Josie Long's Hundred Days project is a great idea. The concept is simple. You agree to do one thing every day for one hundred days (starting on December 1) - with the intention of improving yourself. You should all go and pledge to do something - anything - over the next three months. I've been thinking about what I would do - should I try and learn how to play a musical instrument? Learn a language? Do something that would make me a better, more interesting person? Well... yes... all of those things sound great...
Or... I could draw a comic. Every day. For one hundred days.
See, you may have noticed this blog has been neglected over the past couple of months. If you have a look over at the Solipsistic Pop website you'll understand why. Editing, publishing and promoting a book of that scale has been hard work and it still requires a lot of my time. I don't mind. I enjoy it. But the one thing that has been bothering me is that I've not had much time to get to my studio and draw my own comics recently.
There have been illustration commissions (all of which will be posted on this blog when I've had a chance to catch up) but I've not drawn a single panel of a comic since finishing Special Guest Appearance and I'm itching to get started again.
And here's why I've pledged to do this slightly crazy task. Not only is it going to force me back to the drawing board with a regularity that could, if all goes to plan, inform some sort of routine in the future - but it also gives me an excuse to have a go at all the silly, small, throwaway ideas I never get around to. An excuse to play with styles and not feel boxed in by expectations. An excuse to have fun with comics. An excuse to just enjoy drawing.
I've been doing a lot of teaching recently and one of my refrains has been that you need to draw every day if you want to get better. It doesn't matter what you draw - it just matters that you draw. Looking at my sketchbook lately, I've started to feel like a hypocrite. The Hundred Days pledge is a way to counter that and an attempt at getting me to develop a bit more as an artist. I'm hoping I'll be a better comic artist when - and if - I come out the other side with one hundred comics. At the very least I'm hoping these comics will be useful warming up exercises (much like Richard Herring's Warming Up blog) before starting on my actual comic work. Something to get the drawing hand working properly.
I should clarify: I'm not totally insane. These comics will not be long, sprawling thirty page opuses. They will rarely span an entire page. These comics will be anything from gag panels, annotated sketches, strip cartoons, or whatever I happen to feel would work that day. I may try to be more adventurous on weekends when I have a bit more time but we'll see.
They will probably be terrible. Possibly more interesting to me as learning experiences. But even then, this exercise will prove worthwhile. Hopefully making a hundred bad comics will mean I've got them all out of my system!
This will, of course, mean I'll inevitably break my No Auto-biographical Comics Until The New Year rule as I'll most likely be attempting a kind of visual diary, with the occasional experiment or joke - but I hope you'll all cut me a little slack.
Regardless, if you'd like to join me and follow how I do during the next three months, bookmark this blog or subscribe to the RSS feed. Your support will be useful in helping me retain my sanity.
Comic Number One will be up here sometime on December 1. Wish me luck!