“Until I had my first human transformation, I truly did not understand the greatness, which lay hidden beneath the surface. When an Altharian sees a human for the first time, they note the rigid structure defined by their skeletal system. No ability to alter their form to suit the situation. Within minutes of contact, their comparably limited senses become apparent when they fail to see the blatant warning signs posted throughout our cities to warn of dangers. Finally, their short life spans are written on their worn exteriors for all to see. Almost all sentient beings in the galaxy have triple the years of life that an ordinary human has to accomplish their dreams. However, given all these drawbacks, humans have managed to claw their way into a spotlight on the galactic stage. Couple this with the fact that they live the better part of their short lives enduring the constant misery of their decaying forms, I find it breathtaking that they can even think beyond their bodily needs. I have learned so much from them.”
From Sensu Learns a Lesson by Robert Garbin
It has been a long hard road for me to start my Patreon page. I have battled for support all my life for that which I love, science fiction and fantasy and art. To be a fan of sff when I was in high school meant to be called a geek and uncool. To receive the same treatment at home was even worse. I don’t mean I was punished for reading or drawing sff but I was always looked down upon even by my family. I was never encouraged in my art but treated more as a person with a mild case of some short-term illness that needed rest and soup to make them better. I was always told to treat it as a hobby so I could do something more useful with my life. My love of sff was something I was supposed to grow out of even though it became a more mainstream form of entertainment.
However, I could never give up either love. For me they are the core of my being and to give them up would have killed me since nothing else gives me joy. The retail job I currently hold is soul-destroying because it is so pointless. I do the same things over and over again each day, adding no significant life to the world, making sure some lousy product that people really could do without is stocked and ready to be purchased. Yeah, it is possible that product may be the inspiration for someone but creating something amazing by proxy does not drive my soul. I have a strong imagination and an overactive mind, which means sameness is painfully numbing. I crave stimulation other than trying to make the impossible number of client requests we are assigned work out. Moving up in the company is not very palatable for me either. The demands increase much faster than the pay and are really no different from what I do now. Also, being a yes man is not agreeable to me.
For years I have soldiered through because there was no other choice. I had no friends, family, or girlfriend who encouraged me in my endeavors. That is until I found SFFworld.com (find a link in the side bar). It was the first sight I found where you were invited to discuss sff without being treated like a leper. I was slow to open up but finally wrote a thread ” An understanding of what SFF means for me and why today’s SFF does not work for me” that received a lot of attention at the time. While some of my ideas may have changed, I did feel welcomed and I began to believe there were places I could feel at home.
Then I decided to post a story I was writing based on a dream I had. The story was a very early version of Dragon Dreams. I received some limited feedback and also gained some friends. When I started seeing monthly flash fiction contests, I read a few of the stories commented and voted until, one day, I decided to join in. Many of the stories to be put in “Mystics and Misfits” are out growths of these stories. In addition, I started posting some of my artwork, but the art section of the site is not strong. All of this activity; however, encouraged me to improve my writing and painting.
From SFFworld.com, I discovered deviantart.com where I saw so much great sff art that I could browse any time of day. I am somewhat of a junkie now, checking several times a day. Again, I watched for a while before I joined and posted some artwork, which until recently was all traditional. From the site and other sources, I had seen an increase in the use and capabilities of digital painting programs. Unfortunately, I was currently stuck in a low paying job and could not afford to buy something like Photoshop. Luckily, my boss mentioned using a free program called Gimp. I gave it a try but knew I would need a drawing pad to make better art (a mouse just does not cut it) so I eventually bought a cheap one. The results were okay but the battery in the pen gave out too quickly. I almost quit digital painting at this point. You have to understand, I was learning and doing this on my own, no teachers, no classes, no support.
Because this love for drawing wouldn’t leave me in peace, I decided to upgrade my drawing pad and the results can be seen on my deviantart page (listed to the left of this page). I am learning more things I can do with each painting and hope to continue making them better. Unfortunately, work and life have not been kind to me lately. I find myself deeply in debt from medical costs and work is tenuous after some major mistakes by the higher-ups. I have always worked hard but have never been one for taking on a second job since there would be no time for contemplation, which is where my art and writing comes from. My mind is wired on all the time and if I don’t have time to work out ideas I get nervous and frustrated. Going for months without time to create makes me an unfriendly person to be around. In the months I was off for medical testing, I completed the cover for “Mystics and Misfits”, the Tattoo design for my Nephew, and a cover for a friends story. I was happy.
I want to continue doing this because, not only do I think I am pretty good, I think I actually have important stuff to say. Things I explain best through art and sff writing. To do this, I really need your support. The support I do not get in my life currently. That is why I started a Patreon page. I could not wait any longer to find the traditional path to success as a writer and artist. I need help and support now and not just financially. I need feedback and encouragement. For this help, I will share my stories and insights to how they came about. I will share my art and help anyone understand the things I have learned if they ask. Please help me make this journey last.