Today marks the one year anniversary of when my mom sat my brothers and I down in the living room and told us that she had stage 3 lung cancer. This last year has been the hardest twelve months that I have ever experienced. I won’t get into the details of it all as I’m trying to focus on my future and what’s to come as opposed to dwelling on the past and letting that haunt me. Suffice it to say that I miss my mom and her memory gives me strength to not take any shit and to keep trying to be a better person.
NEVER forget how much you love making comic books. When a deadline is crushing in, remind yourself that you started drawing comics for free and for fun. Getting paid to behave professionally is just a sweet bonus. When you love doing something, you do it often with passion. The more you do something the better you get at it. The better you get at something the more fun it is, which increases the passion, etc., and so on.
Clarity of story must come first. Fancy page layouts and experimental innovation are swell as long as they don’t detract from telling the story.
Study the greats. If a creator from the past is held in high regard, try to figure out why.
Look outside of comics for additional inspiration. Read books, watch movies, TV shows, etc. Try to figure out why a story does or doesn’t work and how it can be applied or avoided in your own work.
Never stop learning. As soon as you think you’re as good as you’re going to get…you are.
Revisit your past work from time to time. It’s encouraging to see your progress. Sometimes you might even discover that you preferred the way you did something before and return it to your arsenal.
Don’t be a jerk. Instant Karma’s gonna get you. I’ve found that if I treat folks the way I’d like to be treated, with kindness and respect, it’s usually returned exponentially. Usually.
Love life.Stay healthy. Establish a consistent diet, but treat yourself every once in a while. Find an exercise you enjoy (anything, even if it’s just walking to the comic book store) and do it at least a couple times a week. Get a decent amount of sleep. All of these things will result in a clearer mind and more quality pages.
Write down what you do every day. Even if it’s just a brief list of accomplishments. For instance, “Working on Madman no.100. Penciled pages 5 and 6. Started inking page 2.” I buy a new little desk calendar every year. It only takes me a few seconds at the end of the day to simply mark down what I accomplished, even if I did absolutely nothing, but melt into the couch and watch movies all day. Over time it gives a very accurate account of my productivity, how long something took me, what interrupted my progress, and when I specifically did something. It’s the next best thing to keeping a journal. But it’s brief, concise, and effortless. And very very valuable. It’s the key tool to the discipline of a monthly comic book. It takes out all the guess work as to how to use my time.
"Rock and roll all night and party every day." Or is it “Rock n Roll all night and PART of everyday?” Just ROCK! It keeps you young.