Because Sometimes You Look Back and Wish Someone Had Been There To Tell You These Things.on December 28, 2010 at 9:13 pm
Hi. I’m Grymm Grymmowski. I’m a(n) artist/(web)cartoonist/comic artist/writer/webcomic creator. Whichever you’d prefer to use. Its all the same no matter which way you slice it. Webcomic creator may sound better to you than cartoonist. Cartoonist to you may sound better suited for animation. It really makes no difference.
I’ve been creating comics for something like fifteen years now and there’s a part of me that’s always going to consider a vast chunk of that time wasted. However, all that time has also led me to exactly what I’m doing today, so maybe its not too bad. Mind you, I don’t consider the time wasted because I spent it working on comics. I consider it wasted because I wasn’t REALLY working making comics.Don’t worry. I’ll explain that in a bit.
I’m not typing this to feel bad about the past. Because I’m awesome. And I’m set to only become more awesome. I’m here to offer a helping hand to any who might be reading and might benefit from this. Those in a similar boat to past me. I’m here to offer advice that I know would’ve benefited me in one way or the other.
As I said, I’ve been dabbling in comic creation for the past 15 years or so. Most of that time was spent creating ideas alongside Villemous and the real life version of Cyradwee as they’re both writers. As far back as middle school we were hashing out ideas. There were lofty thoughts of submitting to Marvel. Ideas of Marvel integrating our ideas into their X-Men storylines. This would soon be replaced with the idea of making comics on our own.
Our ideas were in a constant state of growth and change and maturity. We spent many years being OCD about stories and future ideas and making excuses instead of really creating a product. More interested in where a project was headed than how to properly kick it off. We spent a fair bit of time editing and re-editing submission packets to send to publishers. Time after time of character designs and sample comic pages being redone from scratch. They had to pristine and perfect. Occasionally… rarely… we’d get a response. Even more rare was the response being an actual note with constructive criticism instead of just a form letter of rejection.
We spent so much time trying craft something perfect out the gate. Then Vill and I start working on the Walrus. In doing so, we’ve improved in our respective fields at an alarming rate. Because we were actively working. Not squabbling over every little detail. Worrying what a publisher would make of this or that. Figuring out ways to convince “suits” that picking us up would be worth their time and dime. I stopped obsessively making character reference sheets and carefully inking every line. I played fast and loose after a while. Hell, I don’t even ink the Walrus any more. I refine the lines then play with levels and contrasts digitally.
What I’m getting at is this. If you want to make a comic… just do it. I know it sounds cliche, but for the love of god, cliches exist for a reason. Because they work. This works. Just start drawing and writing. It doesn’t matter if it sucks at first. If you have it in you, you’ll get better. We did.We went from having maybe a couple dozen people looking at our site on an update day, to hundreds and at time thousands of people looking at our work every single day.
So please, don’t waste your time sweating the small stuff. Don’t try to make everything perfect. Learn as you go. Realize that you’ve made mistakes and leave them be (unless someone pays you a worthwhile sum of money to remaster them that is). Learn from those mistakes and utilize that knowledge for the next time the situation arises.
So what if you don’t have the web know how to get a website up and running and no one to help you? Join a community like Smack Jeeves or DrunkDuck.com. Start there. All you need to do is upload pages and that’s that. Everything is is just extra topping. Join Project Wonderful and start bidding on blank ad space. Get yourself out there. Don’t fear failure. If you never try because of fear of failing, then you failing anyway. Better to try and give it your best shot. Do something! Embrace the boiling, roiling, creeping ideas in you. Gather it all up and pull it out. Hand over hand. Inch after inch. Lay it all down in front of you. Hammer and nail and shape it into something shove it into the face of the world.
Its worth it kiddies. Its worth it. I’m doing what I love here. Its not paying the bills, but if I keep it up, there’s a chance that one day it will. Its hard work. Its stressful. I spend too much time with my eyes open, my body hunched and sitting, and having to engage in a wide variety of behind the scenes stuff just to make coax things along. But its worth it. I’m adding something to the world. I’m a creator. Not just a consumer. The world is in desperately short supply of creators. Its easy to sit back and consume the works of others. Not everyone can be god of their own little creative pocket. But if you have it in you. You need to flex it. Wield it. Use it. Be it.
Nothing ever happens by just drawing fan art and character reference sheets all the time. Learn as you go. Refine along the way. Look at the past not out of regret, but out of pride over how far you’ve come.
Someone, somewhere, will love you for it.