By Jeffrey Cheng
Up till now I have been talking a lot about the hard line technical aspects of producing a webcomic. But I am going to shift gears here and share my feelings regarding the softer psycho social aspects of what I go through as an artist struggling with a start up web comic. Future posts will now more focused on this aspect with intermittent dabbling on technical stuff as I develop my craft more or as per reader request.
I want to discuss the occasionally intrusive feelings of fatigue and anxiety associated with the long overwhelming road ahead of achieving some kind of success with a webcomic. And while I realize I may never see recognition or money from this project, deep down I really hope I do. Because, to be honest, I really hope to see some financial success out of the project in order to do things like: kicking funds back to my little sister the struggling actress in Hollywood North, break ends with my folks just ’cause, and augment mortgage payments. But at times, even though I have only been on the grind producing for the last four months, and I repeat ONLY FOUR MONTHS, I do get the gnawing thought of “What’s the point of all this if it’s not a sure thing?”
Well, I “MAN UP” as my friend Micheal Law would advise me to when seeking permission from my wife to go out for a pint of beer. To MAN UP is to do the damn thing and forgo NO and all the accompanying negativity. And what would it be to MAN UP in this context? Here is a list below for what I do to maintain. Please note that I will be expanding on some on the items below with individual blog posts in the near future.
Release all associated negative non productive thoughts and worries that induce overwhelming anxiety
Worries are future oriented. But creativity is maximized in the present. I have internalized these sayings off my Lululemon lunch bag because I read it on every shift during dinner break while I chew my food. So focus on the here and now and take one step at a time. Take baby steps to build an empire and enjoy the process of building this artistic endeavor. The Great Wall and the Pyramids were not built over night. Neither will a web comic.
Maintain a regular exercise regimen
I exercise at least three times a week. I alternate between hot yoga, jogging, and swimming. I climb the stairs instead of using the elevator at the hospital. Endorphins are released with activities that help keep mood elevated. This means that you can better endure rough periods of the artistic process with positive energy and thoughts.
Alternate web comic related tasks
Usually, I burn out while producing the actual artwork. I still struggle with inking and penciling so it is very hard work for me. But whenever I recognize burn out, I find that switching to other webcomic related tasks such as blogging, tweaking the web site, or research really helps. Because web comics involve so many different aspects such as internet marketing, blogging, art production, writing, and brainstorming; just alternate your focus to the various areas to keep things fresh and stimulating.
Take breaks from the web comic
If alternating web comic tasks does not work I completely fall back from the project and pursue other things. Take time to water other aspects of your life. Or build that bird house you’ve been putting off for months. In other words, nurture other aspects of your life. For example, I revisit painting on canvas as relief from the webcomic. Currently, I am working on a Tupac painting. In the future, I may decide to dive into a graphic novel or learn a new recipe. Taking breaks is good because it recharges that itch to create. It also allows the artist to step away from their work, distance themselves, and come back with a more objective eye that may result in fresh ideas or angles that benefit the final output. Do not underestimate the necessity for breaks.
Reorienting myself to the love of creating
Every couple weeks, I have to take a pause and remind myself to keep my head up and stay on the grind. I consciously get in touch with that itch for creating stories and narratives with odd funny pictures. And that alone is usually what fuels my train to overcome the steep hills of anxiety, uncertainty, and fatigue.
My name is Jeffrey Cheng. In the past, I have worked as a graphic/web/usability designer. Currently, I am a registered nurse working in Adult Psychiatry caring for the mentally ill. I am also an artist who loves to write and draw. Black Rainbow comics is the unholy amalgamation of this love mixed with the result of being over exposed to the bizarre delusions and disturbed visions embraced by my patients and my own weird ideations from a very young age.
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