Help Courtney Get Back on Her Feet — and Back to Creating!

Update posted by Courtney Parks On Feb 29, 2016

We did it! The campaign has ended.

That's right, everyone. The campaign. The campaign!!! What a success!

Originally I was going to record a video, and I may still do that, but waiting until the opportune moment to do so is causing some serious delays. And I need to share with you my gratitude because every day that goes by where I don't is driving me crazy!

You all donated over $2000 and it did more than just help me out -- it covered the cost of nearly half of what I needed. WOW! You don't know how much this means to me. How many happy tears I've cried. How this campaign has saved my life at least twice, because when I'm feeling at my absolute worst, I see the results of your efforts and I feel the embers of my dreams ignite all over again. No matter how dark things seem to get, I remember I'm not alone. And of course it's not just this campaign that serves as a reminder of that. My support network may be small, but I am so lucky to have these people in my life, so let me tell you about them:

  • My friend and uncle, Matt, has helped me with bills and offered me an ear when I needed to vent about how ridiculous life is right now.
  • When I was in California, my friends Catherine and Teri checked in on me often, and Amanda would come and do my dishes and help me with dinner when Depression left me too broken to climb out of my chair.
  • My favorite colleague, Ven, connected me with a job that -- while brief -- allowed me to dust off my animation skill. It was the kick in the butt I needed!
  • My dear friend Daniella has been a constant source of kindness and love and has pushed me to continue creating even when I felt worthless.
  • And finally, my roommate and closest friend, Debbie, has given me so much while I try to get back on my feet; she even invited me to move with her to Washington, which is where I am now. She's going through her own struggles, but she has always been patient with me, and part of why I keep trying is so that I can repay her for her generosity and sacrifices.

My friends have given me so much, and you all are no exception. Your contributions combined helped me buy a new computer, which is the first concrete step I needed in order to continue my craft.

The computer arrived in January, and after adding some 3rd party ram, it's a powerful beast of a machine. It handles After Effects like a champ. I point this out because my last project on my laptop was AE heavy and it'd take a day to make two changes to a file! Aside from some minor iTunes hiccups ;) and some license issues with Scrivener, it is AMAZING. I'm on it daily, either writing or drawing or working on freelance projects.

I named her Voyagr. Yep. As in THIS Voyager:




Originally I was going to name her Normandy from Mass Effect, but I went with Voyager for three reasons:

  • The design of my iMac reminds me of the ship,
  • I strive to be as cool as Captain Janeway, and
  • *SPOILER ALERT* Voyager brings her crew home, despite the incredible odds against the captain, the crew, and the ship itself.

There's another reason, too: the show is about people, some friends and some strangers, who become family and stand together even in their darkest moments. All of these things combined made choosing Voyagr as a name easy!

I have an inspirational and/or motivational wallpaper randomly chosen every day, and I recite whatever it is out loud when I first sit down to work. I find that hearing the words gives me an added boost. I'll share a photo of my workspace as soon as I'm done decorating it, but I'm keeping things minimal to help me stay focused. I have site blocker installed to keep me off social media and other time-gobblers, but I did allow myself a few games. but that's because games are healthy for you. ;)

There are still a few things I need, like a portable HDD and an external optical drive. And I plan to do upgrades to my laptop, too: a new battery, hard drive, and more ram should make it a decent on-the-go option. But I have enough to get me creating, and it's so wonderful. I am so, so, so, so, so lucky to have crossed paths with so many of you.

So, how am I doing? I've moved to Washington and it's been super scary and also super wonderful. I'm slowly making new friends, but I miss my old ones every day! I'm more active here than I was in California thanks to there being SO MUCH to do around where I live and work. Oh! I found some work. It's part-time and most of everyone there is way younger than me, but it's fun. And it's done wonders with lessening my anxiety, which has left me room to feel creative again! I have a few personal projects in the works as a result, and I can't wait I can't wait I can't waaaait to start sharing them with you.

Depression is still a thing for me and there are weeks that can be absolutely awful because of it, but I survive those weeks thanks to my friends (especially Debbie) and my desire to be worthy of your belief in me, and to be worthy of my belief in me, too. I want to achieve my goals. I want to be the best version of me I can be. I want to keep moving -- because I know things will get better, and I'm thankful for every reminder of that.

Thank you. Everyone.

PS: I need each of you to contact me about your commissions. Please email me at Courtney@Courtneymonster.com with the subject: CAMPAIGN COMMISSIONS! Remind me of which gift you chose to receive. If you don't know what you want done yet, that's okay! I want to make a list and I can bug you again when it's your turn. :) I'll be sure to post this message on Twitter and FB as well.

























