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Workaholism and Why It Sucks

Journal Entry: Thu Apr 10, 2014, 5:52 PM



Over the past few months, I've been struggling hard with my addiction to work. Do I need income to live? Of course I do. But beyond the work that earns me money, I am constantly making more work for myself - setting impossible goals for Mechanima, creating a list of about 30 plush I want to create before August, struggling to say "no" when people ask for favor after favor. Work can be just as bad for you as reliance on smoking or alcohol, and at times, at least in my case, it's a way to blurt out thoughts I would rather not have to think about (sounds a lot like drinking already, eh?).

I was raised by a workaholic father. He was hard on us as kids - getting a B in school was a reason for shame. From a young age, I was always productive. In elementary school, I was restricted to one half-hour television show per week, one hour of video games per month on average, and the rest of my time was spent drawing, making crafts, and cleaning the yard and house. I was raised with a strict work ethic, but I did take time to enjoy playing when I was allowed to do so, and filled my time with reading books and writing stories.

Then college happened.

Art school can be brutal - the art industry is competitive and you need a strong work ethic to succeed. But the mentalities we carried in the animation department at SCAD were not healthy. We considered SCAD an acronym for Sleep Comes After Death. We laughed about it, but it was no secret we were proud of our sleep deprivation, our hunger, our exhaustion. We strove to be the last one to stop working, because breaks meant you were not passionate enough. We felt we had achieved something when we reached the point that we were hallucinating from lack of sleep, or so sick we were bedridden. After all, Ub Iwerks was said to have drawn 600 frames of animation every day! You took a 3 hour nap? You're not working hard enough!

This kind of attitude destroys artists. It burns us out, slows our progress and stifles creativity, and it is detrimental to us both in mind and body. Being a Senior Graphic Artist working on Disney and Marvel properties has been thrilling, don't get me wrong, but working unpaid overtime constantly with unrealistic (nay, impossible) expectations, and coming home to doing MORE work, only to grow distressed with the fact that I can't do it all in a day because I need to sleep, has run me ragged. I'm looking for new work at this point, and taking a break from doing commission or freelance work on the side until I am able to recover.

As artists, I think most of us have at least a little bit of an ego. We like feedback, we thirst for people to hear our voice. Art is a form of expression, after all. But there are times we have to put that ego, that need for being successful in the sense of artistic achievement, aside and take care of ourselves and those we love.

There are a few big things I've learned from these last six months:

Do not use sleep or food as a reward.
If you are exhausted, sleep. If you are hungry, eat. Reward yourself with a half hour of video games, a chapter from a book, or a tv show. Punishing yourself by depriving your body and mind of basic needs is not the way to succeed.

You are worth more than your artwork.
Art can't be the sole reason for living. What else are you passionate about? What matters to you? Family, friends, travel, collecting bottle caps - whatever it is, it's just as important as your art goals. You DO matter and you're needed regardless of your success in the art world.

Taking breaks is not a waste of time.
This is one of the hardest things for me to digest. Playing a video game, taking a bath with a book in hand, spending a day in the woods - these things are not a waste. They are experiences, they take us away from our work to give us time to recharge, and they can lead to inspiration and a heightened sense of creativity. Art isn't produced in an empty void, our inspiration comes from around us. We need to experience life in big and small ways. You are not lazy and you are not wasting time by stepping away from your phone, your computer, and your tablet to enjoy a day with your family or friends.

Working ourselves all the time doesn't make us happy. We may like to think that it does, but it takes away our needs as human beings to interact with others and to experience the world around us. I've withdrawn from people and treated breaks like they are shameful, and as a result, I've hurt my friends and family by stressing out and using my self-depreciating attitude and projecting it on them too. It's taken me a lot of effort to listen to the people around me who have been telling me that my habits are harmful for a long time (and I am still struggling). But they're right, it's important.

Take breaks! Leave time in your crazy schedule to kick back and laugh with the people who care about you, even if it's only for ten minutes! BREATHE! It's natural, it's necessary, and it's not a sign of failure or laziness.

-Robo-Shark


Design Contest! 3000 points and more!

Journal Entry: Thu Mar 27, 2014, 9:43 AM



Headbursters with Headphones by Zeta-Neubourn
Headburster Design Contest!

My buttbro Zeta-Neubourn is holding a design contest with over 3000 points, $35 in Steam games, and artwork in prizes! I'm contributing to the prizes myself, go check it out and enter if you have the time!

-Robo-Shark


I sent my parents my coming out letter last night.

Talked to my mom on the phone at lunch today. She cried. Dad is very upset. Probably won't talk to me for a while. There was a brief exchange about how "at least you're not gay"

Except that I have a male partner now and okay, we aren't gay, but that's a technicality, so uh.

Apparently both my parents cried themselves to sleep last night too but at least Mom is talking to me. She knew about this for over a year though.

