Category: Writing

Rotsterarsil 1.1.3

Posted 2012.02.13 11:06 | Last modified 2012.02.13 11:06 | Leave a reply

Rotsterarsil 1.1.1


My new comic, Rotsterasil 1.1.1 is posted! YAY!

Posted 2012.01.30 16:11 | Last modified 2012.01.30 16:12 | Leave a reply

Rotsterarsil 1.1 Title Page Posted


My new comic, Rotsterasil starts next week and I've posted the title page today.

Posted 2012.01.23 22:40 | Last modified 2012.01.23 22:40 | Leave a reply

GeekGirlCon 2011


GeekGirlCon is this Saturday and Sunday (Oct 8th & 9th) people!!! I am on the center aisle, right in the middle. More directions are here: I will have lots of Middleman "Pike" posters and Firefly and Farscape fanarts and my typical overabundance of prints and charms and stickers. And bookmarks. No one ever buys the bookmarks, you know, so there will always be bookmarks.

And, if that wasn't incentive enough, I will be wearing my Wendy Watson costume on Saturday (Middleman in tow). It is an awesome costume. Seriously. You are going to want to see it. :D

Posted 2011.10.06 18:05 | Last modified 2011.10.06 18:07 | Leave a reply

Jet City Comic Show 2011


Just a reminder that Jet City Comic Show is this Saturday, September 24th. I will have a table in the Artist Alley full to the brim with comics, charms, posters, cards, bookmarks, and whatever else I can scrounge up. Please come by! My table is right between Toilet Genie and Wayfarer's Moon (see map). There will be free promo bookmarks while they last and free digital download codes for any purchase over $10.

Posted 2011.09.19 19:22 | Last modified 2011.09.19 19:26 | Leave a reply

Final Pages of The Locked Maze


Yup, that's it. The final pages of The Locked Maze are all posted. So ends a decade of my life. Now I have to work on all those other projects I've shelved for so long because I was too busy with the damn comic. Like, programming. :P

Posted 2011.07.17 11:53 | Last modified 2011.07.17 11:54 | 6 Comments

#46 WIP Page Posted


I have posted a work-in-progress view of today's page and an explanation for why it is late (short version: I am doing 4 pages at the same time).

Posted 2011.07.10 14:31 | Last modified 2011.07.10 14:32 | Leave a reply

New Website For The Locked Maze


The new website went live last night. It has a mobile browsing plugin and caching, so it should be easier to visit now. Also, the archives and galleries have slideshow capability (to skip slideshow and see full-size, click the title below the image). And on any comic page clicking the right of the comic will advance forward and left backward (on iPhone, you can use swipe too). Yay!

The Locked Maze

I moved over all the comments from and closed down comments on the pages here. If you want to comment on older Maze pages, follow the links in the description text and it will take you to the equivalent page on :)

Posted 2011.07.04 19:41 | Last modified 2011.07.04 19:51 | 1 Comment

Motivation, Part IV


Crippling depression was actually where I had my first breakthrough on learning to work through my angst. I have been very depressed in my life, and for long periods of time. In fact, if you look at my progression meme on dA, you might notice there is no art at all for 2001. It was for longer than a year, and I did nothing but sit around being depressed. I lost all desire to create art. I thought maybe I was done as an artist, that whatever artistic talent I had in me had been sucked out and thrown away.

When I recovered from this particular inconsolable pit, it was not through some fortuitous return of ambition or inspiration. It was just that I decided my life had absolutely no worthwhile purpose other than being an artist, and it was either get back on the horse or wither up and die. So I forced myself to start drawing again, and wrote my comic and learned how to paint. And it worked: I felt better. These days, the more depressed or stressed out I am, the more I turn to my art to deal with it. In some weird Pavlovian way, it's become a near-guaranteed mood boost for me.

  1. Misery Wears Itself Out.

    Like when you leave a kid alone to "cry it out." Barring clinical depression or sustained grief, a few hours to a few days is all it takes to work depression chemicals out of your system, provided you don't feed them with more depression. So, you know, ignore it and it will go away.
  2. Refuse To Indulge.

