Saturday, November 10, 2012

"But Not This Time..."

Hi guys!

I can hardly believe how long it's been since I last posted. 2, going on 3 months!
And I thought I had a pretty good rhythm going here :p

As usual, I'm not dead! In fact, so far I've kept up a pretty good not-being-dead track record.

The fact is, I haven't posted much because I haven't had much to post.
I've done some artwork, granted- but nothing that I'm allowed to show-

2 months, kids...there's a lot to tell...

I picked up a month-long gig at a local animation studio called CloudKid, where I worked on a project I can't tell you about :p (But it's you'll have to trust me that it's going to be kind of amazing, and I'll blab about it bigtime as soon as it launches!)
Picked up a little work for Hasbro I absolutely can't show :p
Took a 1-day deadline gig doing illustration for...a basketball team I can't talk about
Worked on storyboards for Puma (yes, the shoe company)
Played chauffeur to and Indian woman and her daughter for two days- taking them from college interview to college interview across New England
The police confiscated my car because the registration had lapsed (and I had foolishly parked in someone's driveway)
I sprained my ankle on the last beautiful bike day in the dumbest of circumstances when I fell of my bike
I also got in my first ever car accident! (everyone's fine...and even the damage to my car is smallish. Still. ugh)
I dressed as Porco Rosso on a night when I went to three consecutive halloween parties!
I gave a digital painting presentation to a full house of local artists and interested friends!
I went Apple picking for the first time ever!
On a whim I drove to see Beluga whales again! (They are just as amazing as ever)
I watched Wreck-It Ralph! (eeeee!)
I discovered Gravity Falls! (EEEEEEEE!)

Ahhh, the life of a freelance cowboy :p

And, in the meantime, I was just impatient to be working on Jellybots!

Today is the first day I've really allowed myself to sit long enough to blog.
Generally, in the spare time I have taken in the last few months, I've felt the pressing need to be working on Jbots in some capacity. The killer thing about writing and sketching is that you can do it anywhere at any time...which means it's really hard to make excuses or tune it out.

The last two months have been kind of rough- only in the way that the best parts of the creative process are always a bit of a rollercoaster ride up to the peaks of pride and inspiration and down into the valleys of your worst fears and insecurities. SO THAT'S BEEN FUN :)

Most mornings I wake up thinking like "If I rearranged the sequence of events on page 3...I''d screw everything up!" And often come to conclusions like "What am I doing? I don't know how to write a book-length comic...this is ridiculous. Who am I kidding?"

But every now and then you catch a ride on something...some wind of inspiration, and the same work that seemed miserable and hackneyed is suddenly exciting and full of potential. That's what keeps me going- the hope that maybe somebody out there might get to see it and they might not hate it as much as you sometimes do :p That maybe the moments when you see your work with different, less critical eyes are the truer moments.

It's been more clear to me than ever that we believe the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves.
And that I mostly believe the worst stories.
From the same set of facts we derive totally different narratives-
I could tell you the story of my last 2 months and focus on all the negative aspects, or I can tell you the story of my last two months and focus entirely on the positives. But the fact is, both were present (and showed up in force).

For me, the most important thing is coming back to the question: "what story is God telling through my life?"
Because; guaranteed  it's going to be the best one- the truest. I've been really struggling through the idea of 'identity in Christ' these last few months...what does that even mean? And what does it mean for my work?

SO much comes down to what we believe about ourselves- if we believe we are worthwhile, then we will act as if we were. And if we believe we are worthless, we also act accordingly. If you believe the worst about yourself, or your work, you will look for every single confirmation that you suck and hold onto it. That's what I do.
It doesn't matter how many compliments I receive- they pass pleasantly like the sound of little bells and I am left staring the one negative remark right in the face- solid and unmoving. Because that's what I believe is true. And that sucks.

But God tells me I am his beloved son. A friend, a lover, justified, redeemed and loved unconditionally.
Unconditionally loved means, for a perfectionist and an artist, loved no matter what you accomplish. Whether it's any good or not. If you're doing what you're doing trying to earn love or give yourself a sense of worth, then you're moving in the wrong direction. It's here, back where you started, held out unconditionally.

The work from here is learning to believe that-  to chase out the lies about how crappy and worthless and unlovable you are. I should say I am, because I can really only speak for my own experience. It's hard, and I forget often and start to believe the worst about myself.
I hope that hearing that is hopeful for someone out there- because I'm finding we all struggle through these things, in one form or another. And it sucks to struggle alone.
The creative process can be a lonely and painful place to be. But I think there is SUCH hope, if God is allowed into it, when we stop trying to go-it alone.

To that end, I have to recommend (at least the first parts of) Anne Lammott's Bird by Bird! A fellow artist and Christian loaned it to me and I'm currently reading through- so far it's a really insightful and honest look into the process of writing that has a lot to say about art-making in general. You can even read a big chunk of it right on Amazon! (the link above).

I mentioned an digital art demonstration earlier! It was a really great time- I gave a demonstration of my techniques at the Plymouth Center for The Arts a few weeks ago. Some of my old friends and coworkers showed up, and one buddy of mine- Adam Hunter Peck- even made his own poster to advertise the event. I was so tickled (especially by the prominent moustache iconography) that I wanted to post it here :p I meant to advertise this earlier so that if anyone was nearby they could actually go...but...whoops...

So, then...the big news: last night I finally finished my pitch package for Jellybots as a graphic novel. O_O I can't say much more than that...but it's exciting, and now it's sent off to the interested parties. So it's a waiting game- wish me luck/keep me in your prayers? 

My soundtrack to feeling good about getting that done has been...predictably...a mixture of dancey electronica :p Have some Owl City! :p

For the time being- I'm looking forward to taking the weekend a little easier. I want to get my watercolors back's been too long.

I hope this post finds you well- if you'd like to see a little more artwork, I've been slowly releasing some of the back-catalogue of my 38 Studios work over on my deviantart page, here!

Thanks so much for reading- I really appreciate your constant support!
OH- SPEAKING OF WHICH- We just exceeded 600 followers here! I cannot believe that 600 people actually maybe want to read what I write and see what I draw. You are all the best :D

Be loved,



Petra van Berkum said...

Thanks for the update, good to know that you're doing well!

kat said...

Good to hear you are persevering through the muck! The Jellybots news is exciting and I hope to hear more good news about it! You rock!

scruffy said...

You are most certainly not alone. There's at least one nerd in Pennslobovia who identifies with your struggles in identity. Ever read any Don Miller? Almost sounds like you're going through his storyline program.

Gosh i hope your car didn't get impounded whilst you were chauffeuring!

David Campbell said...

Hi Nicholas,

Great post. Fingers crossed for the Jellybots pitch!

Just one thing. You seem to have forgotten to post the photos of you dressed as Porco Rosso? Maybe put them in the next post?! :)

Christina Yang said...

I just found your blog yesterday and absolutely love your work--its is so well done and is sparkling with intense life and a one-of-a-kind imagination. The way you seek and trust in God is wonderful... and Jesus says Himself that what He desires the most is trust from each of us!

He particularly makes this clear through His conversations with a young woman who lived through World War I, Saint Faustina Kowalska. You should read the Diary, I am reading it now, and it is so full of grace. And of course, the Bible never fails to offer the greatest wisdom and love directly from God. :)