Saturday, January 30, 2010

Dancing Now

Haven't checked in with my Dionne/Max commission in a while, so here we go! As you can see, most of the main colors are down and I'm rapidly approaching the "repaint everything" stage where all the blotchiness become pure color bliss. If you would like to picture the final in your mind, I'm looking at making Max's suit a lightened Prussian blue.

I'm really happy with how this is progressing, and hope to get it done soon. It won't be done by the end of the month as I planned, but that was before I took a week off to wait for the projector. (Worth it!)

Now the unsexy work continues. Painting aside, I have to work on next week's comics, get back to writing character bios (I haven't forgotten) and write some of my Shepherd professors for grad school stuff. This is just the immediate stuff! I have business cards and postcards and t-shirts and the Precocious book and... ACK! Let's just savor the niceness of the painting for now, ok?

Friday, January 29, 2010

I'm working, I swear!

I'm just not working very *hard* as of late. Chalk it up to unexpected socialization and should-have-expected sleep problems. But I have done lots of stuff today, I swear! I worked on three comics, two paintings and did some Project Wonderful stuff for Sometime Alone. My daily sketching so far consists of nothing but Autumn heads, none of which are worth scanning for display.

I hope to have some painting stuff ready for display tomorrow, as this blog is in need of some good content! (And not just the shilling of shirts.) Chances are I'll have it ready tonight, but there's this danged midnight deadline thing. End of the day, my tush! MIDNIGHT IS WHEN I START TO GET GOING! So why don't I post stuff at 5am when I finish it? Because at that point I'm delusional and think the walls are talking to me. (They are such bores too.) Then again, delusional blogging might be kinda interesting...

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

More fun with shirt designs

So cafe press is weird in that it only lets you link one image to an item. Ok, fine, whatever. It's easier to use than Zazzle! Mock me all you want, other web publishes, but I'm taking the easy way out!

My counter to being forced to designate one image per item is to create an image specifically FOR an item. In this case, I'm creating the SCIENCE! graphic for a dark shirt. Will it work? I ordered a proof to see. (In addition, I ordered an Unrestrained Creativity shirt to see how that looks.) I want to make sure the quality is good before I officially offer to store to the public. You are still free to buy as you wish, though!

I do concede that the print on demand method is overly expensive. If I had a really good design, I'd produce and sell them myself - but I need this POD service to see what's popular first. It's good for trial and error. Anyway, if you worry about the cost, remember this also serves as a donation to keep Precocious going. (Donations are appreciated!)

In other news, I am still an exhausted mess. Maybe tomorrow I'll do better.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Look what I'm wearing!

Unlike the Zazzle debacle, my experiment with CafePress (the most loathed of all print-on-demand sites) has been a success! I have a nice-looking Precocious t-shirt!

I'll have more on this later. (Maybe I'll edit this post and put in some REAL content.) For now, I am operating with extreme lack of sleep and forming complete sentences is difficult.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Page of Bud!

Today is going to be a comic making day. I speak in future tense, even though it's almost midnight, because I SLEPT IN SO DAMN LATE! My day begins at midnight now, which makes it very easy for me to lose track of when I have the blog!

In honor of comicking, enjoy the latest page from my sketchbook, which is decidedly Bud-centric. (The last page was 90% Autumn. I spread the love!) With my recent battles with consciousness, my sketching time has gone way down. It's so easy to get caught up with all my other projects that I fail to PRACTICE. Practice makes perfect, and I LOVE BEING PERFECT, so practice I must!

I believe in the 10,000 hour rule, which states one has to practice for that long to be truly professional, and that means ever hours I can spare to focus on sketching gets me that much closer to awesome. Sketching also allows me to try out new stylistic approaches without the pressure of the main comic deadline. I haven't done much in that realm, as I feel I'm still standardizing the looks of everyone, but it's always positive to strive for improvement. Hard work pays off. Sleeping in to excess does not. Sleeping is the opposite of progress!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Paint by numbers

The latest painting is entering the final stages. Hooray! I'm not in my favorite "trace over everything" stage, where I tighten things up to make them ultra snazzy. I still have some details to figure out, but the final will look a lot like what you see above.

The big decision is figuring out the background. I'm mulling over two choices: A very pale yellowish color, and 50% gray, which I purchased after I noted my lack of it for the LAST painting. To be honest, I prefer the white background, but that would need some touches to keep it from being boring - meaning a lot of underpainting and, uh, overpainting... and paint is expensive!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Cuteness rules!

