Looking Back

This will be one of those schizo posts I’ve done from time to time, where the illus­tra­tion part doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily relate to the bulk of the text. And “bulk” is prob­a­bly the right word; this post will be length­ier than usual, so I apol­o­gize for that in advance.

Let me explain about the illus­tra­tion first. My younger brother is writ­ing a book, and asked me to do the cover illus­tra­tion. Over the years, we’ve col­lab­o­rated on a num­ber of projects (includ­ing our band, back in the ‘80s). And it’s always an inter­est­ing and chal­leng­ing expe­ri­ence (in the best senses of those words), because I have a lot of free­dom to try things that I prob­a­bly couldn’t for other clients. Usu­ally, I wind up head­ing into new and unfa­mil­iar ter­ri­tory that I might not have explored on my own. This piece is a case in point: we wound up with Michelangelo’s The Cre­ation of Adam as rein­ter­preted through a kind of “street art” lens. Def­i­nitely not a direc­tion I would’ve imag­ined myself going, but I’m pleased with the end prod­uct. Though don’t expect to go out late at night and find me throw­ing it up on the side of some build­ing in the wilds of down­town Los Angeles!

Now on to my main sub­ject: I’ve real­ized that this month marks the one year anniver­sary of my site. It seemed like this might be a good point to take a look back, and give some­thing of a peek behind the cur­tain. When I first began to weigh the idea of putting up my own site, I was very reluc­tant to bother, to be hon­est. The only rea­son I did it was because it has become absolutely essen­tial as an artist (par­tic­u­larly in ani­ma­tion) to have a web­site. Most stu­dios now don’t want to han­dle phys­i­cal port­fo­lios any­more; they’d rather just have a link they can click on to view your work. So this was a case of “like it or not, you’ve got to do the research and get your own site up.”

But I’ve found a really good thing that has come out of hav­ing the site. As a kid, I used to love to draw. I’d spend hours at the kitchen table doing it. But fast-forward to adult­hood, and an unfor­tu­nate side effect some­times of turn­ing the thing you loved doing as a kid into the work you do for a liv­ing as an adult, is that you can lose that love. When you spend all day being told what you’re sup­posed to draw and how to draw it, that can sap your moti­va­tion to draw any­thing for your­self when you’re off work. The last thing you feel like doing some­times at the end of the day is to pick up a pen­cil again for your­self. But the thing is, it’s impor­tant to keep at least a por­tion of your art as an out­let for your own expres­sion. Mak­ing time to draw for your­self is impor­tant. Hang­ing onto that love for draw­ing you once had as a kid is important.

And hav­ing my own site, where I can draw what­ever I want, and in what­ever style I want, has gone a ways toward help­ing me to regain that love. Though it’s a lame sim­ile, it’s almost like my site’s become the inter­net equiv­a­lent of hav­ing a giant refrig­er­a­tor that I can tack my art to, for peo­ple to see when they come by.

One other thing I decided, early on, (and I guess you can file this under “state­ment of pur­pose”) is that I wanted to stay on the pos­i­tive side in any­thing I write here. It’s very easy to go neg­a­tive. As my friends can tell you, I have my opin­ions about the things I don’t like in movies, car­toons, comics, etc., just like any­one else. But there are plenty of places on the inter­net where peo­ple can (and do) vent at length about things like that. I’d pre­fer to be a pos­i­tive voice. Rather than waste time talk­ing about what I don’t like (why give those things any fur­ther expo­sure?), why not spend my time talk­ing about the things that I like? Why not give those things the spot­light? So that’s what I’ve tried to do thus far, and what I intend to keep doing. That, and show­ing off new work on my big inter­net refrig­er­a­tor when I feel like it. :)

And that’s prob­a­bly more than enough ver­bosity for one post! If you’ve actu­ally made it through to this point, I wish all read­ing this a Happy Thanksgiving!

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