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ElectroNugget

John's Daily Journal

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The uncertainty is natural. The more immersed you were in games, the more lost you will feel without them. I'm still struggling with understanding who I am, but only through putting myself in uncomfortable situations did I gain some knowledge on this. I say this regarding your worries about career and art, but also about your schedule. If you have more than a couple hours unaccounted for in your day, habitually your brain will remind you of a nice overdose of dopamine. Make yourself very busy. If it feels like you don't want to do the things you planned to do, take that as proof that your brain hasn't adjusted yet and the only way to make it is to stick with the plan anyway. If nothing else, at the the of the day you will be able to put a checkmark on staying sober and discipline practiced.

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Thanks for the continued messages everybody it's really nice to log on every day and see something new. You're all awesome. 🙂

DAY 61:

 
 
 
 
3
14 hours ago, fawn_xoxo said:

If you have more than a couple hours unaccounted for in your day, habitually your brain will remind you of a nice overdose of dopamine. Make yourself very busy. If it feels like you don't want to do the things you planned to do, take that as proof that your brain hasn't adjusted yet and the only way to make it is to stick with the plan anyway. If nothing else, at the the of the day you will be able to put a checkmark on staying sober and discipline practiced.

This is actually exactly what I was starting to think about today. I've passed two months game free (although I have still wasted a lot of time on other things, and watching games), but I still don't feel like things have really lined up yet.

Today it became clear to me that setting really long term goals has been kinda screwing my ability to get things done. I've had a really long term goal of updating my portfolio for over a year now, but I've never made it much past the preliminary stages because the task itself is large (2-3 months of work), and as such the deadline is always far away even if I set it in such a manner that I would have to begin tomorrow. What I instead have experienced over and over again is looking back on a half year/year and wondering why I didn't produce more? I think the secret is in the long term goals being so broad and distant that could always put off work for another day. And suddenly a week slips by, then two, then a month, then a year. 

Starting this coming week I want to try setting really concrete short term goals and deadlines every week. I have a plan for next week, but I'll share the results once it happens. I've read somewhere that speaking about your goals before you accomplish them can give you a sense of completing them. Not this time.

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DAY 62:

Uneventful day today, flu finally seems to be nearly over. Spent most of the day sleeping and reading. Really looking forward to getting back to work tomorrow! 

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DAY 63-64:

The days seem to crawl by at the moment. Every day I consider going back to games, I tell myself it must be safe now, sure that I can control my habit this time. Hahah, nice try brain, but somehow I doubt it. I've managed to stay away despite these yearnings. That said, I've been keeping up with E3 this year as a force of habit. That probably doesn't help with the urges, but I am finding that I am increasingly disinterested in what the games industry has to offer. Perhaps that's a good thing.

I've actually started working a lot more lately, and giving a lot of thought as to how to motivate myself better. I am a very visual and tactile person (no surprise for an artist), and I'm starting to find that having a physical representation of what I want to do, where I can tick or cross things off, really motivates me. In an attempt to get my portfolio moving a little quicker I've decided to gameify the process, with each image going through stages, including visually updating a layout I made that contains all the artwork I wanna make. That way I not only have an overview of how the portfolio is progressing as a whole, but I am motivated to push my drawings through each stage so I can update the layout and see how it looks. So far it's been very effective, and I've managed to put in a lot of hours this week despite still feeling a bit weak from the flu. 

My aim is to get it all done by the time I go back to university, which gives me about two months. It's nice to have something to aim towards again.

I've attached my portfolio plan below, images speak better than words after all.

 

PF_ART_ThePlan_001_JHM.png

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Man, your drawings are amazing! I love your art style. Looking forward to seeing the Jahai Party transform from four lollipops to an actual image xD

I really like your planning process though, looks really clean and organised, while still maintaining some of that artistic charm.

I've gotten into sketching this last week or so, I always wanted to improve my art. I think my goal is to be able to create digital fantasy art to supplement my D&D games (is that a bit sad? haha). My drawings still don't seem to look as good as your initial planning panels, I've got a lot of work to go yet but you really help inspire me to get better!

