Category Archives: Commentary

A change in the wind

I’ve been absent from my website for a few months now, mostly out of discouragement and confusion, and I suppose it’s time to figure out how to carry forward.

As mentioned below, I have some problems with my eyes that put a pretty heavy damper on my visual work. In short, looking at things close up for a long time causes me to have severe double vision, motion-sickness, and blurriness. If I were to continue on my previous course of drawing for hours and hours each day, I would eventually go legally blind. For more details, feel free to ask or read my earlier posts.

Before I say anything else though, I do want to again say Thank You to everyone who supports me–both in my creative work and just in general. I really, really appreciate it.

There is one big problem that trumps any other as I make the next decisions. It is that I am, at some point in the future, going to be a father. When that will be, I don’t know, but being a father is more important to me than being an artist or author. And a key ingredient of being a parent is the ability to provide basic necessities.

Since I was 17 I have wanted to be a professional, full-time visual storyteller, and up until January of this year it filled many, if not most, of my waking thoughts.

However, in January the problem with my eyes became too much to ignore; a visual storyteller without reliable eyesight would have a remarkably difficult time providing for his children.

Much as I would love to brazenly persevere as an artist in the full-time, professional, visual creative industry, hoping to make some heroic epic of overcoming impossible odds, I am not going to do so. It is both unbalanced and irresponsible, in my case.

So, for now, I have begun the process of learning another skill set that will enable me to be a reliable provider, even if my eyes go bad. It is a skill set that I hope to use in a way that is as close to the visual storytelling industry as possible, but without putting the strain on my eyes. Come August of this year, I will be an MBA student at Carnegie Mellon, learning the art of teamwork.

So…finally…with all of the above stated, don’t think for a minute that I’m done being a creative person. There are still dozens of outlets of creativity available. Right now, I have finally fulfilled my six-year long wish of finding a good tai chi teacher (the martial art form practiced by Li, my webcomic character) and am practicing daily. There’s also the possibility of creative writing for movies and games. One more thing worth mentioning is that the technology behind virtual reality and augmented reality may provide relief for my eyes, which would enable me to get into 3D drawing and sculpting. I follow this latter option obsessively, and while it is not quite there yet, I believe it’s about three years away.

For now, in summary, I am officially a full-time MBA kind of person, and a part-time/hobbyist artist/author. Bittersweet, and excited for the future.

All this, of course, leaves the question about what I intend to do with my website, and also with my social media accounts.

First of all, if you keep your expectations at zero with me for now, then at least you won’t be disappointed if I never update the website again!

However, seeing as how the actual address of the website here is just my name, I suppose it’s general enough that it should transition into a place to share whatever new adventures await. I’m not sure what the future holds, so it’s impossible to say what will be posted here. It could simply become something like a repository for whatever hobbies I’m up to, or a regular blog with stories, or something else.

Either way, thank you for following along. Good luck and God bless in your story.

034_Oct19_2009

An update

I have frustrating news.
 
I must be getting old.
 
Actually, not only is that to be expected, but I’m really weird in that I don’t mind growing old… But I digress.
 
My eyesight isn’t “just not what it used to be,” but has become very bad! Without my glasses I cannot clearly see anything, and with them I cannot see clearly more than about 15 feet.
 
This is a recent development, slowly progressing over the last six months. I had to stop driving three months ago, and the situation continues to deteriorate.
 
I’m meeting with a specialist in the next few weeks, but until then to save my eyes from permanent damage I have to put a hold on all my personal work. I will still finish teaching my art class at BYU; it doesn’t cause any noticeable strain. But all drawing outside of that is on hold, including my developing comic.
 
Thank you so much for your understanding!
 
For those who know what this refers to: I will happily shave my head if anyone thinks this warrants it. 🙂

Whilom: Update December 11, 2015

A note for those who are following this webcomic launch:
This is really fun, and I’m going to get to a point where it can be a full-time thing. It will take a while–perhaps years.
I intend to keep my promise in doing one comic daily and posting it somewhere online.
However, I’ve learned that all professional comic artists operate around three months ahead of schedule. It’s an absolute necessity for professionals.
Since I’m not going to lower the quality, it would take me over a year to build up that much of a safety buffer if I’m still posting in real time.
So, I’m going to continue posting online daily, but what I’m thinking is that on my permanent outlets (Facebook, Twitter, and bryanbeus.com) I’m going to continue the story on an every-other-day schedule.
In the meantime, for anyone who wants to verify that I’m keeping my promise, I’m going to post to a separate, public location. You’re welcome to check in at any time. bryanbeus.blogspot.com
Once the three month buffer is built up (it will take six months), I’ll move back to posting daily on the permanent outlets.

