January Check-In

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PROGRESS REPORT:

Since it’s the new year and all, I felt it appropriate to check-in with a status update on how “Not Quite Extinct” is coming along.

I have a fairly solid 12 pages “completed” (the quotes are because these pages have been known to get various adjustments over time) and have a few drawings sprawled out on my desk that will comprise pages 13 and 14.

This is a slow process for me. I am doing what I can to sketch a little bit here and there on the days when I work my day job and sinking in hours at a time on days off or when the “flow” strikes me. However, I find that in nearly every moment I am not drawing, there is at least a small part of me that is thinking about the current page or where a series of drawings will lead.

Over the past 3 days, I’ve been experiencing the roller-coaster ride that is my brain (and from what I’ve gathered, this is similarly being experienced by other artists). I’ve gone from satisfaction with my progress thus far to wondering how far I COULD be pushing this book. On one hand, there are moments where I can’t believe I’m putting out the work that I have in front of me and in a matter of hours I flip that thinking into “Well, if I’m able to do THIS, why can’t I make it THAT much better than it currently is?”.

I start tearing apart the fact that it’s in black-and-white, or that my current slew of panels aren’t heavy on backgrounds (these are style choices, mind you).

Of course, looking at this line of thinking logically exposes it for the insanity it is…but that doesn’t stop from making it real to me.

Mostly, I’ve resolved to pressing on and reminding myself that if I need to go back and re-draw panels later on, I can make that decision at that point. I don’t particularly LIKE the idea of redrawing the things I’ve spent so much time on but I want this book to be the best it can be. On the other hand, I don’t want a single chapter taking up years to make (especially if it will only take a sitting or two to read!). I would love to make many chapters over many years but with 12 pages clocked in under 6 months, I am beginning to wonder.

I have so much I want to say with this story and the issue I am presently faced with is that I am “stuck” on pages where I am still establishing characters. I know I will get there eventually but being patient has always been a challenge for me. So, I’m trying to enjoy the space I am in and make it the best it can be. After all, this story is as much a part of my life as…um…insert a really important thing here. As such, I want to treat it with the utmost respect…in short, I want it to COUNT for something.

As a self-described “product” artist, this whole new adventure of trying to enjoy the journey (or “process”) is one of the many challenges I am faced with.

Change is good and inevitable as an artist, but I am also a fan of consistency within a subject. This book is so much bigger than any story or comic I’ve created that it’s bound to morph over time. What I’ve been working hard to do, however, is establish a solid look and feel early on so that there is a unity to the piece. That isn’t to say I’m stifling myself, but I AM trying to make the entire work feel united.

Combine that with a fear of getting lax and putting this whole thing on my “perpetual back-burner” and it’s a cocktail of mental ingredients that I must fight off daily.

I have developed a few tricks that are aiding me in my “daily fight” like leaving a drawing off at an obvious point of continuation. This helps me get the ball rolling when next I sit down but I’ve recently taken to starting multiple drawings in order to have a few items around me to better immerse me. I look forward to seeing what techniques I develop by the end of this chapter and can only hope as I become more familiar with the story, its characters and my present style that I will be able to speed up my production (but never at the expense of the quality).

The nice thing about getting to the point where I have more pages finished, is that I have more to refer back to and build off of than when I started. In fact, that part of it has been really helpful…having something to build off of has helped me know where the story is lacking and given me a better blue print for where to go next.

All in all, I am feeling positive in 2014 and am very excited about the drawings I am making! I’m sure it will be a constant struggle along the way but each page I complete gets me a little closer to a self-confidence that can only help me move forward.

2 Responses

  1. Becky Murphy
    | Reply

    Good luck on the daily fight! Today is my first day of my 2014 goals which includes going to work earlier to get home earlier to fight the daily fight of writing in my book for an hour so I don’t have to cut into my relaxing/chill time mixed with helping kids with homework time. I figure if I can discipline myself into writing in my book for an hour each day, I can go back to school and finally get my Bachelor’s Degree when I’m done with the book and have it published. I understand the fight – and wanting to edit my own writing to see if its good enough instead of just pressing forward and worrying about the tweaking later. You’ll get it, Phil! :)

    • Phil M.
      | Reply

      Good luck to you and your goals, too, Becky! Keeping at it a little each day is the best way to take in on, I think. I look forward to seeing where we both end up months from now :-)

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