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Part 1, The Next Three Years Of My Life:…

Part 2, Sell That Damn Book, Danny:…

Part 3, I Was Not Ready For This:…

Part 4, Objective: Character and Story Building:…

PART 5, The Family:…



I remember this one night I couldn't get anything to work with LMS. I couldn't draw, I couldn't write, I couldn't be creative. I felt trapped, sick to my stomach and had an ongoing feeling of anxiety.

I would get up, walk around, and force ideas. Stupid, uncreative and rushed thoughts. I went upstairs and laid down next to my gf at the time, who was passed out. It had to have been 4 or 5 am, because it was getting light out.

I remember lying there, looking up at the ceiling. What the hell was I doing?

The same thoughts kept on repeating. What if this flops? What if Heavy Metal hates it? What if the audience hate it?

I had a strong following of loyal readers, watchers, and likers. I wouldn't be anywhere where I am today without their support and loyalty. It ranges from DeviantART, to Twitter, Facebook and more.

So I had to make this right. I couldn't phone it in. I wanted to make a book those people above deserved. I wanted to fulfill the quota I promised and not take any shortcuts.

But why couldn't I think of anything? I had to get out.

I had been living in Santa Monica for a year or so now, and felt it was time I exercised the toothpicks I call legs. The next morning I had taken a long walk, about three hours or so. This was a new thing for me; taking walks and listening to music.

I'd listen to a lot of trailer music and electronic. Immediate Music, Two Steps From Hell, NERO, Daft Punk, Justice and Kavinsky.

That was the soundtrack to LMS.

I'd take these walks and just let go of all the bullshit. The drama. The relationship slowly cracking. The bills. The piling debt. This process allowed me to focus on the inspiration and not so much the objective. When I came to that point I could just listen to the music and imagine visuals.

Imagine it like a trailer for a movie. What would you want to see if you could make your own IP? What does your trailer reveal? What story does it tell?

Let your imagination take and create your story for you.

Justice - Stress…

I remember listening to this song, which then inspired this LMS fight scene about Gabriel and Abel:

Gabriel in a club fighting against Abel's security. Allister watches.

Then I'd take that idea and go, well, why does Gabriel need to do that?

Listen some more.

Maybe Abel is testing him.

For what?

To train him.

Now I know the factor of Abel's life. Why he's important.

This process helped clear a lot of road blocks during the creative side of things. It's a work-flow I suggest a lot to people.

But there's a dark side to this factor. Soon those walks became every day, twice a day, sometimes three times a day.

Started working so much that I began losing sight of things, such as bills, my health and the relationship between my gf and I.

I didn't have time for anything. Barely spoke to my family, because I was so busy either working on either LMS or DC Comics or Universal's Your Highness.

I became addicted to the craft and it stopped turning into a hobby and more of a job. I became obsessed with the characters, with who they were, what they would wear, eat, watch or what weapon they'd use.

So many weapons, costumes, cities, side stories, advertisements,looks, styles, trailer-ideas. Every single fucking day I would think about WHAT makes this book WHAT it is.

I had to stop and relax. Take a breath or something that didn't involve the letters L M S. I was now giving myself anxiety and losing the focus of what brought me here in the first place.

And then I remembered what my dad once told me. He was always hard on me, it was the way he was raised. His father had passed when he was young, thus forcing him to help take the mantle and provide for his family. He's always been a strong worker, never gives up, never backs down, and doesn't take shit from anyone.

He keeps to himself, stays humble and modest, and does what he has to for his family. We butted heads from time to time when I told him what I wanted to do. He was looking out for me, but we didn't see eye-to-eye sometimes. But I'll never forget what he said to me this one time:

"Every day you're resting on your craft, someone else is catching up to you."

Goddamn he was stubborn, and I guess I got it from him.

