drawer’s block

March 28, 2014

photo

[A]s a child, I remember sitting, listening to my teacher in school talking about the great Irish poet William Butler Yeats. He had a writer’s block—there was a period where he couldn’t write. I put my hand up and said: “Why didn’t he write about that?”

- Bono

It’s been a year since I put a pause on The Big Crunch. I’ve done a little sketching in my journal. I’ve brainstormed some histories. But on the whole, I haven’t made much art in general, let alone anything pertaining to the comic. And you know what I have to say to myself for that egregious period of inactivity?

Whatever.

When I heard that Bono quote in college, I thought it showed a lot of wisdom. I still do, honestly. But I’ve never had a problem working through writer’s block. I can write a thousand words a day, and it won’t bother me how nonsensical and meandering they are.

Drawer’s block, though. What the bloody hell do you do with drawer’s block?

I confess, I still feel like a trespasser when it comes to drawing. I put it aside for seven years, from age 18 to 25, and I still feel immense guilt for doing so, despite indulging other forms of art like theater and music that I know were essential to growing my soul. But the guilt persists, and if you’ll pardon a cadence that mimics Yoda in The Phantom Menace: guilt leads to resentment, resentment leads to anger, anger leads to frustration, frustration leads to defeat.

And I would feel defeated right now, if I weren’t so goddamned stubborn.

This past November, I ran my first half-marathon. My training schedule crumbled in October while I was recovering from a minor injury (let’s just say it’s something that happens to runners in their 30′s and we’ll leave it at that). So, when I came to the starting line, I was less than prepared. But I ran it, despite thigh spasms and rigid knees by the eleventh mile. And I stayed under ten minutes a mile, which was my goal.

I can only attribute that success to stubbornness. When every twitch of your muscle is screaming for you to stop, stubbornness is sometimes the only thing fueling the fire. Stubbornness is a subtler form of rage, and rage is second only to rapture as the motivation for great works of art.

So. What do you do when you have drawer’s block? What do you do when your creative endeavors feel arduous and stilted? As it turns out, you do the same thing as you do when you have writer’s block. You get stubborn, and damn it, you draw anyway.

Do your lines make you angry and frustrated? Let them show your anger and frustration. Is your brain a storm of advice and admonitions from other artists? Draw like you’re deliberately trying to piss them off. Can’t get your inner critic to shut up? Punch him in the throat. Draw with a vengeance. Draw like you’re trying to set your pages on fire. Draw like it doesn’t matter that you satisfy anyone, including yourself, because sometimes yourself is an asshole.

140204 Middle Finger

And on that note, you might also try forgiving yourself, too. That, perhaps, is the most important hurdle to leap when it comes to creative blocks.

We can’t all be Bono, after all.

Page One

December 3, 2013

The following is the first page of the script for The Big Crunch, the prelude chapter. The prelude will be a little over 20 pages. I’m about halfway through the second draft, and I don’t think there’ll be too many edits after this. That means, my friends, I can start drawing soon. Look for a new website, character designs and maybe some teasers in the near future.

Page 1

Panel 1

Nothing but pitch black ink, borderless and infinite, bleeding into every gutter of the page. Moscrelle, a sergeant of the deposed Vos Grepsa planetary army, speaks off-panel.

MOSCRELLE: Monsieur?

Panel 2

Zoom out to reveal the Void, the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way galaxy, lumbering before a thick cloud of stars and debris. Moscrelle speaks off-panel again.

MOSCRELLE: Monsieur le génerál?

Panel 3

Zoom out again to reveal the Void reflected in the goggled eyes of General Blastich val Greletch. Moscrelle and Yakins, a Harkwelder mercenary, speak off-panel once more.

YAKINS: Oi, what’s he lookin’ at over there?

MOSCRELLE: Je ne sais pas, madame. Monsieur, can you hear me?

Panel 4

Zoom out once more to reveal the Void reflected in the circular window of a Taladec pleasure cruiser, behind which is Blastich with the silhouettes of Moscrelle, Yakins and Blastich’s lieutenant general Crusseaud. Yakins gestures emphatically, while Moscrelle reaches for Blastich’s shoulder.

YAKINS: Alright, get ‘im away from that window, like, right now!

MOSCRELLE: General Blastich!

Panel 5

Blastich glances over his shoulder with his abysmal, charcoal eyes. His face is serene, as if awoken from a daydream.

BLASTICH: Oui?

Skateboarder

November 30, 2013
Ink sketch of a skateboarding Redditor, created Saturday, November 30, 2013

Ink sketch in response to Reddit post

I’ve been listening to Mark Morrison’s “Return of the Mack” all afternoon, and I don’t know why.

Andrew Scott’s Moriarty

November 27, 2013

Andrew Scott's Moriarty

I have to go back and watch Sherlock again. I watched all six episodes in the couple of days after I ran my half-marathon, and I was so delirious and exhausted that I’m sure I missed a glut of details.

Anyway, I loved Andrew Scott in the role of Moriarty. Unsettling, unpredictable, and humorous in a terrifying way. I was thinking about this, too, after I watched the series: is the benevolent sociopath versus the malevolent psychopath a frequent archetype? I can think of Sherlock and Moriarty, Batman and the Joker. I imagine there are others that qualify. What do you think?

Lemurs and Mermaids

November 19, 2013

Lemurs and Mermaids

Portsmouth Restaurant Week is over. The Seacoast Half Marathon is done as well. And somehow, I survived both. Way to go, me. Now I’m getting back to the business of drawing.

I haven’t had a regular drawing discipline for six months, and reinstating it is tough. I’m not drawing much of The Big Crunch, since the first issue is still in scripting phase. So I’m having to scrounge for inspiration. I’ve decided to go with my Reddit subscriptions, which include photo feeds, sketch prompts and drawing requests from other users. The goal is to fill a page every day. Today was the first day. Lemurs and mermaids.

I don’t know why I lost confidence these last six months. I don’t care why. When you lose confidence in your craft, the only solution is to keep practicing until you gain it back again. Anything else is defeat, and I will not accept that. Yeah, improving your skills is difficult, and maintaining your discipline requires you to scale mountains of apathy, procrastination and discouragement. But nothing is more repugnant than someone belching the words “I give up,” so I intend to swallow them and smoke them out through my pores.