I’m feeling the fast today, I’ve decided to put off lunch until after the blog is up and out. That’s some real life concrete motivation.

I started up on a fresh-ish concept I came up with a few months ago, based on a mischievous chubby cat character driving a tank that I doodled out of boredom once. He has been given his own series inside my head called Carl Bastard and is a gun-toting love letter to all the gun-centric action media I’ve ever been charmed by. The dream is for it to become a sort of anthology series where each Volume recycles some of the main cast as new characters in a fresh setting, and each volume is totally littered by technical Gunplay Scenarios.

While re-invigorating the dusty pilot of this dreamed-of series, I’m experiencing a new type of determination that I seem to have plucked from the ground, I’ll let you know as soon as I figure out where it came from…

I used to listen to podcasts or audiobooks while drawing, but I realized with sudden force that this is unacceptable. For someone like me, who’s mind cannot delegate focus to more than one thing at a time, the distraction of a human voice derails my ability to put 100% into the artwork. Silence is the same, as my inner voice starts speaking in repetitive, maddening nonsense if I go too long without ambient stimulus. For me, this leaves music, which is great. I love music, many many kinds of it. For the purpose of working I put together a number of instrumental playlists. 

I used to not think that, once the action and composition were laid out (the thinkin’ bits) I could mentally disconnect and follow the roads that I’d already laid out for myself and be in good shape, without the need for total focus. I realized last night that this is in fact WRONG.

For maximum creative efficiency, I must get immersed! In my case, that’s setting the lighting correctly, making a playlist specific to the project and making sure my environment is as tuned as possible to what I’m drawing. Then I shut out all distractions and set to work.

The effect of this is sort of like a good meditation. The longer I spend staring at my page and considering the lines in their relation to what I’m trying to convey, the more I start to go in, considering details and thinking inside the story, inside the characters’ minds, considering their motivations, thinking about the tools and items they’d be carrying with them, how much cash they have on them in that moment. A torrential repeating review of the setting, Meta-Vision, the Plan, personalities, physical deformities, preferences, possessions, favorite colors… And like brushing dust off of a fossil, each pass and each stroke of energy reveals the vision in more clarity. It occurs without active focus and while working. 

I think that probably anyone can do this in any medium and I encourage readers to try it if you haven’t already. The main thing is to cut out distraction of every kind. If you can do this, you risk reaching levels of creative consciousness that you may not have known were reachable. I figured this out literally yesterday, after doing this for more than 20 years. 

What an idiot.


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