[Warning: Long post]
The main reason I do “Whomp!” is to regularly exude a consistent welling of what can best be called an urge to make something. I can’t put myself in other people’s heads, but I sometimes wonder if everyone feels like a balloon filled with a desire to create that is ready to burst.
I would say that, in this respect, I’m pretty selfish. I want to create my own universe where I’m the boss. Everything is of my doing, and I can look on something and say “I did that without anyone else. It’s mine; all mine.” Then I want other people to look at it and go “That’s amazing! What a universe. I want to live there!” But my selfishness wouldn’t want me to live in someone else’s universe. If my friends write or draw, it’s really difficult for me to say nice things about it. Of course if it’s bad, everyone has that problem, but if it’s good, deep down I think “Why didn’t I do that before you?” This doesn’t mean I don’t love the people who love me, that would be a jerk thing to do, and I don’t think I’m a jerk. I will congratulate anyone, I will be honest about how great their stuff is, and tell them where they need to work, even if I’m not at their skill level.
It makes me feel pretty bad that I can’t be genuinely pleased on any and all emotional levels, but I like to think we’re all like that to some extent. If your friend won the lottery, you’d congratulate them (if you’re not a jerk), but you’d wish it were you. I think for me, people who can draw better than me are the ones who are wealthier. Does that mean that I consider the real currency of the world to be creativity and skill? I like to think so. I’ve always disliked the idea of money, even though it’s a very necessary thing in every part of the world, and by no means is it evil. (I have a theory that any society advanced enough won’t have money, but maybe I’ll go into that later.) So when someone is richer than me in proficiency of creativity, I’m going to be envious of their wealth.
So, back to the creativity balloon that is me. I said that I do “Whomp!” as a way to exude that smelly liquid that builds up in me. Although, I might not even call it an urge to “create” to begin with, but the urge to “make”. When I was a kid, I’d find things that I could possibly draw from things like video game manuals, and paused cartoons. Anything that had a solid line that I could reproduce was fair game. Obviously it’s not very creative to draw like this, but I always felt that was one of my shortcomings. As I learned to draw people more, I could never do much more than a 1/4 turn of the body in a pretty normal standing pose. I simply couldn’t think of how else people would move. I still have this problem, and the only way I can avoid it is by actually making some sort of story that requires the characters to move. It’s why “Whomp!” is more about expressions and movements than words. If every “Whomp!” could be a wordless comic, it would be.
That’s not to say I don’t love language, because I do. If I’m not drawing, I tend to be writing. I like to think up stories to write, though it doesn’t happen as often as I’d like. I’ve written a full-length novel (twice, and probably going to rewrite again) and it was extremely satisfying. At every moment I got to feel the same things my characters did at every junction of the story. I sat down and wrote three pages a day. This was a great way to milk the urge-to-make out of my bloated body until I found something more fulfilling.
I also really like the idea of making games. But, I also hate people who say “I have an idea for a game.” Unfortunately, that’s what I’m saying here. I’ll get into “ideas” in a later post. I have some experience with programming, so I’ve spent tons of time trying to make my own games a reality, but I always fail miserably. I always have a game that I’d love to see made, and whenever I find a game that even comes close to the one in my mind, I blow so many hours playing it that I end up jealous (there it is again!) that I didn’t make it first. I’ve played around a lot with the Unity3D engine which is really great for indie developers, but there’s a short-circuit in my brain that doesn’t let me see logic systems properly. I can syntax like a beast, but when the logistics are involved, I really get turned upside-down. It’s a great regret of mine, and I hope to some day have the resources or contacts to rectify my urge to create games.
For a while I did papercraft. I really admired the work of one guy whose stuff you can find here. I had already been trying to do it myself for a while when I was talking about it in my linkshell (Final Fantasy XI guild equivalent.) So one guy said “Oh yeah, I do papercraft.” I was excited to find someone else who liked it, and I came to find out that it was the same guy whose work inspired me to begin with! Fancy that, our VERY small social guild on one of twenty different servers, each with thousands of people on them at any one time, and I meet the guy who inspired me to do the thing I like doing at the time I liked doing it. I knew he played FFXI, but that was still a one in a half-million chance meeting. So, he helped me a lot. He introduced me to the program Pepakura and taught me the proper ways to do things, and even set up models I wanted to do that I was having trouble making into proper pepakura models. (Pepakura, by the way, is an interesting insight into Japanese language [which, as I stated, language is something I greatly enjoy] Pepa = Paper, Kura = Craft. If you said it quickly with a Japanese accent, it would sound a lot like Paper Craft. There are many MANY English words like this in Japanese.) Papercraft was fun while I did it, and it’s always great to make something three dimensional with your own hands. It wasn’t creative at all, though, and maybe that’s why it didn’t hold my attention. It only satisfied that “urge to make”, which is very superficial.
I have toyed more than once with animation. I’ve learned Flash, but it’s difficult for me to make things look up to my standard of quality. I see many Flash animations that are made entirely in Flash, and they always urk me a bit. Something about the way the lines are drawn in that program always look unnatural to me. I understand vector and all that, but I feel like Flash doesn’t handle vector freehand very well. So the one animation I did end up producing was an intro to an animated series I had intended to create and voice myself. I did most of the work in Photoshop and Easy Paint Tool SAI, and just imported it into Flash. It wasn’t until it was time to record the voices that I realized my sound equipment is horrible. (I have the best microphone $5 can get me from Wal-Mart. Isn’t that enough?!) I’ll try again with some better equipment some day. That said, right now I have a desire to do a music video of Ronnie & Co., but I have to tackle Flash again, and I’m not looking forward to it.
I’ve done a lot of things to try and quell the urge to create or urge to make, whichever tickles me at the time. I’ve tried guitar, piano, synthesizing music using software, I’ve made my own levels in Counter-Strike and made new textures for my equipment and characters in Final Fantasy XI. I’ve played with the idea of comic books, usually drawing a few pages and realizing I’m not where I want to be artistically. Back in my younger days of the internet, I made a couple anime music videos back when the RealMedia format ruled the world. (Yes, a 17MB episode of fansubbed Dragonball Z looks terrible. It makes an even worse music video).
So, then I found webcomics. Webcomics are like The Sixth Sense.
Kid: “I see bad webcomics. They’re posting on the internet like regular comics. They don’t see each other. They only see what they want to see. They don’t know they’re bad.”
Doc: “How often do you see them?”
Kid: “All the time. They’re everywhere.”
I try desperately to not be one of the bad ones, but I sometimes wonder if constantly worry and fret that I am one of the bad ones — that I am the worst one. Regardless, I find “Whomp!” to be a very effective means of eliminating some of my creative juices. Not all of them! But enough so that I can sleep without worries of my body, bloated with urge, rolling off the bed and wedging me between the bedside table and the chest-of-drawers.