I’ve been in some creative doldrums lately. I haven’t been able to get anything big done. I’ve gotten small stuff done but that somehow doesn’t seem satisfactory. It’s odd how there is certain stuff I consider basic that I always get done but since I always get it done I don’t consider it as accomplishing anything. If I add it all up it’s an accomplishment but it’s hard to see since it’s not big like a painting or a drawing.

The first thing I always get done is my webcomic posted on this very site. I’ve posted over 2100 of my “Four Talking Boxes” strips. That’s a lot. Way back on January first of 2010 when I posted the first strips it was cool to get them done. I worked hard to figure out how to do a comic strip I would have time for. It took two years of false starts before I came up with my method.

The first part of the method was that I made my own clip art of my six characters. That took two months or so. I drew six different versions of each of their heads plus six different versions of their bodies. I drew those versions all facing left and then turned them around so that they were facing right too. In the end I had 36 versions of each character to chose from.

The next part of the method is to write the strip. In the beginning I used to write it at night. Whenever I could. Sometimes one a night and sometimes three a night when I fell behind. Each week I’d get five strips done that I’d post three months from when they were finished. When I started out the strip in January of 2010 I was months ahead with finished strips and I’ve kept up with that pace.

A few years ago I switched to writing in the morning. After I shower and I’m getting ready for the day I write. I have a template with four boxes and eight balloons in it that I write in. It takes anywhere from fifteen to twenty minutes to write a strip and after I’m done I have breakfast. It’s part of my routine now so getting it done almost doesn’t count with me as getting something done. Weird.

I used to put together five strips on Thursdays. It just ended up that way. I got them done on Thursdays for a long time. Now I get three of them done on Sundays and two more done on Mondays. Or maybe on Saturday or Sunday. Or maybe all five on Sunday. I’ve mixed it up lately.

Another thing I’ve gotten done lately is drawings in my ink book. Those are my basic drawings that generate a lot of my ideas. Eight or nine small ink drawings a page in a 5.5 x 8.5 inch sketchbook. I get eight or nine pages a month done at about an hour a page. I’m on ink book eighteen and have been doing this for seventeen years. That’s a long time and a lot of drawings. It’s an accomplishment but it doesn’t feel like one because I expect that of myself. It’s basic to me. Even if it feels like I’m just spinning my wheels I can get it done.

I have managed to make a few of my faux comic book covers in the last month but not a ton of them. Last year I got a ton of them done but I haven’t been anywhere near that pace so far this year. Being that I can do then in stages, pencils, inks, and colors, I can pull one out at any time and work on the stage I want to. I finished up coloring some a couple of weeks ago but haven’t grabbed any since. I have over fifty of them done in my “Dreams of Things” series and, once again, this is an accomplishment but it doesn’t feel like one. After I do them I put them away. If they’re not lying around it doesn’t seem like I did them.

One of the things I do to help myself feel my accomplishments is to pull things out of their drawers and folders and put them all on display for myself. It’s sort of like putting on a one man show for one man. I imagine it would be a lot cooler if more people could see it but such is life.

Another thing I’ve gotten done is my “Drifting and Dreaming” strip. Or at least I’m done a bunch of cartoon art cards for it. Those I also do in stages. First I get a blank 2.5×3.5 baseball card size piece of Bristol board and then I draw a border around it and a word balloon on top. Second I draw a face in ink. I get ten of those black and white drawings done. I can do one in five to ten minutes and knock one off here and there.

After I get ten of them done I put guide lines in the balloons for lettering and then I write them. First I write in pencil so that I get my spacing correct and then I letter them in ink. I usually do all ten of them at the same time. The next step is to color them. That’s as you might imagine. I use my markers and color in the lines. Lots of little shapes and lots of capping and uncapping.

The last thing I can think of that I get done all the time is this very blog. I’ve been writing it once a week for over twelve years. That’s a long time. For the first five years the length of the posts would vary but for the last seven it’s been at least a thousand words a week. I think that’s when I started writing in a program that counts the words. I haven’t missed a week and that’s quite an accomplishment. If only such accomplishments meant anything in the world at large. Oh well, I’ll have to motivate myself in my small world.