Orange Unicorn – Beginnings 00

So. It’s happening. Or happening soon. Or. I guess I meant to say I haven’t given up. It’s been in the works (kind of). So it’s happening. Mark it on your calendar: The 1st of September, at 10AM*. Orange Unicorn begins.

*Also known as Tomorrow.


Orange Unicorn - Webcomic title

If you’re curious from the past post about Orange Unicorn, Birdman won. The people have spoken. So Birdman it is.


Your support means a lot to me: it helps me keep going. Going. Going. I keep going. I keep on dreaming.

So if you’d like to stay updated with the webcomic make sure to follow the blog!

You can also follow my Facebook Art page, Instagram (@jandrewgilbert), or Twitter (@jandrewgil), for updates.


What Made Me Cry This Week – Writing This

It’s hard writing for this series: “What Made Me Cry This Week.” (WMM) This is the tenth post (wooohoo!!), but they still feel hard. And the reason why is because for the blog I’m just trying to type down some thoughts, that maybe they’re helpful to someone, while here —well— the goal is bigger.

I’m trying to explain to you why something was moving – or not so moving after all –; I’m trying to condense an amazing piece of artwork into simple words. 500, more or less.

I’m trying to say why it moved me and only me. But I’m also trying to leave space for the work to speak for itself. After all, the creator invested time, talent and love into them.

I’m trying to give you something to work off of to decide: Do I want this? But I’m also trying to say why it mattered to me.

I’m trying to also give you something that goes beyond the work. Even if you don’t buy it, I want you to be at least inspired. I want you to think about your own life mistakes, or about the poverty in this world, or how art informs the way we think.

So, yeah. It’s definitely a challenge for me. While with the blog I wrote about 20 of them in about 10 days (I exaggerate! I’m not being literal). Well, I’ve written 10 of the WMM in like the span of 50 days.

But I can’t say I don’t love it. I do love it, so much. The joy of reading a book, a graphic novel, or watching a movie or documentary that inspires me! And then, being able to share that with you? So as we move on. I just want to confess. Writing this blog, and more specifically this series, is bringing tears to my eyes, because I love it so much.

I hope you do too. Because without you, well, these posts lose half their meaning. So here we go. A post to me. To this series. And also, to you.

Grateful for a Summer

It’s hard to be an artist. It’s hard to be productive. It’s very hard to be grateful.

For this summer I set out with a plan: to be a “full-time artist.” I didn’t have a full-time job. So I decided to embrace the opportunity. I had many dreams and plans.

Stuff popped up. Everywhere.

I worked for a month at the dining hall. One week I did 46 hours, which I didn’t see coming. I discovered I’m still addicted to computer games. And while I was disciplined at the beginning of the summer, it has fallen through now at the end.

When I look back through this summer I realize I made very little money through my art – even as a “full-time” artist. But I did work and I have to stop denying that.

I wrote blog posts, made images for them, figured out layouts and promoted myself on social media. Believe me, that last one is harder than it sounds. It’s like you’re a little brat jumping up and down with pompoms trying to get people to look at you. It takes a lot of confidence to keep doing it.

This summer was hard because again and again I was putting myself on the line. I was putting myself into my art, and my art into the world, to be looked at, criticized or even just ignored.

Being productive was also hard because I lost my wallet. And because I had to do my laundry. And cook. And buy groceries. And pay bills. And clean my room. And figure out what to do with my broken car. And pack and travel. And help out my family with a quinceñera. And and and and. AND!

But. I need to stop. I’m tired. I’m tired because I worked. I’ve been making myself write, and draw and paint, and take criticism and feedback and incorporate it – “throwing away” whole pieces just because they were off the mark.

I was heavy. Broken. Scared.

I needed a time to see. To see what the work of my hands have done. To see and be grateful. To celebrate what I accomplished this summer. So I decided to make a list with numbers of what I’ve done this summer. A time to celebrate the fruit of my hands.

