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Warren Shea

Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

If I knew then, what I know now…

Monday, March 31st, 2014 at 3:46 pm

“Don’t tell me how to live my life! I’m 17 and know it all!”
That was probably me, at 17. It was definitely me in my teen years – a know it all attitude and bad temper (to my parents). You could pass your wisdom and experience to me and I wouldn’t hear it – “what worked for you isn’t how things are done now, you dinosaur. I’m gonna change everything – create the path for myself and do everything right!”

So young, stupid and arrogant.

Even when I started this blog, I think I still felt a lot of that. But I don’t feel it nearly as much anymore – I’m much less in the “this is how I do it and that’s my way – and it’s the ‘right’ way” as I am “this is how things are done, and I need to conform”. And I don’t mean that in an individualistic, loss of identity kinda way…I’m just realizing that wisdom and experience are just that – and I should (and do) respect it much more.

I used to find myself reading these things on the internet about life, how to live it, mistakes people made, goals to success, etc. I used to think most of it was crap. Actually – not crap, but not applicable to me. Y’know, me being so much awesomer than the average joe.

I realize, when I read these things now, that they’re much more accurate to my life – I just didn’t know it at the time. So when I read this kinda stuff, I don’t take it as “that’s not me, that’s not my life”. I take it as a “that’s not me right now – but it could be, and it would be wise to heed these warnings, advice, wisdom, and experience now rather than later. Embrace the feedback, don’t reject it”.

I really felt this way reading Joe Mad’s post about what he’s learned/his experiences &

I recently read these:
and I’m trying to use this feedback, and other people’s experience, to help guide my life. What I don’t want is to repeat their mistakes or regret things in a way these people do – and as much as they’ve learned from their experiences, it doesn’t make sense to have an issue that could be preventable – it goes back to my “if I knew then, what I know now” that’s been running through my head…

Listen to other people’s experiences. Listen to the lessons they’ve learned. (and I mean that in a broad, consensus type way – not one person’s one-sided rant views).
Get as much “free experience” as you can, get as much “wisdom” as you can. These are things you can’t get quickly from non-conventional ways.

Read. Remember. Learn. Apply.
Turn your theory into a mentality through practice.

Change your life – but don’t do it letting things happen to you. Do it by bettering yourself.
Create opportunities for yourself. When the chance comes up for things to change, do you want to say “I’m glad I learned about this 6 months ago and I’m ready for this” or “I can’t do this…I need to do/learn this and this first”.

Taking my own advice – I need to so some reading!

For aspiring artists – by Joe Madureira

Sunday, October 13th, 2013 at 10:41 pm

Not just for aspiring artists – for EVERYONE!!

For those of you who don’t know, Joe Madureira was a mega star comic book artist in the late 90s and he’s been coming back to comics recently. He was my favorite for years, combining superhero type characters with slightly anime-ish art. Recently, there was a brief “words of wisdom” that I read that I wanted to share. Though it’s dedicated towards artists, the information is quite valuable and not unlike the things I’ve begun to learn, through my experience.

The original thread is here: More of his art can be found on this fan site: Joe Man Fan.



Believe it or not there is a difference. I’m not usually a soapbox type guy, I don’t like instructing people, and I think I’m a terrible teacher. But hey, it’s Friday and I’m in a strange mood. So here goes:

I’ve noticed that a good number of my fans happen to be aspiring artists themselves. This is for all you guys. I get asked constantly: “Where should I go to school?” “What classes should I take?” “What should I study for anatomy?” “What pencils and paper do you use?” “Should I be working digitally now instead of traditionally?” “How do I fix my poses? Learn composition? Perspective?” “When am I going to develop my own style?” “Who were your influences?” “Teach me how to draw hands!” The list goes on…

Here’s the deal. All of that stuff *is* important, and it may nudge you in the right direction. A lot of it you will discover for yourself. What works best for one person doesn’t work for another. That’s the beauty of art. It’s personal. It’s discovery. DON’T WORRY ABOUT ALL THAT CRAP!

Instead I’m going to answer the questions that you *SHOULD* be asking, but aren’t. These are things that have only recently occurred to me, after doing this for 20+ years. These things seem so obvious, but apparently they elude a lot of people, because I am surprised at how many ridiculously talented artists are ‘failing’ professionally. Or just unhappy. The beauty of what I’m about to tell you is that it doesn’t matter what field you’re in or what your art style is.

