum singularity never to be heard from again...you are on my time and I've got stuff to do.
- Should a request actually get completed, you accept it as-is. Period.
- Friends, family and business partners get special dispensation and are far more likely to be considered. Those people know who they are...and no, just because you are on my 'Friends' list here or are watching me does not make you my friend by default.

If you find that these terms are unreasonable, then put some money on the table and commission me. You will find that I am MUCH more reasonable and FAR more inclined to bend over backwards for you.



Yeah, that’s a really bad pun there… or runon… or whatever the hell you wanna call it.

Anyway, let me get right to the point, this post is going to be about Otakon and why this one could, quite possibly have been my last one to attend for some time.

The fact of the matter is that the primary things that I enjoy about going to anime conventions are meeting new artists, hanging out with ones I already know, getting commissions from said artists (if funding allows) and hopefully learning from these folks in the process. That is what I like, that is what I enjoy about going to anime cons.

…unfortunately, Otakon has grown to such a size that I find it very difficult to do these things. It has grown in such a way that the artist alley is now, more than ever, little more than a miniaturized dealer’s room. It is no longer a place for hobbyists – it is now a place for people who are trying to make a living off of the alley and/or grow up to find a place in the dealer’s room.

I want to be clear here: I have absolutely NO problems with folks wanting to make the alley their primary source of income. If that’s what they want to do, then by all means, have at it! However, at the same time there is no need to gut the heart and spirit of the alley in the process…and I feel that Otakon has done exactly that.  I mean, I had more fun after and outside the convention than I did at the convention itself and that really shouldn’t be the case at these things. I should have just as much fun hanging out after the convention as I do at the convention. Instead, I felt that going for the two days I did go was more of a hassle and inconvenience than anything else.

Now, it is entirely possible that these feelings are partially due to some depression coming up and kicking me in the balls. Could also be due to the fact that I was unable to get any space as well. Not gonna lie, there were some outside factors that led to me feeling the way I did for most of that weekend. But at the same time, even if I were to look at things in a more neutral light, I still find it difficult to legitimize the cost and hassle… I mean, why should I spend $80 to go see a handful of people that I’m also going to see at Katsucon and/or MAGFest?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m still going to shoot to get in the alley…but if I don’t get in, then I likely won’t bother going to the con at all, unless I manage to be able to split a table with someone.

Do keep in mind though that this is subject to change. Who knows how things will be this time next year? It’s just that right now, these are my thoughts about Otakon, and nothing is set in stone.



Commission List:
1)
2)
3)
4)
5)



BronyCon - Thoughts

Journal Entry: Wed Aug 7, 2013, 3:21 PM



Convention Status


MAGFEST: 2-5 January, National Harbor, MD

Katsucon: 14-16 February, National Harbor, MD

BronyCon: 1-3 August, Baltimore, Maryland

Otakon: 8-10 August, Baltimore, Maryland
Most likely will not even attend, however I may just hang out ear the convention...

Any other conventions are pending time, money and interest.




I DO take requests in that I will entertain any request. Whether or not I will actually work on the request is another matter entirely. The fact of the matter is that a request is just that: a request; something that you would like to see me do. This said, I am under NO obligation to do it at all.

If you're still here and want to request something from me send me a note or email and then wait. I will either do it or I won't. If you ask me whether or not I got your message about the request, rest assured that I have and that I have at least skimmed it over and am considering it. Good ways to ensure that I will NOT do your request include, but are not limited to:
- Requests that are outside of my interests (take a look at my gallery and faves to get an idea of what those are).
- Requests that put my characters outside of what they normally do or suggest that they behave differently than how they normally would.
- Badgering, pestering or otherwise being a nuisance is a quick way to see your request sent to a quantum singularity never to be heard from again...you are on my time and I've got stuff to do.
- Should a request actually get completed, you accept it as-is. Period.
- Friends, family and business partners get special dispensation and are far more likely to be considered. Those people know who they are...and no, just because you are on my 'Friends' list here or are watching me does not make you my friend by default.

If you find that these terms are unreasonable, then put some money on the table and commission me. You will find that I am MUCH more reasonable and FAR more inclined to bend over backwards for you.



As I mentioned in my last journal, I've been pretty busy over the past few days dealing with the events and everything related to BronyCon…and now it seems that I am going to be doing something very similar for Otakon as well.

…many Monster Energy Drinks will die to ensure my consciousness…

Anyway, BronyCon was, quite possibly, the best con I had attended… and certainly the best I had attended for quite some time. It still has some tough competition from Otakon 2009 though, because that was when I met so many awesome people and some of them became friends and folks I really enjoy working with and just being around.

BronyCon was, to me, a LOT like this except that I actually sold prints. Now, I know that for a number of con-vets of all sorts this is nothing really new. However for me, I had never once sold prints at a convention. I honestly felt that my style and things I would produce would not get any customers. Heck, I felt pretty much the same way about the prints I had offered as well. I mean, I thought that despite being put in a rather good location, we would not do very well…ok, at least I wouldn't because my work sucks. My roommates on the other hand? They do awesome work. Seriously.

So when people are showing up at my table saying things like "man, this is really awesome", "Where's [insert character?]" or even just laughing in amusement at the novelty, it really made my day. More than once a customer bought a set of prints stating that they liked the idea, that they were fans of Mega Man and that they were 'looking for something a little different'. When I asked about that, the response was, the ponies weren't like the other prints, as pretty much everything was pretty much focused on the Mane 6, villains, princesses and the fan-favorites (Trixie, Derpy, Vinyl Scratch, Octavia, Bon-bon and Lyra). They assured me that it wasn't a bad thing… but they thought that since I had decided to do something completely different, well, they got a kick out of that.

Now, if it sounds like I am singing the praises of BronyCon… well… I am. But things weren't all sunshine and rainbows (heh…). I had heard about some issues folks were having especially regarding the length of the line for registration and to pick up badges. I had a bit of experience with this, as my roommates ran off to pick up my badge while I guarded our stuff. This brings me to my biggest complaint: location of the registration tables. They really should have been in the convention center. There is more space so people aren't standing out in the heat (although it was rather nice and relatively cool this year… strange for Baltimore this time of year).

As far as the seeming lack of organization goes, I don't think the staff was expecting the absolutely ginormous attendance. It isn't often that a convention more than doubles its size from one year to the next… even rarer I think when that doubling is over 4,000 people. That much growth is bound to cause a whole new level of logistical problems alone.

Outside of that, the biggest complaint that I had personally is that I was unable to do much outside of the Vendor's Hall. This was partially due to having to be around to run the table and let my roommates go and do stuff as well as make sure that the people that were staying at my place were able to get in contact with me and could get to my house in the event that they left early-ish. Then there was Saturday where folks needed to refresh some of their materials for their crafts (they had run out of certain colors of yarn and the roomies needed to see about getting adhesive so we could continue to turn our smaller prints into stickers if requested).

