Mr. Bogey! Original figure for Daz Studio with bonus poses and clothing!
Cedar Rapids Comic Con! I’ll see you next month! Looking forward to my first show of 2018 supporting my baby, “Apocalypse Girl“
Something I changed going on two years ago was the decision to get back to a decent, healthy weight and make myself fit again. The holiday season is THE hardest time to keep with that promise to myself: gatherings, family functions, and all of them with tons and tons of great, tasty, insanely fattening food. It’s tough. I get it. I really, really do.
Here’s the deal, though: if you’re like me, and you spend astronomical amounts of time sitting at a desk or drawing board, like most professional artists I know, and you are dedicated to that work, to that art, to that pursuit and live it round the clock, sometimes just getting yourself away from the damn thing can be like moving a mountain, double entendre intended.
Thing is, though, you need it. You need to move. I KNOW I need to move, to get my carcass up from the work and the desk for a while and actually go engage those lizard brain, physical functions, put the machine in motion and burn off some of that art-fat we can so easily put on. In my two years now of fighting against that, I’ve had a pretty good success, having dropped between 100 – 115lbs, putting myself back down in the mid 200’s for the first time in at least 10 years. What I want to share with you now is what I found about my work along the way…
See, in order to drop all that weight, I had to change things. Big time. I had to start watching my calories like a hawk, which I openly admit that I have slipped up on from time to time, especially around holidays. I also had to get honest with myself about my weight, and most importantly, had to absolutely, without fail, get disciplined about engaging in some form of exercise as close to every day as my schedule would allow. Getting serious about this meant that I purposefully set aside the time. My choice of exercise was going back into martial arts, something I have loved dearly for a very long time, and I’m sure you’ll see me write about from time to time as this goofy blog unfolds.
So, I set aside that time, at least an hour but allowing for as much as two, 4-5 days a week. It was not easy. But I stuck to it. After a while, I started to notice that I didn’t drift off at my desk. In fact, I don’t think I had realized how often I had been drifting off before. I found myself starting to feel more alert, could literally feel my brain ticking along faster and more on point with both artistic intuitions and ideas, as well as on business decisions and problem solving. It was as if my brain really did need the release that came from the exercise, that time each day to shut down thinking about all the work and go into this other state, where it’s engaging something wholly different. As I did this, I also started notice pain that I hadn’t even realized I had developed, leaving. It hadn’t dawned on me how awful my lower back and legs had come to feel until I started doing things that engaged them, worked them, put them to use and got the blood really pumping. Over time, I noticed my posture was improving at my desk. My lower back actually had been hurting for a long time but when these things creep in gradually, you just accept them and maybe don’t think about them, until something starts to roll it back. Sometimes you don’t realize how bad you felt until you start doing something that makes you feel good again.
Getting active did just that, and that is exactly my point, my message to others, who like me, have been “chained to a desk” for years on end.
If you resolve anything for yourself this year, make be to get up. Even if it’s just for 10 minutes of stretching a couple times a day. Do SOMETHING. Get up. Move. Go for a walk. Join a gym and ACTUALLY use it. Go into a martial art. Take up yoga. Who cares what it is, but get physical and put it on a schedule. Your brain will function better. Your art will improve. Your health will improve. Your state of mind will improve.
On top of all that, for me, the choice of going back into martial arts meant there would be a forced schedule because of class times. At first, honestly, I found this irritating. I thought being “free” with my time was a perk of being self employed. Now, a couple years back into training, I am so thankful for when class time comes. It’s a time when I can STOP WORKING. But with that, it also means I have to schedule to TO BE WORKING so that it all can work out. Amazingly, this forced me to find an actual schedule for myself through the week, and even more to surprise, this single aspect of the change in my lifestyle from sedentary to active create a new kind of structure that actually enhanced and promoted my own productivity in ways I never imagined it would. It’s funny how sometimes when you do something you know you should, you can end up finding collateral benefits out of it as well. Good investments pay off in a multitude of ways, it would seem.
So why share this? Why tell you all this? Because I know a LOT of you personally. I know you sit still a LOT, just like I used to. I also know you feel like crap. But you can change it. You can make a massive difference for yourself.
