February 2019 Life Update: “Stalled”

Hey there, everyone! Thanks for continuing to join me on my quest to become a consistently functional artist. Here’s how the rest of January and most of February ended up going for me:

My sunlight and exercise regimen are still going strong, but I’ve also discovered a severe lack of motivation: I could exercycle, eat right, and fall asleep at a consistent time one night, then still feel like garbage in the morning the following day. Days like those usually start with me staying in bed for upwards of an hour after I wake, and spending an extra 30+ minutes of downtime at my PC in between tasks. However, this is an improvement over the way things previously were, where tasks would simply not get done at all. It’s perspective like this that makes me hesitate when considering whether or not to message my doctor and ask to discontinue my antidepressants; in fact, I’m now convinced that would be one of the worse paths for me to take at the moment. Life has never stopped being rough (despite the relative comfort of my immediate surroundings), but my meds are doing their job, which is helping me do mine.

The above comic started out as a depiction of a phenomenon I’ve been experiencing over the last few years, but metamorphosed into what you see now. The way I experience it, being stalled (not a medical term) isn’t exactly like what Reeve experiences here; the third panel previously featured a similar pose to the second (illustrating things slowing to a crawl), but the end result looked too Family Guy for my tastes, so I went with something more dynamic to salvage my artistic self-image. (Since my neuropsychology screening didn’t address these stalls in the slightest, I view it as an anxiety symptom, since it often coincides with shallow breathing.) It isn’t paralysis, and immediate contact with other people is a good way to push me out of that mode, so L.M.T.’s strategy is actually a viable one.

I put the finishing touches on my Apogee model and put up the snazzy postmortem — a few days after I said it’d be done, but again, it got done. January also had the milestone where I started livestreaming creative work, by showing off the sketching process for the turnaround of tarah (my robot fursona) on my Picarto account, https://picarto.tv/lobst. Previous creative livestreams were of work that depended on previous creativity (comic pages that had already been penciled), so this is a pretty big improvement for me. The response to this stream was a highly positive one, and I’m nowhere near actually finished with the tarah model, so I’ll probably do this for the entire process of getting tarah textured and rigged, just so people know (first) that 3D modeling is not arcane sorcery and (second) how long it takes for a relative amateur like me to bring a finished model out into the world.

There’s a self-serving aspect of that last bit: once the Apogee postmortem went up, I received an offer from someone I’d never met, who requested I let them know the instant I become available for 3D model commissions. I turned it down (for now); one of the reasons was that I didn’t know how much to pay myself; since my commissions are charged up-front, I needed some frame of reference for how long these things actually take to make so I could charge the client an hourly wage that was fair to me. Recording the process has the side benefit of creating documented proof of this; I figure I can round the total elapsed video time up to the nearest hour, multiply that amount by $15, and present that value to the client as a final price they can either take or leave.

Speaking of that commission offer — the offer was specifically to create a model of the commissioner’s fursona for a program called VRChat. This offer was well-timed, as while I figured my next project would be another 3D model, my goal was to just make something I could pose and render in Blender itself outside the limitations of THUG Pro. But one of the reasons I got into 3D modeling to begin with was to develop my skillset/portfolio and gain additional income along the way, which is why I assume modeling for an established standard can only help me realize those goals. I put out a poll on my private Twitter (@the_bold_escape) asking what I should develop models for; VRChat was second-place compared to FaceRig, but FaceRig also has an added layer of complexity (to say the least). It seems like I would be best served by going with the former option, followed by the latter once I feel like I’m ready to do so. So, the tarah model I’m working on will be rigged for VRChat, and depending on how I feel about the process, I’ll open for model commissions following that.

Additionally, I’ve finished penciling another comic, exactly four times the size of the above image! It was going to be the update image for this post, but I decided against it after realizing how long it’d take to finish. It’s a repurposing of the Vidhoppers name, starring two OCs I haven’t put in comics before. I’d like to make it a nice full-color thing with backgrounds, but I also recognize that compromise is an exceptional method for getting things released, so we’ll see how it goes.

Finally, since Patreon is a privately funded service, I’ve decided to mirror these posts on a Dreamwidth account (https://lobstworks.dreamwidth.org/), just to have this content on a place that serves an RSS feed. And my Trello board (https://trello.com/b/gZcvEw0t/lobsts-current-projects) is still going strong; you can tell because, if nothing else, I’ve finished exercycling to Dragon Ball and moved on to a high-school romance anime. Progress!

I think that’s it for now; I’d like to offer my thanks to everyone who’s been supporting me throughout all this. While I must insist that my continued ability to be creative is not dependent on the attention or financial contributions of patrons, I consider myself blessed by the fact that I have people who are willing to support me in these ways. That said, feel free to adjust or drop your pledges as necessary.