Please note, I am not upset about any of that stuff. It is the nature of the beast and the costs of doing one's best to make sure that he is a good host. I also was very concerned for the majority of my guests – this was not only their first pony-con… but their first convention ever, and I wanted to do what I could to make sure they had a great time and a memorable experience. If that meant that I had to forgo some events, then so be it.

All of this being said; I had an astoundingly awesome time and I wouldn't trade any of it for the world. I really am looking forward to seeing all of the great folks I met before again… as well as meeting new people!



Commission List:
1)
2)
3)
4)
5)



BronyCon - A Week of Insanity and Awesomeness

Journal Entry: Wed Aug 7, 2013, 8:43 AM



Convention Status


MAGFEST: 2-5 January, National Harbor, MD

Katsucon: 14-16 February, National Harbor, MD

BronyCon: 1-3 August, Baltimore, Maryland

Otakon: 8-10 August, Baltimore, Maryland
Most likely will not even attend, however I may just hang out ear the convention...

Any other conventions are pending time, money and interest.




I DO take requests in that I will entertain any request. Whether or not I will actually work on the request is another matter entirely. The fact of the matter is that a request is just that: a request; something that you would like to see me do. This said, I am under NO obligation to do it at all.

If you're still here and want to request something from me send me a note or email and then wait. I will either do it or I won't. If you ask me whether or not I got your message about the request, rest assured that I have and that I have at least skimmed it over and am considering it. Good ways to ensure that I will NOT do your request include, but are not limited to:
- Requests that are outside of my interests (take a look at my gallery and faves to get an idea of what those are).
- Requests that put my characters outside of what they normally do or suggest that they behave differently than how they normally would.
- Badgering, pestering or otherwise being a nuisance is a quick way to see your request sent to a quantum singularity never to be heard from again...you are on my time and I've got stuff to do.
- Should a request actually get completed, you accept it as-is. Period.
- Friends, family and business partners get special dispensation and are far more likely to be considered. Those people know who they are...and no, just because you are on my 'Friends' list here or are watching me does not make you my friend by default.

If you find that these terms are unreasonable, then put some money on the table and commission me. You will find that I am MUCH more reasonable and FAR more inclined to bend over backwards for you.



Normally I post something about my thoughts about a convention that I attend within hours of me returning from the convention.

The fact of the matter is that I just haven't had the proper time to really fully organize my thoughts on things until now… much less the time to sit down and write what will inevitably end up being a massive wall of text.

With all of that out of the way, let's get this party started!

Preface and Pre-Convention
Before I get into the actual convention itself, I need to give a little background information which will, hopefully, give a better idea of my overwhelmingly positive thoughts and feelings on the convention as a whole.

When I found out about BronyCon being hosted in Baltimore, I was excited. I had actually thought about going to the con last year in the summer but a combination of events kept this from happening. This year, given the location, one would have to chain me to a rock to keep me away. Seriously. I would have walked the 30 miles and found a cardboard box to sleep in.

Anyway, I had originally signed up for space in the Vendor's Hall and because of their awesome policy of paying for the table included a badge, held off on actually registering. I figured that when things got closer I would do that. In the meantime, I put the word out to the community that I had room for people to stay with me for the duration of the con, should they need the space…provided they didn't mind sleeping on a floor or dealing with cats of course!

Fast forward a few weeks, I found out that I had been waitlisted…and then shortly afterwards was given a spot. This is where the fun begins. You see, I had genuinely considered just doing what I usually do at conventions: set up a modest table and sell on-the-spot commissions with me sharing the space I have with as many people as I can without getting in trouble (in this case, it was with my roommates).

At some point around the 4th of July, a friend of mine tells me that I really should make prints to sell. Now, don't get me wrong, I don't hate fanart, but I do have a problem in creating it…mostly because I prefer to draw my things instead of someone else's. Combine this with the personal issue of self-confidence in my art and being pretty well convinced that nobody would want to buy my art…well… there you have it. So anyway, my friend talks me into making prints and I agree to it. Hell, I figure that it would be a nice little experiment mostly to prove myself right that I have no place selling prints at a convention…

Enter the Mega Mare project. I wanted to go with 3 unicorns, 3 pegasai and 3 earth ponies (8 Robot Masters and Mega Man), and I decided to choose the ponies that both looked cool, spanned a range of the franchise and also appealed to my sensibilities (Mega Man 2 is my favorite of the franchise). I also decide to make them small prints (4"x4") because that was the advice that a friend of mine gave in regards to selling prints – it's easier to sell small cheap prints for under $5 and run with deals than it is to run with $15-$25 prints. No matter how awesome the work is, it's hard to sell stuff in this economy.

So the Monday just before the con, me and my roommates run out to a local Kinko's and get some prints. Money is tight and we also are experimenting just to see if it's worth it. Before and during this time, we spent the weekend cleaning house, making sure that we had blankets ready; linins were clean and generally trying to prepare for a bunch of people.

By Tuesday we were prepared for 5 people to show up with some showing up on Wednesday. Instead of the 2 people I was expecting, it was 3. Turned out that the father of one of the people was also a brony as well and became one in a rather unexpected way (kinda like me really). This all was a very pleasant surprise.

Thursday I was expecting 3 more with two of them being a bit last-minute. They had just finished SDCC and they had table space for BronyCon but did not have crash-space (I imagine that they took advantage of the last minute open tables). Due to their long drive, I knew they would be arriving late. No problem. During this time I had also been working my ass off to get an interview for a graphic designer position in Quantico. I had explained to the recruiter that I would not be able to meet on Friday, but Thursday would work. I hadn't heard anything in advance enough to do an interview on Thursday by this point…which was just as well because one of the guys staying with me ended up being stuck in Philadelphia and the earliest train he could catch would not be until much later And by much later, I mean I could drive up there and get him and be back at the house before the train would arrive. So I did exactly that.

From there, I just did what I could to make sure folks were comfortable and ready to go the next day. I was expecting the last 2 people to meet up at some point with me on Friday as their decision and ability to enjoy the con was very last minute.

Friday
Friday was… a day. There was a lot of awesome, but there were a lot of rocky bits too. Of course, I attribute most of my irritation with getting 2 hours of sleep the night before a big part of that…AF40K was being fueled entirely off of caffeine that day. :iconshrineheart: had even less sleep and I imagine a much harder time of it overall because of it.

