July072018: Finding the Drive

“You might have been asked this already but how did you manage to find the drive and to encourage yourself to produce nearly 700 pages for The Carpet Merchant?”

Asked by zombardzomramble

I think one of the major reasons is that I love the story and the characters a lot, which made grinding through the especially difficult pages (so many….carpets….) bearable. And of course, already having written and confirmed the entire script for each volume – so I know there’s an endpoint to work towards, that it isn’t an endless spiral of ‘I’ve no idea what happens next lol’

But I’ve to put this out there though: it’s not realistic to attempt to do what I did which is 700 pages in a span of…1 and a half years (that I was actively working on it). The average comics artist takes 6+ hours (some taking a day or two or more!) to finish a page, depending on their style. I personally take 2 – 4 hours average, due to a streamlined process. Not to mention I’ve massive privilege in terms of executive function, self-care skills, and a financial safety net (combination of parents PLUS my own fear of being unable to financially sustain myself in case anything happens, which provokes me to be career driven and spendthrift). SO IT’S OK IF YOU TAKE MORE THAN 4 HOURS TO FINISH A PAGE, OR THREE YEARS TO PRODUCE 100 PAGES, EITHER COS OF PERSONAL OR FINANCIAL REASONS. IT’S NORMAL!! YOU ARE THE AVERAGE.

Now with that in mind, there are some general tips you can consider as an alternative approach. It may or may not work for you, but no loss trying.

Understand your comics-making process. Streamline it. If you know you work faster doing something this way, incorporate it. Since I understood my process, I have cut my production time from 6 hours to the 2-4 hours now.
Prioritise storytelling over art. That doesn’t mean you should slack on the art, but making sure that your art functions to tell the story rather than being the best illustration ever is the most important skill as a comics creator.
Close enough is better than perfect. Suggest detail rather than draw precise (drawing a wall suggesting that it is made out of bricks, instead of drawing all its 500 bricks, Both convey the same thing, but the former is WAY faster and healthier for you).
If you find yourself fretting over drawing a detail right, step away and remind yourself that NOBODY WHO READS YOUR COMIC SERIOUSLY PAYS ATTENTION. It’s true facts. Yes, I know it’s kinda sad. I am still waiting for a reader to point out certain things in the layouts or art in The Carpet Merchant that are essential to the storytelling. Let alone the tinier, less important details.
Discipline yourself. That means dedicating a portion of your time and energy to working on the pages and not allow yourself to be distracted.
SELF-CARE. TAKE BREAKS CONSISTENTLY. GO OUTSIDE AND SOCIALISE AND DO OTHER HOBBIES. REMEMBER TO EAT AT CONSISTENT TIMES. STOP WHEN YOU ARE TIRED. STEP AWAY WHEN YOU ARE FEELING STRESSED OR BLOCKED. BE KINDER TO YOURSELF. DON’T INSULATE OR ISOLATE YOURSELF TO COMICS.

I am primarily an illustrator so it took me…5 years to finally understand that I don’t have to struggle with making a single panel look gorgeous. Understanding that has made doing comics more freeing and enjoyable, and that helped with the motivation. As you can see from The Carpet Merchant, being efficient hasn’t detracted from its prettiness.

Side note: Gosh…I think I need to do a quick handbook for illustrators who want to work in comics. Illustration and comics are two different skills, even though they are both visual storytelling.

Hello, hello

Reimena Yee is a graphic novelist, artist and flamingo enthusiast.

She writes and illustrates quite a few webcomics and graphic novels. When not making books, she lulls away her time with essays on craft, life and experiences in the publishing industry. Some of her thoughts of art and life are rather unstructured and will evolve over time as this blog matures, as they should be.

Currently committed to being Alexander the Great's death doula. Is a nerd for all things spooky and historical.

Melbourne / Kuala Lumpur

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Reimena Yee is a graphic novelist, artist and flamingo enthusiast.

She writes and illustrates quite a few webcomics and graphic novels. When not making books, she lulls away her time with essays on craft, life and experiences in the publishing industry. Some of her thoughts of art and life are rather unstructured and will evolve over time as this blog matures, as they should be.

Currently committed to being Alexander the Great's death doula. Is a nerd for all things spooky and historical.

Melbourne / Kuala Lumpur

Upcoming Events

French Book Tour, January 2024

Follow My Blog

Pop your email in the box below and be notified of my next post.

Categories

Archives