Making all the puzzle pieces fit together

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Over the last weeks, I've been silent on my blog and on social media. Sorry about that, it was necessary for me to take this time alone. I worked on the Pepper&Carrot story, the structure of future books and episodes, digital painting techniques, tools, workflows, renderings, the future tutorials, my desk and equipment ...etc... All of this to continue my progress on future Pepper&Carrot episode 34 and tutorials. This long and time consuming process happens now not because I decided to (it would be really bad timing) but just because I have to compose right now with something new in the way my body manage my energy and motivation.

The main rule of this new thing I caught from I don't know where (probably aging, I'm approaching 40...) is simple: my energy drains now super quickly into the exploration of certain path and certain solutions. It drains me to the point it gives me headaches and sometime I even need short nap to recover.

On the bright side, it also works a bit like a reversed compass. By avoiding with trial and errors the penalties, I'm sort of guided slowly toward new solutions and perspectives. This process has been contagious to many aspect of my life and continue to spread. I estimate it started after the release of the self published book: it was probably a process put on hold during all that time.

What it will change? It's hard to tell, I don't have enough distance, we will see. Tiny specifications of my style, my character design, my storytelling patterns will just probably slowly shift to something more personal and authentic. At least, that's what I hope.

This exploration refills me with motivations and plenty of energy. This week, I reached a point in this process where I recorded new videos, made new arts I like (illustration of this blog-post) and I took back my work on episode 34. Also, the more I continue to do progress on this path, the more all the puzzle pieces fit together and the easier it is to take decisions and move on.

So thank you all for your patience in regards of the unusually long production time for the future episode, I hope you'll understand I do my best to continue with this weird and picky built-in compass. Thank you also for all the recent donations, for all the books purchased (now over 1500 books sold in total) and the one who joined recently on Patreon, Tipeee, Liberapay. Each notifications came really as a little sparkle of lights.

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link Geoffroy   - Reply

I had similar energy drain a few months past. I couldn't comprehend what was going on. My mind was fresh and clear, yet I simply couldn't work anymore. I would have a couple hours of work possible a day, and sometime a bit more. My research lead me to believe my nervous system was imbalanced, and later, well actually last week, when visiting a herbologist I was told my Adrenal gland had suffer some weakening at one point. I am out of that phase now, but I wanted to share as it might help. Thanks for sharing!

link Andreas   - Reply

As Bilbio Beutlin said: “I feel thin, sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread.”

I think its not about age, i met this also, and iam in my early 30s. I guess, putting much effort over a long period of time in things you are good, or becoming good, not matter if you love it or not, will drain slowly base energy out and after a long time, the recover process is not done with a "free weekend" anymore :-( ...

Take your time.

link Adam   - Reply

I think it is really not about age; most of us is literally bored to death because of this covid-19... :D

link Châu   - Reply

I understand your work. Vary/diverse work help prevent work become boring (i do this). Need do different work or curious about other stuf and need explore it.

1 idea for open content (in future), may be you can create model sheet for all main character and have high quality artist fan help draw episodes. From your web site search you already have Pepper and Shichimi. Also you already have Blender model of some scene too, help fan artist help do some background.

link Vinay   - Reply

Take all the time you need David. If you're not feeling it, then do whatever it takes to restore your energy and inspiration. It is northern hemisphere fall/winter. Go outside when the sun is shining and go to bed early. It may be a shift in your current pattern but I think it is worth a try.

What I can relate to is that it can feel exhausting when it is like there is always something on your plate. You release one episode and are already working on the next. Please keep in mind that no one of us is asking this from you! When you've got something finished, please allow yourself to chill instead of immediately move on to the next item on the todo list. I realize many of us are guilty of this (myself included) yet I believe we can be guilty and still try to help others avoid the same trap. And solve this together.

