Friday, June 3, 2011

Anonymous on Tumblr asked:

Your daily confessions crack me up bro. You should make a book, I would def buy it. A lot of them talk about past girlfriends and stuff, I'm 22 and it's embarrassing to say this but I've never had a girlfriend, never even kissed a girl, the thought of approaching a girl just terrifies me, I don't know what to say them, I just freeze up, or I think too much and stall and the moment passes. I don't want to bring this up with my friends that's why I'm asking you, you've obviously talked to girls. Any pointers, besides "be yourself" and "gotta have confidence"???



I totally know where you're coming from, girls used to terrify me as well, haha. Even after having a few girlfriends I haven't ultimately wiped out succumbing to my nerves.

Also, I totally understand what you mean about "be yourself" and "gotta have confidence". That advice always bugged me. It's not WRONG, but, it's not easy to apply. It's not like you can just go "Oh, confidence? That's it? Why didn't I think of that?! Let me just do that then!" Confident is not something you can just decide to be, and personally I really think people who give that as advice are doing unconfident people a detriment. For years I wanted to be confident, and I didn't know how to be, so I just took it as fact that I'm not a confident person, and that just makes you even more insecure. Does that ring a bell? People never tell you HOW to be confident. To be come confident you really have to adjust like a lot of the core things you believe, eventhough it's tempting me for to get into that it's like way too much for me to type.

Here are some pointers though. 1) Don't say negative things about yourself, not even in your mind. As soon as you catch yourself saying something discouraging, correct yourself. "She probably wouldn't like me." no "There's a chance she'll like me." Stuff like that. The less you say negative things to yourself the less that kind of stuff will pop into your head.

2) Concerning girls, they're just people. This may sound ridiculous, but what helps me not get intimidated by girls is to remember that they poop and pee and fart just like anybody. I don't know if this would work for other people but sometimes if I see a pretty girl I'll imagine her farting. I don't know, maybe that's the dumbest advice I've ever given, haha, but I find it amazingly effective for me personally.

As far as approaching girls goes. I'm going to make an assumption about you, you probably don't have casual conversation with strangers often. That was the case with me. Walking up to a stranger and trying to carry on a conversation with a girl is going to be difficult if you never really talk to people outside your social circle. This was easy to solve for me, I eased myself into it gradually.

step 1) Smile at every single person you make eye contact with throughout your day. Not just pretty girls, but the ones you don't find attractive too, guys, old people, kids, animals, just smile at every single person. Just a friendly little smile, you don't have to bare all your teeth like a psycho or anything, just one of these :) and keep walking. Most people smile back unless they're a miserable piece of poopies. I think getting in the habit of smiling at people is super important for many reasons. a) it makes you seem approachable. b) girls are going to feel less weird about a stranger initiating a conversation with them if they feel he's just a friendly person and not someone who wants something from them. c) The opposite sex pick up on subtext like nobody's business. Half of it they're not even aware of. If you seem like you have a sunny disposition that's communicating to them that you have your shit together, you're happy, headed where you want to go, you're a positive person, etc etc, and that's appealing. d) even if you don't feel like you have anything to be happy about, being in the habit of smiling will put you in a good mood.

2) You can do the smiling thing for a day, or a week, or however long it takes you to feel like you're not forcing it. Then you can move on to throwing in some simple pleasantries. "How's it going?" "Afternoon." "Have a nice day." etc.

3) Now, start complimenting random people. Tell an old lady her dress is pretty or something. Tell a guy his sneakers are dope. Compliment a girl's shoes/hair/outfit. It's not something you have to make a big deal out of, you can just say it in passing, not expecting anything from it. They will appreciate it.

4) After you've gotten comfortable doing all that, start making small talk. It'll probably be a little awkward at first, but don't expect to be awesome at it, the object is to get yourself comfortable talking to strangers, so that going up to one and initiating a conversation stops being this weird thing that you feel like you need a "reason" to do.

bonus tips: Don't ask girls yes or no questions. It's a conversation killer. "Waiting for the bus?" "Yeah." "Cool, you go to school?" "Yeah." ".....(you thinking of another thing to say)...." "....(her waiting for you thinking of another thing to say)..." the awkward pause becomes too long and you feel like you've lost the momentum so you get nervous and don't say another thing.

