Helping Mitch is an experimental short story and comic. Mitch, who just turned 40, used to run a successful manufacturing business. At the height of a typically stressful week, he was struck by a delivery truck and was never the same again after sustaining brain damage. The story explores the relationship between Mitch and his mother, Sharon, who has taken it upon herself to bring the old Mitch back at any cost.
Reflections on process
If you’ve been following the series, you may have noticed a slight title and name change. That’s not your imagination my friend, that’s your wacky creator getting struck by a bolt of inspiration lightening (she hopes). When I’m taking a break (or more like procrastinating), I like to look up baby names. Not so much because I want to pop one out in the foreseeable future but rather to come across interesting names that might lead to the next compelling character. When I came across Mitch, something about it seemed right and I can clearly hear Sharon, the mother, calling it out. Apparently, the name is a form of Michael and means “a gift from god.” Sharon has great expectations for Mitch, not just for his recovery, but all through his life which is subtly revealed by the photographs that showcases accomplishments (ie. the degree in page one and Sharon and Mitch holding an award on page two). It seemed appropriate that Sharon would pick or agree to a name like Mitch for her precious son.
They say the third time’s the charm. That seemed to be the case with the third page of Helping Mitch which was smooth sailing in the beginning. Until of course I brought the page into Photoshop and spent the better part of the day fixing the bottom half of the last panel (which I’m still not ecstatic about). I like to do studies of materials I don’t draw regularly and work out the compositional elements before attempting the final copy. I tried to wing the shards of glass because they looked easy enough but ended up repainting the sad lumps in Photoshop. Once you move, erase or add one thing, it’s like a domino effect and you end up fixing a chain of things while trying to maintain a textural consistency. In hindsight, I think redrawing the panel would have been a better idea because editing it took as long as drawing the entire page. When I have enough distance from the panels and stories, I might go back and redraw some of the more problematic ones.
Thank you for stopping by and reading! I really hope you enjoyed the third page of Helping Mitch as much as I enjoyed writing and drawing it. This may not come through as I share my struggles, but making comics is a lot of fun and creatively fulfilling. Even when I am struggling, there is nothing else I would rather be doing. In fact, when I’m doing something else, I’m thinking about making comics. I look forward to the fact that each page and each panel presents different challenges to overcome. My intent of sharing the process is to embrace the struggle because it is part of the creative process. I hope the struggle doesn’t go away because it might mean that I’m not learning, pushing or growing. As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts on Helping Mitch or your own experiences with creative struggle.
And the scribbling continues…