MONTHLY Update June 2018 – Changes to Site Format + Art Updates

Hey guys. It’s Julian. And let me tell you, having two jobs – running my online presence, and working a day job – is EXHAUSTING.

I don’t mean to complain though – quite the opposite; I am grateful for these opportunities. I just wanted to explain my reasons for posting less lately. While I have kept up with Instagram to an extent, and my YouTube has been relatively active, I’ve not been able to blog here much, because I’ve been doing my best to manage my wellness. Health has to be my #1 priority, and with chronic health conditions, it can require some tough decisions – like “do I blog, or do I get the rest I need today?” Rest usually wins out.

So I’ve decided that for now on, I’ll just do a monthly update, plus random non-update blogs. I think a weekly update is not really that necessary, and it would be more useful for you – and more convenient for me – to just put out 2 or 3 non-scheduled posts of a more functional variety (tutorials, product reviews, etc) for the rest of the month.

My hope is that by taking off the pressure of “I haven’t done my Weekly Update yet!” I’ll make working on my blog a bit more appealing for me; and by adding more useful posts like “check out this tip/item/tutorial I made for you!” I’ll make reading my blog more appealing for you.

Win-win.

So, this is going to be your very late June update, the first of the Monthly Updates.

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7 of Swords.

Tarot Updates:

  • I’ve completed the sketching for my Tarot deck, and I’ve inked 56 of 79 cards. There’s still a lot of inking to do, and then painting every one of them – but yeah, I have the actual design done for every card.
  • I had a birthday and acquired a wonderful array of watercolor supplies. I have a few more items coming in the mail, thanks to a gift card, but as soon as those are in, I’ll be doing a “Birthday Haul” video, as well as a Watercolor Supplies video.
  • I’ve realized that I can’t just start painting the color into my Tarot cards without any prep work. It will require color compositions, a lot of planning, and also, y’know, learning watercolor. To be honest, I’m a bit nervous about just starting. I feel like I shouldn’t start until I’ve had years of practice painting! Then again, I haven’t had years of practice inking with a dip pen, but I did my Tarot cards in dip pen anyway. Maybe, like with that, this project will be a learning experience.
  • I AM on track to finish the Tarot deck illustrations by the end of the year, and i should be able to have them for sale by spring next year!

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Illustration Updates:

  • In an effort to learn watercolors, I’m doing a bunch of random illustrations as practice. I’ve got maybe 6 or 8 inked and ready to do right now, and all of them, once complete, will be available for sale on my shop! If you’ve ever wanted to own one of my pieces, or just want to support me somehow, they’ll all be priced around the $50 to $100 range. Some will benefit charity, especially my Pride pieces (half of the proceeds will go to the Human Rights Campaign).
  • Speaking of, I’m doing Pride pieces for Pride. Fun stuff. I’m glad I have bright colors for painting a ton of rainbows. 🙂
  • I did a portrait of Molly Roberts and she loved and shared it. I can die happy now.

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Comic Updates:

  • I honestly haven’t worked much on actually drawing comics lately, due to the Tarot deck and watercolor practice taking up so much of my work time. But I’ve definitely been writing, and I have the script for My Life On The Sidelines #1 done, as well as a general plan for another series called Beauty For Ashes. It’s a bit of a triggery topic, and a bit of an anti-hero story. It’s going to be pretty interesting.
  • I sent off a few copies of my comics to a zine distro. I’m super nervous about having done so, but I’m also super excited. 🙂 Worst they can do is not write back, right? Or write back that it’s terrible? I mean, even that might be useful, if they give good critique. We’ll see.

Well, that’s about the extent of my updates, reports, and such. I’ve not been doing much other than working, painting, and trying to manage my health in the meantime. Things have gotten rather distressing and dramatic with my disability pay AND insurance being taken away – yes, they’re trying to pull that out from under me – but I’m doing my best to just keep coping. If you’d like to help with that process, please do head over to my shop and just…buy anything you like, hah. It all helps. 🙂

As always, I want to thank everyone who has been watching, reading, liking, sharing, commenting, and most of all just offering support to me and my work. Today someone posted on my Youtube “This is such an underrated channel.” I didn’t realize I was rated badly, lol, but it made my day to hear that people think it’s Actual Quality Content. *big smile* You guys are THE best.