In any event, I think the worst bit for me was the fact that the con was set in one location (the BCC) and had registration/badge pick-up in the adjacent hotel. As a con-vet, I can understand some of the logic here: folks stay in the hotel, and as they leave the hotel to go to the BCC, they pick up their registrations on the way. In practice however, that is just a bad idea. You end up with a LOT of confused people who are used to going to the front entrance of the BCC, going up the stairs and standing in line. While sitting around waiting for my roommates to run and get my badge while I guarded our stuff, I lost count of how many folks were turned away and told to go to the hotel. All I could think was "if pickup was in the BCC instead of the hotel, all of this would be avoided!".

As for other things going on, I spent most of my time in the Vendor's Hall with my roommates. To be clear, I wanted to see some of this other stuff, but I just couldn't get away. Too many people were coming by to see what in the heck was going on. I mean, every time I stepped away to check out just some artists, I return to having my roomies going "Dude! You had people standing here asking you stuff about these things while you were out!" and of course I raise the bullshit flag each and every time :XD:

The night was wrapped up with a bunch of us taking over the Hard Rock café at the Inner Harbor and hanging out, chatting and just generally having a good time. This sort of thing is normally reserved for Saturday night at anime-cons but of course I didn't care… hanging out and meeting people is hanging out and meeting people!

Saturday
Saturday was the beginning of the AF40K being ultra-busy and somewhat stressed out. Friday during the day I got a message from a company I had applied for and had completely forgotten that I had done so… they wanted to interview Monday afternoon. The company I had been trying to get an interview with passed me an email that they wanted to meet Tuesday, but the choice of time was in my court. Normally this would not be a problem…but I had already promised people that I would get them where they needed to go so they can get home. Fortunately, they all needed transportation in the morning…so that was good.

…then things got a little messy. The couple that arrived Thursday night had some bad car trouble on the way up and thought that things weren't that bad. However, when they drove home from the convention Friday night, they started having overheating problems. So Saturday, our reps are sent to take care of our respective tables while I take the car's owner to one of the several repair shops around. Good news was it was all fixable and could be done on Saturday. Bad news is that they were closed Sunday and closed early-ish…meaning that picking up the car before Monday was going to be painfully difficult. Add one more hoop to the mess that AF40K needed to jump through :XD:

Other than what I've already mentioned, Saturday was pretty light. People came by and bought stuff, met some great people and we did reasonable well sales-wise, which was always great.

Sunday
As far as cons go, Sunday is almost always the light day. People stop by and buy stuff, but generally speaking things are starting to wind down. BronyCon however, was different. I mean, I expected people to have looser purse-strings as they found they have a few extra dollars to buy stuff from people…and vendors are all-too-willing to cut prices because they have already made their profit and they don't want to carry a fuckton of stuff back. However, my experience has been that Saturday is a little busier as that is when people have already gone around and seen what they want as well as the generally higher attendance overall (remember, not everybody takes off Friday to attend a convention!).

This all being said… we did not change our prices one bit. However, I ended up drawing 3 commissions that day and selling a bunch of prints and print-sets. I honestly don't know the hard numbers (I wasn't tracking them, Rattles was), but apparently I did very well. But that wasn't the thing that made Sunday truly awesome.

What made Sunday awesome (and the entire con for me) was that a small team of bronies are working on a game that has the gameplay, graphics style, music and feel of Mega Man X…but with ponies with Lyra playing the part of X. They even had a statue made of the character! Now, I had heard about these guys the night before when Shrine sent me an image that she found via Tumblr.

The significance of this is that I'm sitting behind the table working the commission thing and Rattles goes "Hey, it's those guys with that Mega Mare thing that we told out about last night!" My response was "ok, bring them over" so Rattles jumps up and runs out and gets their attention. Now, keep in mind, I wasn't paying much attention. I thought it was just some guy wearing a Mega Man t-shirt and was expecting a Mega Man fan to show up and just get a kick out of the prints.

Dear sweet Luna was I horribly mistaken and floored when the guy put the statue down. The flooring continued when the 3 guys who were part of the team started losing their shit at my prints. They really liked my style and my take on the characters and, well, everything. At the end of the conversation, they wanted to make arrangements for working on character designs (mostly bad guys) and promotion work. In short, they wanted to see about bringing me on as part of their team!

It took a lot of my willpower to keep from fangasiming all over the place.

I say this mostly because this is something that I could do and kind of want to do, especially when I know the guys behind Skullgirls and Cryamore and how they got things started and making things happen. With that in mind, this is something that I want to jump in on… if only to say I've done it. To be part of a team like this and make something that is both awesome and fun.

To me, that was the highlight of the convention. I mean, up until then, I was already stoked and having a great time and, well, just had a lot of positive energy about the whole thing. And honestly, I had thought "how can this get any better?" at some points. Meeting these guys answered that question :XD:

Post-Con Monday and Tuesday
It's Monday morning and while the convention is over, I'm still busy as hell. Rattles needed to be run to get a drug test done so she can start this work-from-home job. One of my guests needed to pick up her car before she could leave, :icondhui: needed transportation from her hotel to the Amtrak…and I had an interview in the afternoon! Despite all that running around, I got it all done. People got where they needed to go, on time and safely.

Unfortunately, this was not the end of the insanity. One of the guys who was staying with me had a last-minute change in plans where he was going to be picked up, and because of this missed the bus he needed to get. So plans were made for Tuesday. This was also the day I needed to get :iconsallymon: where he needed to go…and another interview in the afternoon with a different company. The good news is that I got everyone where they needed to go safely. The bad news is that I was actually late to the interview…but that was completely out of my control. There was an accident on the road that blocked off 2 lanes of traffic, so I-95 was a parking lot. Fortunately, I was only like 10 minutes late… and they were understanding of this, but still.

Now we are at today, which is Wednesday. I have only now been able to sit down and think and process stuff… I mean, I tried writing this last night, but ended up falling asleep partway through and am only now finishing things up. Despite things winding down, it is also rather short-lived; I was talked into going to Otakon as an artist and got some people who were willing to split the costs with me. So between running some minor errands today, I will also need to finish some job-paperwork (guys on Monday got back with a contingent offer letter less than 6 hours after then interview :XD:) and restock some of my Mega Mare prints. Not going to get many… just a few to even out the numbers a little for the characters that I'm running low on.

The way I figure it, this is also a bit of an experiment for me to see if my prints could sell elsewhere… I don't expect to do well, or even make my money back (though it would be nice!), but it doesn't hurt to try!

Ok… I am going to wrap this up now, because this is a HUGE wall of text right here and there are several other things I want to put out here that just belong in a separate journal… so I'm going to get to work on that, when I have a few minutes to actually sit down and do it :XD:</b></b></b></b></b>



Commission List:
1)
2)
3)
4)
5)



BronyCon

Journal Entry: Fri Jul 26, 2013, 10:36 AM



Convention Status


MAGFEST: 2-5 January, National Harbor, MD

Katsucon: 14-16 February, National Harbor, MD

BronyCon: 1-3 August, Baltimore, Maryland

Otakon: 8-10 August, Baltimore, Maryland
Most likely will not even attend, however I may just hang out ear the convention...

