So basically I failed a lot but it didn’t stop me from continuing to do what I love. Eventually, I started to fail a little less and people seemed to like what I was doing. I will say that after college I did my first ever local con and it was then that I realized how much I loved having a table and sharing my work. Every convention started to act like a deadline for me to get more work done.
You have a lot of influences, things you love, things you study while you are learning how to draw. Your hand starts to pick up on patterns that work for you. After awhile, when you pass a certain threshold of accumulating a visual library (and you are not focusing so much on learning “how” to draw it) you start to have a bit of fun with your lines. I think that’s where an artist real style comes from, when they get a chance to play with their lines.
And I am not sure I really had my style until the end of college (I graduated back in 2007), by that time I had created a series of work for my culminating BFA show.
Above the Clouds is a half silent comic that intertwines two stories. It follows a young girl name Eily, who’s world is silent until she is given a book. She falls in love with the story about hero trying to save a dying world from a dragon only to find out the story isn’t done. Eily decides to go on her own quest to get the author to finish what he has started.
The heart of the story is about not giving up. It’s funny how things in your own life make its way into the art you create. Before Above the Clouds, I was working on this story for a year and it was going no where. I realized I made it too precious and I was afraid of making a mistake. I realized I had to let it go, or level up before trying to tell it.
So I made a goal of working on a short story, one in which I was not allowed to let be too precious. If I was able to get one page done it was already a success! I think taking the pressure off and giving myself a smaller mountain helped me move forward. I mean, it was about learning! Learning how to layout a page, learning how to craft a story, dialogue, etc. There are so many parts to making a comic it can be overwhelming.
My previous story pulled a lot of inspiring out of Norse Mythology and I took some of concepts from that and played with the imagery of the great world tree. There was a story about a squirrel that would run back and forth between a great eagle at the top and the dragon below, gossiping and what not.
I made some character sketches one day after writing one line, “A boy gives a girl a book.” The next day I drafted out two pages. The day after that…I never looked back. I just kept making pages until 5 years later I finished!
My strength comes from visual storytelling. Writing is it’s own art form, so I am still exercising that muscle. I read a lot of books, I listen to authors talk about the craft, etc. I mean, just because I might be able to daw something in a pleasing way (for some) doesn’t mean it makes me a good storyteller. It’s something I wrestle with a lot.
I get emails from artist and writers from time to time and I have gotten down to 2 very important things. The MOST important two things that if you can master this you can do anything. 1) Don’t try to be perfect. You will never get anything done and you’ll only get in your own way. Heck, the most amazing things come from failing and allowing yourself to not be afraid to make a mistake. 2) Consistency. Whatever you decide to do, whatever it is that makes the day click for you to get stuff done, do it. And do it consistently. There is a book called “Daily Habits” that goes over the habits of artist, musicians, scientist and after going through it you realize that no one was the same pattern that makes them get their work done. Except one thing, they find what work for them and do it a lot, all all the time, because it becomes a routine.
I keep my convention schedule listed on my main website. The next big convention will be San Francisco Comic Con and Makers Fair!
Hello, I am the Creative Content Director. I don’t like talking about myself.