Week of Sept 2, 2013

Hello everyone and thanks for checking out my blog again. Before I get into what I have been working on this last week, I just want to say it is great knowing that I’ve made it this far. I know it might sound crazy to because I haven’t really “made it” anywhere yet. I’m still in prison and any accomplishments I’ve had are minimal at best. But what I mean is that I’ve come a very long ways since the journey began for me.

I can remember back in 2009 while I was still at a regional jail; I went to “the hole” for 60 days because of tattooing. Back then tattooing was the only way I had to support myself.

Going to the hole really put me in a very dark place. I was alone, cast away by what seemed the world, and left with only a twisted perception of my reality and horrible thoughts.

Suicide became a very real option for me and death seemed like it was taunting me. Not only was I being held at a jail where a good friend of mine had killed himself, but being in the hole, I was now in the same block he had ended his life in. Sometimes I’d wonder if it was the same cell too.

But then in the midst of my teeter-tottering balance between life and death, a book was given to me which was almost like a divine intervention. And if no one in the world cared about me, then maybe it was someone beyond it who did.

The book, Chicken Soup for the Prisoners Soul featured stories written about struggles that came from dealing with incarceration. But what struck me was that it also featured cartoons about incarceration created by those who were incarcerated. Seeing this sparked the idea in me that maybe I could do this as well. Maybe I could start creating my own cartoons with hope of finding success, even while locked up.

So… as crazy as it sounds, it was cartooning that literally saved my life. Had it not been for that, who knows what would have happened?

Fast forward to the present, over a ton of obstacles and difficult times, here I am. Though, I’m nowhere near my goal of success from behind the wall, I’m miles from where I began.

This past week I submitted cartoons for an upcoming book. I’m really not sure what to expect here, if anything. But that is ok, with that attempt, patiently awaited a response and move on to the next project: cartoons for Playboy.

It’s one of my biggest goals to be featured in Playboy among many other cartoonists that I greatly admire. Playboy is pretty prestigious when it comes to the cartoon world. So getting featured in that magazine would be huge. But this will be no easy task as a ton of cartoonist applies themselves to this publication regularly. The competition is fierce and to even stand a chance I’ve got to bring my “A” game.

I’ve also been experimenting a lot lately with color quality in my work. Because what good is a cartoon that is portrayed through a weak image? Nowadays so much is done using coloring programs on the computer, and because I don’t have access to that, I’m forced to resort to more traditional methods. So in any work that I am posting on my Facebook page, you’ll probably notice different color techniques as I search for what works best.

I’m using all sorts of mediums in the search, too. From colored pencils to markers and soon I’ll be experimenting with paint as well. I’ve got to find a perfect balance of vibrant color that makes my cartoons and caricatures pop off the paper.

Some of the stuff I use for color is really expensive, too. Like 100 dollar markers that I’ve been fortunate to have access to through an art program here at the facility. What’s funny is, though the markers are great, they’re not a “solve-all”. Some of what I’ve found that works best comes from the cheap stuff like “Crayola”. A buddy of mine commented on the revelation saying “Well… they have been in the game for a long time.” Guess he has got a point there. LOL

I’ve still got so much more to come. So much more I’ll be pursuing from prison with hopes of influencing the outside world. And though I probably just bored you with talk of art supplied, I hope it further goes to show how serious all this is to me. It all relates back to my struggles to find success.

My life depends upon that and I devote my life entirely to this quest for better.

Though I’m currently still nothing more than a statistic, I’m nothing like the majority here. I’m the minority here. I’m part of the small percent of those who refuse to accept complacentness while awaiting a release date.

If I’m not doing all I can to prove to the entire world that I have the capability to find success, even from prison, then I’m not doing nothing. And I refuse to do nothing…

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