She said my dad still sees me as his cute little princess when I was rolling around in mud with Tonka trucks even as a toddler, I don't know where the princess part even came from, but nonetheless, I will keep hanging in there and hope that over the next few months or years, things might work out. I don't know yet.

Mom's afraid this will be the last straw though and he will cut me out of his life for good.

I know I hurt you and I know you might not believe it but I do love you Dad. Please don't shut me out of your life permanently.

All that being said, I apologize if it takes me some time to get through some of this. Thank you again for all of your support and help. I'll be continuing commissions though I may be a tad slower if I need to take time to work all of this out.

I especially owe a ton to my friends Hunter, Steph, and Lydia for being there for me in person a lot while I've been going through this. Thanks for not abandoning me while I've been in such low moods from this, it's really affecting me and I've done my best to control it and not let it show too much but sometimes I have to let it go I guess.

I know in the end life will go on, and things will be okay somehow, it's just not going to be easy. That's why I fought internally with this for years and that's why it took so much effort to accept that this was something I needed to do to live.

Again, thank you for all you do, without the folks I met through this site, I wouldn't have gotten to where I am today. And I'm sure that things will get better.

-Robo-Shark

EDIT: My dad called last night, even though my mom said he likely wouldn't talk to me for a while. I didn't get to the phone in time but he left a message saying that it was brave of me to have the strength to say what I did and that he admires that. He said he will be there for me but didn't particularly want me to call him back, he sounded very strained and depressed. I'm going to call him tonight, and I feel so horrible about it, but I just wish there was a way to help him understand that I'm the same person and always will be.

I really am sorry for being born with this condition, it's not something I ever would have asked for, and I fought it for so many years because I always put my family before myself and wanted so badly to be what they wanted me to be.

But in the end, it's the decision as to whether or not they have a trans child or a dead one.

Thank you so much for your words guys, I'll get to replying once I have a bit more time.

EDIT:

10ml vial, $103.99. Huge thank you to those who made it possible!

SLOTS CLOSED at least for now holy guacamole thank you guys SO insanely much for your help! I didn't expect such a huge turnout, this is more than enough to afford my next vial which will last me a while. THANK YOU, YOU GUYS ARE AMAZING AND I LOVE YOU. I'm really grateful for your help, and glad that you are cool with faster turnaround sketch slots, due to my limited time!

Today has been a big milestone for me - after years of suffering through gender dysphoria, I've begun the hormone treatment therapy I've needed for so long.

I administered my first shot of testosterone today, which should help to start improving my mental and physical health greatly! I'm really fortunate to have been able to get this far. But although I'm diagnosed with gender identity disorder, my insurance will not help cover any of my medication expenses. This means my vial of testosterone will cost over $100.

I'm doing all I can to afford the costs out of my own pocket, so I will be taking on yet more commissions. I have one left to complete and would like to fill my slots as quickly as possible - I will be doing 10 simple $10 colored sketch commissions:

Ask Rafe 02:26:2014 by Robo-SharkBirthday Suit Bizkit by Robo-SharkCommission: Pantsless Leilia by Robo-Shark

Level of detail and completion will be based on detail of the character, as each will be completed in approx. 30 minutes.

Payments can be sent to juno.luver@gmail.com, I will try to stream at least some of them sometime next week!

I also have handmade plush for sale in my Etsy shop!

Thank you all for your help and support!
-Robo-Shark
Life's been flying by insanely fast - where did March come from? 8I

Anyways! I have two commissions to finish and I may take it easy on those for a while. I'm attempting to give myself more time for Mechanima and my own work. Revamping the characters slightly, as well as reworking my style and approach to the comic pages, are next on my list. That teaser comic I got four pages into and stopped? Yeah, might just rework those pages and see if I can crank out all fifteen in less time than it took me to do those four!

I have been plushing away and new plush have been and will continue to be added at my account Patchwork-Shark and in my Etsy store. Be prepared for Pokemon, patchwork animals, and various other characters and creatures! I'm having a good time experimenting with new materials and styles, and I have a few I've finished that I haven't gotten to uploading photos of yet. I'll be selling at some upcoming conventions and sales too, so I'll let everyone know when I'm scheduled at a table.

I've been taking time away from constant work to sit back and play a bit of games too - I jumped into a quick run through of Starfox Adventures and got sucked into it again. It is helping me to rest more, so I'm going to keep trying to fit that in wherever I can, hah. I'd also like to take time every weekend to get outside and do something fun, like the beach and such. It was my life dream to live close to the ocean, and yet I'm not going out to see it as often as I'd like!

And TwitchyKalgante is going to be here for a little over a week, so will be busy doing other stuff there too! I'll still get in drawing time but not as much.

I recently went to Disney World again. The photos aren't anything artsy so I haven't shared them here, but I took some good texture images that I could post for stock, or upload other pics to my scraps if there'd be any interest in seeing 'em. I have old ones from Sea World too, before my pass expired and I stopped going!

