Why You Crazy?!?!
Hello everyone!! I hope everyone is doing well :)

So, I took a few weeks to sort of get a breather and re-evaluate what I wanted to do with my creative stuff after realizing in March that perhaps I'd bitten off more than I could chew! I'd made a huge list of goals in December, but after taking a look at Amit's S.M.A.R.T goals video and doing some more thinking, I've decided it's time to re-evaluate those goals, and perhaps get some honest and constructive feedback on them without striving blindly (and stupidly) forward.

I've been studying art since I was in middle school, and pursuing it seriously since I was in high school. But a combination of perpetual low self-esteem and shyness hindered me. Not to mention some family issues that started in high school and only just last year got mildly resolved. I've moved into an apartment now with a roommate, graduated college, have a full-time job that sustains me, and finally have the brainspace I needed to focus on my creative stuff. I can finally say that I'm not consistently miserable, and that I actually look forward to waking up every day :)

My goals cover a wide range of things, since I have a lot I want to do and are centered on the three following things:

1) Health and Community
2) Artwork
3) Writing

I will revise these goals as time goes on, but for now, here is my plan for the rest of this year. I want to make a 5 year plan, and will revise this once I have a better idea of the following years!

Year 1 - 2016

I work 40+ hours every week. I plan to spend at least 20 hours on self-improvement a week. Monday and Wednesdays are "rest" days, with a focus on less stressful activities, like building community and de-stressing (or reading). Tuesday, Thursday, and the weekend are "work" days, when I will put more effort into focused improvement.

5 hours a week
* My focus will be on health, de-stressing, and community this year. I had a very rough last few years, so I will take it easy when it comes to pushing myself with my art goals. I need time to focus on relaxing, getting healthy, and just de-stressing.
* I will work out as often as my schedule allows, preferably every day, but a minimum of 2 days a week. My goal is to lose at least 50 pounds by December 31st.
* I will focus on saving money and building a buffer so I don't go insane. I'm working a lot of overtime to help with this goal, but taking small, low-stress commissions is also an option. My goal by the end of this year is to double my savings.
* I will take time to travel (I am visiting Japan in July!) and to visit museums and spend time and money on my friends and relationships.
* I will continue visiting the doctor, and hopefully not totally ruin my life with medical debt (at $110 a visit, this will be difficult, but health is more important).

5 hours a week
* This will be my second focus. I will spend time helping other artists, and getting to know people online.
* I will spend time learning Japanese.
* I will research writing communities as well as artist ones, so I can learn from both.
* I will give a lot before I receive anything.

5 hours a week
* Animation: I will continue to focus on learning the basics, and produce 1 animation a week for 24 weeks, as I set in my DeviantArt animation group. Instead of doing two studies however, I may do one study, and then finish it to completion, so I can get a grasp of color, lighting, and clean up.
* Illustration: I will begin to study the fundamentals again, with a focus on perspective, values, and color, and also work on smaller studies, perhaps in one of the groups on Crimson Dagger. My focus will be on backgrounds and environments.
* Comics: I will read and support more webcomics, research the community, and continue to do very short comics, perhaps keeping them to two hours or less.

5 hours a week
* I will participate in writing groups online, such as Critters and Baern's Bar, and get to know the people and the process.
* If I have time, I will revise some of my shorter work and see if I can participate in the critique. Perhaps start submitting to the groups myself in August if this goes well.
* I will spend more time critiquing than I do in getting critique.
* I will try to write in the mornings before work, on anything.

Year 2: TBD!!

Overall: I will not stress too much about getting exactly 20 hours in on these things every week. If one thing takes more time, I will continue that so long as I am having fun.

Long-term A.R.T goals (plans for them aren't set yet, but about 4/5 years):

Animation: 3 animated short films (to add to a demo reel)
Illustration: 20-40 portfolio pieces
Comics: One completed comic story, 64 t0 100 pages.

And... that's it for now! Do these goals sound at all sustainable/realistic? I'm not very good at judging that at all, haha! I had a psychologist ask me why I insisted on being a superhero, and I was like "wha normal people don't have these kinds of lives?!"

Year 2 I think will be more focus centered on completing things... hopefully my roommate and I will be renting a house by then!

Thanks so much for reading this, and keep on being awesome Daggers! :)

DeviantArt YouTube | My Books and Comics

Good luck! (with becoming the superhero)


(05-10-2016, 05:54 AM)Piotr Jasielski Wrote: Good luck! (with becoming the superhero)


I will do my best!! Haha, thank you!

