College Update

Hey readers. For those of you who wanted to know the verdict: I have been accepted into the BYU Animation Program! I submitted my portfolio on the 15th (literally six minutes before the deadline), and was officially accepted on the 23rd. As soon as I had recovered from the shock, I posted the news to social media, and received overwhelming praise and support. But I haven’t yet written about it on my blog.

My art doesn’t usually get this much attention. I created dustlander.wordpress.com back in February 2015 because a girl called me stupid for liking her art (sound familiar?). It was totally a spite thing; I told myself I would be a better artist than her. And it might have been a bit of an overreaction, but having this completely unknown personal blog kind of defined my entire high school experience. I was a total loner, but my friends supported me despite my weirdness. I checked the site’s analytics constantly and got high off of pride anytime I got more than five pageviews.

The last comic marked the end of the Golden Age of Dustlander. Ha, maybe I’m taking this way too seriously, but still. Moving to Utah was really hard for an angsty kid like me. I found it almost impossible to draw until I started my first BYU pre-animation sketchbook in 2019.

I’ve dreamt of making cartoons for as long as I can remember. No, really. When I was maybe ten I realized that people actually get paid to do that and the hope never left my heart, especially when I got into the college of my choice. Part of me “knew” it was futile, that I would never be as good as my peers, that I should have practiced more in high school instead of running that dumb website, that it wasn’t worth the risk. The doubt was so strong that at times I was terrified of even sketching or opening my project files. Being accepted into the program has done wonders for my hope, but I feel the doubt creeping back.

I guess what I’m trying to tell you, reader, is that your feelings may lie to you. If I “knew” it was futile to get into the animation program, how did I possibly get in? Doubt can cripple and destroy you. It can rob you of the things you love. But it doesn’t have to. My uncle Kyle says:

“You are the only person in this universe with the power to choose who you will become. Not even God can do that.”

A New Challenge

Yep, that special time of year has rolled around again–it’s the last day of school! I know I posted yesterday and all, but I still have to wrap things up before I turn my school-issued laptop in during seventh period today.

So, guys… it’s been an interesting year. I’d like to say that things went well–that I had a lot of fun learning how to drive, turning sixteen, and turning out another six installments in Shenanigans: A Life. And I did enjoy those things. But to forget the hard times–like almost getting in a car accident, having an awkward one-sided relationship, and failing to meet my goal of making a comic every month–to forget those hard times would be to forget half of the year itself.

I tend to mess around a lot on this blog, posting sporadically and really doing whatever my heart pleases. It might surprise a lot of you guys, but in real life, I’m very shy and I’m always very busy with piles of coursework. If I had the time to draw more, you guys know I would. But I never quite get everything done, this website included.

I’m not going to drag on for forever, but you get the point. I’d like to thank everyone who contributed to the comic (using their real names) once again: Gunnar, Caleb, Alexa, and Maslin, among many others (including everyone from the last hiatus announcement). Because that’s exactly what this post is–an announcement. With the start of the summer comes the start of the annual SaL hiatus, and this year I happen to be taking on a job as a swimming instructor to boot.

However, I implore you not to despair! As with Coming Soon!, I have a lot in store for you guys over the next few months (I’ve got more than ten new images primed and ready to upload, in fact!). Dustlander Productions will be stronger than ever this summer, and I welcome the challenge. No, I accept it.

Thanks all,

– Dustlander