I know it’s been quite a while since I’ve updated. In case you’d like more frequent updates on exactly what I’m up to, you can subscribe on my Subscribestar. I mean, at least these days I’m more consistent about updating there every week or so.

I really need to take away the source of anxiety in this project. I think putting up the ETA and then pushing it back over and over again isn’t helping me. Every time I get into an illustration, I’m insistent on making sure it gets to a certain point with its quality and trying really hard to get it that “wow factor”. Every illustration I do always starts out super plain and I’m always anxious if I don’t figure out that soon on how to make it look “good.” I’d feel horrible if I rushed it and it didn’t feel “good enough” because I needed to make some imaginary self-assigned deadline.

My progress is slow these days, but at the bare minimum I’m putting in consistent time every week even if I don’t have finished products every single week. I really don’t want to feel bad, I’m the only one setting up expectations.

I’ve also realized that this year I’ve produced an unprecedented amount of artwork by my own standards. I’ve beaten my own record I believe, in a given year. Well, let’s just say… within my adult years. I’ve been an adult for quite a few years now and I can’t say I’ve been this productive and happy in my life with the artwork I’ve produced in a year. I’ve been fighting so hard these days to just calm down that nagging, anxious and scolding voice in my head that keeps saying “You could be more time efficient but you’re not!”

The last time I clocked this many hours of working on personal artwork was probably back before college, when I was a kid. I think I used art-making as a way to procrastinate on other obligations that had nothing to do with art. Then I slowed down in art school (ironically, but was just trying to fulfill my Fine Arts school obligations). After I got away from being around the naggy authority figures, it was all up to me to get stuff done and get myself to where I wanted to be as an adult. But I found that all I wanted to do was get the hell away from obligation and wait for the “perfect” times to finally do what I really wanted to do. Holidays would come and go, though. Weeks of no obligations came and went. During my most opportune times, I’d mostly just play video games. I believe I was simply anxious and addicted. I had to numb my anxiety with video games. Every time I played video games, I hade this guilty voice in my head: “I should be making art right now,” or “I wish that I could just trade all this video gaming time for art-making time.”

This year I probably played the least amount of video games and put in the most amount of time into making art in the past decade — and not just any art, but artwork that I’m so much happier with and that is more authentic. Artwork with a much more enjoyable process. I didn’t think this was possible, but here I am.

In my adult life, including my college years, I feel like my personal work only amounted to like 1 to 4 full, complete and substantial pieces in a year. I’d be lucky if I did like 2 in a year. They’d mostly be illustrations, but every now and then they might be animations or maybe some game graphics to some unfinished game. I guess I’m not counting the work I did for clients (which most of the time I wasn’t that proud of, and the process was almost always filled with anxiety) but still… I definitely couldn’t manage to do even 1 substantial personal art piece each month.

I know I can do so much more than I did this year and I really hope to achieve that next year. I’ve achieved a personal best. This year I produced 35 fully colored and shaded comic pages that each probably took me about 8 hours to make and about 20 illustrations that each took me probably at least 5 hours to do (maybe up to 15 hours on any one of them). That’s a big deal to me and I want to tell that negative voice in my head to shut the hell up because I am doing better than ever as an artist in her adult years. I haven’t been this motivated in so many years, and my anxiety has never quieted for these kinds of increments of time. Some 55-ish substantial art pieces in a year that make me feel this happy and authentic is a huge deal to me. I hope some day soon I can make at least 200 art pieces per year with equal or better quality. I’m sure it’s possible since there are insane artists out there who can knock out 1 to 2 comic pages a day or… whatever hundreds or thousands of frames of animation in a year.

I still struggle though. I still have a lot of self doubt in my abilities to create work that has the qualities of other artists’ works I admire. All I can really count on is being unrelenting when it comes to putting in the hours. That has always been the constant in my art-making process that leads to better results. Set aside my self doubt long enough to just keep making more brush strokes on an illustration until it stops looking ugly and unfinished.

I’ll be honest about this current painting though. I felt pretty bad and anxious enough about it that I needed to get away from it… so I replayed XCOM 2 until I beat it again, constantly telling myself “I really need to get back to that painting.” I played a bunch of games in the past few days with friends and family because of Thanksgiving, so I have been pretty slow with progress.

But every day, I always have this strong urge to look at my brain children, my collection of work related to “The Anaether,” and feel excited about the potential and all the coolest and unforgettable scenes that I want to render out some day in my comic pages for you guys. I need to do it because I really, really want to.

Thank you for reading, and thank you for your patience.