Saturday, February 25, 2006

I can't stop thinking, either

Cartoonist, Scott McCloud, offers some tips and suggestions for artist looking to post comics on the web. He inspired me with this piece of advice:

Value your freedom. No one can stop you from expressing yourself on the Web -- No one but YOU YOURSELF!

Don't bother trying to please potential editors.

Don't bother trying to fit into the market. There is no market. (at least, not yet)

I think what he is saying here is to develop your voice without worrying about what others might think, especially when you haven't established a market. I probably worry too much about what others will think of me. His advice particularly spoke to me because when it comes to posting my cartoons on the internet, I feel like I've been trying to hide. I've been trying to remain invisible to those who know me, or know of me — artists, authors, editors, agents— and might find my sense of humor offending, or inappropriate. How am I going to successfully develop a webcomic strip and keep it hidden from the world?

Scott's advice opened my eyes. But it’s my resolution that may complicate things further. I just purchased a new internet domain. There, I will create a webcomic strip and publish the cartoons that I have already been publishing on my "super secret blog."

To start off, I just plan to experiment with humor and storytelling in my own offbeat, edgy, corny, and sometimes offensive way (my mom says I have an insulting Don Rickles sense of humor). My focus will not be on creating cool looking art, though I know I’ll need to polish it up a bit. I've seen so many comics where the art is eye-candy cool, but the script left me scratching my head. I think doing an online comic strip, or a graphic novella will be like blogging — it will appeal to some, it won’t to others.

I've discovered a whole community of webcomic/cartoon artist (I think Varian first turned me onto them), many of whom have published graphic novels. Hopefully, I can learn, network, generate some attention, and see where this endeavor takes me. As an off-color joke, I even considered posing as a white guy, and writing under a pseudonym, at least for awhile. That might sound crazy, but you should have seen how Xxxx Xxxxx dissed me when I introduced myself to him at XXX. I know the look, I’ve been black long enough to recognize it. The look that says, "go away black guy, I'm too busy trying to deal with real people."

Ok, I could never do that. Besides, my casts of characters are black. But, dang, I'm just not in the mood for the race thing as I approach this new endeavor.


Kim said...

Be yourself! Don't try to be anyone else. Your humor is unique because it comes from the way you see the world. Posing as a white guy (I hope you were joking!) just won't cut it!

Actually, I think the super secret blog / pseudonym is a great idea. Think of it this way--many people write under a different name when they switch genres. Why can't you?

The only real danger of expressing yourself under your real name is that your art is associated with children's literature, and you might not want a child to stumble across some of the more grown up humor. I think the way you've separated your worlds is perfect! Keep it up--you have a unique voice that the world needs to hear!

Miss P AKA Her Royal Cliqueness said...

Us creative types are always a little insecure. The good and bad nwes is, I don't think it goes away with success. Bad, b/c nagging self-doubts can sometimes take up more energy then we should allow.

But Good, because it drives us. As we wonder our way through different issues, we start hashing out a plan. And planning always leads to success, in some form or another.

Best of luck as you choose which is the best outlet of expression.

On another note - I saw a post from you on Varian's site and kept wondering why your name was so familiar to me.

I'm not from Texas. I was pretty certain we hadn't met. Yet, your name was one I knew.

I visit your site and BAM, there it is. I purchased your My Peepz calendar for my 11-year-old in December at the gift shop of the Reginald Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History (Baltimore, MD).

Love the illos!

It's very cool to "meet" someone whose product I've consumed. Now the calendar will stand as one of my more cherished impulse buys.

paula said...

Hey Don,

While I can appreciate Scott McClouds perspective--and his propostion IS correct--It doesn't negate that there are ramifications to our decisions on what to 'publish' on our little blogs, etc. I think the hesitancy to put out there whatever the heck we want is healthy. It's our internal barometer. To balance our desire to express our true selves by establishing guidlines, guidelines based on cultural and personal propriety is a good thing. And that is weighed with the goal you're trying to accomplish. The difficulty/challenge? Defining your goals, weighing possible consequences, separating sensible feelings from irrational fears, and so on. Eeks! Well, all of that was to say, I can appreciate your working out the if, how, why, and to what end of your artistic endeavors. Oh, growing pains!