A dear friend of mine, refers to a national chain restaurant as “reheat and eat.” The idea being all their “cuisine” is frozen, shipped in, reheated and served. I don’t know if thats really the case, but if it is, that’s what TV dinners are for. When we go to a restaurant, we want more.

Well looking at TV, I’m seeing a lot of reheating. Rather than coming up with new concepts, the networks seem to be taking a lot of the franchises of my teenage and young adult years and bringing them back. Now I will admit, I like a few of them. I really enjoy the new Hawaii Five-O from a few years back and I can’t say any of the “reheats” I’ve taken the time to watch are awful. I just wonder where the new ideas are. Have we really run out of creativity.

Now I am fully aware that making TV is insanely expensive and these reheats already have proof of concept. They’re a little bit more of a sure bet, but still… Artists need to innovate. Where are the fresh concepts, the new ideas? I mean I know Solomon said there is nothing new under the sun, and I know to some degree he was right, but we need some more people out there pushing the envelope.

This might be a great time for you, my dear creative. Make something new. Put it out there and see who bites, and if nobody bites, make it yourself. Pray and create. In a world of reheats, maybe it’s time for your creation to stand out. You’ll never know unless you do the work. Heat up something new!


Okay, to start off, this post has little to do with the plot line of last night’s “premiere” of the Roseanne spinoff, The Connors. You’ll recall that last year’s reboot of Roseanne was seemingly heading for good things ratings wise, before Roseanne Barr made some racist comments, landing the show on the ABC scrap heap, and for good reason. It looked like it was over, but almost immediately, there were rumblings of another series, Roseanne without Roseanne. It aired last night and this writer was not overly impressed.

That’s not to say there wasn’t some good acting. There was. John Goodman has always been a good actor and he played the grieving husband very well. Laurie Metcalfe’s scene of grief at the end of the show was also a solid performance. The problem was the writing, but the writers aren’t entirely to blame either. How do you restart an iconic show without it’s title character? Well I think their solution very quickly became the problem. They made Roseanne a victim of the opioid epidemic. I get that. It’s a hot button issue and it’s on a lot of people’s minds, and this is a show that has never shied away from hard topics. The problem is how do you make it funny, because this show is known as a comedy, and comedies have to, by definition, be funny, especially in a premiere. That’s where they got into trouble. Most of the jokes, and all the jokes surrounding Roseanne’s death by opioids, were in horrendously, horrible taste. There is simply no way to make that funny and I think that’s the ultimate issue. Sometimes we artists have to admit defeat and let our creations die with dignity (or whatever you can call what happened to Roseanne). There was simply no way to replace Roseanne, and there was no way to make her disappear.

To my mind there were only two possibilities for this show to work. Rehabilitate Roseanne (the person), or let this thing die. In our current climate, the first was pretty much impossible, though I’d like to hope repentance is still a viable alternative. Otherwise we’re all doomed. At the end of the day, in my opinion, this experiment failed. Some things are just not going to work.

As creatives, sometimes we need to look at our wounded creations and make a hard decision. Is it worth the effort to resuscitate this thing, or would our efforts be better spent on creating something new? I usually lean toward something new.

Inktober So Far

Posted: October 16, 2018 in Art Technique

I think I mentioned in an earlier post that I am participating in an online art challenge called Inktober. Well a few days in, I noticed that some of the other artists were listing themes. I found the theme listing and decided to play along. I actually like this better because it challenges me to work within a theme and to express an idea that is not my own. I mentioned earlier that I decided to “channel” some of my earliest influences the car artists of the 60s and 70s. I am also taking a slightly different tack with these pieces in that I am working with symmetry by creating half a face and duplicating it, then flipping it, occasionally breaking the symmetry buy adding elements to one side of the others. I am having a blast with this technique.

Here are the Pieces I have done for Inktober so far, by theme. I’d love to know what you think of these.

Day One: Poisonous

Day Two: Tranquil

Day Three: Roasted

Day Four: Spell

Day Five: Chicken

Day Six: Drooling

Day Seven: Exhausted

Day Eight: Star

Day Nine: Precious

Day Ten: Flowing

Day Eleven: Cruel

Day Twelve: Whale

Day Thirteen: Guarded

Day Fourteen: Clock

Day Fifteen: Weak

Day Sixteen: Angular

These are words of encouragement for every creative. It’s the opening of the Gathering of Artisans. This is not long and you need to hear it. It will be encouragement for your journey. Please listen.

