Journal Entry #19

Hey folks! This week I thought I’d talk a little bit about my schedule and how I plan out my day. Not that my days are any more exciting or productive than anyone else’s day. I like finding out how people structure their time so I thought I would share how I try to structure my time as well.

planner

I usually carry around these two books. One is for weekly planning a’la Covey (very simplified). The one under it is for anything and everything, including my “Habitat” scripts and math work.

I try to start my day at 5am. I do about 30-45 minutes of algebra which I call my “morning math” time. Then I go downstairs and practice zen posture and breathing for 5 to 10 minutes. I used to try drawing in the morning but I decided my motor functions didn’t work very well right after waking up. It’s also very hard to be creative at 5am. I like doing algebra in the morning because I think it kinda sharpens up my brain and gets it ready for the rest of the day. After an algebra workout the rest of the day seem pretty easy on my brain. 🙂 Meditation time in the morning  is good for self-awareness and keeping a positive outlook on the day. When I start the day in the moment I try to keep that going throughout the day. Before going to work I also walk Iggy to get at least some exercise. and to just get outdoors…even if it is still dark.

While at work, I don’t do much… just work. I try to think of comic strip ideas during work but most of the time I leave that till later.

After work, I try to catch some nightly news before making dinner and spending time with Sara, usually by watching a movie or a show on Netflix. I try to be in bed by 9:30 to give me time to read and write a script for “Habitat.” Writing the strip is usually the last thing I do in the day. Yes, it is procrastination but i don’t think it harms the writing that much. I’ll usually have a rough idea of what I want to write about before I get into it. Then I try to fall asleep by 11:00 and do the whole thing over the next day.

I also keep a weekly Moleskine planner and journal with me at all times. It definitely helps with knowing when bills and library books are due.  Having a weekly planner keeps my life in order and at least makes me think I’m actually getting things done. I do get crabby when I don’t get things done in my planner and Sara is the one I take it out on, unfortunately. I’m still learning to balance a relationship with what I want to get done in a day and in my lifetime.

The following is a list of stuff that I strive to do everyday… It doesn’t always happen but it is goals I like to keep.

  • Wake up at 5:00 AM.
  • Asleep by 11:00 PM.
  • Meditate for at least 10 minutes.
  • Stay positive.
  • Concentrate on a loving attitude
  • Refrain from anger.
  • Refrain from swearing.
  • Devote time for academic study (math, science, history, etc.)
  • Spend time catching up on current events. (Nightly news)
  • Devote time to exercise.
  • Read at least 10 pages.
  • Drink 2 32oz. bottles of water.
  • Take a vitamin
  • Clean cat boxes
  • Clean dishes
  • Listen to an album in it’s entirety. (weird, I know.)
  • Look for job opportunities.
  • Walk the dog at least 2 times a day.
  • Find time to draw for at least 10 minutes.
  • Write “Habitat” strip.

I try to live a balanced life of mind, body and spirit and I try to plan my day accordingly. I try to put a purpose behind everything I do. I don’t want to waste a moment of my life. I want to be a “renaissance man” of sorts. 🙂

OK, I’m sure I’ve gone on long enough. Maybe some other time I’ll go into my weekly planning stuff. I’m not too sure how interesting any of this is but Sara says there are a lot of people out there interested in how people structure their lives. I hope you found this at least a tad interesting. Thanks for reading. See you Friday!

P.S. This week’s comic will not be color. The color one was just a test.

Journal Entry #17

Howdy folks! Although I don’t really have anything of substance to say, I thought I would post something just to let you know I still exist… plus I think people like knowing the boring, mundane things that go on in people’s lives… I know I do.

I’m still writing scripts for “Habitat” pretty much everyday. Even when I’m feeling uninspired I force myself to write a strip. Amazingly enough they turn out to be pretty funny (to me at the time.) I’m enjoying my time away from drawing the comic. I know that since I’m a cartoonist I should like drawing but I find drawing for an audience or for a goal stressful. I believe even one of my heroes, Chris Ware, said in an interview he rarely finds drawing pleasurable. I’m rarely pleased with how my stuff turns out so I struggle at making drawing pleasurable for myself as well. So every time you see my comic, be aware of my inner struggle to make it better! LOL

You’ll notice in the next comic (on Friday) that there is just a little bit of computer shading added to each panel. I’m thinking of doing a basic “talking heads” sort of comic for awhile until I can master drawing the faces of the characters. I started out the comic thinking I could be as detailed as Walt Kelly with “Pogo” but, now I think mastering one aspect of the comic at a time would be best. So in future comics you’ll probably see a bit of a de-evolutionized “Habitat.” I’m bringing it back to basics: just two characters from the waist up, text, speech bubbles, and gray background. I’m just letting you know so that when you see the upcoming comics you don’t wonder what the hell is going on. It may be more boring to look at but I’ll try to make up for it with the writing.

Lately, I’ve been getting up early to work on re-teaching myself algebra. I got myself a book from the library and I’ve been working on it every morning. This sounds insane but I do a have reasoning behind it. First, I’m trying to knock the cob webs out of my brain and trying to become more knowledgable of math and science. Second, If I do have to take any placement tests for math in college, I want to try to test out of as many math classes as possible. Thirdly, if I ever have a child it would be nice if I could help him or her with algebra homework.

