I’ve often said that the reason I don’t engage in politics on my personal blogs is I intend to create a safe space for my readers. This is true. However, it doesn’t cover my motivations especially well.
I’ve been thinking about how to explain this better lately. I wanted to further describe how I use my personal spaces, including why I try to make my art and writing a relaxing place for all of you.
I was once a very engaged activist on a few topics that greatly interested me. I discovered during this activism phase that voicing strong opinions and loud opposition were counterproductive to my life’s goals. Specifically, it created a tone of dissatisfaction and general negativity in both myself and my audience that fed upon itself, creating an echo chamber that made me feel increasingly miserable.
I’ve noticed this about many communities on social media, especially certain technical communities and militant blogs. While many of them make good points and channel this negativity to productive ends, their methods of presentation — often damning, insulting, or deeply shaming — leave the reader with an overwhelming sense of despair.
Instead of engaging in the negative feedback loops these create, I’ve decided to make my audience feel good about themselves through what I share and post here. This creates a positive feedback loop that leaves me with emotional energy to explore and read from a distance, and provides a much needed beacon of positivity amidst the frustration and anger.
My life isn’t perfect, and I have many of my own problems. But these are matters I prefer to keep personal or to a very small set of people, instead of reflecting them back at all of you. I have the luxury of being able to live quietly in this way, and I try to use it to the very best of my abilities.
In short: my voice to you is one that I try to keep positive. I like to think that it helps people emotionally recover and get that much further through their day, or to crack a smile when it’s most needed. This is what I enjoy, not because I’m trying to extract anything out of goodwill, but because it makes me feel good too.
March Patreon image for @tyshadragon! With lots of bonus chatter about the state of my art behind the link.
Progress video: http://colorslive.com/details/2762032
Even though Patreon didn’t process her payment this month, I opted to draw this anyway. After all, I try to be consistent!
To those wondering what’s become of my daily art posts: don’t worry. These past three months, I’ve been going through a period of soul searching on where I want to take this art.
I’ve found that when it comes to illustration, I prefer simple, expressive cartoon doodles. I actually leave the more detailed and realistic works to what I do with 3D, since I can defer the mechanics of lighting, articulation, and animation to tools like Sculptris and Blender. This also works better with how my mind understands art, because I have a very good knack for spatial awareness in 3D that works best with long periods of focused attention.
As to where I want to go with my illustrations: this past year, I’ve been developing my abilities to understand and develop characters quickly. My core direction — developing avatars and illustrations for others, to help them better realize the forms they wish to be — hasn’t changed. And over the next few years, I hope to focus this back into developing virtual avatars for people to help them express themselves better, targeting all of this new VR technology built in the wake of the Oculus Rift.
The reason this has been and remains an interest for me is simple: I am a vain. Specifically, I am one of those animal people on the Internet to whom self-actualization means having a form other than human. I am very compelled by the idea of having this form in virtual spaces — for example, I nearly cried when I donned the Oculus for a brief flight last year — and being able to use my skills to bring this experience to more people is something I really want to do with my life.
I’ve wanted to make this my full time career since just before college, but I haven’t been able to yet. Indeed, I still actively work as a software engineer for a Megacorp™ to pay the bills. But if the opportunity begins to present itself as this technology becomes more mature, I will very seriously consider making it my primary focus.
How do all of these doodles factor in? In addition to being incredibly fun and very good for my mental health — as each of these illustrations leaves me feeling incredibly happy! — I want to be able to mock out larger works quickly before I commit them to 3D or other forms of digitization. This means that form, pose, and character are all things I am actively building skill in as I doodle for an hour most evenings. And I’ve only just now realized that this is where I want to take things from here.
The result of this is: I intend to keep taking requests from people, but I’m going to be keeping them simple. Specifically, I want to continue to refine my abilities to work and draw quickly.
So, that is where I will be taking things. I have a few specific ideas in mind that I’ll want to share on their own, once I’ve had a bit more time to mock them up.
Progress video: http://colorslive.com/details/2736767
Progress video: http://colorslive.com/details/2728509
Progress video: http://colorslive.com/details/2726918
No art today to ask multiple sites a question: what time do you like seeing my regularly scheduled art on your feed?
I’ve noticed that different social media sites have different expectations about post syndication. So in the interests of curiosity, what works best for you? This will be asked of Twitter, Tumblr, G+, and my WordPress account simultaneously.