Comic creator. Painter. Nudist. Fights of existential terror with kaiju movies.

cookedbrett@gmail.com

Bummed, but still working

I've been feeling kinda down lately.

Part of it was the weather changing: the moment it starts getting cold, my body and brain go haywire and I feel sick and lethargic and not much like myself.

Part of it is the bombardment of terrible news lately, just one awful thing after the next.

Part of it is personal family stuff I'm not going to talk about. Not yet.

Part of it is just exhaustion: doing three shows three weekends in a row last month, immediately after moving into a new house, was a lot of work.

Part of it is how those shows went: fine, but not great, which felt really disappointing after the amazing success of the Johnson City Zine Fest back in August. There were plenty of highlights, like my art sibling Maudlyn coming and staying with us the weekend of Frag-O-Ween, someone telling me at Conapalooza that Debris Field made them cry because it was exactly what they needed to read at the time, seeing some really good friends at KapowCon, things like that, but it's hard to shake off how underwhelming it felt to put so much work in and only do just okay.

And part of it was this past weekend's figure drawing party: it was the final meet-up for three of our members, who are all moving to Korea later this month. It was a short, kind of bittersweet get together where not much drawing happened. They've been a part of Defining Bodies since the very beginning, it was their encouragement that got things off the ground, and saying goodbye to them sucks a lot.

I'm tired, I'm sad, I hurt, but I'll keep going, because good things are happening too.

I updated my portfolio with some new kaiju art and paintings from the three shows I did earlier this year and never got around to sharing, so go look at those when you're done reading.

(and yes, I am nude in the new profile picture to the right. I feel like that shot does a pretty swell job of getting an idea of what kind of person I am? I dunno. I like it.)

I didn't do any daily art challenges for October, but a lot of my friends did, several of them trying it for the first time. It made me extremely happy to see them sharing their work, and I hope they keep it up even though the challenge is over.

Cosmic Adventurer Slimepunk is back on track after some hiccups, updating twice a week. The first issue will be coming to an end soon, I've got the second issue nearly completed with some minor edits to be done, and I'm already drawing and coloring issue 3. Spread the word, I'm hoping to pick up more steam with this.

Last week I was emailed about two killer opportunities for next year that I hope to be able to take and had a friend ask if they could interview me for a class assignment on Appalachian artists. Stuff like that helps me feel like I'm not just wasting time, it's gratifying.

My best friend is home after traveling the world and I got to see him today! I missed that guy.

I think everything's ready to go for BattleArc 2088. I mailed buttons and sketches to Danny a couple weeks ago, so everyone who backed the Kickstarter should be getting their rewards before long!

Oh, and the Asheville Comic Expo returns this Saturday! This is my penultimate show of the year, with FRAG's Holiday Bizarre happening on December 1st. I hope to see some of you there.

Surviving just isn't enough

Hello! Things are about to kick off and get super busy, so I'm gonna try to make this quick.

I moved into my new house at the end of August and have been here for a month now. The closest thing we had to an actual housewarming party was figure drawing early in September, and that was when I stopped feeling out of sorts and it really started feeling like my home.

One of my paintings from the Emotive Environments show at Bloom Cafe sold! I took the show down on the 6th and mailed the painting to Georgia the next day. It's a nice feeling.

The Johnson City Zine Fest was AMAZING. It was my best show of the year, which is crazy to say. Things went well with the new How I Feel Human Zine, so much so that I've printed a handful more copies for upcoming events this month. I wrote a blog post about making it over on Reflected Gaze, if you're interested in reading that.

I spent most of September working on Cosmic Adventurer Slimepunk and not much else. The website is up and running, and I've been posting pages from the first issue, so go check that out. I've got one page left to draw of issue 2, which is much shorter, a few pages left to color, and the whole thing needs to be lettered after that. I'm trying to get myself on some kind of schedule for producing finished pages, but between the move and several other things, work on the comic has been all too sporadic.

My brain's been a bit messy lately. A lot of tangled thoughts sending me in different directions, and I haven't yet worked out how to untangle them and talk about the things that have been going on. Parts of it are family related, and parts of it involve a friendship that ended right before the start of the year, things that have happened since, how things have been recontextualized recently, and how it relates to the recent horrific news revolving around that judge that I unfortunately share a first name with.

