Therapy Session 1

I wrote a bit about my depression and other medical issues before, but I don’t think I’ve ever felt as bad as I do now. It’s gotten to the point where I feel like I’ll never be able to lead a happy life, that everything I’m doing is futile.

The only positive thing about my life is the comics I’m drawing and that’s it. But… those comics aren’t doing so well either, my inability to update them reliably is really taking it’s toll on me.

I started AHS to get some practice with comics, be done with it in a few years and move on to the next project. So much for that pipe-dream, because now I feel like I wont even finish AHS in my lifetime, let alone the other comics I wanted to do. I can’t just ignore this anymore like I could a few years ago, when I didn’t have as much to worry about. It fucking kills me that after all this time I’m still not at any of the remotely exciting parts of AHS. The pacing of my comics totally werks guise.

So, in order to try and preserve the only good thing I have left in this miserable existence, I’m going to take a step back for a while and take a hiatus from the comic to re-examine things.
(Kinda shooting myself in the foot a bit because no more Patreon funds during the hiatus, but I feel it’s necessary.)

I’ll need to focus not just on improving my art, but on working more quickly. If the pain in my arm is here to stay, I’ll have to find a way to be more efficient with it at least.

And while I’m practicing, maybe draw a few things I’ve always wanted to, to hopefully cheer me up a bit. Like this one:

Session 1: Some demons I guess?

Session 1: Some demons I guess?

Demons consume humans and absorb their life force. They also have a complete disregard for human life and are incredibly cruel, never trust them! Though they don’t normally have sentient tails.
I want so badly to be at the point in the story where these guys start appearing, but you know…

So, did this feel good drawing make me feel better? Did this “therapy session” work out?

I came down with the flu while drawing it, so no.
Good night.

15 comments

Not doing too well.

I don’t really want to post about stuff like this, but I think you guys should know.

I’m not feeling very good right now, neither physically nor mentally. One thing might be related to the other, healthy body, healthy mind and all that.
I just don’t have any energy. Sitting in front of an empty canvas and I can’t even bring myself to pick up a pen.

Depression sucks, especially if you try to ignore it your whole life. A big reason for this: depression and anxiety make you reluctant to talk about it. Hell, even writing this post is hard, it’s not a lot of words but it took days.
It’s called the invisible disease for a reason, and if you don’t let people know, nobody’s going to help you. It took me a long time to learn this.

Basically, I’ve tried to completely ignore everything and just focused on making the comic.
“I’ll never be happy, but maybe this comic will brighten other people’s days.”
Not a healthy outlook on life.

Sorry for taking another break from the AHS, but I’ll need a while to sort a few things out. Hopefully I’ll be feeling better in a week or two.

25 comments

Drawing is no fun like this.

Most of you probably already know that I’m having problems with my wrist.
It almost feels like my arm is slowly turning into a gnarled piece of wood.

WP_20140314_004b

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome + Tendinitis = Ow.

 Here’s what I’ve been doing so far:

  • I slowed down my comic making in order to let my wrist recover.
  • I didn’t work on IFF at all, because that comic makes my hand curl up into a ball of pain just from thinking about it. :c
  • I got a wrist brace.
  • I’m taking some Vitamin Bs as a helpful reader suggested.
  • I try using my left hand for more menial tasks.

All of this helped somewhat, but it seems that as soon as I do anything, the pain returns.

A few weeks ago I started exercising again, did some weightlifting and the pain was back in full force.
I didn’t even use heavy weights or anything, so why is this happening?

Turns out I have a thing called Hypermobility.
Hyper flexible joints can have different causes, but one of them is “A Type 1 collagen or other connective tissue defect”.
In other words: My ligaments, muscles, tendons etc. are softer than normal and thus more prone to damage.
This means heavy physical activity is bad, but so are lot’s of small repetitive motions… You know… like drawing.
I’m not going to stop drawing though! I’d rather kill myself.

I really haven’t been doing well recently, because it’s getting more and more clear to me that this probably isn’t something that’s going to get better. I’ll just have to learn to deal with it somehow.

