Wednesday, August 25, 2010


The idea behind this blog is to prove the theory that to master a skill you need to spend 10,000 hours practicing it. First you need to know something about me. I am a 32 year old from Guayaquil, Ecuador (South America for the people who do not know where Ecuador is… and if you don’t I don’t blame you). I had an epiphany several months ago. I was doing rather well in my career, which at the time was Management. I got a degree in business administration majoring in International Finance and Marketing ten years ago from the University of Miami and I have been relatively successful in my career path. I come from a wealthy family, but to tell you the truth, the most important lesson I have learned is that too much money is corruptive and there is a high chance that it will bring out the worst of us human beings. I have been involved in several business, some were family businesses and others my own.
Back to my epiphany, I woke up one day, as always feeling that something was wrong. This was not the life I was supposed to be having. Working nine to five in a job that did not complete my expectations was very tiresome. After all, we spend the most part of our day working, so it is a good idea to focus those hours in something you love. I have always loved drawing and writing, and I have been enamored with the comics media since I was a child, but that career path, at least in my country, was out of the question. Even worse since I had the “responsibility” of taking care of my family businesses. I had been waking up feeling that way a lot, and later on was more and more common. To tell the story short I just realized that I had to start on a journey, a different path. Just by making the decision, which let me tell you was NOT easy, I was halfway from my goal. Thanks to my girlfriend I came about applying for art school at the School of Visual Arts in New York, and I have spent a whole year organizing my life in order to become a student again. I have heard everything since I made the decision. People think I am crazy (I must be, in a positive way), friends also think that I went nuts but they support me, my family are behind my journey one hundred percent. I think people around my age are able to comprehend that the road to success and happiness is in doing what you love, but there are also people who have deluded themselves in thinking they HAVE to live the way life has molded them into. I know this because I was one of them for almost fourteen years.
I want to document that even though change is NOT easy, it IS possible and that it will give me more happiness and purpose to my life. My goal is to draw comics and I want to show you all the process, the hours spent in order to achieve the ten thousand hours (just drawing and painting), my work, and in overall the evolution of myself.
So in writing this blog I will achieve the following goals:
1. Writing. - I have always loved to write, but I must warn you, my primary language is Spanish so I hope my horrible grammar and vocabulary do not scare you away. I want to be a professional writer also (mainly for comic book scripting) and I need to practice my English in order to do so. I hope that the more I write the more I will be able to achieve this.
2. Drawing. – Even though I will be studying and learning a lot, the most I will be doing is drawing. I will be studying for a Bachelor in Fine Arts majoring in Cartooning at the School of Visual Arts. My plan is to count the hours I spend painting and drawing in order to get the ten thousand hours that will guarantee that I have mastered this particular skill. Can it be done? Will it be enough? Is it overkill? Will I be prepared or comfortable with my career before reaching those ten thousand hours? Those and many others are the questions I want to be able to answer, not just for you, but also for me. I think I will learn more about myself in the road and I have you for feedback on my choices and my works.
3. Motivation. – The decision I made came quite hard for me. I spent fourteen years since graduating from High School with the idea that I would have been better off studying comics rather that managing a dairy farm in Ecuador, but I was too afraid to admit that to myself. I think it is never too late and I want to prove that point. I want to inspire other people who may be feeling the same way to take life into his own hands. To be able to control their destiny. I hope that by sharing my feeling will be enough to let people know that although is risky, a different journey CAN be achieved.
4. Entertainment. – Well, I am sure I will make a lot of mistakes, so who better to laugh at them than my faithful readers. And who knows, maybe I will make a name for myself and I will thank you all in the future when I am receiving my Eisner (Comic award). I know I know, it is very ambitious, but to be able to follow your dream, and not dream high is just a waste of time and effort.
5. Attainable goal. – I am a runner, and the first lesson I learned in training for a marathon was to have an attainable goal. For instance, you could not have a goal of running faster, you should pursue a goal of getting to the finish line within three hours and forty five minutes (Actually, my personal record is three hours and thirty minutes but as you can see I don’t like to brag ;)). So this attainable goal of achieving ten thousand hours will give me a clear road to follow which I hope to share with you. Ten thousand hours is a long time so I will be focusing on mini goals like these:
· Level 1: Novice (2,000 hours)
· Level 2: Apprentice (4,000 hours)
· Level 3: Journeyman (6,000 hours)
· Level 4: Adept (8,000 hours)
· Level 5: Master (10,000 hours)
Achieving these goals one at a time is more realistic and I will treat myself for getting to another level. It will be like playing a game, only harder.
At the end my main goal is to write and to draw, and in the meantime hoping to motivate some of you or maybe even entertain you. Life is too short and time passes rather fast nowadays so I will lay back, breath, and follow my path, one hour at a time. There will be no wasting time and if it is I will be sure to let you know. The journey is just beginning on September 7, 2010.


José Luis