In no particular order:
1) DO WHAT YOU LOVE. If you are passionate about what you’re doing, it shows. If you’re having fun, it shows. If you’re bored, IT SHOWS. Some guys are able to work on stuff they have zero interest in, and still pull off great work, but I find that when I do this my motivation takes a huge hit. And Motivation is key. Money is not a great motivator. It’s temporary like everything else. And honestly, I’ve gotten paid the most money for some of the shittiest work I have ever done. That may sound awesome, but it’s not. And here’s why…

2) You MUST stay Excited and Motivated. Have you noticed that there are days you can’t draw a god damned thing? And some days you feel like you can draw anything? It’s 4am but you don’t notice because you are in the ZONE. Your hand is racing ahead of your mind and you can do no wrong?! Maybe it’s some new paper you got. Or a new program you’ve been wanting to try out. Or you just found some amazing shit on DeviantArt, or watched some movie that just makes you want to run straight to your board. This relates to the above because while it is possible to involve yourself in projects you aren’t excited about—maybe you need the cash, or think it will look good on your resume, whatever it is—it’s not going to last. You need to stay fresh. Expose yourself to new things. New techniques. You should be getting tired of your own shit on a fairly regular basis. Otherwise other people will.

3) Check your Ego. If you think you’re the shit, you’re already doomed. You may be really, really good at what you do, but there’s someone better. Sorry. There’s always plenty to learn, even for us old dogs. So when I meet young upstarts who have this sense of entitlement, or a know-it-all attitude, I just have to laugh. Some of the biggest egos I’ve ever witnessed were from people who have accomplished the least. Meanwhile, most guys who are supremely talented AND successful, and have EARNED the RIGHT to have an ego and throw their weight around, don’t. Why is that? It’s because…

4) RELATIONSHIPS ARE IMPORTANT. This may be one of the biggest lessons I’ve had to learn. Early on, I didn’t value my relationships with people. Creatively or otherwise. I felt like I didn’t need anyone’s help and I could figure everything out on my own. Let’s face it, many of us become artists because we are reclusive, social misfits. We’d rather stay inside and draw shit than go outside and play. We like to live inside our own minds. Why not?! It’s awesome in there! And sometimes we don’t want to let other people in. But like I said—you can’t do it alone. I can honestly say that as much as I try to stay current, as much as I try to push my work and draw kick ass shit that will excite people, I would not be where I am today if it weren’t for all the other people I’ve met and learned from along the way. Guys who pulled strings for me. Took risks on me. Believed I was the right guy for the job. You need to manage your relationships. You need to network, and meet people. Drawing comics is still a pretty good place for reclusive types—but if you want to work in big studios—Making games, Films, animation, basically any other type of job on the planet, you’d better start making some connections. Be likeable. Be professional. That doesn’t mean be an opportunistic ladder climber. Fake people lose in the end. Be yourself, but be professional. It’s no secret that when people are hiring, our first instinct is to bring in people we know. It’s human nature. I don’t like unknowns, even if their portfolio is awesome. If we have a mutual connection, if they have great things to say about you, you’re in. If you have AMAZING artwork to show, and I call your last employer and they tell me what a pain in the ass you are to work with, you’re done. Talent and skill only get you so far. I am literally amazed at how often I meet guys that are total assholes and think they are going to get anywhere.

5) Here’s the BIG ONE. The greatest obstacle you will ever have to overcome IS YOURSELF. And the Fear that you are creating in your own head. Stay positive. Stop defeating yourself. There are artists I know that are so damn good they make me pee my pants. I look up to these mofos. I study their shit and I want to draw like them. And they are almost NEVER working on their DREAM project. And—big surprise, they aren’t happy in their job. “Why NOT?! WTF is WRONG WITH YOU?!” is usually my reaction. And the answer is almost always “The market isn’t great right now” “Other stories/games/comics like mine don’t do very well” “The shit that’s hot right now is nothing like mine, It’s just going to fail.” “I’m not sure I’m good enough.” “I need the money.” “Too Risky.” “I tried it before and failed. ” It doesn’t matter what words they use, they are afraid for one reason or another. I know. I’ve been there.

But here’s the deal. YOU NEED TO TAKE RISKS. Guess what? YOU ARE MOST LIKELY GOING TO FAIL. If you want it—REALLY want it, that won’t stop you. You will learn A LOT. My good friend Tim constantly jokes about how I jump out of planes without a parachute and worry about the landing on the way down. You may think that I’m lucky, that it’s easy for me to say because I’m already successful, that I’m in a different situation than you all are. But it’s not true. Risk is risk, no matter what level you’re at. If you’re already successful, you just take even bigger risks. But they never go away. Everything in life is Risk vs. Reward. Not just in your career. LIFE. You’d better get used to it.