One day I'll be able to articulate these things and make some sort of art out of it, but for now it's just a matter of not letting any of it overwhelm me and keep me from working and seeing people and such. I dunno. I try not to get TOO personal when I write these things most of the time, but I figured I should let folks know that I'm even more scatterbrained than usual lately.

ANYWAYS.

I've mentioned before (I think) that I'm not participating in any daily art challenge for October this year. Six consecutive years was more than enough, and I no longer feel like I need to do it. I'm still proud of the work I did in previous years, which you can find in this portfolio here, along with the comic Shouting at the Void. I wish those who are participating this year, in Inktober, the Bill Counts October Game, or whatever else, good luck and hope they don't burn out and give up.

Not doing it doesn't make this month any less of a gauntlet, though. October 6th, this Saturday, is the first annual KapowCon at Virginia High School here in Bristol! The show is free, though donations are encouraged, as the show is supporting a nonprofit organization called Roots to STEM, put together by a couple of the organizers who I'm friends with. You should come check it out if you can!

The very next day I'm hosting figure drawing again, with a spooky occult theme in mind, sort of. I bought Batman underwear specifically for the occasion.

The next weekend, October 12th-14th, is Conapalooza at the Meadowview Convention Center in Kingsport! This is the con's second year, and it's the final big multi-day show that I'm doing this year.

The weekend after THAT is Frag-O-Ween on October 20th at the Model City Event Center in Kingsport! This one will probably be the most fun of the three: there will be free food, drinks, and music, and about 40 or so artists are setting up altogether! It's gonna be a blast. You HAVE to RSVP to the Facebook event in the link as Going in order to get in, so DO THAT NOW.

I've been doing a lot of work preparing for all three shows since I won't really have much time in between to restock things. I'm cranking out more social justice kaiju buttons, I've gotten stickers printed to sell, and I reordered copies of Cosmic Adventurer Slimepunk #1. 

I'll have two more shows left this year after these: the Asheville Comic Expo returns on November 10th, and FRAG will have their annual Holiday Bizarre in early December.

I'm tired, but this has also been one of my most successful years ever as an artist. I can manage five more shows, right? I think so.

I know things are rough, the news is horrible, people are ugly, and some days all you can do is stay afloat. But hey, you've made it this far. Nothing's killed you yet. Keep at it, I'm rooting for you. Take care.

Endless juggling

Okay.

Let's take a moment.

Breathe.

And take stock of everything I've pulled off lately:

My new show, Emotive Environments, is up at Bloom until September 6th. The opening reception didn't have a huge turnout, but I'm grateful to those who showed up, and I managed to sell a lot of books and prints, making more than I made on the first day of Rob-Con. I feel like Bloom is the best place for those paintings, and I'm so happy to have them hanging there. It's my third solo show this year, and most likely final because it turns out doing three solo shows and creating new paintings for all of them is an exhausting experience. While it was incredible, given how I wanted to have at least one show this year, I uh, don't recommend it.

Figure drawing at Mockingbird Listening Room and Gallery in late July was a lot of fun, and I can now say I've been nude in an art gallery, which makes my nudist soul happy. An August meeting isn't really possible, but hopefully we'll get to hang out and draw again next month.

Rob-Con was fine. Not my best year, but not my worst. I bought multiple Godzillas, the first Power Rangers toy I owned as a kid, and a Zeo Megazord, so that rules. I also saw some friends for the first time in years, which was also great, and got to spend time with other friends who I don't see too often.

The first issue of Cosmic Adventurer Slimepunk sold pretty well both at Rob-Con and the art reception! It's also available on ComiXology if you prefer your comics digitally, and after the Johnson City Zine Fest next weekend, I'll put remaining copies up on my Gumroad page. The second issue is coming along. It's shorter, so I've already got it halfway drawn, but I'm behind on coloring and haven't even started lettering. I also haven't worked on the website much at all, and need to make buttons and things for that. For now, there's a Facebook page where I've posted occasional news and character profiles.

The Kickstarter for BattleArc 2088 was a success! We made $1300 altogether, almost twice our goal, with 78 backers total! Danny is waiting for the money to come through so he can order the books. I've been cranking out buttons to go to a large number of those backers, put together a PDF of concept art and process stuff, and have been getting ready to do sketches for certain backers as well! I can't wait for this comic to get out into the world and people's hands.

