On changing format

What do I do when I realize I’m having a hard time keeping up with blog posts? Do I accept that I’m just not good at blogging and try something else, or do I force myself to keep up with it? I’m doing this mainly for me, so I shouldn’t be afraid to be bad at it, right?

I have a similar struggle when it comes to drawing, and especially when it comes to comic pages. I love the medium! I just feel really bad at it right now, and that’s made it difficult to get work done on Blythe vs. the Werewolf. That’s a problem when I have just under four months to complete 60 comic pages. I know my limits, and I know that four months probably isn’t enough time for me. I also know that the longer I put it off, the worse it’ll be.

So what do I do? Do I fight through it and hope for the best? Or maybe I push back the deadline. I’m not thrilled with either of these options.

My self-imposed deadline for the thumbnail stage was May 31st. I never got past the sketches for the first four pages. Every time I sat down to work on them, I hit a mental block. I dreaded them. The draft was a mess and the thumbnails were supposed to act as my first revision pass, but that turned out to be far more daunting than I’d anticipated.

Maybe I was stalling. After all, once I finished those thumbnail sketches, I’d need to draw the actual pages. I was afraid of getting to that stage. I don’t think it stemmed from a fear of my pages not being “good enough,” at least not entirely. I know I have it in me to make comics. I’ve completed shorter stories! But it’s been close to three years since I’ve completed one, and I’m a bit rusty.

That’s fine, right? Just work through it! Right? Well, maybe not. What if the reason I’m having so much trouble making this comic is because I no longer want it to be a comic?

Back when I first came up with the idea for BvtW, comics were my medium of choice. I wanted to write books, too, but the majority of my projects were comics. Strange Company, Beast of Bourdevy, and Maidenhair were all conceptualized as comics. In recent years, I’ve gravitated towards illustrated prose as my format of choice, for a few different reasons. For one, I just don’t draw fast enough. I’m much faster at writing. Prose is also less stressful and therefore more enjoyable for me. I feel much more comfortable with prose, and more confident in my ability to write well than my ability draw well.

I don’t want to give up drawing and comics altogether, of course. I still love both, and still want to do some shorter comics in the future. I just don’t yet have the stamina to do longer comics. Prose is more viable for me, and illustrating it allows for the visual element without overwhelming myself.

BvtW was supposed to be one of my shorter stories. Sixty pages is still relatively short for a comic. For some reason, I thought it was too short to switch to illustrated prose. My looming deadline says otherwise, and I started to wonder: If Strange Company and Beast of Bourdevy take place in the same world as Blythe vs. the Werewolf, would it not be more consistent to change its format after all?

I was conflicted, so I sought a second opinion from my best friend (and also best brainstorming partner). She said, “If that’s the medium of choice for the world, what you’re more comfortable with, and think you’d be able to handle better, why not?”

That was the push I needed. I’d envisioned BvtW as a comic for so long that changing it up was difficult, but that bit of encouragement made me realize that I was leaning towards a format change for a reason. I want to enjoy the process, and right now, pairing prose with the images I’m most excited drawing about sounds like the best way to achieve that. That, and this being a shorter project means it’s a good way to practice and test the waters with this format.

Am I playing to my strengths, or am I being fickle? I’m trying not to second guess myself here.

I’m still not sure what to do about my blog posts. I may just keep them sporadic and put more of my energy and focus into BvtW. We’ll see how this goes, and I’ll try to report in every so often.

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