on Windows 10, Art Work, and Self Care

I was apprehensive about updating my laptop to Windows 10, especially after getting it and needing to wait for patches for games to work on Windows 8. Since the entire reason I have a windows laptop is to play PC games, it seemed like a good idea to not rush into upgrading until I knew I would still be able to play something.

But the other thing I was waiting for was the roll-out, because Win10 launches on a rollout so the other day I got the notification that it was ready (and that I could switch back) so I thought I’d give it a try.

First of all, everything still seems to run – Guild Wars2, Origin, Minecraft, Steam. And Secondly, my laptop has finally come to grips with it being a laptop and gotten rid of the tablet interface and strange outside-of-desktop fullscreen apps. Which means, there’s a twitter client, and I’m not accidentally popping out to the start screen at random, and the UI is generally nicer and easier to use because it’s in laptop mode. Of course, if you have one of those “it’s a laptop! it’s a tablet! what is it even!” computers, there is a tablet mode for you.

So, I like it, and I can play my games, and have twitter open on the desktop instead of in browser, and Microsoft Edge is actually a pretty nice browser.


I haven’t drawn a proper E.R.A. comic in a couple weeks and I’ve been feeling guilty. It’s not that I don’t want to or I’m lacking motivation (it’s not), it’s just that the last couple weeks have been intense. I don’t want to apologize for not drawing because of exhaustion or need to self-care, but I did realize something – a couple things actually.

1. I make my best art when my physical and mental health is taken care of. Depressed Kiery’s art is still (pretty decent) art but it’s not as good as the things I’m capable of making when I’m actually doing okay.

Which, has what to do with E.R.A., exactly? I draw when I’m not okay all the time, in fact I make a lot of angsty comics because they’re important for my mental health and they’re great – I often keep coming back to reference the comics I made out of frustration because they’re powerful and they stick. But unlike the one-shots I usually do, E.R.A. is a story with a lot of arcs and… I’m going to be honest here – it terrifies me.

I’m not used to writing long stories that don’t end after 10 panels or go on longer than the length of a children’s book. I don’t even think I’ve successfully written anything longer than a short story for NaNoWriMo.

E.R.A. is a story that I feel like needs to be written regardless of how much it terrifies me and makes me stare at my insecurities about my ability to write interesting fiction. I think about it all the time, I have pages of notes that are arcs ahead of where we are right now that are constantly be added to and revised and the world is growing. It’s really magical and amazing and scary.

So sometimes, if I am as utterly exhausted as I have been, and it’s all I can manage to doodle to a prompt…..I don’t end up sitting down for hours to draw E.R.A. because I know I’ll scrap it. I’ll be spending energy becoming frustrated because it’s not what I know I could make it be if I only just let myself rest. So instead, I rest, and come back to it stronger and better and prettier, and make something I’m at least a little more proud of than I would have been if I had made it when I was burnt out, just to say that I had made it that week. I really want E.R.A. to take off massively and my theory is that it has to be consistent in order for that to happen, but sometimes, I just can’t.

And I think that’s okay. Because I make the rules for this particular comic, and I want it to be as amazing as I imagine it. It’s a process and I’m not there yet, but I know the days I’m incapable of even coming close and those are the days when everything else is telling me that I need to rest.

2. My health and sanity is more important than my productivity.

It feels scary to be writing that professionally, but it’s true. If I want to keep making art (and writing code) I need to remember that productivity shouldn’t come at the expense of my health and calm, because I need both of those in order to make anything and be able to actually live. That I make cool things is just a perk of me being me, it’s not my point or value. I’m saying this just as much for myself (and for coming back and reminding later) as anything. My value is inherent and it’s not based on what I make even though what I make has the potential to be really amazing (and I hope it is).

So at like 4 this morning I finally reached a point where I was calm, and I’m just going to spend the rest of the day trying to stay in that zone and have some Kiery chill time.

E.R.A. Update

I moved E.R.A. to WordPress so that way when I’m done making the theme for artists I can test it there and that’ll be easier. But also because I felt like the Ruby app I made was unfinished and I want to make it better (and I will) and that was weirdly enough contributing to a lot of block with continuing the story.

But then I thought, you know what would be cool? A book. And then I made a vlog about it.

