I haven’t done a Sunday Sketch in a while. Sorry about that and please accept my apologies if you enjoy them. Illustrating is definitely a sideline to my writing and it’s suffered due to my travel schedule this past month.
Speaking of travel…
One of the things that happened at Worldcon was that I was able to talk one-on-one with Howard Tayler from the Writing Excus… wait, excuse me. Howard Tayler from the Hugo award-winning Writing Excuses podcast.
I was hoping to track down some nuts ‘n bolts-type info on illustrating graphic novels. Specifically, I was having trouble finding online, educational resources and mentorship for authoring and illustrating them.
It’s tough enough to sift through novel-writing resources. For novels, there’s a lot out there and finding the stuff that works for you can take some time. When you get to graphic novels, things simply get weird. Everything focuses on superhero fan art and doe-eyed anime preteens. Plus half the stuff out there is in Japanese. I took one semester of Japanese in college and holy-hard languages, Batman.
I was talking to Howard about that stuff, but the most valuable take-aways I left with were:
- Something that I should have admitted to myself all along, and
- Something that was very good for me to hear.
Something I should have known all along:
START THE DARNED PROJECT!
I mean, it’s not going to draw itself and the more you learn, the more you know you have left to learn. If you wait until you are absolutely perfect at a particular thing (doesn’t really happen, btw), then you’re pretty much guaranteed to never actually DO anything with the thing. If you think that you get better, and then get better, and then suddenly you barf complete projects and sneeze finished manuscripts, you’re wrong.
And I was, too.
Just like writing a book… start.
… and then keep at it.
Something that was very good for me to hear:
“You’re never happy with the artwork.”
Now why is it a good thing to hear that the project you’re committing hundreds of hours of investment into will never make you happy?
It lets you move on. You’re never going to be happy with the art. Deal with it. Or… don’t do it. Don’t start. Quit. Go do something else. Something that you find rewarding.
But if you can’t quit? If there’s simply no way you can’t not do this project? Start. Do the thing. If you can’t be happy with the art, be content with it. Keep moving.
Hearing a pro like Howard make that statement was just the push I needed to get over myself. To appreciate what I could do. And to accept that I’ll be able to do more – and do it better – later.
Even if that means I will never be happy with the artwork.