~Julian

Weekly Update 3/6/18 – Anxiety, Distraction, and Missing Deadlines – but YES the comic is FINALLY available!

Hey guys! Julian here.

It has been an exhausting month. Couple of months. Year? I don’t know. I’m pretty much too exhausted from anxiety to really calculate it! My (clinical) anxiety has been overwhelming lately and I’ve struggled to even go to work. BUT. Many good things are happening too.

I had gotten badly distracted working on Tarot projects, which is fine except that I’d set myself a deadline and didn’t meet it. Which frustrates me. But I did finally finish it…and here it is!!

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My Life On The Sidelines: The Not-So-Magical World of Magical Girls, As Explained By Joel Rowan – Prologue: This Is Not My Story.

But you can call it the MLOTS Prologue. (I do.)

It’s a 24page stapled comic booklet and is available here at my Etsy shop. You can get it for under $5 USD because it’s on sale this month, and the shipping is very affordable! I’m really proud to have this under my belt, and I promise, the next chapter is coming soon. 🙂


 

It’s time for the next project though. My second big project this year, the biggest project, is to create my first 79-card Tarot deck. (Yes, it’s going to have a bonus card, as many indie decks do. I’m actually keeping that 79th card a secret until it’s available for purchase.)

*Please note that I’m not talking about the Starcatcher Oracle here – that is a more personal project; this is something that is going to be available for sale next year (mid 2019).

The theme of the deck has shifted a lot and is more about my experience of spirituality, and my memories of the Other Side. (It’s even currently called the Otherside Tarot!) [Note: This Tarot deck was later renamed the Julian Tarot.] It’s all about the struggles and beauty of being a spiritual being having a physical experience, as they say.

It’s going to be in more or less my usual art style, but will be colored in colored pencil, which I love using. The themes include the power of spirituality, acceptance, personal development, and shadow work; the look and feel of the Other Side; and lots and lots of pastels, angels, and high-vibe energy. A lot of it is influenced by my own recovery process from addiction, mental illness, and trauma, and I want to not only depict those processes (in a gentle way), but create a tool to be used in such processes.

It will take the better part of a year to do all this art, and it may very well take the rest of this year, but I am determined to create this deck and have it released on my 30th birthday (in mid 2019). I truly want to create something worthwhile, and whether it sells well or not, I intend to really put my energy and my soul into this deck, this tool, this creation.

With that being said, here’s a teaser…

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This is my 10 of Swords. It’s an image of one being forgiving another for harm done, and cutting the energetic cords that bind them together in that cycle of shame, guilt, anger, and resentment. Forgiveness, combined with true compassion, does not absolve the abuser of their actions, but it does free BOTH abuser and victim from the bondage and fallout of that trauma.

I know this isn’t exactly a traditional 10 of Swords, but it’s what the 10 of Swords means to me, and I think it’s a slightly more helpful image, perhaps, at least in some situations, than the traditional image of a man lying dead with swords piercing him through.

Anyway, yeah, that’s what I’m working on right now. Please subscribe in order to stay updated whenever I post about this and other projects. Thanks for all your support, and have a really excellent day!

~Julian

Weekly Update 2/20/18 | Completing My Life On The Sidelines Prologue, Designing an Oracle Deck, and Balancing Projects

[Image: The Wishing Well card, #1, from my upcoming Starcatcher Oracle deck.]

Hey y’all!

My gosh, I have been BUSY. Life…work…conventions…and art and cards…*zones out more*

So. First off: Yes, I missed had to reschedule my deadline for My Life On The Sidelines. It’s unfortunate, but I had to – I just could not work last week, and that was the last week I had to work. Fortunately, I’m very nearly done, so that should be done by the next time I update. This particular comic has gone much more smoothly than my previous projects, and I think I’ve worked in a balanced way – or, at least, a more balanced way than I have done past projects.

I’ve already jumped into the next project, though, which is typical of me. I’m now working on…the Starcatcher Oracle! It’s a deck of oracle cards (similar to to tarot but without the typical Tarot system) and it is inspired by my own spiritual/mental landscape and language of symbols.

The Bouquet sketch

I believe that all tarot and oracle decks are languages of symbols, and different decks/systems just have different vocabulary in that same language. So this is a deck of MY symbolic vocabulary, the set of symbols that MY subconscious speaks and thinks in.

