Thank you, for your kind words & encouragement.
Guys and gals, I will keep this brief right here before I get to my main topic - I'd like to share a thank you to all of you who wished me a happy 30th birthday this year. I've already had an excellent time with family back home, work colleagues and my special friends from overseas (three of whom I still plan to catch up on my days off for a Skype call).
I'm going to give some shout-outs (from the deviantART community) before I move on to some special comments that I've received and saved up since coming back home to Perth, Western Australia. The comments that I speak of revolve around my other life as a proactive freelance illustrator working on art commissions; sharing creative projects, blogs and videos that still continue to inspire others to this very day.
To the talented writer
for their extended comments on my recent journal.
Turning Thirty Tomorrow! Just posted this on my Facebook...!
Just got back from work everyone, it's almost 5AM and I still got one more shift to go before three days off!
I really had an AWESOME 30th birthday day with my family in the mornin' - dim sum lunch followed by cake, tea and looking through travel photos of a recent trip by my sisters and family in Japan, then Warmachine with my big bro and nephews towards the evening. During the evening I went to work and was invited to another cake and birthday wishes from colleagues - you guys were fabulous.
I'm going to wake up later at noon to reply back to family and friends who posted on Facebook and deviantART. Much love to you all, may you continue to inspire others and live life to the fullest.
Turning Thirty Tomorrow!
Gonna post this now before I get bombarded with birthday messages on the front-page. lol Please feel free to post them here instead!
I will share my message of thanks the day
To the ever so lovely
and her friends from StarPostProductions for their gift of an extended DA subscription.
And to the following artists who shared a kind gesture with me by illustrating a little something that's beyond awesome:
Okay now that I've gotten that out of the way here's something I really want to share with you all...!
Who I am at Thirty Years of Age - it's time to reflect back on my identity & what I know about friendships.
Being thirty right now I've come to learn a whole lot more about myself
as well as to better understand what makes me, me
More importantly, identifying yourself is only half the battle, accepting who you are is another ball game altogether.
I lived a very fortunate and interesting life, even to the point where I've managed to convince others (ever since I debuted online as 'Darkspeeds' over 15 years ago) to think that being an artist seemed like my ultimate goal in life, when really it wasn't. And sure I may be wrong in saying that because of the fact that I've made an effort recently to test the waters overseas by studying at the Academy of Art University with my own investment of time and finances, however I found out that what I want out of life is to do the things that I'm happy with and be around family. I wanted security, I wanted to be home. That is why I came back.
Here's another thing that I learnt about myself - I still remember when I was studying in San Francisco, I caught up with
IRL (and their families) whenever I got the opportunity to do so. I've learnt that I'm actually an introvert
. I had
to clarify that for me more recently on a few Skype conversations over the past few months.
I'm not exactly 100% introverted because of my outgoing nature (based on my travels around the world for the past 8 years catching up with friends online and family relatives), energetic and proactive personality (this shows when I was attending five Summer of Sonic's, catching up with the Archie Publications panel with my own publications at two Comic Cons etc.) - so I do have some elements that extroverts have.
This was a real eye-opener for me when they made me realise the kind of person I am, there was actually a definition for it! Mind blowing.
Why was it mind-blowing? Well this comes to the subject of friendships
How do you define a true friend?
Do you need a lot of friends to make you a happy person? Do people find you weird if you don't go out and socialise and do social activities on a daily basis?
This was something that was important to me as I wanted to truly understanding the concept. I already have my family (which I'm very blessed with), but what happens when they're not around? Who do you count on when you need help in future? Living a lonely life is not the end of the world but it sure is sad.I don't have a lot of friends in real life back home
, true fact.
I have the luxury of spending quality time with my family (and it's awesome being an uncle and a sibling at the same time), I do try to make an effort to take pleasure of interacting with family on a daily basis, however let me tell you this: when was the last time I went out of the way to spend more time with the people outside of my family?
I may be a shining star to my work colleagues (and I always show how happy I am to work with them, with a smile, and how rewarding it is to work well as a team and deliver excellent customer service everyday), I may be showing off how awesome I am at street-ball (urban term for real basketball outdoors) but do I make an effort to extend my time for them (like say go to a movie or go out with for dinner)? No. I'm very selective with who I spend my time with. And this is where I was questioning myself about whether I should be having more friends back home, friends whom I will be making the effort to spend time on a regular basis
. Is it okay to not have friends? Can one live happily without them? How often do you have to spend time with your friends to maintain friendships? How does one perceive a friend?
Well according to my conversation with various work colleagues of different backgrounds and experiences (seriously, if you're young and you have the privilege of working with older people, do listen and learn from them - this is coming from experience) the answer is: there is no right or wrong answer - it's completely up to you on how you live your life.
Hearing that piece of advice really helped me to accept that it's okay to be someone who doesn't go out of their way to meet new people and make friendships out of it - it's actually normal practice. Can you imagine the burden of my confusion on friendships being lifted off my shoulders after hearing that? Furthermore you only really need a handful of friends in life, enough that you can count on one hand, even if you meet them once or twice a month, or if you're in a long-distance relationship then keep in touch once in a while, so long as you have a connection with them in the first place. Because at the end of the day when it comes to friends it's all about the quality, not the quantity
Anyways, going back to my discovery of being an introvert, I've come to accept that I'm a very selfish person
- in the fashion of: "I'd rather spend time for myself and doing things I really enjoy doing that doesn't involve extending your social life elsewhere
" - e.g. exploring new places in Perth, doing my art commissions, working on the next comic drama, spend time with family where possible. This is a quality of an introvert because they would rather focus their energy elsewhere for self-reflection and self-discovery, and if lucky, you'll be able share your discoveries with the small handful of friends you can love and trust.
