On Mentoring

So much for updating on a weekly basis.

Well, to be fair, I did spend most of the last two weeks on mentoring, getting back into my yoga program, and slowly reintegrating with the real world now that I am fully vaccinated against COVID-19. I was able to go hang out with some friends, and I was able to go to the dentist for the first time in years. Hoo boy—I was never so happy going to the dentist as I was last week!

It’s been a full two weeks since my last post, though, and I did say that I was going to try to update this blog more regularly so here I am.

In the span of the last two weeks, I was able to make a total of ONE finished comic strip. I’m beginning to think that this path is not what I should be on right now. What I SEEM to be more inclined to do these days is explore ways to make my streaming setup better for our CPAG mentoring sessions and prepare for the next demo.

It’s becoming clearer to me that I’m more interested in teaching other people about drawing and making art than making comics myself—which for the most part is supposed to be for self-expression—but I’ve been doing a lot more of that just by writing here and being on social media more often. I guess when it comes to writing my thoughts down into comic form, well, it seems rather redundant now.

So, given that making comics doesn’t seem to interest me as much, perhaps the best thing for me to do right now is to really lean into this whole ‘mentoring’ business.

It feels a little bit weird, calling myself a mentor. I recall a conversation with a friend sometime back that I had trouble with the word ‘mentor’ because I feel like it’s a title that people attach to you, and not you onto yourself. For me, a mentor is not just someone who helps you become more skillful but really cares about your life and your goals. So, a mentor is not just a teacher, but also a friend.

But how do I become that for almost two hundred people (and more, when CPAG decides to open more scholarship slots)?

I’m still in the process of figuring that out. While I’m likely not going to remember every single one of our scholars, I can try my best to give them the best support they can get. I also acknowledge that I’m just one person and that I am not solely responsible for their growth. They must still do the work, and I’m here to help where and when I can.

I suppose my journey is taking me onto the path of becoming an art educator. While I may not have formal training in education, everything on this path seems to align better with my values and interests. It’s going to be a lot of learning for me as well, and that’s something I love to do.

Maybe a Weekly Update?

I suppose I should try to write a blog post for today just to try and develop the habit of posting something—anything—on this site on a weekly basis.

I wish I could say I’ve made significant progress on my comics, but honestly I haven’t gotten past trying to redraw my avatar in a way that better represents me. I suppose it’s still progress. I am still in “creative recovery mode,” after all, and I have to keep reminding myself to cut me some damn slack.

The past week has kind of sent me into a rollercoaster of moods, thanks to my period—which I hate to admit kind of makes me vulnerable to feelings of rage.

I dislike the thought of my emotions being controlled by perfectly normal bodily functions, but I can’t help it when my insides feel like they’re staging a revolution and my head feels like it’s constantly about to explode. It is quite unpleasant, and on the worst days, all it makes me want to do is lie in bed and cry about nothing.

There were several other factors affecting my mood, of course, but for the most part I think I would’ve handled them with more finesse had I not been bleeding—quite literally—on the inside.

On the upside, I’m making some progress on the mentorship thing. I have a lot of thoughts about it that I still need to sort and organize. I guess I’m learning that just collecting, organizing, and replying to every single piece of work from 80+ people is… a damn challenge to manage and balance with my personal projects. I’m still figuring out a better system for this, and better ways I can help a big guild of artists of varying styles and proficiencies. Since I don’t really have any formal training in education, I’m learning this as I go. That’s kind of how I survived the past couple of decades so I suppose that’s not such a bad thing. (CPAG scholars, if you’re reading this, please be patient with me.)

Anyway, I’m still trying to navigate what it means to be independent. I have a few plans but I’m trying to be flexible, so I don’t want to make them public for now but the big goals remain the same: restart this comic, try to help other artists, and maybe make more friends along the way.

On Writing and Making Comics

So… it’s been one year since I started this blog. I know it’s been a year because I had just recieved the bill to renew my WordPress subscription. In the span of the last year, I’ve written a total of 3 posts–one of which was my “welcome to this blog” post. Good job, me?

I suppose trying to maintain a website while being knee-deep in game dev work and the crypto scene (which, everyone knows, never sleeps) was kind of a bad idea. I originally started this website because I wanted to maximize the use of my domain name and make a feeble attempt at carving out my own little place on the internet.

Well, now that I’m a little bit freer to work on my own projects, I figured one of the things I can do is to keep this website a bit more updated. Since I’ve slowly been getting back to writing comics again, this shouldn’t be too big of a problem. Hello, content!

Speaking of comics, if you’ve been following me on Twitter, then you have probably seen this ‘comic prototype’ I recently posted (or not, because algorithm~). It’s a prototype because I’m still testing out whether it’s a look I’m satisfied with and if it’s a style I can reproduce at a more sustainable pace.

You see, when I first started making diary comics in 2016 (you can still view these on Tapas), I didn’t really have too many plans for it to go anywhere—a recurring pattern in my pursuits, it seems. I initially intended to make them as a form of stress relief: a personal project unrelated to my game dev work that I could do on the side. Next thing I knew, my comic got featured on the site, and suddenly my little side project was getting a lot more popular than I ever expected it to be.

That sudden popularity became a double-edged sword for me. On one hand, I thought that “hey, maybe I can actually do this for a living.” On the other… well, I didn’t just get fans. I also got a substantial number of haters. Given that my mental health back then wasn’t the best, I was susceptible to the negative comments that got thrown my way—one of which was that I was a ‘bad artist’ because of the cartoon-y and simplistic style of the comic. I, being a dumbass, tried to prove my haters wrong by ‘updating’ the art style to make it look more consistent and professional. Which, of course, ended up making it unsustainable to create on a regular basis since I had a full-time job.

Now that I’m in a much better state of mental health, I’ve realized that… well, wow. What was I thinking? Why did I even want to prove anything to people who never really liked me or my work in the first place?

Looking back now, I can’t blame myself either because I had never really had that much experience being popular on the internet before. It was kind of a relief when I started and sort of stayed as a relative nobody in the cryptoart scene.

But I digress, and wow that was a lot of words to say that I’ve learned my lesson. In the realm of comics I’m still pretty much a beginner, so I am allowing myself to be a beginner again. If I want to achieve any form of success in this realm, I need to be willing to make a lot of bad comics to get to the good ones. And maybe removing some of the ‘friction’ in that process—like trying to make it look the best it can be—will help me focus on what makes good comics good: the writing.

So… be prepared for a lot of bad comics again. It’s going to be great.