A little help needed

So, a little help needed.

I’d like to make my webcomic, Peter and Li, a daily thing. But, as it’s not earning money (and don’t worry, not asking for money), it’s quite difficult to find time for it. Here’s my request:

What should be the punishment if I miss a day? Can y’all help me pick out a (family friendly) disastrous downside to missing a day? Should I have to shave my beard? Take a bath in jello? Drink a gallon of milk? Dye my hair pink and leave it for at least a week?

Be creative. If we can come up with something, I’ll make a promise to stick to it.

UPDATE: Here’s the list that my friends came up with (from many sites–Facebook, Reddit, etc.)

Shave the beard, dye hair pink, shave head, shave eyebrows, glue a lego to my toilet seat and leave it there for a week, eat durian, and eat marmite, loudly sing a Britney Spears song in a public location.

It’s just about time to make the announcement…

Upcoming Announcement

Upcoming Announcement

 

For the last few years I’ve worked hard on a somewhat secret project. If you follow my blog you’ve no doubt heard me mention it.

Well, it’s just about time to start letting the cat out of the bag…

Come next week I’ll reveal the initial character designs for the main character, and then I paint the book cover live through my online video streaming account.

Stay tuned!

You can follow me on Twitter and on my Facebook Page to find out when I’ll be live streaming.

This is a huge part of my life and I am so excited to share it with everyone.

‘Till next time.

By the way, what happened to 100 Vines in 100 Days?

As much fun as we can find in six seconds

You may remember that a while ago I started a project wherein I planned to do 100 6-second moving-illustrations in 100 days, and then post them to my Vine account.

Long Distance Travel, by Bryan Beus

Long Distance Travel, by Bryan Beus

It was really fun from the outset, and I regret that I can’t finish it.

I absolutely hate having to leave a project before it’s done, but when I get going on a time-consuming project that turns out to be far, far, far away from the big picture of my storytelling goals, I really don’t have a choice.

Good, better, best thing to do

As any good businessman in the world, I have big goals and dreams about what I’d like to accomplish. Concerning this subject, there are two.

#1 – I’d like to finish illustrating that book I’ve been working on for years.

It’s almost done! All that’s holding me up is that it’s hard to find time to work on it. In an ideal world I would like to take ten weeks off of commissions/teaching/etc. to focus on this.

That said, my publisher and I are getting really close to making some announcements with it.

#2 – I’d like to ultra-simplify my storytelling.

Pure Philosophy, by Bryan Beus

Pure Philosophy, by Bryan Beus

I’ve gotta admit…it is hard—too hard for me, in fact—to build a career in both creating written-word novels and illustrating at the same time. Either one of those careers can easily consume ten to fifteen hours a day. Try doing them both at the same time? Good luck…

But what do you do when you love them both so much that, no matter how hard you brainstorm, pray, fast, and wrack your noggin’ you can’t find a way to cut either art form out of your life?

…Mix them together?

Storyboarding and graphic novels: writing with pictures instead of words.

That was the original intent of the 100 Vines idea—to bring together illustration and time-based storytelling. My hope was that at the end of the 100 Days I’d have a good amount of storyboarding experience under my belt, and would be ready to make some really fun longer graphic novels for you.

The problem is that, while the six second idea is really really really fun, it’s so limited that I found myself animating instead of storyboarding.

Need for Speed, by Bryan Beus

Need for Speed, by Bryan Beus

“Animation” is really fun, but it’s not what I’m going for right now.

And it’s not to say that you can’t make some brief storyboards with a six-second time limit (…in fact, now that I write these words, all of a sudden my brain is bursting with things I could have done in the storyboard sense instead…), but this wasn’t what I was looking for, either.

And to spend a third of a year doing it when it doesn’t meet its purpose?

Ummmmm…not wise.

So, now what?

Well, there’s some big things in the works with goal #1 listed above, and I can work on these while I rethink my strategy.

I’m dipping into my savings as we speak in order to take some time away from commissions and get this book finally illustrated.

You’ll be hearing more about the book soon—real soon. In fact, any day now it should probably be taking center stage on my blog.

While it will be a while still before all the interior illustrations are done, the cover is underway.

And it is going to be awesome…

Once the cover and the interiors are done, the plan in my mind right now is to come back to the goal of storyboards and graphic novels.

We’ll see what happens when the time comes!

In the meantime, how about some cheerfully pointless animation?