One thing (out of so many things) you're doing great here is to formulate what's going on. In a way it is what I like about the whole open source vibe too. Not try to hide issues, not try to act as if you're perfect. No one is. But we're all able to help and encourage. So thank you for allowing us to do so.

link Pip   - Reply

I'm so sorry to hear you feel this way. I'm not even more happy I decided to finally join Patreon to support you. I think (like a few others who wrote here) that what you're feeling might not have to do with age. I've been feeling similar things these past few months regarding projects I'm working on, and, for me, I think it has a lot to do with being burdened by things in my life (such as all these quarantines and social distancing). Of course, it might be something completely different for you. But perhaps it'd make you feel a little better to hear so many others are feeling similarly...

And I think it's also just emotionally (and physically, actually) draining to work continuously on making art. Sometimes you just need a break. It can be disappointing, but I think it's just the way it is...

I agree that taking walks might help, if not with your concentration, then with your mood. And please take your time - I think all your fans are patient :)

And by the way - what an amazing drawing! It's really beautiful :-)

link Mr Robi   - Reply

actually dude you are awesome artist keep it up i'm like your comic i'm not often see your comic because the production time it's take week it's very long time so i rare to see the comic, and are you have planning in the future mr.David? because we are aging and will older

link ivan   - Reply

I've been following your comics for years David and had similar energy drain and headaches (well, still have them every week, sigh). I'm over 40 and a professional photographer.
Just giving my 2 euro cents here, it might be against your computer ethics, but it was a game changer for me.

I tried so hard to work professionally in linux, using krita, darktable and gimp under Arch. I managed to do it for a year, I thought I was super happy. But then the amount of frustration was so much that I loathed my editing work and procrastinated everything. Darktable was nice, but was a constant fiddling with bugs, reports and compiling git versions. Gimp was even worse. Krita the best of the bunch, but definitely not made for photography. Linux as well was a constant update-this, update-that.

It was like I was serving my PC, not other way around. Anyhow, I switched back to Win10 full-time, deleted everything linux related and resubscribed to Adobe plan with Photoshop and Lightroom - and couldn't be happier. The workflow now is a joy, these programs just work and are extremely intuitive. There's a reason they are the best in the industry. Updates are automatic and finally PC is serving ME. Finally I do more stuff and don't think about bugs, missing/odd features, reports and updates.

Whatever you choose, good luck out there and all the best!


link David REVOY Author, - Reply

Thanks for sharing your story, that's sad and must have been really difficult. I'm glad you found again balance and energy.
Arch.... I tried it also (for years); and the amount of bleeding edge new package weekly and breakage was too high to me too... I'm using a LTS distro plus appimage; I can reach now a very predictable workflow and benefit of a good stability. Krita and Kdenlive (both appimage and latest) on Kubuntu 20.04 are superb ;) Of course, some aspect of FLOSS doesn't shine: my desktop publishing experience was(is still) a PITA. About photo, I'm not enough part of it to tell; but thanks for your past time fiddling with bugs, reports and compiling git versions.

Now about this blog post; (with distance) I was recovering from the book project but I had hard time admiting this project had drained me that much. I was also sad to see most of my 2020 spent into that. I was also changing my vision of writing for Pepper&Carrot. I explain that in the production report video of episode 34. So, it was a time of transition and that wasn't easy to end the year like that. Now it feels better.

link Ivan   - Reply

Thanks David. I loved Arch for what is worth, the concept, freshness, had some tremendous community and best Wikis of all. But yes, far too many updates. I hope some of my inputs in the floss world made those photo apps a tiny bit better and more stable, but can't see myself ever returning there for my work.

All is fine now. I figured the age around ~40 is somehow weird, you do start to question yourself a lot, your place, work, directions, your existence etc. And the BS tolerance threshold greatly reduces. :D

I'm happy to hear you're doing well! Yes, book making can be incredibly exhausting, esp. when it's about printing and making everything to your liking (it's you vs the printing company xD) and publishing. Glad you're back on track. I will certainly keep following your work, it's so charming and fun. :) Cheers!

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