About 14 years ago I started my comic career with Dreamwave. After that I moved onto Nelvana for a while and worked on two shows. During that I started with UDON where I still am. In 2011 I started to teach at Seneca College in Toronto.
Over the years you've heard me belly ache about my mixed feelings about what I work on and what type of rhetorical acrobatics I do to justifiy it to myself. For the most part it's to pay the bills and that it's just what I do until something else comes along. I never claim that anything I work on is representory of my moral beliefs or religion for that matter nor do I try to excuse myself under the guise of some self serving excuse, it just simply is my situation.
I'm happy for all the work I have and am doing and I do it as well as I possibly can. I am the sole provider for my family and I thank God for all the work that i do have and my thanks and appreciation manifests itself in my effort to try and do the best I can.
A sigh of relief came with teaching where the more benign and neutral feel of teaching helped me separate myself from the context and concentrate on the execution. Teaching really is a lot of fun for the most part, and I derive a great deal of amusement by switching up the ciriculum often to keep my students on their toes. I'm not an instructor who just sits on what ever he did last year and barfs it out again rather if I can I do the projects with them if I have time and change it yearly to keep it fresh.
One of the perks of working at school was that Jim very graciously and generously offered a place in his office for me to set up shop as keeping up with UDON work and teaching would be hard to do from my home and school which are far apart. I managed to get vast amounts of work done there and still troll the students and help as well.
Another perk was that I learned CS5 and it forced me to teach things that i had never done before and explore techniques that enriched me more than my students I feel. In fact, I'm sure if you asked my students, they might say that on occassion it felt as though I was trying to learn as fast as them in their youth. I compete with them in a way that betters my skill set, not in a vindictive way.
However, with increased work load and growing family, the strain started to really show it's face. My skin started to get really bad, migrains, a lot of stress and frustration, and very severe family problems really forced me to rethink my situation. On top of this i realized that I was escaping all this by playing around on BlogTV with my fans who so eagerly would pat my ego and give me unconditional support. While this was nice, it was not something that would force me to reassess my life, and so during Ramadan I stopped it altogether. After that, things started to change drastically.
I really let go after a certain point, and tried to calm down as my kids were suffering seeing their dad stressed and my relationship with wife was also in trouble because of all these things. I prayed to Allah after the Eids and really really tried to critically implement a strategy to find my weaknesses and low points and combat them.
In Decemeber, when I had shipped off my family to NJ and the school was shut down for holidays for 2 weeks, I started 5th Capsule again. I managed to get 16 pages done, showing no one. When those pages were done which I did in full isolation, I had to restart school, my family came back and it came to a tidy and abrupt end.
Only then did I remember what the love of drawing was, nothing else could compare to what I was working on. Nothing else mattered when I was working on it, because I was doing it for a purpose that was deeply seeded in my heart. Many years went by where I had just developed a hard and callous shell to contend with the throws of incompatibility of my beliefs and work situation. But 5C was where i could reconcile it.
Unfortunately in one way I got lumped on another class unexpectedly for this semester which dramatically added to my work load. Stress again started to peak, but did not take its toll on my home life as now I had a "why" to give me a light at the end of the tunnel. I needed to get my own office again, so that I coud assure myself that complete isolation to work on it. But that wasn't the only reason at all...
Many a night it would happen that I would sneak into 'the girl's room' to see my two little daughters sleeping and actually weep softly so as not wake them at the realization they are growing up so fast. It sounds so cliche, but I swear I was bottle feeding my eldest just yesterday. There was a time where she couldnt speak yet, or walk, and now she is growing so fast and learning. One day she'll get married, have her own family, avoid the most viscious parts of life hopefully and leave this world just like all of us. And I'm missing this!
I leave for work very early because I use the bus, and I get home fairly late often tired and weary of people in general. They see my either rushing out the door, or smeared on the floor. When I had my own office, Waifu and my eldest would come and see me as i was only 5 minutes away by car and just 19 mins walking. I needed that again, not only for my own selfish artistic pursuits, but for my daughters and wifes sake.
So I prayed, and within 2 weeks I found an office at a ridiculous price in the best area closer than the last one and cheaper! I signed the lease, I signed the cheques and I will move in next month God willing.
Thus, I am dubbing this the next level. So many things have forced me to take more chances and embrace change which I would fear before. I feel like after spending hours in traffic, I can see the highway, and it's clear, I can see it!! I'm almost there, I feel a surge of power pushing me, I feel the rush of youth, opportunity, and change....
I'm almost there! I'm almost there...