Comics take forever. Well, anything done well seems to take forever. Thanksgiving takes all day, and then some. Relationships take time. The stuff that is quick and easy is stuff like… McDonald’s or bad decisions after midnight.
There are also a lot of comics out there. Like… a lot. There is a glut of comics. A gaggle. A cornucopia!
And sure, there are some bad ones. But for the most part, creator-owned or company-made, you’ve got a lot of folks working hard to put them out on the shelf and the web.
Then there are a lot of super good ones. It’s hard not to look at your work and go, oh man, why bother.
Scared by the Bell is coming along, and I’m really proud of it. I’ve been posting on the world wide interwebs since January, and I’ve been a part of a few comics collectives or web comic groups (Smackjeeves and Drunk Duck) and I seem to slowly be getting more visitors and more views. So, like anything, I think it takes a lot of time.
I think it takes a while to build an audience, especially in the noisy world of the internet. Here’s a good article about webcomics from a while back.
I recently became a Patron of Grim Wilkins, a talented Comic Book Artist. I think Grim Wilkins is stupid talented. I came across him in the pages of the, recently ended, anthology Island Magazine. He’s only got 10 Patrons. This seems insane to me. He’s so talented. Maybe his rewards aren’t good enough? Or he’s too indie. But… here’s a guy, published by image, in comics, super talented, 10 Patrons.
(You can read MIRANDA HERE)
I only have one so far 🙂 So, it makes me feel a little better.
His work on Island, Prophet, Miranda, and whatever else he’s doing is so, so good — and even he has to work to slowly build an audience. (and he’s way ahead of me and a lot of us). So, check him out 🙂
But article after article I read talks about the failing comic book industry, how hard it is to make money in the comic book industry, etc. And then you see, just so many books every week on the shelves.
So… is it discouraging? Kinda. So why bother?
I think… to get Biblical about it, it’s like planting a seed. You can plant it, then someone else will water it, and then someone else will harvest it.
In a Miyazaki book of Interviews I have during his early work, he compares making an animated film to adding a “bucket of water” to a wave. (I can’t remember if he said Tidal Wave, or large wave…. but you get the idea).
Hayao (el hombre himself) Miyazaki compares HIS FILMS to a bucket?
And maybe when you take into consideration the buffet of tv anime and film that is produced every day, month, year — it is a bit of a bucket.
ENJOY SPENDING TIME WITH THE WORK
If you were dating someone, you have to actually enjoy the person. Not necessarily the fame or the looks or whatever else comes with it. Sure, that might be fun to be around for a while, but ultimately, you are waking up with this person day in and day out, and so you have to enjoy them.
I think creating any kind of art, music, comics, prose, you are engaging in a relationship with your creative half. Let’s face it, we all have different parts of ourselves. The work half, the social half, the spiritual half, the creative half… (that’s a lot of halves).
If you had a bunch of kids, and you refused to spend time with one of your kids because you were so busy with the other ones, you can be sure this kid will end up having problems, and it’ll seep into the rest of the family.
I think these parts of our lives, are kind of like kids. We have to spend time with them, we have to enjoy being with them for the sake of being with them, not because they might end up getting a good job when they grow up.
Can you imagine if you only talked to your GF or BF or spouse if you wanted sex? Like, right now. Let’s go!? You can’t always have a quickie, and you can’t always yell at your creative half to get it up and get going, like now, just because you happen to have 10 minutes to work.
Be nice to your creative self. You wouldn’t like it if someone was yelling at you to go, and why didn’t you do this, and why isn’t it good enough, well your internal, emotional, spiritual creative kid doesn’t like being yelled at just because they’re not hoping to it, because you decided to pay attention for five minutes today.
I don’t want to sound all Artist Way on you, but it’s true! Spend time with your creative self, get to know them, enjoy them!
YOUR VOICE IS SPECIAL
Let’s face it, you’re the only you. In this day and age of entertainment, things are getting more niche than ever. There are no longer THREE TV stations on the television. So, this should encourage all of you to be as YOU AS POSSIBLE. Go deep into you, so that it’s SO YOU, it’s not like anything else. Because there isn’t really a wide margin to cater to. Well there is — but studios and other big companies are already trying to make their products into one size fits all T-Shirts. So, the pressure is off on you.
Just like in dating, you be as you as possible, and then you can relax about who sticks around.
(We love him, but don’t listen to Tyler Durden)
ITS LIKE BEING IN A BAND
I think comics is like being in a band (The Army of Freshmen pictured above). You can get rich, but you can’t make a living. But, it’s worse than a band in a way, because you don’t have as many groupies 🙂
There are lots of bands floating around, working jobs, taking their evenings, weekends, or vacations to gig in town or out of the area.
A THEATRE COMPANY ISN’T BUILT ON ONE PLAY
I remember having coffee with a friend of mine. I was thinking about starting a theatre company. I had one play, and I was like, I’ll start a theatre company. And she reminded me that, a theatre company isn’t built on one play.
You could say the same about a healthy lifestyle. A healthy lifestyle isn’t built on one visit to the gym.
It has to be part of who you are.
A theatre company puts up play after play, season after season.
A band doesn’t play ONE GIG and expect to have an audience. You play here and there, over and over, nights, weekends, going on tour, and slowly build fans over time.
An comic book artist (or any artist) makes things week after week, month after month, year after year.
I believe that it is a decision we make as people. You have to decide, I am the kind of person, who makes comic books on a regular basis. I love this TED TALK about MAKING HARD CHOICES.
Ruth Chang talks about choices and how they are an opportunity for us to show what kind of a person we are. If you are trying to decide between a job in the country, or a job in the city. There isn’t a right answer that eludes us. We are not in grade school taking a test. The HARD CHOICE is an OPPORTUNITY for you to decide what KIND OF PERSON you ARE. Are you the kind of person who is FOR LIVING IN THE COUNTRY or the kind of person who is FOR LIVING IN THE CITY.
You throw down a glove.
You stake your claim.
And you are the one to make it. You will wake up and look at yourself and live with the person you are, so carry as little baggage as possible.
SO WHY DO IT?
I mean… it’s you. You’re creating. This is your life… “and it’s ending one minute at a time.” And I think we’ll all be better of if you, me, and everyone you know spends their unique time, energy, experiences, and thought processes and ends up making something for the world over and over again.
What else are you gonna do? Get into Facebook fights and watch TV? 😉
So, I’ll leave you with this cartoon:
(You can find more of Katie Shanahan’s work here: https://ktshy.deviantart.com/)