It’s weird. I’m back in one of my non-finishing stages again. By that I mean that I haven’t had the level of concentration necessary to decide on what piece of art I want to make and then make it. Start from the beginning and do all of the steps necessary to get to the end. It’s tough to finish things sometimes. And do you know what gets in the way the most? Thinking about how to make money. Of course. That’s why people get steady jobs. To not have to ever worry about how to make money. That’s why people stay at the same job forever even if it makes them miserable. To not have to think about how they will make money.

I’m not even in any kind of money trouble right now. No more than my semi-broke self ever is. I just go through periods where I think about how to make money off of my artistic skills. Every artist does. I’m just really bad at creating art when I’m thinking about money. Because that requires thinking about what other people want or like. I can do the thinking but not the executing.

It’s strange but if you want to get my creative process to totally short circuit then just get me thinking about creating something to be popular. I know some people can do it. They have their finger on the pulse of what people like. I don’t. Even when I think I do, when I think I have an idea that could be embraced by the masses, my execution is flawed. I’m just not a populist. I prefer going places with my art that not many people go to. I like images that no one has seen before. Odd off kilter things. Things that may make you vaguely uncomfortable. Unfortunately that’s not the path to fame and glory. People really aren’t fond of uncomfortable.

In pondering what makes thinks popular and profitable I’ve run into one main conclusion. Besides the conclusion that there is no formula for popularity and success. If there were then everyone would be doing it. No, the main thing I noticed is that if you want to be popular then make your comic/blog/movie/whatever about something that is already popular. A “Star Wars” parody is going to get a lot more interest than jokes with no pop culture tie-in. People like what they already like. Give them more of what they like and even if they don’t like it they’d rather have that then something unfamiliar. It’s a tough nut to crack.

If only I had any interest in pop culture. But I don’t. I’ve tried to. I have some interest in pop culture in that I watch TV, read books, and watch movies but I have no interest in creating art based on someone else’s stuff. I’ve dabbled a little in it but it ended up seeming pointless to me. I love comics but every time I’ve tried to draw Batman or some such character I get bored with it halfway through. I get a little disappointed when I see artists whose quirky stuff I like draw Spider-Man or whoever. It’s never very interesting. I know they’re doing it for the money and I don’t begrudge them but I’m a little tired of pop culture dominating everything.

So all week I’ve been distracted dreaming up my get-rich-not-so-quick-schemes. I haven’t finished a thing. The key to finishing anything is deciding on finishing it. That can be tough because I have to see the value in finishing it. A work has to have some meaning and sometimes things just don’t have any meaning. That’s what keeps a lot of tasks from being accomplished in this world. Someone ceases to see the reason in accomplishing it.

I have been making some drawings though. For some reason, even when I can’t finish anything, I can work on drawings. It’s, in part, because they are, by their nature, not finished pieces. A drawing is a road map to a finished piece. It can be just a piece of the map too. A drawing doesn’t have to be thought about from end to end because that’s not it’s nature. It’s just a glimpse into what might become a piece of art. There’s no pressure to it. Sometimes this part of the process can be more of a craft than an art so I can just get lost in the building of a drawing. I just have to make it interesting. I don’t have to make it good.

My drawing process also has something to do with why I can work on drawings even when I am distracted. I do a lot of small spontaneous ink drawings in my sketchbook and then I mine them for ideas. When I can’t concentrate on coming up with something finished I can still see the spark in an old sketch and fans the flames a bit with some new drawing. It’s reaction rather than action but sometimes it’s easier to just react.

So that’s been my week in the world of creativity. There wasn’t a whole lot of it but I still managed to get a bunch of drawings done. Maybe they’ll even get their chance to be turned into something finished. Someday.