Blog: Drawing From Yourself

This is a post in a short series I’m writing about “How to Draw a Web Comic: Observations from Day 1″

This is Pi Day is not my first web comic. I have been asked a number of times the vanilla ice cream question of art (or music or any amature creative hobbyist for that matter)… “what made you want to draw a comic strip?”

To which I often reply: “It’s cheaper than therapy!” Ba-DUM-ching!

In fact This is Pi Day is my third web comic. (And I’m not even counting the short-lived strip I published in my college newspaper.)

The real answer is: I just do. I like making stuff. Is that too abstract? Not everything needs a reason, or a profit motive, or an outcome that ends in fame or glory or a trophy.

Thus, I keep trying.

The first was a series of strips that were trying waaaaaaaaaaay too hard to be insightful observations of life. Unfortunately my observations of life were about as weak as my art. Cliche. Trite. A little too new age, which surprised even me because it wasn’t who I thought I was. It didn’t go very far.

The second was a science fiction comic about a bunch of bugs that lived in a kind of alternate dimension that entirely composed of computer circuitry. I drew a couple dozen strips that were very much part of one linear story. It failed because I started making it up as I went along rather than planning further in advance. It was a complex story that demanded a coherent thread: I couldn’t invent that and draw it all at the same time.

I don’t want to imply in the slightest that This is Pi Day is in any way some rolling success. It might still completely flop. It might land on it’s modestly drawn face and never get back up. That said, my third attempt at a web comic has felt more successful because I’ve moved the element of “I’m making this all up” one level closer to reality. I’m drawing from my own life for inspiration.

It’s not that I think it’s impossible to draw an amazing comic with a fantastic plot, or a completely made up story, but it’s definitely easier for a guy who works full time, parents most of the rest of the time, and is trying to squeeze a demanding art hobby through the gaps to have a full trough of amusing anecdotes to feed the creative beasts lurking at his door.