It is the 29th of January.  2034 pm.  32 years ago this night, I had just about taken my first few breaths outside of the womb. 

32  years. 

Think about that.

I've been alive now for a quarter of a century and only now do I feel as if I know what I want in life.  Only now do I know how to get what I want in life.  I wasted 10 years through indecision, stupidity, stubbornness, close mindedness and fear.  And every day i try to make up for lost time.  Every single day I try to claw back the time I've wasted.

But this is not a day of recrimination.  Or at least, it is not a day for recrimination alone.  I would be doing myself  an injustice if I didn't draw attention of the monumental achievement that is the completion of draft one of my novel.  I would be doing myself an injustice if I did not recognise that how profoundly that has changed my life. 

I am a better man by virtue of committing myself to finishing something.  I am a better man by virtue of the friends I have.  I am a better man by realising that pain and struggle are transitory and are the price you pay for success.  They are universe testing you to see how badly you want what you say you want and what you are prepared to do to get it.

I am in pain now.  I will do almost anything with in reason to get Frostfeld Book 1.0 in your hands by summer.  Success is forthcoming.
No seriously. What is it like?
What is it like to hold in your hand something for which you have labored on and sacrificed time and energy for?
What is it like to hold in your hand something that would not exist if not for you?

What is it like to hold a physical representation of hours/days/months/years worth of work?

My thoughts have been dwelling on these questions of late. As i approach the end of creating the most demanding thing i have ever attempted, I find myself wondering what it will feel like to finish.

Let me share a small revelation with you: I've never completed anything that I've not cut a corner or tried to find a short cut through. I've never had to sit on my arse and work on something until I got it right. Sure, there will be grammatical errors and plot holes but none have been recreated though laziness or a desire to get the bloody thing done, finished and off my back.

I have an invested interest in doing this right. Never before have I been so committed to delivering something which is genuinely that best that I can do.


This is an entirely new experience for me. Part of me wondered why I've never done it before, then another part of me remember full well how much hard work it has taken for me to reach this point. Part of me remembers how much time i have sacrificed for this..novel.

Let me share another revelation with you. It is only now, after writing nearly 124,000 words, 272 pages, reading voraciously in a manner that I've not done since i was a child, and actually buying books for research purposes that i actually feel that conformable with calling myself a writer. Previously, i felt like a fraud. As if at any moment, someone would tap me on the shoulder and inform me that i was a fake and charlatan. That I would be escorted off the premises forthwith and not be allow back in. I've been informed by several writers that this feeling is quite common when your just starting out.

The end, the REAL end is still some way off. But AN end is within sight. And for some reason i feel a great sense of....apprehension. That the feeling of euphoria I'll experience will be tainted by the knowledge that i should and could have done this sooner if not my my own laziness and fear. A fear of failure or fear of looking stupid.

So i ask: What is like to finish?

Tell me.
If you want to become something. If you want to do something with your life other than just exist. If you want to be creative. If you want to be successful. You will be tested.

G-d/the universe/fate/life will test you to see how determined you are to be want you want to be. Life will throw you curve balls to test you resolve. Obsticals will be put in your path to block your progress. Shit will happen.

All of these designed to test you. To make you into the person you want to become.

It has always been thus.

And it always will be.

And you have two simple choices:

Either suck it up, accept it and deal with it.

Or abandon your dreams.

The balls in your darling.

Everyone you admire and respect whose life and or work inspires you to better yourself, EVERY SINGLE ONE has been through what your going through.

The question is and always has been thus: How badly do you want it?

Good night my brothers and sisters. And spare a thought/prayer for our brothers and sisters in Egypt and everywhere in the middle east.
Well, as 2009 draws to close, and the first decade of the 21st century ends with it we’re forced to stop and take note of all that has occurred over the last 10 years.

I’m forced to accept that the last decade had been, for me at least, concerned with evolution, education, awareness, challenge, change and acceptance. I’m going to be 30 in 29 days, and I believe that I’m now at the point, finally at point that I know what I want to do and how I have to do it. I used to ask myself: why didn’t I simply do the things I wanted to do? Why would I go out of my way to avoid doing the things that I’ve known for years I’ve been up here to do? Was it avoidance? Self esteem issues? Environmental conditions? All of the above?

I don’t believe it was any of the aforementioned. I believe you have to be at certain point in your life and have encountered certain things and have had certain experiences before you can actually start being creative. I believe that you had to either grow into or change yourself into the person you want to become before you can start doing the things you want to do. All the creative people we admire and respect didn’t start doing what they’re famous for straight off the bat. They had to be become the people they were going to be for the rest of their lives. The Miles Davis’ (or insert any famous individual of the last 3000 years) we all know and love wasn’t born the Miles Davis' we know and love. They had to become them.