This particular copy – these physical cards – are MY copy of the Starcatcher Oracle, and depending, it may be the only version that ever exists. However, I’m hopeful that this will lead to me making actual illustrations and having them printed as a deck.

Why am I doing this? For the same reason that English students are encouraged to write and speak in English, and Spanish students are encouraged to write and speak in Spanish, as much as possible. In the same vein, I’m “speaking” in the language of symbols, specifically the ones that work for me, by making this deck.

The art isn’t actually the most important part, for me, and that’s been hard to accept. I always asked “why do deck ‘Authors’ get so much credit? Why is there not more credit for the people who actually made the cards? Why is Doreen’s name so big on this box??!” (I still wonder SOME of that.) But I never realized how much planning, thought, and research goes into just deciding on those symbolic images and the titles and the keywords and guidebook. It’s not as easy as one might guess; it’s not JUST drawing 78 (or 80, or 88) images. It’s designing everything from the color language to the density of symbols in each card. THAT is often what “deck creators” who don’t do the art, actually do. And it is valid, challenging work.

So yeah. I have a new appreciation for deck/guidebook authors. I do still think that the artists’ names should be much more prominent on packaging and advertisements for decks, but we can’t have everything right away.

I’ve illustrated one of the cards fully and have sketched several more. The one I’ve completed is the Wishing Well

The Shaman sketch

And my favorites that I’ve sketched are The Bouquet, The Drifting Ashes, and The Shaman. The Shaman illustrates beautifully how I’m going about my goal of creating a “naturally diverse” deck. What I mean by naturally diverse is, as opposed to “intentionally diverse.” In my humble opinion, intentionally diverse decks (and media) use tokens and try to check off every minority they can manage to include, as if we are but boxes to check on a list as “INCLUDED – NO RIGHT TO COMPLAIN.” I don’t feel like the intentionally diverse decks are actually diverse because they’re trying SO HARD to be inclusive that they’re just a too-perfect rainbow of…tokens. Stereotypes. There are trans people other than middle-aged blonde trans women. There are LGBTQ+ people other than two white gay men. There are races other than the very few one might name off the top of their head.

 

What I’m doing is just going intuitively and trying my best to just allow my ideas to include people of different abilities, ages, races, genders, sexualities, sizes, and so on. When I was creating the Shaman card, I had an image in my head of an elderly, heavyset black woman knitting. I thought this was lovely. Not because it included a person of color, person of size, person of a different age, but because it just fit for the Shaman AND included some diversity!

That’s kind of where I’m going with this: incorporating diversity as PART of the deck and part of the meanings of each card, not just cramming diversity in wherever I can manage it and where it doesn’t actually make sense. I think that’s where a lot of modern “Diverse Decks” go wrong – they just cram in diversity for diversity’s sake. I’m trying to include diversity where diversity fits and suits the cards’ meanings and symbolism.

Will I be intentional about adding some diversity? Certainly – I’m going to make sure that I include at least one differently-abled person, even if it’s just a woman with a cane; I’m going to ensure that I include ethnicities other than black and white. Yes, I will have a checklist, in a way. But it’s not going to be the primary direction for my deck.

I am making an oracle deck that includes diversity. Not a Diverse Oracle Deck.

The Drifting Ashes sketch

Other than diversity, the Starcatcher Oracle will focus on sacred storytelling, universal myth symbols, Jungian archetypes, and Pagan/New-Age spirituality. All pretty standard for a modern divination deck. But I wanted to mention those factors, regardless.

I have NOT chosen a name for this deck officially yet – I’m torn between Starcatcher Oracle and Sacred Storytellers Oracle. Let me know what you like better!

And if anyone’s interested, the tools I’m using in creating this deck include:

  • 300gsm white card from Recollections (Michael’s) as the actual cards
  • Graphite mechanical pencils for sketching
  • Sakura Pigma Micron pens for inking
  • Crayola 100-colors colored pencils for coloring
  • Going to seal them with matte spray-on Mod Podge.

That’s all I’ve got for now; that’s the process (so far) of the oracle I’m making. I have a BUNCH more card-reading videos coming up, so stay tuned for that. And if you’d like, you can follow the Starcatcher Oracle’s Instagram – http://www.instagram.com/starcatcheroracle – to get notified when there’s anything new, or to see work-in-progress images!