Hope you guys are well, and I'll do my best to keep up around here!

-Robo-Shark
Commissions and plush are still very in-progress right now, so work on Mechanima remains halted for the time being! As stated in my last journal though, I definitely have intentions to revive Ask Rafe so feel free to send questions, I have a backlog of about 15 of them as of now - I will be posting the answer drawings both here and Tumblr. :)

I'd really like to lower my commission intake soon while I work on plush, and to find time to devote to writing more of Mech. Once the writing is done, I hope to work on perfecting my style and speed so I can make pages faster. My goal with Mechanima is to be able to make the first volume myself, then to hope that followers might be able to help me to fund a physical published copy and further volumes.

Pages will be released free online so not to worry if you wanna read the comic but don't feel like paying for it! The help to pay for the time and investments that go into making it would be very appreciated though too, so there will definitely be extras for those who fund it and those who buy the physical comic. Funding would allow me to make the next volume, and if I can reach a high enough amount, it could help me get it printed too.

So I have a few questions for watchers:

Would you be interested in pitching in to help fund Mechanima?
If so, what kind of rewards would interest you (having your character featured in a chapter, physical items like stickers, mugs, shirts, etc, a personal sketch or drawing mailed to you)?
• What kind of extras would you like to see in the printed comic itself? (There will definitely be short one-off comic strips and sketch art that won't be posted online!)
• Would anyone be interested in paying to have an advertisement for their comic in Mechanima?

EDIT: Thanks for all the input! This project will be a long ways down the road, at least if it comes to printed content - I appreciate all the ideas and will also take company publishing into consideration (although I doubt there are any companies that would pick up Mechanima as an option, feel free to let me know of any that you think may be good to send an example to).

Thanks for your ongoing support!
-Robo-Shark
Hi guys!

Thank you all for your patience with commissions, life's been busy and I'm working on making toys for an upcoming con / restocking my Etsy / applying for an internal position at the company I'm working for. You'll be able to see those soon on Patchwork-Shark! I'll be back on them this week though, and I hope you like what I have coming!

On another note, if you're looking to commission other artists please check out these guys!
:iconpampd::iconmyrcury-art::iconwhatifgirl:

On a Mechanima-related note, I will be returning to weekly updates on AskRafe! Due to my lack of time for doing too much for the comic, I do want to at least commit to posting some sketches and responses. It'll not only keep me from getting rusty but also will allow me to update regularly with more Mech-related things like I used to. And although the name of the blog is Ask Rafe, ALL characters are open for questions and responses! Story questions and feedback in general are welcome!

Thank you for all your support!
-Robo-Shark
Tagged by Khezix !


What to do?


  • List all your characters in alphabetical order
  • Ask watchers which they would like to know/see more about!
  • Tag whomever you like to do the same and get to know their characters


A


Ajax
Alex Gallagher
Antonio
Astronaut

B


Battlebot
Bella (cat)
Bella (celemera)

C


Cat (in Space)
Charlotte "Angel" Amherst
Claire Jackson (CJ)
Cordials (species)

D


Dante
Drake Williams
Drake the Sugar Glider

E


Earthworm

F




G


Gadget
Garth the Longnose Gar
Gizmo

H


Harvey
Helen Young

I


Izzy

J


Jay the Blacktip Reef Shark
Jade
Jet

K


Kai
Keiko
Kevvai
Kirik
Kronos

L




M


Miss Evans

N




O




P




Q


Quackercat

R


Rafe Lawrence

S


Sam
Slavebot
SIMSU Experiments

T


Talim
Travis Hunter
TRUMan
Tucker

U




V


Vorde

W




X




Y




Z


[Okay I'm forgetting some whose names I forgot/didn't come up with yet...but HEY]

Now...
Tell me what you want to know/see!


I tag...


BearTamerAllen neo-dragon Myrcury-Art hookyland StellasStar and anybody who comments on this journal :B
My birthday was a long day of work, very tired! But I had cake at work, and came home to another cake and Valentine's candy from a really awesome bro. :heart:

A huge thank you for these awesome deviations CHECK THESE ARTISTS OUT!

OC Xchange - Happy Birthday bro! by Myrcury-ArtRafe Lawrence by WHATiFGirlFriends by CoffingeistRafe by NaninadzJay by Digimitsu

Also muro drawings and art from Facebook and Tumblr buds!


by 47ness


by ScurvySimon

by ColaFizz


by Chibi-Tom-boy


by StrangeCanine


by fowlboss

Thanks for all your support and kind gifts, and thank you to everybody who posted a message on my page, I appreciate it!

-Robo-Shark
TIME TO DO IT AGAIN.

