Posted in video on January 13th, 2019 by Jin Wicked – Comments Off on [VIDEO BLOG] Let’s Get INKIN’

I’m busy drawbib, I hobe you hab a greab week!

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Monthly Spotlight: Mark Wise

Posted in spotlight on January 7th, 2019 by Jin Wicked – Comments Off on Monthly Spotlight: Mark Wise

“Monthly spotlight” is a recurring feature of this blog where once per month, I introduce you to the biography and creative work of some of my best friends and colleagues. Please take a moment to learn about them!

This month’s spotlight is on friend Mark Wise. In Mark’s own words…

“I’m a Graphic Designer, Illustrator, and Cartoonist. Probably in that order, though I’d love to flip that around. I’ve been drawing my whole life and I have always loved comics. Starting with the newspaper strips and later, at the age you’re supposed to grow out of comics, I fell in love with comic books. To this day I wear those early influences, like Todd McFarlane, Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird, on my sleeve.”

Coffee by Mark Wise

“In a nod to all the black and white indie comics I grew up with, probably my favorite style to work in is a high-contrast black and white style. Typically I will draw on bristol board and ink directly over my pencils using a dip pen and various brushes with India ink. When I do work in color, I prefer to use watercolors with my inks, or color the images digitally in Photoshop. Sometimes, depending on what the final image is going to be used for, I’ll even ‘ink’ digitally in Illustrator.”

Frankenstein's Monster by Mark Wise

“The past couple of years, this past year especially, I’ve done a pretty decent job getting my name out in the local Houston art scene. My art shows regularly at The Insomnia Gallery, and I have started getting a decent collection of merchandise made. One of my goals for the upcoming year, and moving forward is to get back into drawing sequential art again. Graphic design pays the bills. Illustration is getting me noticed in the local art scene, but my true love is still comics. So like I said at the beginning, I’m going to work to flip those three around.”

Robot Mascot by Mark Wise

Learn more:
Mark Wise Art
Mark Wise Art @ Facebook
Mark Wise Art @ Instagram
Mark Wise Art @ Twitter

[VIDEO BLOG] Therapeutic

Posted in video on January 6th, 2019 by Jin Wicked – Comments Off on [VIDEO BLOG] Therapeutic

If I get my attention issues under control,
you’re all going to be in trouSQUIIIIIIIIIIIIIRREL!!!

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This week, I started training for my next full-time day job — without revealing too much detail, I am very grateful and optimistic for the opportunity that has been presented to me. I can tell already that this is going to be a career that requires rising to many challenges, and giving the very best I have to offer. It feels like a natural progression of the work I have been doing on myself over the last three years to improve my empathy, interpersonal skillset, and ability to connect with others. If my art and expression is the calling of my public life, it feels as if I have found the raison d’etre of my personal life. Together, they form a harmonious balance that fills me with a great sense of purpose.

Over the past three years I have nearly eliminated my persistent anxiety and depression, and learned to manage temporary, situational anxiety. However, I am still struggling with executive function, especially tasks such as my book-keeping, household maintenance, prioritization of work, keeping a schedule, following directions, paying bills, and basically anything that is not interesting. These problems are not new — they are things I have always struggled with. I am doing better, largely through automating anything I can (auto-pay bills, automated book-keeping, etc.) and hanging a physical calendar in my kitchen that I write everything I must remember to do on. Habit is also helpful; i.e. I do not eat carbs, I wash the dishes every night before bed. But none of that is really addressing the underlying causes. It was only recently that I finally connected the dots between my constant behaviour issues as a child, wildly inconsistent performance in school (especially high-school), difficulties sitting through television shows and movies, thousands of unfinished art pieces and projects, and waffling between hyperfocus and inability to focus.

I also have something I never knew there was a word for, misphonia, which is a high-sensitivity to specific sounds that can even induce something called sound-rage. Stephen can tell you about my frequent, empty threats to throw his television set into the Mississippi River. My triggers are chewing gum and eating noises, unwanted music, and virtually all television if I am not actively watching it. Some repetitive noises also distress me. I am better at tuning it out than I used to be, but in the past I have walked out of jobs temporarily because someone was bouncing a basketball or playing with a noisy toy, and I became overstimulated to the point that I could think of nothing else.

(I cannot stand ear plugs, but I have noise-cancelling headphones.)