I wish you abundant blessings, and I hope you’re having a great day.

~Julian

Weekly Update 2/6/18 | The New Copier Is Here!! | Starting Out Self Publishing | Investing in Technology

[Image: Photo of CANON ImageClass MF632Cdw consumer-range office printer/copier. source: canon.com]

Oh gosh, I have so much to talk about. I rambled about the new copier in a video here, but I’ll give you the run down in text form too:

Basically, I am now the owner of a Canon imageCLASS MF632Cdw – a mid-range color laser printer/scanner/all-in-one. It is a beautiful little machine and I’m really happy with it so far! I got mine from a big chain electronics store (won’t say which) and

I have already had to replace the toner cartridge, but that’s to be expected. They give you a half-full toner cartridge to start with, and when I got it, I was kinda hyper and printed a crapton of test editions to figure out my offset layout software…So I wound up buying a toner the next day. I’m sure the store thought I was absolutely out of my mind but I needed that darn toner!

But the proof is in the pudding: I’ve been able to print my first zine-size (6×8, roughly) editions of You Are In Love and The Cheyenne Line, my first two comics. They are so beautiful, dude, I’m just freaking out that I was able to make them at home, for so little money. 🙂 I’m also developing a couple of other zine-format (folded, stapled) publications, including an Inktober zine (containing my Inktober illustrations from 2017).

So what do you DO with a bunch of zines? And what about those slightly-off-kilter, misprinted misfits? Do they get thrown out or wasted? Nope. I’ll be using those as promotional items – I’ve found that people who would NEVER buy a romance comic based on a song by The Ataris, would totally take a free copy. People love free shit, is what it comes down to.

And as for the nice ones, I’ll have them on sale, but most of the ones I’ve already printed will be given or traded to artists when I go to Katsucon in a couple weeks. I’ve never been to a convention, and while I’m not tabling this year, I’m definitely going to be heading into Artists’ Alley, and I want to have something a little better than a plain old business card to hand out.

Choosing to invest in this printer – and choosing to commit to the continuous investment in toner cartridges – was a big decision. I had to talk with my partner about it and think about whether it was the right time to buy such a thing. Financially, it’s perfectly plausible; but whether this was the right place to put the money was another matter. I’m not exactly a big name, and I’ve sold a grand total of one of my comics. One COPY. EVER. (As of this writing, anyway.) So, sadly, I’m not sure I can justify it based on “I’ll definitely be printing enough comics to make back the money in six months!”

However, my partner and I agree that based on the quality of my work, and the consistency with which I produce content, indicate that yes, it’s time to own a nice copier. It’s worth it to invest in, because even if it’s not within six months, this copier WILL pay for itself.

I intend, however, to prove myself wrong and “pay it off” (make back the same amount we spent) within 6 months. I’d like to at least use it to pay for the toner!

Anyway, you can click here if you’d like to purchase one of my comics. I had fun putting them together, and I think they came out great, so head over to the shop to explore what I have for sale.

Also, I have FINALLY got my mojo back on working on my spiritual stuff! So expect more grimoire/Book of Shadows posts soon. I’ll be doing flip-through videos once I’ve got some done, and until then, there will be at least text updates.

Sorry this update is going up late this week, I had kind of a crazy weekend. But all is well now. 🙂

~Julian

Midweek Update 1/18/18 | ANNOUNCING THE SECRET PROJECT! | Getting a Day Job | Midori Notebook Inserts On Sale

Hey y’all! It’s the first of (hopefully many) Midweek Updates. I do my main updates on Mondays but I intend to also have Midweek Updates on occasion. I am probably usually going to be too busy to do midweek updates, but I will definitely do them when I can!

The first and best item on today’s agenda is that I can FINALLY tell you about the Secret Project!!! Holy crap!! It’s the BIGGEST REVEAL EVER!!

So, I’ve been working with Ogreware (http://www.ogreware.net) over the past several months, and I…have illustrated their first game. It’s a fantastically addictive little app called Calling All Heroes, and if you’re interested, you can play it online. I have been working on the illustrations a lot over the past…oh gosh, over six months now. Here are some of the illustrations I did for them:

It’s honestly one of the most fun projects I’ve ever gotten to work on. I’ve been interested in concept art since I was a kid, and I love that I finally got to work on a game. There may even be more in the future, who knows!

