Last month I participated in a month-long art challenge called Inktober. This is a challenge created by artist Jake Parker as a way for creators to spend a month creating a piece of work every day.

This year I did something a little different. I wanted to get out of my comfort zone. Because my ultimate goal is to one day be a comic book illustrator, I decided to make a five-page comic.

Why did I decide to do this? First of all, I knew I would learn a lot. First, I started to understand how to put together a story. Though I’ve been practicing illustration for a few years now, I had never practiced writing. So, this definitely stretched that muscle.

Second, I began to learn the intricacies of putting together comic pages. How to make stories flow from one panel to the next. How to fit images in tiny boxes. How to convey emotion. Those were all things that I had not been practicing and know I needed to. I was also forced to draw new poses, backgrounds, and props that I was not used to drawing.

Third, I began to understand what a time commitment comics really are and how much preparation they take. I did not prepare nearly enough. I did not have thumbnails planned out. I did not think about page layouts beforehand. I did not do preliminary sketches. And I did not allow enough time for each drawing. Because of this, my finished work wasn’t as good s it probably could have been.

Lastly, there’s simply just a lot more I need to learn! I struggled with posing. I struggled with environment design. I struggled with writing a script. And I struggled with figuring out what images were needed versus which weren’t.

All that being said, I am proud of what I accomplished. I expected that my comic would be riddled with mistakes. I expected that my weaknesses would be revealed. I expected that the finished product would not be as good as I want it to be. Why? Because it was my first attempt. It would be unfair to put the pressure of perfection on something I’ve never done before. It takes time to hone skills. Years in fact! If you looked at the work your idols made when they first started, you’d see that they were figuring it out as well. I am proud that I was able to start and finish a project! We need people who finish things. We need people who aren’t afraid to make mistakes. We need risk takers. That is how we learn and that is how beautiful work is made!

Until next time.