Another project I’ll never finish

For years, I had this obsession with a short story called “Becoming” that I was trying to write but couldn’t. Despite drafting it about 1,000 times, the right ending eluded me, so I thought it might work better as a graphic narrative/comic. I’d had success doing that with another piece I couldn’t end until I drew it and really enjoyed the process, so I thought it might help this time.

I sketched out 24 storyboards and was at the point of making some character portraits when I realized the thing might take years. The panels in my head were such beautifully rendered things—each one in full-color, with ridiculous amounts of detail—that the thought of starting the first one terrified me. Worse yet, this novel clotted up my brain, demanding to be written, so I had to make a choice: spend a few years on one comic that I might or might not finish, or dive into a book that might or might not suck.

I’d never written a novel before but since comics tend to bring out the worst in me (my obsessive perfectionism doubles, given that I’m both writing and drawing), I went with the book. Three years later, I’ve got a solid draft I’m about to revise (since it does kind of suck) when “Becoming,” now renamed “Shark Skin,” has returned to haunt me. So I figured I’d try exorcising it by drawing the first panel. Someday when I’m able to hire a sweatshop of elves who can magically tap into my creative consciousness, I might finish it. For now, I feel better mainly because I simply wanted to design a shark tattoo.

In other news: congrats to trixiepants, who wins a free Facebook portrait! Trixie offered the only comment on my last post, but it was a good one that kicked my brain in the right direction. I’ve now solved my famous faces dilemma and know who I want to draw. Yay! I won’t spill the beans yet, but the results of my scheme will be coming soon.

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3 thoughts on “Another project I’ll never finish

  1. Yes! The best way out of writer’s or artist’s block is simply to start creating. It’s the fear of failure that keeps you from working, the certainty that what you’re going to make won’t be good. When I get blocked, I try to remind myself that the fear of doing nothing is worse–and that generally gets me going!

  2. Just keep working on it little by little. It’ll get finished someday. And I agree with Chemical Marriage; sometimes you just need to stop thinking and start doing. If you overthink everything then nothing will ever be finished.

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