1. What did you do in 2013 that you'd never done before?

I moved to Florida with no job and no idea where it would take me, drove over 2,000 miles to get there, lived on a friend's couch for months while struggling to get a job and taking commissions at the same time, moved my belongings five times in one year, got my first salary position, worked on official Disney art, met stunt drivers and celebrities at my workplace, got an apartment near the beach, slept curled up with someone in my arms and in someone's arms, exposed my naked body to someone and actually felt comfortable and safe, met one of my best friends I had only known online for many years, attended therapy, got my T letter, and scheduled an appointment for hormone replacement therapy consultation. I kissed someone and for the first time I liked it. My parents visited and we didn't fight. At the very end of the year I feel I am at peace within myself and with the world around me.

2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I derped on some. But I promised myself I'd leave Arizona by July or bust. I kept that promise and never looked back.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Kind of.


4. Did anyone close to you die?


My friend DMajorBoss died of cancer. I knew it was probably coming but it's still hard to believe he's gone at such a young age.

5. What countries did you visit?

None but I saw lots of the USA again on my drive hahah.

6. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013?

To feel more appreciated and less overworked at my job, and to have progressed further on my own art endeavors.

7. What dates from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

So much from #1. Staying with Myrcury-Art's family, making stuff together, ramen and sushi, rainy day cuddling with pumpkin spice lattes, going to Clearwater with family, and most of all probably the day I left home.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

I have achieved so much this year. Breaking out on my own when I told myself I would, establishing a job and apartment for myself, meeting tons of new people, progressing on writing Mechanima, and learning to trust again. Not completely, but I am doing better at keeping my cynical and distrustful side at bay.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Dwelling too much on pain and anger. I aim to be more patient and less critical.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Suffered from very depressed thoughts and heavy distress. Physically there are some problems I'm working on but the mental strain is much better.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

An apartment! Well, rented anyway!

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

My family whom have been much more supportive and haven't made me break down nearly as much. My roommate Zeta-Neubourn who not only gave me a free place to stay but also spoiled me rotten with food and toys. My friend Myrcury-Art who is doing so much better than she was a month ago.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

My dad in the beginning of the year. And a few friends who unfortunately have gone down the wrong path in my honest opinion, but to each their own.

14. Where did most of your money go?

Rent, moving, car expenses, argh!

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Having a salary job in the industry, meeting Steph and other friends, and being at the beach!! RAIN!!! STORMS!!! AAAAAAHHHHH

16. What song will always remind you of 2013?

The soundtrack to The Way

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? SO much happier.
b) thinner or fatter? Fatter. Need to work on that.
c) richer or poorer? ...Richer. In many ways at least.

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?

Art for MEEE. And video games. Gonna fix that this year.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?

Lazing around. Driving. Oooh so tired of driving so much.

20. How did you spend Christmas?

With Steph's family over the weekend and Lydia's family on Eve/Day! Completely new experience going to midnight mass and meeting new folks.

21. What was your favorite month of 2013?

Hnnngh not sure, there were ups and downs through all of them, but time from August onward was a lot of fun in many ways.

22. Did you fall in love in 2013?

...I actually think I did.

23. How many one-night stands?

Virgiiin.

24. What was your favorite TV program?

Attack on Titan!

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?

I try very hard not to hate people. I have grown distant from a few people I cared about though. And closer to others!

26. What was the best book you read?

Good god I don't think I got time to read much. I read Squee again?

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?

Hipster music. And lots of electronic stuff.

28. What did you want and get?

A home by the beach and someone to share it with.

29. What did you want and not get?

A job in the animation or comics industry. And a cintiq and desktop computer. But there is always next year.

30. What was your favorite film of this year?

I saw very few this year. But probably Star Trek Into Darkness.

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

...I had to use a calculator to figure out my age pfft. 26, I don't think I did stuff? I was rather unhappy.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

It was already pretty damn satisfying towards the end. Less stressful work would be good though, and MORE SLEEP.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2013?

Business casual and uh. Comfy stuff :V

34. What kept you sane?

Steph and Hunter. Other friends who offered advice too. Physical affection does a ton for your mind though I mean wow I was missing out on a lot.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

Uh

36. What political issue stirred you the most?

Any attacks on human rights. Which was a lot. But a lot of progress was made in some places too.

37. Who did you miss?

My parents, my cats, my brother, SCAD buddies.

38. Who was the best new person you met?

TOO MANY WAY TOO MANY. I got to meet Myrcury-Art, Zeta-Neubourn, CrazyCrumbCake, LeiliaK and a number of others for the first time, and hope to meet more of you this year!

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013.

You have to take huge risks to get anywhere in life. You have to feel pain before you can truly appreciate love. You have to learn to trust to learn to love. Live every day like it's your last - every moment is valuable and should be treasured, so don't let it pass you by doing nothing. And don't eat Fruit Roll-Ups in the shower, they melt.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

"No one has to hear
The sound of people laughing at their fears
And the ocean and sun are always there
To make you happy if you're feeling scared
Of the darkness

And love always remains"
Hi guys! I am considering going full time as a commission artist, in both plush and in illustration, and hopefully animation even!

