Draw a line, make a start

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You once said that the more time you spend on a song, the worse it gets.

This line from a 2011 interview with the Black Keys really stuck with me. It sounds like some counterintuitive, almost dangerous wisdom.

But I don’t think it is true in my case.

For me, the more time I spend on something, the better it gets … but the less likely I am to finish it.

It’s been months since I was able to finish anything, though I have started a number of things during that time. With my creative time growing thinner and thinner, I just had to get something out and it’s no surprise it was yet another comic about struggling to make things.

So this comic is really about getting the pen running, and ruining the purity of the white page as early and as often as possible.

Production notes

Make something, make it again: This comic is pretty similar to “Make something, finish it” but I just went with it – there was enough inspiration there to make two (or maybe more) comics with a similar idea.

Rushing it out: This comic took me about ten days from idea to completion. There weren’t a lot of extended drawing sessions in there, and overall it seems pretty rushed. I still like it though, and visually the panels look more interesting than “Make something, finish it” even though I spent a lot more time on that one.

Drawing from life: The figure drawings on page 3 are ones that I did! I’ve been going to untutored sessions in my area once a month. I’m not sure if I am getting any better, but it is always an interesting experience.

Upon further reflection, the race-against-the-clock structure of life drawing sessions is a good example of what this comic is all about. Since each pose is timed and typically doesn’t run any longer than 10 minutes, there is no time for any hesitation and you just have to move the pen. When the time is up, you will always end up with something imperfect. So the challenge is not to make something perfect, or even good, it is to finish what you are doing within the time allowed. That means decisions, compromises, and not setting yourself impossible goals.

The more I understand that my own inspiration to make anything is just as finite, inevitable and indifferent as a stopwatch timer, the closer I will come to the freedom from inhibition that I feel in these life drawing sessions.

I’d like to share more of these drawings, but most of them are not digital. In the most recent session I scanned my work and then applied some digital screentone to it for some more practice. It’s not much to look at and kind of just looks like a doughy depressed dude moping around, but here’s some examples.

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Maybe if I can recycle one more illustration out of these it would be to put some clothes on these people – otherwise they look particularly inappropriate with some of these free backgrounds I added on Clip Studio Paint (like a school) …