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Update posted by Courtney Parks On Oct 16, 2015

Wow!

The deadline has gone by and I am amazed at just how much you all have helped me. I'd say I had no words, but I have several, and I'm going to talk them at you, so get comfortable.

You. Are. Wonderful.

Really, all of you -- wonderful.

Depression makes it hard to ask for help. It's a tricky disease that way. It tells you that you're fine, even when you aren't. Then it tells you that, okay, you're not fine, but you can't tell anyone. Then it tells you that, okay, fine, you can tell people, but they won't listen to you anyway. THEN it tells you that they WILL listen to you... but do you really want to be a burden on them? I mean, really?

My struggle with depression started when I was a child, but I don't know exactly when. Somewhere in that time, I was introduced to what would become my boogeyman: glimpsed in the shadows of closets, in the reflections of darkened windows, following me to school in the mornings and haunting me through my part-time job as a teen. It climbed into one of my boxes when I packed for college. It stopped by when I was between my first and second industry job. It sits on my shoulders today.

Depression is the ghost in a horror movie. It's that curse that springs itself on you and, even when you dig and dig and finally find the reason behind it all -- it doesn't let you go.

But there are ways to fight it. For me, it's storytelling: I like creating characters who defeat their dragons, despite the odds. I like illustration, I like writing, I like to animate. I like to make things that people like to look at. It's why I chose this as my career: not because it's fun, not because I'm no good at anything else, but because it saves my life. Literally. Every day. Every moment.

My campaign has ended and I'm fifty percent funded. I'm astonished and so so so grateful. I've cried a lot through this campaign, first from shame, then from joy. Setting up this fundraiser was a roller coaster experience. It was incredibly stressful at times! Raising funds for others is one thing, but doing it for yourself is equal parts mortifying and scary. I worried about what others would think or say. "Asking for money for a new computer? Really?" Ugh. But I wasn't only asking for money for a new work setup... I was asking for help. Help to defeat my dragon. Help to stay strong. Help to survive. I had to remind myself whenever I thought about closing up the fundraiser and pretending it never happened.

And you did help.

I'm moving to the Seattle area in Washington in a few weeks. I'm going on the invitation of one of my best friends, an amazing woman who has been my family through all of this -- she thinks I'll have an easier time finding work up there, and I'm inclined to agree. Because of this, I'm going to update my campaign's end date to run through the rest of 2015. I can't use as much of my own money towards a new machine as I thought I could now that I'll be moving to a new state, so I'm still a few hundred short of my goal. Again, I agonized over whether or not I should wrap up the campaign and make do... but I think leaving the campaign open from this point on will be beneficial in the long run. If you would like to increase your donation, or if you haven't donated yet but would like to do so, now's your chance. :)

Even though I'll leave the campaign running, I want to stress that you all have helped me so very, very much. I'm crying while I right this. I'm so inspired to be the best woman I can be, and I want to create for each and every one of you.

Thank you for believing in me. Thank you.






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Update posted by Courtney Parks On Sep 23, 2015

Hello everyone!

You may have noticed that the target goal amount has dropped from $3200 to $2800. I did this for a few reasons, but the biggest one is that a very small project has come my way. I spoke with my advisory team (My roommate, best friend, and two cats) and we've decided to use the entirety of the funds earned from said freelance task towards the new computer. Which means the total minimum amount needed for my campaign has lowered. Yippie!

I debated on announcing this goal change, but I want to be completely transparent with you on what's happening in my life. It's important to me that you all know where every dollar raised will go.

I'm happy to announce that we're now a third of a way to meeting the new goal and I am so grateful for everyone's help in sharing my story and donating. This campaign has done more than simply raise some money to help me continue creating -- it has introduced me to new fantastic folk, and I've made friends with other creators who have offered encouraging words and opened doors to future opportunities.

I was incredibly shy about and even a little embarrassed by the idea of holding a fundraising campaign for what I felt was a luxury item. I felt that, if I couldn't earn the money to replace my computer, I didn't deserve it... but how can I earn money when my work depends on a functioning computer? This is no luxury item, as my colleagues constantly remind me: a new computer is essential in continuing on my path, both for my career and for my personal growth. If I want to achieve my goals, I'd need the right tools to do it.

So, thank you, everyone. Thank you for helping me with this. You're all amazing people, and I'm one lucky woman to have you on my side.


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Update posted by Courtney Parks On Sep 16, 2015

Wow! I am so lucky to have friends like you all. I didn't think I'd receive this much funding by the end of the campaign, and to see your help take me this far in only a couple of days has been remarkable. At the time of my writing this, I'm now 12 percent funded.