MY HOUSE IS ALMOST READY. I've been going over there after work about 4 or 5 days a week since the beginning of July to help my dad work on it and get things finished up. We ordered appliances and the plumber came this week. I'll be moving in around first week of September, I think! It's finally happening and I'm dizzy from it. I need to finish packing and clean up the apartment.

Finally, as mentioned before, Johnson City Zine Fest is next Saturday, August 25th! I just finished up a quick new zine for it called How I Feel Human. It's 8 pages, and it's all about nudity and anxiety. More specifically, it's about why I'm a nudist and how it helps with my anxiety. I put it together fairly quickly, in a style somewhat influenced by Ashley Wood's comic illustration, like his work on Zombies Vs Robots. It's loose, it came together quickly, but it was still tough due in large part to how intensely personal it is.

I doubt many people are going to want to read it, so I'm not printing many copies at all. I needed to make it though, if only to better understand how to articulate my feelings on these things. I'm really excited for JCZF regardless of how it sells, it's become one of my favorite shows to do.

And that's it. Still so many things going on, but it feels like a lot has slowed down since I made it through Rob-Con and my art show. I'm trying to take more time to relax while I can before moving into the house and getting to work on everything for the Kickstarter. I do have three shows in October, but I've got time before I need to worry about those.

Take care, stay safe, and I'll see you all again soon, yeah?

All at Once

Hello. A whole lot has been going on lately. In no particular order, here are some things that are currently happening:

Danny Djeljosevic and I launched the Kickstarter for the comic we did together called BattleARC 2088, and within a week we're already so close to meeting our goal! There's a lettered preview up, and incentives include getting older comics of ours in PDF form, attomachine buttons, sketches, and script reviews! We've been quietly working on this comic since, I dunno, 2016, I think, and we're so excited to get it out into the world. Please consider throwing some money our way so that we can get it printed and released!

You'll notice in the preview, there's a character who may be super familiar if you're one of the people who picked up a copy of Burst Reach, my very first minicomic, all the way back in 2011. I'm really pleased that doofus made it into the book.

We skipped figure drawing in June due to me packing up my apartment (the house still isn't done, I just got ahead of myself) and folks being busy and out of town, but one of our models offered to host at the beginning of this month. This is the third time we've had a psuedo 4th of July themed drawing party. And we're getting together again this weekend for a private session at the new Mockingbird Music Room and Gallery, which is owned by a couple cool friends! I'm not sure when I'll be ready to host our group again, hopefully sometime next month, but I'm grateful that others have stepped up to keep our get-togethers going.

Here's a big one: I've finished and printed the first issue of a new Slimepunk comic!!
THIS is the webcomic I've been trying to work on since last summer. I still plan on it being a webcomic too. I've got a domain and a site set up, but there's still a lot to do before that's ready to launch, and I just haven't quite had the time. But I was eager to at least get this first issue out, and it'll be making its debut at Rob-Con next weekend! Here are a couple pages to get you going:
Keeping this under wraps for so long was also kind of a pain, but it should be available on ComiXology before long, too!

Oh, and just a few days after Rob-Con will be my new show at Bloom Cafe here in Bristol, called Emotive Environments. I hang my work on August 1st, and August 2nd from 7-10 will be an opening reception! I'm working on probably the final painting for the show as we speak, but here's one that's a self portrait I finished a couple weeks back:
This one is titled the Friction Between the Soul and the Outside World, which is kind of butchered from a line from my favorite movie, Stalker.

Things will hopefully slow down just a little bit after all of this, especially once the house is finished and I'm moved in. The Johnson City Zine Fest will be August 25th and I have a minicomic in mind that I'd like to do for it, but we'll see if I'll be able to.

So, um, I think that's everything for now. Gotta get back to work. Take care of yourselves!

Everything happens so much

Oh, I forgot to write anything in May! Sorry. A lot has been happening.

First off, I have a show up at the Bristol Public Library called They Were Here Before Us. I put it up on May 1st, and it'll be there until June 30th, so there's still plenty of time to check it out!

For most of the month after hanging the show, I've been back to work on the new Slimepunk comic. As of today, I finally have the first chapter completely drawn, including a new cover. My goal is to have it colored and lettered by later this month, so I can get it printed before Rob-Con at the end of next month! I'm still planning on releasing it as a webcomic, but I need to work out a schedule and where to host it. I need to do research, but I feel like Tapas would get it in front of a pretty big audience, otherwise I may just set up a Tumblr and attach a domain to it. Who knows! I'll figure it out soon, hopefully.

