Comic Talk and General Discussion

The process of creation
ozoneocean at 10:45AM, April 13, 2015
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This is an interesting topic to me and I'm sure I've written about it here before, but it never hurts to approach it again.
 
From the studies I've read on creative output the two main factors are skill and creative drive:
When you're young you have a lot of drive but not much skill. When you're old you have a lot of skill but not much drive: so there's a happy medium where people are most creative where those two factors intersect, which is around the early 20s to the mid 30s.
That's not definitive but it's true for most people in most fields, from music, to art, to physics, you name it.
  
I think there's another factor too though:
The older you get the more you can see ahead, like a chess master who can see a game 20 moves ahead. When you lack the experience  you'll approach a picture or story or whatever with no idea what it'll be and you're ready to just run with it and see what happens- because you lack the skill and ability to fully direct something to completion exactly the way you want it anyway.
When you DO have the ability and experience though you're able to fully visualise the thing in your mind to begin with, often in all its variations and even in a number of different media. So the process of “creation” can become a trial and a chore.
 
tupapayon at 11:44AM, April 13, 2015
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I will agree with what you said, mr. OO… it's probably true in most cases… now, I'm above the age mentioned, my writhing is mediocre and my art skills are poor, oh, and I post a comic page about once a month, so I'm the best person to talk about this topic… being self published in a small town I gained a little of local fame, a friend of mine asked me to share with a group of kids that were interested in art. They had the same question everybody asks, I have asked them myself. Basically how to improve, how to be more creative. I told them that in my case is the feeling of not being satisfied and not getting stuck. If I can improve I will, if I can't I'll just moe on. I've never taken art classes, nor creative writing courses, but I don't think they would hurt.
HippieVan at 6:01PM, April 13, 2015
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I think there's an element of focus as well. I've got a lot of drive, but it's rarely in one place for very long. I can focus on something exclusively for several hours to the extent that I forget about eating and sleeping and whatnot, but giving something consistent attention over a long period of time is a lot harder for me. I regularly have several different projects in the works and always more in the back of my mind, and as a result only projects that can be completed in a small number of long sessions have a really good chance of ever being finished. Like, the other day I taught myself how to use a knitting loom and made a hat. It only took a few hours. The odds of my ever using that new skill to make a sweater or a blanket? Pretty slim.
 
I'm working on it though! I have high hopes for my new comic actually getting done, but that means trying to take things one step at a time, not getting ahead of myself. My current plan is the write the whole thing and then start drawing it, because I know I prefer drawing to writing and won't want to go back once I get started. And I'll end up with a half-drawn half-written comic that I can't do anything with.
 
…but I do also have another comic project that I want to do. Haha, no! Go away, idea, and wait your turn!
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tupapayon at 6:12PM, April 13, 2015
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Hippy just touch the other thing that interrupts the flow of ideas… my lack of free time doesn't allow me to start a more ambitious project, so, of all the ideas I have in my head I chose the easiest, from my POV… But don't stop believing, some day one of the other ideas might come out to see the light of day…
ozoneocean at 12:48AM, April 14, 2015
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That's very signifigant!
As you get older the draws on your
time and your responsibilities increase a LOT, which pulls you in all
sorts of directions and limits the time you have to get a decent focus
on any one project because you have to apply that same level of focuss
to so many other things.
 
Even when you're starting
out as a student and you might have many courses to study for, essays
due, a job, and a social life you can still be pretty focussed and
creative because you often see the point of your focuss as more
important than the other stuff- either it's as a way to relax  or even
invigorate and renew yourself, or it's a needed escape/procrastination
tool.
 
Whereas the older you get the more responsibiliy you
feel for for all those other things- if you're doing something creative
you take it more seriously and it assumes that same “work” feel.
 
Maybe that's just me :D
 
bravo1102 at 6:57AM, April 14, 2015
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A writer once said creative process is sitting at the typewriter until blood forms on yourhead.

It is hard, but like anything there is learning curve and it becomes easier with practice and the mind is more accustomed to the process. There is less excitement because it is a path well travelled and the exits are well known but the difficulty lies at the end of the journey in the twisting roads of some neighborhood.  But with prior experience getting lost is no longer the great cause of anxiety it once was.  
So turning around because you missed a turn isn't a big deal. But unlike a Sunday drive and quite like life the creative process is a never-ending journey.  

