A little over a year ago I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease after spending 2 consecutive weeks in the Hospital. Crohn’s itself though painful was actually not the worst of it. What came with Crohn’s was an elevated level of anxiety and panic, something i was only minorly suffering from before. Prior to Crohn’s my anxiety was mostly just an inconvenience, stuff like butterflies in your stomach, or being kept up late at night.
After, however that minor inconvenience became full blown panic attacks. If you’re not sure what those are, the latest Ironman movie had Tony Stark suffering from the condition, and for the most part it was pretty accurate. Only difference is mine didn’t last 30 seconds, but closer to 30 min to an hour.
To top it off, a few weeks after being released from the Hospital, Gameloft Toronto, my employer at the time had to downsize. I was one of the unlucky bunch that would be let go. The loss of income meant moving out of my downtown condo and back with my parents. This did not help the whole anxiety thing. It was not the best year of my life.
Looking back now however I realize just how much it actually affected me. I thought i was being strong and handling everything ok. But as I created this website and sat down to draw characters I eventually plan to use for a web-comic I realized I hadn’t drawn a single thing since before my stay in the hospital. That’s over a year without even picking up a pencil for a little doodle.
It’s not like I didn’t do anything artistic in this last year. I did do freelance graphic design jobs, 3d renders for architectural clients, and even Photoshop creations for our ongoing D&D campaigns. But i hadn’t actually drawn anything, the basis for everything ‘visual art’ and the hobby that started it all for me.
This may not seem like a big deal for those non-artists out there, but to give you an idea, prior to my hiatus I was probably drawing something at least once a day. If I went out for coffee with my friends my sketchpad would always accompany me. If I had a long ride on the subway i’d be doodling. So to not draw a single thing in a year, yeah it was a big deal.
As I sat down and began creating the characters for this site, the first feeling was fear. Fear that i’d forgotten how to even draw. But once I actually did, all those good feelings that I loved and forgotten came rushing back. I was reminded why I perused creative disciplines in the first place, and though I don’t consider myself a professional illustrator, I was relieved to see I didn’t suck as much as I thought I would.
I feel more motivated now, my anxiety levels while better in general, are under even more control, and I even started waking up in the mornings!
So hello tablet and pencil my old friends, I’ve come to doodle with you again.