Next Friday I'll be at Model City Event Center in Kingsport with 19 other fellow FRAG artists, showing and selling some of my work there in a show coinciding with a new exhibition by Nashville artist Dennis Greenwell. Here's the Facebook event for that if you want more information.

Things are kind of on hold right now with Defining Bodies. I've got too many things going on this month to host, and I THINK my new house will be finished sometime next month, so there's a lot going on with that. Hannah and Joe hosted a tropical themed get-together in May, which I modeled for part of, and that was a blast, but it looks like our monthly streak is coming to an end now.

Some more updates will be coming to this site soon, I've got a dear friend who's writing something up for me to add on here that I'm really looking forward to. There are other things I'd like to get too.

Speaking of which: the secret paintings I did back in March are now public as part of the Kickstarter campaign for a really cool synthesizer that a friend of mine designed! You can check it out here, and the paintings are all in my portfolio now! It's cool to see that it's already reached its goal in just under a week!

(I've got a different Kickstarter coming up soon too, by the way. Will let you know more when it goes live!)

I'm about ready to start painting again for the August show I'll have at Bloom Cafe, so you'll be seeing more about that soon too!

Other things coming up: Rob-Con is July 27-29, Johnson City Zine Fest is August 25, Conapalooza is October 12-14, and there are going to be two more FRAG shows, one in late October and another in December!

Shew. That's a lot going on. But right now my top priority is Slimepunk, so I gotta get back to coloring! Take care!

Spring Movement

Spring is here! Even though it snowed the other day. The back and forth weather patterns have been dizzying and hard to keep up with, much like a bunch of other things I've got going on in life right now.

First off: this Saturday, April 21st, is the VHCC Comic Con from 10am-4pm, free to the public. I'll be a guest there, and from 1-2 I'm going to be on a panel with Gary Kwapiz and my pal Jeremy Massie talking all about making comics.

Which is going to be just a little weird, considering I haven't gotten to work on any comic stuff this year. The webcomic is sitting and waiting for me to finish all these paintings I'm still working on. BUT, I've got All of This Will Crumble, Debris Field, and the Cosmic Adventures of Slimepunk reprinted for this show, so you should come out and pick something up! I also have ONE copy of Other Sleep left, and I don't have plans on reprinting it.

All the paintings I'm doing now are for the show I'm still hoping to have at the Bristol Public Library. I know May was my target, but that's looking less likely now. Either way though, I'm ALSO going to be doing a show at Bloom Cafe in August! It's a relief knowing that I have more time to prepare for that one.

I'm still sitting on a bunch of commission work that I can't share yet, too. If you'd like to commission me for a mutant portrait, painting, or any professional work, I now have a page set up with my rates and such, so check that out. I'm getting a house later this year, so I could use any extra money I can get.

OH, speaking of Bloom! Bodies in Bloom was a success! A whole lot of people came out for figure drawing! I was a nervous wreck the whole time, so I only got maybe a couple drawings I don't hate, but it was a whole lot of fun and went really smoothly. We had 3 killer models, each with different outfits, and they did 24 poses altogether. The people who run Bloom thought it was awesome and want me to do it again, so I've got to remember to talk to them this week about maybe hosting in June or July, before my show goes up.

I also hosted our usual private figure drawing meet-up this past weekend, which was great. Holding these monthly so far has been fantastic. I've added a handful of new sketches to the Figure Drawing portfolio, if you wanna see them.

There's a lot more coming up: Rob-Con, Conapalooza, Johnson City Zine Fest, some holiday shows with FRAG, and probably some other stuff that I'm not remembering. There's a zine idea in my head that I'm eager to put together when I have the chance, and I'm hoping to have the first chapter of the new webcomic finished and printed before Rob-Con. We'll see how that goes.

OH RIGHT. I TURN 30 NEXT SUNDAY. That's weird. That'll end three months of nonstop painting and doing things, so I think I'm going to try to chill out a little and relax through May. I mean, I don't have much chill so I doubt it'll work out like that, but it'll be nice to have some free weekends and to maybe get to take a break from painting to work on other stuff, right?

