Is it possible to have a mid-life crisis at 33? Maybe not (but I’ll be 34 on Saturday, so maybe the answer is yes lol).
Anyway, I went to a Chinese comics day yesterday, and it was very awe-inspiring, especially the young artist known as Benjamin who drew live on stage (yes I know it sounds boring, but you had to be there - it was amazing). Watch for him, he's going to be huge.
But the downside is that it left me feeling untalented in comparison. And I was showing my comic to people and not many people seemed interested and a few people even turned down free copies.
So there’s two things here - first up, the whole point of this blog is supposed be about my O Men thoughts (rather than my thoughts on the latest Lost episode lol) so I wanted to write this here, and also the other thing is that the intention of this message isn’t for everyone to write and say ‘nooo martin you’re great’ or something and rally round because I don’t really want that - because I think I'm figuring things out in my head.
Basically, when I started The O Men, I knew I wasn’t ready, but I figured that if I waited til I was ready, I’d never start. And yes, the first few issues were very rough but I think I’ve improved.
Now I’m at a stage where I am very proud of an issue when I’m doing it but when I get the final version, it sometimes doesn’t seem to be quite there. I don’t know what happens with my art, but somehow my pencils and my sketches look better than the finished version. Maybe, as a self-taught chap, I’ve missed out on some useful illustration courses/techinques. The final version often seems too simple.
But here’s the thing, I figure that I’m telling a story, this is a story I have to tell, and this is the form it’s coming in, good or bad. It could be a cave-painting, but it’s a story I want to tell. Art and story are just combining here. One thing I’ve noticed with my drawing is that I pretty much always, 98%, go with the first version of a drawing that I do. I don’t re-draw, and sometimes if I struggle with a picture, I’ll often realise that I like the first version (of many) that I’ve done. It feels like what I draw is what the story wants to be.
But maybe I shouldn’t settle for this. Maybe I should aim for more perfection. I just feel like I want to get on with it and get it done. I totally admit that there are a lot of panels that I rush just to get the story done, and sometimes it’s not what I planned.
What yesterday taught me yesterday was to analyse what I’m doing, and to really go for it - to really try to hone the artwork, to really not shy away from perspective and backgrounds, just go for it, and if it takes ages it takes ages.
I’ve got my Spandex project coming up and I am very excited about it. I have never, in all my 20 or so years of drawing, earned a single penny off drawing, and I really want Spandex to get published, and I’m really going to go for it. If this means spending years on it, then that’s the way it’s going to have to be... An if anyone wants to help me, to 'edit' me - because I can't tell if a page is good or bad - then they're welcome.
So I don’t know if this makes sense, but it’s from the heart, something that’s been on my mind since the comics day yesterday, and something I wanted to write down.