If you’ve been around for any length of time on this blog, you know that a guiding verse of this ministry is “Each one should use whatever gifts he has received to serve others…” 1 Peter 4:10 I love that verse and I love it even more when it manifests. My denomination has a wonderful retirement community not too far from the church I pastor, and we frequently do things with them. It’s always a great blessing. Well one of the things they do is this huge flower show, each year. It’s really an incredible undertaking.
One day in my email, I saw a note looking for volunteers to help out. When I saw the theme of the show this year, I knew this one was for me. It’s super powers and flowers—a superhero theme. I fired off a note saying I would love to help out and told about my passion for cartooning and comic art. Today we met to discuss the parameters of the event. One of the things I love is how much they get the residents involved. There is a wide assortment of really incredible gifts there. I just think that’s great. I not only get to do what I love, but I get to collaborate with a large group of creatives who will get an opportunity to do what they love. It’s a golden opportunity given my gifts and passions and I could not be more excited to get started.

It never ceases to amaze me all the different ways this really non-traditional gift God has given can be used his glory. But here’s the clean little secret… everything God gives is intended to be used to His glory that’s why the verse says “whatever…” So what have you been given? Far too many people think if their gift is one of the big three “churchy gifts” (preaching, teaching and music) it has no use in the Kingdom. Nothing could be further from the truth. Take what you have been given and put it to work. Volunteer, let people know you’re out there and do all God has given you. You never know what God can use, but God does and He wants to do great things through you.

As you all know, one of the things I encourage is creating every day. Well for the last 9 days or so, I have been participating in a challenge called Inktober. It’s basically just a challenge to create something each day. Well I got in and really didn’t completely understand the challenge until about five days in when I found the official prompt list. A prompt list is a list of challenges meant to stretch you further. Well, once I found the list, I decided to catch up and play along. Yesterday after a very busy few weeks, I took a creative day and aside from the two sessions I worked on for my masters class, I decided to schedule a day of creative fun, where I played catch up. I now have all nine days done so far. It will now be much easier to stay caught up.

They really don’t take me a lot of time and I’m setting my own parameters. I’ve decided to call my series, The Faces of Inktober, and as such I am making stylized pieces based on the influence I am currently exploring, as mentioned earlier, the car artists of the 60s and 70s. These parameters force me to work on only one thing and finding ways to make the prompt fit my theme. That makes me get even more creative and the parameter of doing only a face and a simple background, keeps me in something I can do in a manageable amount of time. It’s really stretching me and I’m having fun. Further I have decided to do most of my pieces in symmetry. As such I am drawing a very detailed “half face” and then manipulating the art in photoshop to make the completed piece.

Today’s word was precious. Now my first thought was a portrait of my grandson, but I’m not a great realist, so I decided to go with my first instinct instead. Gollum from The Lord of the Rings, because he called the ring his “precious.” This fit much better with the style in which I am working, and it was fun. When I finish the challenge, I am planning on making a video called The Faces of Inktober. Watch for it in early November on my Youtube channel. How do you challenge yourself to grow and to be more creative.

This is a real physician heal thyself post this morning. As creatives, it can become really easy to get so caught up in your work that you skip really important things. On of the key things we need to focus on as creatives is our health. Whether that be spiritual, mental or physical we need to remember that if we’re not healthy, our work will suffer. In my case it’s physical. I ended up catching a really bad cold last week and as a result, I stopped working out for a few days. I can’t really blame myself for this, it’s hard to exercise when you can’t breath without going into a coughing fit. The thing is now I am pretty well recuperated, but I’m still having a hard time getting motivated to do anything physical. This is a problem.

Pretty much everything I do professionally can be done while being fairly sedentary. You sit to draw, you sit to write, and I can sit for hours and not mind it at all because I love what I do. Maybe you’re in a similar boat. If we want to be able to live this life we love for the long haul though, we have to give our health attention. In my particular case, I have two things going against me. First, it’s really easy to wake up and dig in. Secondly it’s easy to work way past my bed time. These things end up feeding each other. Going to bed late makes it hard to get up early, getting up late makes it easy to think I don’t have time to go to the gym.
For me there is no excuse. For the most part, I set my own schedule. It’s not that I don’t work, I work a lot, I just have a flexible schedule. If I don’t take the time, to do what I need to do, I have no one to blame but myself.

I want to keep doing what I do for the long haul, and I want my body to last for the long run. That means I need to carve out the time to take care of myself. How about you?