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Don’t Be Afraid of Being Considered a Flake (a Cartoonist’s Advice)

                              (Artwork by Gavin Aung Than)                                                     


Found this over at Google+ & decided to share it: A cartoonist’s advice. An illustrated adaptation of a graduation speech delivered by Bill Watterson at his alma mater, Kenyon College, in 1990 (the above image is just a small portion of a larger strip.).

Watterson is a true legend in the comics world for creating one of the greatest comic strip of all time: the widely acclaimed Calvin & Hobbes, which during its heyday was syndicated on over 2,400 newspapers worldwide. But the reason Watterson is a personal hero of mine is not only because of his gorgeous artwork, and how much I felt myself identified with Calvin –always lost in his dreamworld which compensated for his lack of social interactions– but because after 10 years, while being at the pinnacle of its popularity, Bill decided to call it quits and say good-bye to the hyperactive six-year-old & his striped sidekick. What's more, he refused to license his characters & turned down millions of dollars in merchandising revenue.

And that takes balls.

"I worked too long to get this job, and worked too hard once I got it, to let other people run away with my creation once it became successful. If I could not control what my own work was about and stood for, then cartooning meant very little to me."

So why do I think this is TDG-worthy? Because many, if not most of us, have paid a heavy toll for actively pursuing our interest in the Paranormal. That price might have been translated in lost career opportunities, lost friendships, or even failed amorous relationships. I'm sure I'm not the only one who has more than once felt I was making a grave mistake devoting my time on the Fortean blogosphere, instead of focusing on my career & 'be somebody,' the way my dad always told me to.

Yet Bill is an excelent example of how following your passion & to never compromise can grant you the freedom to invent your own life's meaning. And if you manage to do that, then you learn to find joy & wonder in the things most people dismiss.

When that happens, you realize you live in a magical world.


Via Zen Pencils.

(h/t The Oatmeal)


  1. You can stand out – or you can blend in…
    Cynics and conformists? Have they ever advanced anything in life?

    People seem to think that being a cynic is a badge of honour. I don’t, I think it’s a surrender, an abdication. Any idiot can be a cynic, there’s a world full of them.

    Better to be a ‘nut’, an outsider, than live in a cage of convention, your mind shackled by fearful conformity to a grey, featureless world of nihilistic flat-earthers.

    RPJ, if you haven’t already, you should watch Safety Not Guaranteed. I think the title is intended to have more than one meaning. It’s a strange, quirky little movie about how the world regards the ‘flake’, those who are outsiders but have enough faith in themselves to not care…

    And that ending… coolest ever 😉

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