Back to the drawing board.
Add a Comment:
Oceli Featured By Owner Mar 29, 2014  Student Traditional Artist
Wow That is creepy. I also imagined that the soundtrack to LMS would be Two Steps From Hell 
JameytheHedgehog Featured By Owner Feb 17, 2014  Student General Artist
I wish I had the time and attention span to read all these now. If nothing else, I've got more fresh inspiration to keep doing what I'm doing.
ZarieoZ Featured By Owner Apr 20, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Those 6 parts were pure beauty. Seeing this process, not only the evolving of your characters but the evolving of you as well, in character & personality. That was just epic. Like a story within a story. Glad I took the time to read it, time not wasted, in fact the best time I had in a long time.
JazzSiyArt Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
I like this. Hearing not just the success story, but the trials behind it is really moving.
Dualmask Featured By Owner Mar 25, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Such great reads, all these entries...I'm getting older and starting to feel like the creative world is leaving me behind, and then I read that quote at the end of this entry and it was like a punch in the face. I have to get back to work and start improving again...thanks for telling your story. Can't wait for the next part.
OmriKoresh Featured By Owner Mar 13, 2013  Professional General Artist
i think i like this part the most (:
can't wait for some new stuff!
PatrickGavin Featured By Owner Mar 13, 2013
You have motivation and dedication to match your incredible skill, I am delighted and inspired to see the success you're now deservedly achieving, your work and journey has gone along way to inspiring me with my own work and story telling, keep bringing the awesome!
Mazorzarch Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Can't sleep,,, so I am finally sitting down and reading all of them (1-6 currently), and I want to read them again. Maybe even print them out to read when I'm out and about.
You could even write a short book that is kind of like a self help / motivational book if you keep this up, which I hope you do. I'd buy it, even if it's the same stuff you have written here, to support a good guy, haha.
Don't stop, and don't stop believing in yourself. :)
Pardon the bad Miro, I'm on my phone...
deviantART muro drawing Comment Drawing
legomaestro Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Moar plz
THECOOLGEEK Featured By Owner Feb 26, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Thanx for sharing this Dan, just what I needed to hear. Keep up the awesome work :)
jamga Featured By Owner Feb 25, 2013
DanLuVisiArt Featured By Owner Feb 25, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Coming. :)
jamga Featured By Owner Feb 26, 2013
that's what she said!
Herebellama Featured By Owner Feb 23, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
I can relate to this one the most. :)
When I walk to uni it's a great time to just play my music and imagine. Even before then there was the music in my mum's car, and I would pace the room too.
Something about moving and music. Gets the gears turning.

My dad brought me up with similar warnings. Which actually causes me quite a bit of stress, especially since I haven't been doing that much lately.
Then there's the trying to perfect something for the people who watch you. (Although mine are significantly less.)

Many stresses, but at least at the end of it we have our worlds. Worlds that are ours, not theirs. Ain't nobody who can take that away. ;)
jwalka Featured By Owner Feb 22, 2013
it's unbelievable how much in common we have, everything from the way we think up ideas (walking whilst listening to specific types of music) to how our father educate us through 'tough love'. it cool knowing that there are other people out there that go through the design process the same way i do b/c now i know i'm not entirely crazy :P
The-Shmooze Featured By Owner Feb 22, 2013
Thank you so much for writing this. It's been incredible following the story of your, well, story. Never stop doing what you love, and I can't wait to read the next installment!
Astral-Muffin Featured By Owner Feb 21, 2013  Student Digital Artist
Well you were doing what usually a whole team of people do :S I mean, that's pretty inhuman...
And "Every day you're resting on your craft, someone else is catching up to you." that's true but damn that's a harsh way to view it. And now that I've read it I think I might never forget it and it will torment me forever -.-
Fgore Featured By Owner Feb 21, 2013  Professional General Artist
beautiful, I was reading it all, thanks for sharing, I follow you for a while, but I would never realize that you share some of that feelings and problems that I'm having now. Thank you for sharing... (in my case it's not related to "art", but job and general stuff like relationship, but still.. I fell kinda better and motivated now)

