Self-Motivation When Drawing Comic Books

By Chongchen Saelee

For those who dare stay tuned with my life, I’ve been busy working on an independent comic book called “Jackpot Bloom”. The script runs about about 100-some pages. I’m officially 34 pages in, and I have yet to color them. There’s also the marketing materials and covers I have to paint.

The problem when you’re trying to tackle these momentous feats of projects is you may get burned out.

And that’s why I have to pace myself. You are getting paid to bring the text to life in your illustrations. So you need to make sure your quality of art is consistent and clean. Or at the least, the way I see it, good enough.

The way I stay motivated is to keep thinking about the overall project. Sometimes, I like to look at all the pages that are completed. It reminds me that it is possible to complete. And since I’ve already published the first 30 pages as a proof, it also helps to refer back to the dummy copy.

I like to draw in hour sessions. I then take 30 minute breaks. Each page takes from 2 hours all the way up to 6 hours. They seem simple, but in actuality, you have to do a lot of minor editing. And knowing my style, it tends to look very sketchy and unfinished. In this case, I have to push it just a little bit more to make it more “presentable”. It’s not what I’m used to.

But I also like to draw when there are no distractions. It may seem easy since it’s already typed out, or that I’ve already did a rough layout underneath it, but it still requires energy to fully visualize the page. Every stroke and line and empty space needs to be drawn in or filled out. It won’t draw itself even though you can see it. So the complexity and accuracy of each page is based on your competency as an artist.

Ultimately, you have to bite the bullet and just finish each page. That’s what you’re getting paid to do. After each page is satisfactory, I like to look over the entire page for glaring mistakes such as typos, missing characters, additional lines, etc. Because any mistakes might change the context of the page completely and you don’t want to fix those later. Of course, if you have to later, you have to, but it’s better if it’s locked down earlier.

So if you’re an aspiring comic book artist, my best advice is to just do it. There is no other way. No excuses. Draw like your job depends on it (LOL). Because it does.

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