This week Mitch continues his journey of coming into his own which leaves Sharon concerned and anxious. If you are new to Helping Mitch or need a quick refresher of the story (since a certain creator takes so long to update 😉 ) you can find all the pages here.
I’ve been rather indecisive lately, particularly around minor details, so committing to design choices became the challenge of finishing this page. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that the story is coming to an end in a couple of pages and obsessing over the many ways of representing music in the absence of the musician is a form of procrastination. (I hope you like the reference to John Coltrane’s Giant Steps in the background).
Although I’m looking forward to a new project that’s been on the back burner during the production of Helping Mitch, I have this weird feeling that can be best described as anticipated loss. You know, you live with your characters, they occupy your thoughts and dreams, you get to know them intimately, and then you have to say goodbye. I’m really going to miss Mitch and Sharon however flawed they may be. This is probably a good sign I need to get out more.
Loosely related to feelings of anticipated loss over fictions beings, I’ve been contemplating a lot about motivation and the ‘big why’ behind the work that I do. This was spurred on by a course I just began on personal projects as well as a conversation I had with a friend who posed the question: ‘If you are doing this for yourself, who is waiting for you to finish?’ What exactly drives someone to hunch over their desk alone for hours instead of spending time with real people when the weather is so lovely?
Honestly I don’t think I can fully answer the ‘big why’ at the moment and maybe there are aspects of motivation and creativity that cannot be ‘known.’ I just feel compelled to make comics and I don’t want to stop. I find the process of writing and drawing comics endlessly fascinating and see huge potential in the medium as an approachable way to understand each other. It’s hard to articulate really but making comics allows this scared little girl inside to be okay in this world. The personal growth that results from overcoming the fear of putting your work out there and exploring issues through storytelling has been incredibly rewarding.
I’ve also been thinking a lot about the external influences that drive someone’s creativity. Although I may have stated this before it is worth saying again: connecting with other creators has been fundamental to my own artist growth. I am inspired every day by the thoughtful content that you guys (the blogs that I follow) share and your determination to pursue your interests and passions. I am also really grateful for those who take the time to read this little blog and also engage in ongoing, meaningful conversations in email, the comments and reaching out on twitter. I think the ‘big why’ lies in the intersection of all these things which for me makes it worthwhile to spend countless hours alone in an attempt to turn vague ideas into something tangible.
Of course these questions will come up again over time. As I grow as a person and an artist, I may have a completely different response three months, one year, etc. from now. That is truly exciting. Until next time, keep scribbling.