Jokes. Not like "A priest a rabbi and a mexican walk into a bar" type of jokes, but just being casually silly at least for me works well for me. I don't know, like, if I complimented a girl's shoes, if she said thanks I'd probably say something like "I probably couldn't pull those off myself." I mean... that's not hilarious or anything, but it's like 'hey I don't take myself seriously, I joke around with strangers, I'm a fun person'. I don't think really anything in the world helps establish a rapport or chemistry better than humor. When you laugh with someone you just feel closer to them. A lot of guys don't need to tell jokes to get dem digits, but personally making a girl laugh is the only way I know how to achieve that.

I'd recommend studying some sociology, especially if it pertains to the differences between men and women, social interaction, body language, etc etc. Understanding how people function and why is super valuable, not only for like dating, but just navigating life period.

Also, I know a lot of dudes are turning to this "pick up artist" stuff, and I don't think it's all entirely bad, I mean, those dudes do get results obviously, but I'd take that stuff with a grain of salt. I think some of the principles are valid, but "peacocking" and canned openers are a little lame in my opinion. Do you see yourself wearing a huge furry hat and feather boa to a club just to get attention? Do you really want to get involved with a girl who's even slightly interested in a dude because he has a huge furry hat and feather boa? I don't know what kind of girl you're into, but the kind I'm into probably isn't going to be very enticed to go home with a guy with a huge furry hat and feather boa calling himself "Mystery" and being all douchey. I'm not trying to say there's anything wrong with girls who go for that kind of dude, but I don't think you should have to put on an act and create this facetious persona to get laid. But that's just me. I think a lot of girls, especially smart ones, are more attracted to guys who are their genuine self. Also, now that everybody's reading that pick up artist stuff girls will smell your "game" from a mile away.

Uhhh, that's all I got for now, I hope it was helpful. Feel free to e-mail me if it wasn't haha, or if you have more questions or anything, I don't mind.

Good luck. Imagine girls farting, all the time. ;)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

There's no such thing as "Art Block"

“How do you deal with art block?” is a question I’m asked and I see other people are asked quite a lot. People go through periods of not being productive, recover, then later get stuck back in a rut again, and it’s something they never completely break free of. I experienced this when I was younger as well. I want to let you know though that it’s entirely possible to get rid of “art block” FOREVER! You should never have an art block ever again. I don’t get art block, because art block is stupid.

The 1st step to eliminating art block is to realize there is no such thing. Nor is there writer’s block, or any other block for creatives. There’s only self-doubt and/or laziness. When the two combine people say they’re “uninspired”. You’re your own obstacle, so get over yourself.

Other artists will give advice like “look at art you like” or “look through some magazines” or “listen to music”, etc etc. While they are well-intentioned, I personally would never give someone this type of advice, because all it does is reinforce the idea in your mind that in order for you to create you need something else external to get you in the mood. By all means, do look at art you like, and magazines, and listen to music and etc, if you need ideas, but not because you’re sitting there looking for somethings that’s going to make you want to draw. Even if it occasionally works it’s always only temporary, you’ll get stuck in a rut again and go on a search for something that’s going to magically get you out of it.

I don’t understand what artists want from me when they ask me for tips on overcoming artists block. Just… do it. Draw! There’s really nothing stopping you. If it sucks, oh well. If you’re not “inspired”, oh well. Just start doing it, it will pass. If you’re frustrated that your drawings aren’t looking the way you want them to, drawing less is the exact opposite of what you should be doing. In the history of the world nobody’s ever got better at anything by sitting on their ass and doing nothing, unless you count World Sittin On Ass Champion Gregory Vance (that’s not a real guy, don’t google it).

