I’ve got a blank piece of paper on my easel right now. It’s not quite blank. I drew a border around the outside edge. That’s how I always start one of my big ink drawings. It’s been on my easel for about four days now. That rarely happens. It’s not often I put up a piece of paper and then don’t work on it. There have been plenty of times that I’ve not worked on my easel for weeks and even months as I work on stuff either on the computer or on my drawing table but usually I have a finished drawing or painting on there.

I’ve been contemplating what a blank piece of paper on there means. It’s kind of nutty thinking about a blank piece of paper but that’s the kind of thing I do. I think about weird things like that.

First of all the drawing board that’s on my easel is white. So visually the blank piece of paper isn’t much different than the board itself. I even taped the piece of paper on the board and it sat there for about a day without a border on it. It was just a big blank piece of white paper taped to the white board with white tape. It was the second day that I decided that I may as well get started on the next big ink drawing and drew the border. Then I did nothing on it.

I’m not a procrastinator. Just the opposite. If there is an unpleasant task to do I like to get to it right away and move on. I like to get the thing done and then move on to things I actually want to do. I’m good at being self-motivated. I don’t need deadlines. I’ve known people who couldn’t get started working on a project until the deadline started getting close. They needed the pressure of the deadline to get them going. That’s not me. I’m good at managing time, don’t like deadline pressure, and can get things done on my own. My point is that the paper isn’t still blank because I’m procrastinating.

I’ve been working on other things since the paper has been on my easel. Lately I’ve been working on my “Dreams of Things” series of “Covers of Comic Books That Don’t Exist.” I’ve inked three of them and marker colored that many again. I’ve been woking on a bunch of 6×9 inch pencil drawings that I make for either those covers or my big ink drawings. As a matter of fact I’ve got about a half dozen drawings to choose from for my next big ink drawing. So why aren’t I working on one? That’s the question I have for myself.

Waiting around for inspiration is a bad idea. A lot of people think that’s how art is made. Something inspires and motivates an artist and so they get to work. That does happen but it’s rare. If you want to make art you have to get to work inspiration or no inspiration. That’s not easy to do. That’s why most people never do it.

I like to have a lot of different things to work on. That’s how I keep making art. This year after I got tired of making big ink drawings I worked on some 18×24 inch acrylic paintings. Earlier in the year, as I was commuting, I drew a lot of my cartoon art cards that I use in my “Drifting and Dreaming” comic strip. I aimed to get a year’s worth of strips done (that’s 52 of them) and so had to make 104 cartoon art cards plus another 52 regular art cards. It took me months but I got it done.

I have an 11×17 inch aluminum box that I keep unfinished work in. That includes my faux comic book covers and drawings for prints. Whenever I need something to work on I go over to the box and look through it. I can pick a work that needs to be inked or colored. If nothing catches my eye in the box I often look through my inkbooks to find a sketch that I can pencil and then set up to either be inked right then and there or go in the box for the future.

I also have my inkbook to work in. I fill eight pages a month in it with each page being about seven to nine small ink drawings. Some mornings that’s all I can muster. Any ambition to work on something big is gone so I work on something small. My inkbook drawings are not only physically small (it’s an 5.5×8.5 inch book) but they’re conceptually small too. The drawings are quick idea drawings that may or may not ever turn into something. They’re not finished works themselves so that makes them easy to finish.

That brings us back to that 22×30 inch blank piece of paper on my easel. What am I going to do with it? I think that’s why it’s still sitting there. I don’t have a satisfactory answer to that question. I’ve made nearly fifty of these big ink drawings so what is the next one going to be? I’m a bit bored with making them as I always have. I need to find something new to do with it. Or maybe something old.

I was actually looking through some old drawings and a couple caught my eye. A couple that were different from the rest. They’re the ones were I took a pair of my old paintings of a floating eye and geometric shapes and blew them up into big ink drawings. They used more of a graphic design space than my usual landscape picture space. I had forgotten I had made those ones and they looked new to me. Fresh.

The blank paper is still there looking back at me as I look at it. I’m not sure when I’ll get to it but I think I’ll get to making some sketches of eyes and shapes first. I also want to draw another portrait but I have no idea of who to draw. But that’s for another day. And another piece of blank paper.