If I didn't have that regulator in my mouth, I'd be grinning my trademark cheesy grin, I bet. Incidentally, trying to draw comics underwater... not so good when there's a current, actually.
So... I do other things in my life besides making comics and writing about comics... and making them. I work in a totally non-comic related job, I indulge in culinary endeavors (and enjoy them), I brave leeches, bugs and other pestilent things to see wildlife that most people wouldn't understand WHY I want to see, I toss around balls of fire on chains for the heck of it... and I scuba dive.
I often wonder what part of me is it that makes me feel alive when I'm swimming in a sea of blue, with the surface a blindingly bright glimmer far above me and all I can hear is the stream of bubbles issuing from my regulator. Is it the danger? Is it the disconnect from the everyday world and the entry into a new one that makes you feel that even if you died the next second, it would all be worth it?
Floating around in the big blue... Nothing to see here, all the good stuff is at the bottom.
I don't know. But one thing I do know... When making comics, you need to do other things as well.
I truly believe this is important as someone who spends most of their time only making comics and not living life can't connect with what they are supposed to make comics about. Like it or not, to make a comic come alive, you need to be honest. You need to put in a bit of your own life experience in, else it's going to be a sad, flat, soul-less thing.
If there was one thing I can say I finally learned in my love affair with comics for over a decade, that was it. I used to churn out a lot of shallow rubbish that had 0% Ping content in it, and I couldn't understand why I couldn't find the heart to finish them. As it turns out... I'm one of those people who can't write about things that I don't understand. I can't connect. So I need to write about things that do, or make it so that even though it's something that I may have not personally experienced before, it has some similarities to something that I have.
Back to the topic of doing other things... In the one period in my life when I stopped doing all these other things, my comic work suffered until I couldn't do it. Then I stopped comicking (yes this was during my hiatus). And I was miserable. Then I tried to start comicking again, and almost panicked when I found I couldn't. Not until I'd gotten myself out of the funk I was in.
I've found out recently that I'm not the only creator who has experienced something of this sort.
Anyway... during a decompression stop while on my recent dive trip (it's this thing we do where we stay at 5m below the surface and bum around for a few minutes, to give the nitrogen in our blood time dissipate.) Anyway, on my decompression stop while hanging on to this painfully barnacle-encrusted rope, my mind wandered and I thought about the current problem I was having with one of my comics, The Jaded.
The truth is, The Jaded is currently hiatused not just because I'm focusing on finishing The Longest Sojourn, but also because I'm having trouble re-identifying with it.
There. I admitted it.
Compounding my problem is my stubbornness and insistence that I at least plan to finish what I started. But I have a massive problem there. One can't just drop a comic for over 3 years and go back to it like nothing has happened. Things have changed. My mindset has changed. When I read my own comic all I see is the discrepancy between how I think now and how I used to think.
I could drop it and start anew. I have lots of other ideas for comics that would strike truer to what I feel now. But I want to finish The Jaded. I'm not going to be one of those creators who start something and leave it hanging.
I could restart The Jaded and start from scratch again. But that would be going backwards. I do not want to go backwards.
So, while still underwater and thinking about it while checking my depth gauge, it suddenly occurred to me that what I was doing now is a very likely thing for a one of the characters to be doing on some covert op. In a flash, the obvious solution came to me.
I needed to make situation in The Jaded match what I'm doing now. I need to make it identify it with me by dumping my old plans on how it was supposed to go and adapt it to what I feel now. I need to make the character change and grow just like I have. I need to change how the story goes, and scrap what attempts I have made so far because they no longer fit. I may even have to put in a timeskip to match real life.
It's not an easy solution, because it means a lot of what I previously planned will now never see the light of day. But it feels... right.
Maybe in a year from now when I finish TLS and restart The Jaded I won't feel this way... but right now... for the first time in years, I'm feeling optimistic about having to finish this comic again.