READER OF THE MONTH: Pencils and Parkour
My name is Brian and I’m a comic artist from Atlanta, Georgia.
I’m 25 and my two main creative outlets are drawing (since I was a kid) and doing parkour (for the last six years). As funny as it might sound, drawing and parkour have a lot in common. They’re both creative activities that challenge you, and to improve, you must be willing to put in the time.
After high school, I decided to pursue drawing and attended a local state university and then I transferred to the Savannah College of Art and Design in Atlanta. After six years of school I thought I’d be ready to do what I really wanted, but for some reason I found myself really REALLY burned out on art, and anything slightly challenging or creative. I became stagnant and since I needed to start paying off my loans I got an office job (proofing invitations and announcements).
At first, I thought it would be kind of nice having a steady income and free time, but as the months went on I realized that while I was saving money, I wasn’t doing ANYTHING. For the first time in my life I felt like I didn’t have any long-term goals, and as someone who usually knew where I wanted to go, this scared me a lot. It was becoming a monotonous cycle of just going to work and constantly trying to figure out what I wanted out of life before it passed me by.
One day I came across one of your comics and I read through your entire archive in 2 days. I must say, it was one of the most inspiring 2 days that I’ve had in a while.
I found so many of your comics inspiring, but the one in particular that resonated with me the most, was the one about The Man in the Arena by Theodore Roosevelt. When I read that comic, I saw two things: the man I wanted to be (the climber) and the man I was quickly turning into (the guy on the couch). It was almost overwhelming, but I’m so glad I saw that when I did. I used to be more ambitious and even if things were difficult, the drive to achieve outweighed the fear of failure. I had lost that somewhere along the way, but thanks to your web-comic, I can feel it coming back.
It took a while, but I finally started drawing again and even though I’m still working the office job, I feel like I’m on my way out, slowly but surely. I’m in the process of writing my first graphic novel (something that I wanted to do a while ago, but convinced myself it was too hard). I also started training again and started a parkour podcast just for the fun of it.
I even made a Zen Pencils-inspired comic about parkour and getting a “real job” adapted to a quote from the Outlaw Star anime (a few panels below).
Thanks Gavin, you were a big inspiration for my artistic comeback!
Awesome work Brian – Good luck with the art and crazy acrobatics! You can check out Brian’s art blog here.