All of this opened me to the idea that I have probably been banging my head against the wall of undiagnosed and untreated ADHD for most of my life. At least a few people that see me regularly have expressed surprise that I did not already know when I brought it up. (“I thought maybe you didn’t want to take medication.” – Both of her kids have ADHD.) To some extent, I may have been self-medicating all this time with energy drinks and caffeine pills. I have an appointment in March with an ADHD specialist to get evaluated. I am also seeking regular counseling, not only to get to the bottom of my attention and focus problems, but to have a neutral third party that I can trust to keep me properly-oriented and healthy as my career grows. My mental state has not been helped at all by too many people and armchair psychologists for most of my life who wanted to tell me who I am, what I am, what is wrong with me, and what I should or should not be doing. I am listening only to professionals from now on, and I will not be gaslit or made to doubt myself anymore.

I had brunch with Lance on Saturday, and I was so happy when he described me as “thriving” lately. I have made so much improvement since surrounding myself with positive, healthy, secure, and well-adjusted people who care and want the best for me, and to watch me succeed. Outstanding individuals who have helped me learn healthy attachment, behaviours, boundaries, and trust through their own good examples. I have also learned what a powerful tool recognizing projection is — both for aiding self-awareness by examining your feelings about others, and for the understanding that how people perceive you is more about them than you. Most people, including myself in the past, tend to project their self-loathing and feelings of inadequacy out onto others. This might take the form of anger, judgement, vindictiveness, self-flagellation, or even ingratiating people-pleasing. The bottom line is that you cannot save yourself by saving others, nor can you lift yourself by beating others down.

There is only one way — to truly love, respect, and value yourself.

[VIDEO BLOG] Happy New Year!

Posted in video on December 30th, 2018 by Jin Wicked – Comments Off on [VIDEO BLOG] Happy New Year!

New job and renewed motivation for 2019!

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Hello 2019

Posted in general on December 29th, 2018 by Jin Wicked – Comments Off on Hello 2019

Today is a peaceful and sleepy Saturday; a welcome day of solitude. Outside, the air is cold and the less-travelled streets are iced over. Inside, I am sitting here savouring the odd and awkward lull between Christmas and New Year’s Day. I spent Christmas Day with Stephen and his wonderful family. They have always gone out of their way to make sure I feel welcomed and included, and are some of the warmest and most hospitable people I have ever met. After eating and catching up, they invariably cajole me into playing some variety of table-top game, which I protest for show, but always enjoy. Telestrations was the latest selection, which I claimed was a little too much like work! However, I love that they focus on activities and conversations that build relationships, unlike my family, which blasted television through every dinner then gathered immediately around it afterward. The television, which I have come to loathe, was the inescapable centerpiece of every function and holiday with my family. Bog forbid we do anything substantive to connect to each other intellectually as human beings. Best you stare at the flickering screen, and try not to make too much direct eye contact or engage anyone beyond trivialities.

“Staring at a screen together” also describes the gist of my marriage.

I am beginning 2019 with a new day job that I hope will reinvigorate me and my energy levels. After twenty years in my current industry, there is not much left for me to learn or anywhere to go. I made the decision before Christmas to push myself out of my final remaining comfort zone, and reboot my career path. I view my self-employed and employee lives like the two parallel rails of a train track — both necessary to propel me forward with maximum stability. I will be keeping my current job for a while, working two jobs until I have paid off all debts and replenished my emergency funds. It will be rough, but I have done it before. My new position will also include another pay cut, but it offers more opportunity for both professional and personal growth in the long-term. It also offers a way to give back to the community. Over the past three years, as I have endeavoured to live a minimalist life and shunned more and more of consumerism, I have grown weary of working in sales-related fields. Stuff, especially mass-produced, purposeless, transient, plastic stuff, drains the life out of me. I can only see its eventual destination in a landfill.

But seriously, I had a lovely Christmas.

This was not meant to be a depressing monologue about entropy.

I went to the doctor last week, and I am quite healthy, if you happened to be concerned about that. Though I need to see a dentist. My blood panels were superb, and my blood pressure is always in the low 100s/60-70s range. I am looking at possibly moving soon to save money. My expenses have increased steadily this year, and my current situation is not sustainable much longer. My gym membership is the only luxury I have left to cut, and I really do not want to do that. Right now everything is in the “exploring options” phase.

Despite all this, I feel fairly optimistic about the coming year, and I have finally escaped the artistic slump that has been weighing on me for a while now. My birthday will be here before long, and being almost forty is not too bad so far. I have a lot of life left in me, yet. And it is time to get back to work.