This is a cute sketch of Autumn I drew. Nothing more. I just wanted to share it! I should be sharing my painting stuff today, but this is cuter!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Card me!

So there's a chance I will be able to get some business cards printed up for cheap... if I get something together by tomorrow morning. Ok, sure, I'll put in a little bit of effort for that.

They say a good business card demands attention, and I needed a good image to use... HEY, I KNOW! (I just hope it comes off as metahumor and not pure desperation.) Eh, it's not the greatest card out there, but it didn't take long to make and that's what matters.

I really should design a more professional card for my fine art side. To the heap of priorities it goes! If I get a moment later, I'll try to knock one out. For now, it's heap time. I have a cast page that needs updating and a comic buffer to build. And letters to write. So. Many. Letters. WHY ARE DAYS SO SHORT?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

I have a new toy!

Behold: Yet another artist's tool has been added to my inventory! I can has projector! (Thanks goes to Darc of Code Name: Hunter for the recommendation.) Now I can... project things!

First project: Throwing Max and Dionne up on my wall to start on my next commission project! Turns out I have no idea what I'm doing with this thing, but it was cool to have the device anyway! After doing it the inefficient way - this thing doesn't seem to have a focus, so I have to MOVE THE WALL - I got it all to work. Turns out all I need to do was accidentally knock it on the floor and have it fall apart. Oh, *that's* how it works! (Reading the instruction manual never entered into the equation.)

Actual work on the painting begins tomorrow, I assume. I say assume because today I assumed I'd get Sunday's Precocious done. Then I slept past my alarm. SEVEN HOURS past it. Ye gods! I think that's a record. Well, I have nice long night of consciousness ahead of me in which I can catch up...

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

I like your money!

Yes, friends, I'm thinking about merchandising again! I do it for SCIENCE! Wait, no. I mean MONEY! I do it for money.

Don't expect anything soon. I still haven't picked a store! Both Zazzle and Cafepress have disappointed me in their own ways, and I'll have to decide which evil is lesser. There's also the case of getting some finalized designs. So far I have some ideas and nothing more.

Before you ask, I can't do the bulk printing thing quite yet. Printing 100 shirts is all well and good, but that involves some up front case and, y'know, a guarantee of selling shirts! I'll have to be a bigger shot than I am now. (Or get more fans with LOTS of disposable income.)

Monday, January 18, 2010

Old habits, but goodies!

I am repeating myself here, as this is the same process that I go through with any painting. Too bad for you! Blah blah blah blah!

I'm really fumbling around wildly with this one, and having a rather good time doing so! I have only the loosest sense of where things are going, but I haven't destroyed it yet - that means it's working!

I was worried starting out today, as the basic structure looks really nice, yet totally incomplete. That means each time I add something, it starts out by distracting. Purple as an addition was a risky choice, as I had planned on using it for the background, but I think it works decently. Not GREAT, but good enough for now.

So, I then turned to my old fix for everything painting: BLACK AND WHITE! (It's how to view the world, kids!) Well, I only got through the black stage - my now-purple hand taught me it was best to let each layer DRY first - but it looks much better with the more confident lining. Next comes the whitening. I'm unsure as to where it will go, so I put it off for the next time!

Tonight, I shift focus to grad school again. I have an essay to write! (And, uh, several letters I've been putting off.)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The path to victory

No pretty picture today. It's been one of those days when you could put a gun to my head, demand I draw a cartoon critter and promptly blow my brains out with disappointment as I failed again and again. That's not to say I haven't been doing anything. I did finish a comic, which means my basic obligation to the world has been filled. Victory! I just didn't produce with pizazz today.

Maybe I have a lot on my mind. I'm starting the push for grad school - finally - and the anxiety conquers all! There's no doubt that I'm grad school gold - I'm dedicated, talented and hungry to learn more! The problem is this is the *recent* me. The me before the ADHD diagnosis and treatment wasn't the most reliable person, and HIS damn transcripts are going to travel with mine. I hate that guy!

I dream of getting into SCAD's sequential art program, which makes every step of the way THAT MUCH MORE IMPORTANT! NO FRIGGIN' PRESSURE OR ANYTHING! I want to do Precocious for a living, and I know it has the potential to take me there. What I need is help in refining my technique and LOTS of learning on the business side of things. (Note to self: Get hot art management girlfriend ASAP!) I also need the art boost that comes with being surrounded by one's peers. Sure, the webcomickers on Twitter are nice, but nothing can replace the wonderful feeling of working in a studio with other awesome artists. One day I will be art commune cool!