I didn’t know what the hell I was doing when I got into comics. I left the #1 selling book at the time ( Uncanny X-men ) to work on Battle Chasers during a time when ‘Conan’ was about the only fantasy comic people knew. And no one was buying it. I wanted to work in games, so I started a game company. I had NO IDEA WTF I was doing. I just wanted it, really bad. We tanked. It failed. No big surprise. But the people I worked with got hired elsewhere and rehired me. I started ANOTHER game Company. We had 4 people and a dream, and some publishers wouldn’t even meet with us, because their ‘next gen console’ teams had 90+ people on them. I literally got hung up on. “Stick to handheld games, it’s smaller, maybe you can handle that…” one MAJOR publisher told us. I don’t blame them. But we didn’t let it stop us. Thank god we didn’t listen to them. Vigil was born. Darksiders happened, AND we got to make a sequel. It stands shoulder to shoulder with the best games in the industry, and the most elite and experienced game dev studios in the world. How is that possible?!!! Hardly any of us had even worked on a console game before. I’ll be honest, I was thinking we would fail the whole time. I just didn’t care. If I had to play the odds on this one, I’d bet against us.

Why am I telling you all this shit? This is not me patting myself on the back. It’s just stuff that has somehow only dawned on me recently when it’s been staring me in the face for so long. I feel like I need to wake you guys up!!! I’ve been limiting myself. I’ve gotten afraid. I’ve taken less risks. I saw my career going places I didn’t want to go. I wasn’t happy and I wasn’t excited. And I’ve realized, that all that stuff I just talked about is the reason I am where I am today. Not because I have a manga style, or I draw cool hands, or there’s energy in my drawings, or all the other things people rattle off to me. There are other guys that do all that same shit, and do it better. And amazingly, those same guys constantly tell me “Man, I wish I could do what you are doing.” “SO DO IT!!!!!” PLEASE listen to me—because I want you guys to make it. I want to look to one of you people for inspiration some day when it’s 2am and I need to keep drawing. Stop worrying about all the other stuff—the pencils, the paper, the anatomy, all that shit. It will only get you so far. You’ve already got most of what you need. I hope this helps some people. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for all the support over the years. You are all one of the greatest motivating forces in my life and my career. Sappy but true. Ok, let’s go draw some shit!!!”

Hopefully that excites and motivates you in a way. It’s funny – when you’re young, naive, and oblivious to all of this, even if you read it, you disagree or it doesn’t apply. And then as the years pass, you realize this kind of thinking is correct and that it was staring you in the face the whole time. You were just too “I can do this on my own” (not sure what the word is for that). This is, at least how I see this advice.

I always also thought I wouldn’t need anyone – that I could be awesome without anyone. But that’s not true at all – you don’t know everything at any point in the game and the more you know, the more you realize the less you know.

The biggest one, of which I still face every day of my life, is myself. The biggest obstacle you’ll ever overcome. The doubt, the lack of confidence, the insecurity, everything bad – and good. But it’s stupid and ludicrous how much of my own worst enemy I am. I just want to get over myself and be the person I know I can be. And the only thing holding me back – is me.

Anyways, hopefully that was a good read for you all. I feel pretty motivated to do stuff! I think I’ll try to do something interesting Sunday/Monday! :)

‘MURRICA + credit cards

Sunday, April 28th, 2013 at 6:47 pm

‘MURRICA’s an interesting place. I know I only went to Buffalo/Niagara Falls, NY but it’s interesting. It’s significantly cheaper there, compared to Canada. I guess people are poorer so things need to be more affordable. Which means Canada is more expensive because, comparably, we have a “surplus” of income? Screw you….all retailers! Taking advantage of us cuz you can (but I know that’s life…)

When I was walking around shopping, I heard a group of teenagers say “Yo, which one of you has the best credit rating? Cuz I can give you my cash and blah blah…”. I thought the statement/question was interesting. I’d never heard it before. I’ve never been with people who ask about credit ratings, esp teens.

I’m not sure if it’s the canadian, or the asian in me, but credit was always something that was never really a problem. We purchase things with our credit cards but pay them off ASAP. We only do things like pay the minimum payment consistently when we’re in a tight situation (for example, the term right after school, and before I had started full time working, I spent 2-3 months paying off my growing credit card debt). Even that behaviour of mine was poor, but I gather I only did something so reckless because I knew I was going to be working full time and that I could pay it back. But the nature of always paying things off immediately is something I was raised with. It also makes logical sense. People are even surprised when I say I have an $1X,000 limit. “Why so high? That’s bad.” Well, it’s only bad if I ever used that much. But I’m always paying off my credit card immediately so I never have more than a $1000 credit card debt, despite my limit.

