Creating the Creative Adult



Creating the Creative Adult, Cait Zellers 2014


So I’ve been hearing this saying/cliche/bad-typography-on-a-landscape a lot lately: 

The creative adult is the child that survived.” 

And I’ve been trying to figure out how I feel about this notion. This very, very vague notion, but a notion nonetheless. I’ve been sitting on it for a while, seeing it pop up on my Pinterest feed again and again, but I wasn’t doing much about it other than making a weird face and going ‘nnnnnnm.’ 

Then on Wednesday, I had a really, really crappy day. Not one of those days where everything goes wrong, one of those days when you wake up and nothing is right and everything you look at either makes you want to cry or hit something and you have to get up and go to work anyway and the entire day last about five thousand years and you’re simply and utterly miserable. It happens to me every once and while. I think it has something to do with not getting enough vitamin d. And maybe my clinical depression. 

One of the things that was really, really frustrating me on Wednesday had to do with my boyfriend and I not being on the same kind of life-schedule. (I have no idea what a better term for that would be-suggestions are welcome.) Basically, I work eight hours a day, five days a week, in a boring office job with no one to talk to and nothing to do, while he works part-time retail, running his ass off and talking non-stop, and then pedicabs on the weekends, where he bikes his ass off and talks non-stop. So basically, weekends are shot of us except for Sundays, he can stay up late and I have to be in bed early, he always has energy when I’m frustrated and exhausted, and I always want to talk and be active when all he wants to do is shut up and sit still. Most of the time we make it work okay, but sometimes, it makes me upset. The Tuesday before this particular Wednesday was one of those occasions, and I was set to brood about it aaaaaall morning long. I texted my sister so I could have someone to bitch at, and this was her reply: 

“You live in the adult world and he doesn’t. End of story.” 

And I’ll admit, my first (indignant, selfish) reaction was to go “Yeah! He’s a damn child because he doesn’t work on the same schedule as the rest of us and he should grow the fuck up!” And I let myself be self-righteous and sniffly about it for a good half-hour. But that phrase kept creeping back into my head. The creative adult is the child that survived. AndI began to wonder what living this ‘adult’ life I’d found myself in was doing to my inspiration and creativity levels. I am, by most measurable means, an adult. I live on my own, pay my own bills, cook my own food, have my own health insurance, all that jazz. I also wear mis-matched socks, don’t make my bed, and watching cartoons like a fiend. But I’m an adult. And let me be one of the many I am sure will tell you- adulthood is usually boring and ugly. And apparently, it makes you depressed and judgmental.

So, if the creative adult is the child that survives all that bullshit, how does it work? Does it mean you just keep your wide-eyed innocence and sense of wonder while you push papers around your windowless office space? I can tell you from experience, it doesn’t work. And as much as I don’t want to see all my creative dreams crushed under the weight of the ‘adult world’, I can’t live like a kid anymore either. I have responsibilities to myself and to those around me and I refuse to be a burden on anyone.  So where is the happy medium? And how do you get to it? 

I think for me, the answer is this: dedication to inspiration. I don’t want to be stuck doing nine to five my entire life. I want to be able to create for a living, make my own hours, have the means to support myself and have the time and the energy to enjoy my life. I don’t want to be a slacker but I don’t want to be a slave to someone else’s perceptions. So the solution I’ve come up with is to work as hard as I can at the things that I love. I’m going to put everything I have to into getting more comics and paintings and illustrations and designs out in the world- I’m going to make a name for myself doing good work for good people, and everything else is just a side-gig. I’m going to live in the ‘adult world’ as little as humanly possibly because it’s a trap meant to suck the life out of you. Maybe the child-like part of the Creative Adult is the part that makes the rules up as you go and changes them when you’re not having fun any more. 

I’m creating myself as my own kind of Creative Adult. It’s hard, but it’s worth it. 


Happy Doodletines!

Happy Valentines Day everyone, hope it’s been a good one for all of you darlings. Mine has consisted of queso and chocolate covered strawberries. And doodles! Thought I would post up some of the sketches I’ve been hacking away at lately. 



An idea I have for maybe a large-scale print, something with some creepy pastels going on. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the kinds of secrets people keep, people watching and making up stories. 


My character Alaester from Gypsy Witch- he’s the Guardian of a Totem Bear Spirit, I’ve been trying to get him to look manly without looking to hulked out. Also, note to self: Learn how to draw bears. 