Do you have any advice for transitioning to fantasy art? At the moment I'm just practicing drawing things in my room, basic shapes, lines, shading etc

 

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@James Good Thanks man! I'm looking forward to seeing where it goes as well. This is kind of my last gasp at art for now I guess. Then it's off to study Software Design.

It's not sad at all to want to supplement your DnD games with personal art! A lot of the stuff I drew when I was younger was during/for DnD sessions, and now often a session involves many sketches from me as things unravel. It's really good fuel for the imagination.

As for advice for drawing fantasy stuff... It really depends what you wanna do. Do you want to draw characters, creatures, buildings, props? The reality is that drawing is just a skill, like carpenting. Some people might have an eye for it but anyone can learn to do it well with enough practice. But there's a big difference between knowing how to draw a person and how to draw a building. Drawing from life will improve your understanding of shapes and improve your eye (a big part of life drawing is just learning to actually look at things properly). But if you want to focus on characters for example then there's books or websites I can recommend for you. 

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DAY 65:

Work on the portfolio continues. I have a really big self-esteem issue when it comes to my art. Almost as soon as something is done, I dislike it. I can't think of a time that I thought my art was ever 'good enough'. I want to work as a concept artist, but the skill bar is really high in that area, where I might be much better as a storyboard or comic artist. Jobs are thin on the ground though, and I take it personally that I'm not 'good enough' to find stable employment. Sadly I can't separate my job from my self-worth. 

Anyways, still really tempted to play games. Thinking about it all the time, but resisting.

That all said, I made a lot of progress today with my portfolio! Attached below.

 

PF_ART_RockSketches_001_JHM.png

PF_ART_TreeSketches_001_JHM.png

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For what it's worth, I think you're incredibly talented. Every artist struggles with the idea that they're not good enough, and unfortunately I don't have a solution to that. Maybe it's something that will develop in time?

I think all you can do is continue on the path that you're on, and work to the best of your abilities. As long as you create the best work you can at the time, then it doesn't matter if you think it's good or bad.

 
 
 
2
On 6/11/2019 at 8:54 PM, ElectroNugget said:

As for advice for drawing fantasy stuff... It really depends what you wanna do. Do you want to draw characters, creatures, buildings, props? The reality is that drawing is just a skill, like carpenting. Some people might have an eye for it but anyone can learn to do it well with enough practice. But there's a big difference between knowing how to draw a person and how to draw a building. Drawing from life will improve your understanding of shapes and improve your eye (a big part of life drawing is just learning to actually look at things properly). But if you want to focus on characters for example then there's books or websites I can recommend for you. 

 Ideally, I'd like to be able to draw landscapes, similar to this I guess?

Image result for D&D landscape art

Or this:

Related image

I know the ability to do stuff like that is years and years away, but I'd love to be able to create something like that. I also feel like if I got to that point, I'd also be fairly competent at drawing characters as well. Would be nice to be able to draw a D&D party for example.

Do you think this level of skill is something I can only get to if I dedicate hours of work every single day towards? Also, is it a good idea to just keep sketching random stuff with a pencil at the moment, or should I start focusing specifically on landscapes? Any resources you recommend? I don't plan on going digital for a while, especially not until I can afford a decent drawing tablet.

Thanks in advance!

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On 6/12/2019 at 8:53 PM, ElectroNugget said:

Almost as soon as something is done, I dislike it. I can't think of a time that I thought my art was ever 'good enough'.

That's because you are in this phase that you are aware of where you are, skill wise, and you are also aware of where you want to go. To say you're not good enough is firstly vague and we should be specific when we tell ourselves things, especially bad things. Good enough.. for what? For a job? Maybe you are not up to par with those artists you admire yet. Yet. But are you better than 2 weeks ago? Because we have to be realistic and know that everyone who is at this point a leader in a field, once was a zero in that field. So remember that, and just try to find time to practice as much as you can, to earn time. If you are getting into challenging things and thus getting better learning from mistakes, you should at least tell yourself that side of the story too.