The Blog

I wrote 40 blog posts, and with the help of my team there’s been 20 that were edited and posted (with my team’s help)

I made around 20 images, including quotes, for blog posts

I got 172 visitors on my blog, with 295 views

My most viewed post has had 35 views

The Art

I made 5 new prints for my Etsy store (which is closed right now because I’m currently travelling to Honduras!)

I’ve worked on 5 commissions and am working on 3 more

I did 5 fanart sketches and paintings

I made 2 small GIF Animations

I worked on 3 freelance posters, with 4 more underway

I made 1 semi-animated video

The Learning and Growth

I read 15 graphic novels

I read 2 non-fiction books

I took 1 screenprinting workshop

I listened to 3 online talks given by artists

I absorbed numerous YouTube videos, podcast episodes and online articles

I had 1 critique session with my art teacher

I went to 1 publishing and editing training seminar

Social Media

72 Posts on my Facebook art account

37 Posts on my Instagram account

1 Twitter account started

Sometimes I forget how much I’ve done. Sometimes I have to stop, and look. See what I’m doing and what I’ve done. Breathe. Remember. See the small steps taken and where it’s heading. Be grateful. For the time I had, for what I accomplished.
Relax. Enjoy it. Smile at my past self: he hasn’t completely ruined my whole life, yet.

If you want to do this list exercise, feel free to post it in the comments below! It can be about anything – self-care, productivity, reading, learning, exercise, social media, whatever you can think of!

Orange Unicorn

Extra post today!

A week or two ago—it’s so hard to tell the passage of time during the summer—my friend Zach commissioned a caricature of himself. I forced him to give me artistic freedom with it, which made it even more fun! I felt very inspired to do it for some reason, and I ended up not even using a reference! Here’s the result.zach and jorito

We both really liked the result, and my addition of the words “Adventures of Zach and Jorito” gave us the idea of making Zach into a character. I mean, if you know him, you know how much of a character he can be.

Zach was a great pusher for the idea, and really wanted me to do it! Eventually I gave in. But I decided to make it Orange Unicorn.

While I considered taking on the challenge of giving life to Jorito as a comic character, I decided to go with an “easier” path – giving life to myself. It’ll help that we spent a lot of time together this summer. We’ve got lots of stories to tell! So be prepared. These short stories will be inspired on real-life events, but a lot of it will be fictional and adapted.

This will be a weekly webcomic going for about 12 weeks, maybe more, maybe less. Planned start of the posts is for the 7th of September. I’m expecting to be able to post a new upload every Thursday, instead of the What Made Me Cry This Week. But we’ll see how it goes!

One last thing. Zach and I disagree on which character design to go with for myself. I want to use my character Birdman. Zach thinks I should use my self-caricature. What do you think?

character designs

Make sure to follow the blog to stay updated on what I post.

You can also follow my Facebook Art page, Instagram (@jandrewgilbert), or Twitter (@jandrewgil), for updates.

What Made Me Cry This Week – Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience

I just finished reading Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (Csiksz.). Let’s just say I got into flow while reading it.

Serious though.

The first thing that struck me was in his introduction. He had a quote from Viktor Frankl: “For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue … as unintended side-effect of one’s personal dedication to a course greater than oneself.“ From there it didn’t stop, because while the book is somewhat old (it was published in 1991!) the ideas are super current. No wonder every now and then I see an article, artist or blog, mentioning flow.

Halfway through the book does start to get a tiny bit repetitive, but there’s enough variety and new information that it’s worth going. Around this area I really liked the chapter on loneliness, or solitude, and relationships, family and friends. I’m still planning on scanning this chapter and sharing it with a couple friends. This section on loneliness and relationships was essential for my understanding of flow. I’ve been struggling somewhat with the idea of being by myself. The book offers great advice about how to organize yourself as a whole person to keep inner demons at bay.

