New arc for this blog

This is a special blog entry.
When you see bigger bumps or gaps on my blog, that can mean one of two things. Either I’m in a creative crisis and barely functional (this is absolutely normal for creatives, it’s a natural ebb and flood cycle), or working on something so big and captivating that it absolutely derailed me from writing. Sometimes both overlap.

I’m doing well lately. I’m keeping my head down and focussing on getting my day to day work done, almost unaffected by whatever else happens. I had an insight or two while drawing and in the breaks between, so today I will touch on the very foundations of this blog again.

I started this blog to document my art journey towards “making it”, leaving records behind of how exactly I did it, what worked, what didn’t work, and what pitfalls to avoid to save yourselves some time.
I have changed since starting the blog. I think when I started I was convinced most pros had some or the same secret they weren’t telling us, even when they were pretending to tell us their full success story of how they “made it”. There was always this very real gap between them, their ranks, and me and my fellow aspiring artist colleagues who still hadn’t yet joined those ranks. We could do whatever we wanted, follow all the steps, at the end of the day we wouldn’t get in. Now with more experience under my belt I’m seeing things differently.

“Making it” turns out to be a surprisingly personal thing. I set my goals, I decide what I’m doing to get there and – of course – I have to actually do these things. And whatever I share with you here on this blog is not and never was universal advice that would work for anyone for every “making it” goal. There is no universal “making it” advice, unless it is so vague that is loses it’s substance again. So the pros did not have one secret. It is more likely that most couldn’t tell you what “their” secret actually was if not a combination of hard work, luck and connections. And the ratio of these things is different for everyone again as are their personal unique circumstances.

So if I want to do you the best service I can I must focus on the personal in my personal journey for the future instead of looking out for the universal. Although I will confidently state I’m a painfully average person anytime, I recognize that the circumstances of my journey are unique – as are yours. We are all beautiful unique remixes of the spark that gives humanity art if this makes sense.

What follows is really hard to write for me, but it is necessary. You must know who is writing this blog, you must know how this person is looking at the world and what the “making it” goals are, so that you can assess how to interpret what I say and what you can use. I am an unworldly dreamer that seeks comfort. That is not a criticism, that is a type. But what keeps me going is that at the same time I’m a hard worker that doesn’t accept giving up or whatever else is identified as defeat. It actually makes perfect sense. That’s two worlds colliding in the same person all the time, creating a lot of creative energy from that friction. Whatever I am, I am not bored, I am always on the lookout to do things to make the pain stop. This can either be a powerful feedback spiral to relentlessly following the dream and working hard to make it come true – or it can lead to unhealthy coping mechanisms such as eating for short-term comfort, literally to feel better. And just to reiterate, I am not the only person who is like this, this is a type, although from what I understand one that is rarer in the spotlight or expressing themselves as this.

Dreamers have to be careful with their goals. If it’s too unworldly, it might never come true, because it can’t be done. But what if you can still get it done? Then we end up with innovation which pushes what people thought was possible and is good for everyone.

I might have mentioned it before, but my dream is to tell a couple of stories. I have a list with exact names and summaries. And guess what, SPREY is one of them. I must realize them either as comics or as videogames(most likely RPG-ish) to keep things in a scope a single creator can manage. This dream never changed at it’s core. I love the craft(s) more than anything, so with some things I literally can’t be motivated with money. That is the dreamer’s curse and privilege. But I still must exist in this world, so money is still a thing. I have humbly and without much fanfare started to learn how to code. Whatever my creative ambitions are, I must live with certain realities. I embrace art commissions and freelance work though, of course, but I try to be as responsible as possible just in case there is another long drought that can happen at the beginning of any career. There’s zero drama in this, no bitterness. Others have done this before me.

Rereading this I can’t even tell you what is so special about my stories. I have never asked myself this question. It just is. I came into the world with it. Let’s uncover the qualities of my works together on the journey as I’m learning more about myself and my creations. I realized that I have to change. It is my nature to seek comfort, but I have to be an inverse version of myself if I want to succeed. Everyone struggles with something after all. And I will admit, I’m already curious how I will do it.

See you next blogpost!

100 Days of SPREY – 10, 11, 12

One of my reasons to start art blogging at all was to document my own journey towards „making it“ as an artist.

My original idea of this was, that all the successful artists – artists that have a large following and are successful and beloved – have one thing in common. There must have been a point, where they turned from a havenot and wannabe to a sort of cultural hero that actually gets jobs without effort instead of having to struggle for the smallest things and not getting ahead.

And I didn‘t want to be like those artists about it, who give you some vague hints but never actually talk about that one point.

Over time I found out that this point either doesn‘t exist because it is a point and a constant process at the same time, just like light is a particle AND a wave at the same time, or the point is so laughably small and subtle that the artists might forget about it themselves. Something made them all turn around. The closest to a talk about this one point was a story concept artist Alexander Mandradjiev told on his livestream at the Lightbox Expo 2020. He found himself in a situation where he was the worst player on an art team and just got canned again. All his friends were more successful and nobody could tell him why he was not or help him out of there. He was envious and stubborn, and then this night of being fired again, he said he let go off everything and just did what everyone else was doing…photobashing, which he had been resisting to do all the time before. He sent the art director who just fired him a nice meaty zombie as goodbye card. And the man replied by hiring him again with something the like of „Oh hey, you actually can do something!“. I do not read this as a tale of how photobashing is the future. I am more interested in the change that happened in the artist. I understood Mandradjiev that he always kept something from the calm of that night and never had problems to find work again. The struggle was internal and ended.

I am a stubborn person, too, so I am especially interested in stories like these. Not all people are super open or ever will be, but I can always strive to at least be more balanced with it. Does that mean I have to photobash? It can‘t be that easy or everyone who photobashes would be an instant success. But it is absolutely my responsibility to adapt to cutting edge techniques in my respective field such as using 3D models to prop up my shot constructions and overall quality of forms. Even if I should find that is not for me, I have to have seriously given it a try and then never stop to reasearch and improve on what works for me.

Also, I must not lose sight of why I‘m doing what I‘m doing. That might be another thing why it is hard to tell other artists what to do to be successful. Everyone of us has a different life story, a different way to perceive and interpret things and plainly different things they enjoy. My why and how might not work for you like other people‘s whys and hows have not worked for me. This time of the 100 days of making the Street Prey(SPREY) comic is extremely important to me as it is a period of important changes. And apparently the most important ones happen in my mind. My why is that I‘m here to tell a bunch of stories. I don‘t even question it, it just is that way. And because I‘m a very visual person this will most likely happen within visual media. It is also important to me that I achieve a certain visual quality that seems right and likeable to me. Striving for finger licking realism is out the window already, but I also can‘t fall back on a single proven stylized style. Something is always missing, but I‘m researching already. And this time around it‘s not shocking to me that this might take some time. A webcomic also seems like a great how. You’re forced to draw a a lot and solve storytelling problems a lot.

See you again later today with the repord card for the week!