Any other conventions are pending time, money and interest.




I DO take requests in that I will entertain any request. Whether or not I will actually work on the request is another matter entirely. The fact of the matter is that a request is just that: a request; something that you would like to see me do. This said, I am under NO obligation to do it at all.

If you're still here and want to request something from me send me a note or email and then wait. I will either do it or I won't. If you ask me whether or not I got your message about the request, rest assured that I have and that I have at least skimmed it over and am considering it. Good ways to ensure that I will NOT do your request include, but are not limited to:
- Requests that are outside of my interests (take a look at my gallery and faves to get an idea of what those are).
- Requests that put my characters outside of what they normally do or suggest that they behave differently than how they normally would.
- Badgering, pestering or otherwise being a nuisance is a quick way to see your request sent to a quantum singularity never to be heard from again...you are on my time and I've got stuff to do.
- Should a request actually get completed, you accept it as-is. Period.
- Friends, family and business partners get special dispensation and are far more likely to be considered. Those people know who they are...and no, just because you are on my 'Friends' list here or are watching me does not make you my friend by default.

If you find that these terms are unreasonable, then put some money on the table and commission me. You will find that I am MUCH more reasonable and FAR more inclined to bend over backwards for you.



BronyCon is right around the corner (this weekend as a matter of fact) and I have a table in the Vendor Hall (though to me it will always be Artist Alley), which I will be sharing with :iconrattlesire: and :iconshrineheart: who will have their own stuff as well!

What makes this con a little special for me is that I will actually be selling prints, which is something that I have never done before, despite my many years attending various anime conventions.

I am very reluctant to actually post them online until after the con for a number of reasons, but I also can't help giving out a little teaser either, so here you go:





Prices will be simple:
Each character is on a 4"x4" card and priced at $3 each
Set of 5 (your choice of 5 different characters): $10
Set of 10 (one of each): $15

In addition to this, I will also be offering commissions at the table. I have not decided on the prices for those just yet, but they will be available as well.

Question: Where will all of these shenanigans be taking place?
Answer: We will be chilling at Table 212 under Studio A.R.C..
Question: Where is that exactly?
Answer: There is a cleverly labeled and highlighted image below for your convenience to properly show you where the awesome is:




We look forward to seeing you all at the con!



Commission List:
1)
2)
3)
4)
5)



Losing a Friend

Journal Entry: Thu Jul 11, 2013, 8:39 PM



Convention Status


MAGFEST: 2-5 January, National Harbor, MD

Katsucon: 14-16 February, National Harbor, MD

BronyCon: 1-3 August, Baltimore, Maryland

Otakon: 8-10 August, Baltimore, Maryland
Most likely will not even attend, however I may just hang out ear the convention...

Any other conventions are pending time, money and interest.




I DO take requests in that I will entertain any request. Whether or not I will actually work on the request is another matter entirely. The fact of the matter is that a request is just that: a request; something that you would like to see me do. This said, I am under NO obligation to do it at all.

If you're still here and want to request something from me send me a note or email and then wait. I will either do it or I won't. If you ask me whether or not I got your message about the request, rest assured that I have and that I have at least skimmed it over and am considering it. Good ways to ensure that I will NOT do your request include, but are not limited to:
- Requests that are outside of my interests (take a look at my gallery and faves to get an idea of what those are).
- Requests that put my characters outside of what they normally do or suggest that they behave differently than how they normally would.
- Badgering, pestering or otherwise being a nuisance is a quick way to see your request sent to a quantum singularity never to be heard from again...you are on my time and I've got stuff to do.
- Should a request actually get completed, you accept it as-is. Period.
- Friends, family and business partners get special dispensation and are far more likely to be considered. Those people know who they are...and no, just because you are on my 'Friends' list here or are watching me does not make you my friend by default.

If you find that these terms are unreasonable, then put some money on the table and commission me. You will find that I am MUCH more reasonable and FAR more inclined to bend over backwards for you.



I didn't want to do it, but I had to…

…sounds like a really lame excuse, no matter how many times I say it. Explaining the situation only makes it sound like I'm trying to legitimize what I did… what I had to do...

...I had to kill a friend...

Luna, possibly the sweetest, most laid back (though prone to spazzing out with hilarity at times) cats I have ever seen had cancer. I don't know what kind; I just know that it was the sort that just does not go away. This isn't the first time mind you. Back in August, she had a tumor that was about the size of a fist on her back left leg. I had it removed and the vet advised that this was the sort of thing that would likely come back and even then he advised euthanasia or amputation.

I did nothing then because there was hope that it wouldn't come back.

It did, and with a vengeance.

…I then learned that because Luna had not been eating for a while, she had likely gone into liver failure or something, meaning that she would not eat no matter what. Worse part is, is that apparently cats can live for a stupid-long time on just water (about a month or more), meaning that Luna would starve to death rather than just go quietly.

I can't imagine that… just sitting there, starving. Even when food was present, she refused to eat…

I had to put her to sleep. I couldn't bear to think about her wasting away in that type of pain and suffering.

I held and cuddled her in the vet's office…

…the only consolation was that she was purring as she died…

…and despite the fact that I know that she isn't suffering anymore, that I made the most humane decision given the situation and that she was reasonably comfortable and content in her last moments, it still doesn't change the fact that I killed a friend…

…and it hurts…



Commission List:
1)
2)
3)
4)
5)



Accursed RPG

Journal Entry: Fri Jun 7, 2013, 1:02 PM



Convention Status


MAGFEST: 3-6 January, National Harbor, MD

Katsucon: 15-17 February, National Harbor, MD

BronyCon: 2-4 August, Baltimore, Maryland
Table 212! Come by and say hello and keep us company!

Otakon: 9-11 August, Baltimore, Maryland
Missed the AA boat...

Anime USA: 13-15 September, Washington, D.C.
Unsure. Artist Alley is now juried and I do not, have never and never will support a completely juried Artist Alley.







Ross Watson, a very good friend of mine has, for quite some time, been working on a fantasy setting called "Accursed". It has a number of different elements that play on a number of different genres; steampunk, magic, horror being chief among them.

In the recent history, a group of very powerful and evil magic users, called The Witches Coven, who sought to crush the kingdoms of light and eliminate all of the heroes. Anybody who got in the way of their massive, terrible armies were slaughtered and those who survived wished they had been killed. You see, those that lived were warped and twisted by the Witches and forced to serve in their dark armies as foot soldiers and cannon fodder. In the final days of this war, the witches laid siege to the last remaining kingdom of light with the intent of breaking the backs of those who would stand for good and light in this world. They succeeded.

