Hello lovelies. Goodness has it been a week already? I might have to make this column bi-weekly until things calm down a little on my end. A crushing blow, I know.
In other news, due to the popularity of my threat to turn an installment of this column into one focused on butts, I have decided to do just that!
In the interim, I want you all TO VOTE! Tweet it, put it on Facebook, e-mail it to me, or leave it in the comments section here. I will see it. I want to know your thoughts on comic butts. I’m talking girl butt, guy butt, alien butt, everything. Who has the best butt? The most under-appreciated butt? Which artist draws them best? Whatever! I will collect these votes and compile them, along with my own thoughts. So be sure to contribute to the BUTTSTRAVAGANZA installment and let’s talk booty.
Now let’s continue.
“I love my LCS, I’m on a first name basis with most employees, they (sometimes) give me great recommendations, and are always willing to order stuff I want that isn’t on the selves. On the other hand, I naturally have realized that sometimes it is a lot quicker and cheaper to order trades online. I feel seriously guilty every time I do though; they are a small local business, shouldn’t I be supporting them?”
It is a difficulty we all face, to be sure. You most certainly should support your local comic shop, but sometimes Amazon or other sites are much cheaper and quicker, as you say. I usually buy everything I can from my LCS, and order online things that are out of stock or out of print. Really pricey books like absolute editions are also something I can justify getting elsewhere for cheaper. Of course, my comics budget was never very big.
Depending on how big your habit is and how big your budget is – you have to find the happy middle ground. Snag your weekly floppies and any new trades you’ve been waiting for at your LCS. If after that you’ve still got the scratch to afford retail prices on whatever else you want, go for it. If not, head over to the trusty Internet and snag a lightly used copy for a low price.
Things like this sometimes come full circle for the LCS you support anyway. A comic you buy offhand online could lead you to a new writer or artist you love; one that you will in turn continue to look out for on the shelves. So don’t beat yourself up about it. Spread your purchases out the way that suits your needs. The most important part is enjoying the comics!
“I think I’m addicted to social media. I’m not one of those techies who has to have the latest and greatest of everything so I don’t carry my smartphone everywhere. I don’t text (I can’t, it’s sad really). I don’t own a webcam nor do I take pictures of myself to post up for the world to admire (so no duckface in the bathroom mirror for me).
I check Facebook constantly for every update with increasing frequency. I’m not on all day playing games and chatting away, but I have to look. I’ve decided to put a limit on it at work to just breaktimes before it becomes a problem and I’ve decided to turn off the iPod once I put the little ones to bed.
Am I a freak? Is this a common problem? Any suggestions on how to break the addiction?”
Hoooo boy we’ve got an addict on our hands!!
You’re displaying what are completely normal signs of a heightened desire for social interaction. Perhaps you don’t get much witty banter in during the workday, or you’re just constantly bored as hell at work, but it is 100% not freakish to be checking your updates incessantly. You just need a little social network pick-me up now and again. A distraction.
And it seems to me that, having already taken the steps of limiting Facebook to lunchtime and the iPod to before bed time, you’re managing your “problem” very well! Kudos to you on your proactive approach!
The surest way I know how to break an “addiction” like this, since you asked, is to go on a bender. Reeeeally over-do it. I did the same thing a year or so ago and now I am so incredibly jaded to all social networking sites. I often consider deleting them since I rarely use them and they in no way contribute positively to my life. They are a gigantic waste of time, masquerading as a great way to keep up with friends when at the end of the day they’re just a thinly veiled popularity contest. Cold turkey might also yield positive results.
The key to social sites is moderation. I know it may be hard to get to that point, but seriously consider the benefits versus the cons of over-use. So let’s say, finding out an acquaintance of yours has invited you to Farmville, Chefville, AND Castleville versus falling behind on your work or missing out on a real-life human interaction. Not really a contest, in my opinion.
If you aggregate everything that happens on your Facebook feed in a given day, there is probably a lot. But if you filter it out to how much you actually care to see, I’m sure it would only take a few minutes to read or respond to in one sitting, rather than slowly draining away your day. Only reach for that status update or comment section if you REALLY have something to say.
And if you’re finding it hard to keep true to the limits you’ve set yourself, then cut yourself a break. It’s NORMAL. Check your sites at the start of the day, your lunch break, and the end of the day and allot yourself 15 minutes per break. As long as you’re not shirking other responsibilities, you’ll be fine. And soon, you’ll tire of those sites like the rest of us.
“So I’m an *artist* but I hate everything I draw and yet I get a lot of encouragement from friends and family but I can’t help but feel like it’s all bullshit, ya know? I really want to break into comics but I can barely summon up the strength to post my work. Help?!”
Whoa, baby boo. Calm yo’self.
First of all, most artists think they suck at one point or another (possibly all points). It is completely normal and even expected. Self-confidence for some reason, isn’t really rampant in the artist community. I suppose it’s because one is always comparing themselves to their peers and idols, and holding themselves to that standard of work. And also because at times, the artistic community (and those who choose to judge it) aren’t the kindest of critics.
Taking compliments can be difficult when you have no confidence in your work because they usually seem insincere, but don’t let that stop you from taking them at face value. Your family and friends care about you, and value your work. In all likelihood they aren’t coddling you to spare your feelings, especially if you are serious about pursuing this path. So grab those compliments up, stuff them into a safe place, and remember them whenever you’re doubting yourself.
If you’re having trouble showing your work to the world, then start by doing it anonymously. You can be whoever you want to be on the internet. Start a tumblr or wordpress or blogger and get your art out there! Once you’ve amassed a small following and feel more comfortable in your skin you can re-do your site and reveal your identity if you choose.
So try and have confidence in yourself. Draw some comics. Put them online. Everything will be fine.