Ever since I started full time work it has been a real struggle to maintain the level of work I used to produce. I am someone that constantly needs to be working on something and when I am not working on something I am thinking about working on comics or art. I started feeling really down about my work life and not being able to produce as much work (ie, any work at all) but I couldn't get too down on myself I was genuinely busy after all.
Still it is an awesome time to be involved in Australian comics, with so many artists producing great work, exhibitions, workshops, events, studios and international trips planned to promote Australian comics. Bit by bit I had been slowly creating a studio space in our sun room at home and actively looking for drawing challenges to partake in. But most nights I still battled tiredness and the overwhelming temptation to surf the web or just watch TV.
Something drastic needed to be done! I came up with the idea of what I like to call 'comic hour'. This is an hour that I dedicate to my comics each night, it has to be the first thing I do after putting the kids to bed and cleaning up dishes etc.
I use the time to do anything related to producing comics,
- Writing notes and stories
- Actual comic drawing
I realised that now that I had less time for the smaller stuff, sitting down to draw was a major challenge with out having first laid the groundwork. This was a big realisation for me, as I had kept expecting myself just to be able to sit down and launch into drawing a comic with out having first done any writing plotting sketching musing etc.
In a nutshell my advice would be,
- Make a time every night/day to be creative; a set time if you are time poor
- Use this time for various activities not just producing finished work
- Keep it fun, listen to music or podcasts, make a cup of tea
- If doing it at night do it before anything else, a quick 5 minute email check is the best way to lose your night to websurfing
Whilst I have not completed 5 graphics novels I have been chugging away at various projects and the work has been progressing along. If you have a similar story or a way of keeping creative I love to hear form you.
PS: I realise I have been neglecting this blog and partly that has been because I get most of my thoughts out on Twitter these days. I have also been experimenting with putting images on Tumblr. Following the lead of Bernard Caleo, this year I would like to try and use the blogspot for written posts and the Tumblr for images. More to follow...