On Projects in General

“Projects are the new resumes."-Seth Godin


Projects are the life blood of art— at least they are for me. Before I started doing projects, I was drawing the same characters over and over again. Project have helped me to get better at art faster than just drawing the same characters over and over.


My first project died quickly. It was a comic for my fanfiction One Wish. I actually did well on the first few pages, but my skill level couldn't make it look like I wanted it to. I wasn't good at perspective and I couldn't make my drawings look like the ones in the manga. I finished a total of two pages and sketched one. When your vision brought to life on paper doesn't look like what you envision in your head, then the passion dies.


Then— One Wish back in high school:





What I was able to do a few years ago using Manga Studio:





I was frustrated the whole time I was drawing my first comic. It was slow compared to writing and it was a ginormous project. I planned 55 chapters. I imagined at the pace I was going that it was going to take about 20-30 pages or more to finish one chapter. If you do the math 30 pages times 55 chapters is a whooping 1650 pages— at minimum. I could only do one page per day after school. My motivation and my passion for the project died quickly.


From Faeryland (and finishing two fan fictions and not finishing a plethora of other projects) I have learned a few thing about completing a project:

  1. You must love the project or you will lose your drive.

  2. Make it about something you genuinely care about.

  3. Make the project small and manageable— no sprawling epics until you are seasoned.

  4. Contain your creativity— work with constraints. It will help you to be more creative.

  5. Plan EVERYTHING. How long do you want it to be? How many drawings? How many words? How many chapters? What do you want it to look like?

  6. Work within your current ability. If you don't know how to do watercolors— don't learn for a new project. For a large project you want to know how to do each individual step before you start a project otherwise it will frustrate you and take away your drive to move the project forward.

  7. The smaller the project is, the more chance of it actually getting completed.

Finishing a project and letting it just be the way it is very difficult for me. Although both The Mysterious Box and A Love Story are both technically completed, I am still not satisfied with either of them. Fighting to get a project finished is half the battle. The second half is editing it and getting it perfect— exactly the way you envisioned it. You have to be satisfied so you can move on to a different project. You can't constantly go back and redo the same project over and over AND expect it to help you get better.


I successfully redid Mr. Miacca and I am fairly satisfied at its completion. The first time I didn't know what I was doing or what my vision really was. As you can see below, figuring out what you really want a project to look like can make a world of difference.


Before:





After:





Projects are work, but I find them worth every moment spent because I have something tangible to show for it. It is a labor of love, but I feel so satisfied when a project is complete. Make your projects and make your portfolio something you care about so you can keep working on it. Progress is the goal— Always.


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