passing the inspirational torch

After reading Scream Queen B's blog post, I thought I'd join in, by saying that I am -also- INSPIRED. Like the monkey from The Lion King said, "It is time!"

I was jotting down some thoughts, for a post, about how I stay motivated and inspired, and how creatives require the brains and souls of other creatives to keep those wheels going. Example: It won't be productive to sit down with your (Accountant) Uncle Glenn, and ask why you can't get your dinosaur painting to look right. He'll hand you numbers to calculate, and last time I checked, numbers don't work with creative motivation. I have never been a fan of guessing for the right answer. That's the roadblock.

I feel that most of my roadblocks present themselves in the fashion of trying to decide what others might think or expect from me; especially in regards to the process, and how it sometimes takes time to shake it out of your system. Do you know how badly I'd love for a technology to connect with the brain, by using a simple little button that says "print" just so thoughts can be presented the instant they show up? Imagine the possibilities.. and the piles of thoughts that would take up my living space. Maybe this is a good thing it hasn't been developed yet.

Reason keeps me from focusing on my natural process. I have had many moments of hearing a nagging voice in my head that says to me "You've wasted so much time." Truth is, there's no such thing as wasting time when you're learning in the process of reaching your goals. I have a number of projects I've put on hold, through the years, simply because I don't feel it's their time yet; like writing a children's book, or building stuff, or making a stop motion animated short of some kind. It's something I want to do one day, but not now. Does that mean I've failed? Maybe to Uncle Glenn, because he can't think past equations and finding the one and only solution. His opinion doesn't matter, though. It's all you, and what works for you, right now.

Being selfish is what brought me back in touch with my work. I've learned to say no to side projects, because I feel like my time is valuable. I work full time already, so when I add work on top of it, I fry out. I decided to start saying no to freelance, so I could make room for personal projects; which is important to a creative mind. We have to let it out, and face our own challenges, and express what's lurking in our complicated minds. That's why I started daily/monthly challenges, like daily moustache and @sketch_dailies. It's there for me to keep my creative muscles moving, and to also make habit of taking time for it.

Not every day is miraculous though, and I feel many creatives need to be reminded that taking breaks is necessary. I've been drawing for 300 years, and even I have days where I can't do at all what I want. "You call that a hand?" I have been paying more attention to when those days hit me, and it's usually when I'm mentally/emotionally and even physically tired. Sometimes I'll keep working, without realizing I'm drained, which is when I catch myself becoming outwardly frustrated. I need creativity in my life, but I can't force it down. Be fair to your brains, treat them like batteries and give them downtime to recharge. It's senseless to drive yourself into pouting fits. Creatives are sensitive and emotional beings. We just want to make stuff ALL the time, but we can't.

And now that my computer is on its way, I feel like I'm stretching my running muscles, to get ready for the biggest race of my life. It's going to be a very interesting challenge, with metaphorical hurdles that will want to get in my way. Whether it's the nagging voice, Uncle Glenn and his mind numbing conversations about numbers, or creative dry spells, I need to remind myself constantly... You're a creative, and you will always make amazing things so long as you take care of yourself. You just have to be fair, reach out to those who know how it works, and just let it out into the open.

Be INSPIRED and share your gift with the world. It just might inspire others.


it happened

I bought a shiny new computer today. It arrives in a few days. Thank you everyone who helped me make this face. I'm smiling hard on the inside, really. Shit just got real. 



It's a pretty big deal to hear that my stepdad, Doug, successfully told cancer to go fuck itself. 6 years, and cancer free. Happy Movember, Suzie! 


pinch pinch

I have tried to write this about a dozen times, and I think the trick is to just get it down; before I decide to press delete or save to draft. Truth is, I'm over the moon, and it is such a struggle to get the words out properly. So many thoughts at once. I just want to share all the words. Where do I begin?

Moustache month. Nacho Libre. An inspiring character when it comes to determination and self belief.

