On The Absence of Dragons

First, I’m sorry. I’m sorry to the dedicated fans of this strip and its characters who have missed them! I am!

I told you Meadowhawk wouldn’t get canceled, and it won’t. But I feel like I owe you guys a slightly better explanation than before of just why it’s on hiatus.

I didn’t have the words to express this properly before, but I think I do now. An artist tends to have multiple irons in the fire, and I’m no different.

My dream, my lifelong dream, is to be a published illustrator. That’s what I want more than anything else. Creating a beloved web strip with characters that people related to personally is another dream of mine. But the illustration gig was here first. And you can tell, can’t you? I’m not a gag-a-day strip artist. It’s not really in me. The strip I’ve created focuses on lush visuals and storytelling and long-term character development more than gags. And will probably do so increasingly into the future.

So that’s me; I’m an illustrator at heart. Well, recently I’ve been trying to take that dream seriously. I’m illustrating a children’s book with my friend and accomplished author, Richard Roberts. I’ve realized in bits and pieces that, really, that’s where the majority of my effort has to be going. That’s the dream I need to keep alive the most right now. I can’t have all my hopes on this one book, I have to make this the beginning of something that continues.

Having said that: I suffer from chronic depression. AND A HOST OF OTHER THINGS that arguably are more ‘my fault’, like a propensity for playing videogames until 3 AM. But really though. If you don’t know about how depression can affect a person – especially an independent content creator – this sums it up neatly and comprehensively: http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/2011/10/adventures-in-depression.html & http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/2013/05/depression-part-two.html

Time for some crappy truths about your beloved strip author. I have bigtime depression, ADHD, and I sort of never grew up. That’s charming, right? Sure. It also means I’ve never stayed with a ‘real job’ for longer than a year before deciding that fretting over money was more fun than fretting over having to go into work. I’m an introvert to the max, and I have very thin skin. Little tiny things ruin my day! I’m… not the stablest person, is what I’m getting at. Because of this, I go days without working on art. Each day, I’m guiltier and guiltier about how little I’ve got done, and it gets a stranglehold on me.

What I’m trying to say is that, every day you don’t see this strip update, I’m fighting a mighty kraken inside my brain. If I manage to subdue the beast, whatever energy I have left after that goes into some artistic endeavor, OR (not and) some social endeavor. I can either hang out with friends, or draw a picture and earn money. I can’t do both. Other humans being near me – sometimes even on my SCREEN in a RECTANGLE with TEXT – sucks my energy away, the same energy I use to make art happen. And I’ll tell you right now: most days, I don’t win. I lose most of the time. The monster beats the crap out of my resolve, and all I have the energy to do – sometimes for hours – is stare and distract myself, sleep and nap. Some days my major accomplishment for the day is forcing myself to eat a meal.

Some of you are feeling real bad for me right now, and I appreciate the sympathy, but I will tell you: I am medicated. I do see a therapist. I live in-home with some very supportive and loving family. I’m doing most of the things a depressed person can, to mitigate depression, and it STILL WINS most of the time. To the best of my knowledge, for me, there will be no point in life where I say, “Finally, I have defeated my depression”. Because that would be like saying, “Finally, I have defeated my bladder”. No, this is just what life IS to me (apparently). It’s this constant fight, this endurance test that lasts all my days. This is just a condition I have to live with. It is from within this condition that I must try and create a career out of my art.

So there you have it. I think that does a fairly good job of explaining why I’m not more active, more prolific. This isn’t just about making the decision to sit down and draw a comic or not. I’m in the middle of a crazy battle, that takes place every day – and every night, I should add, as I generally have restless and disturbing dreams – and this comic or that book or this commission is the MIRACLE I have managed to eek out on the side. Please have patience with me. I adore you all for wanting more, and I promise, in some form, someday there will be.

10 thoughts on “On The Absence of Dragons

  1. We understand. When you are ready, we will be here. Find your way and when able, return.
    We love you.

    Here there will always be dragons.

  2. I guarantee that a lot of your readers are freaking out right now because you’ve essentially torn a page out of their book. I know I am.

    Some good words are probably in order, but those never helped me or anyone I know so that would be insincere, I guess.

    I’ll just say I absolutely friggin’ love Meadowhawk and it really brightens up my day. It’s exactly the kind of comic I always wanted to see and never got to.

  3. No worries Rib, we will still be here when you come back.

    Take care & looking forward to see more Meadowhawk in the future. 😉

  4. It’s true that you’ll always battle it, but eventually you can get to the point where you have long periods where that battle is 10% of your day, not 90%. I’m pretty sure you’ll get there, because you’ve gotten dramatically better at managing your depression in the time I’ve known you.

  5. I wholly understand. Depression is one of those things, you either bury it under drugs, or you get on and live with it knowing that life goes on in spite of how you feel.

    hyperboleandahalf is also one of the only things I’ve ever found that adequately help explain what it’s like to live through depression and it’s cycles.
    Your other issues? Not my place to comment, I can only wish you the best in dealing with them.
    I like your comic, and I hope to see more of your characters and world, but don’t sweat. No-one has any right to complain if you prioritize your dreams. I just wish I was able to do the same myself!

  6. Althought i don’t suffer from depression myself, i wholly understand the ADHD part as i also have this, althought i never saw that as an illness, but more as something that will prevent me from ever get bored!. We definitely needs more than 24h per day!

    I’ve been enjoying your art for a while and just discovered your comic, it is quite fun!

    I just hope that things will go well for you so good luck with your battles! And thanks for the great comic!

  7. I’ve heard it said the greatest and most creative minds are the most tormented. Just don’t let yourself worry about us when the time isn’t right for a strip, we appreciate what you give us when it is!

    And congratulations on the illustration opportunity! Hopefully other authors and publishers out there see your talent for what it is!

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