Man, I hate that. We all hate that. But maybe that’s just the laziness that comes with life in a tarnished country on its way out of the driver’s seat of history. I’m sure there were a bunch of lazy, bearded Romans thinking, damn, wouldn’t it be nice to make these lovely marble sculptures without really having to commit all my time and energy to ‘em… I mean, I’m missing all those playoff games at the Coliseum and the orgies, oh the orgies I’ve missed…
But that’s just not the way it works. Or ever has. Wanna make something cool? It’s going to cost you. Maybe it’ll be time or money or something. In my position, it’s always comes down to time. How much do I have, how much can I spend and what I give up by doing so? I was much better at making those decisions when I was new to the game. I didn’t understand the insidious vagaries of the commercial world, so my naiveté kept me going. Plus I was closer to home, surrounded by supportive people who could inject a little dose of healthy confidence when I needed it. And let’s not forget that I was simply younger, which meant I hadn’t witnessed as much self generated human idiocy. I’m sure all civilized life has always been a mess, but in the last decade, thanks to the wonders of technology and the ubiquity of cameras, it’s been so much easier to see the mess. We are a dumb bunch of monkeys and the only thing we’re good at is making more dumb monkeys and killing other dumb monkeys.
Yeah, I know, not my usual upbeat voice, but what can you do? Well, we did get to Pluto, I guess.
There is a glimmer of something beautiful on the horizon. The Civil War book is becoming a thing, not a notion. The question of the day, how much is it going to cost me to get there? Since clearing all the crap and returning to my old love/nemesis of pen & ink, everything is working. And working really, really well. But as any long time reader of this blog will tell you, working in pen & ink comes at a hellish price, basically huge amounts of time. Isolated time. Boring, inky, watch a lot of movies, listen to a lot of music, say no to a lot of opportunities kind of time.
For whatever reason, this is what I’m good at doing. I can take a story, sit down, conjure a layout, sketch until the cows come home, then ink the whole mess with precision and skill. Honestly, it’s about as difficult as breathing. But it takes forever.
And so I start to wonder, why am I doing this? I used to have ready answers: I was changing the world, I was positively affecting the lives of children, I was going to make a living… I had a lot of dreams. It seems I need to find some new reasons to remain highly motivated. Perhaps that’s my issue, that I need to be ‘highly motivated’ ‘cause there is no ‘slightly motivated’ way to do what I do. I cannot half-ass my way through hundreds of drawings. Not if I am to make something to be proud of. I’ve seen far too many artists lose their soul by trading in their time consuming A Game for some shortcut that leads to a steady C Game. What’s the point of that? It’s almost the same as clubbing a baby seal. I have no idea how they can even get to sleep at night. It’s no wonder they give up and seek other careers. If you’re not bringing something excellent into being, there’s no point in doing this. Go make money doing anything else and quit crapping up the world with trash.
Wow, that sounded harsh. Oh well. Must be Tough Love Day in the JC.
So, with the work coming together, with my creative world returning to a level of simplicity and productivity I haven’t known in years, with excellent projects on the horizon and with a freaking mason jar full of ink… it’s time to come up with some good reasons to keep this quirky brain of mine focused. Fortunately, and unfortunately, I think I’ll have a lot of time to contemplate such things.
Head down, back to the trenches…