Houston, We Have a Problem! (from my Patreon page)

Hello readers, no this post is not about a problem I am having with work or life … well maybe a little.  Courage, the cowardly lion begged for some and I have often wanted to seek out Oz the Wise and Powerful myself for a dose.  Why am I discussing this now you ask?  Well, because I just spent the last hour watching a lecture the creator of my favorite television show (Babylon 5) gave for the second annual Julius Schwartz lecture.  J. M. Straczynski has had a very successful career working in television, movies, and comics much of which I have become aware of over the years following the end of Babylon 5.

The biggest thing I have taken away from his speech and life, besides the fact that he his a great person, was that he intentionally pushed himself into situations where he could fail.  Not because he was a sadomasochist, but because pushing beyond the safe zone of living was a way to grow, live, and achieve his goals.  If you get the chance, watch the lecture on youtube because it is well worth it.  What he talks about is the fact that many people do not reach out to grab their dreams, or even lives, because they are afraid of failure.  I can attest to this in my childhood.  When I was young, I played baseball, like many other American boys my age; unfortunately, I never excelled.  I did not become a good player because I was afraid of being hurt, well not mainly, but because I was terrified of embarrassment.  From family life and school interactions I learned the costs of not measuring up.  Thus, I decided to avoid being embarrassed.  In baseball that translated into not being willing to dive to catch a fly ball and risking messing up.  I feared the shame of it.  In practice I could make all kinds of great catches; however, when it came to a game, I backed off.

Oddly, in several areas of my life, I actually pushed myself into unknown waters.  However, in my life overall, I generally chose the safer paths.  Then some heavy things happened that shook my foundations.  That is when I started pushing harder for a creative life, which is something I always held onto tooth and nail throughout everything I have been through.  Again, why am I bringing this up now?  I guess it is because I need to push outside my boundaries again.

Up to now, I have always taken the safe path of never seeking professional training in my creative endeavors.  What you have seen at my various sites is my raw untrained talent.  Yes, some of it is pretty good, but I have not taken steps to better it except through what I can search out for free.  I tell myself that my writing is as good as any of the authors I have read, but I am kidding myself.  It isn’t bad, but I can learn alot from others and greatly improve it.  I have always heard about scifi writers attending Clarion seminars to hone their work.  Maybe it is time for me to do so.

The same is true for my art, especially my digital artwork.  I believe I have managed to do very well for learning on my own, but I sure could benefit from other methods for achieving more polished paintings.  I would like to see about taking courses in digital painting.  The problem with both of these choices is that they cost a lot of money and take time.  Money I do not have and time that costs money.  I will need your help.  By supporting my Patreon page, you will help me reach the goal of providing thoughtful and thought-provoking works of literature and art.  I know that this is asking you to risk investing in me; however, I hope to continue sharing with you the fruits of my labor, as well as, some of the methods of making them.  I still plan to share the process of creating my next painting with my Patrons in hopes of giving any who want it a beginning in digital art.  In addition, I have always been willing to discuss in detail any of the stories I have written.  The only thing is I may caution about my sniping back on occasion to bad reviews.  These stories and works of art are all passionately loved by their creator.  Usually I calm down and see the review as a means to improve my work.

So to close, the creation of this blog and my Patreon page are steps toward reaching the goal of growing outside my boundaries.  Taking the next few steps, with your help, will take me further.  J. M. Straczynski had more challenges than I have and yet he has had the life I could only dream of.  Please watch any videos of interviews or convention reels about him to see what he is about and help me walk onto a similar path.

Face Studies ($5 reward for my Patreon patrons)

Here is what I wrote for the post:

Here are some pencil face studies I did of characters from the Babylon 5 tv series.  I was using some techniques I was learning from a book on anatomy drawing.  I most definitely have done better, but this was a crucial learning process.  Each drawing I do helps me get better.