Remember and Look Forward

The New Year is almost here!

For most of my life I never set any “New Year’s Resolutions.” I thought it was dumb to do so. I knew I wouldn’t follow them. Like everyone else, I imagine I’d forget them. I also didn’t have anything I was aiming for. But now I do have some big goals I want to aim for. And I think setting yearly goals can be encouraging for me as an artist to see my progress. In view of that I decided to set a couple of resolutions for 2018.

But before I go on to those, I think it’s also nice to look back and see what I’ve accomplished this year. I think it’s healthy to “count your blessings,” see how much you’ve done. Good self-care practice. And that way, next year I’ll have a point of comparison!

2017 Accomplishments

Art

 

Social Media

  • Reached 500 followers on Instagram. With 9,000 likes on 172 posts!
  • Reached 300 followers on Facebook.
  • Reached 33 followers on Twitter? I mean, every follower counts right?

 

bestnine17

Blog

I think one of my biggest accomplishments has been this blog. This was the year I started it, and while it’s still small, and had some struggles with it, I’ve been able to post somewhat often and it has encouraged me in my writing, reading, and drawing. Here’s a couple of benchmarks for the blog:

Sometimes it’s hard for me to remember that this is just the beginning. But I’m thankful for moments like these, where I can take a breather, look back and remember what I’ve done and accomplished in one year.

But what’s to come?

2018 New Year’s Resolutions

I have a couple Major goals and a couple of Minor ones. The Major ones all relate to my art, while the Minor ones relate to health, relationships, travelling, church, etc.

Major Goals

  • I want to start my Youtube channel. I already have a couple of ideas bubbling – like a section called “Knitting my Thoughts Away,” and just like how I used the Summer to launch this blog I want to use this coming summer to launch my Youtube channel. I already have a profile set up if you’d like to follow so you don’t miss it when I start posting.
  • I also am planning on participating in two different ComicCons to test out the waters on selling my art at these types of events. I’ll be going to AniMinneapolis, and I’m hoping as well to get into the Grand Rapids ComicCon. With this goal I hope I’m able to make $5000 through commissions, prints and freelance work with my art.
  • I want to participate in ArtPrize in Grand Rapids. If you don’t know ArtPrize is this huge Art festival, where the whole city is filled with art and people walk around seeing lots of cool art. There’s some prizes and such, but honestly, I just want to do it for the fun and thrill of it!
  • To continue growing my Blog, and other social media audience. I want to reach more than 1000 followers on Instagram. You can always help out my referring my Instagram account to your friends!
  • Get a freelancing gig with an Illustration agency. I’m hoping to have this help me with bills during the summer! It’d be great to get some work experience in before I graduate.
  • Start work on a graphic novel (Writing).

Wow. I think that’s it! It’s a lot. Or at least it feels like it is. But it’s what we got for now. It will be awesome if in a year I look back and see that I accomplished all of them!

Onwards!

Minor Goals

  • To continue practicing yoga twice a week, and to start another form of physical activity
  • To make more friends and deepen the relationship with the ones I already have
  • To get a cat
  • To travel to one foreign country that I haven’t gone to yet
  • To get back to going weekly to church
  • To finish an Age of Empires story campaign
  • To read 20 books

Some of these are kind of silly and I don’t know how serious I’ll be in pursuing them, so I guess if they happen it will be more by accident than overtly conscious effort? Anyways. I think this is it!

It’s been a great year for me. With many struggles along the way, with much learning as well. I hope I don’t forget the lessons I’ve learned this year, and that next year will be an even better year!

Here’s to 2018!

And if you’d like to share below some of your New Year’s resolution I’d love to hear from you! It’s always good to write these down 🙂


Your support means a lot to me: it helps me keep going. So if you’d like to stay updated with the webcomic make sure to follow the blog – button is off to the side!

