Getting back into the swing of the comic book creating is both frustrating and exhilarating. In what other field can I express my O.C.D. (Obsessive Creativity Disorder) to this magnitude? If this was a movie I’d be the director, cinematographer, sound, lighting, editor and writer all wrapped up in one obsessive-compulsive mess. To be honest, it’s hard to break the cycle. When I’m writing THE BONESETTER, the script is “THE MOST IMPORTANT PART” of the creative process. When I start drawing panels, the art becomes “THE MOST IMPORTANT PART” of the creative process. And, don’t get me started on “THE MOST IMPORTANT PART” of the creative process; coloring the book…sigh. Each step becomes more important than the first and cancels the other out. I know this is bad, I know it needs to stop.
How have I managed to break the cycle? It’s early, but I’ve already started to screw things up. That’s a good thing actually. Last week my wife walked into my studio to ask how it’s going? I told her that I was a bit rusty at drawing. The line-work for a hand was taking me too long to get right…or to get “perfect”. Three hours later she came in and asked why I was still drawing the hand? She followed up that question with an even better enquiry. “Don’t you need to do this faster since you have to go to work in the morning?”
My wife gave me a wake up call, and that was important in moving forward with my graphic novel. I’m not trying to be a superstar artist like Jim Lee (never gonna happen). Nobody will care that I spent 3 hours on perfecting the line-work in a hand. This is all irrelevant if the project never sees the light of day because I can’t adhere to my own deadlines. So I’ve outlined these 3 steps to get past my own compulsive behavior.
1. Better Planning: Create solid outlines for writing the issues/chapters. I know writing is an organic process but their needs to be a clearly defined story arc. Here are a few samples I’ve found to help the writing process. Within each link there are resource suggestions like Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics and Alan Moore’s Writing For Comics
2. Artwork Supports the Story: The whole point of the artwork is to help tell a story. If the artwork is doing its job then additional detail in the illustration is a bonus, not the deciding factor for a successful comic book. Below are some resources that have helped my comic book art.
Framed Ink: Drawing and Composition for Visual Storytellers by Tony Caputo, Harlan Ellison and Jim Steranko
Framed Ink: Drawing and Composition for Visual Storytellers by Marcos Mateu-Mestre
3. THE BONESETTER has a Deadline: My entire career as an art director has been deadline driven. My hobby project should be no different. I’ll put 110% of my passion and drive into this book, but I need to also get it finished.