DeviantArt YouTube | My Books and Comics

Nice goals Arapersonica! I like how you've encompassed different areas of your life into these - not just your art goals - that should help you achieve them. Good luck with them anyway!

“Today, give a stranger one of your smiles. It might be the only sunshine he sees all day.” -- H. Jackson Brown Jr.

CD Sketchbook

Wow, what a great read--!

I wish you all the best in smashing out these goals - they all sound achievable if you keep it consistent (even if you aren't managing the hours like crazy; a smart idea btw), so you can do this!
I believe in ya, Arapersonica n_n !

sketchbook | pg 52

I'll be back - it's an odyssey, after all
@ Artloader: Thanks so much! :D I had to do the life stuff anyway, and my art is really entwined with my life, so felt like a good idea to integrate everything!

@ smrr: Awww, thanks so much smrr! :D I believe in you to! GET THOSE GOALS!

DeviantArt YouTube | My Books and Comics

I don't know if I can do a continuous weekly updates, but since I set these goals for this week, I thought I'd make a note about how I felt doing them this week:

Normal Work: Mildly stressful; the company I work for has 1 client at the moment, so as a habitual over-planner I've been keeping an eye on job boards in case the 1 client decides to drop us (they fired an entire department last year, so they are cut-throat man). I only got 1 hour overtime this week, but I took a bit of a break. Only doing 2 more months of consistent overtime, and then hopefully I can cut back. We'll see.

Health: Have been using MyFitnessPal to track food, and only got to walk one day so far. Planning to walk later today though, and hopefully tomorrow too, so I can make up this goal. Also had a doctors appointment this week.

Community: I finally finished going through my roommates book (took me forever) and I also critiqued and scoped out some pieces of writing on the workshop forum "Hatrack." I posted a snippet of my own work for review, and got a lot of very brutal but also helpful advice, haha.


Animation: I set up the song for a MAP part due in mid-June. I also sketched out some key drawings of a rocket ship explosion animation for a contest (due at the end of July). Finally bought Aaron Blaise's animation videos, and am excited to finally watch!

Illustration: Offered some "enviornment study" commissions on FurAffinity and got one taker. Finished that this morning. Also sketched up some of my Crimson Crucible piece.

Comics: Nothing to report this week, sadly.


After this week I might have to start thinking of focusing on certain things every other week. It was kinda rough trying to focus on EVERYTHING this week. I'll see how I feel next week, and then the week after that I get a four day weekend! Looking forward to that :)

DeviantArt YouTube | My Books and Comics

Okay so. Once again, been doing a lot of thinking and experimenting and just talking and seeking advice. Listened to some excellent podcasts, and finally got something concrete down.

Since April I think I've been paralyzed by "the choice." I have multiple directions I could go in now as a result of attaining my bachelors, but I also have commitments and duties as a daughter and friend, all of which have been waging war on my mind. It finally came down to this: imagine you're at your own funeral. What would you want people to say about you?

It's all well and good to want to make the world a better place with artwork. But to do so at the expense of family and friends is cruel. Hayao Miyazaki changed the world with his animation, but he was never there for his wife and children, and in the end he dreaded making movies, and continually questioned weather or not it was worth it. He'd made all the films he most desired to make, and then he continued only from a love of the work, and for the people of the studio.

Anyway, the above is just context. I've decided that if I'm ever going to get out of my paralysis, I have to focus, and say no to anything that doesn't have to do with my goals.

Right now, my parents are in a tough spot, and I'm the only one in a position (and who is willing) to lend a hand. I can't be unpaid for any stretch of time, so I must work and save as much as possible. I'm doing the doctor rounds to make sure I'm not secretly developing lymphoma, but so far everything's been clear (thankfully) except my mental health, which I'm working on now.

In two weeks I'm leaving the country to visit Japan. When I return, I'll know weather or not I want to teach over there. If I do love the country enough to want to teach, then I will apply for the JET program. It's a year-long process, and in that year I will save as much money as I can, while also focusing on my artwork.

Until now I've been working 50-ish hours a week (when drive time is factored in) in order to save for the trip (and to also have cash left over when I return) but when I get back I'm hoping to work normal human hours.

If I really don't want to teach in Japan, then I'll set about a job search, because my current job is far away, and the opportunities there for learning and advancement are extremely limited. I'll focus on either the art industry, or an archival job, like librarian or archivist, or something more physically centered. More detail on this later though, after I decide.

My goals for my artwork will remain the same, weather or not I teach in Japan.