I’ve blabbed for long enough. Thank you to everyone who continues to read my junk. LOL Stop by on Friday to see the new comic! PEACE!

A Case Of The Mondays

Dog Days

OK, I lied. I’ve decided it is smarter to post Mondays and Fridays. So The plan is a blog post every Monday and my comic will post every Friday. Both at 10am CST. Sorry for any confusion.  Posting on Wednesdays just seemed too close to Friday.

In an attempt to stay motivated about “Habitat” I’ve been writing a strip a day. I think just writing out a rough script every day has kind of helped me shape the character’s personalities a bit more. It has also given me a little deeper well to go to when I have to decide what strip I’m going to do next. I haven’t written anything with more than just Morton and Finn in it yet. I would like those two to be perfected before I add more characters to the mix. I’m not lacking in strip ideas yet. I’ll usually have a general idea of what I want the strip to be about (examples: rain, the softness of grass, traffic patterns) and then I’ll brainstorm from there on what the characters will do and say. I usually have the idea while I’m working so I’ll just have to quickly write the idea down and then write the script during lunch or after work…. and sometimes during work. 🙂

I must admit that I got a little discouraged when I discovered the comic “Over The Hedge.” I thought it was just a animated movie but it is actually a comic strip as well. It is a very well done strip that is set in the outdoors as well which made me wonder if I should rethink my strip. I wanted to be more original and I was bummed that there was another strip doing it better than I was. Then I thought about it and figured that my strip is different enough that no one is going to accuse me of ripping off “Over The Hedge.” I even think my strip can be just as good, if not better than “Over The Hedge” if I keep working at it and sharpening my drawing and writing skills. It may seem like I have a big head but, at times you need that ego to keep yourself motivated.

Well, that’s all for now. I want to thank all of you for reading “Habitat.” It means so much to me when I see that someone “liked” a strip… yes, I sit and stare at my dashboard for hours on end waiting for the likes to come in. lol I really do appreciate your viewership though. Feel free to drop me a comment now and then. I would love to here from you! Thanks for reading! See you FRIDAY!!

I’m Back For A Brand New Adventure

This site has been a ghost land for a couple of weeks since I haven’t posted anything. I took a little break after finishing the script of my graphic novel. Sara and I took a well-deserved tiny vacation to Sister Bay in Door County Wisconsin. It was very beautiful, (what seemed to be) very liberal, and we now want to live there.  For now, we’ll have to settle for Kenosha though… at least until this book makes me a millionaire. LOL

So after several weeks of slacking, I’m back on the graphic novel project. I’m shooting to be done with the rough layout stage by the end of this year, so I can move on to the drawing and inking of the pages. Earlier in the process I started a very rough layout stage for the first couple of pages which basically where just boxes with descriptions of the scenes in them. Now I’m proceeding to put photos in and make it more fleshed out. I’m not going to be putting photos on every page but instead very rough sketches or descriptions of the scene in each panel. Here is where I’m at right now. As you can see I’m not far but I’m hoping this will work out for me.

All of this was done in Adobe InDesign. With the help of Sara I was able to take a lot of photos of Kenosha… a lot where done right inside the car… a drive-by photo-shoot. Some of the photos where slightly fuzzy which doesn’t matter since they’ll be used more as reference for drawing. So this is where I’m at in the project so far.

One more piece of news is that I finally broke down and bought an iphone with a data plan several weeks ago. I want to use it more as a useful tool than a toy but it’s often just a distraction at this point. LOL I’m hoping to get more social online now that it is easier to tweet photos and update Facebook and blog posts. So Hopefully I’ll be posting more often… whether it’s interesting or not! LOL

Thanks for dropping by. Peace!

What’s Been Going On Lately

A lot has happened since the last time I posted. I will start with the unfortunate event of our pet rat Harvey being put to rest. A huge scabbing lump had formed on his shoulder and when we brought him to see the vet we learned that he had lost substantial weight as well. The vet said most pet store rats live 2 to 3 years and we had had Harvey for 2 good years. He began sleeping more than normal, he wouldn’t eat as much as he used to and his back legs were becoming lame as well. Last Monday we (Sara and I) decided that it would be best if we end any suffering he may have and have him put to sleep. His death hit me harder than I expected it to. You kind of take for granted the joy a pet can bring you until he/she is gone. Sara wants to keep the cage up awhile before we clean it and put down in the basement. For me I get a little pang of sadness every time I see it. We buried Harvey in the flower garden and planted a stargazer lilly over him to remember him by. He was both of our first experience with a rat and we certainly will never have another great rat like Harvey. Rest in peace buddy.

OK, Hopefully that wasn’t too sad and depressing. In other more positive news. I hit the 100 page mark in my graphic novel script. I’m considering myself done with the script even though it is not fully complete. I told myself at the beginning of this whole idea that if I can write 100 pages of a script that will give me enough confidence to finish the book completely. There are still some story lines I didn’t finish but I figure I can figure out how to fit those in during the rough layout process. The rest of the script will be kinda a write as you go sort of thing. I will continue to keep you posted on how the book is going.