If I haven't already said thank you enough, I feel I still need to make it clear how incredibly grateful I am for the endless support from everyone around me. Since my story aired on CTV News, I've been receiving a massive amount of Go Fund Me donations, as well as messages of encouragement, praise, and delight for what I'm doing. I'm not entirely sure which one I have most trouble accepting, as I still feel terribly modest about the entire situation. I am overwhelmed, you guys. In the best way possible. Didn't expect this to be what it has so suddenly become, today. It hits me in waves of stomach butterflies and surprised eyes. It's happening.

My face when I saw my Go Fund Me goal had been reached, and exceeded. 

I'm trying to record the process, not only for myself, but for the people who have taken the time to voice their personal gratitude for being inspired by my strength to pursue what I believe in. The truth is, I'm prone to weakness just like anyone else, and I didn't fully recognize my strengths, until I answered a very important question, that I jotted down in my journal. If you woke up tomorrow as someone else, what part of yourself would you want back? What would you wish you had done, while you were you? I took some time to think that one through, and came up with a surprising list. Perhaps we need to do these sorts of things for ourselves more often. Personal strength and confidence is a constant work in progress. Know what makes you rad, write it out, and then share it with the world!

I'd say that from this experience, I'm realizing that while the cheering team around me keeps me fuelled and motivated, it is my internal cheering team that needs to keep up with the demand of taking this on full tilt. I'm my own worst critic, and I have to be careful not to push myself too hard and into a corner. I'm human, and not every day is a forward boost. I know when to take breaks and step away. Forcing it down steals the fun out of the experience, so I just go with it. When you stop overreacting, and start giving the right things your full attention; the negative forces grow tired and get bored. They'll leave you be and find someone else to bother. Just be aware of when they try to creep back in and mess up your vision.

Was taking notes, and it turned into Busta Rhymes. 

I've been exercising my creativity for months, by making my art my hobby again. The snobbiest of artists would throw their berets in disgust at this word, when it comes to describing their work and creative passion. A hobby can be seen as something simpleminded, like bird watching, collecting stamps, or making a scrapbook; but a hobby is something we do for leisure. This is where my work began, so I'm going back to my roots of doing it entirely my way. Bringing the fun back into the swing of it has helped me immensely. Get back in touch with your hobbies, it'll become your job when you're ready again. It's surprising what happens when you do what comes more naturally, than what you're expected.

One of my Sketch Dailies made it into Conan O'Brien's online gallery Coco Moca. Crazy.

The whole point of this challenge isn't set up to be the definition of success, by landing a gig at Disney and nothing else. My goal is to try, and just see what happens when I do finish up my project, and hand it over to the guy with the mouse ears. I'm not setting myself up for any sort of disaster through expectation. If anything, I'm making myself become more curious about the possibilities, by simply taking each day as a step closer to reaching a goal that I've often seen as completely unrealistic. It's just so big! I've never taken it seriously, and still have a hard time talking about it without laughing awkwardly. It's big, super big. You don't just hand over your sketchbook and say "hey, I like Disney movies, and I can draw Simba pretty good." Or maybe that's all there is to it? Maybe I'm going about this all wrong.

I'd say if you have a dream, pursue it, without relying on it to happen instantaneously, or look at all the way you might see it in your head. I have no idea what to expect, and that's part of what makes it fun. Where will I be this time next year, I wonder. If I've learned so much in only a matter of days, how big will my brains be a year from now? Pretty big, I hope.

To keep from rambling on forever, I'm going to leave by saying that I'm doing my absolute best to believe in the words of those around me and really absorb them for what they are. For years, people have said to me "you're going to be famous, don't forget the little guys, your name is going to be in the end credits of a Disney movie one day.." and my reaction  has always been to laugh it off, nod, or smile in humor of their fantasies. I've only just begun to take in those words for what they are, and realize, I have something in me that people notice as something worth sharing. I may not see my name in lights, or experience my loved ones pawning off my drawings on eBay to make a fortune, but I do see that if I don't try.. I'll never know. Go try out a dream or two and see where it takes you.

Seriously, you guys. Pinch me.


winter time

It's blanket season, which means sharing an armchair becomes even more challenging, for me. Breakfast insists on touching, when he sleeps, or else he'll sit and stare at me. While I try to appreciate the extra heat he provides, it's amazing how something so small can't take up so much space.