Sunday, December 18, 2016

The Fallow Season

Creativity for me is often seasonal, when it is not tied directly to need or paying work.  There's a season, usually springtime, where inspiration just leap forth from every nook and cranny, and everywhere I look, I find reasons to draw, to paint, to think, to dream.  Then there's a season where nothing seems to happen- the magic, so heavy in spring air- has fled.

Yet, somehow, I produce things year round.  And usually, winter, my fallow season, is when I find time to work on comics again.  Holed up in my little apartment, with no conventions and winter travel safely behind me, I can finally write, plot, draw, and create the world of 7" Kara.

In those winter months, iced in my apartment thanks to Nashville's nasty weather, I dream of late summer- full blown August, like a rose a little rotten at the core.  Those hot, heavy, tail of the dog summer days, made especially hot and humid due to living in southeastern Louisiana, were days I spent mostly dreaming, and are the days in which 7" Kara is set.  Only in the nastiest of February, when winter should be receding to my southern mind, do I dream longingly of those hot days.

That makes December especially barren for me, as creativity has fled with the warm summer days, and travel has me pinned in- a week here, two weeks there, with work to do and no brain to do it.  Fortunately during those spring and summer days, redolent of creativity and sunshine, I squirreled away sketches and inks, ideas and notes, just in case December proved fruitless.

This is why, outside of my Christmas card, you rarely see fall and winter seasonal art from me, especially since moving to Nashville.  Here, the extra short days and steel gray skies combine to kill any desire I have to doodle or dream.  Instead, I'd prefer to escape to warmer, better days, and I tend to render my sunniest sketches when the sky is heavy and the wind is cold.

Some things to do when your creativity is zapped:

  • Pitch to an anthology- restraints and guidelines often spark my inspiration
  • Complete a 30 day drawing challenge like 31 Days Under the Waves, or Magical Girl March
  • Practice from reference- facial studies from Humanae, clothing studies from The Sartorialist, figure studies
  • Refine and rework an old sketch or drawing
  • Pick a sketch from when you were at your creative peak, and render it out
  • Organize your files, organize your desk, organize your supplies to make room for spring
  • Try out a new media
  • If you work traditionally, spend this time to digitize your files
  • Draw your friends characters as a gift