…almost…

The few remaining heroes had a plan, a very risky one, but it was far better than the alternative. They covertly worked against the Witches and using guile and subterfuge turned them upon each other. Since all forms of command and control over their minions were lost, the Witches armies fell upon each other and were scattered. Those who weren't killed or taken back over the mountains were left lost and alone. They could not return to their old lives for they were forever marked, tainted, as being a servant of evil.

These survivors became known as "The Accursed" and this is the role that the players have. People, who have been tainted by darkness but instead of succumbing to it, choose instead to fight it. To fight and build a better world…even if it is a world that they, ultimately, will have no place in.

Anyway, he has just released a blog and landing page for the entire project, in an effort to get this thing moving. I ask that everybody out there help get the word out. This is a setting and story that has a LOT of potential and I would really, REALLY like to see it succeed.

Site Link: www.accursedrpg.com/



Commission List:
1) Undisclosed Customer - All 4 turtles from TMNT, Splinter, April and Casey Jones
Sir, I misplaced your contact information! Please, if you are watching this space, PLEASE drop me a note or an email! Thanks!

2)
3)
4)
5)
  • Listening to: Whatever happens to pop up on WinAmp
  • Reading: varous school reading assignments
  • Watching: My cats...
  • Playing: Guild Wars 2, Iron Grip: Marauders, Hawken
  • Eating: Something Edible...or at least I think it is...
  • Drinking: Something with plenty of caffeine in it

Bittersweet Week

Journal Entry: Tue Jun 4, 2013, 1:45 PM



Convention Status


MAGFEST: 3-6 January, National Harbor, MD

Katsucon: 15-17 February, National Harbor, MD

BronyCon: 2-4 August, Baltimore, Maryland
Table 212! Come by and say hello and keep us company!

Otakon: 9-11 August, Baltimore, Maryland
Missed the AA boat...

Anime USA: 13-15 September, Washington, D.C.
Unsure. Artist Alley is now juried and I do not, have never and never will support a completely juried Artist Alley.







Well I just got handed my walking papers yesterday. The bad news is that I am out of a job. The good news is that I will be able to receive unemployment benefits.

…though the bad thing about that is that it will not be enough to pay all of the bills… the upshot is that I will have more free time to work on other things (more on this later).

Interestingly enough though, I kind of see this as a good thing. Yeah, being jobless (again) sucks big fat hairy mouse nuts…but I was really, REALLY contemplating quitting anyway for a wide variety of reasons. While this change is certainly not on my terms, I can't find myself being terribly disappointed either. I mean, I was bored out of my fucking skull!!!

…frankly, I think it has everything to do with the sequester (yeah, that's still a thing) and the fact that they had barely enough work for one webmaster, so if a position's gonna get cut, may as well be the FNG, right? Right.



Anyway, moving right along, as I mentioned moments ago, I now have copious amounts of free time. So what to do with it?

Well, my knee-jerk reaction is to work on Arcanum Flux, but I know that I lack the self-discipline to maintain my focus and I would quickly devolve into playing video games or mindless surfing the internet in the guise of looking for references or some crap like that.

…but I also need to remain productive and, well, not devolve into playing video games or surfing the internet mindlessly!

So, what do?

Simple!

RELEASE THE KRAKEN!!!



…and by 'kraken', I mean 'commissions' and by 'release' I mean 'I am open for'.

While this was not exactly new information (I am always open for commissions), I think my pricing may be a bit of a turn-off, so I am going to do something a little different. Something that's worked out rather well for a couple of folks.

I am going to start doing "Name Your Price" commissions.

How does it work? Rather simple actually:
- You shoot me a commission request
- I accept and do the work and then send you a low-resolution (about 100dpi or thereabouts) copy.
- You then pay me what you think the work is worth.
- Upon receiving of payment, I will then send the larger (300-600dpi) image.

If this sounds too good to be true, know that I do have a minimum price, and that is $5.

More information can be found here.



Commission List:
1) Undisclosed Customer - All 4 turtles from TMNT, Splinter, April and Casey Jones
Sir, I misplaced your contact information! Please, if you are watching this space, PLEASE drop me a note or an email! Thanks!

2)
3)
4)
5)
  • Listening to: Whatever happens to pop up on WinAmp
  • Reading: varous school reading assignments
  • Watching: My cats...
  • Playing: Guild Wars 2, Iron Grip: Marauders, Hawken
  • Eating: Something Edible...or at least I think it is...
  • Drinking: Something with plenty of caffeine in it

Name Your Price Commissions

Journal Entry: Tue Jun 4, 2013, 1:41 PM



Convention Status


MAGFEST: 3-6 January, National Harbor, MD

Katsucon: 15-17 February, National Harbor, MD

BronyCon: 2-4 August, Baltimore, Maryland
Table 212! Come by and say hello and keep us company!

Otakon: 9-11 August, Baltimore, Maryland
Missed the AA boat...

Anime USA: 13-15 September, Washington, D.C.
Unsure. Artist Alley is now juried and I do not, have never and never will support a completely juried Artist Alley.







I have heard several instances of a name your price commission list working out very well for folks, so I figure that I can do the same thing.

The way this works is exactly what it says on the tin. After seeing the work, you decide what you are willing to pay for it. That's it.

…ok, there is a little more to it than that:
:bulletred: You shoot me a commission request
I prefer email, but I can just as easily work via DA note or Tumblr
email address: animefreak40k@gmail.com

Please, please PLEASE let me know that this is a commission request in the subject line!

:bulletred: I accept and do the work and then send you a low-resolution (about 100dpi or thereabouts) copy.
…pretty self-explanatory…

:bulletred: You then pay me what you think the work is worth.
Minimum payment is $5. This is to cover any fees and to make sure that folks just aren't spamming me for free (or stupid-cheap) art.
If you want the original and WIP pieces, it will be an additional $2 charge to cover postage.
Sorry, I do not accept points as a form of payment.

:bulletred: Upon receiving of payment, I will then send the larger (300-600dpi) image.

:bulletred: As a personal policy, I will consider ownership of the artwork once it has been paid for as belonging to the customer, even if they did not request the originals. However, I will reserve the right to include all work in any portfolios and galleries.

This all being said, I know that I am potentially opening myself up to some serious problems regarding licensing, use and all that rot. If the requested commission is going to be for anything other than personal use, talk to me. I'm open to negotiation and I'm sure that we'll work something out. If you tell me it's for personal use and I find out that you're using it for something else, well… we'll have problems.



Commission List:
1) Undisclosed Customer - All 4 turtles from TMNT, Splinter, April and Casey Jones
Sir, I misplaced your contact information! Please, if you are watching this space, PLEASE drop me a note or an email! Thanks!

