Quick Announcements!

Been busy with freelance work so far this week and homework but I wanted to take a minute to post up a couple of quick updates!

First off, I will be at Anime Nebraskon in early November! It was suggested to me by a friend a little later in the season so I didn’t get a chance to apply for artist alley, but I am presenting my panel on the History of CGI. I am looking forward to being at a new con and meeting all kinds of new people!

The next thing I wanted to discuss is kind of my lack of reviews lately. There is a reason behind this. In terms of reading, I have been reading Starting Point. The book is a collection of interviews, essays and thoughts by Hayao Miyazaki. It is an absolutely fascinating read so far, even though I am not terribly far into it. It has me thinking that I want to write some of my thoughts down too on some of the topics he discusses. Maybe something I will do in the future.

From an art book perspective, I have been wanting to take some time to look over the art book for Ping Pong I ordered a while back. I have a pretty big backlog of art books currently that I want to do reviews on since I simply love art books and all of the behind the scenes content they have along with educational material.

Anime-wise, I have received the second season of Space Dandy so I would like to watch over the next week or so and finish that series off.

I’ll be back on Monday with another production update!

The Otaku Diet & a Community Garden

This topic has been on my mind for a while now and it was something I wanted to take time to write about and discuss because it may relate to you or someone you know. To give this some context, I was thinking of a way I could actually do a panel about it before Anime Detour in Minneapolis. I checked out a panel at Anime Detour by Kyle Hebert and another presenter about diet and the otaku lifestyle. These two things are closely related, we go to cons and live for 2 or 3 days on Pocky and Ramune, then we do this several times over the course of a summer. Every season we are given a plethora of new shows to watch and when some of are done with those we will game or stream random things online or venture into forums and spend hours there. In my case I spend my time animating so I am sitting in most cases working.

Let’s backtrack a little first. About 2 years ago my mom needed a stent put in for a clogged artery by her heart, which is in part to diabetes. She developed diabetes during her first pregnancy with my sister and it came back. After that I started paying more attention to what I was eating and lost about 25 pounds. Part of my solution was my community garden I had. I was able to plant several types of vegetables, which in turn helped with what I consuming. That’s why I also blog a little about gardening, it is necessary for me to keep up with my diet, which I prefer to call a lifestyle change.

I prefer to call it a lifestyle change because with diets you reach a goal and then you stop and you gain your weight back, which is what happened to me. For that reason, I am writing this for myself and for others who may need inspiration.

What worked for me was tracking my calorie intake, but also the types of calories. I avoided things with high fructose corn syrup, artificial coloring and tried to eat more whole foods. With that routine it was a good way to operate because all you have to do is eat less than you burn (using about 2,000 calories for a male), and you will lose weight over the course of time. I thought I made the lifestyle change and stopped doing this process and as I slowly gained my weight back I thought I could gain control again but couldn’t. I learned from that mistake and it will not happen again.

All of this circles back to the community garden. Our city is fortunate enough to have the space for people to get gardens. The initial investment in fencing materials can be a little intimidating, but it is one thing I learned, is if you are unwilling to invest in yourself, no one will. The garden isn’t as easy as one may think. You can’t simply plant your plants and harvest it later. It requires work putting up the fence, weeding, and watering, but the work is worth it when you get to cook and enjoy all of the produce you grow. I have learned a lot about growing cycles, staggering plantings and canning. My favorite thing is learning how to maximize space by planting crops that have short growing seasons in between the plants that have longer cycles.

Every year I try to grow something I never grew before. Last year I grew a plant I can’t recall but it was a Japanese green. I learned how to make a few dishes that people used that plant for in Japan and how they cooked with it. The plant also grew insanely fast, we were cutting it constantly, which made it good to grow because we were able to get a lot for the space it occupied.

Here is to another year of urban gardening and working to get back down to weight.

 

Three Biggest Things I Learned by Turning 30

This past weekend was my 30th birthday, something that seems like it would never happen when you are a child. It’s amazing how fast time goes by once you are done with school. So now seems like as good as time as ever to write a brief retrospective on some of the biggest things I feel I have learned over the course of my life so far.

Start Something
This one may sound easy but is often the hardest for people. I recall being in figure drawing classes in college and some students would be afraid to start drawing so my professor would walk over to there area and draw a mark on their paper. He would tell them “Now your paper isn’t perfect any more”.

In everything you do, you are not going to be an expert, you are not going to be perfect. The point of starting something is to get your work or idea out there and get feedback or validation of it to improve upon it. If you wait until everything is perfect before unveiling it, it will never get released. This is because as you work on it, you find more imperfections in your work and if you constantly go back and revise and revise, you can see the loop you fall into and you are shorting yourself the satisfaction of having something out in the world.

There is a saying “It’s only a mistake if you don’t learn from it”. You have to be able to see the positive in negative results. So go get your project started, go practice what you want to be good at, just start. Chances are, you will learn something even if things go south, which will leave you better prepared for your next venture!

Invest in Yourself… and Others
This is something I learned during the recession while I was reshaping my career path. At the time, I had spent all of my career doing sports animation, which I really enjoyed doing. Due to circumstances I couldn’t control, I had to shift gears a bit. During the time I did full-time freelance work, I decided to invest my own money into software and other things I wanted to learn to get better. I recall a time where I spent more money on a piece of software than what I was getting paid for a job.

I was looking long term and decided that this was a direction I wanted to go so I spent the extra money to get there. No one was going to pay for me to learn this piece of software, no one was going to buy the software for me. If you are unwilling to invest in yourself, others won’t invest in you.

While this is going to sound a bit contradictory considering the above statement, you need to invest in others. True story, when I was freelancing I was struggling to find a full-time studio position. I knew a full-time studio position is what I needed because I had a hard time turning off when I was freelancing. When I wasn’t animating I was networking and sending emails and reels out. I simply did not have the structure to have “off” hours. I had personal projects I wanted to work on and other things to do like travel.

I couldn’t get a studio to really give me a chance, granted this was still during the recession and budgets were cut and places were laying people off. I was able to find a small studio at the time and they took a chance on giving me a couple projects so we could see how each other worked. The studio and myself each invested in each other and the result is that we have been working together for almost 2 years now. Sometimes you have to give someone the chance to step up, they might surprise you.

Leave Things Better Than You Found Them
This phrase was plastered on the wall of the art studio I went to school in as a freshman. While I didn’t stay at the school, it was a phrase that applies to so much more than simply a room that students would sometimes leave a mess, it applies to everything.

The current job you have, will most likely not be your last. Where you live, the community you live in, might not be your last either. The planet we live on, the people we live with and interact with, should all be left better than you found them.

We have all worked with a person or perhaps were that person, who thought “When I leave, this place will fall apart”. How often does that actually happen? Almost never. The competitive society we live in somewhat promotes this mentality. The same goes for relationship break-ups, wanting to prove the other person was wrong and they can’t do better.

Instead of these mentalities, we should be helping each other succeed and setting people up to succeed through our movements in life.

What things have you learned in your life so far that you want to share?