The land that lies between idea and execution in called work. I’ve heard many a creative person bemoan the fact that they have no ideas. They wanted to do or make something but they had no idea what to make. I can understand that because ideas aren’t always so easy to come by especially by those who aren’t really practiced at it but I’d say that at least as often people are scared away by how much work it took to see an idea through. If you are not dedicated to putting in the work it takes to pull off an idea there is no point in starting. That’s where a lot of people find themselves. With no point in starting.

I find myself in that place when dealing with video. I want to work more in video but it’s an inordinate amount of work. It’s also one of the most collaborative of the mediums. It usually takes a whole lot of people to make a movie. People who want to make movies are usually very motivated to do so. I’m not as motivated when it comes to video so I never seem to get anything done. That’s the way it is in the land between ideas and execution.

I’ve also met plenty of people who are reluctant to talk about ideas. They often say it’s because they don’t want to give anything away or that don’t want to jinx anything but I’ve noticed it’s just as often because it’s embarrassing to talk about an idea that never comes to fruition. Sometimes a new idea get you so excited that you don’t know you’ll never be able to pull it off. Once you realize that you can’t pull it off you come crashing down hard. That is no fun.

This topic comes to mind today as I sit here and reflect on some work I’ve done and some work I have to do. For a while now I’ve wanted to make some kind of book. A physical book. I’ve managed to finish a couple of digital books over the last year or so but nothing I can hold in my hand. I decided to look into some print-on-demand stuff on the web once again. I’ve looked before but usually the books aren’t suited to comics or art. They still aren’t but I noticed one site started doing fairly cheap full color twenty page magazines. That intrigued me and I thought it was something I could maybe do.

Of course then it took me a while to nail down an idea. What did I possibly want to fill twenty pages with? I have enough art I’ve made over the decades to fill plenty of twenty page magazines but that still doesn’t mean I have an idea. I did finally decide to go with art and not words though. My last two digital books were a comic book and an art and story book and I didn’t want to do any writing for this one. I already have a third digital book ready to be written so I wanted a purely visual one. That lead me to some recent drawings I had done. My “Painted Lady” cover series and my Swirl series.

Both of those series involved female figures with decorated bodies so they fit well together. The only problem was that I only has three of the Swirl prints finished and I was going to need ten if I was going to fill up the twenty pages. I decided that wasn’t going to stop me and I would finish six more. A bold idea but now I’m in the middle of the work part and it’s a lot of work. It always is.

At first I decided I’d work on them two at a time. I’d draw two in pencil at six by nine inches, blow them up and ink them at ten by fifteen inches, and then scan them into the computer to color them. Sounded like a good plan but after I finished inking the first two I really didn’t feel like working on the computer to color them. So I drew and inked two more. That took the better part of two days by the way. A lot of work.

Today I decided to start coloring them. Working on the computer seems to take more out of me than working at the drawing table. Especially this type of coloring. I color these Swirl drawing in Illustrator but the technique I use is to draw more color shapes than are in the ink drawing. I color the ink drawing in flat colors and then add swoops and shapes of color with no black holding line to add depth, dimension, and interest to the drawing. It’s similar to what I do in my paintings. It takes a bit of thought and contemplation to do. And I have to build it up piece by piece. It’s one of those processes that takes longer than it looks.

Since I had four of them to do I made the decision to get as much done on them as possible without finishing them. That allowed me a little more speed at the beginning of the process because often finishing them takes the most thought and energy. That’s when I have to look at the piece and judge all of my decisions to see if they work. I find that the further I am from realism the more thought it takes to finish a piece. Especially these pieces for some reason.

As I write this I made it through coloring three Swirl Women today. I didn’t finish the three but I got most of the work done on them. I still have the fourth one to start plus one I have left over from when I first started doing them. That’s a lot of coloring left to do but I’m burnt out for the day.

Another of my habits is to put my finished drawing onto my painting easel. I stack them up there, usually two across, so I can look at them. Right now I have two of the inked Swirl Women up and I have to say that I’m very happy with them in black and white. I’m sure I’ll be happy with them in color too but there is something to be said about the simplicity of a black ink line on white paper. Plus it’s making my head hurt right now to think of how much work it is to color them.