For my artwork, I've decided to focus the vast majority of my attention to Mirage, my web comic. Here are my goals for that:

  1. Get the story critiqued, and collect feedback. I'll begin doing so tonight, by posting some of the story to a writing critique group. Hopefully by the time I return from Japan, I'll have clear feedback on it. I'll spend the remainder of July rewriting and tweaking the story based on the feedback.

  2. I will begin working on the comic itself on August 1st. My goal is to aim for around 25 pages in 3 months, about 2 pages per week. I will draw the entire first chapter, and by the time the chapter is finished, I'll know weather or not I hate making the comic. I won't post the story online until I finish the first chapter, except in small pieces. If it turns out I seriously dislike doing the work after 3 months, then I'll discontinue to make it. But, because I wrote the comic story in a prose format, I'll still be able to turn the story into a sell-able item. I'll combine parts 1 and 2 into a novel form, and treat it as a part of my novel series, with the finished graphic chapter as a bonus.

  3. If it turns out I enjoy making the comic however, I will apply for both the Creators for Creators grant AND send a proposal to Iron Circus Comics. Regardless of weather I get the grant, I will focus on making the comic to its completion. I may also animate some of the comic pages in a similar fashion to this comic: http://www.saintforrent.com/comic/inn-note-01

  4. When not working on the comic, I will work on my animation projects. I aim to finish my Iris animation by December of this year, and I hope to have all of my animation study assignments for my personal animation challenge finished before I leave for Japan. If that turns out to be too difficult, then I'll aim to finish it by the end of July.
I'm aiming to jump start the goal ball again when I come back from Japan. Until then, I'm going to focus on getting feedback for Mirage's story, and to also working and saving money. Last week I nearly worked 60 hours, so here's to saving every last cent!

DeviantArt YouTube | My Books and Comics

More power to you Ara! Enjoy Nippon, but also realise that a tourist visit ain't the same as living and working in place, and the only way to know is to do it! Also there's a Dagger, Jeso, who is on my fb friend's list who kinda is going down your path, but he just upped and moved there permanently. Let me know if you want an intro to talk shit. He's in Osaka I think.

 YouTube free learnin! | DeviantArt | Old Folio | Insta
@Amit: You are the best Amit :) I now know what you mean. I've learned a lot on this trip, not only about myself, but about the people I hang around with too. Also, thanks so much for mentioning Jeso; I didn't check in on here until now, but I'd love to talk to him about his choice! I'm right near Osaka, so I know what he's experiencing, weather-wise, at least, haha!


Update: Coming to Japan and talking to my friends who teach here, I've decided; I really want to pursue my artwork more than anything else. I think that epiphany came when I visited the Manga museum in Kyoto, and saw the hands (They're cast in plaster!!) and the art of some of the people I've admired since I was a wee thing.

So on the heels of that decision, it looks like I need to restructure my life so that I can pursue my art, at least for now.

I could move back in with my parents, and get a low-stress job to help them out (as well as to pay off my various debts...). With the time saved from driving, I can focus more on Mirage and my other personal projects. If I go down to part time, I might even be able to volunteer to help animators and try to network, building up some animation experience while I complete the comic.

The thought of all that makes me so happy, and takes a huge weight off my shoulders. But I'm always told to get out of my comfort zone... is pursuing the things that takes the weight off the shoulders considered the comfort zone? I mean, I'll be leaving a decently paying job for a lesser one... but... I'll get more time to draw...

I'm really feeling kinda lost in all this... Please feel free to tell me I'm being an idiot. I don't know what I'm doing. My friends, who were artsy when we were younger, have all started to move on, and most of them are in education. They're all telling me to move on from my parents, but with them, I'll have the space to do what I love.

I'm really worried that I've screwed up royally. I find that I'm unhappy and frustrated with what I have now; my job, the little free time I have, my artistic progress.... And I think that's part of why I'm just so low. I feel like I've failed. I know I'm still young and have all sorts of twists and turns left, and that gives me hope, but I feel so far behind, like I've taken a wrong turn, and there's such a huge mountain ahead.

Gah, I just feel so lost.

In more upbeat news, I have been trucking along with my goals for Mirage, despite all that:
  • The manuscript has been critiqued and commented on by a writing group, some writing friends, and also from some wonderful folks in the Tapastic forums.
  • I'm working on the final rewrite of the story, and will have it done by August 1st. Drawing commences August 2nd. Still on track for this, as well as submitting to Iron Circus Comics and the Creators for Creators grant in November (If I find that I love doing the comic).
  • Finishing up my animation goals. I started one here in Japan, and another is to be completed when I get home. Soon!
So the goals are well on their way at least! There is that. Writing this has cheered me up some; maybe I'm not failing as hard as I think I am... 

