I'm sure a lot of artists out there have a game plan, and they know how they're going to get from point A (today) to point B (the FUTURE), and they're willing to accept that there may be detours along the way. I'm willing to believe that there are artists like that. I, however, am not one of them. I am that impulsive artist who loves to draw and occasionally finish her work who has little idea what tomorrow will bring, or the next, or where I'll be five years down the road. I have a whole lot of dreams, but not a whole lot of idea on how to get there. Some days I think I want to do webcomics, but most days, I'm leaning towards print books.
I think at this point in my life, I'm the sort of girl who needs to get ALL her work done and then she can play. I don't think finishing one page a week would work well for me, because I know next week there's gonna be another page, and really, I should just get them all done ASAP and be done with it. I've always been the 'finish your homework and THEN you can go out' kind of lady. It's ok if once a week doesnt work for you, and it's ok if 'eat your dinner and then you can have pie' doesn't cut it either. There needs to be less hard and fast presentation in the world of comics, because not everyone works at the same pace or to the same drummer, and that needs to be ok. As long as you get your work done, that's what matters.
You don't love comics any less if you get everything done at once, and you don't love comics any more if you work on things slowly, bite by bite. You are no less dedicated to the cause if you draw nothing but mainstream and you are no more dedicated to the cause if you only draw cartoony rubber faced awesomeness. Autobio is as legit as fiction which is as legit as historical non fiction, and just because the people around you don't like what you're writing you shouldn't stop writing what you love.
Its ok if you don't get recognition right now. It's ok if you don't get it tomorrow. Eventually, if you keep working hard, you will get it. Maybe even after death. But none of us signed onto comics to get famous or rich. We signed on because we love it and we'd do it even if nobody paid us ever. It's ok if you want to get paid for doing what you love, too, because dammit, you work really hard, and you really do deserve a paycheck. Wanting money for your skill doesn't make your love less pure.
The main thing is, you have to want it. Deep down in your bones, you have to love comics. You can even hate what your hand produces right now, so long as you work towards what you love.
Here's the biggest secret that other comic artists might not want you to know: It's ok if everyone else draws better than you do, or has more appealing art. It's ok if you don't sell a single commission in the artist alley. Good art doesn't make for good story necessarily.
Even if you're writing fiction comics, comics are about a personal truth. A story you want to share. They're raw and honest. If you aren't writing raw and honest comics, then you'll never really be satisfied. If you aren't happy with what you're working on, change it. If you can't change it, start planning for tomorrow. Don't pin your hopes on today.
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Words of Encouragement
Vigilante comic artist, illustrator, and comic craft blogger at www.nattosoup.blogspot.com. I have an MFA from SCAD in Sequential Art, which means I'm highly educated in the art of drawing funny picture books. I specialize in comics aimed at young girls, and enjoy the finer things in life- seinen manga, whiney autobio graphic novels, and science fiction.