Ken’s previous article “Starting from Scratch“, talked about how to put your ideas to paper instead of just keeping them locked away in your head. This article is a follow-up, and its going to act as the kick in the rear you need to do what he’s talking about.
I had a high school gym teacher who was a hard-ass. He was the stereotypical gruff, drill sergeant type that didn’t accept any weakness from his pupils, and often said things to incite us into performing harder and making him eat his words. As awful as that may sound, I learned a few golden rules that I apply to life today – in those moments where I’m feeling down on myself or when I’ve taken too soft of an approach, I remember his philosophy from his famous catchphrase:
“Too bad! tough!”
He routinely yelled that out to people who complained, procrastinated and tried to weasel their way out of doing that last push-up or lap around the field. At the time, we felt it was his way of torturing us, but what it was really for was giving us the toughness to push through the roadblocks we set up for ourselves. It was also his way of forcing us to problem solve instead of being led by the hand. But most importantly, to be independent and self-sufficient.
One of the most common statements I hear from folks who are interested in comics is:
“I have this great idea for a (web)comic but I can’t draw/write.“
My response: Find someone who can draw/write and collaborate. Or learn how to get better at drawing.
Typically, you’ll get the next response in return. Why? Because people automatically resign themselves to the fact that they can’t do something, because it’s easier to complain and procrastinate about doing it.
The typical response: “But, I can’t afford to pay someone.” OR “I don’t have time to put into drawing.”
I think you can guess what my response would be:
TOO BAD. TOUGH!
The reason for the harsh response is simple. If you’re not willing to solve the problem you’ve created for yourself, you’re not ready to tackle the workload necessary to produce your comic, plain and simple. If you’ve already started procrastinating and giving reasons and excuses about how you can’t do something, then you won’t do it, so you should just move on until you’re ready to commit.
Have I incited you enough? Are you ready to prove me wrong? Are you able to find a way to make that wonderful idea come out of your head and be produced on the web or in print? I didn’t think so. You’re WEAK!
For those of you ready to make me eat my words, I salute you. You’ve smashed through the first barrier – now it’s time to tackle each step individually. Here’s a few tips!
1) Collaborate – if you’re not a strong writer or artist, pair up with one who is on the same wavelength as you in terms of style and theme for your particular idea. By working together, you’ll find that ideas will flow a lot better and new options will emerge that you never imagined. It will create stronger, more engaging characters, storylines and backgrounds!
2) Strive for Excellence – If you’re a D-I-Y personality, get the tools you need to get the job done. Resource material, tutorials, lessons, etc. Immerse yourself in things that will expand your knowledge base and spend the time honing your craft.
3) Commit – You can’t do any of the above if you’re not ready to stop making excuses and start doing some work. Procrastination is the number one killer of comic projects on the net. How many artists start off strong and lose their motivation quickly, then fall into a rut of missed updates, excuses and general laziness. This is the dreaded plague called procrastination. By committing to a project and making a strict schedule and adhering to it, you will force yourself into a routine and force yourself out of procrastination.
By following these 3 simple rules, you’ll be disciplined enough to moving forward with the creation of a (web)comic idea. Until you can get the CAN’T mentality out of your head and turn it into a CAN mentality, you’ll be nothing more than a festering, diseased procrastinator. And no matter what Ken tells you, there’s no ointment or cream for that.
Andrés ‘ Drezz ‘ Rodriguez is the author of the modern noir Online Graphic Novel entitled El Cuervo. You can catch the latest updates three times a week. He is also the editor of idrawdigital, an information site with tutorials and tips for comic artists using digital tools, with links to a ton of other great resources. You can follow him on Twitter at @ElCuervoComic