We have to build ourselves into the people we want to become. This doesn’t happen over night. It takes a lifetime and it’s process which never stops.

Well, it’s been almost nine years since that day in sunny September that I decided to get back on the creative horse. Or rather, events conspired in my favour to remind me why I’m here and that it’s not to be a bloody C++ coding monkey!! And only now do I feel confident enough and have learned enough and have lived enough to start transforming myself in the man human being that I want to become.

2010 and the new decade that come into existence at the stroke of midnight this evening signal not only a new year and a new decade. It signals something more important for all of us.

It signals another chance for us to get it right.

Draw a line in the sand and say: I was that person but I’m not that person anymore. Begin the metamorphic process. Start the change. Become who you want to be. Because if I can do it, I’m quite sure you can too.

We mortals have only one true purpose on in this life. And it’s more of a responsibility than a purpose: It’s to leave the world a better place then it  was when we entered it. So not too much weight on our shoulders then, huh? :)

Your future is bright. But only if you choose to make it so. See you in the next decade. As you me..shit...I’m so excited I can hardly contain myself:)
© J.C.Cole 2009-2010
This is going to be slightly long winded so bare with me!

In my end of year review I stated that I had come to accept that it was okay to draw like yourself and not be a slave to a particular art style. Or movement. Over the last few days I've been sitting alone in my room working on my project and I've come to realise certain things.

Here where things become long winded and slightly stream of conciousness-ish as I'm going to be jumping for point to point.

  1. Although you like a particular artists work and find their work inspiring, the style of art may not be compatible with your natural drawing style: For years I attempted to bend my work in encompass the styles of James Montgomery Flagg, Charles Dana Gibson, Ashley Wood, Jock and various others before I realised that although I enjoyed their work and found it inspiring, their work was so stylised and unique to them that it was 100 mile away from what my brain was tell my hand to try to do. There was no way "in" for me. Meaning that there was no way for me to look at their and learn how they constructed their imagery. They have effectively develop their own visual language and thus their work was impenetrable.  Over the past 3 years I've actively been looking at the work of artists who work is closer to my naturally ability. Sean Phillips, Posy Simmonds, John Paul Leon, Disraeli, Alison Bechdel, Milton Caniff, Nihei Tsutomu, Jordi Bernet, Tim Sale to name a few. And sometimes Jae Lee.  And learnt significantly more, to the extent that I've been able to fold what they do into what I go.  I'm far, far closer to being me than I was 3 years ago.  I can't even look at my old sketchbooks anymore.  It's just too painful!!
  2. You can only ever do the best you can do at that moment in time. The more you do, the better you become. I was getting hung up about the images I was producing for my final minor project until I realised that I'll never be judged by what other people are producing. I'll only ever be just on the articulation of my ideas. In essence, I'll be judged again what I'm capable of and not some imaginary high water mark that doesn't exist. Perfectionism kill creativityDo it.  Finish it.  Learn, Move on.  Do better next time.
  3. Now this one I've always know, but sometimes it's important to articulate things that run around in your head.  The grade I receive at the end of this course will be entirely worthless.  Indeed, the very paper that my grade is written on will be worth more than the actual grade.  You're dong this course to gain skills not for a fucking grade.  How many uni graduates are working for Mc Donalds and Mark and Spencer at the moment? A 100 miles away from the subject matter that they sacrificed 3+ years of their life for.  A grade asurses nothing in illustration and even less than nothing in fine art.  The portfolio you produce how ever is worth more than bars of solid gold.  Rather you fail and have a portfolio that shows your best work and that you're happy with and play lip service to the biases of your lecturers who sometimes get it wrong. Everyone comes with their own personal/artistic biases.
  4. Some of your lecturers will be major assholes with egos the size of the heliopause.  They will be snobs who will look down their nose at your work and your influences.  But sometimes they'll drops a peal of wisdom that will help you see the woods thorough the trees.  And sometime the advice they give you though will be spot-on even though they're king-sized arseholes.  The trick is separating the gold from the bullshit.

And that's it.  More later.

Edited to add:  This post was prompted by laying eyes on Bernie Wrightson's Frankenstein this evening and knowing that it took Bernie SEVEN YEARS to complete those illustrations. Good art takes time.

'It is not a torment to be an artist.It is a privilege'
-Louise Bourgeois.

When I grow old, I don't want to be like John Bryne or Alex Toth, I want to be like Louise Bourgeois.



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