Thanks to you, I have enough funds for a new computer monitor! Since a computer is higher priority, though, I'm going to wait on the monitor and see how we're doing when the campaign reaches its end. I'd much rather use your contributions on a new computer capable of running the programs I need.

I'll continue to keep you updated as the campaign progresses. I'll tell you all about my spending plan -- in detail. I'll tell you a bit about my comic, a bit about my work, and a lot about me. I'll open up about my struggle, both past and present, and about the wonderful people in my life who have kept me going even when times were at their darkest. I'll tell you all about that, so check in from time to time and see how we're doing! And if you have any questions, please, ask. I want to be as transparent as possible with you. I want you to be a part of my life -- after all, you're helping me live it!

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Donate $10.00 Or More

THANK YOU GIFT (art): A very special thank you doodle of my choice!

1 Backers

Donate $10.00 Or More

THANK YOU GIFT (writing): A very special thank you poem about something completely random of my choice.

0 Backers

Donate $20.00 Or More

Writing Commission Slot: Provide me with a writing prompt and/or a character, and I will write you a 1 to 3 page short. (Make sure you specify maturity level.)

1 Backers

Donate $30.00 Or More

Avatar Commission Slot: You will receive one 100x100 avatar of your face, or the face of one of your original characters.

0 Backers

Donate $40.00 Or More

DRAWN TO LIFE SPECIAL! I will base a background character in my upcoming comic on you (or your kiddo!)

0 Backers

Donate $50.00 Or More

Art Commission Slot (Sketch Color): You will receive a rough digital sketch with color with up to two characters of your choice. (If using someone else\'s OC or likeness, please ask for their permission first.) (Roughness may vary, depending on level on style chosen)

1 Backers

Donate $80.00 Or More

DRAWN TO LIFE SPECIAL 2: Same as the other DRAWN TO LIFE special, only your character will have some importance to the plot! I\'ll also include a sketch of your character for you.

0 Backers

Donate $100.00 Or More

Art Commission Slot (Ink Color): You will receive one finished commission piece of up to two characters, inked and digitally painted. Style/level of detail to be discussed.

3 Backers

Donate $125.00 Or More

SKYPE CALL DATE: Need help fleshing out a character in your writing? Have a bad case of writer\'s block? Need some advice on strengthening a writing weakness? Have questions about my writing process using Scrivener? Let\'s get coffee (digital style) and have a conversation! You will receive a thirty minute skype chat with me and we can talk about it.

1 Backers

Donate $250.00 Or More

TUTORIAL SKYPE CALL: Want to know my process in Manga Studio? Have a question about my painting technique in Photoshop? Can\'t quite get your characters to walk without a limp in Flash? I\'ll make you a tutorial! You will receive a written tutorial with either the original file or step-by-step pictures, one thirty-minute skype conversation to answer any questions you might have, and email support.

0 Backers

Donate $500.00 Or More

FREELANCE SPECIAL: Any of the above (sans the skype call specials) but with additional polish, and my permission for you to use it commercially as well as personally. OR, 16 hours of freelance time at a special discounted rate (for individuals and small business only.)

0 Backers

Donate $1000.00 Or More

Wow! First of all, thank you. I have no idea what kind of reward to offer for such an amount, so I\'ll say 32 hours of freelance time at a special discounted rate! Please send me a message and we can discuss!

0 Backers

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Merry Christmas, love you and miss you!

Catherine Thomason

Backed with $50.00 On Dec 24, 2015

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Happy Holiday Courtney :)

June Kim

Backed with $20.00 On Dec 18, 2015

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Guest

Backed On Dec 17, 2015 Amount Hidden

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Good Luck!!!

Emily Shea

Backed with $100.00 On Nov 12, 2015

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Daniella Gruber

Backed with $125.00 On Nov 06, 2015

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Kristina Cunningham

Backed with $20.00 On Oct 15, 2015

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Anders

Backed with $40.00 On Sep 30, 2015

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Good luck sweetie!!!

Diana nelson

Backed On Sep 25, 2015 Amount Hidden

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Hope this helps~ Putting good vibes out for you~

Teri Archibald

Backed with $50.00 On Sep 22, 2015

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Keep on drawing Courtney. You are the best in the biz.

Danny Parks

Backed with $125.00 On Sep 18, 2015

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Courtney Parks

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Kristina Cunningham

Following Since Oct 15, 2015

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Danny Parks

Following Since Sep 18, 2015