Doug TenNapel, independent comics creator, is an inspiration to me in many ways. He has a fun, accessible art style that is dramatic and fresh. His story telling is always askew in the best of ways. I don't think I've read one of his graphic novels without having some smiles and a surprise or two along the way. On top of that, he is outspoken about almost everything in his life. (I think of him as the Rush Limbaugh of comics- oh man, that sounds really bad, but early Rush, not present day Rush, if that helps.) I agree with most things he states on Facebook. BUT- the thing I am most inspired about him is his drive (in the old days we would call that "work ethic"). The guy does NOT give up. Because of that, he single-handedly will put out a new graphic novel a year. While creating a webcomic. While pitching new TV show development ideas in Hollywood. While running a half marathon. While working freelance jobs. While raising tons of kids. While serving his faith also. SO, when a guy like that gets asked "how do I find the time to create my dream comic book idea"- you listen to the answer. I do. I saw a posting he put up on his blog and it inspired me to keep focus. So much so, that I wanted to share it here. This applies to anyone with a dream project/ job you want.
Doug TenNapel – On Comics
Question: I've wanted to create a graphic novel using my own characters since I was 13. At 37 it's still on my someday/sometime list. Now, with 2 kids and one on the way, it seems extremely unlikely, but given your advice, I think I'll try to commit a small portion of time during the week and just get it started. Any advice on using small portions of time during your day to make progress on your story? I feel like it takes me a long time to warm up creatively.
Answer: Small increments are your friend. Commit to 20 minutes a day, 5 days a week for a year and you'll be a more prolific comic artist, piano player, or carpenter than most others who long to do the same. The key is in the longevity of your commitment, not in the amount of time you are committing. Set aside 20 minutes a day, preferably in the morning before work, and only work on your graphic novel. Do this for a year and you'll start seeing profound results.
The problem is that we aren't used to seeing our art as a craft or a skill that needs practice and discipline, not inspiration and feelings. On any given day my feelings come and go about my faith, my commitment to my marriage, my place in the world, my sanity, my desire to draw or not draw, my care about you as a person, but my values do not change. Try to find the values-shaped handles on your art, not your feelings. Tell me that you will commit to it, that you will simply do it regardless of how you feel about it and you'll accomplish a lot over time.
The ant is stupid. He has one millionth of your intelligence at best but moves one grain of sand until it is placed at its destination. Ants rework the whole world. The little termite can completely dismantle your house, not because of his passion, but because of his tedious, regular work at small, repeatable tasks. If you want to do something big, then the ant's way is one good way to try.