But a lot of people aren’t like that. They have multiple credit cards and buy buy by and pay off the minimum payment. That’s how they live. They don’t look at a TV and ask: can I afford it? They look at it and say: I want it, can I afford paying the minimum amount per month to have it? So they end up buying things, increasing their credit card debt without paying it off and their money goes into their interest payback, not principal payback. They’re baller for a bit, makin it rain…but only temporarily. In the long run, it’s hurting them. Credit cards are like, a huge “devilish” thing! They prey on the weak minded and illogical. On the poor. Not cool.

It’s weird, the US has a lot of things that lead to more monetary success than Canada: lower taxes, cheaper things. If used properly, you can gain an advantage in life. Assuming you never get into any health related issues – I don’t envy the US’ lack of healthcare compared to Canada. In Canada, if you get randomly screwed by life (by that, I mean – you get a disease or get in an accident), healthcare will hook you up. And that’s what you’ve been paying taxes for your whole life. In the US, if you get screwed, you’re SCREWED cuz healthcare is so $$. I mean, in theory, they should be saving more money than us given the lower taxes and cheaper things. But it’s hard to save. For anyone. You have “spare money”, you spend it frivolously. It’s like they’re set up for success, but given the pitfalls of humanity, it’s easier to fail. Which is what the majority of them do I guess?

I don’t envy being raised in the US. Every time I go to the US, I see a difference in obesity. The men and women are, in general, heavier than Canada. I find they’re more rude and reckless. It may have only been buffalo, but it’s more run-down. Abandoned/closed property. Oddly placed traffic lights, compared to Canada (seriously, having the traffic lights in the middle of the road makes it harder to see, and not being able to see the perpendicular driver’s set of lights makes it harder to read and anticipate things).

So all in all – we pay for healthcare and our taxes are higher. But I think it helps when life screws you. If you never get screwed in life, then perhaps you’ve lost out a bit on average money wise. But that’s also a good thing (cuz you never got screwed in the first place). So I wouldn’t say that’s really a bad thing….

Also – guns and violence. Personally, if I were in MURRICA, I’d be holding a gun too cuz everyone’s got one. For defence. I think that place is scarier. Canada’s so nice and peaceful :)

Anyways, just wanted to talk about the noticeable cultural difference from Buffalo to here in Toronto. I’m obviously totally biased, having lived in Canada my entire life and not travelled like, anywhere else. But I love it here. I think it’s boring for some but I’d take safe and boring, especially for future generations, over anything else any day.

♪ ♫ What can you do when your good isn’t good enough ♬ ♪

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012 at 12:28 pm

Click to show

I’ve been listening to this song lately…it’s a…sad song I guess. When I rewatched Glee, listening to this song was really emotional.

“What can you do when your good isn’t good enough? When all that you touch tumbles down?”

These lyrics starting to pop into my head whenever I see someone failing at something.

I’m looking at my peers.

One of them put 100% into a relationship and it still failed.
One of them tries to work really hard but still struggles at their job.
One of them tries to work really hard but doesn’t get recognized for their work.

I’m just listening to this song as those lyrics (the entire song almost) apply themselves everywhere.

When I listen to this song, I think: desperation

Trying impossibly to do, to get or fix something. But maybe you can’t. Not this time.

I’ve dealt with my own share of personal desperate failures in the last few years. Times where I feel desperation…because what I’m doing just isn’t good enough to get what I want or fix situations.

It’s a horrible feeling to have…this desperation. And when I look around me at those who have had or have this feeling, I wonder:
How could they not see it coming?
How could they not prepare for it?

But…I’m guilty of the exact same thing. Sometimes…these situations just happen.

I’ve been thinking hard about myself and that I always need to be prepared.
Prepared to lose things. My girlfriend. My job. My possessions. My family.

Ugh. Even writing that is almost like…admitting that I can lose something. I mean, on one hand I want to be prepared for failure. But on another hand, I should strive for success and failure should never even be an option. I shouldn’t even consider preparing because I *know* I’m not going to fail. But that’s not it…it’s that as much as I try not to fail, sometimes it just happens. That’s the point I guess.

(Knowing you’ll never fail is a confidence and arrogance in yourself that defies logic. A younger me was very guilty of that. Even now, I’m somewhat guilty of it…but I’m more vulnerable now than when I was younger. I have much more to lose.)

