Friday, March 14, 2014


I don't know about you, but  I spend a good amount of time hunched over a sketchbook, crying, sighing and tearing my hair out because I'm not drawing anything good. The same goes for writing. I don't know how long writer's block is supposed to last, but I bet I can out-writer's block any writer on the planet. To get out of slumps like this, it helps to look at some things that inspire me. Inspiration is great, it's like a crazy drug I can take to fill myself up with energy. Except, instead of overdosing and dying, I'm creating some awesome artwork...

So here are some of the people, places, and things that inspire me to draw and write...

An illustration of Flynn Rider from the movie Tangled drawn by Glen Keane
Flynn Rider, drawn by Glen Keane
An illustration of Ariel from The Little Mermaid drawn by Glen Keane
Ariel, drawn by Glen Keane
1. Glen Keane
Like any kid from the 90s, I loved the movies of the Disney Renaissance, especially the string of movies starting with The Little Mermaid and ending with The Lion King (the best ones). It didn't register in my young mind at the time, but the guy who designed and animated some of the best characters from these movies was Glen Keane. Some of these characters include Ariel, Beast, Aladdin, Pocahontas, Tarzan, Rapunzel, and the list goes on. Among the many talented artists at Disney from this time, Glen Keane is my favorite. Years later, when I tried to develop a style of my own, I would look to his sketches for inspiration, and still do.

2. John Swartzwelder
As far as writing goes, there are many people I look up to, but my absolute favorite is John Swartzwelder. You may not have heard of him, but you are probably familiar with his work if you've ever watched The Simpsons. He has written 59 episodes, the most of any single writer for the show. And they're some of the best ones, in my opinion, in the earlier seasons. In addition to The Simpsons, he's written a series of novels that are even more hilarious. I've never laughed out loud while reading a book until I read The Time Machine Did It. His brand of absurd humor is what inspired me to write some of the things I've done, like Facebeast. If you've never read a John Swartzwelder book, please do yourself a favor and pick one up.

3. My friends and fellow artists
There was a long period of time that I didn't draw anything, starting sometime after high school and lasting until I was about 26. Something that inspired me to get back into creating artwork was walking through Artist Alley at Megacon. So much awesome artwork was being created by people who were just like me. Not famous, not published, just people who like to draw and create things. This fueled me to start making indie comics and start tabling conventions with my girlfriend Kate. I became friends with a lot of artists that I looked up to, and every time I see what they're working on, it motivates me to work on something just as awesome.

A picture of Artist Alley at HeroesCon 2013
HereosCon 2013

4. A trip to Disney World/Walt Disney
A picture of the Magic of Disney Animation exhibit at Disney's Hollywood Studios
The Magic of Disney Animation
I am a 10 year old kid trapped inside of a 28 year old bearded man's body. No further explanation is necessary. But just in case it is, I'll just say that I love Disney World. There's something about the physical presence of all the movies that pumps me up. Also, there are a couple of things at Hollywood Studios that really inspire me. The Magic of Disney Animation exhibit at the park always has awesome concept art on display from whatever movie they're making at the moment, and the One Man's Dream exhibit is an interesting look at the history of Walt Disney's life and career. I don't necessarily see Walt Disney or the Disney company as major influences in my life, but it's definitely inspiring to see how someone came from nothing and built an empire the way he did.

So there it is. That's how I deal with my slumps, by taking a look at what inspires me. There are plenty of other things that inspire me that I could add to the list., but I guess there in't a blog out there to inspire me to write a longer blog...

Thanks for reading!

- Josh

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