    ... with food, or shopping, or time off: you will regret it later. And indulging your misery leads to less time making art leads to a poor portfolio leads to more depression, whereas doing more art leads to a tangible end product which may actually make you happy. It may completely fail in a giant pile of brown acrylic ick, true, but it's still a better bet.
  3. Take Better Care Of Your Body.

    Eat right, exercise, and stick to your default sleep schedule. Your health and your mood are pretty closely intertwined. And although technically junk food is a better short-term mood boost than running for an hour, the latter is better in the long run. Plus, as an artist you are probably hugely out of shape with a lifetime of back aches in front of you. I recommend getting a yoga tape or something.
  4. Avoid The Internet.

    It is very easy to go online looking for support or distraction. The former is scarce and the latter abundant. In fact, the more time you spend online, the more you will realize that no one there gives a shit about you or even knows you exist.
  5. Music Is A Great Motivator.

    Someone mentioned this on ReMINDBlog and I realized that I do often use music to, uh, set the mood. I have playlists that I associate with certain art projects and just hearing that music makes me feel energized to work on something. You'll have to set up these playlists when you aren't depressed, mind you (you don't want the I-just-broke-up-with-my-boyfriend set of mopey songs, after all), but repeat the association with enough positive art-making moments and this can be the magic bullet for getting you off your ass and working again.
  6. Only One Stage Of Art Takes Mood Into Consideration: Design.

    If you have multiple projects at once (and most people do), then at least one should be at a labor-only stage where you can work on it regardless of emotional state. Some of your art may actually require you to be depressed (abstract painting! poetry!). If not, read a book, watch an artsy film, or otherwise try to do things that offer some passive self-improvement.
  7. Stop Being A Baby.

    Oglaf made this awesome comic last week, which is precisely how I see my own artistic muse: The Blank Page. Tell yourself to man up and stop being such a goddamn whiner. It's time for a military-style pep-talk: "Do you want that bitchy high school art teacher to be right about you, Ms. Everything-Is-Sooo-Hard?!?!" :)

A Final Note

We always have some excuse for why we don't do more art. It could be anything I've said, or something I've missed, or that one thing only you agonize over. But in the end, listening to any of your excuses means less work and less work means less self-esteem and less skill. And less self-esteem and less skill lead to more fear and more dissatisfaction and less validation and more depression, and consequently less work. I've offered up a long list of coping mechanisms, compromises, pep-talks, and nagging lectures, but when you get right down to it, what we all really need to do is stop listening to the excuses at all. Like acquiring mental earplugs, fitted to our own minds, to drown out the noise of our own angst.


Have you read the prior articles on Fear, Dissatisfaction, and Validation?

Posted 2011.03.23 12:10 | Last modified 2011.06.07 12:19 | 7 Comments

Motivation, Part III


I consider validation the reverse of the previous subject, dissatisfaction: whereas dissatisfaction is an internal desire for better work, validation is instead the external desire for better feedback. It varies dramatically between artists, and the problems here range from destructive criticism, to praise from people you dislike, to the simple sound of crickets on your website. I think we all want to please people with our art, but who we want to please and how much we are willing to go through to get that effect is a tricky thing to consider.

It is also the aspect of art that we have the least control over.

As an older artist who was long since buried by anonymity, I personally find I derive most of my own satisfaction from creating art rather than sharing it. But I recognize that I am still motivated by respect from the artists I admire, and by the heartfelt messages from fans who were touched by something I have made. Accordingly, my suggestions for increasing your fan base are cautious and aimed more at quality than at quantity. If you are really desperate for some attention and don't care what kind, I imagine there are better guides out there to whoring yourself out on the internet. :P I hear getting into flame wars is a great way to climb the google ranking! No really, please don't do that. :(

  1. Make New Connections

    At the beginning, validation is simply about getting more people to see your work and respond to it.
    1. Meet In Person.

      Go to conventions. Join a weekly art group for coffee. Nothing beats a face-to-face connection. It is a lot more powerful than an email or deviantArt comment. Also, the more you connect with people who love your work, the more you will respect them and value their feedback.
    2. Advertize.

      Coming up with an ad to sell your work is a pain in the butt, but it will help you focus on who you are, what you want, and what you have to offer. DeviantArt, FaceBook, Top Web Comics, and lots of other places have inexpensive options for targetted advertising.
    3. Don't Be A Dick.

