Friday, July 20, 2012

Chickens ... and "Everything is going According to Plan.. (...even when it's not!)


I though opening this post with drawings of a bum-fuzzled little girl was a nice complimented the "What's the point? Should i just chuck it all? Quit? Retire? Am i creatively losing my focus? Out of ideas? Spent? " Don't worry, i'm not there right now. But we all ask ourselves this sometimes, don't we?  

Also, thanks to Chris for reaching out and being so honest and frank about it in his comment, that took a lot of guts. ( 2am after several days of sleep, i imagine it's pretty easy to feel creativity dwindle a little. ) I know can't answer that question for Chris, or anyone... but it's once HAVE asked myself that question at various times. 

For what it's worth, believe it or not, i struggled with finding a voice for the better part of 10 years. But i was more stupid and stubborn you guys, intent on ignoring feedback from others and make every artistic mistake in the book. 

Most of us don't get the red carpet rolled out.  It might seem like that for someone like me, but if i wasn't stupid enough to stick around for 10 years *before* the Marvel Covers, or Maxx, Zero girl Bimbo, whatever... then it might not have even happened. and tons of guys put in 20 years and never find creative fix or a wider audience. 

Some just have beats down the bushes to FORDGE their own path. Alex Pardee is a good example. Sometimes their way is not even in comics or illustration, some people paint after work, weekends, or when-ever the muse strikes. Spared their creativity those bone crunching deadlines work-for-hire artist can't escape. 

As i veer dangerously close to becoming almost twice your age, i too sometimes asking myself: "Have i done this before? Draw this face one too many times? Stuck in feed-back-loop? Inch by inch.. slopping into being a 'hack'. How do i keep this (face, figure, panel) fresh and not stale or boring? The same concerns you talk about, just from the a different age. 

So all that proves is these questions don't ever totally 'go away,' do they? They are 'unpleasant friends' to all us artists, like it or not. In my case, these have questions CAN kick my ass, force me to work a little harder, wake up, not take ANYTHING for granted. My wife, my work, even flawed faces i draw, of that Certain Angle of that one figure i will NEVER will be able to totally nail down, EVER... no matter how many years i keep trying. 

Because, for me, (and i can only speak for myself, duh)... for me... with a mind as crazy as mine...  ***anything*** that take my mind OFF my neurosis... or OFF my screwed up flawed drawings... and instead puts my mind safely back ON the 'Physical Act Of Creating' itself... for me that's the closest i'll get to any kind of 'answer'. 

NO... your not nuts. 

Yeah, it CAN suck.  Sometimes. 

I don't mean to come across as self-pitying either, i know i'm hella luckier than most. I won't presume to know you Chris, or your personal or professional situation. But if i were you, No... i would not chuck it all. Not just yet. 

Creativity can grow. Morph. Mutate. Mine did. Does. For better and worse. Frustration that our drawings don't look like the picture we have in our heads … is always a struggle. For everybody. Like that De Niro line in Brazil: Were all (stuck) in this together. 

Sometimes these creative droughts CAN begat some really awesome stuff. Sometimes, ICK..!  Even a little self-compassion.  I'd told this before, but there are about the only two artists i keep coming back to are Jeffery Catherine Jones and Moebius.  Not saying their the best, just the two i keep fishing inspiration out of.  Probably just me. 

Always, many years ago at a comic con, i cornered Moebuis and showed him page after page of Epicures art… neurotically pointed out what i considered all the flaws on every single panel. confessed i was in a rut, stuck in detail-for-details-sake, couldn't seem to  draw anything new or original.. 

After i was finished, i sat there, spent and empty. He sat there looking at my work, then at me, hand on my shoulder.  He finally said in his thick french accent.

" I have it.. know your problem is?" - "what" i asked? 

" ..too hard on yourself. " 

hang in there buddy. 


PS: Jon will throw up a new chickens page i did on Monday.. and if you liked the First Batch of  'up close pics' i did above... then check out the Second Batch of these up close pics at the Chickens site. 


jennifer kraska said...

How very cool of both of you!
Chris for putting himself out there, and Sam for taking the time to respond.
I too believe that we are our own worst enemy. This can be very difficult / borderline crippling to overcome sometimes. I've had to teach myself to enjoy the process of creating. IF something cool comes out of it......bonus. (btw-all this is way easier to say than do)

Derek Oberg said...

A lot of great stuff comes from screwing up and ending up with something that you never would have tried for intentionally. Even if you feel like you're putting out nothing but garbage, you ARE going to find what works and what doesn't and cumulatively end up with a style to call your own. You just have to persevere.

Sam, you're notoriously hard on yourself. And yet a signature/credit is completely unnecessary on your art. I love the couple of places I've noticed where you sign as "Who Else?" because I completely agree, and it's what makes you so amazing. Even at your worst NOBODY out there is doing it quite like you do.

juvinwo said...

Sam, what a fantastic story about moebius! That brought a tear to my eye :) you are crazy talented and an inspiration to do many. If someone as great as moebius could see that, then there is no doubt as to why WE all see it :) you rock man! Loved the mars attacks variant! I grabbed it right away even though I don't read the book AT ALL.

Marcus Collar said...

great story about Girard

and yeah NEVER give up Chris or anyone

sometimes I feel like art is all about CONFIDENCE

Sam Kieth said...

Man, you guys n' gals take my breath away here... !!

You've have summed it up eve better than i did in my blog post. Will usually try not get too personal in the blog posts, but only reason i did so this time, is that not just chris or me.. but we've ALL been in this spot before.

Cool to see we're not all alone in that. No one is totally alone.

Thanks again gang for reminding me what matters most.

who else?

: )

Distrakt said...

Excellent post, needed this one indeed! Thank you.

lucasirineu said...

Man, what a wonderful post.

And Sam, don't worry about getting too personal... Whenever I'm reading about your personal experiences here, even if you don't post lots of them, I always get to learn something new, and that's a wonderful thing.

Daniel Puch said...

Awesome post Sam!!! Thanks for sharing all that experiences with us!!!

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