This is where it gets a little frustrating for me - to you lot I don't seem selfish at all. Because of all this enthusiasm that I have, my artwork, videos, tutorials, blogs, and comics that I've created over the past decade - they have been, in your words, 'an inspiration',
and 'an act of giving back to the community'.
And hearing all these wonderful things from you guys is what keeps me going as being a creative individual and I thank you kindly for your words of encouragement - genuinely. However to further justify my frustration my family doesn't really see the things I have achieved online based on your feedback because what matters to them more are the results I achieve back home in real life - i.e. my progression and stability in my employment at Crown Perth, my well-being and how I treat and respect my family (and when you come to think about it, they're absolutely right).
Anyways the point is I've learnt recently to accept both views and move on.
I've come to accept that I'm a creative, outgoing, enthusiastic, talented, and introverted individual and that it's okay to be selfish and not have to worry about not having so many friends back home in real life.
In these thirty years I've learnt that it's important to life live to the fullest, in your own way
. And also, don't ever take things for granted
Here are some more tips to share from my experiences as a not-your-usual introvert:
i) Love yourself
- your personality, your values, and the natural talent that's in you that moves you forward in life.
ii) Accept yourself, the good AND bad.
You're not perfect, sure as hell will you come to know how much of hypocrite you can be in real life at some stage. Don't feel bad about crying, even if you're a guy, just let out the emotions, it'll make you become a better person. Do your best to smile and inspire others with a positive attitude but at the same time a realistic outlook in life.
iii) Keep doing the things that make you happy
. As mum will tell me: Look after yourself, then look after others
- this way you learn to keep doing things that will make others happy.
iv) Spread happiness
by developing yourself, respecting others and giving back without asking anything in return
(~ this I'm still trying to work on as it's a true weakness of mine that I still continue to experience ~ something that I've learnt will make or break family bonds and friendships if you're not careful).
If you follow these tips your quality of life improves and you'll become a better person over a lifetime.
Feedback from you guys in thanks for my inspiration and enthusiasm!
Last but not least I want to remind you all that I really appreciate feedback that genuinely reflects back on the things I do as a creative person online and offline. Let me go back to what I mentioned at the beginning of my write-up regarding: "some special comments that I've received and saved up since coming back home to Perth, Western Australia.
" And here they are.
From Dib, a very talented voice actor and audio engineer from the StarPost Productions team, had this to say on Skype one day:
[15-Dec-14 12:56:44 PM] Ability Phoenix:
Hey, I just wanted to say thank you so much for that shout-out and your best wishes for all of StarPost in your Issue #49 Comic Drama. One of my life long dreams is to give back to the Sonic Community in any way I can. I'm really glad that you, someone that I looked up to in the community as I grew up is noticing all of our hard work and wishing us the best! Thanks so much, Elson! Keep Smiling!
~ aka Dib
Now I didn't know Dib until Ashley told me about the Starpost Productions team. I caught up with Dib for a live-audition for my NORDGUARD the Movie
project one day, and though it was only brief, I found out how how amazing the guy is for the skills he had for the performing arts and his passion for audio engineering (all self-taught!). He was very approachable and shared a lot of things in common (Sonic the Hedgehog being one of them), but what made it special was the fact that he told me all about how I had been an inspiration to him from way back - that to me was truly humbling.
And last but not least there was this artist on deviantART who wrote to me one day, and I totally didn't expect what I was about to discover. He goes by , here was his message:
Hello Elson. My name is Ryan Lai and I personally wanted to thank you for all of the work you do. My first introduction to your artwork was through the Sonic Adventure 2 manga that you posted. That comic and your storytelling was what got me into comics, and soon enough I started making my own.
I'm sure you receive messages like these all the time, but I felt it needed to be said anyways. Back then I was fueled solely by passion, and your art to this day provides me with the quintessential spark that brings that passion to life.
You have been an enormous source of inspiration to me, and your SA2 comic especially was an excellent motivational boost. It really got me through some rough times in my life. It was a part of my childhood, and I don't think I'm ever going to forget it or the effect it had on me.
Thank you again, and happy drawing!
With Sincerest Respect,
Ryan Wai-Kiong Lai
Now while I was flattered by the things he wrote I did the usual round of researching on the person to get a better picture of who wrote to me. Turns out that this guy has committed to a career in story boarding and visual development in the multimedia arts & entertainment industry and already has under been taught by animation legends such as Disney's Art Director, Ellen Jin Over, and Disney Layout Artist Robert St. Pierre. He also worked on professional projects for Dreamworks TV and internships at Hoax Films and Pipsqueak Films. You can check out of the full details on his personal portfolio
I mean, holy cow. He's gone a long way into the 'art game' and I'm thanked for being an inspiration to him. Man, what more can I say? I'm really proud of the guy, I'm impressed and deeply humbled by his feedback and I would like to wish him all the best in his career.
Nevertheless that is all I have for today, thank you for reading, thank you for your encouragement, and may I continue to inspire you guys till the very end.