I've never posted in my journal up until now, and as you can see by my few pictures, haven't been very active on the site in general. I've decided to change all that.
So first maybe a bit about myself. My name is Jazeps Tenis. As of this writing, I'm 34 years old. I'm an aspiring illustrator, but I also just enjoy drawing and painting for it's own sake, making things that are fun or amusing or in some way meaningful to me.
I did a bit of art as a kid, keeping simple sketchbooks and whatnot, but by 12 or 13 I had basically stopped altogether with any kind of drawing. This was also about the time that I saw Saving Private Ryan which made me want to be a filmmaker. I pursued that for over a decade, convinced that it would be my path and my future.
Then, in my early 20's, I began to get sick. It was a relatively minor thing at first, but the doctor's couldn't figure it out. A couple years after that, things started getting more serious and more painful. Filmmaking was out the window.
I had been going to the doctor, trying to figure out what was wrong with me (Chron's disease as I would find out years later), but it was not long after that I was laid off from my job as a video editor and found myself broke and without insurance. This began a slow downward spiral where I was too poor to see a doctor, but too sick to work, so I languished, getting gradually worse.
Since I couldn't work outside the home, my wife and I started our own business, Inkleaf Leather, which especially in the early years never made enough money to improve our situation, but provided just enough to stay afloat.
In late 2012, I started to do art as a way to distract myself from the terrible toll that the illness was taking. At a time when I was beyond weary and my mental state fragile and pessimistic, I found the art therapeutic and satisfying in it's own right, and so I kept at it.
I was laughably bad at first. Really and truly, fantastically terrible! Here's a picture that shows my progress over the first 12 days:
This was at just shy of 30 years old mind you. I really shouldn't have had any reason to believe that I could get much better. At the time I had no serious thought about becoming a professional artist either. However, despite being terrible, I had this very basic idea...Art is a craft and crafts can be learned.
So I threw myself into watching all kinds of YouTube videos (especially Mark Crilley and Sycra). I had no idea what "values" referred to and much of what was said was enigmatic jargon to me. But I learned. Cluelessness gave way to comprehension and comprehension to understanding.
My 20's went by like nothing. By the end of that decade of my life, I had been largely bed and couch bound for three years with pain that words could never do justice. Then in the Summer of 2013, I was hospitalized. Four more hospitalizations and a major surgery would follow over the next year.
After the surgery, I started to improve, but there was no going back to where I was or who I was. I felt like the old me died over the course of that illness and a new person emerged. My energy never really recovered. Even my brain no longer worked the same thanks to years of sleeplessness.
One of the few constants during this time was the art. I continued to work and develop over months and years, even as I continue to work and develop now. But my therapeutic hobby was giving way to a new idea. The idea that maybe if I really put in the mileage, I could become a professional artist.
And that's where I'm at now. I'm working, I'm striving, I'm pushing...trying to reach that professional threshold. I'm very open to working with and for others, but my primary motivation is towards my own work. The impulse which began at 13 to tell stories is very much alive in me at 34. The medium has changed and the nature of the stories have changed, but the desire remains strong.
I hope my story and progress can help those in their teens and twenties or even older put out of their minds the idea that they're too old to start pursuing art. Art is a craft. It can be learned.