< Piro >
Sunday - September 19, 2004
For some reason, the months of August and much of September have been really hard for me, creatively speaking. Not because the creative ideas aren't there or that i haven't been able to be as productive as i need to be to make these creative things happen. The flow isn't right. It's like i've been stuck in a rut, and I'm still not sure how to get out of it.
This isn't a new problem. I often have prolonged dry spells that no amount of determination or forcing myself to work will solve. I often wonder if its just part of some cycle of creativity and blankness that i go through every year. For the past couple of years, things have been so crazy that i have always been able to blame something for the problem, but deep down i know that these issues have nothing to do with work, travel, or random domestic destruction by the cats. It's a problem that stems from controlling my inability to focus.
The real irony of this is that i've been working on a rant for almost four weeks regarding my inability to focus. Maybe it's a bit like the brain trying to understand itself, i'm trying to develop a better understanding of the mechanics of how how i create through the creative process of writing a rant. For some reason, i can't get it blogged down. My frustration in not being able to do so is so great that it spurred this little rant about how frustrated i am that i can't write about it. How lame is that?
The ability to do creative stuff relies on two important things - having creative ideas, and being able to effectively make them happen. Everyone has ideas, and often we all have fantastic ideas, but they aren't worth much if you can't make them happen. Just simply working on a creative idea doesn't necessary mean you can make them happen. You need to have a structure to work within, a medium in which your ideas can come to life. For me, the conveyance point where these ideas come out is in my drawings. When i draw, the ideas that i often struggle to describe or understand come out, and it provides the structure upon which the comics are built. Scripts and the overall story is just a framework that attempts to provide direction. It's the drawings that make the characters speak and gives them life. I'm not a writer, nor am i an artist, because i don't think i do either of these things well. I write through my art, and it's an imperfect process. It's one that is ideally suited to this medium, so i can get away with it. :) Through these imperfect acts, i create comics that are fairly effective at communicating my ideas to other people. That, in the end, i think, is what the whole point of creating things based on your ideas - communicating them to other people.
This website is a nodal point from which i can share this output with you. Doing Megatokyo comics is often a struggle, and the translation from idea to finished comic is never perfect, but it's as close as i can get to blogging my ideas to people.
I think that many other comic artists, especially in the more traditional sense (print, newspaper, etc) the comics are pretty much the ONLY transference that these artists have. Webcomics are unique because in addition to the comics, there are other channels of communication that come along with them. rant spaces, the ability to email the creators, forums, live appearances at conventions, etc. It's funny that we sort of expect ourselves to be good at all of these things. The nodal point works both ways. Depending on how far i want to look, i see how effectively my ideas are being communicated. I can also see the effect that these communicated ideas can have. This is both good and bad, and the more popular the site, the more daunting this feedback can be.
I guess i sometimes feel almost afraid of what i'm doing with the comic. It's really sad when you are working on something, that you know you are gonna get flack for it, and that you already know what people are gonna gripe about. And you already know that there are all these people that will come to your aid and beat up the people who don't like what i'm doing right now, and the old tired assessments of what i'm doing compared to what i've done in the past and what people think i should be doing will surface and... well, i just end up having to do what i always do when it comes to comics. I shut it out, and i let my own drawings tell me what i should be doing. Sometimes this is a lot harder to do than you might think, but in the end its what works for me. Seems simple to understand, but i keep having to relearn this over and over again. I think that's where a lot of the churn in my life is... the constant re-learning of how i really work.
I just wish the same approach worked for things like rants and blogging :)
Well, this turned into more of a 'rant' than i had planned it to. Funny, I sat down to write something quickly that would just touch on the rant ideas that i was having problems talking about, and ended up talking about them more effectively than all of my other previous tries. I wonder if that says something else about how i work, something i keep having to relearn over and over again...
Almost forgot to mention this, but Sarah and I will be at Anime Weekend Atlanta this weekend (September 24-26) - it's really more like a vacation for us than anything, so we'll be taking it pretty easy at this con, but we will be there. :) No idea what our schedule is yet, but i'll post it as soon as i find out. If you are in the area, be sure to stop by and say hi :)