Orange Unicorn 16 – Nature 3

Orange-Unicorn_016

As much as nature humbles me, breaking me down, admitting how small, how tiny and how quick I am to die… it also strengthens and reminds me that we are all beautiful.


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Orange Unicorn 14 – Nature 2

Orange-Unicorn_015

It’s good to remember, that we’re just starting. I think this is true even for those of us who feel “old.” This world has lasted a lot longer than we have, and maybe that can help us see the world with a more open hand, open heart.


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Orange Unicorn 13 – Joe Is

Joe-IsOrange-Unicorn_013BOrange-Unicorn_013COrange-Unicorn_013DOrange-Unicorn_013EOrange-Unicorn_013FOrange-Unicorn_013GOrange-Unicorn_013HOrange-Unicorn_013I

We all are Joe.

If it resonated with you, share it with someone that you want to show your appreciation for!


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An Exploration of the Colors of Memories and Identity

Nostalgia1

I started this series on one of those days where I felt left behind by myself. My past self looked at present me and felt disappointed.

“You changed. We’re not the same anymore.”

But who is this past self?

Because when I look back so many of my memories are muddled together. They’re like shifting sands, they’re inconsistent, constantly reshaping and retelling themselves. Little details are filled in by a brain that I’m not sure I can trust.

Do you remember that tree stump you stood on and declared to the world your love for life and the skies?

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But I still have this sense of identity. This Andrewness that is me. I recognize myself as sensitive, playful and imaginative. I’m often sad, but I can have a lot of fun as well. I’m disorganized and impulsive, and rarely finish my projects.

Do you remember the tree you and your friends climbed and you would sit in for hours talking about something, and you called it the “Cow’s Tree,” or maybe it was “Bull’s Tree”?

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There’s specifics of my own personal life-story.

I was born in Anápolis, in Brazil, but lived most of my life in Viçosa. A college town, populated with hills and pot-holes and a beautiful sunset every day. I lived with my parents and 3 siblings, all of whom I had very different relationships with, and their different quirks interacted with mine to bring me here where I find myself studying Fine Arts at a Christian Reformed college.

Do you remember that keyhole you looked through, trying to see what was on the other side?

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Sometimes, if I don’t interact with someone from Brazil, it feels like my existence in Brazil was a parallel world completely disconnected from today. How do I know I’m the same person? The one who left Brazil behind for a college degree seems so different from the one writing this blog post. Sometimes I need to call my parents, or hear my friend’s voice to remember it all happened.

Do you remember the nose and lips, of that first kiss?

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But then, the memories I have, even if they seem so obscure, uncertain, and limited, they still inform my decisions, thoughts and feelings today. What I believe in or not is informed by those memories. I unconsciously choose to believe in these and live by these memories.

Do you remember that flower you plucked for your mother?

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Memories are often connected with our material senses. Which I think is incredible. Many people write diaries, and in those visual symbols they re-find their memories. There is that smell that reminds you of that hug right before you left. Or that soft humid smell that breathes with the air from where you came. There’s that touch that brings back memories of when we were.

We keep old objects: the baby’s shoes, or the wedding dress, the books and sketchbooks we filled. A t-shirt or mug from this place or event. Souvenirs of our travels to remind ourselves of the past, of where we were, what we did, but also who we are. We pin memories to physical, sensorial, and bodily experiences.

Do you remember those chubby fingers you had as a 6-year old?

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This is why, especially older people, are so preoccupied with pictures. They knew what I didn’t as a kid. That you forget things, everything changes. You move different places, leaving friends behind. And you can’t quite remember their faces and names. And your sense of self feels a little bit less steady and certain. Who are you, at the end of the day? As a kid you chased orcs with wooden swords, now you write angsty phrases that you put as your Instagram captions.

Do you remember that window you saw, when you walked back from the bus stop to your house, and you couldn’t help but imagine that someone lived in there, and that they had a life just as complicated as your own?

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And while I do feel a connection between me-7-year-old, me 16-year-old and me-today, slowly I’m realizing I’ll always struggle to reconcile the changes that I go through. The places I go, the people I meet, the goals I reach (and the ones I don’t), they’ll all shape me. They’ll keep changing me, even as I struggle to keep all my pieces together in a coherent shape within a single identity of Andrew.

Who are you? Who am I?

 

 

 


 

This inquiry into identity, and the connection to memories started with some philosophy video that I saw that questioned this connection between memory and self. At first I didn’t understand what he meant; I felt pretty safe in my own identity. Now, though, I see these questions haunting me a little. Sadly, I don’t remember where I saw the video, or what it was called, otherwise I’d share.

I’m trying to frame the watercolors depicted above, but it’s a pretty expensive endeavor. If you’d like to help me out you can check out my Etsy store. I updated it with prints of these watercolors as postcard sized, but also have a 25% discount on all other items!