[kad_vimeo url=”https://vimeo.com/136145117″ ]

 

Stay tuned for the update on when that’s actually available. Or follow along on patreon to see it first.

Recalculating

WP_20150609_001 (2)I’ve been planning to make a Ruby app for hosting web comics – I still kind of am – but then I realized that as cool as a Ruby App is for me, personally, it might not be as accessible as I want to make it. I thought about maybe making my own blog hosting back-end, and quickly remembered how much I hate having to deal with hosting complications. I thought maybe I could just give detailed instructions for installing it to a handful of specific hosts – but then I remembered how some hosts don’t work well with Ruby and running it may require having to retrofit the app. Which still isn’t accessible to artists who don’t know how to code, and is kind of a nightmare in general.

 

So then I thought, if accessibility is my goal (yes), then maybe what I should do instead of moving artists off of WordPress is make a theme with all the features I want for WordPress. But not just WordPress, if I’m feeling extra ambitious, I’ll also make a theme for Ghost, maybe something for Tumblr, and finally, actually make my Ruby app for the other unicorns, or people with friends who they can convince to set it up for them.

 

Today I started using Team Treehouse to get a primer on making WordPress themes and PHP (because my resistance to not just starting with WordPress is that PHP and I don’t get along), drafted out the priorities for the design, what features I want users to be able to customize, and some of the things I want to integrate. I don’t want this to be complicated, I want a clean and responsive design that features the comic, with plenty of space in the margins so nothing looks busy or squished. I want to optionally be able to associate blog posts to the comic by time (still sketchy on exactly how I’m going to do it. Think recent posts, but stuck by date?) for those comics with writers, or comics who don’t want to cloud the comic post area with a general post but still want it to be somewhat associated. While also still leaving a spot for a comic post/description and comments.

If you were (or are) an artist looking for a new theme to showcase your work, what would you want it to have?

RubyArt

So, I talked a little about this comic project I want to make. Originally I thought I was going to build the entire back-end from scratch like I did with E.R.A. but after falling down a google rabbit hole I found Refinery CMS, which is a Ruby on Rails CMS where you can add extensions which means….

drumroll

Instead of putting most of my time and energy into creating a backend that does basically the same thing refinery does, I can just make the comic extension and put all of my effort into that!

People who don’t program probably don’t understand the excitement I’m feeling right now, but it’s pretty huge. Building your own CMS from scratch is HARD (good to do at least once, but still, hard), there are still things I could improve with E.R.A. changes I was planning on having to make and setup with what I’ve been calling “RubyArt”, which, for just wanting a comic platform…involves so much more than you would imagine.

It’s an interesting mind shift – I mean, I have to do my own tweaking and setup with the CMS, get the gem that imports wordpress xml files, but for the most part I can focus on the actual functionality I want to add with the comic feature (the fun part) instead of building an entire system over again.

But still! I’m excited to try this out. I’ll be putting it on github and stuff when I’m done and sharing it with the refinery people so other cartoonists can use it too.

 

Humorotica + Patreon

[youtube www.youtube.com/watch?v=wPLIJKitrdk]

 

So, as Humorotica turned one and is becoming a thing Matt and I thought it would be a good idea to launch a patreon specifically for our comic. We have high hopes and plans and honestly, it’s a really cool patreon, so you should check it out, share it – every little bit helps – my (somewhat) selfish goal is to be able to get Matt a computer that isn’t on it’s last breath so we can hangout and write comics without wondering if it’ll signal an unintentional break because, well, we don’t make the comics together IRL so without a computer we haz nothing.

Anyway, there’s also some really cool rewards that involve Matt writing things and exclusive patron only (and inspired/derived) comics!

Become my patron

Housekeeping

If you are following KieryGeek and Humorotica I have an important note.

For reasons that involve creating safe places and also to get me to actually use more than one twitter account and figure out how to…multitask? or is it focus? something like that – if you get all your updates from @kiery28, or don’t get twitter updates about either project at all, but want them please go follow @kierygeek and @humoroticathulu.

I’m going to be using them more, more than once a week for Humorotica and more than once a month for KieryGeek. I’ll try to make it interesting and worth your while, I swear.

Thanks so much for helping me out <3

(also, if Facebook is more your style, KieryGeek and Humorotica currently share a space at KieryGeek: Rebooted. I know, I know, Humorotica should have it’s own page. One step at a time)