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DAY 66:

Today I was just completely exhausted. I'm still not fully recovered from my flu and it seems to be taking a vengeance on me for working so much yesterday. So today was slow. Accompanying that were urges to play that were the strongest they've been in perhaps the past month or two, I really sit and seriously consider opening another steam account to buy a game so I can play without having to ask my mom for my account back. I'm still resisting but it's amazing how tempting it is. The side effect is that I can feel that I lack meaningful things to do if I don't do art. Despite the fact that I've quit gaming, I haven't been great at changing the rest of my lifestyle yet. Most of my time right now is spent isolated and on meaningless commutes and Youtube. 

I'm really looking forward to getting back to university where I'll have some external goals and a social life forced on me.
 

1 hour ago, fawn_xoxo said:

That's because you are in this phase that you are aware of where you are, skill wise, and you are also aware of where you want to go. To say you're not good enough is firstly vague and we should be specific when we tell ourselves things, especially bad things. Good enough.. for what? For a job? Maybe you are not up to par with those artists you admire yet. Yet. But are you better than 2 weeks ago? Because we have to be realistic and know that everyone who is at this point a leader in a field, once was a zero in that field. So remember that, and just try to find time to practice as much as you can, to earn time. If you are getting into challenging things and thus getting better learning from mistakes, you should at least tell yourself that side of the story too.


@fawn_xoxo Good enough for stable employment is probably my bar. I guess I have improved somewhat recently, but right now I am in such a hurry to replace my portfolio that I don't really have time to improve. At the end of the day, the reality is that I've wasted a lot of my time up until now, and my art is really not good enough to make me a steady income. It kills me that I might have to quit art because I fucked up the past few years. And at the same time, the sheer pressure of having to always worry about if I'm good enough makes me second guess my career choice. I don't know if my 'passion' is worth all the pressure and self-esteem problems I feel every day.

Hopefully, I'll make more progress on the portfolio tomorrow. Can't wait until I'm back to full health either!

P.S: @James Good, I think we should continue this discussion in PM's or else it's gonna take over my diary. 😄

Edited by ElectroNugget

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DAY 67:

Started out slow today as well but got several hours in working on the portfolio nonetheless. Finished my first piece for it! Feels good. Then I spent the evening playing board games with some friends. Its definitely nice to scratch the gaming itch from time to time in this manner, but I see the time as a lot more productive as the social element is so much bigger than just playing online together. Cravings for gaming seem to have subsided, even before the board games started up which is nice. And now that the portfolio is going I'm starting to feel like I'm on a roll. I just have to keep this momentum up, maybe in a month or two, I'll have something I'm actually proud of.

john-muller-pf-art-treesketches-001-jhm.jpg

Edited by ElectroNugget
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As someone with no artistic experience, it's actually really cool to see you going through all the steps on these and posting these here. It's fascinating to see and great to see you progress!

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DAY 68-69:

Not an entirely unproductive weekend. On Saturday I relaxed and read some books all day, which was nice. I am noticing that I am starting to crave drawing since it's one of the few things in my life that gives me satisfaction currently. I guess it's a sign that the gaming detox is working. When I'm bored, I can't play games or do anything else really that I used to use to 'satisfy' my boredom since I am tired of the internet and Youtube. That leaves only one option: drawing. It's nice. I feel like it might actually result in more work getting done, and making some progress again as an artist in the coming years.

Today I finished up a second page for my portfolio, the rock formations I posted earlier. So this was a good week, despite being sick I managed to put in some good hours and actually finish two pieces. I guess that's not half bad. It's a hell of a lot more than I've managed in the past year or so that's for sure.

PF_ART_RockSketches_001_JHM.png

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DAY 70:

Last night my girlfriend and I broke up. I am absolutely crushed. The past years of my life have been difficult, and my relationship with her was one of the few things I could point to as an indication that things were finally getting better. The reasons were purely logistical, life is taking is in different directions with my upcoming studies and her plans to study abroad, and we just can't keep the long distance relationship going. So, great, we don't hate each other. We still love one another, but we can't be together.

