|Paging Mr. Herman 5x7" ink on Bristol|
A while back I saw a commercial for some sort of computer or tablet or whatever kind of technological gadget that was fresh on the market and the premises was that with this new fangeled technology you could do whatever it is you have mediocre feelings about doing. It showed two young people, probably fresh out of high school age and one said something like, the great thing about the time we live in now is that you don't have to have all of the knowledge to get started. You can start something and through information on the internet you can figure it out that way. Basically what it sounded like was something like this, we don't have to actually be good at anything. If we watch enough Youtube videos and read how-to blogs we can make things just as great as the person who spent half their life honing skills for. SERIOUSLY!!?
Honestly, how to videos and blogs are really great for those things we only sort of want to do so let's be happy that they exist.
"Talent has to work with knowledge to do anything well."-Andrew Loomis
Andrew Loomis is a wealth of knowledge and in his books he drives home this silly notion that hard work will take you pretty far.
A few years ago I was approached to work on comic book. It was an anthology of several artists/writers. I was stoked about it, until I had to do ALL of the work. I had to write it, draw it and INK it. At that point I had zero experience in inking and loathed it. I didn't understand it, nor had the desire to learn about it. Because of this the artwork suffered, horribly. The story was great and it even got me a gig to write another story, but nobody was knocking down my door to pencil/ink anything. In my defense I was always under the impression that one person penciled (drew), one person inked and one person lettered and none of these were the same person. It's just what I knew, so why would I ever think I'd need to learn how to ink and letter my own work? Well, if you're an independent creator you absolutely have to have knowledge or be able to pay someone else to do that for you.
Years went by and I never gave inking another thought until someone told me about Inktober. I thought it looked like fun and figured it was just something I could do in my spare time and gave it a shot. Thirty days of inking, at least I'd learn something in the process, right? It's absolutely right and it wasn't until just recently that I figured out what I had actually learned. I hated my first experience with inking because I failed and didn't put in any effort to make it better. I was thinking in a similar fashion to those dumb kids in that commercial. If I watched enough Youtube videos on how to ink I'd surely be able to do it too. WRONG! Only after putting in a greater amount of effort did I start to appreciate the process. I actually enjoy inking now. It's almost meditative and it's fun to see the pencil lines sort of come to life. I'm in no way prepared to dedicate the rest of my life to inking comic book pages but this whole experience taught me one of the most important lessons I've ever learned. What's crazy is that it's a lesson that I already knew, I've already done, I just didn't see it that way. How many times have I crashed my dirt bike or fell off my skateboard, but got back up and did it again? How long did it take me to train the dog to not go to the bathroom in the house? Those things were worth the effort to keep working on so I put in the work. With that I'll leave you with some more words from Mr. Loomis.
"Does it mean enough to you to give up time from other things in order to learn? Search quietly and thoroughly for this basic motive, because if it is powerful enough, it will give your efforts the strength to withstand discouragement, disappointment, disillusionment, or even seeming failure".