You really have to get out of the mindset that everything you make has to be great. Do you think an athlete shows up to basketball practice expecting to make every basket he shoots? Do you think they even expect that during an actual game? Sometimes you miss, but the more you practice the more consistent you’ll get at making those shots. Sorry, I just had to throw one sports analogy in here. It’s okay for some of your work to suck. It’s okay for the majority of it to suck. Just keep on making it, and it will gradually start sucking less. It always perturbs me how often I hear people talk about how crappy their work is when they barely ever do any. Of COURSE it’s crappy, do something about it.

This is the most important part to ending art block though: draw something every day. Not most days, not every other day, not weekdays. Every day. If you’re healthy and able bodied and none of your immediate family, friends or pets have died recently, there’s no excuse not to. You have the time, I know this because you’re sitting on tumblr right now reading a blog post, you HAVE time. I don’t care if you go to school, have 3 kids, and 2 jobs, there’s time in there somewhere to draw something. Do it while you take a dump or something, whatever, just do it. Don’t make excuses for yourself either, once you talk yourself out of drawing one day, you’ll just keep doing it. I’m not going to act like I’m the most productive person in the world, I’m prone to spend copious amounts of time just scrolling through tumblr, or watching a whole season of Mad Men, or just staring blankly at the wall… but if I’m about to go to sleep and I haven’t drawn anything that day I will force myself to at least bust out a sketch of something. I usually feel guilty about that and dedicate a few proper hours to practicing the next day (which ideally should be what you’re doing every day). Don’t let yourself NOT draw something in a day, that is so key to the effectiveness of this plan.

This not only helps you improve, but it also helps with that ol “inspiration” problem of yours. If you’re in the habit of drawing every day you’re constantly going to be thinking of things to draw.

I recommend keeping a record of ideas, it could be a word document or you could use your phone, or jot them down in your sketchbook. Personally I like to keep little notebooks that I keep in my back pocket at all times no matter where I go. Whenever I get an idea I take it out and write it down. Being in the habit of documenting my ideas naturally makes me think of ideas more frequently. Everything I see or hear inspires an idea. I have stacks of tiny notebooks filled with things I want to draw, ideas for characters, stories, comics, cartoons, movies, books, etc etc. I don’t worry about inspiration, I worry about not being able to get around to doing all this stuff before I die.

So go draw, and please, don’t sit there and stare at a blank piece of paper pretending you have no idea what to draw. You are not an idiot, you can think of at least one thing. Draw it. Whatever pops into your head. Draw it. Your favorite character. A self portrait. An object in your room. Something out of your imagination. Whatever. Draw something. If you’re a beginner I’d recommend doing less stuff from your imagination and more focus life drawing, anatomy, still life, perspective and etc. I’ll probably do a whole other blog post in the future about focusing on fundamentals before style.

If your issue is you’re frustrated with the quality of your work, I’d recommend you dedicate a whole sketchbook to things you are the worst at. The worst thing you can do is avoid drawing something you suck at. Nothing looks worse than a gallery of a work where every single picture has the feet cropped off or obscured, it doesn’t fool anyone. Buy a sketchbook just for drawings of feet, draw your own feet, draw pictures of feet, draw anatomical pictures of the bones and muscles under feet, draw the feet of your friends and family (sure, they might start suspecting you have a foot fetish, but hey there’s nothing wrong with people with foot fetishes, we’re they're perfectly relatively normal people!), go out to a park or mall and draw the feet of strangers. Draw feet from every angle imaginable. Unless someone is kicking at you don’t fear feet! Feet is just an example obviously, whatever you have the most trouble with, focus on with the most zeal.

Hey if you’re a writer, just take “draw” and “artist” out of what I’ve just said and replace them with “write” and “writer”. There are tons of writing prompts and exercises you can find online or in books at the library. There’s no such thing as writer’s block.

To recap:

-There’s no such thing as a “block”, only self-doubt and/or laziness.

-Not everything you draw has to be great. You have to draw a lot of sucky drawings before you get to the non-sucky drawing.

-Draw EVERY day, without exception, and document your ideas, you’ll be perpetually inspired.

-Focus on your weaknesses instead of avoiding them.

