Spare time is there such a thing? Every second is accounted for, spent with family friends, working, eating, sleeping and those scant moments in-between where we find ourselves toiling away on projects that are deeply personal that no one else will truly understand. I have shown the progress on my graphic novel to a few people and gotten the same reply “wow that’s a lot of work” and then I explain where I’m headed with it and I get a strange sideways look followed by “that will take years”. Well it probably will and that is okay. I didn’t decide to write a comic because I was afraid of too much work. I want to create something that I’m proud of, that screams only I could have envisioned this, that stretches my artistic skills beyond anything I thought I was capable of. I’ve never embarked on a task this herculean and I don’t find it stifling but empowering. As a young artist I fell into the trap of waiting for a good idea to hit me instead of fighting through the bad ones until and developing beyond them. Too often I was stuck staring at a blank page. That is why I like a project like this, there is always something to be done. Not to mention the mere act of working on it has spurred more story ideas for another project to follow. I have entered into a cycle of work that can be turned on like a switch, there is no waiting, only the next set of tasks already planned out in my brain waiting to be explored on paper.
(here are some crazy sketches since I don’t want to spoil anything just yet)
As for where I’m at, well I finished the first draft of thumbnails and somewhere around page 112 I noticed my pages didn’t line up correctly, sure enough I had lost a page somewhere. Turns out it was page 44, I pushed through finishing it in the proper order, then came the second round. I refined my sketches and erased entire pages, panels and sequences finding better ways to express what I wanted. I’m currently at page 126 of the second draft which when finished I plan on scanning, printing out and lettering to make a dummy book to help visualize what might need tweaking when I move on to penciling. With the amount of paper I’ve piled up already on this project I find it amazing how much is still being worked out and changed in mind on a daily basis. It is an evolution of ideas, unfortunately or perhaps fortunately there is no end.
So to anyone who needs a kick in the butt, just get up and start something. Sitting there waiting for inspiration to strike isn’t an answer it’s an excuse give up. Please don’t fall into that trap, I’ve seen too many artists broken by life and obligations only to have their drive and ambition wither and die. Now their failures fuel me in a way I never understood until recently, I have to do this! I feel incomplete if I don’t and I will fight tooth and nail to keep going no matter what. I have to do this there is no option there never was!