We laughed, we cried… mostly we yawned.
Yes, today is the one year anniversary of the MAD blog. They said it wouldn’t last.
I visit a number of blogs regularly, but few every day. I always hate visiting a blog to find it hasn’t had an update in weeks. I promised myself on the outset of doing this blog that I would try and write something every day unless a serious deadline of some kind made that impossible, and on those days I would at least acknowledge readers with some kind of apology or excuse. I wanted the blog to be part entertainment, part educational, part sharing of information and opinions, and part a glimpse into the world of caricatures and freelance illustration. I didn’t want this to be just another “looky here, see what I drew on this napkin at the bar!” art blog, or another self-validating effort of vanity that some blogs seem to be. Of course the very idea that anyone out in cyberspace should give enough of a crap about me and my thoughts/ art/ opinions that I should have a blog in the first place is more than a bit of an exercise in vanity when you think about it. Mostly I just wanted to do some writing, whether it was read or not.
Mission accomplished. 365 days, 365+ posts. Sure, the Dreaded Deadline Demon made an appearance or three, some days the posts were little more than links to something someone else wrote on some other site or blog, and some were not very interesting. Some (I hope) were educational or at least entertaining. A few were long efforts of time and energy (i.e. the tutorials), but most required just some thought and a little effort. I knew the main challenge to be coming up with worthwhile or at least interesting topics on a daily basis. That proved true, but life would be very boring without some challenges.
When my blog comes up in conversation with colleagues or friends, it always ends up with them asking me the following: “how” and “why”?
The “how” is always “how do you find the time to write that often and that much in your blog?”. The answer is that it takes me less time that one might think, and that I just do it instead of watching TV or bowling or playing video games. You make the time to do something that is either important to you, something you are committed to, or that you like to do. If one of those three things applies, it’s not so hard… except for the part about me being a two finger typist. That’s a little hard, but I never got around to learning to type correctly. I am, however, the fastest two fingered typist you will ever see.
The “why” is also easy. It’s therapy. There was a short time in my life I considered scrapping the whole art thing for a career in writing. A very short time. I’ve always enjoyed writing but outside of a bunch of articles for the National Caricaturist Network’s newsletter I never got much of a chance to do it. When I found out about blogs, I saw an opportunity to scratch the writing itch on my own terms. It’s therapy because it allows me to express ideas, humor and tell stories without using visuals, and that takes a whole different set of creative muscles. I think the commitment to this blog has helped me in my art by strengthening my brainstorming skills, keeping me focused on daily routines and in general taking my mind off drawing and illustration jobs for a little time each day and exercising a different area of my brain.
In short (whoops, too late for that…AGAIN), I’ve enjoyed doing the blog and consider the experiment a success. Not all of it worked, of course. I quickly realized my “Sketch of the Day” idea was impossible… I think a “Sketch of the Week” is very doable, though. The “Sunday Mailbag” feature has been working well, but I imagine eventually I’ll run out of questions people may have for me… how many questions can anyone have about illustration, MAD or caricature? Some of my tech-geek-gadget posts are a little off topic, as well as some of my fitness posts, but you write abut what interests you. The “Dreaded Deadline Demon” is used as little as possible, I assure you. When he’s on the prowl, you know it’s getting ugly in the studio. The tutorials have been very well received but they require extraordinary effort and will be few and far between. There will be more eventually, however.
Yes, I have enjoyed doing the blog and the process involved. I hope those of you who are still reading found some enjoyment as well, maybe learned something, or at least didn’t feel the visit wasted.
Thanks for reading.
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930 New profile pic courtesy of my self-caricature for the Scott Maiko penned article “Gotcha! Mug Shots of Common (but Despicable) Criminals” from MAD 550
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