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Instagram comic artist Rene Gauthreaux deals with personal struggles about making art

I met Instagram comic artist Rene Gauthreaux on an episode of my art podcast. I asked him about how he started making autobiographical webcomics on Instagram. He tells me that it really stemmed from a discussion he had with a therapist as a way to deal with self-sabotaging his own artistic pursuits.

Here is Rene's story:

We have an indie comic convention called "Staple!" here in Austin that's been running for about 14 years. It's really an amazing convention. All indie stuff, none of the big three comic book companies a lot of self-published stuff there. And every time I go to it, man it would just eat at me because I'm seeing everybody doing the thing I want to do! I went every year faithfully and one year I just went, you know what? I'm buying a table! 

Really? How much are the tables first of all? 

300 bucks maybe? It wasn't too bad. I highly advise if you get a chance it's a fantastic convention. Just a weekend thing. 

So I bought the table and again without a plan without an idea and without building up those chops of drawing every day. I completely failed on this one. I would stand there at my drafting table with paper supplies ready to go and I couldn't even bring myself to sit down at the table. 

So you booked yourself into it but you had no material? 

Yeah. I had a long enough lead time that if I did it, went to printing, had all of my stuff planned out, the timeline would work. but I had to actually do the comics. 

So somewhere in the middle of that, I went I've got a problem. I have a problem and I need to go talk to somebody. 

Decided to see a therapist

So I found a therapist and I went to see this guy and explain to him pretty much what I just told you. it was a crisis of identity. am I really an artist? it's what I thought about myself since I was a little kid. but I don't draw anymore, I don't paint anymore, I'm not creating anything and at that point, I wasn't even writing anymore. am I really an artist? 

And this dude listened to all of this and went, all right well I want you to go and think about this. If you're not doing art you're not an artist. It was like the air got sucked out of the room. My head started spinning because I didn't know who I was? I didn't know what life looked like with me not doing art? Although that's what my life looked like! It wasn't me not doing art because I wasn't doing anything. 

And this guy I think he meant well I don't think he was malicious or anything. It may have been one of those things where he wanted me to actually go and think about it and that to propel me to do something? 

I ended up going to see another therapist and I got diagnosed with ADHD at age 39. Which made a lot of sense but also it was kind of a hard diagnosis to swallow. Because I looked back at all of these stops and starts and stops and starts and I went, oh maybe that's why all this was kind of happening? It wasn't that I was just a lazy shit! It was that there was something actually going on there? 

So it was kind of hard to swallow and I did something about it. Though I didn't want to use drugs for it, I found a therapist who specialized in ADHD and I started seeing her and she got me back into drawing and she pushed me to Instagram. It was right around the time where I started drawing daily-ish and I said daily-ish because it definitely wasn't every single day. But you know, that that was kind of where all that started.

Listen to the entire episodehttps://www.tomrayswebsite.com/2020/10/rene-gauthreaux-instagram-comic-artist.html


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Tablet reset.

And it reset all my pen settings so that was annoying. 🙄

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