"Life stands before me, like an eternal spring with new and brilliant clothes."
-Carl Friedrich Gauss
Today, I looked out at my meager garden and saw that the spring rains have encouraged the growth of numerous tall weeds which block the sun from my poor little plants. As I sat, drinking my tea and forming plans to yank them by the roots, I realized that these past few weeks I've already been doing just that.
Last year, appropriately marked by "unlucky 13," was a challenging year that left me stricken by a crippling and very serious medical depression. Some days I was unable to get out of bed. Most days I was unable to feel; I was numb. In the infamous depression posts by the both talented and tragic Allie Brosh, she mentioned her struggle to pantomime emotion in conversation. That was me, and realizing it was a big step toward yanking those weeds. (And let me tell you, being unable to connect to your emotions makes for some wonderfully terrible attempts at art.)
I've spent the past few weeks discarding, an act typically associated with the negative. To throw something away or to be thrown away is often perceived as a failure of the thing being discarded. This is untrue. I now simply realize I have spent too long cultivating too much in my life, and I have only succeeded in overwhelming myself trying to maintain it all. Like my plants, I was choking for sunlight amidst the weeds. But in order to grow, a lot of jobs, bad friendships, and outdated art had to go. That does not mean that those things failed. In fact, they very much served their purpose, and I am grateful for their provided opportunities.
Life is always in a state of flux. We, as people, are always growing and changing. Sometimes we have to stop and prune back our reaching fingers in order to recognize and encourage the proper direction of their growth. In our natural state, we are inclined to grow in all directions, spreading ourselves wildly about a variety of paths. Something about weeds is that they thrive on those paths. Weeds have a way of seeking out and obscuring the richest soils. They actually become place-markers awaiting a strawberry patch or a rosebush. It is because of them that I finally see the things inside of me I have known all along and direction I have wanted to grow.
My whole life, it has been my dream to tell stories with simultaneous words and pictures. I filled binders with hundreds and hundreds of pages of illustrated stories, even neglected my homework to work on them. My childhood dream was comics before I even read a comic or understood their potential for artful storytelling. But have I spent my art career thusfar drawing comics and learning their ways? No. I lost myself in the big and beautiful weeds.
I'd like to take a moment to thank a few of the roses in my life, the people who continue to encourage me and who always ask me when I'm going to start working on my comics: my few precious fans, my husband, my friend Melissa, and my mother. Most of all, I'd like to thank Shane, the creator and artist of his beautiful, anthropomorphic 1930's crime-noir comic "Birdland." When he asked me to color his cover, something happened. I lost myself in my office for something like 40 hours. I could hardly sleep, the excitement to flat colors and help tell a story I loved through even one image was so strong. I didn't recognize it then, but that was the first ray of sunlight I had felt in some time. At that drafting table, hunched over my tablet, I was definitely anything but numb.
Now after a successful Kickstarter campaign, I am the official colorist for the "Technicolor" edition and the unintended letterer for the entire project. Who knew that even just tweaking text boxes could be so rewarding? I feel the familiar voice inside of me returning as ideas and stories burst from my fingers and out into journals. All that is left now is a little overdue gardening to make room for their growth.(Sorry for the super long, existential post! I fell into the introspective writer-zone again. TLDR: I'm finally attacking leftover work so I can make comics.)Current Projects
-Lettering the BIRDLAND #1 BW Edition
(before starting work on the 'Technicolor' Edition)
-Illustrations for two more titles by Three Sages Games
-Catching up on overdue 'Lily' & convention commissions
(hoping to have them wrapped up by the end of March)
-Work continues on BLIND FOLLIES & the new SKETCHY STRAUB strips
-Emerald City Comicon '14: Seattle, WA - Mar 28-30 - @'Imaginary People' #404
-Sac-Con June 2014: Sacramento, CA - Jun 1- Small Press Zone
-Anime Expo 2014: Los Angeles, CA - Jul 3-6- Artist Alley
-SacAnime Summer 2014: Sacramento, CA - Aug 29-31- Artist Alley