I am slowly becoming despondant about the prospect of doing more comics. I think a big part of it is the sheer volume of work that is required to create what I have in mind for comics. I’ve made dozens of comics in the last few weeks, but three fourths of them amount to little more than fifteen seconds of dialogue from a series of bad radio commercials transcribed across the top of the same three or four simplistic doodles that might be talking heads. The fourth set of strips DOES have original drawings in every panel, but when you see it you’ll know why I’m not entirely proud of that accomplishment. (I’ll say now that of the comics I’ve done so far, I am happiest with those. I really like them quite a lot.)
I have a bunch of “scripts” for a fifth comic, and I have been taking steps to draw some character sketches and develop a unique “art style” for it, but I keep wanting it to be more than just a couple of character sketches copied and pasted again and again across the same backgrounds, or like most of the comics I’ve done, just an empty white field. (Does it seem odd to any of you that so many comics seem to take place in a nearly empty white space, with no way to differenciate one location from another but the occasional prop? It does to me.) I look at comic books and I look at some of my favorite online comic strips, and they have a setting. The characters are redrawn constantly, and the way they are depicted and the settings they appear in help to tell the story.
What is the point of using a medium that combines pictures with words if you aren’t going to use the pictures to help communicate?
Still, I know that it takes me an average of 20-30 minutes per comic to do the ones that consist of cut-and-paste artwork and word balloons that I typed into instead of hand-lettering. I can’t begin to imagine how long it will take me to do the Diablo comics I have envisioned, and I’m not sure I want to tackle this fifth comic for the same reason. I want to be satisfied with it. I want my readers to be satisfied with it. I want to draw a comic and write a story that people want to show their friends, that people remember, that inspires someone else to do something creative, the way I have been inspired.
Of course, there are only so many hours in a day, so many days in a week, and I have more projects running around in my head than I can get done as well as I’d like to. That I can’t do everything, and do everything great, may be the biggest mental hurdle for me. I end up sitting around writing about not writing (and not drawing and not painting (although I did do a new painting this week) and not reading the books I want to, and on and on) instead. Sometimes more than just my belief that I can’t do as well as I’d like to stands in my way, reinforcing my fears that I will never succeed. It’s kinda a fun little spiral.
Still, I do get things done. I am still getting through the books I want to read (some faster than others). I am still painting now and again. I am still working on getting at least 100 or so new comics completed, and I’ll post something next week, even if I’m not done, or only have 4 comics, or whatever. I’m writing a lot, though still very little fiction or poetry, a lot of things like this. Still good, though. I get things done. I don’t go hungry. I pay my bills, and I still get things done. I just can’t guarantee exactly what will get done.