Long Introspective Post That Maybe Only Three People Will Read
Tonight I was wondering if it’s possible to develop negative emotions about a particular place or object to such a degree that eventually one winds up getting filled with dread at the mere thought of such a place or object. When I was living in my last apartment in Eugene, I grew so despondent at my isolation, and so frustrated about my digital art setup being a veritable anchor to that awful apartment, that I quit drawing my webcomic and almost quit drawing comics completely. I moved out of that apartment, away from Eugene, and I swapped out my old beast of a Cintiq (the anvil-like 24HD) for a 13HD that allows me to have desktop space. But despite these positive changes, I still feel like my digital art setup is anchoring me, rooting me to a single location day after day after day. I’m beginning to feel once again the same sense of despondency I felt in Eugene, and it’s affecting my desire to draw comics.
But here’s the thing… It’s entirely my choice to draw my comic digitally. I like drawing digitally. I can make more mistakes, undoing them with a simple keystroke. I don’t have to store lots of art supplies and paper, and digital storage of my comics is on a device smaller than a postage stamp. I can color my comics with ease. I can post my digitally created comics to the internet using the same device I use to draw them. Digital drawing has a huge number of advantages. But my current setup as it is lacks in one critical manner: It’s stationary.
I used to have a Macbook Pro and a Wacom Intuos 4 tablet. I could stuff it into my messenger bag and ride downtown to the coffee shop and do digital art beyond the confines of my own room. Being able to move freely from place to place with my art setup has always been a great boon to my creativity. But that laptop died, and the computer I have been using for the last three years is a 27-inch iMac, which is the opposite of portable. Even though my Cintiq now is the same size as my old laptop, it requires being connected to the iMac in order to function. So going to the coffee shop (or anywhere else) to work on digital art isn’t an option, and hasn’t been an option for a long time.
When I’m riding my bike places, nothing bothers me. I really like that feeling, and I like that it’s so easy to achieve. But I’ve not been riding my bike as often as I used to because I’m always sitting at my computer working on my comics. But if I’m developing antipathy toward my existing drawing setup on the grounds that it grounds me, and that antipathy is hindering my desire to draw comics on it, then I once again run the risk of quitting comics because how I make them is making me unhappy.
So that leaves me with a choice: Find a way to make my digital art setup portable, or quit drawing digitally and go back to paper. The only reason why I balk at quitting drawing digitally is because of the comfort I enjoy in that medium. Like I said before, I don’t have to store any art supplies. I can make mistakes and undo them. And I can publish to the internet with the same setup. I can’t really do any of that with just a paper and pencil. But if giving up drawing digitally is what I have to do in order to feel free to go other places again to be creative, then that’s what I’m going to have to do.
I hate sitting at the same desk day after day to draw when I used to be able to go other places to do exactly the same thing and be able to enjoy it. This may sound kind of hokey, but it was the season three finale of The Legend of Korra that made me realize just how alive I feel when I’m roaming. I want to be an Air Nomad of sorts, and now I have to find a way to make that happen and still be able to draw comics and share them with folks online.
Not drawing comics is not an option. If I ever truly quit drawing comics, I may as well just stop living right then and there. It’s my immediate task to figure out a way to wander and still draw my comics. If that means drawing them in sketchbooks and publish them as I can when I have the means available, then that’s that. I do not have, nor will I likely ever have, the money to afford a fancy toy like a Cintiq Companion (even though it would be the perfect device for my needs). But instead of dwelling on what I’ll never have, I need to focus on what I can do with the tools I do have. If portability is essential and technology is prohibitively expensive, then the answer is a spiral-bound sketchbook.
I’ve been feeling negative about a place and a thing, and that negativity is affecting my desire to create. I have the key to unlock the metaphorical chains in which I’m bound. The question is: Am I willing to use it?