2)
3)
4)
5)
  • Listening to: Whatever happens to pop up on WinAmp
  • Reading: varous school reading assignments
  • Watching: My cats...
  • Playing: Guild Wars 2, Iron Grip: Marauders, Hawken
  • Eating: Something Edible...or at least I think it is...
  • Drinking: Something with plenty of caffeine in it

Moving Forward

Journal Entry: Thu May 23, 2013, 6:34 AM



Convention Status


MAGFEST: 3-6 January, National Harbor, MD

Katsucon: 15-17 February, National Harbor, MD

BronyCon: 2-4 August, Baltimore, Maryland
Table 212! Come by and say hello and keep us company!

Otakon: 9-11 August, Baltimore, Maryland
Missed the AA boat...

Anime USA: 13-15 September, Washington, D.C.
Unsure. Artist Alley is now juried and I do not, have never and never will support a completely juried Artist Alley.







In light of the last two journals and speaking at length with both of my roommates and a couple of other friends of mine, I have decided that I need to take a definitive (albeit small) step forward.

I really do love art. I love drawing, I love creating and I love sharing what I create….even if I think it isn't worth all that much and isn't all that good, I still like to put it out there.

However, I have not been doing a lot of it lately. I have actually sat down and questioned if I actually DID like these things in the first place…while the past couple of days was not the first time I sincerely questioned myself, I have decided that I am tired of it.

So, how do I get back into creating and drawing again? The short and simple answer is 'just get out there and do it!'. This is a true statement. However, it really isn't that simple. I am mentally fatigued and drained when I get home from work. Any willpower I had built up to make sure I do what needs to be done is expended throughout the day as I fight to maintain consciousness and generally look busy while in the office…and when I get home I am just so drained that I don't feel like doing anything but letting my brain rot.

This is not healthy. It is not good. I claim that I do not watch TV because it wastes time and accomplishes nothing…but sitting at my computer playing video games and mindlessly surfing the internet is not much better.

The fact of the matter is that I lack a form of structure that I need to actually get into the habit of drawing. I lack the self-discipline needed to do exactly what I want…no… need to do. I can't do it on my own and I need help. I need someone to make sure that I am, in fact spending time (even if it's just 30 minutes a day) drawing.

When I was in school, this actually came quite easy for me because I had between 5-15 students, a professor and a teacher's aide all there to make sure I did what I was supposed to and give me the look of disapproval if I failed to meet expectations. Since I've graduated, I lack this structure and, well, for me to do what I need to do to improve as an artist, I require this structure.

All of this being said, and again, after speaking with my roommates and some friends of mine, I feel a solution has been worked out. Between the lot of them, they are going to make sure that I do something every day. Actual quality of the work is irrelevant – this isn't about creating good work. Content is also irrelevant – this isn't about improving in a particular area. This is about AF40K putting pencil to paper (or stylus to tablet).

Here is how this is going to work; starting next week there will be some expectations on my part:
:bulletred: I will be expected to produce a drawing of some sort per day. While I do not have to start working as soon as I get home, before I go to bed, something must be shown.
:bulletred: I will be expected to show this artwork on a regular basis. If I put something in the sketchbook at work and don't bring it to show or the drawing is not dated, it doesn't count.
:bulletred: I need to spend some amount of time on it. 5, 10, 30 minutes, an hour… all are acceptable. Right now, this is about building the habit of spending time at the art desk.
:bulletred: Content is not necessarily a factor, but there are limitations. I can't crap out a stick figure and call it done, there's got to be more to it that. Gesture drawings, spheres, cubes, cones, hands, eyes, expressions and the like are all ok despite their simplicity.
:bulletred: Produced artwork must be new. Going back and touching up a past drawing does not count! If I want to start a drawing over, that counts. If I scan in a pencil drawing and work on it digitally, that also counts.
:bulletred: I will be highly encouraged to post my work online, either here or on Tumblr. Images posted here can be in scraps, but they should still be posted anyway.

I want to be clear, this is first and foremost about me building up some good habits and being forced to stick to them. This will take quite some time and I expect that I will improve in various areas because of it.

I think my first line of defense will be my roommates. They are both awesome artists, generally have very positive attitudes and are always present and can easily harass me – it's not like they don't know where I sleep…and they can (and will) make my life hell.

The next line of defense will be a couple of friends of mine. Because I see them (relatively) infrequently (once or twice a week at best), they will not be able to check up on my work on a daily basis like my roommates can, but they can still have and encourage the expectation that I post stuff daily…or at least regularly. If I happen to meet up with them and I do not have the requisite work to show them, they could check with my roommates to make sure I am doing the right thing. Even so, this should not give me an excuse to shirk my duties and they really should call bullshit until they collaborate with my roommates if I don't have something to show.

Lastly will be the folks online. While my roommates and friends are included here, this also includes the folks I have never seen (or rarely see) face to face. These guys, if they want (and I encourage this) should have some sort of expectation that I post something on a regular basis. Once a day would be ideal, but every 2 weeks should be the minimum. For things I post here on DA, things will likely end up in my scraps folder. If I don't post it here, my Tumblr (and by extension, Twitter) can be checked as well. Work I post on Tumblr will be tagged and there is already a button on my page.

As of right now, I cannot think of any real negative consequences for not fulfilling my obligations. When I was in school, the threat of a lower grade was incentive enough. However, I am rather resistant to peer pressure, so on one hand, maybe something else needs to be done. On the other hand, I am an adult, and the fact that I am making this social contract and I am giving my word will be enough. I have enough pride in myself and keeping my word that the threat that I am backing out and the loss of respect and face should serve as incentive enough as well…

All of this being said, if you are reading this and you got this far, know that me asking for help is incredibly difficult for me…but, well, quite simply…I need your help in making me stick to my obligations.


So there you have it… this is my plan and, well… I know I can't go it alone, regardless of how much I may try to do so.


Thanks for reading and putting up with my crap. I really, REALLY appreciate it.



Commission List:
1) Undisclosed Customer - All 4 turtles from TMNT, Splinter, April and Casey Jones
Sir, I misplaced your contact information! Please, if you are watching this space, PLEASE drop me a note or an email! Thanks!

2)
3)
4)
5)
  • Listening to: Whatever happens to pop up on WinAmp
  • Reading: varous school reading assignments
  • Watching: My cats...
  • Playing: Guild Wars 2, Iron Grip: Marauders, Hawken
  • Eating: Something Edible...or at least I think it is...
  • Drinking: Something with plenty of caffeine in it

Realizations

Journal Entry: Wed May 22, 2013, 3:05 PM



Convention Status


MAGFEST: 3-6 January, National Harbor, MD

Katsucon: 15-17 February, National Harbor, MD

BronyCon: 2-4 August, Baltimore, Maryland
Table 212! Come by and say hello and keep us company!