This is not a final decision, and certainly not what I would have expected to be considering right now especially after choosing to close down all commissions to concentrate on my career, but things with my current work are not going according to plan and it is becoming a tough situation. I've just relocated to a smaller town for this position and I'm worried about finding more work in my field here. I would need to be able to keep a steady income ($20/hr or more, 40 hours a week) with commissions in order for this to work though, and I would need to get medical insurance and take care of tax issues on my own. I'd love any advice from artists who are working full time in commissions, whether it's plush, drawing, or something else! How do you go about advertising? How do you handle taxes and expenses? What are the keys to succeeding as a commission artist?

Thanks!
-Robo-Shark
:iconfarnsworthplz:

I was hired for a full time position for a large company in the Tampa area! I'll be working as a graphic designer, and will be functioning as a storyboard artist, character designer, and animator for their shows as well. They produce Disney on Ice, Disney LIVE, a variety of motocross sports events, and other entertainment. I'm hugely looking forward to a new start!

I'm a little bummed to leave Orlando behind, but I'll only be a couple hours away, and will be coming back whenever I can (especially to visit my bud Myrcury-Art). My bro Zeta-Neubourn will be coming out there too which is awesome and we are gonna have the most badass apartment ever conceived, complete with a ball pit, trampoline, fish, and a bajillion toys. :V

My therapist has already approved me for my testosterone letter. I am scrambling to get blood work done and find a doctor to prescribe the injections, but I'm hoping that I'll be able to start in the very near future! So yes, after years of thinking I would never have a way to combat this, I'm on the verge of taking the next step. I just hope I can manage to balance the doc appointments with a new job...

All that being said, commissions are officially CLOSED. I gotta weed through my pile of notes and get replies out - I will most definitely complete your art as soon as possible! But then I'll be taking a fairly big break while we hunt for an apartment and focus on getting a living situation in order. It's gonna be insane for a bit as everything's happening at once but also REALLY AWESOME

So for now, I'll catch you guys later!

-Robo-Shark
Don't see what you're looking for?
I can sketch, storyboard, color, ink, make icons, design backgrounds and ref sheets, create vehicles and props, or even animate for you! Feel free to note me with whatever your needs are and I will do my best to help!

Main Commissions

Commissions by Robo-Shark

Sushi Commissions
Sushis! by Robo-SharkSushi Batch 2 by Robo-SharkSushis Batch 3 by Robo-Shark
$8.00 / 800 :points: each, complex characters will be simplified!

No Pants Commissions

Kenneh with No Pants by Robo-SharkLeif with No Pants by Robo-SharkJay with No Pants by Robo-SharkRexy with No Pants by Robo-Shark
$15 / 1500 :points: each, complex characters will be simplified!

Sketch Commissions
Sketch Commissions Batch 4 by Robo-SharkSketch Commissions Batch 1 by Robo-Shark
$10 / 1000 :points: each, complex characters will be simplified!

Terms:
-I will gladly draw humans, anthros, animals, monsters, robots, and more! (Heavy details may cost extra, please inquire for pricing.)
-Pin-ups and some gore/violence are OK! No pornography or hate art please.
-Cost of additional characters and backgrounds depends on complexity. All color/shaded art includes a simple abstract background.
-Provide a visual reference that is safe-for-work.
-You may specify situations or poses but please keep descriptions as brief and concise as possible, thanks!
-Payment via Paypal is due up-front. I cannot issue refunds for my services, unless I cannot complete your work. Edits are subject to additional charge.
-I can take point commissions - please only use the commissions widget on my page! I can create a custom amount if needed. Please do not donate the points, thanks!
-Commissioned art will be posted to my gallery on Deviantart, Tumblr, Weasyl, and may be used for other portfolio reasons. If you'd like your commission to be private or plan to use it for licensed content, please indicate your terms when asking for art.
-Commissions can be used for icons, signatures, and private use. Please do not use my art for profit, claim it as your own, or re-post without watermark and a link to the original work. Thank you!
-I work full time as a studio artist and work on commissions at night or on weekends. Please be patient, it may take time to complete your image!
-By commissioning me, you have agreed to these terms. Please look them over before asking me for one! Thanks!

Commissions:

[CLOSED]
1 ryuutenshi paid


Trades:
Terms:
-The same rules for commissions apply in trades as well.
-I have been doing trades for years and have never backed out on a finished trade. For this reason, I ask that you finish your half first, unless we have traded before in the past. I have been burned too many times.

[CLOSED]
1 AyakoNoBaka - finished their half
2 Stitchy-Face
3 pampd - finished their half
6 bladebandit 
In the past couple days there's been something like 30 new watchers here...thank you guys! I appreciate your support and I'd love to get to know you, feel free to say hi anytime!

