Tag Archives: success

Progress

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Does anyone still get psychoanalyzed? And where does one buy a psychoanalysis couch? Do they sell them at Ikea? And, if so, do psychoanalysts fight about them in the middle of Ikea?

Sometimes I do feel like I’m cursed. I’ve lost track of the number of times I had reason to believe my ship had come in, only to find myself running off the end of the dock and falling into the frigid sea. At this point, I have zero reasonable expectation of success in my lifetime, and yet, even when I know that failure is imminent, I can’t seem to shake this stupid optimism that tells me, no, this time it will work out. This time you’ll get where you want to be.

I have a lot of respect for people who manage to work as therapist 40 hours week (maybe not for Freudian analysts, although you have to hand it to people who manage to hold onto a perspective that’s long been discredited) because it’s really emotionally draining work, listening to people whine day in and day out, most often about the same thing, week after week, with no intention of actually changing their circumstances. For a while, I thought I would be happy doing that job, but 2 internships and a practicum in mental health convinced me otherwise. Now I just give advice for free. People seem to think I’m good at it. Even strangers on the internet thank me for my insight, and if you’ve been on the internet, you know what a big deal that is.

Another thing I was thinking about was transference/countertransference. To do therapy, a therapist has to get the patient to like them in a certain capacity. I’m frankly astonished at the number of people who go to therapy for months or years and are afraid to tell their therapists the truth. I know it’s a goodly percentage of people, because people tell me things, and then, pretty often, add, “I’ve never even told my therapist that.” And I say, “Why not?” Because therapy is freaking expensive and it seems silly to pay someone $150 an hour to not tell them the truth (and then tell it to me for free). But people are filled with shame.

Anyway, you have to get your patient to like you, in a sort of parental way, where they trust you and feel safe with you, and you have to like them back, but not too much, because you can’t be emotionally involved with your clients, even if your entire relationship is about your emotions. You’re supposed to develop feelings for one another than you can then use to open up discussions about those feelings and how similar feelings affect their lives outside the office. But pretty often people aren’t that comfortable with their therapists, and I think it’s safe to say that some therapists don’t like their clients, and sometimes it shows. And people get discouraged and assume therapy doesn’t work, when it’s really the therapeutic relationship that’s not working, and they should just cut their losses and find a more appropriate therapist.

I can’t afford a therapist. But if I could, I would definitely be talking about the 101 examples I could give of moments in my life when I had every reason to believe things were going to unfold in a way that would improve my life, and instead didn’t unfold at all. I swear, it’s not a self-fulfilling prophecy. That’s why I drew this comic, instead of not drawing a comic.

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Dragon Comics 136

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There’s no such thing as bad publicity. 

I’ve written about it before: you know you’re doing well when people start talking smack, because if you weren’t making an impact, the haters wouldn’t even have the chance to see your work let alone pass judgment on it.

Sold more copies of my book today and got a new backer on Patreon, and yesterday’s comic got over 1000 hits in 24 hours. Some people hated it, and told me so in the most condescending possible ways on Reddit, and that’s awesome. You see, I’m niche and you’re mainstream and you don’t understand my work and never can, and you’re not my audience and aren’t even qualified to offer a cogent critique, so it would be impossible to take your uninformed opinion about my potential seriously. But you are helping me reach my audience. I’ve written about this before, too. Google doesn’t care whether or not people like your work. It only cares that people engage with your work. Pissing people off is a great way to increase your web presence.

Good art elicits a response.

For so many years, my inability to draw as well as I wrote enraged me, but as soon as gave myself license to expose my flaws and deficiencies, when I got past the false idol of perfection and let function triumph over form, the path seemed clearer and clearer. You can tell a story, arouse an emotion, elicit a response with a stick figure, if you know what you’re doing. You can do it with a scribble. And you know what, writers of base insults? I know what I’m doing.

So, buy my book, support my Patreon, order my merch, if you get it, and you want to live in a world where different types of expression are encouraged to flourish. Or, tell everyone how terrible I am, so the people who get it can find me.

Evolving Mandala

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Everything in its place, and the universe is harmonious. 

It was a good week for QvD. Four consecutive days of excellent traffic, a request from Tony DiGerolamo of The Webcomic Factory and Super Frat to trade links, and the soft launch of my novel, The Hermit, in the Kindle store. I’ll be doing a hard launch with publicity and email blasts and things like that in the future, but if you want to read it now, go ahead. I promise that it’s a much, much better love story than Twilight. And no wussy monsters. My monster is extremely badass. I can’t think of anything else you could do with $4.99 that would provide you with so many hours of pleasure, while going so far to help to prevent me from starving to death. Well, I guess you could support my Patreon, but I won’t expect too much.