How have I not burned out yet, come to think of it? I've done 17(!!) paintings since February, I've hosted 5 figure drawing get-togethers, been to multiple concerts, art shows, and birthday parties, I want to do figure drawing again on my own birthday because I'm insane, I'm having a damn house built...Geez...

I don't know. Taking a lot of baths helps. Naps and regular sleep, too. And being surrounded by so many amazing friends at all these things that I keep going to is incredible. Because so much of this wouldn't be possible without the friends I've made, for real. I wouldn't have a figure drawing group without them, I wouldn't be doing all these shows, and frankly, I would probably not be the person I am today. It's...kind of crazy to think about. I didn't get here on my own, not quite. I know some fantastic people, dang.

...Anyways, take care of yourselves, I've got more work to do!

March March March March

I keep having people at work make jokes about how February just flew by, and all I can do is stare off in the distance. I mean, it makes sense, it's the shortest month of the year, but man, for me, it felt like February lasted FOREVER.

The last blog post I did was January 31st, where I shared a painting I'd just finished and talked about having a show at Gypsy Circus Cider Company. Over the course of February I did SIX more paintings.

Amidst working on those paintings, I was called on at the last minute to attend ETSU-Con, literally the day before the con. I frantically gathered all of my things up, maybe foolishly decided to crank out some social justice kaiju buttons and prints, and returned to one of my favorite cons that I'd missed out on the last two years. 

I was an exhausted wreck, but it was absolutely worth it, as that weekend turned out to be the second best con I've ever done. I have very few copies of my books left, and after the first day I had to run and get more prints made because I nearly sold out of some of those. It was an exhilarating experience after last year's fairly mediocre shows.

Oh, before that I hosted a Valentine's Day themed figure drawing meet-up, which was a lot of fun.

So...yeah. February was exhausting. It'll take time to recover from all of that.

March is...kind of insane too. I got new glasses, went to an awesome punk show, cranked out some sticker designs, and probably a few other things I've forgotten at this moment.

My show at Gypsy Circus went up yesterday, 12 paintings altogether, where they'll be up through April 3rd. Yesterday was also their Arts and Crafts night, so I got to set up and sell some of my work as well. It wasn't much of a crowd, understandable for a cold Wednesday night where it kept flurrying, but a few friends came to hang out, the drinks were great, I got to pet some wonderful dogs, and I sold enough things to stop at Target on the way home and buy a copy of Thor: Ragnarok, which I'm definitely watching tonight after I take a long bath.

I'm relieved that it's done. But there's still so much more: I need to dive back in to the webcomic, which I didn't get to work on at all during all that painting. I can finally polish and put up a Commissions page on here, too. I'm hosting figure drawing again this Sunday! And then I have something else going on every weekend for the rest of the month!

(I'm so tired)

OH, speaking of figure drawing: on April 3rd (yes, the last day of my show), I'm hosting a PUBLIC figure drawing event at Bloom Cafe in downtown Bristol! I made a flyer for it and everything!

I'm really excited about this. If it goes well, we may do more there in the future on top of the regular Defining Bodies meet-ups.

(a couple people who work at Bloom also want me to have a show there, so that is a likely thing to happen)

I still haven't heard back from the library about my show proposal there. Fingers are still crossed.

Oh, I can reveal the album cover I did for my friend Marcus Bunch's debut solo album, Heartworn Hero!
I also did the back cover, art for the CD itself, and a couple stickers based off this cover and the CD art! The album should be available TOMORROW on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, etc!

Finally, I added another show to my slate this week: Virginia Highlands Community College is holding their own little convention on April 21st, and I will be a guest there! Here's a Facebook event for it, and here's the page for the con itself.

...Is that everything? Am I leaving anything out? No, I think that's everything. I've also got a pretty big life change thing going on this year, but I want to continue to keep quiet about that for now.

I need some rest, so I'm going to go do that now. Take care of yourselves.

One Month Down

So. We're at the end of January. If it's any indication of how the rest of the year will go, I should be just fine.

