Life Rant: Inspiration Revival

[Editor’s Note: Please welcome Animockery into the fold.  He is an extremely talented sketch artist.  Geek, husband, and father, he and I see eye-to-eye on many things.  I look forward to his upcoming web comic, and hope that you will all enjoy it as well.]

I am not new to the blog scene but I am new here so I think that introductions are in order. Some know me as the creator and editor of Animockery the blog, and soon to be regular comic. My call sign has been Animockery for nearly six years, well before I started my own blog site. Since I have the opportunity to guest on a different blog I feel the need to do something I do not normally do. Let’s start with this introduction, my name is Tom, and I have been known to some as Animockery for nearly six years.
When Twindaddy made the call for guest writers I felt that I should take this chance to reach out to others and speak from my own voice. This said, let us get started;

Life Rant: Inspiration Revival

I am a firm believer that we all find inspiration at least one time in our lives. It could be as simple as a song that gets us moving at the gym or it could be a single act that alters our life forever. For me my life was forever changed when I was introduced to a little comic known as “Calvin and Hobbes”. The adventures of this strange, imaginative boy and his best friend helped me through a difficult childhood. It also allowed me to feel normal since I was able to relate to Calvin, having difficulty making friends and found imaginary company more suitable than real ones, at time anyway.

In short the comic created by Bill Watterson ushered me into a world of comics, drawing, and humor. It was his work that started the ball rolling and it has not stopped, not yet, and I doubt that it will. If it were not for this inspiration I may not have discovered a passion and who knows what would have happened. After all, I use drawing and art as a major outlet and without it I feel stuck and tense until I am able to pour myself into something on paper.

Now the problem is that my inspiration went on and quit. This happened when I was still young and it was very difficult to hear. I remember it very clearly, I was in class sketching a Calvin of my own when the teacher saw what I was doing. It went something like this;

Teacher: “You like Calvin and Hobbes?”

Me: “Yeah I read the comics every day!”

Teacher: “You know Bill Watterson retired this week?”

Me: “What does that mean?”

Teacher: “It means he won’t make any more Calvin and Hobbes comics. Now put the pencil down and open your book to chapter 3.”

That was it, like it was not a big deal at all. Now that I think back on it I wonder if my teacher was sick of my classroom doodles and decided to teach me a mean and terrible lesson. If so, and that teacher is alive and reading this, you ca go to hell. Sorry, that anger was misdirected. The one that can go to hell is Bill Watterson. Now you may ask why I would say that about the man who started me down the path I walk today? I have my reasons and I will share the ones I am willing to part with.

As a creator I can understand reluctance to show ones work and for me some of that comes from a fear of rejection. This aside I still create things and I still feel the need to express myself artistically. Now take the next step and open the expression to others and you also get validation and a special connection.  Bill Watterson took that step and started to build a relationship with his fan base. Then one day he decided he was done, and granted that is his prerogative, but it seems to me that he did not feel the need to so much as give a decent reason to the ones who loved his work. This is not foreign to his persona either, he had a damn near death grip on his creative works, which again is also his right. The problem I had with this is that he was willing to share but we were not allowed to touch. You know the type of kids on the playground that were like this;

“I got a new action figure! It is super cool and I wanted to tell you because I know you like them and you would really like this one”

“Can I play with it?”

“No! It is mine, but you can look at it while I hold it for ten minutes.”

lost my creator, lost my voice. (no religion here, just art)

In the end I felt cheated, and deceived. I thought I had a connection to this artist and his characters but it was a lie in my young mind. Bill was my initial inspiration and although I thought I had replaced him on some level it turned out to be the complete opposite. This whole time I have felt the need to continue on and create despite lack of time, ideas, or even a pencil. Because I was so angry at the feeling of abandonment it turns out I made a silent promise to never quit. This has become more true than ever as I attempt to finally launch my first web comic. So here is to you Bill Watterson, you quit and I was pissed but I am awesome and even though I may not become as well-known, I am more unshitty™ than before I found art and I have you to thank for that.

Thank you for reading,

Tom, a.k.a Animockery

Check out Animockery’s sketch art collection!

About Twindaddy (338 Articles)
Sometimes funny. Sometimes serious. Always genuine.

16 Comments on Life Rant: Inspiration Revival

  1. Hi Tom/Animockery, can’t wait to read more. Calvin and Hobbes is the best comic ever, bar none. If I could have had a son, I would have wanted Calvin. His imagination and antics always made me laugh. Crisco in the hair for school pics anyone? Nicely done, son. He was insightful too. Thank you for sharing and again, I look forward to reading more. L.


    • 1laded1, thanks for the comment. I love the Crisco bit, but if I was forced to choose a favorite I would have to say his clever ideas for snowman building are high on the list. In the end it may be that I like the random day dreams most of all since that is me to this day.


      • My two favorite strips are the Sunday strip where Hobbes chases his own tail, and one of the very early ones where Calvin get in the toilet, flushes it, and then gets out and considers that his bath. I still, to this day, laugh at both of those strips even though I’ve read them countless times.


  2. Tom, great post! As you may or may not know, Calvin and Hobbes is my all-time favorite comic also. I was upset when he retired, too, but I understood his reasons for doing so.


  3. Fantastic share! I love Calvin and Hobbes!
    IYou’ve been blessed with great talent; I’d give my right arm to be able to draw! Wait, that didn’t come out right…


    • haha, thank you very much. I have always been timid about sharing my work so when I started my blog I was taking a real leap. It really helps to hear positive feedback and makes me want to improve that much more.


  4. Great post Tom! I loved Calvin and Hobbes. Next to Garfield, Hobbes was my second favorite anthropomorphic cartoon cat. I also loved cartoons as a child and became obsessed with Bill Watterson and in particular Mort Drucker from Mad Magazine. The craziest thing about Bill Watterson was the level of detail in his backgrounds. He would frequently use the masking effect in his work and in particular during fantasy or dream sequences when Calvin found himself flying jet fighters or battling aliens in space or becoming an almighty omnipotent god and it was great to see this contrasted with his sudden return to reality.


    • That is an incredibly specific favorite category. It is funny that you mention the background detail because I have been looking back on some of his work and I am very impressed by this myself. I have never been that great at doing this but I feel like it is needed. Simple items layered into the background of a comic can speak volumes depending on the creator. In some cases it reveals something about the artist and sometimes it can define the character.
      By the way I loved the Spaceman Spiff segments. Sub-stories are tons of fun for both readers and creators.


  5. I haven’t read Calvin and Hobbes for years, but I remember loving the cleverness and imagination. Guess I’m off to the library this weekend.
    I’m anxious to check out your stuff, too!
    Nice guest post, Tom!


  6. Reblogged this on Animockery and commented:
    Hello readers! I recently did a guest post over on Stuphblog an was happy with the out come. That said here it is again in case you missed it.


  7. Sound like Bill Watterson continues to be an inspiration for you, Tom, just in a different way. Glad he inspired you to get more unshitty. haha. Great post.


  8. Hey Tom!! I am a regular reader of this wonderful Stuphblog, and even though it may take a few days, or so, I haven’t missed a single post since I became a loyal follower of all Unshitty things here! I enjoyed your story of inspiration. I get inspired just by reading of others inspiration! Thank you for sharing! ~ Jen


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