In some ways my job is very different then other people’s jobs, and the struggles are not very relateable. Sometimes though it’s easy to sympathize.
When I worked at a garage for a living I had those days were every bolt that needed to be removed was rusted beyond moving, or in an impossible place, or rounded off by the last guy who gave up on it. I’d misplace the tool I was just using every time I turned around…everything was just a pain in the ass some days.
You’ve had those days, when the computer keeps locking up, or every customer is set on “stupid”.
The only difference is in my job those days are more like “phases”. Take a day at your job that just stinks on ice and imagine that for a week or two. Because my job is in my head, it is easy to start second guessing everything and once that happens you are in a rut of nothing working right.
That’s where I am at right now, and have been for a bit…nothing wants to jive properly. Page layouts are fighting me, every figure’s posture keeps turning out a bit off , with the answer to – what exactly is wrong here?- eluding me at every turn.
Normally I could just go and ink something, which takes concentration but not so much mental problem solving…but the humidity is through the roof. Humidity is the enemy when you ink with a brush, because just like the hair on your head…the hair the brush is made out of doesn’t behave well when it is humid. ALSO, the paper doesn’t like it much…doesn’t want to soak up the ink as well. Ink comes out and just lays on the paper waiting to be smudged, long lines that are usually a cinch to do in one smooth stroke keep getting harder as the fine tolerances in friction between ink/brush hair/ and bristol board paper, keep giving you wiggles, hiccups, or veering your brush off course. It’s not something that aggravates you until you reach a level of NORMALLY being able to ink lines so close together that you could draw thee side by side on the side of a nickle.
…okay that part is not relatable, so just trust me…inking is not an option right now. I live about a mile from the lake, so even the dehumidifier has started waving the white flag.
The average Joe probably assumes that at this point, since I am my own boss, ( hahahahah…my own boss…except for every comic book store, every reader, and the distributor…and whoever else I am trying to do work for) I would just watch some T.V. and screw off until the phase passes.
Some guys do that, some people can just walk away from a project…come back later after their brain has relaxed a bit, and everything starts to gel. That works for some, for others ( me included) you have to fight trough it. There is a mental barrier of some sort, and you have to chip, dig, and chisel your way through it.
In an effort to compromise with my brain, I have been continuing to work, but on things that require less thought and don’t need world class inking skills.
I had a couple of boxes of left over interior pages from “The Big Stall”. When printers make hardcovers for you, they usually print up a couple hundred extras because they have no idea how may books will get destroyed while trying to calibrate the binding machine. If this seems weird to you…you are not alone, I find it pretty odd. What is this the turn of the century where a guy with a handle bar mustache is turning a giant cast iron valve and a coal powered conveyor belt keeps pushing books through at 35 mph whether he’s got it adjusted or not? Like …can’t you adjust the speed on the thing, send one through, see if it works..adjust…send another ONE through…adjust? and how far off can the thing possibly be that it could take 200 tries to line everything up?! Anyway…I usually get handed a box of extra book guts with a “you want these? or should we recycle them?” out of spite I always take them and use them for packing or x-mass present wrap.
This year I found a guy who could bind a variant cover to them. Apparently he has no coal powered machine to fight with and only wrecks one or two lining it up. It’s more costly doing a low run but it keeps me from wasting the covers. Now, if I just did some exclusive variant I would still be taking a loss at the cost of binding such a low print run. SO, I made them sketch covers. This way I can charge more for them, people get something cooler that just a rare cover, AND I can practice on that paper for the Kickstarter sketch covers.
So..that’s what I’ve been doing . They are done with technical pen not brush, so they are a less impressive than the Kickstarter covers will be, but still pretty cool.
I’ll bring them to fall conventions…here’s a few samples.