Another highlight of the book is just the plethora of stories from real people, experiencing real joy in their day-to-day life. The stories were very moving, especially stories like Reyad’s. An Egyptian guy “[…] who currently sleeps in the parks of Milan […]” From Egypt he hiked all the way to Italy and now lives there homeless. A small part of his testimony:

“It has not been just a trip, it has been a search for identity […] Everyone has his own fate, and we should try and be like the lion in the proverd. The lion, when he runs after the pack of gazelles, can only catch them one at a time. I try to be like that, and not like Westerners who go crazy working even though they cannot eat more than their daily bread.”

I fell in love with Reyad and his story. There were so many other stories though that also touched and moved me. And they all had one purpose: to encourage, to instruct and help the reader grow. The notion of “flow” has been swimming in my head ever since I read this book and I can’t stop thinking of it. Trying to find ways to get to flow in different parts and aspects of my life. It’s a book that reminds, and helps, you to challenge yourself and find joy in the small things.

P.S.: I couldn’t help but to think it was funny how he also relays how Dante’s Divina Commedia was helpful for a seminar that the author organized. Made me remember the wisdom of Dreher’s book, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and the review I wrote on it.

To Be a Flower

To be tender. To be frail. To be a flower: vulnerable and open.

That’s what I tried doing for most of this summer. To write blog posts and make art that mattered to me. That showed you parts and facets – of me. In the hope that, for some reason, those images, those pieces of me, also mattered to you.

A lot of the time it felt like I was just ignored. Writing into this void of the internet, where there’s already too much going on. Posting pictures and images that got few likes. After all that’s what it’s about, right? You liking my writing. You liking my paintings. My drawings. You liking… me. Right?To be a vulnerable flower - creativity

Every now and then I have to hide in a hole. When around people I’m constantly trying to please, to make them feel better, to add something of value to them, to offer something up – even if it’s some of my weirdness at times. So, every now and then, I must hide in a whole to just please myself, and not be constantly evaluating: Do they like me? Was that good? Was that worth their time?

Every now and then I need to hide my art in a hole. To make it only for myself. To bury the piece amidst all the files in my hard drive. To bury it within all the other papers. It’s art that doesn’t ask you to look at it. It’s just asking to exist for a second, only to be hidden and forgotten – it grows best in the dark confines of the earth.

Flower Hope

This is very hard, because in the end, the only way I can survive – to bring in the bread – is if I show my art to you. If I’m tender, frail, vulnerable and open like a flower. And trying to find that balance, between the art that I make for others, and the art that I make for myself, is a complicated one. The art that sprouts out in colorful petals and the art that hides under earth – gathering the nutrients.


Right now, I feel drained. My creativity has been flowing over this summer, and it’s running out. I know it can replenish itself, but it needs time. It needs time to allow the water to evaporate, condensate and to come back again. In that soft refreshing drizzle, that smells like summer and nourishes the earth.

If you’d like to get updates when blog posts come out, you can follow my Facebook page, or sign up for the mailing list that WordPress has set up — it’s on the bar to the side I believe!

Hope to see you soon! Or next week more precisely, at 10AM!


What Made Me Cry This Week – A Graphic Novel, Another Graphic Novel, and a Chick-Flick

Let’s be honest: What Made Me Cry this Week can be anything, cause that’s the way I like it. So I compiled three different cultural products below from this week.

So here we go.

I’m currently reading a graphic novel that is a collection of Native American tales about Trickster Book Coverthe common figure, in Native American Folk-tale, of the Trickster. For each tale, a different artist and writer collaborate, coming up with unique styles. But to be honest? It’s tiresome, or repetitive. Some of the art styles are mediocre, others I’d consider them bad; but I guess that’s my taste. There are some of the tales that do seem to shine. Their style is deep, and layered, the stuff I like, and work well with a tale.

But the whole “short-tales” tires me out. It might be fun to read with a small kid every night a new story, but I’m bored of it. I’ll still finish it — I feel it’s good enough it deserves finishing, — but yeah. Not highest on my list.

