It's...been a while. To be honest, part of the reason I never posted any new blog entries here was because I was still trying to bask in the happy afterglow of that last entry. It's a bit silly, of course; it was almost a year ago, but my feelings are still similar.
Since becoming a Katawa Shoujo fanboy last year, I've rediscovered my love of anime and manga.
I've been reading Bakuman (currently in Vol. 11), which I really, really enjoy. It's a good book in that it inspires me to try harder with my artwork, and reminds me of how great it was to be around other artists when I was in art school, feeding on each others' creative energy and encouraging each other.
At some point I'll get back to reading Yotsuba &!, but I've held off on that just because the digital copies cost almost as much as the physical copies. I can buy Bakuman on my Nook for around $5 per volume. I'd also like to pick up where I left off in Genshiken, which is basically "The Big Bang Theory" in Japan... It's kind of funny to me that while I like writing fantasy and historical comics, the stuff I read most these days is modern day slice-of-life stuff.
Anyway, my wife has had to "encourage" me to restrict my comics buying habits for the first time I can remember, limiting myself to $20 a month. I don't remember ever reading as many comics regularly as I do now. And it's not all Japanese stuff. I'm reading Dark Horse's Conan the Barbarian, just finished Mouse Guard: The Black Axe, and might start regularly reading DC's Jonah Hex after picking up last month's issue. I'm also always on the lookout for something good to give to my nephew and nieces.
Today I finished watching "Samurai Champloo" on Netflix. I'm going to miss it now that it's over. Great series; a lot of fun visually and stylistically, and the bittersweet ending didn't fail to deliver on the show's opening premise. It made me want to run a feudal Japanese RPG every time I watched it. I gave "Fullmetal Alchemist" a try, since my friend and Netflix both seem to think that I'll like it a lot, but I kind of hit a wall with the generic-seeming fantasy setting that was presented immediately after the promising opening scene. Doubtless I'll try again at some point.
Finally, there's the games which I inevitably allow to suck up my time. A co-worker lent me Final Fantasy XII, which he thought I might enjoy since I don't really like the Final Fantasy games (primarily due to the gameplay mechanics), and he was right, though I've been slow to progress through that. Another friend has lent me Persona 3 and 4 after hearing me go on about VNs and dating sims, I think, and P3 has been interesting so far (with a similar premise or two to the tabletop RPG we've been playing lately, Don't Rest Your Head). My wife and I have been playing Fable 2 a lot (she's already finished the game and is now in the post-story freeform adventuring mode), and of course Silent Hill: Downpour is awaiting my return, once I want to take a break from Skyrim, Oblivion and Halo: Reach (though I finished that last one ages ago, some nights after work a guy just needs to shoot some aliens).
Oh, yeah, of course there's also tabletop gaming, which I've been doing with my semi-regular, face-to-face group, and online in Google+ Hangouts. Don't Rest Your Head, The One Ring, Alternity (Star*Drive), and the occasional D&D game eat up time. Since that's also social time, I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing; the main problem is that I get hyper-focused on that stuff and end up spending hours writing up game stuff that I may or may not ever use. One of my New Year's resolutions was to cut down on the amount of time I spend prepping for games, and this is the main reason why. It's too easy to sink all of my creative energies and time in roleplaying stuff when I should be working on improving my artistic skills and creating comics stuff.
Amidst all of this entertainment, it's not really surprising to me that I haven't been drawing as often as I should. I take in a lot of inspiration, but I haven't given myself enough time to focus and grow as an artist from it. I'm always a little jealous and deflated when I look at the artwork of others and see how much better they are than I am in a lot of areas. I wonder how much of their time they devote to their artwork, and what they sacrifice in order to do that (or maybe they don't sacrifice, they just have fewer time-consuming hobbies than I do and feel more of a passion to work on artwork?).
As far as personal comics projects, the stuff I was working on before is still on hold because I really want to complete the Katawa Shoujo doujinshi I started. Manga Studio got an upgrade to 5, which I purchased, so in some ways I've gone back to square one in learning how it works, but some of the differences between that and the older version seem to be improvements. Still, that project has been frustrating me in that learning to use the program while I work on the comic makes it feel glacially slow (though the fact that I don't spend much time working on artwork each week is certainly contributing to that feeling). My focus needs some serious discipline, but I get distracted so very easily...
My wife has challenged me to work on my anatomy, since I often complain that I need to do so. Specifically, she wants me to draw some hands. So I'm going to start there. We'll see where I go from there.