Otakon: 9-11 August, Baltimore, Maryland
Missed the AA boat...

Anime USA: 13-15 September, Washington, D.C.
Unsure. Artist Alley is now juried and I do not, have never and never will support a completely juried Artist Alley.







This is, kinda-sorta follow-up to my last journal.

As I was writing it at work, thinking about it after posting and even further on a couple of responses that I read and wrote, I came to some sort of conclusion.

I say 'some sort' because I am not sure if it is a good one, a bad one, if I'm just jumping into one or just drawing one out of thin air…

…lame humor and wordplay aside…

I realized that I am (more or less) an online introvert. I am a bit of an introvert in-person as well, but there are times where I certainly appear to be the exact opposite (masks are useful like that, yes?).

I realized that I am a person who is, in a number of ways, a very sad individual. Not sad as in pathetic (though I certainly feel this way many times), but sad as in not-happy. Sad as in perpetually depressed.

I realized that there are a lot of things going on in my head that have left me, well, fucked up I guess… but I find that is not exactly accurate, because who is to judge what is right or wrong? What is fucked up and what is normal? That said, I certainly feel that there are a lot of thoughts in my head that are completely irrational.

I realized that based on the above statement that I am not this bastion of stability that I have pretended to be.

I realized that even though many of my mental and emotional flaws were the result of my upbringing and my reactions to my environment, I am not making it better because I am perpetuating the lie that, after over 30 years are something that I now believe.

I realized that there are a lot of things I want to do to "fix myself" and by 'fix' I mean unload this emotional baggage. Shed the lies and half-truths. Become the person that I feel that I have every right to be because I deserve it goddammit!!!

These realizations have made me realize something else. I realized that I have been going about this the wrong way for a very long time.

For a long time, I thought that I should kill my feelings. That they were worth nothing. That I am not allowed to and should not feel things. No joy, because that brings sadness. Sadness brings pain and pain is bad.

For a long time I felt that any problems I could get past, I could do it on my own. That through hard work, sheer stubbornness and perseverance, I could force my way over, under, around or through any obstacles that life threw at me.  

For a long time, I felt that I did not need anybody. That I could do it all on my own. That other people were just another obstacle life threw at me. That their genuine offers of aid were actually a vehicle to bring me down (even as I offered my hand to help others with no want or expectation of return).

For a long time, I felt that forms of support (be they friends, family, church/religion or whatever) were for the weak…and that to be strong, I had to go it alone. Because strong people don't need others to lean on.

I realized that I was wrong.

I can't do this on my own.

I need help.

Even though there are many things by myself, but I need help to get started. I need help in doing it right.

For me to improve in my art and take it in any sort of professional direction, I need to surround myself with people that are willing to provide positive reinforcement, constructive criticism that is designed to help me improve, to show me the right way to do things and just generally be a positive influence and encourage me to continue to do stuff.  

For me to help get over and past my anti-social networking tendencies (that is, actually make use of the tools I have available, adopt other tools and make the most of them as well), I am going to need help. I have an idea of what needs to be done, but no real idea of how to go about doing it.

The thing of it is, is that I know I'm not stupid. I know what needs to be done. I know that there are tools out there to make these things happen. I know that there are even tutorials and books. The problem though is that despite these resources, I have no idea how to use them. Simply stating "well, you just read it and do what the book says" is not terribly helpful to me.

Why? Not sure exactly. Maybe it's my own anxieties. Maybe it's something different. I don't know. At the end of the day though, I realized that I am in need of a mentor of some sort as well as a larger support structure for me to get where I need to go. Someone to provide guidance and positive encouragement in the things that I attempt.

…I just don't know how to go about getting one…



Commission List:
1) Undisclosed Customer - All 4 turtles from TMNT, Splinter, April and Casey Jones
Sir, I misplaced your contact information! Please, if you are watching this space, PLEASE drop me a note or an email! Thanks!

2)
3)
4)
5)
  • Listening to: Whatever happens to pop up on WinAmp
  • Reading: varous school reading assignments
  • Watching: My cats...
  • Playing: Guild Wars 2, Iron Grip: Marauders, Hawken
  • Eating: Something Edible...or at least I think it is...
  • Drinking: Something with plenty of caffeine in it

Misapplied philosophy can be poisonous

Journal Entry: Wed May 22, 2013, 9:39 AM



Convention Status


MAGFEST: 3-6 January, National Harbor, MD

Katsucon: 15-17 February, National Harbor, MD

BronyCon: 2-4 August, Baltimore, Maryland
Table 212! Come by and say hello and keep us company!

Otakon: 9-11 August, Baltimore, Maryland
Missed the AA boat...

Anime USA: 13-15 September, Washington, D.C.
Unsure. Artist Alley is now juried and I do not, have never and never will support a completely juried Artist Alley.







The biggest difference between venom and poison is its method of delivery. Venom is a toxin that is forcibly inserted into the body (usually through stabbing or piercing) while poison is a toxin that is ingested (whether by eating/drinking or breathing). It could be said that the method of delivery is the only real difference, hence the literary idea that a poisoned dagger has been envenomed…

I'm quite certain that anybody reading this has heard and understand the term "the pathway to hell is paved with good intentions".

In his novella Candide, Voltaire wrote: "Optimism is the madness of insisting that all is well when we are miserable."

. . . .

So, what do these three mostly unrelated concepts have to do with each other? Well… me. I guess.

In my efforts to try to improve myself and try to take the words of wisdom I often give to others to help them out when they are stumbling or struggling through hardship, I have inadvertently poisoned myself.

I am a firm believer in the idea that if one wants something badly enough, they will</i> get it. This is not up for debate. Every single successful person both in reality and fiction had that something they wanted with all of their heart and they reached out and took (or earned) it. All of those really cool inspiring stories are firmly grounded in this core concept or slight variations thereof.

To a suitably driven individual, this sort of thing is fuel to the fire. It drives them on and forces them to take that one additional step because they know, with that step; they are that much closer to their goal! And that is inspirational!

…but what of someone who doesn't have a goal?

What if the person doesn't have a particular drive or spark…or if they did, it sputtered and has died?

This is where the good intentions of adopting and seeking to apply a positive mindset to something begins to lay the foundation to for that trip to hell. By taking something positive and twisting it, even accidentally, just so…this great philosophy suddenly becomes a poison. The concept is good, the intent is good and even the applications can be good… and yet it can still become devastatingly toxic. Taking it a step further, this is also where the logic and arguments become circular and ever-more self destructive.