I also wanted to try and work with a similar format to the previous one on depression. Hope you liked it.

Thank you for reading through this post, your support, time and attention means a lot to me: it helps me keep going. If you’d like to stay updated 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.

 

 

Drawing Series on Depression and Anxiety – Part II

(Continued from this post.)

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So it’s gotten better, but I want to go back to understand a little bit more of what this all was. Sometimes I think we’re quick to jump to the solution, we want to speed through the problem as fast we can—reach the other side. But we’re here on Earth, aren’t we? We’ll reach Heaven eventually, won’t we? We might as well learn to take it slow, and learn how to read our problems. We have time to figure things out. And that’s something I’ve learned, and am still learning: there’s time to figure things out. I guess sometimes the whole “You only live once,” makes us feel like we’re not enough in this moment.

Going back to the problem. Recently I felt the anxiety coming back again. This past year was hard. Everything in my life seemed to be spinning again. Things that were, weren’t anymore. The person I looked at in the mirror was different, unrecognizable. I felt like there was a hole in my stomach, a black hole sucking in everything I threw at it, never satisfied. And the ghost-like feeling started to come back.

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I asked a couple people on Facebook to maybe help me coin a word to sum up this feeling.

Alex Johnson came up with “Anonrious,” a combination of anonymous and vicarious. She explains that “vicarious living makes no difference in your own life,” while “anonymous” conveys the ghost sentiment.” Which I think works with the idea. As I see it, anonymity contains a certain powerlessness behind it. The anonymous are weakekend, while those who carry an identity are strengthened, and have power, and influence.Anxiety

Ian Nery Rocha came up with “Miere.” For his thought process, he said: “I would choose a short, seemingly unimportant [word], as the sentiment it describes.” I think this also fits well with the concept; the person dealing with depression often feels unimportant, asking for attention (and help) is an incredible effort in itself. They feel tiny, small, impossibly small, as I did.

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To tie it all together:

Depression is connected to problems of Body, problems related to physical sensations that we often shut out. Depression carries with it a ghost-like quality of life. Depression is tied to “I’m not enough.” It’s tied to “I should already be good at this—at living.” Depression brings with it a lack of identity, lack of importance and of influence. And we should understand more of this reality before we go throwing solutions at a friend dealing with these emotions.

I still carry my Sadness with me. There’s still part of me that is enamored with him; he feels like he’s a piece of me. I want him. He makes me more real. But through therapy, the practice of mindfulness, and through the help of friends and family, I’ve also learned how to not let him take over me anymore. I’ve learned to trust others to help me.

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This is all coming from my own experience. The world is big, and some people tell me that we have more than 7 billion people on this Earth. So please don’t assume that my own experiences encompass those of others. Each person may feel depression differently. They also will have different paths then mine, where therapy may not be enough and medication is needed. They may also find practices other than mindfulness and meditation that help them more.

The last thing I want to say is. Don’t feel like you have to worry about me. While I’m not perfect, I’ve grown a lot and have learned a variety of system-checks to keep my depression at bay. I’ve had the help of my parents and close friends. If my own life is ever at risk because of depression, I’ll let someone close, who can help me, know.


I wanted to talk about depression and anxiety. It’s something that I care deeply about, because of my own experiences and of those close to me. There’s a couple of other blog posts that touch a little bit on these topics. If you want to check them out here’s a small list of items relating to this topic, either by referencing it, or searching for solutions.

Liiiiiiiine

What Made Me Cry This Week – Yoga

Remember This 4

Remember This 3

Thank you for reading through this story, your support, time and attention means a lot to me: it helps me keep going. If you’d like to stay updated 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.

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?

 

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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.

 

 

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.

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.

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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.

So. This is unedited.

Some days I just want to write down thoughts, and hope that the world cares. So, here we go. Unedited thoughts of a wanna be artist on a Tuesday morning to keep you entertained.

Because who hasn’t tried? Who hasn’t put their foot forward and tried? To relax, to chill, under the window sill, looking out into the fields of grey air and yellow sky.

So I walked, out into the fields of knowledge and emptiness. Listening to the Taylor Swift that was bashed by many, just because she did something? She did something that I can’t quite know what it is, because no one quite explains it, because no one quite understands it themselves do they?

It’s like the formless grey air in the morning. Sure, scientists can probably tell you it’s a combination of humidity and temperature levels creating this air we call fog. But really, that explains it? Is it not for the clouded of mind that fog happens? So that environment reflects soul? Is fog not for the soothing effects on the soul? For the beauty of breath? And is it not beautiful? Can you please tell me why it is so? I’d like to know, so I can recreate it in a painting, in a poem or in a phrase. Grey air made by an artist.

I also wanted to tell you this:

Give yourself some love. Call yourself sexy and then do a chicken dance. The fog will hide you away in its embrace.