Well, alright. For some reason I developed a major mental block about drawing this particular comic. It was supposed to be kind of the visual punchline to the things I had been talking about in the previous few comics, so the part of me that’s excellent at presenting my work to the world decided that it would be a great strategy to wait weeks between the setup and the punchline.
All the reasons that I put off drawing this one seem terribly dramatic to me, but when going to type it I realize that they pretty much all happened in my head. The setup that I’m doing now with this first chapter of Damaged Goods is supposed to talk about the motivation for my characters and set up things that they are going to be doing in storylines that will probably take me years to complete, and this stretch of comics in particular was meant to be me talking about why somebody decides to be an artist, and what they hope their art will accomplish. Using the fly thing and religion thing to talk about it, I was trying to say something about searching for meaning in general. I was trying to say it visually, so it would be pointless to try to explicate all of it in the blog attached, but the point was it was hard for me to write all that without thinking about those questions in regards to myself in a very detailed way.
I started to really look at my comics and examine what I was trying to do with them, and set up long term plans. One thing that I’m really not good at is the part of my work that involves presenting it to people in the best way. One thing I was doing during the past few weeks was going through the archives on this site and reorganizing them. I can make the strips, but presenting them in the best way is another matter. With the strips that I was doing over the last couple of years I was, in my own mind anyway, trying to set up the groundwork for these characters and their worlds, but I was working on so many things that I wasn’t writing any of it chronologically. I was writing a bit here and a bit there.
The best anaology for how I write, and I’ve done the same sort of things when I’ve written novels, is the way that I’ve heard Nabokov structured his novels. He would write a lot of it out of order, on notecards, and then complete the novel by arranging the notecards and bridging the gaps between them. That’s more or less how I’ve always written, although on different pieces of paper, not on notecards. I’ll write a bit of dialog or a scene for something that might not actually play out in the main storyline for years. It’s just how my mind works, and I think it’s best to let my brain wander where it will because I find a lot of new things that way.
One of the main reasons the idea of doing it in strips like I have been really appealed to me was that I thought each strip could be like one a Nabokov’s notecards, and I could just do one for this part of the story or that part of the story, and each little piece would sort of be it’s own thing that I could post and people could enjoy, and then eventually I could shuffle them around and the larger story would start to become clear for people. Also, I like to flatter myself by comparing my process to Nabokov’s.
The problem with that is that these comics were, once the larger storyline started to happen, meant to have conveyed particular pieces of information for people, and unless you’ve been reading my comics religiously since I’ve started posting them and also have an uncanny ability to remember all the little details of each of them, even ones that were posted a couple of years ago, they weren’t really going to accomplish that.
When I started going through the archives, it was kind of a mess. There were all these pieces there, but they were arranged more or less like they would have been in my notebooks, complete with sketchbook doodles and all kinds of random things thrown in there. So, I’ve gone back and arranged things in, more or less, their proper reading order.
I was doing other things, but I didn’t want to post again until I had finished this particular strip, because it’s meant to be a punchline to the previous one. This delay was me, in my convoluted way, trying to post these things correctly, because I’m going to try to have them arranged in a way that actually makes sense from now on.
The other problem with doing that will be that I’m trying to work on several different projects right now, so unless I completely finish one of them and don’t mention the others until its done, I’ll have to intercut the posting of some of the projects. So, the idea is to wait for a somewhat logical break point in one project and then post bits of another for a while. This strip I’m posting today will provide a good place to pause in the first chapter of Damaged Goods, and then for the next couple of weeks I’m going to be posting some shorter strips I’ve done that stand alone, and also some new portraits for the Douchebags of Comics trading card series. There are lots of fun things that have been going on relating to that, so I figure posting new entries for a bit will be entertaining.
I don’t feel as obligated to post things as complete and in order on the Facebook page for my comics and on my Tumblr, so as I go I’ll post things work in progress and pieces from upcoming projects on there, so if you’d like to follow those, please do.
This comic I’m posting today took approximately, if I had to estimate, 20 billion years to draw. I’m still hung up on the crosshatching thing and all of that, but it makes certain comics pretty labor intensive. The downside of that is that I don’t know if posting three a week will always be feasible, as my disappearing for the last several weeks might illustrate. What I’d like to do, to keep to a Monday/Wednesday/Friday posting schedule, as I’ve so often claimed I was planning to do but only managed to do in fits and starts, is make sure that, if I don’t actually post a new comic three times a week I will at least blog on those days. So, check back and scroll down to the blogs underneath the comics, and I’m going to try to make sure that there will at least be new things there.
Thanks to everybody that’s still been checking back, and if you check back on Monday you’ll be rewarded for it as I actually have the comic for the next post done already for a change :P