In 2018 I stopped thinking. Stopped creating. Stopped loving comics.
Instead I was consumed by my troubled personal life, to the point where weeks passed, months passed, and before I knew it I was on an art hiatus.
Coming back to my comics after a year feels strange. My opinions are different, my priorities have changed, and to be honest (and this is the bit I’m proud of) I don’t care anymore. I don’t mean that I don’t care about my art, but I’m less fazed by what others think, or even by my own anxieties. Here’s how my art hiatus changed the way I see my art:
I’m happy to slow it way down #slowart
Being able to create art is wonderful, and succeeding as an artist is super fulfilling, but it’s not the Holy Grail. I’ve learned that family and (hokey as it might sound) inner peace is so much more important than fighting through the noise and clutter to ‘make it’. Art isn’t a race.
What I want to say matters more than what others want to hear
After the success of my first Welcome to Agency X (WAX) book, I had all the support to come up with another one. I was advised to make it about school this time. Make the characters younger. That’s where the market is. And at the time I thought, OK fine - it’s not really where my head’s at, but I’m sure I can figure it out. And if it helps get my work out to more people, why not. Coming back to WAX after a year, and looking at the world around me now, I’m not content to stuff a bunch of school-related jokes into a comic book and call it a day. I’m not interested in being the first to comment on a new movie or meme. I’m not interested in being #relatable. The market can stuff it. My voice has value.
Quiet brilliance is a worthy goal
Which brings me to quiet brilliance. I’ve always loved this phrase, but ironically I’ve been fighting, along with a billion other artists, to be heard. Not anymore. I don’t care about the numbers, the verified tick, or the fame. My new dream? Cult following of a few diehard fans sounds pretty darn good. Meanwhile I’ll be over here working quietly on that One Good Idea.
I’m so excited about how my new outlook will change my new output, and it’s great to have you along for the ride. And while I wouldn’t wish my personal troubles of the last few years on my worst enemy, I’d encourage you to take a break from your art one day - and see how it changes your work.