At the moment I am succeeding in spite of myself. This is why all my updates and projects move so slow - everything I do must be 100% self-motivated. Daily updates are the test of my willpower, and sometimes there's nothing left in the tank to do the website upgrades or t-shirt designs. (I tried and failed some more with those today. Blah!) Some days motivation just isn't enough. I hate those days, but I can't be awesome all the time, can I?

Now that I'm heaping even more onto my plate - FREAKOUT ENSUES! Today I didn't handle it well. Too much took priority - I need to write some very important letters, I need to write my statement of purpose, I need to write and draw a Copper Road, I need to write a blog, I need to update the cast page, I need to keep Precocious going - I sorta shut down with it all.

Tomorrow starts a new day, one in which I will be good and break things down into digestible chunks. Precocious is covered. Copper Road can wait a day if it must. The website updates can wait another day. The blog might even get sacrificed for a day. I have to focus on what is the most important - which is ALWAYS the hardest stuff to do. Basically, tomorrow is gonna SUCK!

Easily distractable

I swear I had this painting ready for bloggery on time! It's just... shiny objects and other things distracted me until my "it's midnight, update the comic!" alarm went off. Whoops!

Granted, what I have to offer isn't anything magnificent. It's merely the first stage of adding color to the latest piece. I wanted light, muted colors to serve as connective tissue. What to do with 'em is still up in the air. The joy 0f paint is that I am free to play around all I want - and if it doesn't work all I have to do is paint over it! Where I go next will surprise even me!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Oh, Bob...

So today in the Twitterverse, the lovely Danielle Corsetto of Girls with Slingshots showed off some of her Shepherd drawings. Once of which bore the unmistakable of ass of Bob, the walking blob that was Shepherd's standard drawing model. That frightening old man was the only one willing to work Shepherd cheap, I guess.

Ahh, the memories that flabby ass brought back! I wanted to share *my* Bob ass with Danielle, but unfortunately I could not find the Bob drawings I wanted in time. I tore the place apart, but the pad containing those "special" drawings was not to be found! On the way, I did find less-impressive Bob-drawings, like the one above, but the moment had passed.

I'll have to seduce you some other way, Danielle!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

From chaos comes creativity

See, I told you there was nothing to worry about! From garbled beginnings comes seductive form! We're still very early on with the bugger, but I like where this is going! I drew a lot of nifty stuff and cherry picked the best to form the backbone of the painting. Who knows what it'll end up as, but I'm already more optimistic with this one than with the last trouble child.

On another positive note, by working on this painting it means I am now over halfway done with my painting series! I may fail in all my other new years resolutions, but at least I'm on pace to succeed with this one.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Another ugly beginning

Worry not, citizens - they all start this way. It'll be fantastic soon enough!

The latest anxiety is now in display, as the painting begins. This time, as mentioned, it's concern for others! The game of social interaction is a dangerous, rewarding and insanely complex one. Each new connection leads to many others, and it all weaves together in a wondrous way!

That's what I'm going for, at least. I'll settle for the painting being pretty.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Another anxiety conquered!

At long last, the painting of frustrations is coming to a close! As suspected, the background was holding me back. I swapped it out for pale umber - also known as the color of Jacob - and it works much better. It's not perfect, but saves me the time and pain of mixing a color. Now I have to do some white and gray touch-ups on the edges and I'll be ready to throw it on the heap.

This isn't my best work by far, but it'll look nice next to the others. There's no time to dwell on it, the show must go on! It's time to start a new painting - one with blue this time! (I think my refusal to use blue in this one caused the frustration.) So now the questions is... what is my new anxiety.

Well, that one is clear. My favorite person in the world, Dana, just gave birth to twin girls - two months prematurely. First: CONGRATULATIONS, DANA AND JASON! SMART PEOPLE HAVE PROCREATED! THE WORLD NEEDS MORE OF THIS! Second: Ack! The girls are doing as well as can be expected - but it's certainly causing some concern.

Needless to say, the family is in my thoughts. I'm going to stand back for this one and give them some space. They are surely deluged with family and well-wishers, and my best gift at the moment is to not add to the craziness. Is this a good friend thing to do? I dunno. I'll be there for them soon enough.

