Monday, October 13, 2014

Insight, Indies, Inspiration, and Internal Independence Part Two

So in the last post, I talked about half of what feels like the longest title ever. I left off talking about forums and how people let their ego get bruised by others who are generally just trying to give feedback and help someone. I know sometimes in the moment, and especially through text, it's hard to tell if someone is being genuine or if they're just being a jerk. My parents always taught me to give
everyone a chance, and to be open-minded about people. I think having that instilled in me really helps me take feedback from people. Being open-minded has led me to some really great personal discoveries and it also helps me find inspiration to keep going when I feel stuck. Which was where I found myself with artwork a few weeks ago.


It's never fun to be in a place that makes you feel uncomfortable. I was in that place a few weeks ago with game art. It seemed like every time I thought about the game we're working on and how many things I needed to do, I felt crushed by the weight of it all. I couldn't even make a to do list because I would freak out about what needed to be done first. There was just too much for me to be able to prioritize it and get it done. So this caused me to feel really stuck. I couldn't find the inspiration that I had. It seemed like I had always been able to keep moving froward before. Even when I was animating the male sprite (which might have been my least favorite thing about game design), because it meant that after animating, I could then move on to creating new things. Shortly before the wedding, Andrew and I had a serious talk about how committed I was to actually finishing the game.

This really shook me out of my funk, because to me there's no question that I want to do this. I want to make art for this game, and I want our game to do really well. Even after our talk, I was just having trouble getting motivated. I made small goals at first, things to do on the weekend. Then bigger things and committed to doing game work at least five nights a week. This though still made it kind of feel
Female sprite as Pinkie Pie
like laundry. It's something you have to do. It's not amazing, or inspiring work, but you do it because you know you'll need it. I primarily felt this way about animating the female sprite. She wasn't amazing to me (as I mentioned in the last post), or even that interesting, then we reworked it and she became amazing to me. I knew then that I had found a good way to get inspiration easily so I would not get stuck in a rut with working on game art. What I found has changed the way I work on this game. It doesn't feel like work when I feel this inspired and a couple things have really helped me move forward and not get hung up on the aforementioned "boring stuff".

Music has always been something I have to have when I'm working on art. For me, a good album, or even a song can change my mood and what I want to do. Recently I had been listening to a lot of K-pop while I was working to get inspired by the upbeat tempos and because I don't understand Korean, the words aren't distracting. Specifically Girls Generation has been amazing general "work" music. For those of you interested, my favorite track  of theirs is here. I seriously cannot listen to that song and not dance a little. The tempo changes make it so fun to dance to, even if it is when I'm in my chair. This music isn't necessarily inspiring for me, It puts me in a good mood, but it doesn't move me.

For that, I've been listening to a gentleman named Watsky. For those of you unfamiliar, his music is amazing. His album Cardboard Castles was something that Andrew and I listened to a lot when it first came out. The songs on it feel very personal and that's what's moving about his work to me. The Hey, Asshole reminds me that I have to keep moving forward, and keep doing what I love. I've always loved art and just making things, and this is no different. Being so in love with the Cardboard Castles album (which I ranked as my number 1 album of the year last year), made me hesitant to listen to his new album All You Can Do. It sounds silly now, because his new album is also amazing. The song Sarajevo is haunting and beautiful, all of the tracks give me what I call "the feels".  Some of them get me pumped and boost my confidence while working. While others have helped me do some deep reflection on who I am and where my life is.

That has brought me to what I'm thinking of as Internal Independence, which I recognize sounds like a made up thing. That's because it is. I used to think that there was some kind of correct timeline for how my life should be, or what it should be like. I used to think I needed a lot of things and people that I really kind of don't. For the last couple years, I was close to people who were only bringing negativity. This became really toxic for me and honestly became really tiring. I have a new outlook on my life and it's really helped me get working on game art. I don't feel nearly as tired as I did when I was constantly worried about all the negativity I had in my life.

Cutting off ties with the negative things I had in my life has made my work better, and has really felt amazing. I've decided not to feel like I have to be doing anything specific in my life (other than game work), because everything will eventually fall into place. I feel very free, and happy. There's less stress so I can get things done and not feel too much pressure. I'm letting the haters hate, and being who I am. It's felt very freeing to not worry about what every single person I know thinks about me,
or the work that I'm doing. I just focus on what I can do, and just do as much I can with the time that I have.

Don't get me wrong, I still have bad days, and sad days, but I seem to bounce back from them faster. I move on as fast as I cam because I don't give myself time to dwell on the things that get me down. Lately I've been trying to learn from my mistakes as fast as I can so I can keep my chin up and keep going about my business. It's not always easy to move on from something that feels so bad in the thick of it, but I'm getting better at it. I try to focus on the future and improving rather than getting stuck in feeling stuck. So far it's helped a lot.

I have a lot to be happy about right now. I have a new job and the game is really starting to take shape. We're also going to be at the Portland Retro Gaming Expo this weekend! If you're there tweet us and we'll try to say hi. Our game even has a name! We're calling it Andrecca!