Another writer likened the re-writing process to washing garbage.  Like putting a spit shine on a worn out pair of shoes with a hole in the bottom.
HippieVan at 7:46AM, April 14, 2015
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bravo1102 wrote:
Another writer likened the re-writing process to washing garbage.  Like putting a spit shine on a worn out pair of shoes with a hole in the bottom.
That's a great analogy for editing essays, too!
Duchess of Friday Newsposts and the holy Top Ten
KimLuster at 11:06AM, April 14, 2015
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I’m glad it’s been mentioned already, that simply having the time and means to properly devote your creativity and resources to a project goes a LONG ways…
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There's a reason I am much more productive and creative in the art department lately. My children are now old enough to be largely self-sufficient, or they're already on their own. Unless you're single with no children, or have a spouse who will take care of most of the daily stuff needed to properly run a family, or unless you just don't give a s**t, you simply don't have that much time to keep mega-projects running.
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And it just so happened that all my child-rearing skills were most needed during that sweet spot intersection Ozone describes, my early 20's to mid 30's… Ah hell, even 40's (yeah I'm not a spring chicken haha)!
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When I wrote a novel several years back (and children were still relatively young) I did it by getting by on 3-4 hours of sleep, and that ended up causing other problems… These days I can put in a couple hours drawing and painting and it doesn't cause any problems, but it took me a couple decades to get here…
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When I read people's ‘Author’s Notes' here on DD, I think one of the bigger causes of ‘burnout’ is people just can't juggle everything they have to do and also keep a webcomic going! Jobs, Family, just daily RL stuff… they all withdraw from the Time Bank Account!
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Time is a finite resource - and that's more than a metaphor!
.
PS: I hope what I wrote doesn't discourage anyone from having children during the ‘creative years’…  Yes there are lots of sacrifices you have to make but they're all totally worth it!  Yes, really, they are…!
maskdt at 4:11PM, April 14, 2015
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I'd say motivation is a major factor. I watched a creativity workshop just a while ago, and the participants were tasked with writing down as many ideas as they could think of for toys that would be in cereal boxes in the wild west in about a minute. Most of them came up with around 15-30 ideas. In a minute. Most people will complain that they don't have time to be creative, but the fact is, when you're properly motivated it really doesn't take much time to spit out ideas (which tend to get worse until you hit on something that changes the nature of the game, then they tend to get both better and more original).
tupapayon at 7:22PM, April 14, 2015
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KimLuster wrote:
PS: I hope what I wrote doesn't discourage anyone from having children during the ‘creative years’…  Yes there are lots of sacrifices you have to make but they're all totally worth it!  Yes, really, they are…!
I thought that was the moral of your story… people, don't have children before you have a succesful webcoming running for a few years…
On a side note, I used to hang out with a friend who wanted to do a comic, but he only came out with characters… everytime he had ideas they were about characters, never events or plot…. Gotta admit that the characters were interesting. Observing his process actually taught me how to have more complex characters, something I was laking…
KimLuster at 10:21AM, April 15, 2015
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tupapayon wrote:
KimLuster wrote:
PS: I hope what I wrote doesn't discourage anyone from having children during the ‘creative years’…  Yes there are lots of sacrifices you have to make but they're all totally worth it!  Yes, really, they are…!
 
I thought that was the moral of your story… people, don't have children before you have a succesful webcoming running for a few years… 
The real moral is to make sure you're rich first (or marry someone rich) so you can have kids in your creative years but don't actually have to raise them (dump them off on nannies and boarding schools) - then you can devote all your concentration on your webcomics!
MagickLorelai at 11:52PM, April 17, 2015
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When I first started posting comics, I was in my early 20's, still trying to figure out storytelling and how I wanted things to flow. It's true; I did a lot of “lol here we go” and didn't plan everything out ahead of time, which fucked the pacing of a lot of my early work. Small wonder I burned out on it, got frustrated, and hated how some of my characters turned out.
There are other factors that inhibit the creative process, too. Time is a big part of it, to be sure, and as you get older, that gets stretched thing. I would KILL for the chance to start a DnD campaign with friends, but the thing is, trying to make enough to get by means that whatever time I have is eaten up by work… or recovering from work.
And that's another factor for me, and many others who work creatively; energy. Because of various complications in my life, I don't have as many spoons to get through my day as I would like. Some days are better than others, and I can charge through recording five videos and then go on to complete two comic pages. Other days, I'm flagging so badly that the idea of penciling a panel makes my head hurt.
I think getting into the routine of working on something is important. You don't write a novel by imagining all the scenes. You write the scenes, then redo anything that needs to be fixed. But you gotta write it first. Actually, one of the reasons I fell back into doing comics after being on hiatus so long was because I ended up drawing illustrations for a series, and once the habit of drawing came back to me, I wanted to do more.
(Plus, making videos with illustrations and voice acting is a lot harder for me than drawing the comics, even if I'm still not confident in my art)
But it really comes down to the doing, even when you think nothing good is coming out. I look back on earlier comics of mine that I absolutely loathed, and while I still can't say I'm proud of them, they still made me smile from time to time and were fairly enjoyable. And clearly improved as I kept at it, too.
So, yeah. Things I wish I had more of: time, energy, and focus. Things I wish I'd done more of: kept at it so that my art didn't still look like it did ten years ago.
 