So I need to always be on my toes. And make sure I never fall into a situation where this desperation applies to me.
If I lose my job: what do I do? I need to constantly keep my skills up so that I can get another job ASAP. I can’t ever fall behind so much that I don’t have the skill to do something.
If I lose my possessions: what do I do? I need to remember that money and material things aren’t what make my life. And that my family is there to support me.
If I lose my girlfriend: what do I do? I die a horrible death alone. I think this is the one I’m probably least prepared for…

Anyways, this song and the lyrics have been floating around my head lately…seemingly popping up everywhere and applying to everything. I just wanted to…remind everyone that sometimes you fail, despite your best efforts. And that everyone needs to not only be prepared for it, but to accept this reality and be prepared to move past it. To accept that sometimes you fail. To accept that you have to try again.

An analogy for chopping someone.

Tuesday, December 13th, 2011 at 11:24 pm

First, let me explain chopping, as I’ve only recently discovered this slang this year (I think I’m two thousand and late).
To chop – To court, to flirt, to mack. They all mean the same thing.

Chopping comes with an analogy of holding something for chopping though.
“I brought out my big axe for chopping this girl” means “I was really using my A game to hit on her”
“I was only chopping this girl with a plastic butter knife cuz I didn’t have much sleep” means “I’m too tired to flirt with this girl”
“This girl was fugly so I didn’t even bring my axe” means “I’m just going to be friends with this ugly girl”
I think this is me talking ghetto or gangsta, with a hint of my regular, well behaved self so you’ll have to pardon my gangsta english. It’s not natural to me.

Anyways – to my analogy.
When I was in high school, I used to equate chopping to being in a war.
The guy brings out his army. He plans his methods of attack. He tries to attack from different angles. He covers as much area as he can. He sends all his troops out to get the girl/win the war. He does all this sh!t. But the girl on the other side of the battle just has to press the “NUKE” button to win the war. It’s THAT easy for her.

It equates to basically – A guy can spend lots of time and money chopping a girl. He can play subtle games, be manipulative, cock block other guys, he can plan things out, read into signals, I dunno, whatever guys do when they chop. He can do everything in his power to get a girl to like him. But when he asks her to take the next step (go out, date, be boyfriend/girlfriend), it’s a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ from the girl that can end the war. Either the guy wins the battle or he cries out “Nooooooooo!!!!*” and everything he’s done is blown to smithereens.


Sometimes listening to girls is really weird, they’re so oblivious to a guy’s intentions [and no, it’s not always about sex]. But I guess it’s fair that men don’t really understand women either.

I can’t say my track record with women is great. I’ve generally tended to often go for girls that were already in relationships (homewrecker!). The (best?) part about that was….I never really put myself out there to be rejected for no reason. As in, if I ever told anyone I liked them, there was always either “Uh, I’m in a relationship…you idiot” or something like that. An excuse. I can’t say I’ve ever been flat out rejected because I never really went with someone full force, where there wasn’t an excuse of some sort for being together. I guess that’s a way of protecting myself from true failure.

I’m glad I’m out of the game. Being out there is not fun and I imagine it’s pretty difficult at this point [at the age of 30ish] for a guy where many of the girls our age are married or in relationships. Yes, there are eligible single girls out there. But you have to find them out of the non-eligible single girls. Of course, you can always go for a younger girl. That’s what I’d suggest for a guy my age…but I always did like younger girls. Except in one case.

I’ve had relationships on my mind lately. Engaged couples and single guys and girls. People that are looking for that special someone and people that have just crossed a special someone off their list of people to be with (a break up). I’ve been thinking about that stuff a lot lately…how some people don’t know how to get what they want. Or how people don’t know what they want. I always find it bizarre how two people can care about each other, but after they break up – hate each others guts. It occurs in messy divorces, it occurs in teenage romances, it occurs all the time. I guess people change, but I just find it a bit strange that you can love someone at one point, and hate them later.

As I was saying, I’ve been thinking a lot about how people don’t know how to get what they want. I guess that’s easy to say from the other side. I’ve got a good thing going as long as I don’t blow it. I’ve never thought of love or a relationship as a race, it comes when it comes. I don’t think you need to look for it actively but you need to actively make yourself open to be looked at. If that makes sense. I think love finds you whenever it does, sometimes it just takes a little longer than usual. But that was said given my old, and ironically younger mindset. At this age, love can be tougher to find than 10 or 5 years ago.

I just want all my friends to be happy, in loving relationships :) And I will try my best to ensure that happens for all my friends. Is that too much to ask?