It’s hard to get things done. Really hard. That thought was banging around my head today as I was making my comic book haul video and showing off some of the “Dreams of Things” faux comic book covers that I’ve drawn lately. You can ask anyone who is creative and makes art and most of them will tell you that it’s no picnic getting things done. Especially if you’re not making any money for it. Then you have to find other motivations to get things done.

I have heard artists describe how they don’t like making art but they like having made art. That’s because it can be hard to make art. Art often falls below the expectations of the artist making it. Or it takes a lot of concentration, time, and effort to get done and none of that is fun. But looking back and being proud of the art you’ve made can be fun. There can be more satisfaction in that than in the doing.

In talking on camera about my “Dreams of Things” I used the word “Comfortable” to describe working on them. I had never thought about that before but it is a very apt word. I like to keep busy. Keep busy making art that is. It’s good for my mental health. I may not have much in life but I have talent and the drive to nurture that talent. If I was to just sit around and do nothing I’m sure that would be bad for me. But the question for any artist is always “What should I do?’ Since it’s hard to get anything done that’s not an easy question to answer.

From September to January I made a lot of big ink drawings. I was on a roll and liked making them. Though I would not call them comfortable. It was physically hard making them. They were all on 22×30 inch paper and were drawn on my easel. That means a lot of moving around, twisting, and turning to get the drawing done. It’s more physically taxing than working on a smaller drawing at my drawing table. It’s more mentally taxing too since it takes three days to make one. It takes more mental effort to work on one drawing for three days than it does to work on three drawings in three days. That’s the way it is for me.

So for the last month after making those big ink drawings I’ve been working on my “Dreams of Things.” I have a different method of working on my faux covers. It starts the same way. I look through one of my ink book sketchbooks to find a thumbnail drawing that I like, print it out at 6×9 inches, make a new drawing, scan that drawing in, set it up in my “Dreams of Things” template, print that out on 11×17 inch paper, ink it, and then color it with markers.

What’s good about that method is that I can stop at any step. I can draw one, two, three or more pencil drawings and then put them aside if I’m tired of them. I can ink one of them when I fell like it and then put that aside. If I want to work in color I can grab one of the covers off the inked pile. As long as I have a bunch of them in various stages (pencils, inks, colors) I can pick whichever stage I feel like doing without a ton of thought as to why. After all the why can be fatiguing.

That’s what brought the word comfortable to my mind. Often we think we have to challenge ourselves and do something new In order to achieve greatness or even keep up with the world but sometimes to get something done it’s better to go with comfortable. Why make things hard if there is no reason for it? If you want to get art done putting obstacles in your own way is probably not the way to go. The world throws enough obstacles at us.

I also made some cartoon art cards for my “Drifting and Dreaming” comic strip. Those are not comfortable. I have to write, draw, and lately I’ve also been filming them. That takes a lot of concentration. Each video of me drawing them is only 10-12 minutes long but that’s 10-12 minutes of total concentration. Plus that’s not counting the 5-10 minutes it takes to write each one. I find writing those weird little sayings to be a chore. I have to clear my mind and roll ideas around in it too. I’m not much of a procrastinator but I find myself putting off writing those cartoons. There is nothing comfortable about writing them.

I also recently finished a big 22×30 inch photo of the 1996 Marvel Comics office Halloween party. That took a lot of time and a lot out of me. It took about 50 hours to make and was in no way comfortable. I never expected it to be so hard to make but there was a lot of photo retouching involved. More than I thought at first. Making art can be unpredictable.

I’ve been feeling a little down about my “Dreams of Things” covers as I’ve been doing them. That aren’t as big, striking, and ambitious as the big ink drawings I had been working on. After working at 22×30 inches 11×17 inches seems a little puny. Any individual one seemed a bit of a disappointment. I wasn’t getting a lot of satisfaction out of them. But then a funny thing happened.

I’ve been putting them up on my easel as I’ve been finishing them. That makes them easy to look at. I know have three of them in a row on my easel and seeing all three at once looks pretty cool. It’s an “Impressionist Stacking” way of seeing them. I used them as the background for my video so as to show them off and that’s when the word comfortable came to mind. That’s what they are to me in this moment. Art that I could get done comfortably. And that’s a good thing.