…I think this may need a little context…

Last night, I read a journal entry from a friend of mine and she had pointed out that a lot of great things were coming her way and were also in the works. Nothing concrete mind you, but certainly encouraging. Considering that she is wanting to do something similar to me, I figured I could try to do what it is she did, or at least learn and at, perhaps get a little positive reinforcement on my own projects and such. Good intentions.

Through our discussion, she had pointed out that there were some things that I could and should be doing that I was not. I was not using my time wisely. She has a point to this, and I cannot disagree. But in my defense, I haven't felt like it.

I have a full-time 9-to-5 (well… 8-to-4) job that is mentally stagnating. On one hand, I can't complain too hard about the job because it is a paycheck (and a reasonable one at that), and that it is not really stressful by any extent of the concept. I mean seriously, the hardest thing I have to do is fight to maintain my consciousness every day. But it is boring and I have to exert an inordinate amount of willpower and energy to at least look busy. Oh, sure, I could bring a book or two to read, hell, I have a couple of notebooks that I sketch and/or write in, but my mindset and the office environment creates the feeling that such things are frowned upon and are generally discouraged…even if this is not true. You see, perception trumps reality every time…and the perception that I have is that such things are not permissible and so I cannot really feel comfortable doing such things while in the office…even if doing so would actually be an exercise in self-improvement.

Needless to say, when 4 o'clock rolls around, I am spent and when I get home I want to do nothing more than sit back and mentally decompress and then recharge so that I can start the whole thing over again the next day.

I should be drawing. I should be world-building. I should be writing. But I just can't muster the willpower or the focus to do it because most of that capital was already spent sometime between 7:30am and 4pm.

These are some things that I think my friend does not really understand, or, rather does not understand as well as she would otherwise claim. And, maybe, I think it is a lack of this understanding and her reactions that started one hell of a downward spiral.

Moving on…

My friend pointed out some other things that I could also do to get my name and work out there a bit better. One was throwing together an online portfolio (I'll be the first to admit that I have been lacking in that…but that is another matter entirely), the other was making use of social media such as Facebook, Tumblr and Twitter… and that I should write a blog. A very good idea…but there is a problem.

Regardless of what social media I use, part of the thing of making these things work is some degree of consistent (if not constant) updates. The problem is that I am not terribly chatty. I am one of those guys who tends to be silent unless he's got something to say. The required amount of updates and their consistency to get any sort of attention or curiosity from others would pretty much require me to talk a LOT about, well, nothing. That just isn't me. It also does not help that I am very passive; I don't have an opinion on most things, and usually when I do, it tends to fall pretty close to where rational, reasonable people reside and so I am not inclined to add to the echo-chamber.

My friend equated the internet, social media and the like to a sort of really large ballroom dance. This is not an unreasonable comparison. I mean, to get noticed on the internet, you need to speak loudly about lots of stuff and have very strong opinions. You also need to be inclined to reach out to people, contact them and initiate conversations. This poses a problem for someone like me because all of that stuff I just outlined, well, I am exactly the opposite.

My friend had made a lot of great points, and I am quite certain there was nothing but good intentions behind them, so I can't and won't fault her.

The discussion regarding social media was a pretty rough wake-up call in a way. It is difficult for me, 15 hours (give or take) later, to outline the thought processes and logic. I don't even think I could figure out what the triggers that caused this, much less the exact working and full context of the conversation…

From my perspective, it kind of went back and forth, starting with me not making the most of my time. This shifted to my general lack of motivation, which stemmed from work (we both agreed that I was at my best between November and January where I was working as a graphic designer & illustrator), which then shifted to the use of social media for self-promotion. This then moved to the fact that I have few opinions and what I do have, very few are strong. This is compounded when you realize that I only voice my thoughts when I have something to say. The internet doesn't like this sort of thing. Continuing, the circle of logic then went in this general direction:
- do you have strong opinions?
- No.
- Are you passionate about something?
- I guess…
- Then write about it.
- Write what? I have nothing to say.
- People don't care, they'll read it anyway.
- But I don't say anything unless I have something to say
- Then maybe you aren't that passionate about it.
- I guess not…
- Then I guess you really don't have anything to complain about do you?
- I guess not…

This caused me to make a rather quick assessment about the things I do like, the things I do want and am passionate about. I realized that because my general demeanor is passive and opinions on most things are somewhere between zero and the square root of negative 1, that perhaps the things I value, I really don't value that much and by logical progression realized that perhaps the things I do want I simply do not want badly enough.

It's obvious when you think about it:

If someone wants something badly enough, they will get it. If they don't get it, then obviously they did not want it enough.

This in turn caused me to take stock of my life – where I am going, what I am doing and what the future holds and, to be honest; it did not look very bright. Downright abysmal actually. No hope. No light. Nothing but bleak darkness. And I realized that I had been fooling myself. All of the self-motivation and words of perseverance and optimism was a twisted amalgamation of lies, bullshit and delusion.

I looked into that abyss and, well, I wanted to just step through. I was just so tired. I still am. I wanted it all to just end. I still do.

Life is about the journey, not necessarily the destination. But there really should be some payoff, right? Something that, at the end, you can look to and say "yeah…totally worth it."

For a moment, I slipped. I really and honestly thought about just giving up. That whatever was at the end of the road was not worth it. That all of the time, effort and energy was wasted and pointless.

It took a very good friend of mine to help me up. He pointed out that the good advice that I often give and the philosophy that I try to live by could just as easily be made poisonous and that I had been inadvertently poisoning myself. The fact that my other friend said what she did, despite her best intentions and desire to help, ended up being a shot of venom instead of inspiration, which was caused in no small part by the preexisting poison in the system.

But where does that quote about optimism tie into all of this? Well, quite simply, the continuing struggle. The knowledge and hope that something better is just over the next hill and that good things are bound to happen…especially to those that work and/or suffer.

I let the good intentions behind my philosophy blind me. I honestly thought that there was not a way that it could turn against me in the way that it did. It let me live in the delusion that all is well, when this was not necessarily the case…it let me poison myself.

So there you have it: a good philosophy laced with some optimism proved to be quite poisonous and when some good intentions were applied, made the whole thing worse and almost terminal.


…seems I have quite some way to go yet on fixing this mess that's in my head…

…but hey, I'll get through it, right?



Commission List:
1) Undisclosed Customer - All 4 turtles from TMNT, Splinter, April and Casey Jones
Sir, I misplaced your contact information! Please, if you are watching this space, PLEASE drop me a note or an email! Thanks!

2)
3)
4)
5)
  • Listening to: Whatever happens to pop up on WinAmp
  • Reading: varous school reading assignments
  • Watching: My cats...
  • Playing: Guild Wars 2, Iron Grip: Marauders, Hawken
  • Eating: Something Edible...or at least I think it is...
  • Drinking: Something with plenty of caffeine in it