Another graphic Friends With Boys Book Covernovel I read was Friends With Boys, by Faith Erin Hicks. And it was good. It reminded me a bit of Anya’s Ghost, by Vera Brosgol. But different. While Anya’s Ghost leans towards the creepy, Friends With Boys leans more towards that sad reality of life: most things go unresolved. While there’s some resolution to Maggie’s journey, the protagonist in “Friends…,” it still happens that a lot of it is left open. I don’t think it’s for no reason; there’s one conversation between Maggie and her brother that I thought caught the nugget of truth and beauty from this graphic novel:


“I thought it was something I could fix — But I can’t fix anything.”

“Maybe that’s okay.”

The art style was nice, it’s one that I’d enjoy emulating myself if I ever got the chance.


With simple blacks, whites, and a layer of gray, Hicks conveys a lot through her image. With this graphic novel, I also just enjoyed the paper itself. The texture is nice,but mainly the pages have tiny variation on size, so on the edge of it you can run your finger along it and feel the ups and downs as pages randomly get bigger and smaller.

Enough of that. what I really want to talk about is Mean Girls.

I know. You’ve probably seen it. Or you think that it’s a movie for, well, girls — a “chick-flick.” But I just watched it., and I feel like the child inside of me cried watching it. So that counts right? I can write on it?

Mean Girls Cover

Mean Girls. I feel it deserves something, an award? A recognition? A shout-out? It deserves something for the screenplay. I mean seriously. The writing for that? I just thought it was incredible. It was ridiculously over the top, but in the good way. The same way Tarantino makes all the gory stuff be over the top. Ha. I’m comparing Mean Girls to Tarantino’s work. Someone will hurt me. But I’m fine with it. I’ll say it up front. I don’t like Tarantino that much.

Honestly, I just had to put in a word for Mean Girls, in case you haven’t watched it yet, if only for the great plot, screenwriting, and acting.


Breathe Beauty

I’ve written quite a few posts on how to keep going, how to keep pushing yourself and remain creative. But, today, I wanted to write why I think it is important to keep making art.

My belief in art starts with my parents. They have both encouraged me from the moment I wanted to be an author, as a tiny 8-year old, to the moment I took my first drawing lessons and wanted to be an artist. They’ve always believed in the power and influence of art. Be it visual, written, performed or otherwise, they believe in beauty. They also believed in me.

That’s why I think making art is so important: belief. Art has this incredible ability to make us believe. Art bridges the gap between our hearts and mind, and somehow makes us believe. It makes us believe in an adventure where a Hobbit finds a ring, deep in a cave, or in the beauty of mercy and honesty. It can also reveal darker sides of our existence, without becoming defeatist. It helps us to grow. It helps us to mature.

As a kid I learned from the Disney movies that everything is possible. From C.S. Lewis and Tolkien, I learned that virtue is close to suffering but that in the end, somehow everything pays off. From Craig Thompson I’ve learned of the nuances of faith, and of the suffering of poverty and sex slaves. From Jonathan Franzen I’ve learned the significance of the details of everyday life. From AquaSixio I’ve learned of the connection between the environment and the psyché. From Van Gogh I’ve learned that a broken vase can still breathe beauty.

Art shapes the way we see and behave in the world. To make art is important because it allows us to dream, and helps our friends to keep on dreaming. It’s not an easy path. But if you have anything inside of you worth telling the world, become proficient in whichever artistic language you choose.

Because that’s the only way you’ll make yourself heard.

That’s the only way you’ll make a difference.

Through the child’s heart. In an adult’s mind.

Hooray! We’re in August and I’m so happy I’ve been able to write and update this blog throughout this summer so far! In the month of July we had 83 visitors and 132 views! 24 more visitors and 23 views than the last month! Let’s celebrate small achievements! Woohooo!

If you’d like to get updates when blog posts come out, you can follow my Facebook page, or sign up for the mailing list that WordPress has set up — it’s on the bar to the side I believe!

Hope to see you soon! Or next week more precisely, at 10AM!