So I guess my option here is to take out my neurosis on painting - where it can't harm anyone! (Or help anyone.) Woo!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Saint Tiffany

The painting is complete! It may look identical to the last scan, except for the two new candles, but I can assure you the quality is much nicer than before. I decided against any more background trickery, as it looked great after the second coat of crimson. Besides, one errant stroke would have ruined everything!

Now the quest is to knock that Sunday strip out today. Things are looking dim for it, but I'll do my best. It's scary how little of Precocious' future I have scripted at this point. I have next week roughly laid out, and then it's really sketchy. There's a big storyline brewing, but it hasn't taken form yet. The pieces are close to snapping into place, but the brain just isn't providing the funny at the moment. It'll come.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

A pen and ink lifestyle

Instead of sketching today I watched Deep Space Nine DVDs. Ok, I also worked on actual factual comics, but that doesn't sound as pathetic. Or maybe it does, depending on how you value such things. So the bad news is today's post is rather boring. The good news is that you care way more about the comics than this blog, so the sacrifice is worth it! Work on this week's Precocious is moving nicely, and the next Copper Road is ready to go!

I had planned to finish up the St. Tiffany painting today, but that will have to wait until tomorrow. (I hope.) Truth is, I was too lazy to set things up today for painting. It requires me rearranging the room a bit, and some days that's more energy than I can muster. Tomorrow I'll redecorate, I swear! Crap, tomorrow I also have to get the Sunday strip ready to ship off to the colorist too! I swear! Damn, tomorrow I'm gonna have to work for real! I swear!

I also wasted a perfectly good blog title on a perfectly bad blog post. I swear...

Saturday, January 9, 2010

This ruins my procrastination plans!

I enjoy video games as much as the next man, but I'm very picky about which ones I play. I don't have the patience for a lot of what is out these days. I like turn-based RPG stuff, like Final Fantasy Tactics. I like games where I can pull off funky tricks by using the rules of the world - such as my expert pokemon breeding experiments! Bascially, if I am going to sink hours of my precious life into something, I want it to be on MY terms. If I like a game, I will go all out with it - but if it FORCES ME then it's hissy fit time.

One of my all-time favorite games is The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass for the DS. It's Zelda! How can Zelda ever be bad? It uses the touchscreen of the DS wonderfully! It keeps everything fresh, making each level of gameplay fun! I like it so much, I don't mind that I've never beaten it! (Stupid final boss.) Needless to say, I was friggin' thrilled when I found out a new Zelda game in the DS style was out! The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks! Instead of traveling on a boat, you travel by train. Fair enough. Even if it's a damn clone of Hourglass, I'll be happy.

What a crushing disappointment that game is. It's like they took all the least-awesome elements from Hourglass, highlighted them, and made everything move at half-speed. This game has been a joyless experience so far, and I'm debating whether to keep trying with it. Right now, I am stuck on a tutorial where I have to play a flute. To play it, I move the flute around with the stylus and blow into the microphone, like I was playing a real flute. Inventive!

FRUSTRATING! It's not fun to do this, and I can't seem to do it correctly, meaning I am stuck repeating this annoying task until Mr. Tutorial lets me go. You know, guys, the music part of these games is supposed to be SIMPLE. Heck, Hourglass didn't bother with it at all - WHICH WAS A GREAT IDEA! So far this game has been all "innovative" DS tricks and no actual fun.

At least I didn't pay for it. I used an Amazon gift card some fool gave my internet-averse mother.

I had such high hopes for this game, and I was ready to devote myself to hours of game play. Now what do I do? Is this going to be the second game in a row that I failed due to DS innovation. (The World Ends With You was fun, but way too complex. Tying all bonus material to a damn minigame was a BAD IDEA, guys!) I don't want tricks for the sake of being tricky. I don't want something so complex the learning curve is insanely steep. I want a solid GAME to play. Why is this so hard? How am I going to waste my life now? All I have to do now is work!

(And yet I'm procrastinating anyway!)

Friday, January 8, 2010

Rambling in paint

Who would have thought a painting about being frustrated with my productivity would frustrate me with my lack of productive work on it? Crazy, huh? I'm trying to salvage this painting, but it's at a scary point right now. The way I had it was too simple to fit into the collection, but right now the complexity has no flow or direction. At it stands, the only thing this painting communicates is "this is my style!" and nothing else.

The only way to progress to it flail wildly for a while, which could actually be kinda fun! I'll throw whatever colors pop into my head into the bugger and see what takes. I also might want to switch the background color. The warm tone really isn't working for it. I think a nice flat gray would do it, but I have no paint for that. (Before you point it out, it's really hard to mix that much black and white and keep the gray consistent.) Eh, I'll figure something out.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Blah to the blahs!