I plan to livestream commissions either this weekend or during the week, I'll announce it when I'm online.

It's gonna be a challenge, but I am going to try NOT to draw quite so much for a while. I am working on Page 4 of the Mechanima teaser comic (the first 3 pages are here: robo-shark.deviantart.com/gall… ) and will continue it and some other character art, but what I really want to do is push to get more of the outline for the main comic written! I have a LONG way to go if I want to start drawing the first volume. I'll be at fowlboss's apartment and daggerjaw is gonna be there with us in about a week, so I hope they can maybe give me some fresh ideas. Then it's a long drive from there to daggerjaw's place in Houston, and I may be able to come up with some more development on the way, and on the drive from Houston to Orlando too. With how overloaded with work I'd been for such a long time, on top of the stress of moving, I haven't made much progress for a while. Mechanima is my major project and I want to bring it back to the forefront best I can!

-Robo-Shark
T minus 2 weeks before I leave now, I admit I'm very excited and a little nervous about trying to cram all my stuff in my car...which is costing much more than my estimate, hahah welp.

But I am going to be making some changes about my lifestyle. I am finally realizing that I work too hard and too much. This many hours is making it very hard for me to focus on my own development, and to be honest, I haven't actually had in-person contact outside of family and work since last October. I need to make room for living outside of my jobs, and after wearing myself thin for the past three or four years, I'm going to make that change now.

I will be taking commissions again once I arrive in Florida, and searching for a full time studio job! But I also want to be able to have fun doing things like trades and contests again. And I might want to play some Bioshock Infinite with Myrcury-Art and some Animal Crossing with pretty much half of the people I watch here who are crazy about it. :V I want to see the beach, go to cons, do more weight lifting - the things I love that I have neglected for so long. I feel guilty when I take breaks or spend time on my own art, but I am learning  that it's actually easier to be more productive when you allow yourself a chance to recharge.

After a few more drawings and one plush, I have page 4 of the Mechanima teaser comic to work on.

So yeah! Expect more of my characters for a while, I guess. Hope that's cool, hahah!

-Jay
In addition to packing, planning my route and stops, family responsibilities, medical and insurance planning, and getting my car fixed at 4 different locations, I've been REALLY loaded with work. I've sorta been having nightly freakouts that I've forgotten to do something despite keeping a very organized schedule, so please, if for any reason you have not received an item or commission you paid for, or if I have not responded to something important within the span of a week, send me a note! It's the best way to get a hold of me that I will definitely see. I will likely not resume normal commissions until sometime in August.

For anybody interested, here's the route I'm most likely taking in July!



The slightly lighter blue line through Dallas/Ft Worth is another option.

I'll be staying in El Paso for a while with an awesome friend, and may have to make a couple more stops along the way after that in order to rest, but I might be able to drive it straight through too if I try. It's been years since I've seen San Antonio though and there are places I kind of want to see along the way, so I may take it a bit slower as long as it doesn't break the bank for me, heh. If you're along that route and want to meet up, feel free to let me know! (neilak20, I will still try, I just might not be able to due to the distance off my main path, sorry |D).

Thanks again for all of the help on funding the work on my car, I'll be taking care of that in late June and then it'll be a hell of a long drive from there - my first solo cross-country trip!

-Jay
Who are you?

Jay Miller, Sharky Robutt. I've been a professional designer for toys, web and print graphics, and illustrative work for over 5 years. I'm a SCAD alumni with a Bachelors in Animation and an Associates in Computer Illustration, currently working full-time as a senior graphic artist on Disney and Marvel properties. I also make plush under the name Patchwork-Shark!

Where did you go to college?
I received my Associate's degree in Computer Illustration at Mesa Community College in 2006 and earned my Bachelor's degree in Animation at the Savannah College of Art & Design in 2012.

Where do you work?
I'm a full time illustrator and designer for Feld Studios in Florida, where I create artwork for a number of properties. On the side, I work on commission-based projects and my personal comic project Mechanima.

Do you take commissions, trades, requests or collabs?
Status is here! I am not currently taking freelance projects so please do not inquire for them.

What tools do you use?
I sketch, ink, and color in a variety of programs, mostly Paint Tool Sai, Illustrator, and Photoshop. I prefer ToonBoom Animate for 2D animation but work with Flash too, primarily in puppet animation. I've used all kinds of weird odds and ends for sculpting, sewing, and stop motion puppets, and I sketch and draw traditionally as well.

May I use your art in my icons, signatures, or edit it in any other way?
Please ask permission first and credit me with a link to my page! Commissions, gifts, and trades may be used by the person the art was intended for as long as credit is given and the art is not used for profit. Removing watermark/links is strictly prohibited. My original characters are my own and I request that you do not edit or repost my original work.

