#tbt circa 2010. I did a quick ink over a self portrait-ish illo I drew about 4 years ago. I have always loved #ShelSilverstein’s cover to his amazing book #WheretheSidewalkEnds, so I was inspired to create this piece called the “Road to Inspirationville”. This piece is important to me because when I drew it I reflected back to who inspired me to keep going and not give up during my journey. There are many, but this post is dedicated to #RichardFriend and @canicona1. About 14 years ago I gave up drawing. I was attending #sandiegocomiccon showing my portfolio. I asked a certain artist from DC Comics for a critique. Long story short, he ripped me a new one pretty harsh in front of my girlfriend at the time. He actually did it in a destructive way not constructive. That experience resulted in me not drawing for two years. Later, I started dating another girl and she had seen drawings on my art table and asked me if I drew them. I told her it was just for fun and that I used to have the dream of getting into the comics industry. She asked why wasn’t I pursuing it, so I told her of my experience that happened two years earlier with the artist’s critique. After talking to her about it she convinced me that if I want to do it I should keep pursuing my dream. At that moment, it reminded me of my old motto that I created in high school, “It’s not if you can’t do it, it’s if you want to do it.” U created it when classmates asked me how long had I been drawing or when they’d say I wish they could draw like that. When the San Diego Comic-Con came back in town I was confident to show my portfolio again. That’s when I met Richard Friend for the first time. I was aspiring to become an inker. The way Richard gave me a critique restored my faith that not everyone sitting on the other side of the table was crude. What amazed me was that he listened to my ambition and then I showed him my inks he was complementary, constructive and encouraging. In that order. Because of my conversation with Richard I knew that he’s the guy I wanted to be whether as an artist or person. Thank you Connie and Richard for your words of encouragement and faith in me. It never fell on deaf ears.