Hey, look, actual progress! I'm going into week two of the blahs here and it's nice to have some signs that my productivity is returning. I like when I have real stuff to show on the sketch blog, because it means I'm doing MORE than my daily obligations. Just getting by isn't enough. I must shoot for the moon! I will destroy the moon!

The St. Tiffany painting is closing in on completion. Some detailing is still needed, but the big point of contention is the background. While it scanned nicely, let me tell you it's blotchy and wildly uneven at this point. Crimson just isn't opaque enough for my liking! (Note that it didn't cover up the candles I eliminated at all.) Solution: ADD MORE WHITE! WHITE COVERS ALL MISTAKES! I'm not sure yet how I'm going to whiten things up, but I'm leaning towards a light crimson background with darker swirls or something for texture. I'll have to do some experimenting.

My mind is already starting to wander onto the next commission, with Dionne and Max. It's going to be a larger piece and probably the hardest one yet - it's very hard to get two figures to be in sync proportionately. If I had a projector, it would be easy - but I'm not blowing $200 to make a $100 painting easier. That's not sensible! I've done ok so far with copying sketches, so all will be right and good in the end. Bah, I should stop thinking in the future anyway - I can't afford to neglect the present much more!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Another comic that never was

It's been another slow day workwise, but I'm keeping at it. To keep you interested, here's a sample from last Sunday's comic that didn't run. I've deleted the dialog, as I wish to remake this strip down the road.

If I'm lazy, I can turn this into TWO strips! One will be the original gag with a new drawing, and the second can be this drawing with new dialog! Now if only I could think of some dialog...

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Hit the snooze button

Oooh, I made a biiiig mistake last night. I forgot to set my alarm. Decompression sleep ensued, complete with just about every anxiety dream one could have! Damn you, subconscious! Why must you hate me so? Anyway, oversleeping limited the amount of work I could do (not to mention motivation) and I never go around to making a nice sketch to share. Whoops.

I did however do lots of work! My webdesign binge has continued, with a FAQ demo now up. I also played around with reworking the archive page, but nothing great came of that. Website aside, I sketched out the remaining strips for this week, with inking hopefully to come later tonight.

What I didn't do was all the writing. That requires a clear and snappy mind, which I did not possess today. Fingers are crossed that I can get a chunk of it done tomorrow. Some of that stuff is time sensitive, as in "should have been done MONTHS AGO" - bah!

In the end, I may not have a scribble to show for it, but I turned what could have been a crappy day into something somewhat productive. Take the victories when you can!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Playoff bound

So I've been rambling to a friend about football! football! football! I had had a lousy ride home - stuck for an hour with the interstate shut down! - and I needed some rambling time to burn off steam, ok? As I explained the playoffs and added my opinions - my many opinions - my eye turned to the pile of "I should stop ignoring these" papers on my desk. At the top, were my old football sketches from October 2008. They had hung over my scanner since then. I had recently taken them down, as the character designs had evolved quite a bit - and I kept knocking them out of place when scanning.

It was time to do some updating. Ahh, the memories! At the time of drawing, the Redskins were 6-2 and cruising... on their way to horrible failure! The Patriots were in command of their division and knew they were golden... until they slacked too much and missed the playoffs on a tiebreak. The other six teams I support were all miserable failures... until the Chargers somehow pulled a miracle to win the division. (The rest remained sucky.) What would be the update?

This season, my teams fared a bit better. Roddy's Chargers, Dionne's Patriots and Suzette's Packers all made the postseason. Time for an update in drawings! Well, at least in simple sketchy form. I like seeing some smiling faces on my football fans, dangit! Now if only the other five teams can pull themselves out of their misery...

I may want to go back and redo them all, for the new year! I still have that sketchbook, so I can make them the correct size. Roddy at least needs to be redone, as his character design changed muchly since he was first drawn.

In the end, this is really not interesting at all - but it did give me something to draw on a day when I'd have been happy to nap it away!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

I remembered how to paint!

Sorry for not posting yesterday. I never managed to get the free time to do anything significant. You might say it's a bad sign to start the new year that way, but I say the new year doesn't begin until I get home! Grandparents' house time is non-canon! You'll also note I never said I'd keep blogging daily in my resolutions. I'm in the clear! (I do intend to blog every day, since it keeps me active, but I won't cry if I miss a day occasionally.)