I should make some new comic T-shirts. Definitely the drunk painting panel. Probably the charcuterie. Some of the other 1-panel comics, the cover of my book, and that super-cool dragon mandala. Now I have a migraine, though. Please enjoy this mandala that suggests the world is finite, knowable, and in balance.

A Career in the Arts!

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The Unicorn of Creativity supports this message. So does the Moth of Poverty. Your parents are just disappointed.

I say “get older” because I’m not sure “growing up” is something that is compatible with the creative life. At least, it’s been a couple decades now and I don’t seem to be doing it, at least not in the sense that my parents used the term. Maybe other creative types have had better luck, but I’m pretty sure that we’re all just big kids going through the motions of putting on pants in the morning and driving cars.

This comic isn’t 100% representative of my life, because I did try to have a career in my 30s, and after the novelty of having a lot of money wore off, I hated every second of it, and it wasn’t like I needed so much money anyway. It just felt like squandering my creativity. Even now when I get desperate and take the little freelance jobs that still come to me sometimes, I feel guilty.

Anyway….

I’m really digging this very web aesthetic of drawing black and white designs with small but meaningful hints of color. A lot of web artists seem to employ this style, and it’s pretty effective. Berk Breathed has been using it in the new Bloom County strips, for example. I hope it’s apparent that panels 1-3 feature colorful butterflies while in panel 4 you see a gray moth. The comic still works if that’s not apparent, but it has a nicer balance if you see that.

The really important part is that you know that mystic unicorn is always right behind you, whispering in your ear: You have made all the right choices. If you can hear her, just keep skipping through that flowery meadow. Tra la la.

Reaching

Everyone needs a little hand once in a while.

Everyone needs a little hand once in a while.

There seems to be a consensus among a certain group of artists that the measure of your ability can be found in the ease with which you draw realistic looking human hands. Drawing the comic has smoothed this skill over for me. (Yeah, I know the characters in the comic only have 4 fingers. But still.) Hands never seemed that great of a challenge to me–it’s face that give me trouble–and now my brain knows how to visualize the reproduce a variety of hand positions. If I can look at my own hand, or someone else’s hand, or a photo of a hand, then it always comes out right.

This is my left hand, which I did in digital paint as a tiny image a few weeks back. It took only a few minutes. Then I blew it up and smoothed it out just now, which only took another few minutes. Of course, I could have messed with it for 4 hours and made it look even more realistic. I probably could have messed with it for 18 hours and made it look like a some kind of uncanny volar valley, something that looked almost, but not quite, like a photograph. Wherein lies my problem: given enough time, I can draw anything. But then time becomes an issue. In 4 hours I could draw one perfect hand. Or one imperfect comic.

Lately life has been overwhelming and my brain doesn’t seem interested in drawing, or anything at all. It’ll probably pass. But producing new stuff seems just out of reach right now. I do have an article about censorship coming out today on Panels, but the link won’t be up for a few more hours, so I’ll post it later. There’s half a comics script on my desk, and with a little effort it could be a real comic by tomorrow.

Just a Simple Dragon

Needlenose, an aerodynamic dragon

Needlenose, an aerodynamic dragon

This is a small little drawing, I’d say, but it feels complete, for what it is. Needlenose, being aerodynamic, requires no extraneous parts or ostentation. There’s something to be said for pared down design and utilitarian simplicity.

When I dream at night, my dreams usually unfurl like feature-length reels of film: passion, intrigue, and drama in 3 acts. I am a spy, a soldier, a detective. I travel through time. I change genders, I change age, I change race. I change species. I complete quests and solve mysteries. On the rare occasions that I dream myself back in high school or completely naked, I manage to power through the dream without any noticing that I forgot my locker combination or my pants.

My childhood daydreams were even larger. I needed my own island to protect myself from the world. Literally: an island. Specifically: a mansion on an island where I would live in complete seclusion with my books and my faithful manservant. I would write my novels, unaffected by the rest of the world, a one-way system of communication in which my ideas would be received by an adoring public without my ever needing to venture from my protective base. But I know now that what a person dreams and what a person needs are often worlds apart.

Needlenose needs no adornments to fly, and I don’t need an island to exist happily in this world.

I still dream big. But I live economically. Perhaps my lifestyle is not quite so stripped to the bare essentials as this thin little dragon, but it is richer in art than it is in hard currency, and I’m still creating.