A Professional Milestone

submission_blog_1Upon turning twenty-five, I abruptly switched life paths. Feeling unfulfilled with my corporate IT job and Los Angeles itself, I decided to follow my passion for art and expression, and made a new life in Austin, TX. Ever since (in between various jobs) I’ve been practicing drawing and visual storytelling. This nine years of practice (I can’t believe it’s been NINE YEARS already!) has cumulated with my first children’s book manuscript, Neat Birds, which I’ve recently submit to an agent. This is a big deal!

If signed by an agent, it means they believe this book will get a publishing contract. With high hopes, I decided to submit to a VERY GOOD AGENT. Their agency represents the very talented and popular children’s book author & illustrator, Mo Willems. I’ve given them exclusive rights to my manuscript for a month, after which I can submit to other agents. I must wait up to six weeks for a reply from them (they receive MANY submissions), and if I don’t hear anything, I should considered it DENIED (brutal, eh?). Publishing is a competitive industry, and aspirants must learn to flow with rejection. That said, I feel like the book proposal is strong, and those who’ve seen it have had very positive responses — so I’m optimistic!

In the submission package were two documents. 1) The picture book dummy (the book storyboard), and 2) some samples of finished artwork. The images below show the art going from rough storyboard to “finished.”

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They say there are no atheists in a foxhole. Well, there are no atheist authors-desperate-for-a-book-deal either. Your thoughts, prayers, and magic workings are appreciated. :)

Newly Printed Mini-Comics!

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Comics and prints are now for sale in my new ONLINE SUPERMARKET!

Catharsis Comics is a collection of humorous and heartfelt comics relating to love, sex, and being single — including a chapter from my now defunked graphic novel!

BIRTH/DEATH poses the question: What if your strongest desire at the time of death determined your next life? Take a spin through time and space in this multi-life karmic adventure.

You can get both these nicely-printed comics for only $9, plus shipping.

There’s also my popular “Be the Love You Want to Find” print for only $3.

Not only are these enjoyable to look at, but they make nice gifts. Thank you for supporting my art!

Projects at the Print Shop

Progress on my new graphic novel has been coming along, but before I totally depart into that fertile land, I’ve been diligently transforming past projects into tangible tokens. I’d like to announce the forthcoming release of two mini-comics — one, a collection of romantically themed break-up comics, and the other a self-contained, short, experimental story. I’ll release more info on these soon, but in the meantime, here’s the covers:

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I’m really happy with how these came out, particularly the cover for Catharsis Comics. If I saw it at a convention or comics shop, I would be be intrigued and want a closer look.

These mini-comics represent my first foray into self-publishing, and I’ve definitely learned a lot — namely, how time consuming it is! Just formatting the files for the printer was a huge task requiring making little prototype books using scissors and glue sticks, then dismantling it to see what page each piece gets printed on (it’s not a linear process like you might think). Not including time spent creating the content, it probably took an additional 40 hours to create the covers, layout the books, and prepare the files for the print shop.

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When these are printed I’ll be collating and staple-binding them myself — another time consuming task. All told, from this printing, I’ll have 60 copies of BIRTH/DEATH and 70 copies of Catharsis Comics. With the $260 spent on paper, printing, and supplies, if I sell these for $5 each, I’ll be lucky to make $1/hr for the time I’ve spent producing these comics. Clearly, I’m not in it for the money. I see these books as a sort of business card; you lose money having business cards printed, but hopefully, they go out into the world and bring back the goodness.

Vipassana & A New Year

Recently I completed a 10-day silent mediation course called Vipassana. During these 10 days you are not supposed to talk, gesture, touch, or look into the eyes of another human. In addition, books and writing materials are not allowed. Instead you live a simple monk-like existence and meditate 8 hours a day.

With a routine like this, there is nowhere to hide from yourself. No distractions to soothe the pain in your mind. From deep in the subconscious, thoughts bubble to the surface: thoughts which bring pleasure or discomfort, craving or aversion. Your job is only to watch these sensations ripple through the body and remain objective. Equanimous.

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To call it a mediation “retreat” would be misleading. It’s fucking work, and can be torture. There were times I wanted to yell in frustration at my wandering, neurotic, impulsive mind. Us humans like to think we’re independent agents with free will, when in fact we’re dominated by our conditioning and habitual thought patterns. Vipassana helped me understand this on an experiential level, and has given me the tools to affect change.

I really got to experience how all my suffering and unhappiness resides only in my mind. It’s not caused by any person or any situation. IT-IS-ONLY-IN-MY-MIND. The good news is: that’s also where an eternal spring of happiness flows, and all it takes to bathe in those refreshing waters is awareness, patience, and persistence.

The mind is also where creativity lives. If you can hush all your crazy bullshit, magic is there for the taking.

Needless to stay, I’m excited to see where things go from here. I feel like I’ve reached a turning point in my life… coinciding with the turning of the sun. (happy solstice!)

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Related:
Vipassana TEDx Talk
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