Anyway, I finally got time to set up for painting! I wanted to be done with the Saint Tiffany painting by now, but I'll settle for good progress. I hope to finish this up within a week, so I can begin work on the Max/Dionne dance painting. What you see here is the first layer of coloring. The groundwork has been laid for the final coats, assuming the coloring is acceptable. The big gamble is the crimson background. I went with it because it's a St. Lucia color, and I'm fairly pleased with how it looks. I might touch it up with some white for the final, but that's one of the last steps. I can always change it and move the crimson back to the robe if desired.

I still have a long ways to go with this thing, but it's nice to see it shaping up. Here's to finishing it up soon!

Friday, January 1, 2010

New Years Revolutions

The unholy rebels in my soul have risen up to conquer the ruling procrastination regime of my brain. Death to the ivory tower eggheads! Up with productivity! Long live hope and change! Viva la revolucion!

Of course, such battles are long, bloody affairs with many casualties. (Sanity? First to go.) But we must fight for what is right and good! It hurts, but it's a good kind of hurt.

So now it's time for me to make some OFFICIAL resolutions for the new year. This is the day of optimism, and I intend to ride it! Here we go, with them in no particular order.

- I will keep Precocious going strong! This is intentionally open to interpretation, as changes may be in store. I want to keep going with the current format as long as I can, but I may have to scale things back slightly to fit in all these other resolutions. Don't panic yet! I'm just being cautious here. Ideally things remain as awesome as they are now.

- I will get my lazy butt into grad school. This one is major, as I've dilly-dallied far too long now. Granted, I've had my reasons, with all the chaos going on in my family. It's very hard for me to leave right now, but I've given myself over for two years now. I'm going to be in my 30's before I start school again no matter what, but 30 is way better than 31! (I'm also desperately in need of a change in venue.)

- I will find a way to start making money from my cartooning. This means designing shirts and setting up a store. I want to create a Precocious book as well, but that may have to wait until I'm in grad school. I should set up an shop, on etsy or somewhere, where I can sell prints and paintings. My birthday gift to myself should be a quality printer, which can enable me to create prints and such to sell! On the website side, I have to consider ditching Project Wonderful for a more paying ad service. I like PW because it helps other comics, but I'm not making close to what I could with my readership and pageviews. I should also start attending conventions to learn how I can one day *successfully* attend them as a vendor.

- I will do better to enhance my presence in the comic community. My horrid antisocial tendency might doom me, but I want to make myself known. This involves posting more on message boards, READING all those webcomics sites that I've been ignoring and becoming somewhat likable on twitter. I should reach out to other cartoonists and build more friendships. Once people know me, attending conventions becomes a little less intimidating!

- I will finish my Little Anxieties painting series. This can take all year, but I want it done. (Commissioned paintings do come first, after all!) If I get it done, I can start looking for galleries to display the series. (Getting into grad school might help me here!)

- I will work on improving and expanding my art skills. I want to learn how to use watercolors, so I can be like Bill Watterson! Ink and watercolor Precocious paintings make more sense than forcing acrylics to work like drawing. (Drawback: Watercolors and ink drawings do require me to mat them.) I also want to work on drawing furry. As I wrote a few days ago, I never set out to be a furry artist, but the fans sure seem to wish I was! This isn't just me giving in to pressure, it can potentially open up new illustration venues without starting from scratch and learning to draw comic humans. Human or furry, I must re-learn non-cartoony anatomy drawing. That would help me immensely, and likely make Precocious' drawing more dynamic.

- Like everyone else in history, I want to drop at least 10lbs. The stress from family crisis after crisis, combined with sedentary behavior has made me plump. I know I'm not fat, but any extra weight on my scant frame looks bad! I'd love to start exercising again, focusing on cardio, but I'll settle for better eating/living habits. When I visit the grandparents, I need to have more willpower - everything here is drenched in butter! If I have to start bringing my own snacks here, then so be it.

- I want to end this year better than how I started it. As you can see from these resolutions, many tie into each other. Getting into grad school gets me into a better environment, which enables my art skill-building and improves my health. Improved art and spirits help me find the energy to keep Precocious going AND do the extra work to get the store going and socialize. Becoming more social in the comic community gets me more readers and earns me invites to conventions, where I can make more bonds and potentially money! One good change encourages another.

So there we are. Let's check back in a year to see how I did. Heck, let's check back in two weeks, when grad school applications are due. (Good lord, I'm terrified!) My first test, of course, is probably my hardest one. Wish me luck!