Hope you find you way and be truly happy w/ your life and achievements... as I wish for me as well. We'll nail it
Tama-o-hoi Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
That "Hero's Journey" applies to your own life story it seems... maybe everyones actually :)
I love reading these, keep em coming.
jhansard Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2013
Thanks for sharing these series of journal entries Dan. Finally got the chance to read Part 1 to Part 6 and appreciate your insights and observations. Great stuff. :D
IMONFIREGUYx Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2013  Student Digital Artist
I used to use the music thing a lot (still do to a small degree) to get a lot of character details and story ideas.
It's quite useful so long as you've got the right music going for you.
Which reminds me, I gotta get back to drawing.
seadogz Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2013  Professional General Artist
Just saying thanks man. Its not easy stepping out on a dream and you've gone through a lot. So it is most appreciated that you share what you have experienced.
ArtOfEdge Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
"Every day you're resting on your craft, someone else is catching up to you." Agh, back to work! I'm seriously loving this series Danny, thanks so much for sharing. It's so incredibly inspiring :)
protski Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2013
Had to login just to comment on this:

"Every day you're resting on your craft, someone else is catching up to you."

I can relate so much to this. The worst thing about having this as a way of life is balancing your sleep/health/rest/whatever, job/gf/whatever with what you want to do.

I can't remember how many nights I went to bed at 4 am just to wake upt o go to work at 6:30 am just because I was working on my stuff. We all hope that what we love will pay off somehow but you always have to remember the reason why you are doing it.

Can't wait to read more, keep 'em coming!
elgama Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Hi Dan, thanks for writing this and inspire us, i can feel the reality of your feelings poring through. Great stuff man. Best of luck.
legomaestro Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Very interesting, keep them coming
iNixiRi Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2013
I also imagine characters, scenes and what not when listening to TSFH, IM etc. It's a shame though that I can never seem to write any of it down. It also has something to do with fear - fear that it's just not good enough, and that one of the only things I want turns into a failure. Or maybe I should just stop being a whiny little idiot and do something with my life.

That being said, I love your work! The characters, stories, details; it's just bloody amazing. These journals are also a very interesting read. Thanks Dan!
HysideArt Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2013
This is truly inspirational! For years I have had an idea for a book/movie/graphic novel floating around in my head. I can be driving to work and scenes are played out in my mind. A song I hear can take me to a part in the story, crazy things like that. I am far from being connected to the kind of world I would need to pitch my idea to. But, up until now I have always thought what's the point in doing anything with this idea? However, now I have read your personal approach and how hard you have worked. I am going to have a try. Even if the only people to read my book/idea are family and friends, at least I did it. At least the idea is going to exist in the real world! Thank you.
NakadaiShimada Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2013
hugely inspiring man! All things in life are there to be handeled, it's just how you approach them, some are done better the first time, and some take some practice. This shows both sides of that. Inspiring and humbling.
TipicoTipoC Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2013
damn you can write. This story is like another movie I want to watch after LMS xD
DeimosComics Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2013   General Artist
You are a great storyteller! If you can do it so well with a journal series, your graphic novel should be just awesome.
Atlas0 Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
OH my damn, your father's quote!
Soaked-in-Matter Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
but dude, in your case. (of being one fo the most awesome artists in the world) no one will be catching up to you anytime soon. you have time to rest ;) you need to stop to see things in perspective sometimes.
Modernerd Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
This whole thing was incredibly inspiring Dan. Appreciate the fact you shared this long story, I have my own stories I wish to tell someday and this really answered a lot of my questions and doubts :)
Can't wait to see what comes of the LMS story, I wanna see Gabriel versus Abaddon! :D
knorfka Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2013  Professional Traditional Artist
"But there's a dark side to this factor... Started working so much that I began losing sight of things, such as bills, my health and the relationship between my gf and I. "

