Things have been pedaling along. I'm currently organizing a 24 Hour Comics Day event here in my city of Grand Rapids. It's been very exciting, and I can't wait to mutually suffer alongside other local artists. I really have no idea what or how I'll do (you're not supposed to formulate any preconceived notion of a story) but it will be a trial, to be sure. I hope to meet new friends and learn just how much endurance I have in me when I don't have time for self-doubt or whining.
Though I'm up to my neck in a Top Secret Gifty Project, as well as video game sprites (though less so at the moment - ah, deadlines!), it's hard not to go back to the idea of a long-form comic book. It's a constant cycle of torture! At least once a month I'll do some sketches and decide This Time I'm Totally Going To Do It. Nevermind that I'm bipolar. THIS IS THE ONE. Of course, once the depression kicks in, it's not. I suck, etc. etc. etc.
But I'm getting closer, I feel. These last few years have meant a lot of getting-it-together for me, and everything's getting easier. I've been working out regularly, managing my time between desperately-neglected household chores and projects, working with our family finances, and hunting for a job. These are all things that either terrified me or lasted in short bursts before I fell back into chaos. Now they're lasting months with few tremors.
Sometimes I worry that when I do things like dishes, vacuuming, and preparing meals, that's time I'm not spending making art. I wonder if you have to lead a slovenly, hungry, poor-hygeined, single-minded life to make good art. Am I getting too comfortable in a well-rounded, generally fulfilling existence without a desperate need to create art?! Do I enjoy being a housewife?! Heaven forbid! But that conflict is a subject for another, more lengthy, time. Back to comics.
The main hardship is solidifying a unifying style for my work. What I always forget (amidst the thrill of development and ambition) is that I'm a cartoonist at heart; realism is not my forte. As much as I love hyper-realistic and beautifully rendered works like Age Of Bronze - and dream of my characters jumping off the page in a similar manner - I just don't have the training or desire to work on that kind of technical scale. Never have, in any art form. I'm a hyper-emotional get-the-idea-across-in-one-punch-and-move-on sort of person. I need to tone down my expectations. That said, I'm trying to distill my delusions of grandeur into caricatured visions of my world and decide on how to best present that. Don't Call Me Candy has helped a lot with this - under the pressure, I think I learned a lot about the most attractive and efficient ways to express my ideas. Which pens to use, where, and when digital helpers can save a lot of time and heartache.
I really cannot get over how I never, ever tire of drawing my dear Mae'houn.
I take it as a sign that I have it in me to tell her story.
Anyway, I have been on quite a kick lately. A lot of it is due to ArtPrize, which I actually made an effort to visit this year. There were a lot of strong and varied works. It feels great to be so busy at my drawing table, now positioned between a sunny window and newly christened aquarium. (And not covered in crap that's drifted over from my sewing area.)