How i art
A good friend once told me that the difference between a successful artist, and one that just scrapes by, is their ability to keep creating. I’m not sure if he read this quip online somewhere, or in the depths of a philosopher’s journal, but it is something that has stuck with me at each phase of making the graphic novel Blood and Motor Oil (among other projects).
You could argue that style, marketing, and reams of other things play a part in a successful artist’s career, and this is, of course, true, but productivity and continued output is what has put a fair few artists on peoples radar in a major way. This rings especially true in the world of sequential art (comics/graphic novels) where a story is so heavily visual. Although the quality of the sequential art is important, it is also important to continue a story. A single page could be the most magnificent comic page ever produced, but if the rest of the pages don’t follow in a timely fashion, the story dies with that one majestic layout.
This phenomenon isn’t specific to visual arts at all. As an author, sometimes it is just as important to keep writing as it is to writing something of merit. Like a smile is contagious, so is creativity, and feeds other ideas and projects.
When I feel like I have hit a brick wall with a story, I look to inking or music for inspiration. Inking for me is a much more physical marathon than a mental one, so I find that break mentally (or maybe just using different parts of my brain) gives my language centres the vacation it needs, while springing and waking other parts of my creativity. This usually will illicit some kind of thought train that I hadn't had before, and before I know it, I’m back at the keyboard, smacking those keys with vim and vigour.
I also use music to drive a creative session. I have a multitude of playlists for all different kinds of work. Some of my favourites are big orchestra scores from movies and video games. For me, the music cant be too familiar if I’m writing, or I’ll get caught up in it, and end up singing my creative time away, when I had earmarked that time for writing. On the flip side of that, I like to have a sitcom in the background when I am doing visual art. Inking and colouring go great with a bit of Dwight and The Office in the background. Something I have watched many times over, but still chuckle at, is the sweet spot for me.
In my experience, it's not a one hundred meter dash, its a marathon to completing a sizeable project. Pushing through the uphills when all you want to do is quit, and making up time when the road is wide open is essential to making a project come to life.
Just keep arting.