Although I am not hitting the road for any comic conventions this year, I will be traveling to the East coast this summer to help teach some summer workshops at The Center for Cartoon Studies.
Specifically, I'll be working with the Create Comics group (Ages 16+) from June 15-19 and the Cartooning Studio group (Ages 18+) from June 22-26. So if you'd like to live, breathe, eat, dream and make comics for a week in Vermont, sign up! A good time will be had by all. CCS is one of my favorite places on earth, so I always look forward to a chance to head back there for a burst of comics inspiration.
Well, the dust has settled on yet another March. For the sixth(?) time, Greg Means and I emailed each other every day in March to give a progress update on what we accomplished. "Acountabilibuddies" is the term, I believe.
I had a very productive March:
- I drew six pages of Isle of Elsi, as well as all of the assets for the website.
- I penciling the remaining thirty compositions for my 100 Watercolors challenge.
- I inked enough pages of Phase 7 #021 to cross the 33% line on my progress bar.
- I updated the Basewood Kickstarter page using their new "Spotlight" feature and overhauled the Basewood page on this site.
- I made some slight changes to my illustration site, which still needs some work.
Greg also had a productive March, putting the final touches on Runner Runner #4 which just got back from the printer a few days ago. That will be available at better comic shops all over the place on Free Comic Book Day. He also did a lot of drawing and worked on a top secret graphic novel script that we'll all hopefully get to read someday.
It's hard to believe 2015 is already a quarter over. Let's hope I can be as productive as I was in March for the rest of this year... I've still got a lot of projects left on my to-do list!
Well, three months after my last post about my New Year's Resolutions they are still going strong! The idea of alternating between two activities is still working really well for me. I missed about a week of both activities when I was sick in February, but otherwise I have kept up with my running and music making, even on my trip to Wisconsin!
I just ran on a treadmill for the first time! It was pretty boring, but it did the trick. I only fell off once at the end!— Alec Longstreth (@AlecLongstreth) February 14, 2015
On the music side of things, I successfully played through the entire Bb Real Book (about 500 pages of standards) and ended up with 200 tunes that are within (or just beyond) my ability to play. I also got all 12 keys of the major scale under my fingers.
Once that was done, I wasn't quite sure how to progress, so I called up my old pal Andy (of Songs From the Basewood fame) and asked him a bunch of music theory questions. We ended up Skyping for an hour, during which he dropped a lot of knowledge on me. This put me back on the path, though I gotta say, it was pretty mind-bending switching to seventh and minor seventh scales.
Trying to learn how to play jazz feels like trying to learn twelve different languages all at the same time #trumpet— Alec Longstreth (@AlecLongstreth) March 13, 2015
I still have a lot to learn! I'm able to play for a full hour though, and as my embouchure gets stronger, it's more and more fun to play.
Running, on the other hand, remains pretty not-fun. I think the smartest part of my new-year's plan was to make it so that I only listen to Weezer when I am running. For the past 20 years I have listened to at least one Weezer album a day, if not many albums a day... if not ALL of their albums in a day. So listening to only one Weezer album every 48 hours is definitely an extra boost of motivation when I don't feel like running! Initially I thought I would swap out my music after a while, but now it is an integral part of the process. I have a lot of focus when I'm running so it's great to go deep on these albums that I have heard so many times and to discover new things about them. And man... when Everything Will Be Alright In The End comes on - that really gets me going!
The only other anecdotes I have to report about my running both stem from podcasts. The first was a long interview with Matt Mullenweg that my friend Charlotte sent me (because, about 23 minutes in, he name-drops DVzine.org!). During the interview he also talks about his running practices and an idea that was taught to him of "slowing down to go farther."
I was getting frustrated, because I would always be wiped out after 30 minutes of running (and some of those Weezer albums go for like 45 minutes!). So I tried this method and it works great! I focus more on getting lots of little strides in, which gets my heart rate up, but I don't get burned out so fast. I'm able to run for 45 minutes and it feels like I'm getting a much better workout, plus I'm not as sore the next day.
The other thing I was struggling with is that running is not fun. I don't get excited about running the same way I do when it's time to play my trumpet. I have been listening to the Adam and Dr. Drew podcast in an attempt to recapture the feeling of listening to Loveline with them fifteen years ago (with mixed results...) and one of the things they seem to talk about a lot is the idea of satisfaction.
It's true that running is not fun. Lots of things in life that are good for you are not fun. But it's satisfying to go running. When I made this connection, it made me realize that ever since I started running I have had fewer headaches, I'm sleeping better, my back and drawing arm are almost never sore, it gets me to leave the apartment at regular intervals, I'm in better shape, I'll probably live longer, etc. etc. etc. So now, when it's time to go for a run, I try not to focus on the act of running, or how it's going to make me feel while I'm doing it, but how I will feel after it's done. The feeling of satisfaction that comes from having completed something that's good for me is just as good as having fun!
Anyway, I'm going to see how long I can keep this stuff going, so I'll report back in a few months with any new findings!