El Cid at 9:08AM, April 20, 2015
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I think a lot of times people just outgrow their ideas. Like, you may have been super-excited about working on that Dragon Ball Z-inspired action manga comic when you were seventeen years old, but years later as the project drags on, you'll probably reach the point where you're dreading every moment you'll spend on it. At that point, it gets easy to get distracted by other things going on, and you just want the project to be over and done with. I think the key's always making sure you're working on something you have a passion for, and if it's a longer-term project, it should be something you're still going to be interested in years down the road, or at least something that has the ability to grow with you.
maskdt at 3:12PM, April 20, 2015
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El Cid wrote:
I think a lot of times people just outgrow their ideas. Like, you may have been super-excited about working on that Dragon Ball Z-inspired action manga comic when you were seventeen years old, but years later as the project drags on, you'll probably reach the point where you're dreading every moment you'll spend on it. At that point, it gets easy to get distracted by other things going on, and you just want the project to be over and done with. I think the key's always making sure you're working on something you have a passion for, and if it's a longer-term project, it should be something you're still going to be interested in years down the road, or at least something that has the ability to grow with you.
Yeah, working with your own ideas goes a long way. You get control over how it all evolves, whereas if you're working with someone else's canon, you're going to be at least somewhat restricted by their ideas. It's one thing if you're in contact with the person came up with the idea, but it's another when you're working completely independently of them.
bravo1102 at 3:57AM, April 27, 2015
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Definitely helps if your creation can grow and change. Because even if it doesn't take years to finish it you will not necessarily be the same person you were when you started it and sometimes the creation takes on its own life and wants to grow and change.  Whether that's the influence of your mind or a muse or some personality growing inside a story or character is really not important. Making it happen is. Putting those ideas together and finishing them.  Like any firend they can be re-visited and the aquiantane reestablished but come to some kind of conclusion because there's always another story waiting and wanting to be told.
El Cid at 8:02AM, April 27, 2015
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I think a big part of why I've been able to complete so many lengthy comics over the years is that I tend to keep the scripts “soft,” so that they have room to grow and go into unexpected places. I usually have only at best a cloudy idea of where a comic is going when I create the first page, and know that I'm only going to discover what story I'm telling much later on, as it develops. It keeps the whole creation process exciting… though of course it's also very risky and not for everyone!
Genejoke at 2:19PM, April 27, 2015
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Hmmm, there is something to what ozone said about creative hotspots.  for me, it's a later in life hobby.  I do it because I want to in my free time.  I'm not making high art, I just seek to create and share.  I don't script too hard, much like el cid says.  there is room for my projects to grow and develop as I do.  it is important for me to feel inspired to do what I do, there are many ways to do this.  Art wise, I can do better than I usually produce, but it's finding a balance to actually have an output, otherwsie i would end up making only a few pages a year and I would scrpa more than I make.  
ozoneocean at 7:45PM, April 28, 2015
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How important are deadlines in the creative process?
I find that cam be quite stimulating. But they have to be enforced/important enough to need or want to stick to, self imposed deadlines are so easy to blow through and ignore.
How do you setup and stick with self imposed deadlines?
 
bravo1102 at 3:38AM, April 29, 2015
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ozoneocean wrote:
How important are deadlines in the creative process?
I find that cam be quite stimulating. But they have to be enforced/important enough to need or want to stick to, self imposed deadlines are so easy to blow through and ignore.
How do you setup and stick with self imposed deadlines?
I don't.  I did a couple of times because I created an extremely rigid work schedule where everything was written out and I could just floow along like a checklist.  I haven't been that organized since.

And for everything else I plead for extensions or spend every minute of the last few days desperately trying to get it all together.
maskdt at 3:22PM, April 29, 2015
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ozoneocean wrote:
How important are deadlines in the creative process?
I find that cam be quite stimulating. But they have to be enforced/important enough to need or want to stick to, self imposed deadlines are so easy to blow through and ignore.
How do you setup and stick with self imposed deadlines?
That's kind of down to your own personality, isn't it? Some people just have the natural willpower to set their own deadlines and actually stick to them, and some people don't. Personally, I can set my own deadlines, but I know when it's not realistic or beneficial to stick to them. This is especially important for me, because I've experienced firsthand just how badly excessive stress can hurt you. For people who have trouble sticking with self-imposed deadlines, I'd imagine that making that deadline external in some way might help. For example, you could get a friend or family member to do check-ins with you to see how your progress is coming along.
Ultimately, though, self-imposed deadlines don't work for everyone, and there shouldn't be any shame in not having one. Not everyone has the time, resources, or energy to put out a comic on a strict schedule, after all.
tupapayon at 12:57PM, May 4, 2015
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ozoneocean wrote:How important are deadlines in the creative process?I find that cam be quite stimulating. But they have to be enforced/important enough to need or want to stick to, self imposed deadlines are so easy to blow through and ignore.How do you setup and stick with self imposed deadlines?

