Friday, August 6, 2010

Buy our shirts!!

Hi everyone! So we've decided to spread the love and offer our fabulous shirt "You're Not Alone Anymore" to all our lovely bloggy readers. You can pre-order this lovely shirt for $5 off the regular price! Part of the proceeds will also go to a charity (La Casa de las Madres) that provides resources for survivors of domestic violence, so you can rest assured that the shirt purchase is doing good for the world. Go here now! No seriously, now! We'll wait.

*twiddles fingers*

Oh, back? Sweet, thanks for ordering! Anyhoo, many apologies for getting this post up so late, by now most of you are probably pretty liquored up and enjoying your Friday nights, but alas, Monkey was getting his teeth drilled, filled, and all that good stuff, so we've had our hands a bit full.

Anyway, we really appreciate everyone who has already bought a shirt - the t-shirt fund is our way of fundraising for Monkey's dental work. Thanks again!

PS - We want to do more shirts, so we'd love to hear suggestions of stuff you want to see. And yes, Monkey is already working on a zombie design. Hooray!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

You Gotta Keep Showing Up

Many times in life, you may hit a wall or obstacle, or a huge setback. You'll probably feel like poop, and you'll want to stop working and just wallow in your own self-loathing. However, you can't let yourself fall into that pit for too long, or you'll fall into a circuitous path of feeling bad, so you don't work, which makes you feel bad, etc., etc.

Instead, there are two things that help us get out of the funk. The first is that you have to take action, any action, to get your mind and body moving and going. Don't get us wrong, sometimes you need time to mourn and to cry, but don't let it last too long. Do something, anything. If it's as basic as just drawing angry dinosaur stick figures onto napkins, do it! Write a list of little things that you could do now. Research some new opportunities or techniques online. Go to the library and scope out some inspiration. The key here to to keep on keeping on. No, you won't be as productive as you usually are, and if you keep working it'll probably won't be up to par with your usual work, but keep on working. Keep on moving, and shaking, and you'll find that you'll eventually roll yourself towards something new and positive and full of opportunity and before you know it you'll be back in the saddle again.

Recently, Monkey found out that he's going to need some extensive dental work done over the next few months. With a low, low, yearly maximum from his dental insurance (he does count himself lucky to have it though!), he's recently found himself with a huge financial burden to deal with. When he got home from the dentist, he immediately wanted to start drinking and just play games online. While as tempting as this was, he realized that it wouldn't really solve anything, and so he decided to start looking up submission information for book publishers and various art directors.

Now, Monkey has come up with a plan to rework his portfolio over the next week or so and to submit (scary!!) to some big-name art directors and try to get some freelance illustration work that actually pays industry rates. He is looking into ways to expand his current businesses and to perhaps venture into new territory. All in all, he found that a huge setback (crazy financial burden) has ended up inspiring him to take focused, concrete action towards his goal of being able to totally live off his art.

The second method that we've found to work is that you need to stop thinking about yourself. It's hard, since something crappy has probably just happened to you, but if you can take a step back and think about what you can do for others, you'll find that you'll end up helping yourself in the process.

By focusing on others and what you can do for your friends/family, you also stop thinking about the problem that is bothering you. Recently, Seal was feeling down and instead of letting that sadness swallow her up, she decided to try and give her friends a hand. After attending SIGGRAPH, Seal had seen a lot of animation and game companies who were hiring for artists, so she forwarded all the relevant info to some of her former classmates in her illustration and animation classes. In turn, she was able to catch up with people she hadn't talked to in a while which in turn cheered up Seal and helped her rise out of her gloom. By turning the focus away from herself and to her friends, Seal was able to cheer up faster than if she has constantly tried to figure out a way to help herself.

No matter what is bothering you, or what problems you're having that are stopping you from creating, you have to find a way to keep afloat. We know that it's difficult, and that the realities of life can constantly wound you to the point where you don't even want to get out of bed in the morning, but if you keep on showing up, and you take some time to help out others, you'll find that you'll heal faster and get back into the game quicker even stronger than you were before.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Failure Isn't Fatal

You shouldn't be afraid of should be afraid of this rhino.

Many times, people see the next step in their journey towards their dreams, but don't take it. Most of these times the reason behind not taking that step is fear of failing. Let us tell you something: nearly 100% of the time, failure is not fatal, so take that risk!

We have found that in many cases, the next step is so close, yet so many turn back because they are afraid of failing. Yes, sometimes there are other reasons for backing down, but most of the time taking the next step is possible, but we invent reasons and excuses why we shouldn't do something.

There is a difference, however, between fear of failing and researched, factual-based decision making, but most of the time it is actually our fear doing the convincing, not scientific research papers. For example, you have a decent enough reason to not submit to galleries that specifically show abstract paintings if you work exclusively in a style akin to classical realism. You do NOT have reason enough to skip submitting your work to a high-end gallery that does show work that is sort of similar to yours.

A tangent of that idea is that doing something without research and regard to anything or anyone is different from taking fearless, researched action towards your goals. If you want to be a fine art photographer, it makes little sense to just send your portfolio to every single art director in the world, as some won't even be into photography.

Back to the main point of this: failure is not fatal. We often think that it will be the end of the world in the worst case scenario. Most often, unless you're a superhero who actually defends the planet from an evil menace, everything will be okay if you mess up here and there. Failure needs to shake it's negative stigma and be seen as a necessary building block to figuring out what does work. Besides, what is really the worst that could happen from failing? By actually speaking your fears out loud, you'll realize that often the fears are ungrounded, completely irrational, and very possibly absurd.

Afraid of submitting your portfolio to art directors? What's the worst that can happen? You just never hear from them? If your work isn't up to par, they're not going to even comment - they're too busy. No one is going to tell you that they hate your work or that you shouldn't be an artist - you just won't hear back. And really, is that the end of the world? Hardly. Poop poop.

Monkey + Seal isn't advocating to act brashly. We aren't advising you to jump blindly into the fray, throwing caution to the wind. We are advising that you really stop and think (and vocalize) about your fears, and evaluate them at face value. Really, if you fail, what's the absolute worst that could happen? Don't let irrational fear hold you back. Breathe deep and go for it!

PS - if you aren't sure if your fears are justified or irrational, ask a friend (and yes, that includes us)!