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

 

 

Advertisements

The Holy Virgin Probably had Body Issues

by Heather Milks

 

Christmas - Christ the Savior is Born - Poem

Wrapped in flesh, clothed in skin stinking writhing

Child-king, Man-God

Breather of the universe

 

Supernatural meets natural

Lord God in heaven,

Grandfather of the Sky

 

Breath of life, maker of truth,

Utterly, disgustingly physical

Embodied divinity

 

And hope? Hope in what?

Hope in infancy, puberty, and a man to come?

 

Holy Second of the Trinity,

Totally physical, absolutely spiritual.

 

And I? I look and wish it weren’t true.

If God would just stay up in the sky, maybe I could avoid him.

If he didn’t understand earth-pains, I could run.

The babe that haunts me.

If God can say, “yes, I know” I am caught, and forced to weep.

 

Man-God born to some kid younger than I,

The holy virgin probably had body issues.

 

Itching at foreign flaked skin,

Let me leave, let me float away.

Transcend flesh, join you up in the sky.

 

But if he didn’t, then I can’t.

He put it on, and I want out?

He’s not up there, he’s here.

 

And I strangle the needs of my being,

Spirit-body, heart-beat of a soul,

 

I don’t even like babies.

Universal bandaid, one-size-fits-all.

Jesus the Nazarene,

Savior of the Universe

Solution of Man,

Sacred on Earth.

Christ the Savior is Born.

 

 


 

So I haven’t ever tried this. But I wanted to collaborate with someone for a Christmas post. Christmas is a very complicated Holiday for me, with all the gifts, consumerism, and masked smiles all put up against this beautiful, yet very simple moment of birth. Like, birth is such a human, down to the earth moment. Blood, tears, screams and pain. I don’t know, most of the time I just feel weird about Christmas – how am I supposed to engage it?

So I asked my friend Heather Milks to write something, something honest, sincere, questioning to which I could respond with an image of my own. Talking with her I feel that where she’s at in her own faith is a very similar place to my own, and I was really happy when she said “Yes!” So here’s the final result. I hope you like it as much as I did and that maybe it helps you to see afresh the birth of Christ.


 

You can check out Heather’s blog here. Where she talks about stuff, like her faith and religion and life. 

Your support means a lot to me: it helps me keep going. So if you’d like to stay updated with the webcomic make sure to follow the blog – button is off to the side!

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

What Made Me Cry This Week – Naive and Begin (Music)

I usually don’t do a lot of writing about music. My ears aren’t the best, I don’t fully comprehend different musical terms and in general I just feel trying to describe my musical experiences is like trying to hold water in my hands—it all ends up slipping through. But, I thought I would still give it a try, since it was indeed the thing that made me cry this week.

I came out of the bus that had been warming me back up in the 15 minutes I was in it. While I don’t usually enjoy the cold, I pretty much despise it most of the time, as I walked out of the bus I realized today was one of those few days where I embrace the cold, where I’m happy for it to be here. One of those days where cold feels more like a blanket, than a killing machine.

As I stepped out of the bus Naive by RKCB played.

Right after it played Begin (ft. Wales), by Shallou. I was still walking towards Spoelhoef. Out in the embracing cold. And I could just feel my eyes getting filled up with the different lyrics and verses.

I think these two songs represent a lot of what I’ve been going through this semester.

Naive represents my heartache of things that didn’t work out. Often, I hoped that things maybe will come back, that they’ll be what they were again. The title and the verse “I’m not naïve,” pointed to how naïve I can be in an almost ironic way. It made me sad, but also made me want to laugh at myself. How often have I hoped for the past to come back, but I know it won’t? I’m naïve through and through, but I saw my lips moving together with those verses, understanding myself in them.

The music itself caught my attention because of how mellow it is. It’s simple, with a base sound in the background that doesn’t pull you away from the singer. Slow beats and simple texturized sounds flow in the back. But what sold the song for me were the simple yet moving lyrics.

