So, I'm posting tomorrow's early. I've gotta' go back to work, the swine flu apparently did not warrant any further days of closure, and I'm going to need the extra time tomorrow morning since it's trash day, and I gotta' go exercising.
Someone I haven't talked to in a long time had seen my more recent art and me going back to some more realism, really showing some more versatility. They asked me what the push was that motivated a bunch of change this year compared to others. The main one is weight loss. I've been dedicated and going strong for over half a year now, and it's become apparent to a lot of folks that I haven't been slouching. Another was the Zuda process. I was looking at some people's entries this month, and I haven't really talked about it. It was a pretty agonizing process, not because of the loss, but because of what I learned through reflection was not the way I wanted to break into the industry. I'm actually pretty glad I didn't win now, because I know that's not what I was meant to do.
In running around like a chicken with my head cut off promoting the story, worrying that I was losing, and too many other things going on at once, I got to a point where I had enough. I hit emotional bottom, and just didn't care anymore. I didn't want to have anything to do with the project anymore, it stopped being fun. I learned that when something stops being fun with comics, it's just work, and I already work, but even that is still fun. Because I make it that way. It's a little harder though in comics if you're stuck promoting in ways you normally wouldn't, which seems less than genuine.
But through the process of doing the Zuda competition, I asked myself what all I wanted from comics, and also found that I missed my fine art roots. In college, the two worlds of school and comics had to stay apart. People would get drummed out of programs based on the knowledge of doing "comic style" drawings. But I've really started to marry the two worlds together, and constantly evolve. I'm just having fun pushing myself and hopefully pushing the medium of sequential storytelling so I can contribute something that's fun and most importantly genuine. I don't get behind projects I don't believe in, and I don't sacrifice quality on time constraints if at all possible, which is why I haven't been doubling up on projects like I used to.
This is a medium that is about doing something you enjoy, and hopefully other people will find it enjoyable. But first and foremost, as an artist, you should genuinely find the source material engaging, or it shows in some way to the reader that you just aren't that into it. You also need to do it for yourself. If people like it, they like it, if they don't, they don't, but you can't win everyone over, and the only thing worse than nobody reading something, is nobody reading something and knowing that you didn't give it your personal best in YOUR OWN style!
But what I'm trying to get at is that there is no one path in this industry. Sure, you can follow the blueprint of successful artists and copy their style, but you can pidgeon-hole yourself. You want to stick to your guns and show what you want to do, and make it happen. Sure I may just sound like a crazy zealot who is disillusioned or angry...but I'm none of those things. I'm happy, and I'm having fun making things on my own terms. I don't have any major obligation, so if something isn't what I want to do, I don't have to take the assignment. You have to be true to yourself to unlock your true potential, and once you get that style or technique that gets peoples attention finally, don't just stay comfortable there, refine it, innovate!