Heaven Surfing, by Bryan Beus

Heaven Surfing, by Bryan Beus

The Way of Kings - by Brandon Sanderson

Noteworthy News: “The Way of Kings” FREE on iBooks/Kindle

Stop the presses, peeps…

As fantasy enthusiasts, there’s a high likely hood of your having heard of epic-fantasy novelist Brandon Sanderson by now. He’s well known for the Mistborn series, Elantris, and Legion. I’m not sure, but I think every single one of his fantasy novels has hit the New York Times Bestseller list.

Well, his most well-loved series thus far is called “The Stormlight Archive” and it’s making huge waves in the world of storytelling.

And…as a promotional for iOS 8…

Apple is currently releasing the first book in the series, “The Way of Kings” for a limited time on iTunes.

Check it out!

Also, not to be outdone, Kindle also is price-matching the book for free—though this opportunity won’t last as long.

The Way of Kings - by Brandon Sanderson

The Way of Kings – by Brandon Sanderson

From Nausicaa of the Valley of The Wind Rises

Salt Lake Comic Con – 2014

From Nausicaa of the Valley of The Wind Rises: Why We Love Hayao Miyazaki

Salt Lake Comic Con 2014 was great. My favorite panel on which I spoke was, “From Nausicaa of the Valley of The Wind Rises: Why We Love Hayao Miyazaki.”

A little back story to my reason for being on this panel…

When I was fifteen my friends and I randomly heard about this animated film from a great Japanese director. The film was playing only in “select theaters,” which meant we would have to leave our small town and travel to the big city.

(…a.k.a. Salt Lake City—it was huge in our heads, okay? 😉

For restless teenagers, going to see this film was more a reason to get out from under the authority of our parents than anything.

We arrived at the theater long after dark, finding our seats not long before the movie screen filled with a painted background of a misty forest and a deep voice began,

 

“In ancient times,

the land lay covered in forests,

 

where, from ages long past,

dwelt the spirits of the gods.

 

Back then, man and beast lived in harmony,

but as time went by, most of the great forests were destroyed.

 

Those that remained were guarded by gigantic beasts…

who owed their allegiance to the Great Forest Spirit,

 

…for those were the days of gods and demons.”

 

I don’t know at what point during the film I felt my life changing forever. All I know is that from the moment the film ended, I was forever obsessed with visual storytelling. (To be fair, there were three other pieces of art I saw that moved me into becoming a visual storyteller for a living, but, as far as I can remember, Hayao Miyazaki was the first one with whom I became obsessed.)

 

Trailer for Princess Mononoke

 

Fast forward seventeen years and I have great things in the works for next fall…(hint hint).

Miyazaki has been a constant source of inspiration throughout my life, and when the panel schedulers for Salt Lake Comic Con asked me about which panels I wanted to attend as a speaker, Miyazaki’s was one of the first I chose.

It was SUCH an honor to sit in that room speaking with other fans. The room was packed to the last row. There were a few attendees even dressed as Miyazaki characters.

Anyone could see that there were many people in the audience who knew at least as much as I do about Miyazaki films (and that is seriously saying something). And throughout the event I simply felt lucky and bewildered to be the one with the microphone, sharing my experiences, and hoping that what I was saying was somehow worth their time!

Great, great experience.

Oh, and by the way, Miyazaki’s first film, Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro, is streaming right now free on Hulu. Check it out!

There are many rumors that when Steven Spielberg saw this film at its release at Cannes Film Festival way back in the 80’s, Spielberg called it, “…one of the greatest adventure films of all time.” And, apparently, he also said that the car chase scene (after the intro credits) is one of the best of its kind.

Give it 20 minutes or so, as the style is very, very old.

 

Farmer’s Market

Still drawin’ away at the Provo Farmer’s Market on Saturdays. I’m getting the hang of things, and also continually finding new ways to improve. The price is $10 per face (quite affordable, considering what you’ll pay elsewhere). Do come and take a seat!

If you are interested and don’t want to come all the way to the market only to find that the line is too long, come in the morning. People usually don’t want to commit to anything until awhile after the market starts (the market opens at 10, but I’m usually free until 11). So, I often end up just sketching in my sketchbook for the first hour or so, and then all of a sudden I have a line that lasts for up to an hour and a half after the market is over. Come early, and you’ll be sure to get a seat.

Recent fun with a charming young chap by the name of Luke.

Ink Portrait of Luke - by Bryan Beus

Ink Portrait of Luke – by Bryan Beus

Ink Portrait of Luke - by Bryan Beus

Ink Portrait of Luke – by Bryan Beus