I adapted a Flannery O’Connor short story called The Life You Save May Be Your Own. I made a few key changes from the original in hopes of saying something about the story and about O’Connor’s work in general.
I didn’t read any books or comics this month. I’m annoyed and discouraged! This hasn’t happened in a while and hopefully this trend will not repeat itself in the near future!
I was bedridden for a few weeks early this month. I got a hold of a Gamecube and started playing through Wind Waker as a way to stay busy when I couldn’t do much else, but as I recovered I kept playing. I probably won’t be able to stop until I’ve finished the game.
When I get knocked out of my routine, I sometimes use that as an excuse for not being productive. I let myself get lazy because I know re-establishing good habits can be hard and because it can be good to take breaks. I know that as I get older, situations where I can’t sit down at my drawing board for days or weeks at a time will most likely become more common. So I’m trying with mixed success to develop techniques now to deal with those situations – ways to draw for 20 minutes at a time, or in a hotel room, or on a plane, that make sense for my creative process.
For instance, I spent several months early this year doing a drawing a day in a small sketchbook. Then I edited those drawings down into a comic. The comic isn’t very good, I think.
Does this mean the approach was flawed or does it mean I need to work this way a few more times before I’m happy with the results?
This month, as I found myself again away from the drawing board, I tried to focus on writing. Two long comics are starting to form in my head and I’m aiming to plan them out more than I have in the past. For one of them, I’m replicating the materials and creative approach of a previous project – i.e. what many cartoonists do all the time – and seeing if I can create a very different kind of comic using that same approach.
In September I’ll have a bit more free time and I hope to fill it with lots of drawing. Sammy Harkham talked in a recent interview about how two hours, or even an hour, can be a huge amount of time when you’re ‘in the zone’ on your current project. This really resonated with me. Maybe at the end of the day we’re all trying to construct creative lives where we can be in that zone as regularly as possible.
I had an interesting conversation with Austin English on Twitter the other day. I’ve been thinking about that as well.