Friday, November 11, 2011

Most of us have a magnum opus that we've been quietly slaving over for five years. Some story that's going to make us famous, win the hearts of thousands, get us our first publishing deal. Its a work of love and passion, a work we'd devote our lives to even if noone paid us.

For me it was (and this is past tense) Ready Set Go. Ready Set Go originated as a collaboration between me and the young woman I'd considered my mentor, it was the comic I was working on when I applied to SCAD. A lot of time and energy went into planning, designing, and executing this project, and I was heavily invested in it.

Sometimes a project like this is like a relationship. For me and Ready Set Go, I was holding on because I felt like I'd owed the project something. I'd long lost the excitement I used to feel when talking about the comic, and I felt guilty for not working on it. I was trapping myself in a style paradigm so that I wouldn't have too much change between the chapters that were few and far between. I was holding myself back.

The decision to shelve the project wasn't made lightly. I've been mulling it over for about a semester, taking various things into account. I may roll some of the concepts and characters into other projects, but Ready Set Go as it was will never happen.

I don't feel guilty for 'abandoning' my project like many other artists might. I've outgrown many of the ideas and methods, and RSG was aimed at an older audience than I want to write for, and was intended for web, a media I've decided I don't want to pursue. There are projects that I find more interesting and am more excited to pursue, and I feel no remorse because I've been working on Ready Set Go for the past five years, and it still was going nowhere with me. It's no longer the sort of comic I would read.

I feel like I've really freed myself to grow as a writer and an artist. Normally I wouldn't share this sort of information, but I want you guys to know that it's ok to change your mind about a project and move on from it, especially if you don't have an audience to disappoint. A lot of artists never bother to talk about the what could have beens, the projects they outgrew, so there's a misconception that every major idea you have should be polished and protected. This is wrong. Like some highschool relationships, you will grow up and grow apart, and forcing yourself to fit the mould the old you poured will only slow your growth. You need to focus on what will help you achieve your future goals, and if a project doesnt meet that requirement AND doesnt excite you, you should consider cutting it loose. All the time spent on Ready Set Go was not wasted- it was a learning experience.

Remi will probably remain the girl I doodle when I want to knock out an idea or draw an outfit. She's still an avatar of mine of sorts, the character I bonded with. I'd like to use Sammy in a story in the future, I think she's an interesting character. For the time being, there are a couple stories I'm figuring out, and I'd like to do a variety of mini comics.