Rekka Bellum

Latest projects: illustrations for our FSF talk, and Vancouver Island Mushrooms.

26.07.22. Hello Kid Rek, we haven't talked in a while. I wanted to tell you that the last two and a half months have been my most productive, drawing wise, since when I was your age. We used to fill sketchbooks so fast that we started numbering them, remember? That was a great time. But I'm sad to say that as we got older and started to draw for a living our output of personal works lessened, and was almost brought to a complete halt. Me, now-adult Rek, hasn't owned a sketchbook in years, relying instead on stray pieces of paper, small notebooks and digital sketches. I've never stopped drawing entirely, but I've stopped diving into the worlds that we'd made together, and loved. The characters were always on my mind, but I could never put them to paper. I'd resigned myself to the idea that they could only live in my head, and that somehow it was enough... this is all I could get. I did try and fill other new, blank sketchbooks after that, but never felt the same drive as back then, and the sketchbooks ended mostly unused, and eventually turned into objects of guilt. I've always assumed that drawing with such energy and passion was something I could only ever do as you, Kid Rek, that this time was over, gone, and that I could not get it back. But this year, I'm not sure why I did it, but after a 12-year gap I bought a new sketchbook. I did let it sit on the shelf for a time, with some trepidation, wondering when it too would start to throw guilt my way. I drew a commission on the first page, and hoped that it wouldn't be the only drawing that would ever populate its pages. I became superstitious, as if the mere act of thinking that I would not fill this sketchbook would turn into another 12-year long curse. Devine and I left the dock with Pino in early May 2022, and now, I'm delighted to say Kid Rek, that this same sketchbook, after a few weeks, is already nearly filled with drawings from cover to cover.

What happened? I've always felt guilty spending my days drawing comics that are destined primarily for me, for us. "It's not productive," I'd say to myself, "you love it, and it animates you like nothing else, but it's not going to earn you money." For that reason I've long ignored my wants, in favor of supposed self-imposed 'had-tos'. In the summer, we lie at anchor full-time and don't have moorage to pay... and so somehow, I feel the guilt less. (I live on a boat Kid Rek, you would have never guessed that, right?) This is also my first real Pacific Northwest summer on the boat (you've left the cold Montreal winters too, impressed yet?), with no destination, few projects or concerns. This is free time, and because it is my mind is unbothered by thoughts of money and is free to roam and play... all day, like we used to to do. I did feel some guilt in the start, but it slowly ebbed away... and with every passing day I felt its pull less and less until it was gone almost entirely. Now I realize how much I need this in my life. I spend my days having sometimes pleasant, sometimes difficult conversations with fictional characters, with myself. I look to the conversations of the previous day with satisfaction. Playing out situations, different characters with different motives, backgrounds and beliefs, is nourishing my mind, I've found it to be a good way to digest information, and to develop empathy.

I've always enjoyed making free-form comics. By free-form, I mean not bound by timelines, or borders. I illustrate the moments I want, withhold others. This is what I want for my wiki, to share a story across different mediums. Some bits are better by text, other by comics, or maybe animation (this is me getting ahead of myself). For now, I am filling pages, inking them as I go with plans to digitize them in the fall/winter. When I draw, I catch myself smiling, laughing a lot. I am having a very good time right now, Kid Rek, you'd be proud. Some sketches: [1],[2] and [3]. See past updates.

Currently reading: The Stories of Ray Bradbury by Ray Bradbury. This book is a brick. I've been reading it on and off for the past year. See other readings.