May I draw or write about your characters?
YOU MAY DRAW THEM ALL YOU WANT. All I ask is that you link back to me, and show it to me - please?! I am beyond THRILLED that anybody wants to draw them, write about them, or anything else! I'd love to see and read whatever you've worked on! Thank you!

Are you a furry?
I love to draw anthro characters and I have a shark-sona. I don't attend cons, roleplay, or consider myself part of the fandom, but I do have art on Weasyl!

What online messengers do you have? Do you have Facebook?
I rarely use Facebook and messengers, since I have little free time, and they are for my close personal friends only. It's best to keep in contact with me here, thanks!
I'll be updating the bottom of this entry when I can, it's been a hell of a night. Thank you all so much for your concern, I haven't been able to reply to very many texts, calls, voice mails, or other messages but I appreciate it so much.

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My aunt found my grandmother unconscious and laying face down on the floor this morning. I don't really know what's going on yet but my dad's on his way.

My mom and grandma are sort of my best friends in the world so things have been kinda hard. Please be patient with me if I don't respond to messages easily or quickly. I got a good bit of notes/PMs last night on dA and Tumblr and am trying to catch up soon as I can, thanks for everything!

---

So my dad's notified us that she has had a brain aneurysm, so she is bleeding on both sides of her brain. She's been airlifted to another hospital for emergency brain surgery. I came home for the day from work as I'm hurting too much to focus, but will be working my freelance right now as I can cry in my home office and not be seen, hah. We are all hoping she will pull through this but it does not look good. Thank you for your kind words, probably won't respond much but I do greatly appreciate it.

---

I went home from work last night to get my mom and take us into Phoenix to see my grandmother. We were hit by another car while sitting in rush hour traffic on the way and had to stop to file a police report. We're taking the vehicle into the shop today as well. We made it to the hospital though and stayed most of the night, my dad stayed all night. We're all very very tired. I went to work at my usual time though and I'm trying to be at the office the whole day unless something comes up, and will be working freelance at night if I come home from the hospital.

My grandmother was not expected to survive the surgery. They had her signing her will and documents for my dad to make all final decisions for her. They brought in a chaplain as well, which I'm opposed to scaring people with religious practices like that, and all of this really terrified her and everyone else since it's very much a "you're doomed" sentencing. I'm still angry about it.

The surgery was quick and done through a catheter inserted into her leg, which is pretty incredible when you think about it. Brain surgery done with a tiny incision in the leg. Technology is pretty neat sometimes. They found 4 aneurysms instead of 2, they were able to fill 1 with titanium, the other 3 they couldn't fix without more invasive surgery at higher risk so we're leaving them there as of now.

40% of people with a bleeding aneurysm die before the surgery can save them. 66% of those who survive the surgery have severe permanent brain damage. My grandma was awake in less than an hour, knew our names, and in three hours, was able to tell us the month, year, and President of the United States. The doctors are pretty damn blown away. My grandma's a tank, before she could even talk straight she was trying to sit up, take IVs out of her arms, pull off her oxygen mask, and go get some Vaseline for her dry mouth hahah. We all had to keep pushing her back down in the bed.

The first thing on her mind was my brother. It makes us all sick that he did not come to see her. He abandoned our family over a year ago now and to think that she thinks of him so much makes me furious, because people like him do not deserve so much love from someone like her.

She is in immense pain this morning which is not supposed to happen so I'm on call to rush back to the hospital immediately if we hear anything. But the fact that she is still with us now is remarkable.

---

We went to see her again today, it's bad. She's in a lot of pain, really struggling to be able to think and remember anything. She shakes constantly. We don't know that she'll make it through the next few days as doctors said it should get progressively worse the rest of the week.

My dad is in awful shape too since he'd been there since leaving at 5:30am or so yesterday. He's at home with us now getting a couple hours of sleep before he goes back to spend another night with her at the hospital. He had not eaten or slept the entire time he was there.

My brother did not show. We had no way to contact him since he ran away, so we called his college as an attempt to get through. Campus police passed on the news to him. He didn't even call back.

My grandma raised both of us from birth and lived with us as kids. She was always there, always the most kind, loving person you could imagine, treating us out to eat and taking us to parks all the time. She was there when we were sick or needed someone to talk to, she loved playing with us and enjoyed everything we enjoyed.

I no longer see him as my brother anymore. This was the final event that has ended it for me. I truly hope to never see him again in my life.

---

Last night was very hard. My mom and I went to the hospital about noon, came home with my dad to let him sleep for two hours, then went back out and stayed until about 1:30am. She was in so much constant pain and kept falling unconscious during it. She was shaking and terrified as the nurses kept pulling her up out of bed to force pills down her throat and giving her injections. It just hurts so much to see her going through this but she's resting better this morning and as the doctors said, she will have her ups and downs the next few days, and it will be getting worse for a while.

I had my first onslaught of panic attacks and breakdowns last night. I'm physically exhausted and I'm not proud of how things happened last night but I can't do anything to change it. I normally do not cry about things but it finally hit me and it has been taking its toll.