As I write this, it has rolled over from Friday into the first Saturday of 2018. It’s a time when people everywhere make their resolutions. I will do this. I won’t do that. Better me this year, yadda, yadda, ad nauseum. I get it. We all want to change something. Tomorrow, I have a martial arts training event that I’m excited about on many levels, but as I close out my day, what strikes me is that it is a culmination, or at least a mile marker, on a journey that started many years ago, was paused by “life” happening, but that I resolved to go back to, two years ago. That resolution has been one of the best decisions of my life. People cynically act as though your New Year’s Resolutions are always going to be broken, that they’re almost a joke, really. That’s easy. That’s a way to let yourself out of those commitments you make to yourself for things you know you should be doing but might be hard. Keeping those commitments IS hard. Succeeding at anything takes work. But resolve is a good thing. I encourage you, whoever you are reading this, to find yours. Resolve to fix something, even if it’s small. Even if it’s just to take a walk two or three times a week, just so maybe you’ll feel better or clear your head in some way. But make those resolutions. Do them. Keep them. Be good to yourself by being disciplined in the good things you know you should do. Make it a better year by making yourself better along the way.
You’ve got this.
So the next time you look to that friend who works from home, or maybe owns a small business, thinking man, that rocks, or worse, maybe I can call on them for X,Y or Z anytime because, y’know, they’re free and stuff, well… think again. Odds are the anxiety they cope with is more than you realize. Odds are they often lay awake at night contemplating the next move of their business, the next set of goals that need to be knocked out to push the ball further down field, or even just the set of responsibilities they know they have waiting the next day that will absolutely not fall to anyone else. Odds are they do what they do because of a passion, but they understand that in order to make that passion real, they have to allow it to become actual, factual work.
So, to my fellow artists, animators, writers, entrepreneurs, inventors, code slingers and business owners, I offer my most genuine respect and admiration.
Why a blog? Simple. I have a tendency to get into some great conversations on social media, but more than just that, those have often spawned responses from me that are far longer and more in depth than a tweet or post really merits. But this is how my brain operates. I pick things apart, break them down and like to think. Writing helps coalesce that thinking into something tangible. Literally, I like how writing is the act of forming something ethereal, i.e. thoughts and feelings, into something tangibly observable that can be shared. Writing solidifies concepts. It makes them real and manageable.
After putting it off for literally years and years, I’ve decided to start collecting those longer thoughts and responses. This could get ugly, I won’t lie. Sometimes the things I think, say and yes, even believe can be pretty far from what it popular or even generally accepted in one place or another. I’m ok with that. Writing like this gives a voice to those things that require a “voice” rather than imagery or sound, and I’ve come to realize this is something that could be good for me. It might be good for someone else, too. If so, excellent! If not, well… it’s still good for me, and that’s enough.
This is what this section of Sixus1.com is about. Sixus1 has been my world for a very, very long time, so it seems only appropriate that it also be home to this other sort of “content” that I create so frequently, yet collect so rarely.
Buckle up, though. This is where the craziness of my thoughts may well end up on a regular basis, and that, dear friends, is a very bumpy ride.
-Les L. Garner
Thursday, January 4, 2018
Apocalypse Girl #1 is officially off to the printers, and to celebrate, we have an advance of the first 100 copies available exclusively here!
Something truly special to mark the series launch, with this package, you not only get the first issue, signed and number by it’s creator, but also, a custom 9×12 sketch of the character (ANY character.. not just form Apocalypse Girl.. whatever single character you like!).
$25.00 plus shipping and handling
#3: The Disciple’s Package
The mega-apoco-fest kit, this one features everything listed in the Acolyte’s Package, plus you will receive one of the ultra rare, high quality prints of the “Double Barrel Thunder” painting of Anna (the lead character some might refer to as “Apocalypse Girl”) that started it all.
$40.00 plus shipping and handling
*Issue #1 officially releases mid November, 2017; orders with custom sketches please allow time for sketch completion; times may vary, but sketches are typically completely 1-3 days from their time of order, with shipping soon thereafter.
*All orders calculated at checkout with basic shipping through continental United States; please message or email to arrange shipping to other areas.