Write Away

21 Jul

One of the hardest parts in cartooning for me is writing.  I just think it is awkward how it works.  Writing – unlike drawing or tying your shoes – is not typically consistent for me.  There’s going to be days when nothing good is written.  I used to sit there with a pen discovering new tricks to twirl the pen in between my fingers instead of writing.  Weird how that works?  I can draw regularly and it will be consistent, but writing doesn’t happen that way.

Writing is sometimes not as enjoyable either.  I enjoy listening to books on tape or music when I work on the drawing part of cartooning.  However, I can’t have ANY noise while writing.  So, it takes away an element I like.  I get very anxious sometimes sitting in utter quietness.  That’s why I can’t read for too long of a period of time (usually around an hour or so is a good stretch for me).  The “doze factor” will set in momentarily.  (It’s also why I keep these post as a short “rambling”, so anyone reading doesn’t doze off as easy.)

So, like issues I used to have with Photoshop or anything else that I need to tackle in order to perform task as a cartoonist, I decided I just needed to spend more time with my pal, Writing.

As of the last few months, I’ve upped my “quiet time” with a pen and paper to two hours a day.  I used to only spend about a half-hour –  at best.

I’ve noticed a few things by doing this.

One major issue of not coming up with ANYTHING has diminished completely.  I’ll now come up with at least something instead of juggling the pen in between fingers – that used to be my favorite pastime.  Though it takes away my practice for being a majorette, I’ve noticed that the ideas flow a lot better.  And don’t worry, a lot of the ideas aren’t great (in fact, often times they stink worst than my trash bin), but at least it’s something.

It’s also not such a struggle to do.  I’ve cringed many times thinking that I’m going to have to write.  I can’t say I hate it now.  It’s actually a lot more exciting for me to come up with a good story, gag or idea than when I come up with a good drawing.  I used to be excited over a good drawing with a crappy idea.  Now it’s reversed.

I wish I had the ability to write in a noisier environment.  I have a coffee shop across the street that I go to every morning.  I would write in there, but since I’ve been going there for two and a half years now every morning, I know way too many people and I can’t get a moment of silence there without a “hello” or someone pulling up a chair.  (Not that that’s a bad thing.  I enjoy seeing everyone every morning, but I just can’t relax and work there.)  I can’t switch coffee shops either, because they have the 90 cent Starbucks coffee (20 oz.).  I won’t pay more.

At any rate, I’ve mentioned before that writing IS the most important part of cartooning.  I’ve known that and have had a grip on it for awhile, but I’ve punched it into overdrive for several months now, and it’s paying off.

Not writing, or writing garbage, used to be my biggest vice.

Even if you can draw like no other, if you can’t write, cartooning is going to be a tough road.  I always wondered if Leonardo DiVinci had a comic strip, how successful it would be if he couldn’t write well?  I’m thinking it would still be read because I’m sure it would look amazing, but I just think about his punchlines.

I still think it’s weird how I can draw consistently but not write the same way. (You can tell just by reading some of these post.  I mean, yeeeacch!  Some of these are about as thrilling as a Dora the Explorer novel.)  I’m hoping that changes someday so that my writing is always just like the drawings – a regular thing.  But from reading about and knowing other cartoonist, I think it’s just a natural phenomenon that writing happens to be that way.  In the big scheme of things, it is probably that way on purpose – so one thinks.  Otherwise, it would be just like picking a scab.  Obviously, picking your brain isn’t quite the same (but probably a little bit more attractive).

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4 Responses to “Write Away”

  1. Bearman July 21, 2010 at 5:29 am #

    Some people I admire their drawing skills, others their writing skills. The rare one…both.

  2. George July 21, 2010 at 4:31 pm #

    When it comes to writing, I’ve discovered that it’s difficult to write something GOOD. I get frustrated when that one excellent concept refuses to rear its glorious head.

    What I do now when I’m writing is to allow ALL of my ideas to come out. I’ll pick thru the trash later to find the gems that I really want to use. If I only decide to write something if it’s extraordinary, I’d never let that good idea come out.

    Now as far as judging what’s a good idea….I’ll leave that up to you, but it’s definitely like sifting for gold. Let everything come out and scoop up the best. 🙂

    • Nate Fakes July 22, 2010 at 7:55 am #

      I do the same thing, George! In fact, an upcoming MAD piece actually evolved from a horrible (and I use that term very loosely) comic I did for the college paper back in ’03. Scraps often can lead to something good!

      And yea, even the bad ideas I’ll usually write down, because if I go back to them down the road, I’ll come across a use for it (sometimes).

      Just the routine of writing is what is great.

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