A nice post by Mark Evanier about what it’s like to write for a living. His conclusion is elegantly stated and rings true to my experience as well. Even if I wasn’t getting paid to write and draw, I would still be doing it. Enjoying what you do makes the work feel less like – work.
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My favorite advice in an animated film is from Dory in Finding Nemo. Her mantra of “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming…” I hear that playing over and over in my head when I tackle projects that are difficult. Or when something I work really hard on never sells, or even worse, sells but the deal is not workable. “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming!”
Below is a page from a graphic novel that is near and dear to me, and a few other people (you know who you are!) and to use more movie jargon, ‘I just can’t quit this book…’
I am busy right now working on another graphic novel called Earthling. And when I need a break I usually take out an older manuscript for a few hours and give it a quick read. I see if it’s still working or smells rotten with age. Some projects I can toss away. They aren’t working and/or I don’t feel they have a commercial enough angle. This book is, I think, practically an anti-commercial project. But the book still fascinates me. It’s an odd book that I have no idea how to sell it or to whom it would sell. It’s not comfortably a kids book, nor a middle grade or YA. It’s a bit of a stretch for my style and it’s not an easy story to classify. It’s just something I liked doing.
Recently on another blog a writer was answering a question about how difficult it is to work on projects when you feel there is no hope for them to be published, or bought or sold or read or whatever. And that is true. It’s hard to take up any creative project in this day and age and feel it has a chance of breaking into the mediaverse unless you are already part of the digestive track of the beast. Add a couple of hundred rejections in a lifetime and you can understand that the will to create can be killed off completely. That is a rational decision to make. And that’s too bad. Becasue as much as I need work to sell in order to pay my bills, I probably spend more of my time on projects that don’t sell for whatever reasons. And those projects help keep me sane. At least as sane as I can be. More importantly, for many, many years I worked other jobs and did my drawing and writing on the side. But I still did it. I worked on it relentlessly. This makes me think that selling the work is not the main reason I’m doing the work, as much as that contradicts the title of ‘commercial artist’ which I surely am.
At the 2:12 point of this YouTube video Steve Jobs sums it up perfectly. Jobs is speaking about why he does what he does. ‘Because it’s such hard work any rational person would give up. If you don’t love it, you’d give up. And that’s what happens to most people. The ones who are successful love what they do and they persevere. And the ones who didn’t love it, quit. Becasue they are sane.’
And that’s why, one day, even this project will see the light of day as a completed piece. Just keep swimming, just keep swimming…
Posted in Blogs and Sites, Cartoonists, cartoons, cave bear and duck, comic books, Comic Strips, comics creators, illustration, Internet, Mark Evanier, online cartoons, Ovi Nedelcu on November 30, 2007 | Leave a Comment »
There’s been a discussion here about online cartoons. I do an occasional online panel cartoon, and have talked about the sad state of comic strips in newspapers. Some people have even wondered if there is a future with the typical format of strips. So I have spent some more time looking into online comics and will drop a few links on here from time-to-time, when I have time.
This is a site called Lunchbox Funnies. It features some really nice looking work, in various formats. including a great visual strip by Ovi Nedelcu. It seems kind of dead right now, the last posting on the homepage from September 25th. I hope that’s not a sign of internet death. It’s always unsettling to stumble across sites that were once very busy and active then ceased all activity. Blogs can be like that. It’s sad to see all the energy and updating and ideas and then…nothing. It’s better if it would just go away I think, then hang on in the purgatory of no updates. I always worry that something horrible happened. At least post a “we will be back in a month” or something. Mark Evanier always posts a can of tomato soup on days when he doesn’t have time to write on his non-blog-blog. Anyway, check Lunchbox Funnies out, read the comics and enjoy some good cartoon work. More good work shows up online everyday.