I haven’t posted anything in a while, but I have been working on stuff and going through my list of commissions, for which I am always still accepting new additions.
I also have been contributing to Ok, PANIC! every two weeks.
I’ve been thinking a lot about how I draw lately and how much I don’t like it. This isn’t a “boo-hoo, I’m a terrible artist please lavish me with compliments so I feel good about myself and tell me how great I am”. Because the truth is, I’m pretty damn great.
Well, if you know me in real life, you know I only say that as a joke. Like all artists probably should be, I’m my own worst critic and I don’t like a single thing I draw. But there is a distinction: I know that I’m decent. I know that if you pay for a commission, you’ll get the best work I can offer and it will be a perfectly fine drawing.
But I will still think it’s crap.
When I was growing up with a head full of dreams of being a professional comicbook artist, I latched on to the art that I loved and admired. We all do, no matter what our dreams are. We have our heroes and we want to emulate them. Sadly, this is not a great thing. Some lucky folks out there can manage to break away and find their voice and do their thing. Some of us – me – get stuck. When you’re a kid and you absolutely know for certain what it is you want to do in life, you learn as much as possible from the people you admire, not realizing that 10, 20 years down the road you may not like that type of thing anymore.
Tastes and appreciations grow and evolve as we do, but if you truly get in the headspace to focus your talents and abilities based on that stuff you like as a child, sometimes you can’t break away. As a 10-15 year old, I was all about Jim Lee and Rob Liefeld. I wanted to be those guys so badly, I based all my comic art in those days trying to do exactly what they do. Image Comics came into existence, and I blindly loved all of that style. That psuedo-realistic, dull, over-rendered style. I thought it was superior comic art, and I’ve never been more wrong in my life.
Now that I’m in my 30s, my tastes are drastically different. Guys like Eric Canete, Skottie Young, Sean Gordon Murphy… when I plan a piece of art, in my head, I want it to look like their works, but it comes out plain, generic, boring. I want to shake it up, I want to completely reinvent how I work and produce that work. I want my work to have a cartoony, messy energy, but still be something that is distinctly my own. But I have been working and refining the same style that I’ve been doing since I was 10.
Overposed to the point of pointlessness.
My heart wants to be Eric Canete. My head produces Rob Liefeld.
I am in a rut that I have been in since I first decided to try drawing comics. While my skills and style have gotten better since being a kid, the thought-process is still the same, and I am not a fan. I am not a fan of the types of comics a person like me would draw, and yet I am stuck drawing that way. I need to free my head of all of that. I need to work toward something better. I want to draw something and say “I would totally read a comic in that style”.
But I don’t know how. How does a person erase 15-20 years of thinking? How does a person completely reinvent themselves? How do I become a better me?
Slowly, I guess. With a lot of work. It’s hard, and I don’t know that I can do it.
But I guess I’ll just keep trying.