Yup, this is indeed the 1,000th Dustinland comic. Actually, there’s been more if you count the ones I did in college, but I started numbering them when I first launched the site in 2000.
When this week’s strip ends with a big I DID IT, it’s not just referring to all the comics I made. It means I’ve defeated self-doubt. And that’s something we all deal with, I think. Artists and other creative types especially, but all of us really, especially in this digital world where everyone is on display, and we’re all able to rank and compare ourselves to everyone else at all times.
When you reach some sort of milestone, you can’t help but step back and look at your life and wonder if you’re a success. And that’s the problem — success isn’t a thing that’s clearly defined. I’ve seen some of the most accomplished people I know still be driven by doubt. You even see it with celebrities who’ve succeeded at the highest levels, still trying to prove something to the world, to themselves.
Since there is no end goal to success, what it really comes down to is not what you’ve done, but whether you’ve enjoyed doing it. And after over 20 years and 1,000 comics, I can say with 100% certainty that I’ve enjoyed writing and drawing Dustinland, and I can’t thank you all enough for reading along.
Posted in art
Tagged 1000, art, career, cartoons, comic, comic books, comics, comicstrip, creativity, Dustinland, illustration, self-doubt, success, webcomics
This new Dustinland comic is about coffee and how much I love those rare moments when I am super coffeed up and not just full of energy, but full of ideas. Even if those ideas wind up sucking, man, it feels good in the moment. There was a time when I barely drank coffee, and back then, WOW, it was a guarantee that when I did drink it, I’d be running up the walls. It used to be a thing. You can ask peeps. But now I drink about a cup a day, maybe two, and it usually just gets me up and ready for the day. But sometimes, for whatever reason, it hits me extra hard, and man, that is the best. I just love it when it feels like a chiseled military hamster is running around my skull, ferociously and optimistically getting things done. And I bet no one ever wrote that sentence before.
This week’s Dustinland comic is about nurturing your creativity. That means giving it love and helping it mature and develop. This is not about “making it.” It’s not about success or any of that. It’s about having something you enjoy, a creative form of expression, and figuring out how to give it the time and attention it deserves despite your busy life.
I know as well as most people do, that between work and family, once you have a few free minutes to yourself, it’s hard to use that time to be productive and artistic. Play music? Write? Draw? How about Netflix. But if you care—and a lot of people do—you have to try. That’s why I drew this week’s comic. It’s for all the people out there who have asked me how I do it. Week in, week out. 15 years. I draw comics. Why? I don’t even know anymore. It’s gotten to the point where it’s just part of my life. A part I couldn’t imagine leaving behind. You don’t have to be as devoted as I am, but if you enjoy photography, go take pictures. If you like to sew, go sew. It doesn’t have to be every day. But it has to become a routine. Otherwise all the distractions of modern life will eat away the few minutes of free time you have and one day you’ll wake up and the decades will have gone by and you’ll wonder why you stopped _______.