I purposefully don’t reveal a lot about myself here, but this post needs a bit of context, so please bear with me. Or scroll to the bottom. It’s all good.
I was sick – death bed sick – for more than ten years. I’m still dealing with the fallout from that experience and will be for the rest of my life, but I lived. And plan to keep on living a long, looooooong time.
Before I got sick, among other things, I was a fairly accomplished classical artist – realistic portraits and murals and whatnot. One of the lasting side effects of my DBE (death bed experience) was neurological damage, manifest primarily in the form of shaky hands and wonky heartbeat.
It’s not horrible, not even noticeable unless you know what to look for, but the tremors totally borked my fine motor skills.
First and foremost – before my careers in professional wrestling, photography and the fine arts – I am a writer. That’s my gift. It’s what I love.
One of the blessings that came out of my DBE was time. Lots of time. Time to go crazy, or time to nurture my calling. Working as my unpredictable health allows, I’ve written a trilogy of Young Adult adventure novels, and an ongoing series (currently at four books) of Middle Grade adventures.
Dang-it, Joe! Get to the point already!
I really, really want to include some artwork with the Middle Grade books. Working traditionally – pen and paper and paint and canvas – is a no-go for obvious reasons. One mistake can ruin a project.
Until recently, I thought that was it. I’d have to farm out the artwork. And pay for it. Somehow. Being a sick dude pays very poorly.
Turns out, I (might) have been wrong.
The behind the scenes feature on an animated movie detailed the character development process. The artists drew on computer tablets with electronic pens. They could pencil, ink and color their work on the same device, and ‘undo’ mistakes as easily as tapping an icon.
This was the miracle I was waiting for! I could draw again!
I saved my shekels and purchased an IPad Pro and an art program ASAP.
I’m in the very early stages of learning the ins and outs of an entirely new style of drawing, but the results (while not where I’d like them to be) are promising. I have specifically been avoiding working on my own characters until I get better – too many poor results would likely prove disheartening – and focused on drawing cartoons and so forth to gain practice and entertain my friends and family.
WHAT ABOUT THE EYEWASH STATION THING!?!?!
I use reference photos for body positions, facial expressions, etc. None of the photos actually appear in the final product, but they’re very necessary to the process – at least at this stage. To find these photos, I have to search the murky depths of the inter-webs. The sick, perverted, weirdo infested inter-webs.
Setting the search filters to a moderate setting eliminates useful results. Turning off the search filter returns eye-searing, mind-boggling weirdness. There’s no real work around I’ve found (stock photo sites are totes expensive!), but I have learned five important lessons:
- Of the many, many people posting nude photos of themselves online, less than a fraction of a percent of them have any business being naked anywhere, anytime.
- Nudists are weirdos. Any sunburns they get, they deserve. Nudists that bring kids to their nudist get-togethers are scum that deserve a visit from the police and punch in the teeth.
- Searching for a photo of a specific person is less risky than searching for a general pose or situation (jumping, punching, fighting, flying, etc.), but can still return a metric-ton of weirdness depending upon the person.
- There are sexual perversions I would have never dreamed up in a thousand years.
- An eyewash station next to your computer won’t actually erase the memory of what you’ve seen, but it’s a good first step to feeling clean again.
How about that? 600+ words to get to a ho-hum punchline.
If you feel like I’ve wasted a small portion of your life, I won’t argue with you. I’ll try to keep it shorter next time.