Another little goal Im working toward is reaching my ideal weight. I’ve become pretty pudgy since turning thirty. I have definitely discovered that my metabolism is not what it used to be. I can’t eat Taco Bell all day and not live with the results anymore. It makes me feel older but it is also good because it has forced me to pay more attention to my body. I’m starting to eat more vegetables, drink more water, cut down on my meat and over-all portion sizes. I’m hoping by Christmas I’ll be around 130-40lbs. That’s the goal anyway.

One more little bit of personal news, I began reading the “Steve Jobs” bio a couple of weeks ago. So far, it’s pretty interesting. The book goes Jobs’ Zen fascination which has kind of rekindled my interest with Zen meditation and Buddhism.

That it all for now. I’ll keep you updated on whats going on in my life… until then. Peace.

Goals and Inspiration

It’s been about 2 weeks since my last post and I am still in the process of writing the graphic novel. I initially wanted to post something every Wednesday but I found I really had nothing to post about since I didn’t want to give away much of the story. I’m at 72 pages now which I am pretty proud of. I never really thought I would get this far in the writing process. I’m starting to relax on my writing schedule a little bit. It’s getting hard for me to wake up so early every morning and be able to write. I’ve been sticking to my goal of 10 pages a week. I figure as long as I get 10 pages done a week it doesn’t matter what schedule I keep.

Besides working on the book I have also been working on trying to better myself. It’s good to have goals but I find myself becoming grumpy if i don’t finish a goal I have set for myself.   That is the main reason why I have done away with my strict writing schedule. I have also been meditating more which helps slow things down and puts things in perspective. I have also noticed That I’ve let my body go too soft so I have decided to do sit-ups every day to feel and look better. These are little things but they help me to be a happier person. http://personalexcellence.co/blog/101-ways-to-be-a-better-person/ This is the site I have been going to a lot lately. It is just another self-help site but I find it inspirational and I especially like it because there are a lot of lists.

So that’s it for now. Thanks for dropping by!

Keep on Truckin’

Hello all. I don’t really have to much to report but I thought I would post something to stay in practice. I am still writing. I have completed 44 pages so far in the book. I’m averaging 10 pages a week which is satisfactory to me. Most days I get up around 5:00 to sit at my computer for about 5 minutes and try to wake up then type about a page or so. I’m sort of amazed how fast my brain can switch to thinking about what I want to write. For being half asleep I don’t think I do too bad.

I know I’ve talked about this in previous posts but I’ve decided not to do a linear story line. Instead of going chronological, I thought it would be more interesting to work the story around topics that come up. Religion is a topic that I’m working on now. I thought I blab about my experiences growing up in the Catholic church. I took a little inspiration from Spiegleman’s “Maus” by going back and forth between the present and past. In one scene I could be talking to Sara in the studio and in another scene I could be narrating some embarrassing moment in my life. I originally didn’t want to do that way but I think it opens up the book to more possibilities that way.

I’ve been sticking mostly to writing the book lately. I haven’t been working on the layout of the pages or drawing anything yet. I figure that I’ll cross those bridges when I get to them. I don’t want to rush ahead of myself. When I get to the next phase in the book I’ll definitely keep you posted. Thanks for dropping by.

 

Graphic Novel Layout Process

Hello and Happy 4th of July! I’m back again to report on how the book is going. Amongst working a crappy full-time job and all the other stuff that needs to be done in life I have been chugging away at this graphic novel. As you probably already know, I’m in the writing stage of this process. The writing is more of a script. I don’t really describe what people or places look like because that will be accomplished throughout the drawing. In school I always enjoyed english class so I thought this wouldn’t be so bad. I consider myself more of an artist than a writer but I would like to think I can at least tell a good story. Writing is a chore for me but I get at least one page out a day. I have constant self-doubts but I try to push those thoughts out of my head so I can just get down to business. I’m only at 33 pages and I hope to catch up to 40 pages by Sunday.

Along with the writing, I’ve started a rough layout of what the first five pages will look like. All these pages were done in Adobe InDesign.

Title page.

I thought it would be nice to bring in a very small element of the book into the title page so I decided to pull an image from the web just as place holder to let me know I wanted a paper fortuneteller here.

Dedication page.

I’m not too sure when in the writing process professional authors decide to do their dedications but I decided to make a dedication page now just to get a feel for page layout.

 

First page of the book.

This would be the first real page of the book. If you’re able to read the text please don’t judge my writing too harshly. It is my first time writing a whole book and this may not even be the exact final wording.

I have taken several photographs of the Kenosha, WI area so I’ll be drawing lots of little scenes for everyone of these panels.

So there you have it.  The first five rough pages. It may not look like much but it is a start and you can start to see my process. From this point I will drop in photo references. Then from there i will begin to draw out the page. I’m still unsure if I will hand letter the story or do that on the computer.

Hope you found this informative. Thanks for dropping by!