On Starting

I am probably one of the worst writers in the history in the comics medium. 90% of my stuff never sees the light of day, and the stuff that does escape is regrettable. Much of my teenage years is documented in mini comics and a book and that work is embarrassing to even look at now a days. They sit in between two cardboard covers on the last shelf of my bookshelf. Other peoples work covers them up.

Its a daily struggle for me to get up and face the drawing table and most days its an exercise I never complete. The sheer amount of labor and tunneling that is required is like nothing I’ve ever done before.

I remember sitting across from Tom Scioli at the TCAF After Party thumb nailing an issue of GI JOE vs. TRANSFORMERS. That was the most surreal experience I’ve ever witnessed. Watching the way he thinks on a page, always erasing and re tracing never looking up from his work. I’ve never felt that insecure and it still brings back pain. Why can’t I be like him?

Am I naturally lazy? Am I just not that inclined? Or worse is this even for me?

I’ve been having a lot of false starts on a book I’ve been talking about for 2 years now, but I think its good. 2 years ago I would of never been able to write about this character and his experiences if key moments didn’t happen in my life. The character is like a weird mix of me and people that I used to love. His story is important to me and I think this time is going to be the last time I false start.

Why do I false start? How can I over come it? I’m not sure but I have some idea.

Master Plan
A Schedule. This is pretty basic but to keep you on the right track have a damn schedule you’d like things to be finished and stick to it. My basic schedule is as follows;

##50% Finished by October 1, 2015
Chapters 1 – April 11
Chapter 2, 3 – April 18
… and so on and so forth.

I also have a basic thought or idea about what each chapter of the book will be about. I keep this loose and I use it as a guide line only. I do use notes to keep ideas for later on the computer then I can delete them as if they never existed which is nice. Notes do come in handy since you’re always thinking of new things. I use a series of Google docs to keep track of my schedule, character notes, story ideas ect.

Thumbnails
This is an optional step as I don’t follow this one at all. All of my work is slow progress and is a constant battle with the visuals. I choose not to thumbnail for the simple reason of I like to see where the story takes me not where I take the story. If I have a full script and thumbnails done it takes away the fun of making comics and problem solving for me.

Sit down, even if nothing gets done.
I go to the gym regularly now and this is one of my rules at the gym that I am going to bring to my table. Even if its the worst work out I’ve ever done, I HAVE TO DO IT. I have to force myself to get better and to push myself.

Keeping motivated is hard but it feels so good when you complete your work. If I follow these tips I might just be more successful then I have in the past.

Memory and Comics

I keep a lot of notes in my sketchbooks about what I am doing with comics, my theory of comics, and defining comics. I wanted to do a  quick post about some of my ideas before they escape my mind forever.

– Comics are the only medium that can represent the human thought process perfectly combining pictures and words. Memory is a lot like sitting at the bottom of the pool and looking up at the hazy figure standing over you.

– Cartooning represents the way we remember details and people. When I remember I see different parts in detail and some fuzzy. The persons face is never fully formed much like how cartooning never gives the full details.

– Memory changes rapidly and the details in the story should be changing a lot too. Example the color of ones shirt or the length of their hair.

– Grids are good for telling linear stories. However with the use of color grids can be broken up and scenes can change fast and quick.

– Memory is a series of pictures and words. Comics are the same.