Thank you for reading, if you are still keeping up with my drivil!

DeviantArt YouTube | My Books and Comics

Stop thinking about this stuff while you are on holiday!!!! That's an order. Enjoy the experience and process it all later.

You aren't failing at all, and even if you were, failing is what you need to do over and over before any "success", so think of it as a bonus not a downside. Just keep working, the big stuff will figure itself out whether you stress out about it or not.

 YouTube free learnin! | DeviantArt | Old Folio | Insta
(07-12-2016, 01:34 PM)Amit Dutta Wrote: Stop thinking about this stuff while you are on holiday!!!! That's an order.  Enjoy the experience and process it all later.

You aren't failing at all, and even if you were, failing is what you need to do over and over before any "success", so think of it as a bonus not a downside. Just keep working, the big stuff will figure itself out whether you stress out about it or not.

Gagh, it's the anxiety monster eating away at me again! I've taken a chill pill and am trying to de-stress again... I was doing so good until yesterday night! And then I started thinking again. Shouldn't do that...

Thanks for always cheering me on Amit! At least I'm starting to recognize AnxietyAra now. Gonna go play a relaxing game, then enjoy dinner this evening with my friendsies. No more thinking! Thinking is for later.

DeviantArt YouTube | My Books and Comics

Good luck on the story. If you chose art then go for it and don't forget to enjoy it along the way!

You're not as screwed up as you think you are. I come from a place where good paying jobs are scarce. Some are even having a hard time just to get *a* job. And you're lucky to have free time! No matter how short it is! Jeez, I used to know a single mother of four who doesn't even have time for herself. At home doing house duties, or sleep. Work doing work. Can't even afford to get sick.

I swear to god you're far from being a failure. Some people have it way harder. There's this family acquaintance I know, he gambled almost everything he had. Savings and property.. Everything but his stake in one joint venture, and the clothes on his back. That's pretty much fucked up.

It looks like you're just hit a fork in the road, and looks to me it's going towards the same place.. Dude, you're okay.

If you are reading this, I most likely just gave you a crappy crit! What I'm basically trying to say is, don't give up!  
IG: @thatpuddinhead
Hi Arapersonica, did I read that you'd attained your Bachelor's?  Congratulations and well done :).

I justed wanted to drop by and share a few observations with you if I may:

- I've looked at your art and you are already better than at least 95% of the world's population in my opinion.
- You have a Bachelor's degree.
- You have some kick-ass creative projects on the go.
- You have a steady job with money coming in.
- You have a dream that you are passionate about.
- You are young and talented.

My point?  You're doing great - be encouraged and remember:  The journey should be savoured as much as the destination.

Good luck with your aspirations and enjoy the rest of your holiday :).

“Today, give a stranger one of your smiles. It might be the only sunshine he sees all day.” -- H. Jackson Brown Jr.

CD Sketchbook

Man... you guys are the best...

I usually spend 90% of my time alone and in silence, so it's hard for me to get perspective.... It's almost a den of isolation except for my roommate. So I often end up freaking out about things and not really having anywhere to go to talk about and to get advice! But I'm glad you guys are there to kick me into shape and tell me I really am okay, and to stop freaking out :)

@ Piotr: Thank you so much!! Either way, it just doesn't matter what I choose, I think; I'll never stop doing art~

@ John: Fff, thank you for that! I really just need to settle down... I'm so sorry to hear about your acquaintance; I hope things get better for him. I had some family stuff go down about a year ago that left me nearly sleeping in my car (except for the kindness of a friend), and I'm still kinda recovering from that; so I'm always freaking out about stuff.

@ Artloader: Man, thank you so much. I just lose perspective; and I guess I need someone to punch me in the face and be like "look, shut up. You're not dying." I send to need that every few months; I need to find a way to get through it on my own. This really helps though. And just... thank you.

Thank you so much everyone for putting up with me; I'll try to do better to realize when I'm going in circles with these thoughts. I think my own freaking out is making me pause above everything else.

I'm glad you guys are here though. Feeling less alone :) ::sends out virtual cookies::

DeviantArt YouTube | My Books and Comics

Don't even mention it Ara, just know that in this part of cyberspace, there are people that have your back.

“Today, give a stranger one of your smiles. It might be the only sunshine he sees all day.” -- H. Jackson Brown Jr.

CD Sketchbook

My, it has been quite a while since I posted on here last! I've been sequestered into an art hole, only emerging to make political commentary on Twitter and Facebook! And sporadically at best, haha.

I've been feeling kinda down about my work lately, and thought it would be good to try and think of it positively, so I thought it was time to make an update and see if I've actually met the goals I had earlier this year!