      You don't have to muzzle yourself. Just try not to take out your personal stuff on random visitors to your site. They won't come back when you are finally in a better mood.
    4. Promote Other People.

      It can't hurt to put a little good karma out there and help out some artists who are equally talented and equally obscure. And they might return the favor when they get more famous, you never know.
  2. You Are Expecting Too Much Too Soon.

    If you are frustrated that you aren't getting the mountains of praise you expected by now, well maybe your timeline for success is a little off.
    1. Get Rich Quick = Never Gonna Happen.

      Did you really think you were going to be rich and famous right off the bat? Quick fame has everything to do with dumb luck and nothing whatsoever to do with talent. Since you can't magically win the lottery, just work on getting better.
    2. Stop Comparing Yourself To People With Less Skill And More Success.

      See the above point: lots of hugely successful artists are complete hacks (cv. Thomas Kinkaid), and lots of excellent artists live in relative obscurity. The world does not hand out popularity and wealth with fairness in mind.
    3. Successful Artists May Not Be As Successful As You Think.

      People don't talk about money often in the art world. Most artists I know are broke, and in almost all the arts in general, people work a second job (or first job, depending on how you look at it). I know Johnny Bunko says you can make a modest living at this, but for most people that just isn't true. :(
    4. What Are You Missing?

      If a lot of artists with your approximate skills seem to be moving ahead faster than you are, start researching what they have that you don't. Maybe it's popular subject matter. Maybe it's frequency of updates. Maybe it's social skills or marketing savvy (I certainly lack either). It takes a lot more to be successful than just being handy with a pencil. Some things you can acquire if you work at it, and some things you are just going to have to accept as a handicap.
  3. Stop Counting.

    I've had people disappear for months and then come back and rave over what they missed. I've had online friends disappear forever, with no reason. I've outgrown some artists I used to love. :/ Don't take the fluctuations personally.
  4. Take A Feedback Hiatus.

    We all need to get away occasionally from our public failures/stagnation/irritating comments. Some people exploit this act as dramatic pity-party time to coerce others into begging them not to leave, which seems pretty pathetic to me. Some artists disappear with no comment whatsoever and are gravely missed. You do what you need to in order to get your mind back in the game, but if you don't want to pay for it later, maybe keep up a minimal online presence (or ask a friend to).
  5. Remember That Fans Do Not Equal Money.

    The people who comment or fav your work are just readers, not consumers. Despite the "freemium" internet craze, there is not even a correlation between the two. If you give your art away online for free, you can expect that most of your validation audience will never consider giving you money for the pieces you decide to sell.
  6. Negative Feedback Sucks The Wind From Your Sails.

    As I'm sure you've gathered from a few of remarks already, sometimes an artist gets too much feedback, and it's the mean kind of feedback. Myself, I sometimes think I'd rather have the aforementioned crickets all day than be handed some of the awful shit people have said to me over the past few decades.
  7. Get A Job/Get A Life.

    I want to stress when I include this point that I am not advocating taking time off from art. I will never suggest that. These are just suggestions for ways to diversify your validation sources and fill time until you find you can live without feedback, or you start getting the feedback you want.
    1. Validation AND Rent.

      A job is a great way to get validation, not necessarily because anyone will praise what you do there, but the warm feeling a regular paycheck lends your self-esteem has a powerful effect. And if you are really committed to your art, I think you will find that working 20-40 hours a week does not crimp your style as much as you think it will. You really only have so many art hours in you during any given week, only now those hours will be compressed into your evenings and weekends.
    2. Improve Yourself.

      Neil Gaiman said that an author who isn't happy with their writing should go do something with their life - travel, take classes, grow. Get out there. Take figure drawing. Learn karate. Study subatomic physics. Expanding your world view gives your art a special niche that can only make it more popular.
    3. Keep A Well-Rounded Validation Portfolio.

      Like in investing! Cultivate many different sources of validation: friends, family, hobbies, interests, charitable causes. When you wrap up your talents as an artist into lots of different outlets, you will find that one can fall through while the others are still paying back to cover it.

Next week? Depression. When you really can't draw because you are huddled under your bed in the fetal position.

Also, read the previous articles on Fear and Dissatisfaction.
Posted 2011.03.16 10:42 | Last modified 2011.10.13 14:37 | 5 Comments
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