A pin-up of August for Gypsy Witch with Silas, the ghost of a seven year old boy trapped in the skull of an ancient cat. Don’t know how to finish this one yet, but I’ll figure it out. Probably. 


And lastly, my werewolf lady gettin’ all the menfolk! Gonna try to ink this one traditionally, see if my chops have gone completely rusty. 


Have a good night darlings!

A Change of Pencils


So I bought some new pencils a few days ago- mostly because I’d lost 99% of the ones I had. I’ve been trying to do a lot of digital stuff lately so my sketching had kind of fallen by the wayside. Decided to fix that, and therefore new pencils.

The only place I can walk to on my lunch break is a drafting/blueprint shop, but they have a pretty good selection of pencils and pens and writey things. I pretty much closed my eyes, stuck my hand in a bin, and bought whatever pencils I had grabbed. And the pencil gods hath smiled upon me. I’ve been churning out quite a few cool sketches and ideas, and i’m excited to keep working on them. Pretty rad what one little change can do for your creativity levels.

Faint Heart Never Won Fair Freelance

So, the story for today started (as a surprising number of the stories of my life do) on Craigslist. I try to troll through the ‘creative gigs’ section a few times a week. Mostly, I email people and never get replies, but every once and a while, something comes along that might actually be an opportunity to expand my portfolio a bit, and perhaps make some slight bit of money.

I found such an ad a few days ago, for someone needing basic character designs. Basic characters? I can do that! I can do that! I reply to the ad and I get back a set of specs to draw a couple characters- if they like ’em, they’ll pay me and send me more work. The description was basically: Generic handsome man in generic military gear holding a fancy knife. And THEN, just to shake things up, draw a generic pretty lady in generic military gear holding the same fancy knife. Woo.

But, beggars can’t be choosers, and I did some designs. Were they the most inspired, breathtaking work I’ve ever done in my entire life ever? No. They weren’t. I didn’t have a lot to work with, and I was afraid to experiment and go outside the lines and upset the client. So I came up with these guys.


(Reeealy poor image quality, I’ll put up a better version when I’m on my computer at home.)

Are they great? No. Are they generic as hell? Yes. But they’re well colored and everything he asked for in the ad. Well, he asked for ‘gritty cartoon style’ and I have no idea what the hell that means. Frank Miller? Jhonen Vasquez? Hideo Kojima? Or, you know, pictures of dirty people? I just worked in my style and hoped for the best.

Over the interwebs these designs went, with me hoping to maybe make a few bucks out of the deal at the very best. The next day I got an email back saying that my work was ‘interesting’ but ‘not the quality’ he was looking for. And it put me in a bit of a snit, not going to lie. No matter what I do, my work is NOT low quality. It may not have had the certain qualities he was looking for, but don’t word it that way. If he wanted a specific style, he needed to be more specific. “Gritty’ don’t fucking cut it.

It was at this point that I told myself to take a deep breath and remember that I was dealing with someone off Craigslist, not a rep from Konami. But even with all the zen breathing and rational thoughts, I was still bummed out about this whole thing for days. Days. And I’m beginning to realize that’s part of my problem. Every tiny failure hits me like a ton of bricks and it takes me forever to pick myself up again. Silly things like this take huge chunks out of my self esteem, when they should bounce off of me without a second thought.

I want to put heart and effort into everything I do, but how do I do that while still maintaining a thick skin? I guess that’s the six million dollar question, isn’t it?


January Sketches

Well good evening, my dears. Hope everyone is doing well this weekend and has fun things planned. Been doing some sketching lately, thought I’d show some of the better ones of the month. Also- finally finished that birthday present! 



Which can also be seen on my Deviant Art page. 

I’m actually pretty happy with the way it turned out! Now, onto sketches. 



A lot of August, the main character of the comic I’m trying to get off the ground- still working on her tattoos, she needs more around her ribs, methinks- what about you? Also a few of a new little creature I’ve invented called a Soot Fidget- I’m quite enamored with them at the moment- they’re like tiny garbage disposals, they’ll eat anything. But their absolute favorite things to eat are gold and diamonds. They’re sneaky little buggers. The little bat child is another incarnation of Bell- the creepy kid in the painting I just finished up- in this world she owns an antique bookstore by day and assassinates people by night. I think she has a massive collection of frilly dresses too. Mostly because I like drawing frilly dresses.