I personally come out with a well thought schedule of when and what needs to be done. Then I come out with even better thought reasons for not sticking to the schedule… I call it food for thought…
last edited on May 4, 2015 1:00PM
bravo1102 at 5:54AM, May 6, 2015
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Set realistic goals. If you miss three pages a week, cycle back to two. Find a work pace that you are steady and comfortable with.

The busiest RL can still allow for work on one's hobbies with proper budgeting of time.  Set aside a reasonable amount of time or a reasonable goal EVERY DAY to achieve. Then reward yourself.  I have a friend with a very busy schedule who sets aside an hour every day to work on his hobby regardless. You'd be surprised how much time you while away doing crap that you could be working on some project or another.  And as you grow older your habits are that much more entrenched and harder to break.

However with age many appreciate their time more so can focus better on what they are working on. In my 20's and 30's I could create but not focus. Finishing long term projects eluded me. I could discipline myself for a short term project but finishing anything major just never happened.  Now I find myself getting rid of the materials I had collected for these major model projects.

Set that specific goal. For writing pick a page or word count. Not time. It is so easy to sit in front of the screen for your time and accomplish nothing whereas the creative forces can be unleashed if you just do SOMETHING and have to do SOMETHING that work period.  So there has to be five pages done every day. It doesn't matter what it is, you can jump form idea to idea but it has to be five pages.  Often the specific project will come together over the days spent working away.  It can be a page of a comic or even a panel or two panels.  

Depending on the project my goals differs.  Each comic I've done has a little different work style with backgrounds, shoots, set-ups and designs so the goals differ.  For Tales of SIG I'm looking at a page a day. For shooting I try to manage an hour a day. Which never happens. I can usually manage an hour a week. For script writing I usually hold myself to two-three pages a day and any more is gravy.  Find out how your mind works and be honest. Do not rationalize failure. Look at it realistically and evaluate it without emotion.  If you're fucked up admit it and use that fuck-up as the basis of an improved plan of action. No fuck-up is so serious that it can't be muddled or worked through. Anything can be fixed. You just have to work up the right repair plan and how far is it possible to go to get it fixed. (yes even the clicks of death on a hard drive can be retrieved if you're willing to spend the money if not you can find a way around it. What do I still have and how can I go forward with that? Interstellar Blood Beasts had that happen where I lost EVERYTHING. But I found a way around it)
last edited on May 6, 2015 6:17AM
bravo1102 at 6:14AM, May 6, 2015
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Just to break up this ultra long page of text.  At current count I have finished 1032 pages of content. All of it is completely worthless to most of you. But I can point to having finished comics under my belt and having searched for and created work patterns that work for me. I have finished projects and worked to schedules. And even more nearly all of this was done after my 35th birthday. Even with my military training I did not have the discipline and focus to finish stuff before that.

Now from the scribbling of idea through the design stage and actually building the stuff (models and costumes) I'm doing still takes years.  Interstellar Blood Beasts was written back in 2006-8. The model of the ship was started at that time and not finished for a couple of years. There were a whole pile of snags with costuming and set design. I put together and totally scrapped several scripts and set concepts until coming to one that could be produced simply and cheaply.  Most of the Belle's Best ideas were first conceived around 2003 with the scripts not being put together until the past two years.  

Along the way I created an entire framework to unify my body of work so it's all pieces of a greater whole. That helps me organize my ideas.
And that world and greater whole was first conceived when I was junior high nearly fur decades ago. It has taken this long for it to all come together with so many false starts and even long misguided journeys. But I've learned valuable lessons from every failure.  Attack of the Robofemoids would never have happened without the horrible debacle of Go a Viking.  Mask of the Aryans was just me fooling around with costumes and sets while trying to put together designs for Interstellar Blood Beasts.

And go forth and wallow in their awfulness and muse on the work habits and creative process that put them together even if they are crap with dolls and boobs. But even dolls and boobs require a lot of effort to put together and do it quickly and cheaply but make it look better than the sum of the parts used to put it together.
last edited on May 6, 2015 6:17AM

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