I'm sitting on some finished things that haven't gone public yet, including illustration and design for an album. Since last week I've been working on a design for a beer that a friend's brewery plans to release later in the year. I sold a painting and some buttons (did I mention that I have a button maker now? I have a button maker now, hit me up if you need buttons), I made the entirety of Cannonball Fist available as a free PDF on my Gumroad page, read 3 different ebooks on naturism, paid off my credit card, and more. Here's a poster I did:

Here's the really big thing: last week, a local cidery posted about looking for artists to show their work in their taproom. I sent them a message along with a link to this site, and they asked if I could show some paintings! I'll be setting up there in March! I declared that I wanted to show my work in some galleries, and while this isn't quite like a "real" gallery, it's a really cool opportunity in a neat venue all the same. I've already cranked out a new painting, and my plan for February is to do at least a few more if I can. This one's called the Ghost Behind the Barn:

Additionally, days later, a friend who works at the Bristol Public Library with my girlfriend asked if I wanted to show some work in their small gallery, probably in May. I had to submit an application along with a proposal for what the show would be, which I turned in on Saturday, so now I just have to wait and see what the curator and gallery committee think. Fingers crossed...

...Yeah. Two opportunities to show my work popped up within the same week. Some FRAG people are talking with the cidery about setting up a group show and maybe some other events through them, and we've got two shows we'll be doing at the same venue as the Holiday Bizarre, too. I'm still only signed up for two comic conventions, but at this point, I think trying to get into any more would be overkill if I'm doing two solo shows and FRAG stuff on top of that.

(there's always the chance that any of this could come crashing down for any number of reasons, and those possibilities serve as a gently humming anxiety in the back of my head, which sucks, but I can manage it)

OH: you'll notice in the sidebar on the right that I've set up a Ko-Fi account. If you like what I do and want to tip me, click that button and you can send a few bucks my way. If you'd rather not, that's fine too. It's just something new I'm trying out. A page for commission prices is on its way, probably after I get more paintings and design projects knocked out and have the breathing room to take some on, so be on the lookout for that.

What I REALLY want to talk about though is figure drawing. This year's kicked off not one, but two meet-ups, one with my own group and one with FRAG.
First off, my own figure drawing group has been renamed as Defining Bodies, and I've set up that Instagram account to share our work. Go follow it if you're into that. Our first meet-up of the year was the 14th, and our next one is lined up in a couple of weeks. I'm putting more effort into making our meet-ups more consistent, hopefully monthly. Since forming in April 2016, we've only had 12 events altogether, and I'm hoping to do way more in 2018. We've added some new artists and models, which is really exciting, and maintaining the Instagram account should hopefully help me stay focused.

FRAG figure drawing this past Saturday was fantastic too, and I took the opportunity to stretch my legs a bit and try some new things. Inspired by my friend Alejandro's recent sketches, I took some highlighters and gave them a shot, with cool results. You can see more in my portfolio, too.
I don't know why figure drawing is so important to me, why the human figure is my favorite subject in art, or why it warms my spirit in a way so few other things do. It is what it is, I guess. There's just something about it. It requires a level of thought and focus that other work doesn't, as well as a level of trust and interaction that just isn't there in other things I do.

I'm not sure what I'm trying to say. I think figure drawing is helping me become a better artist for sure, but it's also helping me become a better person as well. It's made me open up more, feel better about my own body, finding power in vulnerability. I want to keep doing it for as long as I can, and keep getting more people into it.

That's all, I guess. I'm feeling good about things. I know things will go wrong, problems will arise, but right now, tonight, after a month filled with drawing, painting, and going after opportunities, I feel like I can tackle anything that comes my way. We'll find out, one way or another.

Right out of the gate

Hello. It's 2018. The numbering of days and years is an arbitary thing, a tool for organization, there's no real threshold being crossed when we move from one into the next. But still, it feels like something new. It feels refreshing. There's an energy here that I didn't feel last week, and I want to immerse myself in it. Let's get started.

Things are off to a good start, I'd say. I brought in the new year nude, drinking champagne at a friend's place next to my girlfriend in her Chewbacca onesie. Our first meal of 2018 was sushi at our favorite Japanese restaurant. I've finished up work on the album cover design I started last year for a friend, gotten back to work on the webcomic, and bought new watercolor pencils. I'm reading more, currently hooked on Golden Kamuy and Devilman Grimoire, and that new Devilman Crybaby anime on Netflix is absolutely amazing. I checked out some galleries downtown, including a show at Bloom Cafe by Suzie Kelly, who runs the Johnson City Zine Fest.

