This Guy Again

Nov 6, 2021, 3:35:07 PM


Well, hey, if it isn't our good friend Hiro...

You know in the decade or so that I've been drawing Catherine, I've never really drawn the backside of her dress (or really even the backside of her). This is practically the first time so I actually didn't really know what the back of her dress should even look like. I figure though since it's form-fitting, it's got to have some kind of corseted component to it so I added that detail to the back. I do like the gold lacing, seems to fit nice with some of the minimal gold trim she's got on her cap and the front zipper.

That's pretty much it for this chapter believe it or not.

It also means I'm once again out of buffer. Yes, I haven't drawn much for Magical Girl Kamiko. I've been spending my time elsewhere for these last few weeks.

Part of that reason is that I'm on a mini-vacation of sorts mostly on the account of quittin' my job. October 15th was my last day.

But don't worry. I do have a landing pad and that starts November 15th. Not to far away now, but it's given me a month of time to play with and pursue things I'm interested in.

A lot of that time has been spent reading books and trying to fill my head with new ideas. It's also been a lot of time practicing new habits.

Habits I've Formed

I set goals probably like most other people. Bigger things I'd like to accomplish, but it's the day-to-day stuff that are the building blocks of my, well, day. And I've been working on making certain things habits to help guide me through each day.

For instance, I established a morning routine. A simple first task: make my bed. I've been doing this for a few months now. It's not difficult to make my bed, but it's a nice thing to get done to start the day. Another habit I started forming two months ago was meditation in the morning. Take 10 minutes. Sit down and relax. To me, meditation was something other people did for religious reasons, but it doesn't have to be that way. It's not new age-y or weird either, people have been doing meditation for centuries (mostly for religious purposes, I'd wager). For me, it's a way to clear my head and prepare for the day ahead. And I was one of those people who thought they couldn't spare ten minutes for something like that, but you know, in the past I found plenty of time (hours upon hours) to surf Instagram and Tiktok, so ten minutes for some mental clarity is a pittance. [FYI, I don't surf Tiktok or Instagram anymore either.]

At first, I started with apps like Headspace and Calm, but since they both want annual subscriptions, I turned back to my friend Youtube. Turns out Calm has a whole playlist of ten minute morning meditation sessions. I listen to the same ones over and over, and sometimes I've even dabbed with just playing ambient music -- I don't have a playlist, I simply asked Alexa for something.

There's nothing special to the meditation itself. I sit, breathe, and focus on that. Sure, plenty of thoughts rise up in that ten minutes, but I focus on my breathing and push those things away. As soon as the ten minute mark is done, I can start fussing over them.

Another habit: I took to journaling after my meditation. It was something I had done before mostly to log what I had done during the day, but now its a little more. Tim Feriss writes about this in Tools of the Titans. He journals over a cup of tea, as in, he writes in a book for five minutes. I use my phone. I've been a long believer that the most powerful app on my iPhone is Notes. Where ever and whenever I am, I can open it up and put my thoughts and ideas down. I open Notes and write or dictate down a few simple tasks I'd like to complete for the day and a couple things I'm grateful for. The tasks are "nice to dos" if I can get to them, this way I don't stress over them, but it's meant to give me some guide. If I'm ever thinking "what should I do?" I have some ideas and don't have to think too hard about it since I've somewhat offset that by writing them down. The things I'm grateful for are as simple as "it's sunny and warm outside" or "I finished inking a new illustration yesterday." I also went back to keeping a daily log throughout the day of what I actually did during the day. To me, it's a useful exercise in recollection at the end of the day. That all started a decade ago when a friend and I were talking at work wondering where all the time went. What did we do day to day? Well, I could keep track and find out.

Another pair of small habits: I check my weight and blood pressure every morning and write down the results. At least so I can get a gauge of where I am physically.

All of this gives the day a little rhythm and direction.

Another new habit I've been trying to formulate is a more creative one: write everyday. Seth Godin talks about this in his book The Practice. I think it was a story about Isaac Asimov. Godin puts it this way: it was his job to sit down and type (on a typewriter) every morning and just so happens he took us on a journey with robots and spaceships. It's an idea that fits with a lot of how I'm approaching creativity these days. Big projects might get done over several years, but they get built by doing the work a little each day. If you haven't guessed, sitting down and doing the work (writing, drawing, whatever) is the practice, and I focused on the wrong thing for years after The Rabbit and the Moon. I focused on the big picture, and while, yes, I needed a big picture vision in order to fill in the little parts, but that big picture and big time frame gave me creative paralysis. I should have made it a habit to be creative each day. Draw a comic picture by picture. Write a novel scene by scene. Don't worry if it's shit. Get it down on paper. That's the first step in the process and make that process a habit.

So, the power of habits (by the way, I've read that book too) is another tool in my arsenal to build a framework for daily creativity -- maybe even the foundational one, and I hope when I start working again, it'll remain a part of my daily life.

That's all for now, I hope you have the start of a great weekend!