Being fearless

I was tempted to not write this down, but I’m afraid my future deliberations don’t make much sense if I omit this.

I struggle with identity. I don’t have enough of it or at least I don’t understand enough of my own inner workings to make something of me. My art and storytelling suffers from this, too. But today I have actually learned something that might help me to get ahead.

There is another reason why I don’t like rereading books or repetitions of any kind. Everything is emotional labor, coping with it, and when the work is too good and moves me too much, that causes a lot of emotion, especially pain. I would like to avoid this. I have a hard time enjoying new things, as I can’t know how much pain they will cause me. And I surely don’t like returning to things I’ve worked through already to relive the pain or possibly have some new one. This also explains why I like to stick to „safe“ genres like horror and action. Those usually do not challenge you emotionally. And of course, if everything is pain, there’s also a big need for comfort, such as food.

I haven’t seen it like this before but this is totally what it is. Also, it is not only about literature, everything promises pain. But I can’t not live to avoid the pain. Also, if I avoid emotion altogether, I am cutting myself off from the very thing I’m supposed to work with and create for others. I can even trace back when I decided to not feel to one single day in elementary school when an older boy intimidated me for fun on the school yard and made me drop my lunch sandwich on the concrete. I decided I’m going to be strong and not feel anymore. Understandable why a child would come to such a conclusion, but not the healthiest way to deal with problems in the long run. And my emotional development might be stunted since then. The social development was stunted too but caught up by now, for the other one I hope I still have time to get it right. Am I still mad about it? No. Nothing compares to the horrors of being a child and becoming aware of not being and not being treated as a „full“ human being.

When I’m at my best, I’m fearless. This doesn’t mean I don’t experience fear, but that I confront it. I’m not Kandinsky, so my art doesn’t have an abstract conceptual mission (yet). But how about this one: Read my art as me tackling what I’m afraid of most, because this is what I promise myself to tackle. I have some emotional development to make. This doesn’t contradict my rule about my art being made with love and coming from love. I love myself, so I want myself to heal and improve. I want to be brave, courageous, in my native language: mutig.

100 Days of SPREY – 21

Today marks the beginning of a new phase, the second phase of the hundred days of making Street Prey(SPREY) and I really feel the pull. I wouldn‘t have thought it, but by planning this event I might have programmed myself unconsciously to actually cross a barrier like with a self-fulfilling prophecy. Now the pace indeed got faster with tons of ideas what to do and how to improve things.

Unfortunately that means new uncertainty, too. I‘m not even in my familiar void now. So to keep creeping anxiety down I remind myself: I do have a base product, and that is drawing and releasing at least one panel for SPREY a day. If I decided to stop evolving here and never did anything again to improve myself, it would still work. If I had to, I could do this for the rest of my life. Now that is a base to work from, isn‘t it? I did not say that this will produce a stellar or the best possibele outcome, but I can tell, it will work and I will come through with the story. And that is what counts when you promise readers a story. You must finish it. Deliberations about quality come second. Now of course, if you finish a story but do it badly, you can still disappoint your readers. But nothing is worse than abandoning the story half-told.

Now the next big source of disappointment for my readers that I want to avoid is making false promises about what the story is about. I am aware that SPREY has one big tone shift in it that is not so apparent early on, but this changes nothing about the story. You actually get exactly what I layed out in chapter 1 as weird as that sounds. It is a romance first that tries to exclude the cruel world around it as well as the interior conflicts inside of the lovers but in the end can‘t. Their love that they are holding to even is the thing that forces them to change and ground themselves in reality more in order to survive and to keep the love alive.

Also I dared to think outside of my own box for a day. Is SPREY indeed more of a storyboard than an actual comic? I conclude, it is an actual comic. Very much simplified, a storyboard is like the recipe to craft something else, an animation or movie, while the comic is meant to be read itself. You can enjoy SPREY on it‘s own. The interactive elements add to the unique experience of SPREY and running through this for the first time. Not knowing the actual other endings but being aware there are decisions to make that influence it changes the experience. It is almost like in real life. Yes, you can make choices and change your course any day. But will you truly ever know what would have happened if you did or did not do something? Would you even want to browse through the other endings if you could? Experience can only give you an estimation where you might come out in the end later, hindsight analysis is a painful tool at times, but very good for learning. I guess neither me nor the readers that are here with me will be able to recreate this specific first run of SPREY ever and I‘m rolling with and honoring the experience.

So I conclude, SPREY is indeed an interactive romance comic. That is the unshakeable core of it. I shook it myself to make sure. I will take a closer look at the genre and world in the next blog entry. Note how the setting doesn‘t even matter for the core. The next layer of things gives my story a coat and more personality maybe. It is quirky already with the interactive elements, though.

100 Days – 15


The week started terribly, but I‘m all excited for it.

I had a plate of everything that you don‘t while creating today.

I felt so strong anxiety that I spent a couple of hours just being nervous and miserable, even procrastination wasn‘t fun. Then I did go to work, but quickly realized my brain wasn‘t working properly. You know that when the brain thinks you‘re in mortal danger, you shut places like the frontal cortex off – who needs speech and reason when you have to run or fight. That‘s really bad when you are reviewing a script!

But you know what happenend next? Calm and in a way amused I made a tactical retreat, meditated a bit, crocheted a bit, then got to work again.

Stephen Pressfield and other smart writers are warning their fellow creatives about days like these – they are part of the game. And no, the anxiety will never go away. But the job is to make the art, not beat the anxiety. So I looked for ways to not be anxiety‘s punching bag anymore. Then I had that flipped switch moment where you don‘t feel great, but you keep working, because you dissolve. Nothing is important anymore, there is only the work to do, even if best you can do is do it badly.

I would have been ready to make as many attempts at getting into this flow as I could stomach for today. I only needed this one.

  • I really carefully rescripted the very first scene of my comic that I‘m going to draw this week. I know my material now.
  • I made an updated to do list what has to be done the next days.
  • I decided for a simple 6 panel page layout that I‘m going to use. It might not be the most elegant thing to do, but at least I can’t get overwhelmed with making decisions on this front now.
  • And then I designed the costumes for Asmund and Corvus.

I apologize for the reduced quality of the pieces to what you are used from me, but I really needed to get this out and had to make…compromises. Read these from general deliberations to a clearer and clearer picture of what I want the costumes to look like. Absolutely no polish of the artworks to be found.

But, hey, tangible results! The character designs for my two main characters are mostly fixed now. It‘s okay for Asmund to look generic – as funny as it sounds, that fits his personality. His mage robe might turn into the more elegant darker red that the arch mage design currently has, but I already like tthe core of what I‘m seeing. The arch mages have the right to wear lush overcoats, so that they really stand out and look even more imposing. Lecturers who are full fledged mages, but not arch mages yet, have a right to wear an overcoat at all.The chancellor of the mage academy will have the privilege to wear purple and…will probably do not have a speaking role in this comic, but he surely is a nice person with a lot of great stories to tell.

Tomorrow it‘s Magister Grimm time again. Grimm hates the regular robes, the insignia, the politics, and colorful things in general I suppose. Let‘s see what he does to not look like an arch mage/lecturer within the boundaries that he has. And he can‘t wait to strip this from himself as soon as possible.

See you tomorrow!