don’t try this at home

This strip started with an interesting post by channingkennedy. I named the kid Bertram, kind of as a private joke with myself because the one Bertram I know is an extremely sensible kind of person.

It’s Friday night and I am making comics and Stuart is reading a Russian newspaper and eating tinned peaches. We are old and boring but I think we like that way.

Today I had a really close call on my bicycle. Some guy threw his car door open just as I was cycling by and I slammed into it with my right hand before falling off my bike. It hurt like the blazes. I thought I had broken my hand, and then weeks or months of lost work flashed before my eyes. I wish I could say I handled the situation calmly, but I’m ashamed to say I gave the driver hell and said all sorts of words I hardly ever use. I think the guy was more scared than I was. Then I tottered off, had a colourful moan to the shocked but sympathetic looking lollipop man by the side of the road, adjusted my twisted brake, then cycled off to my first-ever appointment with Alex-the-shrink. (My hand is okay now, just a bit sore. I was SO glad I was wearing padded cycling gloves.)

I said in my last post that I was a bit worried that life coaching would be something really cheesy, and I’m sure that with a lot of people, it is. But Alex was great. I was mostly just curious to see what my former Camberwell classmate was up to, but we talked about some things that I suspect plague a lot of artists who work at home; namely time-wasting. I have this really bad habit, when I get to the hard part of drawing a commissioned picture, I go get myself a snack from the kitchen and/or check my e-mail. I’ve tried to set time limits, where I’m only allowed to check e-mail three times a day, and I’m always telling myself not to eat between meals. But I always break my own rules. Alex took a totally different approach with a system called EFT, where instead of trying to set rules for myself, he taught me how to identify exactly why I get frustrated and want to snack and go on the computer. Basically it boils down to being a bit lonely working at home, and food reminds me of cosy, good times with friends, and e-mails is me wanting to connect with other artists. And while I don’t really want ‘company’ while I’m working (house guests can be a real pain if they mill around my work area and chat), I do want to work in the same room as other people who are hard at work on their own projects; a communal studio, in short. In the meantime, Alex taught me some techniques of things to do to identify exactly what I’m thinking when I hit the frustration points in my work, get distracted and try to salve the problems with food and e-mail. They seemed really sensible.

Alex is based in Camberwell in south London, and here’s his website – Alex Buxton – if anyone’s interested in booking a session. I liked how I felt I got a lot out of one visit and there was no pressure to book any more. (And I paid for my session, we didn’t have any secret agreement that I’d get a free sesh for promoting him, I honestly think he’s good.)

Artwork: I’ll sell the original artwork for this strip for £40 + £5 registered mail postage (a little bit more for postage if you live outside the UK) via Paypal. The image is 28x11cm.

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