How on Earth do you draw quickly?

It’s been a few years since I stopped drawing due to medical school and mental illness. I came back to the art world after a year of medications, feeling calm and confident enough to start a drawing and finish it. I’ve made several colored pictures afterwards (usually I just sketch), and I’m happy to learn more about how to make a good picture. I’ve been reading tutorials and James Gurney’s book Color and Light, and I want nothing more than to learn as much as I can. I have this silly ambition to have the skill to create, though I don’t know what use it’ll have for me.

Since I watched the latest series of BBC sci-fi TV show Doctor Who last year, I was inspired to draw The Doctor and Clara Oswald. Thank goodness, these amazing characters written by Steven Moffat made me start drawing again. The big fandom of Doctor Who also helps in terms of support.

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March 2017: the unlikely couple, 12th Doctor and Clara Oswald from Doctor Who

And there’s this thing I’ve discovered: I draw very, very slowly. Ten years ago it used to take me around 2 hours to make a single drawing. Now I don’t get satisfied with a drawing when I do it in one sitting. Maybe I just need to get used to drawing again. Or maybe med school has made me so tired that I can’t finish something immediately, I don’t know. God knows how many days I have spent for the drawing above!

 

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Anxiety-Inducing Friendship

I think it’s been almost a month since I stopped getting what I call “psychosomatic attacks.” Basically, my body likes to act up whenever there’s a psychological stress. Suddenly I’d have diarrhea, headache, nausea, and vomiting, for example. I started taking Cipralex (Escitalopram) last month to help me with this phenomenon (I used to take Zoloft) and it helped a lot. The psychosomatic symptoms didn’t appear until… just now. 

I know why it happened. I had a quarrel with some close friends because they were being stubborn and didn’t respect me without having a single clue about it. I drove 2 hours to our meeting place and they were late for half an hour, they didn’t have any excuse for being lage, they didn’t even bother to contact me when they arrived and they outright refused my suggestions. I had been patient with them for a long time but this time I’d had enough and explained that what they did absolutely disappointed me and I quit from our chat group. One of them didn’t even bother to apologize, which made me feel more certain about leaving them. 

Okay, so what they did was intolerable for me, I was angry, and I decided to leave. It seems rational. But why does this cause me anxiety?

They were probably my closest friends in medical school and I didn’t like them. It’s not like I won’t talk to them or anything, but I’m just gonna stop hanging out with them. I feel better without them right now, but there’s a thing that keeps bugging me: what if I can’t find friends afterwards? I have horrible people skills and the trigger of my first depression episode 7 years ago was caused by loneliness. I didn’t have any friend and it scares me to think that I would experience that loneliness once more. It scares me to the point of causing psychosomatic symptoms. 

And I don’t know what it is I should do. I don’t know how I’m supposed to act in such situations. I used to have no friends and now I’m angry at people who are my close friends because I don’t think they deserve me. My mom tells me that I should befriend people who have good social skills because obviously my previously good friends didn’t. But I’m not good at talking, especially to those kind of people. I’m thoroughly uninteresting and I usually just don’t know what to say. Then my mom suggested I get a boyfriend, which is even more impossible. 

Gosh, it’s only been a month and I already need to see my psychiatrist.

If you feel like you want to respond/have some ideas about having a good social life and avoid loneliness, please do comment! 

Alan Watts once said…

Waking up to who you are requires letting go of who you imagine yourself to be.

I feel it difficult to let go of the image of the person you wish to be. Ever since I recovered from my years of depression I’ve learned something new about myself every day, and the realizations are many times quite surprising. I have a theory about it that involves Erikson’s theory about the stages of personality development. I lost the moments when I should’ve known myself because my black dog began to appear during my teenage years. It pretty much shielded me from the outside world, making me focus on loathing myself.

So, the self-loathing thing happened yesterday. I don’t know what caused it (I try to analyze myself but sometimes it’s just difficult), but I suspect it has something to do with my inconsistency.

I’m rather jealous of my friends who are a constant, predictable human being. Sometimes I think I know myself but then my moods surprise me and tell me, nope, you’re not exactly who you think you are. I tried to get some control on myself but my mood insisted that I follow it first instead. I don’t know if this has something to do with being bipolar (it probably has), but it sure does frustrate the hell out of me.

My opinions and spirit on a single thing changes depending on my mood as well. Sometimes I feel like I’m so fired up I want to do a lot of things, other times I don’t care about the world. My sister has learned not to trust my words because of it. I learned not to trust myself with every passing desire. It would pass and a new thing will arrive and thus my mind keeps changing. The truth is that I am made of inconsistency.

The Thing About Vinland Saga

Vinland Saga has caught me off guard.

I began reading the manga only last month. I saw a big volume of the first book at Kinokuniya Bookstore, and I remembered that I had seen it several months before. Apparently, they decided to sell two volumes in a single book. Despite the expensive price, I decided to pick it up because I was in the mood for comic books. At the time I was so deprived of art, and I needed to see pictures as soon as possible. Novels, after all, cannot satisfy my thirst as pictures can. So when I saw a thick book of pictures with stories, all I could think about was that this is the one for me. I simply wanted a good entertainment for holiday.