  • I have currently drawn and colored 27 pages of the monstrosity, and have two more pages inked and sitting behind me. I'll be coloring them for the remainder of this week. There are only 2 pages left to draw/color, and then I'll have completed the prologue and the first chapter. My goal is to have Chapter 2 finished before I begin posting it online. 
  • When I post the comic online in February, I'll begin updating 1 page a week.
  • I submitted the comic in September to Creators for Creators. The contest closed on November 1st. Not sure when/if I will hear back.
  • I'm currently drawing the comic at a rate of 2 pages a week. It's rough, but not impossible at this pace (since I have a full time job and a long commute).
  • I've decided that I love drawing the comic, but the pay scale in the future is getting to me. I make nothing on the comic right now, but I'm hoping to set up a Patreon account with goodies like recordings of every page being colored, as well as access to companion stories and "grimoire" type things I've been writing for years, describing the world of Mirage. I'm also thinking that, if I receive enough on Patreon, I'll start updating with more pages a week. I was also thinking of posting full chapters online before the end of the comic to see if that would bring in some money, but I'm worried about spoilers, people pirating, that sort of thing. Viva, my test comic on Tapastic, has pulled in $.05 since August, and it has 80 subscribers.
  • I know the industry is a slow burn, and Comics don't make a whole lot of money, especially indie comics. I also don't really know or talk to anyone in the industry, though I'm trying to find more people to talk to. I follow and talk to a few creators on Twitter, and I'm hoping to find some comics related groups to join on Facebook and elsewhere. So I'm hoping things will look brighter next February when all of this stuff goes live. I'm just feeling kinda anxious and down about it right now because I'm putting so much work in.
But anyway, here's a screenie of all the pages so far!

  • So, I finished my goal of 24 animations in 24 weeks! :D And I've done a few more things in addition to that! I will link them below~
  • I joined a motion graphics meetup and have decided that I freaking LOVE it. Animation of a different kind, but still animation. And profitable! The people at that meetup were the most professional I've met in a long time, and I want to be them. Sadly, they only meet up once a month, but all of their meetings are so good; talking about show reels and freelance, totally removed from the self-absorbed, terribly organized meetups I've been to before.
  • Only trouble is... I'm so busy, and this is an intensive skill. I have very little experience with it, and just barely enough equipment.
  • I was thinking of doing some pro-bono explainer book trailer work for a few author friends to try and train up for it. But I also have the comic and my novel to finish. I don't want to stretch too thin, so have to balance.
Videos! (OMG the compilation is so cheesy I'm so sorry)

Right now, none of my artwork is making a profit except my day job. I'm hoping that this is going to change soon, because I feel a little trapped, and kinda overworked and hungry. Day job covers the bills, but just barely, and still can't afford health insurance yet. There's also the matter of getting health  to balance to... which, sadly, has not progressed at all D:

Bah, real life ramblings! :) But I'm still working on the goals I set out in July, so I'm really proud of that! Just gotta keep it up through the busy holidays!

I hope everyone is also doing well here... Hope you're making awesome art!

DeviantArt YouTube | My Books and Comics

Hey there Arapersonica :).

Wonderful to see that you are still on the path!

Regarding talking to other comics creators, I am an aspiring comics creator myself and I know there are a few others here on Crimson Daggers so I was hoping to get a Crimson Daggers Comics Group going at some point - although having said that there is already a group that ZombieChinchilla setup:


Maybe we could hang out on there and see if anyone else is interested.

Anyway, I find your sheer creativity really inspirational - keep going and good luck with your endeavours!

“Today, give a stranger one of your smiles. It might be the only sunshine he sees all day.” -- H. Jackson Brown Jr.

CD Sketchbook

(11-17-2016, 03:17 AM)Artloader Wrote: Hey there Arapersonica :).

Wonderful to see that you are still on the path!

Regarding talking to other comics creators, I am an aspiring comics creator myself and I know there are a few others here on Crimson Daggers so I was hoping to get a Crimson Daggers Comics Group going at some point - although having said that there is already a group that ZombieChinchilla setup:


Maybe we could hang out on there and see if anyone else is interested.

Anyway, I find your sheer creativity really inspirational - keep going and good luck with your endeavours!

Oh man... I just... thank you so much Artloader!! You are soso kind! :DD

I'd love to hang out on there and get a group together! That would be so sweet. Gonna check it out when I get a spare moment from work! It would super help me keep on track. This current project is going to be around 100-150 pages in total, so would be so nice to have a group for critique and support!

DeviantArt YouTube | My Books and Comics


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