Drawing has always been a lot of fun for me. It has also been a place of healing and reflection too.
I can still remember the days of boyhood when I would have the comic strip section of my parents’ newspaper spread out across the living room floor.
I would read each strip, taking in the art and the style and the stories. And yes, I’m still a big fan of the popular works of “Peanuts” and “Calvin and Hobbes” and others like “Big Nate.”
There’s something about scratching the led of a pencil across a blank page in a sketchbook, creating something that is in my heart that is sometimes difficult to put to words.
Doing those sketches in my sketchbook actually caused me to see a pattern in my art. I wouldn’t discover this until a couple of years after graduating with my undergrad. Even my writing began to follow a similar pattern.
It was the story of the boy who couldn’t be exactly that…a boy…a regular kid…goofy, free, outgoing and boisterous.
Growing up, I would keep a lot of my nature as a boy bottled up. I would do this for a very, very long time in an effort to keep my strict, old-school Father from being frustrated or upset with me.
School bullies and social outcasting by my peers didn’t help the situation either.
So, a lot of my release came from writing and drawing and enjoying the endless reading of comics and manga and watching cartoons.
When I began writing my characters for my webcomic and short stories, I wrote characters who were a lot like me growing up: socially awkward, struggling to fit in and often had friends that were just as peculiar as they were if they were fortunate to find one.
That made my writing and creating fun, but, I sensed that something about my stories were giving clues to things that needed to be worked out in my own heart.
A few months after I turned 28 years old, I realized something didn’t feel right. This was the beginning of my webcomic, but, something was up in my heart and soul and it was reflecting in my writing and my drawing.
I went to see a counselor and my story and the stories I created began to make sense. In so many ways, something in me, the boy within, was calling out for justice for innocence lost…calling out for affirmation, for attention, for affection. To be known.
Think about that for a moment.
So many artists are into themselves, not humbled, driven and yet deep down they feel unfinished, unsettled and uncertain and lack so much confidence and self-esteem. The slightest criticism kills them from the inside and you won’t see them create for days, months, and even years.
And I get it…sometimes these are the artists that are hurt. The world hurts sometimes. And sometimes people and folks who are supposed to be closest to us hurt us the deepest, leaving us feeling like no one is worth trusting and it is all up to us.
I tell people all the time…God just wouldn’t let it be so with me.
I would not have the luxury of being a 30-something-year-old boy…I would have to grow up. I wouldn’t have the luxury of being passive, living in fear and being an arrogant jerk attempting to pose and pretend he has it together.
But, I would also have the unique opportunity to create characters that are relatable…characters who know the struggle of growing up…but, to experience the happier and more pleasant moments of the journey and living beyond the challenges.
Instead of living in the pain of some of the bad moments of boyhood, I had the choice to decide what side of it all would I be in…self-pity, anxiety and fear…or…help, hope and healing.
I choose to help, hope and heal!
I choose to write and draw to tell the truth…the truth about my own life…the truth about what is happening in our world and culture…and to help set people free from the negative things they believe about themselves.
And for the moments in their life that they feel alone…give them something to laugh and think about.