Tag Archives: commentary

An Unexpected Blessing of Marriage

Places in my mind that I had to work so hard to keep empty before marriage evolve in a surprising way now that I’m hitched.

Born and raised a good ol’ M’armon

Growing up as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (a.k.a. the Mormons), I had to follow super strict rules.

Among those rules, perhaps the hardest was The Law of Chastity: No pornography, no masturbation, no sex before marriage, and keep those thoughts in your brain super squeaky clean.

That last one in particular–clean thoughts–for an imaginative young boy: that was a doozey. Continue reading

A quick lesson in how to be me on the phone

Image of pastor exclaiming B-E-U-S

If, for any reason in the course of our friendship, you have to answer the phone and pretend to be me, here’s a quick tutorial.

Nice lady on the phone

“Okay…I’ve got your address for this application here, and now I just need your name.”

“It’s Bryan…spelled with a “Y”…and last name is Beus. That’s “B” “E” “U” “S”.”

*sound of the keyboard clacking*

“Okay, I’ve got Brian Bues [pronounces it “Bauze”]. “B” “U” “E” “S”?”

“Nope. Beus. That’s “B” as in Boy. “E” as in Edward. “U” as in Uncle. “S” as in Sam.

Beus. “B” “E” “U” “S”.”

“Okay. Brian B-E-U-S.”

“Correct. And you got the “Y” in Bryan?”

*keyboard clacking*

“Oh…yes…Bryan Beus [Bause]…”

“Great.”

“Okay, and can I get your email?”

**Thinks to myself: I should probably get a different email…**

A portrait of Thomas Jefferson

On Turning Imperfect People Into Heroes

All real-life heroes are human. When we make them into something more, do we also play with tyranny?

The most beautiful words ever written

In the years leading up to the War of Independence politics in Philadelphia were at their height. Congress argued at each others’ throats, wary of the idea that the legislators with whom they negotiated today could be military commanders on the opposing team tomorrow.

Amidst all of it, Thomas Jefferson said next to nothing. Rather, he listened, asked questions, and avoided taking any particular stance.

A portrait of Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson

As the political fervor grew to the point of open war John Adams requested that Jefferson pick a side. Jefferson stated he was for Independence. Adams then said to Jefferson words to this effect: Continue reading

Picture of Denali

Dealing with Frustration

If you ever meander through the history of my blog, you find that the last few years of relative silence have been a departure from basically…everything.

 Sometimes, there’s just not much of a silver lining. And that’s okay.

I would love to say that in these last two years I have some secret project spawned, some equivalent of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter burst of creativity that occurred shortly after her divorce.

All I have to show, fortunately or unfortunately, is simply a new perspective. I now know what it feels like to spend 13 years straight working for something that you want with every part of your heart, only to have the whole thing get derailed right at the climactic moment.

It’s not the first time it’s happened in human history. I’m told that after an oil spill in Alaska a team of biologists spent $60,000 rehabilitating a sea otter. When the little creature was clean and healthy, they popped champagne on the beach and released it back into the waves.

Thirty seconds later, the little otter made a delicious crude-oil-free meal for a killer whale.

Continue reading

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

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.

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

Thieves (All Six Parts) and Desktop Downloads UPDATED 09/20/12

NEW: All parts posted. Scroll down for Part 6.

 

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Part 4:

Part 5:

 

Part 6:

 

I put this six-part video series together in 2009, wasn’t sure what I’d do with it, and forgot about it until recently. Hope you enjoy it:)

When I finished the film I deleted the high-res video files (who knew there’d be such a thing as internet HD?) because they were so large, but below you’ll find some ways to see the painting in full detail.

If you would like to share the images please link to this post. Please do not link to the images directly. Thank you.

A medium-res version of the full painting with options for prints:

Detail Crop 800 x 600:

1024 x 768:

1280 x 1024:

 

Hopi Indians

Core Knowledge Foundation commissioned me awhile back to do some illustration sketches for an educational series on the Hopi Indians.

Archaeologists think that the Hopi descended from the Anasazi Indians, who were famous for abandoning their pueblo dwellings without any sign of why they left or where they went.

Eventually the Hopi settled on the land around the rim of what is now the northeastern rim of Arizona and northwestern rim of New Mexico.

John K. Hillers did a fantastic photo expedition in 1906 to document the Hopi way of life.

One of the things that fascinates many people about the Hopi Indians is the kachina dolls they create.

The dolls are meant to represent the kachina spirits, which are spirit gods that rule the earth and influence life. For example, in the sketches above the one on the upper left is a clown kachina and the one in the middle is a warrior kachina.

The spirituality of sketchbooking

Over the years of sketchbooking I’ve noticed a few things about sketchbooking.

The main goal of sketchbooking is to increase our ability to observe the world around us (A common misconception is that a sketchbook is a place to increase your drawing ability. While you may find yourself increasing your drawing ability as you go, save that focus for another time).

Catching the simple, everyday things with which we are all familiar, yet take for granted is a part of our impetus for being artists in the first place.

Yet, that’s not far enough. I’ve seen a lot of sketchbooks and art that captures unusual or thought provoking scenes, yet the art still leaves me feeling depressed. I don’t want to look at art like that. There’s too much great stuff going on around me to voluntarily import depressing thoughts and feelings into my life.

Some of the most uplifting things happening are found in the darkest, most frightening places: the ex-convict who returns to prison to teach other convicts how to overcome their addictions; the orphan who marries, and then loves his or her spouse and family; the war-torn refugees who still love their country. There’s magic everywhere, yet we have to tune ourselves into it.

A sketchbook isn’t just a place to observe: it’s an opportunity to observe beauty.