I really need to learn how to draw faster.

My art style has always been sort of cramped and fussy and sort of timid-looking, which I kind of like (the whole world’s a little to BOLD for me, thanks), but it’s not so good for getting stuff done, and getting it done quick. And being a really fabulous artist isn’t just about how well you can draw, but how quickly you can draw well. I mean, any half-decent artist can make something wonderful if they spend eighteen years on it. It’s the ones who spend eighteen minutes who really make an impression, get all the good jobs, etc., etc.

I’m bringing this up because I just spent most of November working on three little book pitches. I got most of the writing part done, but I only managed to draw ONE measly little bit of finished concept art. When I realized I was in danger of falling behind on the Serenity stuff, I had to put all the rest of it aside for a while. This is simply unacceptable.

Now, I worked in animation for a little while. I know how to scribble things out pretty quick if I have to. In fact, that’s the FUN part. Rough drawings are what I like. I can get four or five Serenity pages done in a day if I’m just scribbling out some rough layouts only I’m meant to see. It’s doing those finished, final, ready-to-present-to-the-public-and/or-potential-publishers artwork that’s like pulling teeth for me. I hate whittling things down to one solid line. I hate having to carefully figure out tones and perspective and three-dimensional rendering. Don’t even talk to me about color.

I find no joy in Photoshop.

It’s sort of like I’m addicted to that initial flare-up of beautiful, scribbley creativity, but then my brain quickly glazes over to the point where I’d rather just ditch it all and go refresh CHUD.com for the twentieth time that day.


This is the extra-sketchy version of page 21 from Goodbye Crestfallen (final here):

The End of Interest.

At this point I have completely lost interest in the drawing process, and am quite possibly staring at my cat or thinking about John Carpenter’s The Thing. Maybe I’m eating a cookie.

This is indicative of a dangerous lack of what professionals call “followthrough.”

And I have the same problem with writing. I love making plot outlines and scene descriptions and little bits of dialogue and whatnot, but once I’ve come face to face with that vast expanse of horrible, soul-devouring blankness in MS Word… Hey, maybe I should check and see if Matt Yglesias has updated his blog!

Anybody else have this followthrough problem? Does EVERYone have this followthrough problem? How do you get over it? Or more importantly, how do you get over it without an employer breathing fire down the back of your neck to get things done faster?