Thursday, July 17, 2014

Indy Creator call to arms

The one question or comment I seem to get a lot since embarking on this little indy comic making venture is the disbelief in how regular the books have been coming out. The irony of it all is that quarterly release was literally the slackest release schedule I was willing to allow myself if I was going to undertake a running series like From Above.
Now admittedly I've only been doing this indy comics thing for 12 months but I can testify to the fact that writing and drawing your own comic is possibly one of the most fun projects you can get if you are aspiring to work on art as a career (can you make a stand alone living out of an indy comic - i would say you'd have to be extremely fortunate and incredibly hard working - but never say never).
Having worked in the toy industry for ten years, as well as having had the opportunity to work in video games and even get glimpses into working on animation, I have to say that doing your own indy comic will possibly be one of the most rewarding projects you'll ever get as an artist (Doing covers would also be the bomb :) ).
This is a project where the only constraints are really your own motivation - it's your product, only you yourself can be held responsible for any shortcomings. What I mean by this is that in any other job you're working for someone else. The art will always be compromised in some way or another: Production methods and costs will dilute the original concept, input from so many other parties will cloud the original vision, optimisation for running smoothly in a game engine will simplify the desired visual... And if you think a quarterly deadline for an indy comic is tough, then ask a professional artist working for any of the big companies what its like working to a monthly release deadline where several individuals must be consulted for approval.
Working in toys, working in games, or any business venture where you are having to hit extreme deadlines - art is still fun, but it sure as hell ain't relaxing.
What I guess I'm saying is that I love indy comics and I wish more of them came out more regularly. It's pure undiluted creative spilt out onto the page. I wish more people did it. I savor nothing less than when I hear a big name in comics has decided to embark on their own creative project, it means there's something coming our way that just emanates the love that has gone into it.
As an artist my major enemy is distraction, and I don't mean from other responsibilities. There are 24 hours in a day, I can always find time for art. My major enemy is distraction from myself - recognising that my indy project now has a fixed deadline means a certain level of dedication and diligance. It's so easy to just spend time doing some one off sketches so to satisfy my current whim (in fact I really want to draw one of the animated series turtles right now but after I finish writing this I have a 6 page sequential story to work on instead - and I will love doing that story!)
Its about recognising priorities. In fact when you break it down you'd be surprised how much time you really have in a day. I now spend time working on my comic rather than playing xbox, or watching movies (but at the end of the day i can still find time to do these if I wish).
I have the longest to do list at the moment that I've ever had in my professional career and i really couldn't be happier. My only dilemna is prioritising them as they will all be incredibly fun to do.
What I am saying in a nutshell is that I love independent creator material and I hunger to see more of it! I look at the output of indy creators like Frank Candiloro and Ben Michael Byrne and i say to myself "I want to aspire to a level of output like them!". Tell me who wasn't excited to hear that Nicola Scott would be doing her own personal project - I can't even begin to imagine what the visual magic of Earth 2 would translate into when it was replaced by a creator owned vision. I love Tom Taylor's writing on titles like Earth2 and Injustice, but I absolutely adore the The Deep and his short The Example.
So Indy creators, lets get more of our stuff out there, lets shrug off the preconceived shackles of irregular release schedules, let's replace " I don't have the time" and instead replace it with "Let's make this awesome!". :)

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