Tiff 101 – Ideas and Working Through Creative Blocks
I said I was going to begin a series on how I do my work, since it’s a common question, so I will start with: This is how I do things. This is NOT the only way to do things. This is what works for me after over a decade of working on writing and comics.
Where do I get my ideas?
All around me. I am constantly thinking and it’s not always guided. I see something that interests me and ideas immediately pop into my head. This happens CONSTANTLY. When I’m doing anything, my mind is likely roaming onto other things. It doesn’t go away until I sit down and write it down and write it all down as quickly as possible so it stops. Most people would call that point that I can’t write anymore, writer’s block. It’s not. I’ve just appeased the need in my mind to record what I’m thinking.
Today, I have been seized upon by the need to work on a world I haven’t touched in years. The entire reason I wrote this story down was the above. I had to write it down to get it out of my head to move on to other important things.
Typically, I write things down in a bunch of long paragraphs, emptying EVERYTHING out onto the page.
Next, I start a simple outline, writing down the main events that get me from point A to point Z. It’s flexible.
Something as simple as this, which is my basic premise for Serin: Fairy Hunter. This should be done from start to end before beginning anything else. Sometimes you will have gaps. This isn’t the complete outline.:
THEN, I do another outline, breaking each section down further. :
- Set up History
- Introduce primary characters
- Reveal character dynamics
- Set up Current Situation
Following this step, I begin the scripting. Tacking each one of my sections as a chapter. My scripts look like the following, only this page was done using a Livescribe pen. I have moved up to digital scripting now in Onenote, but it’s similar with the thumbnails.:
I thumbnail in an odd way. I do it in my head. You can doodle in the little boxes. I just remember what it is that I want to do in conjunction with the layout and script and don’t forget.
When I began doing comics, I wrote completely on the fly! Then realized how inefficient that was!
Now, on to actual writer’s/artist’s block. It’s not fun. I get it on occasion, but it’s rare and here’s how I deal with it. I don’t if I don’t absolutely HAVE TO. I work on something else. I work on what I am currently energized on as far as it will go, then do something else, because if I don’t, I will get bored or burnt out.
This means that I have hundreds of pages of scripts and stories that have NOT been actively worked on. They are there to burn off my creative desires until they are fully scripted. I deal with the need to switch from story to story more frequently with writing than drawing. Thus, I do not suffer writer’s block that often, because I just STOP and move on until I’m ready to add to it, and right now, I am inspired to write on another story called Prince, that has been inspired by me watching Youtube videos of a favorite tv show from when I was ten. Starman. 😀 I LOVE this series and it’s the first time I’ve watched it SINCE I was ten. It reminded me how much I love this ‘Walk The Earth’ trope and that I HAVE a storyline set up to be that. I’m going to work on it right after I’m done with this. This has another purpose, funneling my creative desires into NOT putting this trope into one of my other comics, because Alien Dice has the perfect setup for it that would be SO EASY to incorporate, but it would require some activities that my characters are not ready for. 😉 It would also bypass a whole bunch of my plans just so I could have Lexx ‘Walk the Earth’ 15 years later with a daughter he never knew to find Chel. 😀
I try to do the same thing with drawing, but unlike writing, I tend to have to do some art every day. When I have a bad art day, I only have so many days I can stop drawing. I work on so many different comics to keep some variety in what I’m drawing so I don’t get bored, but I DO still have those days where everything I do just doesn’t turn out right. If I can, I pencil on those days or do something I want to do or just don’t do any art. Sometimes, I have to push through it and accept that it may not look as good as I want. I usually just resolve that I’ll do better on the next page.
Read a favorite book, watch something, don’t try to push through it unless you really have to. Your work will suffer during the push through process. I have clear spots where I can see my lack of interest/writer’s block in some of my work. I don’t like them. I did end up better once I pushed through, but it’s a difficult process and most of the time it resolves itself out of the blue when I clear my mind. You can go back and fix it easier in writing than art. I’ve had to make a rule to myself to NOT go back and redraw everything I didn’t like, but just to do better.
BTW, if you drink soda. Stop now. It will clear your head and memory in an amazing way, this goes double for diet sodas. I used to suffer racing thoughts that were even worse than what I do now. Now, I can control them most of the time. I can also recall things so much easier. DUMP THE SODAS. Drink tea. 😀 (I still enjoy a diet cherry coke once a week. It doesn’t hit me as hard as it used to when I’d be on a soda IV.)