Thank you again so much to everyone who's been thinking of her and my family, I can't believe how many of you sent your thoughts and well wishes, even people I don't really even know well, and every single bit of it means everything to me. Thank you. I will hopefully be going to the hospital this evening after work instead of going for 12+ hours this time, and my dad will be on his way home to rest and work as well today. There isn't a lot we can do but she needs someone there for her at all times, and now my dad's brother should be there for a while.

I brought her the "tiger shark" plush I made a while back and she couldn't stop gushing about how much she loves it. She gets confused but she knew it was me and that I made it, she kept talking about when we bought the fabric for it, which we didn't, and she gets some things mixed up, but she kept it beside her and was smiling and laughing a lot before the onset of the pain again. I keep hoping the worst is behind us although the nurses said it isn't yet. But hopefully soon she will be past this. She was able to walk up and down the hall once and they've had her sit up, she just refuses to eat which is causing complications and a lot of the pain. We're hanging in there though.

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Just wanted to post a quick update. Things haven't changed much for my grandma in the past few days, definitely still having ups and downs. Family's arrived in town and honestly made it worse in some ways than better, but at least my dad is getting a night off tonight to recover after four days of practically living in the hospital. I've become sick and until I recover a bit more I may not be able to see her as I won't be allowed in ICU if I have any trace of a disease.

I haven't been able to draw, for lack of time and exhaustion, but I've been working with writing Mechanima and will make a quick post on theme in a bit! Thank you again for all of your support and thoughts, we are holding out hope and the doctors do believe that if she keeps pushing ahead, she will make a full recovery, or very close to it. :)
I've had a huge influx of new watchers lately! Thank you for your interest in my work, I don't know where you all came from, but I appreciate it!

I figured since I clear out most of my journals periodically, I'd do a proper introduction type post for the first time in a while.

I'm Jay - I'm a professional full-time graphic designer who works in animation, comics, toy design, and illustration on the side. I have worked on a variety of short films including the award-winning Create, and some of my art is displayed at Cartoon Network, 2K Games, and DreamWorks, among other places. My hobbies include traveling, reading about various cultures, spirituality, and robotic sciences, working out and weight lifting, toy collecting, video games when I get a spare moment, and terrorizing innocents with my dangerous personality. I love violent entertainment and I'm a technophile. I also sometimes like cute pink things. I'm single and not interested in romantic stuff. I do not like most children, obnoxious, dishonest, or sensitive people, bigots, and religious nutjobs. Animals are pretty cool though.

My plans this year include moving to Florida, progressing on my art and comic, and seeking therapy and hormone treatment. My favorite place to be is the beach and I'm thrilled to get out there! My major life goals are to see as much of the world as I can, to never stop loving the simple things, and to successfully publish my current comic project Mechanima. I'd love to work full time in the animation, video game, or comics industry.

If I could grow up to be anything I'd be a robot.

-Jay
I would have completely forgotten about Rafe's birthday if I hadn't been reminded by others, hahah! Tonight I might do a bunch of art for his Tumblr: askrafe.tumblr.com . I have tons of questions already queued but you are free to ask more! I can't guarantee an answer to all of them in one night :D EDIT: Ran out of time to do questions tonight, gah hopefully soon though!

So yes, today's his "activation day" - thank you for the awesome artwork! Here's a feature of a few randomly awesome Rafe arts (you can see more here: robo-shark.deviantart.com/favo… )

Gift - Three Dee by caatOffmodel RObros by neilak20Mechanima: Rafe concepts by vgfmDigi-Rafe by dechark13You're No Monster... by StellasStar.:: GIFT- Blow out the candle ::. by Shear-RoharkRafe in Green by CrypticInkMechanima by IncrossSW: Stranger by vtasTo Our Oppressors by ShadowKiwiJunoluver - Alex and Rafe by sadnobodyFor junoluver : Paper Planes by DemonGemini6Wolf Rafe by Tia-tonyMisc - Know When You're Beat by caatMechanima Contest: You Can't Have Her by neo-dragonTRADE - Rafe Goes Viral by caatGlomp - Gift by StellasStarChibi Rafe- Gift by TyphloserRafe and Alex by Saetje

The first Rafe fanart I've ever received:
Commission - Warp 2000 by OnionKnight

I really appreciate all the support Mechanima has gotten so far, and it's been developing very well now - I'm thrilled to be working on a brief teaser this weekend! I guess I've been drawing Rafe since I was about 15 or 16 now, crazy to think he's been running around my head that long, even if it was under other names. I recently found a really embarrassingly old Mechanima comic book I made almost 10 years ago, I got a laugh out of the awful art and writing, hahah!

Man now MY birthday is in a few days...I plan to work all day as usual, lol! I'll be 26 now, have to try to remember that number. Whoo!

-Jay