2017 · Comics: the making of

On an overload of ideas

For most of my semi- and full on professional career as a comic artist, I’ve had too many ideas. Back when I was 20 these were unformed seeds for a story. I think I counted of 17 of them at some point and none of them were actually stories but the first initial burst of “hey what if I do this” and then nothing ever came from it because I genuinely couldn’t be arsed to do the work it took to develop it.

As the years went on though I started actually making real comics and in these last couple of years I’ve finished some too. Short stuff, for anthologies mostly, or behind a paywall. Stuff someone has paid me to do (money is fantastic motivation) and that I felt an obligation to finish, no matter what. Of course, finishing things is a bit of a creative high in its own regard and I’ve noticed that the more I work the more ideas I generate. I have playlists on spotify for stories I don’t have time to work on but that still simmer in the back of my head, files on scrivener with character sketches, ideas or just a link to wikipedia for something I thought could be a cool jumping off point. I develop stuff now, with a beginning, middle and end, and somehow that has lead to a veritable avalanche of new story ideas.

I realised the other day that if I ever wanted a quiet moment in my own head again, I better keep a tally of these projects and maybe snip a couple of them off at the root or at least make them real enough to handle. So, I wrote a list. Working title, summary, expected length and publication plan. Thinking about it as a real project that’s going to exist in some physical or digital form is a fantastic way to shy away from the things that aren’t maybe so good. I thought this might knock a few of the less interesting ones off the plate.

At the end of the tally, including pitches for Filthy Figments and a comic that I’m collaborating on with a friend, I have 16 project running in my head right now. All of them enough of an idea that I could make them if I sat down and focused on them.

The conclusion here is that:

  1. I got worse
  2. Comics will consume my entire life.
  3. I need to seriously devise a rotating schedule if I want to see any or all of these realised into actual things that people can pick up and read.
  4. Better finished than perfect needs to be tattooed into my drawing arm or this will never ever happen.

Wish me luck.

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