In other news, I have gotten…a day job. I decided to get a day job so that money would work a little better, so that I could possibly move out of my current situation soon (ie with my current roommate). It’s not that my situation is bad or that I’m in danger or anything, it’s just really, really annoying and frustrating. I have a possible opportunity to move out this year, though, with a much better cohabitation situation, so I want to be able to save up money for down payments and such.

I don’t want to out myself OR the employer for our Real Identities, so I’ll simply say that I am working with a small business in the medical field, and that though it’s just a day job, I am very much looking forward to it.

Finally, I have restocked my Etsy shop with a bunch of new items, including a CRAPTON of Traveler’s Notebook inserts:

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Plus, I have 10% off EVERYTHING on my shop this month, so you can get these for just a couple dollars! Here’s the link: http://www.etsy.com/shop/julianjaymesart

Incidentally, I am ALSO selling off my old BJD (ball jointed doll), a Kid Delf Litchi from LUTS:

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She’s available here: https://www.ebay.com/itm/LUTS-Kid-Delf-Litchi-Female-BJD-MSD-Size-45CM-Punk-Dressed-Ball-Jointed-Doll/183023373604?hash=item2a9d0b0d24:g:vFcAAOSw8-FaX5-P (on eBay)

Well, this has been an extensive update. Thanks for sticking with it! Please use the Follow option on the left to get notifications whenever I post (once or twice a week). If you’re not comfortable with that, though, you can like me on Facebook and you’ll get the same notifications!

Thanks for your support! 🙂

~Julian

Weekly Update 1/15/18 | “Sidelines” Comic Creation Process – Setbacks, Successes, and Surprises!

So I’m in the beginning of the Starting-To-Panic Point: the moment at which the number of days before my deadline approaches the number of pages I need to do BY that deadline. At a good steady pace, I can ink maybe a page a day. I am very slow and very bad at focusing, and I get burned out easily, so I prefer to keep it down to one page a day. That doesn’t often last to the end of the deadline period, but hey. One can try.

Today is January 15; my deadline for my comic is February 15. Well, actually, the release date is February 15. I have to have all the pages inked by the 7th at the VERY latest.

To make matters more difficult, I have a convention coming up just days after that deadline, AND – I’m inking these pages with a dip pen! Not my usual Microns, but a dip pen! What the…?! What was I thinking?!

Me: But G-pen nibs make such beautiful lines! It’s everything I’ve ever looked for in line art!
Also me: Never mind how it looks, it’s not POSSIBLE to do a whole 20 page intro chapter in 20 days if you’re doing it with a dip pen. 
Me: But dip pens are PERFECT!
Also me: And they take forever.
Me: BUT THEY’RE PERFECT!
Also me: You’ll never get it done in time if you do it with dip pens.
Me: And if you make me use microns, it’ll look lifeless and lame. I need to use dip pens for this! MY COMIC IS WORTH IT!
Also me: *massive sigh*

This is just a taste of what goes on in my head on a day-to-day basis.

So yeah, the dip pen situation is slowing things down, but I desperately want to use dip pens for this project. So unless/until it becomes abundantly clear that that’s impossible, I’m still going to try.

I HAD had the first several pages sketched very neatly and was ready to start inking them, but then realized – much to my dismay – that I had sketched them on paper that isn’t good for pen and ink. I’m used to my Microns, which will write on pretty much any paper without much trouble. Dip pens and ink are a bit more finicky.

So I traced and redrew all those pages onto different paper, paper that actually takes pen and ink in a great way. I probably should use Bristol board, but I’m broke, on a budget, and already have drawing paper on hand, so yeah, higher-grade drawing paper it is.

I’ve also reorganized some of my art materials into more portable cases. If anyone’s interested, I’d be happy to do a “what’s in my pencil case?” video, since those seem to be pretty popular amongst the YouTube journaling/art people. 🙂

Also! I’m having a huge 10%-off-EVERYTHING sale on my Etsy shop. So head on over! There’s original art, trading cards, journals, and handmade goods galore!

Thanks again to everyone who’s been supporting me through this journey so far. I really am looking forward to this year. It’s shaping up to be a good one. 😉

~Julian