In what’s the “climax” of the song for me, RKCB sings:

“Just promise me

You let me be inside my dreams

Where it’s not over”

I think Begin, coming right after this song gave a whole twist on the moment’s meaning. Like Naive the melody is somewhat simple and mellow, but this one has a hint of hope. It’s starts with a couple of uplifting beats and then he starts singing. There’s some nice variations in the “highlights” of the songs, but the base of the song stays steady. The voice is breathy, almost spiritual and distant.

But the lyrics again are what finally drove this song in deep—even if I’ve already heard this one in the past.

“Change your mind
‘Cause I wasn’t thinking right
We can begin at the top.”

Pretty often we hear to not be ashamed or embarrassed of our mistakes, to embrace them. And while I think there’s some degree of that that we should carry with ourselves, we should also feel comfortable to change our minds, to admit—“I wasn’t thinking right.” It’s hard to admit that we were wrong, but I think this song helps us relax and admit that we did mess up. We mess up all the time, let’s begin again.

In trying to deal with this past year, and this past semester, I had to remind myself both that I can’t go back to the beginning, to how things were. But also that I can change my mind, I can start over. I can restart myself and “Begin at the top.” It’s a paradox that I want to carry with myself.

So, as the end of the year approaches I want to remind myself of that. We can always try again, we can always recognize our mistakes, and we can always let go and move on.

Orange Unicorn – Remember This 12

Orange Unicorn - Webcomic - Waiting

Just a reminder that waiting is normal, sometimes we’re not where we want to be yet, and we have to wait.


 

Previous episode – Next episode

Your support means a lot to me: it helps me keep going. So if you’d like to stay updated with the webcomic make sure to follow the blog – button is off to the side!

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

What Made Me Cry This Week – Yoga

So, usually I stick to books and movies recommendations. But, who cares about consistency? Plus, it still fits with this section’s title.

Today I cried because of yoga. Ok. I didn’t exactly cry, but I cried the way I cry when I watch movies: my lips quivered, I swallowed, and my eyes filled up. I made it go away so no one would see me cry. My eyes filled up like twice.

It’s hard to explain why.

Ever since the end of Thanksgiving I had been feeling this constant emptiness. Like there was something off. I was having a hard time finding energy to do my projects – school related or even personal ones. I did yoga on Monday, but it didn’t solve it. It all still felt heavy. I don’t think I breathed enough during that one.

Tuesday, I felt even worse than the day before. It felt like the day was never going to end, and I just had to live with myself. I wanted to get out of me, but, as with most of us, I was stuck inside.

Then today (Wednesday) came, and I just felt “meh.” I went to work and it was meh. I went to class and it was meh. And everything was meh. Then I did yoga.

It was the normal. Stretching, flexing, holding. Breathing. Trying to smile in painful positions. Then, at the end, we had “shavasana.” Which is basically lying there, resting, breathing. Letting everything flow – meditation.

As I breathed, I could just feel like my whole body was there. Everything was real and it just made me smile that I was alive. Then I felt like crying because it just felt like such a good happiness. A subtle one. A happiness made of breath, of presence. A happiness made of words like “I’m alive.”

 


Originally written last week Wednesday.

 

Be sure to check Orange Unicorn’s last update.

Or jump back to the last What Made Me Cry This Week.

Your support means a lot to me: it helps me keep trying. If you’d like to stay updated make sure to follow the blog – there’s a button off to the side!

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

Orange Unicorn – Remember This 11

Orange Unicorn - We Are Body

Sometimes we forget that we’re this body. When we walk through this life we forget to feel our bodies fully, breath, touch, smells, sight, tastes. Feel your body fully. Remember.


 

I’m really proud of this one. Even though I broke several of my own-given rules for the comic. Oh wells. I used reference for it and I feel I should link to that. There’s nudity though, so just be warned of that.

Previous episode – Next episode

Your support means a lot to me: it helps me keep going. So if you’d like to stay updated with the webcomic make sure to follow the blog – button is off to the side!

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