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the thick first volume of Vinland Saga

But this manga far exceeded my expectations. When I finished reading it, I thought I couldn’t believe I’d been missing such a good story for so long. It was like the best thing I’ve ever read for years (Vinland Saga was first published in 2005, and is still ongoing). It also reminded me just how much I used to absolutely love Japanese comic books! (I grew up with Naruto, Dragon Ball Z, Hikaru no Go, Meitantei Conan, Doraemon, etc)

The next week I bought the second and third volume because Kinokuniya was having a store-wide 15% discount. I felt kinda bad for buying two volumes at once–buying one volume at a time feels better because you can concentrate more on absorbing the joys of a single book. But I couldn’t simply ignore that kind of discount! Besides, volume 4 and 5 were already in display. It’s not like I was buying them all at once.

And now, I wish I had bought them all.

The second and third volume were even more amazing than the first volume. It tells more of the story of Askeladd, the main antagonist (and surprisingly the protagonist’s father figure), which, after reading the first volume, I thought was cool because his design is awesome and he’s strong and he’s basically a badass evil character. What those two books revealed, though, was something that I didn’t even thought of; his even more compelling background story, and the complexity of his character. I first thought that Askeladd was just a selfish, strong pirate with a good leadership skill, but it turns out he’s waaay more than that. Heck, he even made it to my list of favorite characters of all time.

the magnificent bastard that is Askeladd
the magnificent bastard that is Askeladd

And then there’s also the politics and the story of the Danish court. Askeladd wasn’t just the one holding my interest–there were also Prince Canute, who was in cold war with his father, and Thorfinn, the vengeful main protagonist, who are also interesting characters. The supporting characters too are not bland, and the dialogues are fun to follow since the people talk a lot of Viking stuff. The historical bits of the comic helps builds up the gravity of the situation, you see, because it makes you realize that what you’re reading is real (well, not a hundred percent real, but still–all the slavery and war and stuff are). Simply put, this manga is brimmed with great content!

I desperately wanted to know more about what would happen next, but I was running out of money (it’s never a sensible thing to spend more than a hundred dollars in a visit to a bookstore, I assure you!). So… well, I read the scanlation, up till the last available chapter. And oh my god asodjaksdakjsbdjqid.

Vinland Saga has become my favorite story ever.

I feel bad for reading scanlations, so I just skimmed the pages (except for some really amazing scenes) to know the story. I plan to buy every volume of Vinland Saga. While I wait for a more appropriate time to do a comic book haul, I reread and reread the first three volumes that I’ve owned. Amazing story. Amazing art. Amazing characters. I just can’t stop being amazed by this manga.

But after a few days, I stopped reading altogether. By this time I was afraid that I’d get bored by it, and for me that’s the worst thing that could happen to a manga that’s so incomparably good. The stories and characters had been well assimilated into my mind until now. And I can’t remember the story of Vinland Saga without feeling at least a bit sad (Yes, this manga is capable of making you feel sad and broken, and that is a wonderful thing to experience when you read a story).

Even now I can’t help but feel blue about Vinland Saga. I wish to create something to express the stories that I think still have more room for expansion, but writing is still a difficult thing for me, let alone writing historical fiction. So I made drawings, which helped me a lot in practicing my rusty drawing skills.

I reckon it’d take me time to be able to write a fanfiction, so I tried to write about my love for the manga in this blog. I think it has helped ease my feelings a bit.

If you have something to say/discuss about the manga, feel free to drop by some comments below!

To Start the Blog

I’ve made tons of blogs before. Many of them I deleted because I despised my own writing. This is because I have never been a writer–I was one whose mind works with images, not words, or abstract, unreal things. I make pictures of what I like. It was not that I disliked talking, I simply did not think it was the suitable method of expression for me. Besides, I have this tendency to fail when I use words. So what made me want to begin anew, yet again?

It started with a simple desire to showcase the pictures of my favorite authors somewhere. I wanted to print them and tape it on the wall of my apartment, but I don’t want to freak my family out by making them think that I was into dead old men (which, in fact, I probably am, but not the dead ones, mind you). So I thought about the internet. For some reason, I couldn’t add my favorite authors on Goodreads because the “Become a Fan” button somehow disappeared. And thus, that led me to making this new blog, a personal space where I can talk about whatever I want.

Though, in reality, I don’t really like to talk so much unless someone asks for my opinion. I don’t know, it just feels so self-important. Unless, again, there’s some benefit to be gotten from the talk itself. I guess the only way to make his whole blogging thing work is to look at it positively. I really need to stop seeing blogs as a place for show-offs.

Blogging is for sharing. Sharing your experience, thoughts, creations, whatever, to anybody on the face of the planet. It’s quite amazing that the internet has no boundaries. Even if you belong to no community in real life, you can still try exploring the internet to find people who are more like you.

I guess that particular reason is the one that brought me back here.