Coming Out of Stasis

How have y’all been? How you holding up in these strange days of COVID-19?

I hope you are well.

Even though the past few months have been spent mostly indoors, I haven’t accomplished very much creatively. I’ve discovered that working remotely in the construction industry is just as stressful as being there in person. Plus making home cooked meals on a daily basis and the dirty dishes that follow take up quite a bit of time and energy.

And don’t get me started on Dr. Mario:

Clip of Nintendo game in which Doctor Mario drops a yellow pill onto the germs

In the past few weeks things have started returning somewhat to normal here in New York City. We can now get haircuts again. We can drink alcohol and dine outdoors at tables set up literally in the street. Everyone’s riding bikes because the subway creeps them out. Most people are wearing masks. I’m exhausted again having returned to the office full time.

Noir Spiderman Into the Spiderverse costume with Rubik's cube.
On the bright side, I didn’t think I would ever get to wear this Halloween costume again.

I’m a bit more motivated now coming out of stasis and trying to produce some new works.

Vampire creature flying in front of full moon pencil sketch by M. R. Kessell

I recently finished a decent sized short story. I’ve started sketching up a horror comedy comic book. I’ve made a handful of digital illustrations. I’ve started recording music again. And there was something else I wanted to tell you…

Oh yeah, I started a YouTube channel.

This channel will be a place to showcase my art, animation and music. And to possibly offer tips and tricks. Please check it out and subscribe if you have a few minutes.

Alejandro Jodorowsky digital oil portrait by M. R. Kessell
Alejandro Jodorowsky offering us a glimpse deep into his mind. There’s a bunch of weird stuff there.

The Return of Pumpkinspice!

pumpkinspice monster ink watercolor art

Just when you thought it was safe to go back to the coffee shop…

I’ve been mulling this one over for a few years now and I’m very happy to finally bring this creepy guy to life while it’s still a viable flavor profile.  I had some trouble settling on a tagline for this imaginary horror movie.

“Revenge is a dish best served spiced!”

“In spice, no one can hear you scream.”

You guys have any suggestions?

I’m a Social Media Junkie

As a creative person, I think I have a problem with certain types of social media. I don’t have a healthy relationship with things like Instagram and Facebook. I admit that now. It’s good to get it out.

Cyclops monster obsesses over his smart phone

I get into these phases in which I begin posting quite often, maybe giving updates on a certain project, and I become addicted to the likes, to the attention. I check obsessively to see if there are any new followers. I’m a genius right? Shouldn’t I have thousands of adoring fans? Like so-and-so over there?

I begin comparing myself to those others who don’t seem to offer the same quality work that I provide. Or I begin questioning why seventeen thousand people would follow such an account. What do they know? Are they even real people?

I begin thinking up strategies on how to draw these followers to my side. I begin churning out junk that I think could be popular with certain crowds. It usually ends up being sub par and rushed.

I ignore the one person’s opinion that really matters in the end, my own.

It’s like Kurt Vonnegut says: “Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.”

Alien man with many eyes takes a selfie with smart phone

So, what do I intend to do about it?

I need to step back and have some quiet time, some “me” time, to reflect on the art and story ideas that really excite me.

That’s what I did this past week. I’ve chewed on the subject of this post for days. I also sat down with my sketchbook and thought about social media, these accompanying doodles are the result.

I should not invest so much time and energy in social media apps. I will try to connect with real people on the internet, only when I have a free moment here or there. I’ve joined the community at AbsoluteWrite and I hope to make some new friends, have some good conversations, and learn some things too.

Man likes his own smart phone selfie

I need to remind myself that Instagram is a tool that I can utilize periodically, like a hammer or a toothbrush. I don’t need to obsessively use it every day.

The Pack Rat

PackRat-Fin-Reduced

Somewhere deep in the back of my mind palace, at the end of a quiet corridor, through a small hole in a wall, lives this little fellow, hiding from the world and hoarding his treasures. This is my spirit animal.

This illustration is a combination of ink, watercolor paint and watercolor pencils.