Get To The Finish Line


The most important thing about making comics, is finishing what you start. No one will get anything out of a half-finished story, least of all you!

Be aware that when you are working on a project, it can be very tempting to bail when problems arise. You get stuck on some aspect of the story or things that are hard to draw. That other story you have brewing somewhere in the back of your mind suddenly seems way more attractive. You feel like that’s the one you should really be working on.

But with every new story, comes new problems! You just don’t see them now, because you are not deep in the story yet. It is simply the dream of what it could be, so much better than what you are currently working on.

And of course you can work on any story you feel like. I would just advice that you finish them eventually. One by one.

Another thing that happens as you’re working, is that you learn. You grow. You look at the work you’ve already done, and you think you could do better. If you go back and change that particular scene or redraw that particular panel.

My advice? DON’T!

You’ll end up re-drawing the same three pages over and over again.

Finish the story. Then go back. If it still needs some work. 9 times out of ten, what seemed hopeless and bad during the process, will seem irrelevant and pretty OK after you have finished the story.

The most important thing to gain by finishing a project, is the confidence you build. Making comics is a lenghty and often gruelling process. It’s easy to feel like it’s all for nothing. You start beating yourself up. You feel you are not good enough, that nobody cares.

Having something finished changes that. Now you can show it to others, get feedback, respect. You have achieved! You are a success!

Abandoning a project half way through has the opposite effect; You feel like a failure. Do you think feeling like a failure helps your productivity?

The short answer is NO.

You learn more from one finished comic, even a three page one, than from ten projects that are halfway done.

Get to the finish line. Even if you have to stagger or crawl to get there.

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4 Responses to “Get To The Finish Line”

  1. rommel Fernandez July 18, 2014 at 5:12 pm #

    Great advice, and so true. I cannot tell you how many times I have abandoned projects because I could not find that perfect usually background ) reference.

  2. rommel Fernandez July 25, 2014 at 7:54 am #

    Guess I cannot edit that post but sounds like I am retarded or something lol. What I meant to say was…

    Great advice, I cannot tell you how many times I have abandoned projects either because I could not find the reference needed or because I just simply thought I should be doing something else that is cooler, so yeah, you are right on the money here Palle.

  3. Paulie September 27, 2014 at 4:26 am #

    Hey Palle,
    Read your new post about “being a scatterbrain,” then continued reading here. Hence why I am posting on this linked page & not the other. Dude, you are a Zen master of talking to the aspiring comic artist. I cannot tell you how well your words resinate with all of us I’m sure, but especially me. I am blocked & have felt like bailing on my project. To take a page from Stephen King’s book that you cited earlier, I am in over my head. I don’t know how to make this ‘world’ I’ve created and make it small. Somehow tie each character into one another & their universe. Stephen King often talks about attempting stories that he was ill-equipt for; and only after years of experience was he able to attack his project. Totally dig the advice. I’m glad to hear that such a simple notion of saying to yourself, ” Hey I’m stuck here… but I have a great idea for the next sequence. Regarding your very real & true statement about the confidence you build when you actually finish one story as opposed to taking several unfinished stories to the grave…couldn’t be more true. Thank you brotha.

    • Palle Schmidt October 1, 2014 at 8:40 pm #

      Hey Paulie, glad you found this helpful!

      I’m definetely NOT a zen master, but I do believe mindset is extremely important. And a limiting belief like “I need to work chronologically or I will fail” can be fatal. You need to finish something – whatever it takes! Some people have the dicipline to just plow through, others need to break it down, work with a partner or set a timer or a penalty to motivate themselves.

      We can’t all be zen masters and we don’t all work the same way. I’m just trying to share some of the hacks I’ve found to work for me.

      Thanks for your comment, I really appreciate the feedback.

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