This has always been one of my biggest fears, and I think what drives me away from my work at times. I like the feeling of complete immersion, of knowing my characters and my world inside out, frontwards-backwards-sideways-upside down, and having it brewing in the back of my mind all throughout the day. Creative highs are unlike anything one can experience in life, but they can be dangerous. I've been at that point before where I'm just so caught up in it all that nothing else matters, and it really hurt my relationship with the people around me. When I work, I obsess... I got it from my father too. If I'm working, don't bother me unless you want to get yelled at. I need to finish what I'm doing NOW and not later, and I need to figure it out myself unless I specifically ask for help / critique. And I've gone through this for days... weeks... months before. I get short and snappy, I don't eat, I don't sleep... it's really really bad, scary even. I don't like the person I become when I focus too hard on something.
I've had little instances recently that flare up from time to time, but once I realize what's going on, I take a break and step back from it for a while because I don't want to let it happen again. I can't. The emotional connection I make with my stories is important to me, but not more important than the people I love. If I'm going to make a project work, I'm going to make it work with my life. Your family and friends will be understanding if they understand how important it is to you, but it can be really hard to deal with once you become distant. Being able to spot this before it happens is definitely important to the process. When you're working and working well, the last thing you want to have to deal with is the fallout of a blowout, and escapism can only help for so long. Those that are so driven are more prone to letting this happen, but at least you have found yourself a way to handle things now. You seem to be doing a lot better now that you've exploded with success. The first project is usually the hardest, since you're still in that stage of "I have no idea what I'm doiiiiing!" Best of luck in the future!
KreepingSpawn Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
"Every day you're resting on your craft, someone else is catching up to you."

Damn it! :doh:
danielpicciotto Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2013
If I could ask Dan, did you ask for critiques on Gabriel's uniform online before the final product?
DanLuVisiArt Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Nah, just evolved him and trusted my gut.
Sors-the-luck-bot Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Holy shit you do that too with music? I find myself doing that constantly when listening to music.
SPARATIK Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2013   Digital Artist
ha ha, awesome. i just heard that song recently. i think Darren linked it. i definitely zone out when i hear it. definitely fits into the LMS world. i know you probably get tired of hearing it from me, but thanks for the inspiration dude. i'll definitely ask for feedback when we start on our ip. ;)
danielpicciotto Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2013
I'm loving this series Dan. I've been feeling the same way about my characters (more, the lead character) over the last few months. I know what I want him to basically look like, but then see things that are similar that are already done. Then I go back to the drawing board. Now nothing feels right. Maybe I'm too indecisive? I just can't seem to get that little extra oomph that'll really make him stick out. Funny, I know him as a character well, and know the whole story back to front. It's just his design that's killing me.
Mazorzarch Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
hahaha, This is all enjoyable to read. It's always nice to know others feel a lot of the same things, and make the best of it.
Ever onward!
vladimm Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2013   Digital Artist
Thank you for these helpful and encouraging IP parts.
Keep up the great work:)
DiamonEyes Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2013
:icondeviltrollplz::iconsaysplz:Long time no see, Vladimm!
dustycrosley Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Ahhh long walks are the ultimate cure all for clearing the mind. I have been doing that for the past few years. Helps a ton.
DiamonEyes Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2013
As person trying to get his own project off the ground myself, this is VERY informative and also makes for great reading into what it all takes to get a dream project going. This is a must-read for anyone attempting to do the same :iconepicsmileplz:
NikolaiMcFist Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2013  Student General Artist
I just wanted to say, that the first part of this speaks directly to me. I've been in this position as of lately where I can't think of anything. I'm stuck. I hate everything I do, and I can't see where I'm going. But something that helped -me-, was playing a video game (in my case, No More Heroes 2) and just sort of talking the ideas out to myself. Who were my characters? What world do they live in? That, and I'm going to start going on walks and everything. You're an absolutely huge inspiration, man. I'm going to continue to push myself, and I'm going to make something of myself. Thank you.
LuisSalazarArt Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Wow.. You always inspire. Thanks Dan.
KEF--o1 Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Lovely. Read this whole thing to the music :)
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