-You can send your donations of $20 or more to my paypal account kiss_myaesthetic@yahoo.com to show your gratitude for me totally saving you.

You’re set. Seriously, if you take my advice, and you try it out for a while, and it doesn’t work for you, drop me a line, we’ll talk, we’ll figure out together what’s holding you up.

Honestly, I’m tired of seeing artists be so self-doubting. Everything I’ve said should be common sense, but I can’t go a day without seeing someone bad mouth themselves. We start out as kids who draw because we love it and it’s fun and we’re proud of everything we do, and somewhere along the way we acquire standards and are exposed to peers who are way better than us, and forget to just have fun with it. Be patient, it’s not a race, you’ll get there. I PROMISE you anyone who’s better than you, even if they’re some 18yr old kid and you’re 30, is only better because they’ve practiced way more than you.

That’s all. Go draw.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Triceraclops

Haven't used my blog in a long while since joining tumblr. Hey folks, I've been posting stuff here: http://thestray.tumblr.com if you've been missing me.

Also, PLEASE help me out with this Threadless submission:

http:http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif//www.threadless.com/submission/341318/Triceraclops

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Cerbearus has come!

Cerbearus has been my most inquired about design since I created it, I'm always getting e-mails asking where they can get the shirt, and until now I had no answer for that. But finally, here it is, Cerbearus, THE SHIRT! DUN DUN DUNNNN! It looks gorgeous if I do say so myself. And for a limited time you will also get a free sticker with your purchase. There are only 50 of them so you have to act fast. Here goes the linky link.







Monday, August 23, 2010

Return of the CerBEARUS... in the 10k



SIGN UP, VOTE AND COMMENT HERE!!!


THE 10K IS HERE AGAIN!!! I was a runner up last year, and this year I'm going for the gold!

My entry for this year? None other then probably my most popular design to date... even though it never printed, so I figured this is my chance to finally get this sucker on a shirt, so I redesigned it, made it bigger, threw in a subtle background, and I think it's one of the most badass shirts ever in the history of shirts in this universe and possibly other universes yet undiscovered!!!

So if you want this shirt... finally... well, you know what to do.

BUT WAIT! THAT'S NOT ALL!

I'm also running a contest to give away 3 DBH shirts and a signed print of Cebearus!

What do you have to do? Easy, BEST COMMENT WINS!!!
All you have to do is leave a funny comment on the design about how awesome it is
(you know, like in the style of 3 Wolf Moon, or a Chuck Norris quote). Examples:

"A cerbearus shirt will give you the strength, speed, agility and wisdom of a Greek demigod able to conquer any foe."

"A cerbearus shirt is both fire and bullet proof."

"You can survive in the vacuum of space wearing nothing but a cerbearus shirt."

"The only way to best Chuck Norris in an arm wrestling match is to wrap a cerbearus shirt around your bicep."

"A cerbearus shirt is the only other substance besides kryptonite that can kill Superman."

Leave as many comments as you want, I don't currrr!

Oh, by the way, in case you don't know what the 10k is, it's DBH's annual shirt design contest, wherein I have the chance to win $10,000, so... yeah... kind of a big deal ;) LAST year I was a runner up, won $1,000. This year I'm going for the gold!

So sign up if you haven't, vote, comment, and then when I win give me copious amounts of high fives.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Sunday, March 14, 2010

quick update

Heyo, if you're wondering where all thestray art is, it's on it's way. I haven't been as productive as I'd like to be, that's due to some personal drama that's gripped my family right now, it's kind of weakened my resolve. But I'm going to soldier on and get back to what I do. I've got a few collabs lined up that I'm exited about, and I'm also working on a COMIC that it's going to be really awesome. I'm very excited about that. I'm writing it and coloring it, and my very good friend Oscar Gonzales is doing the linework. Oscar is one talented mofo, I envy his skills, so this thing will at the very least look great. When we finish it we're going to go about figuring out how to get it published. Maybe Image? Who knows.

So that's what's up, I'm working on stuff, you'll see some things up soon.

-stray