Thinking about things:

  1. Taking a real break.
    I’ve been taking breaks on and off for some time now, but even when I am not drawing comics, I couldn’t really avoid using my hand for other work.
    Gotta avoid using that hand somehow, if I take another break.
  2. A more ergonomic workspace.
    You can see my current workspace here.
    Being hunched over that tablet all the time is probably not the best for me.
    I’m still debating on saving up for a Cintiq or something similar, but cheaper. However, a part of me feels like I might not like it because it could actually be too big for my taste.
  3. Be less of a perfectionist.
    The thing with digital art is that it makes it possible to be a perfectionist.
    Unlimited undos, erasing doesn’t damage your paper, ability to zoom in, etc. I’ve spent much longer on each individual page since I switched to digital.
    Being a perfectionist seems like a bad idea if you’re not perfect. I wouldn’t even consider myself a good artist, but spending hours just refining stuff masks some of my shortcomings at the expense of my wrist.
    I might have to lower my standards a bit to a more realistic level, especially considering my condition. I do want to finish this comic, as well as some others, within my lifetime. 😐

That’s all I can think of right now, if you have any suggestions, leave a comment.

12 comments

Old Setup and new rig!

Here’s my current setup.

setup

I’m using an Asus EP121 tablet pc, with a Razer Nostromo for hotkeys and a Wacom Bamboo Stylus Feel as a pen replacement. Software wise, I’m using Manga Studio 5.

I bought the EP121 about a year ago. I got it for 400 bucks on ebay and it’s definitely been one of my best investments so far. It took some getting used to as I never really got into digital art before. AHS updated very slowly during that time and at one point I was considering going back to pen and paper. Then Manga Studio 5 came out and changed that. I loved this thing from that point on.
I’m still not updating the comic as fast as I did when working traditionally. I feel it’s because working digitally allows me to really obsess over every little detail, zoom, erase, undo, etc. A bit ironic, since I got into digital art to “streamline” the process…

The Nostromo may look a bit weird but I wouldn’t want to miss it for drawing. It could use a few more buttons though. Razer recently came out with a successor, the Orbweaver. I might get it one of these days.

The Bamboo stylus may seem like a strange choice, because it only has one (hard to press) side button and no eraser on the other side. The reason I bought it is accuracy. The cursor on the screen appears closer to the tip of the pen than any other pen I’ve tried.

The biggest problem with tablet itself is that it’s getting a bit dated. It was already old when I bought it.
It’s got 4gigs of ram, which is no longer enough for my needs and I can’t upgrade it. The processor is also a bit sluggish when it comes to complex Manga Studio brushes, but MS is partially at fault here too, I’m sure they could optimize the program more.

I’m using a regular desktop PC and PaintShop for the finishing touches. Mostly the text editing, because Manga Studio’s text-tool still isn’t very good.

When that PC was causing issues I decided to upgrade, to hopefully do all the work on the new system and leave the anemic tablet behind.


The Parts
Case: Silverstone TJ-08B-EW (I went with a Micro-ATX case. Nice and small, but not too cramped either.)
CPU: Intel Core i7 4770k
CPU Cooler: Scythe Grand Kama Cross 2 (I wanted to try a down draft cooler, and it was only 35€.)
Mainboard: Asus Gryphon Z87 (C2) (Guess why I went with that one… Yeah… I’m stupid.)

Everything else was salvaged from my old PC.

Now for arguably the most important part. Tablet Monitor: Lenovo LT1423p

Everyone knows Cintiqs are hella expensive, starting at about 1000$, but now there’s this! A cheap alternative at only 320€.
Spoiler alert: Sadly, it didn’t quite work out, I’ve been trying a whole week to make it work, but no dice. I’ll write up more about that soon.

The new PC is working flawlessly though, just with no way to draw on it. Here’s a few pictures I took while putting it together.


This is the most silent PC I ever had, my monitor is actually louder! Even my desk lamp is louder if you can believe that. Although that might just mean I need a new lamp.

Now to find an affordable tablet monitor and start saving up for it.

In the meantime I’m going back to my trusty Asus EP121.

4 comments