Showing posts with label mcblack. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mcblack. Show all posts

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Productivity and Motivation: Jason Franks and Paul Mason

Part three of talking with self-publishing/small press cartoonists about productivity and motivation.

Do you experience a drop in productivity upon completing a comic? Have you developed methods to deal with creative lulls? What do you consider the primary obstructions of your productivity?


Because I am principally a writer, it usually takes months or years for any given piece that I write to see print--so I'm already well into the next project. In fact the converse is probably true: depending on the publisher, pushing a book through the lettering/production process might interrupt my writing schedule for a period, so my productivity usually goes up right after a book comes out when I can settle down and get back to creative work.

After spending maybe 4-6 months solid on a book writing, drawing, colouring, lettering, assembling/pre print etc, especially ruining my body clock in the process, I can’t help but blow off a few days doing very little creatively as I recover. Read a favourite book, stare at the idiot box, dust off the Playstation for my twice a year game session etc, and maybe sleep longer than 5 hours.

But no method is better to beat this than the next pending deadline/task on the list. I remind myself “Don’t be an amateur”- This applies not only to my comic tasks, but also my sports or work practices. A pro would tough out the pending tasks and get it done. I figure I can’t reach my goals screwing about, and not bringing out new stuff. Not much of a method, berating myself mentally, but it’s true. It’s the same when I have to find the time to train for a world championship or tournament while working, studying and comicing- I might have worked all day at the day job, sat through peak hour traffic, get home to more work, an empty kitchen that needs groceries, sort a meal out, prep for the next day etc. and think the last thing I want to do is exercise. “Would an amateur relax? What would a champion do?”. There’s my answer. That comic page needs to be done by the end of the evening. “Would a pro watch TV and play video games instead?”

The fact that I hate one of my day jobs, and I have a doctoral degree to complete soon is a motivation. Improvement should always be an answer to procrastination. Don’t just “exist” in life. Accomplish things.

The enemy- Social media. A necessary evil in terms of keeping in touch, promotion etc, but you can easily get caught up looking at nothing important at all, chatting to people etc. A great time-swallower. Really though, the enemy is me. The TV or internet doesn’t turn itself on. It’s a battle, since comics can be a solitary pursuit, and the social media contact can be an alluring time-waster. But my main drive? Reminding myself that I don’t have much time; every minute wasted is potential sleep time disappearing, and that book down the track might not get done on time.

Monday, December 3, 2012

2012 in Review: Jason Franks

Over December I'll be running some brief year in review interviews with Australian and New Zealand cartoonists and comic folk. Kicking things off today with a good friend of mine, Melbourne writer/cartoonist Jason Franks.

Jason Franks

What have been your personal cartooning/comics highlights of 2012?

Without question, the highlight for my own work has been McBLACK TWO SHOT. It's not the first time I've worked with Bruce Mutard but it's the first of our work together that's seen print. Putting his highly polished and traditional art style next to Luke Pickett's brilliant crayon-and-notepad sequence, then Rhys James' super-modern digital painting and J. Stew's atmospheric, underground nightmares... I am ridiculously proud of this combination of artists.

Who are some of the comics creators that you've discovered and enjoyed for the first time in 2012?

This year has been all about Image for me. I've been mates with Justin Jordan for many years, so Luther Strode probably doesn't count, but a lot of my favourite new mainstream books have been Image stablemates. Green Wake by Wiebe and Rossmo. Who Is Jake Ellis? by Edmondson and Zonjic. Also this is the year I finally cottoned onto Locke and Key by Hill and Rodriguez.

My other big find has been Naoki Urasawa. I tried Pluto a couple of years ago and it wasn't my cup of tea; but this year I discovered that three of the manga books I was most interested in (old and new) are by Urasawa. Monster and 20th Century Boys are every bit as good as they are reputed to be, and I'm dying to get my hands of an English version of Billy Bat.

What is something non-comics that you have enjoyed this year?

I've probably found myself reading more prose than I have for the last few years. This year it's been a lot of Richard Morgan, John Steinbeck, Greg Palast, Evan Wright, China Mieville and Richard Stark. Some of these are old favourites, some are something new. On TV the only thing I've really cared for has been Breaking Bad.

Have you implemented any significant changes to your working methods this year?

I'm trying to put out a bit more prose fiction than I have in the last few years. Publishing my first novel has sort of opened my eyes to the opportunities in that world and the comics business is a bit sickly right now. I mean, when using Kickstarter to avoid the entire traditional marketplace is the great white hope for original comics you know there are problems. That said, I have a LOT of comics projects in the works and hopefully a lot more of them will drop in 2013 than we've seen in the last 2 years. I'm focusing on longer work--graphic novels and miniseries, as opposed to short stories and anthologies--and it takes a lot of time to get these bigger projects up and running.

What are you looking forward to in 2013?

Putting out more comics. There should be more McBlack and more Sixsmiths, but also, if things go well, a bunch of completely new stuff in a variety of genres. Hope to sell my second novel, too. I'm also looking forward to watching the continued growth of the local scene and to reading awesome new comics from local publishers.