Obviously, it's really tempting to give up on everything now. A big part of my motivation and help with quitting games and porn came from her, and now she's gone. I'm all alone again. I've managed to stay my hand today, but I must admit I am having extremely dark thoughts. I feel as though anything good I've managed to grasp since my depression has been taken away from me. 

All that said, I got to work today and put in the hours on my portfolio despite my feelings. This is a larger environment piece which is actually looking kinda cool. So I guess there's that.

When will life just cut me some fucking slack?

PF_ART_HeroBuilding_005_JHM.png

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30 minutes ago, ElectroNugget said:

When will life just cut me some fucking slack?

I don't think it ever will, unfortunately. But, at the same time, that's what makes it worth living.

There's not much I can really say to you at this moment, breakups really fucking suck and they're never easy regardless of the situation.

Hard work, time, and most of all - talking to people. That's all you can do, really.

I'm not sure I'm over any of my breakups (must be 5 or 6 at this point), I've just learnt to cope with the pain. I think the reason for that is because I didn't have anyone to talk through the situation with. 

No one should have to suffer in silence.

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Whew well, sucks to hear that. Take your time on it and see what you can make up of it and don't do anything fatally stupid. Judging from the way you wrote it, you didn't expect that in the slightest and it was likely more or less on her decision.

Even if her reason is valid and running a long-distance relationship is not easy (my ex would travel 3 hours by train to see me and I would have to drive half of that if I was seeing her), there's some merit in knowing that "sooner" (for women) or "later" (for men), you want to start living together and have some joint, shared vision of future together, because women are tighter on the biological clock (again, I think might've been relevant, if you dated for several years). Perhaps she couldn't articulate that well enough, perhaps you turned a blind eye to that aspect, who knows.

Again, this is purely my perspective from your writing and don't you dare do anything fatally stupid. You'll get by, with or without her. Feel free to PM me, if you want!

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Life is challenging, but no matter how your relationship goes in the future know that God infinitely loves you and all of us and wants us to actualize the potential that he has granted each one of us. Things will get better as you continue to improve yourself and your life: do not fall back into a relapse. Praying for you and best of luck 🙂

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Thanks to everyone for the support. @Ikar, it wasn't so much a suprise, we have been struggling with long distance for a long time. I had felt that maybe we wouldn't make it, then suddenly in one conversation it was over. It was an amicable breakup, but I don't think I appreciated just how much she meant to me in terms of my recovery lately. Not that I never told her that, just that it came as a very severe blow despite my expectations.

DAY 71:

So more bad news. This morning we had to put my cat down. Like my ex-girlfriend, this was not necessarily unexpected, I knew the vet was coming today for the past week, and that my cat was getting very very old (17 years), and that putting him down was a possibility. That said, it still destroyed me. My cat, Tiger, was my first and only pet. I've known him since I was 11 years old. He was a loyal companion. This week has had a huge amount of suffering for me. As I was bundling his limp body into the vet's car I just completely broke down. I've felt numb all day.

All that said, I still managed to go to work and get more time in on my portfolio and finish my next piece. I guess it's a good sign that even in all this pain, I'm choosing to try to be productive, to keep creating, rather than just laying back and moping around playing games to escape my feelings. In fact, I've probably been more productive these past two weeks than I have in a long time. So it's not all bad. But yeah, man... When it rains it pours.

R.I.P. Tiger, I'll miss you.

64710909_361394924561369_4197268158794432512_n.jpg

Edited by ElectroNugget
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I may have "liked" your post but I'm really just trying to send some love your way. 

God damn, man, life is really testing you these past couple of weeks. 

If you make it through this you can make it through anything. We're always here for you buddy. 

R.I.P Tiger. 

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Situations like these are really difficult and no words can do anything, I think. But I'll tell you this, you are being extremely brave for sticking to your goals through this, really brave. Good job.

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Hey John,

I second what James and fawn said. I'm really sorry to hear about your past couple of days. Life really just tries to beat us down sometimes, and there's not much we can do to stop it. I hope you catch a break soon--you deserve it after all of this.

Your attitude throughout this is actually very inspiring to me. I would've been flattened by this for days.

Hang in there, bud, and RIP to Tiger.

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