I've already laid out my plans, goals, ideas, what have you for 2018. I think I know what kind of path I'm going to take with my art, and the new banner, combining two images I did last month, should hopefully reflect that.

Last year was all about entropy: things breaking down and falling apart, people in despair. This year I want to focus on rebuilding, on strength and resilience. 2017 was terrible, but we continued to push on and we made it through. Time to keep going.

I'm going to launch that new webcomic later this year, in some form or fashion. I'm going to make some new prints to sell at shows and online. I have a new one shot comic idea that'll return to an old character that I'm really close to. I'm going to paint more. After a lot of floundering last year, I'm going to renew my focus on figure drawing, hosting a get-together this weekend with some new people, and there's a FRAG party coming up at the end of the month. I avoided faces last year in my work, so this year I want to focus more on portraits. I'm going to try to get my work into some galleries this year, I'm going to try to do more freelance work and commissions. I'm going to try to start a Patreon, or something like it.

It's one thing to state your intentions, but without any kind of plan, you won't get much further, so I'm making a lot of notes. I've already started checking out galleries in the area, I penciled and inked my first comic page of the year last week, I've started sketching ideas of what to paint. It's not much, but it's moving forward all the same.

There are goals outside of art to focus on too: I want to get new glasses, waste less time with lousy, toxic people, cook more things, buy more art, keep exercising, and be more generous and helpful to others, especially my friends. I want to go outside more when the weather improves, I want to get naked more, I want to see more art in museums and galleries, whether I get into any or not.

I'm getting my digital presence together and organized again, too. The main URL for this site now takes you straight to a heavily revised portfolio of my work, rather than this blog. I finally shut down Cannonball Fist. Reflected Gaze will still be up, but I'm not paying for the URL or any bells and whistles anymore. That'll save me some money. I'll have a commissions page up soon too, hopefully, along with an ArtStation page.

I only did 4 shows last year. I want to do more this year, but I'm not sure I want to take any risks by doing larger, more expensive shows that require a lot of travel. I don't think I can return to HeroesCon just yet. I'm signed up for this year's Rob-Con and Conapalooza already, and I think FRAG plans on having two shows this year, with a spring show on top of the usual Holiday Bizarre. I don't know, I haven't put as much thought into this as I have with the other things. It's not a top priority.

So that's where I am right now. It has, this week, occurred to me that I'm once again right out of the gate trying to do A LOT. I'm not a good juggler, I may never be, so I really just need to take it one day at a time. So now I'm gonna go work on a poster for a friend before I do some more cleaning to prep for figure drawing. Take care of yourselves, and I'll try to do the same.

Best of 2017

Here's a list of some things I loved in 2017. Not all of them are releases from this year.

What is Left by Rosemary Valero-O'Connell

Buying and frying plantains

Your Name.

Seeing Fire Heads live at a free show downtown

Judge Dredd: Block Mania + the Apocalypse War, from Complete Case Files 05

Ultraman Orb

Logan Lucky

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle

December figure drawing

A painting that Maudlyn Claire did of my face

Nazis getting punched in the face

Man of War by Radiohead

My Lesbian Experience With Loneliness by Nagata Kabi

The one weekend where I got to sit outside in the sun, reading and drawing while nude

John Wick: Chapter 2

Watching Shin Godzilla with a couple friends on a giant TV

Twin Peaks: The Return

Getting to feed sting rays at Ripley's Aquarium in Gatlinburg

Rainbow by Kesha

Rez Infinite

Seeing Clipping live at my favorite local venue

Mega Monster Battle: Ultra Galaxy Legend

Asido by Purity Ring

This Betty Boop cartoon which features Cab Calloway as Koko the Clown singing St. James Infirmary Blues

Sexual predators losing their jobs

Golf Story

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Super Mario Odyssey

...Basically the Nintendo Switch itself, the above games, and a few more

NieR: Automata

Being able to get pho in Johnson City

The Last American by John Wagner, Alan Grant, and Mick McMahon

Criterion's bluray release of Stalker, my favorite movie

Finding and buying an old 1993 Dragonzord toy at the flea market

Get Out

Walking around the National Gallery of Art with my girlfriend in Washington DC

American Vandal

Saturnz Barz by Gorillaz

Persona 5

Small Enough by Dustin Harbin

Thor: Ragnarok