All four tires

March 17, 2010

Sorry guys, things kind of fell apart this week comic-wise. I’ve been hammering away at this comic idea for like four days and it’s just not working, i just can’t tie it together properly. I do this a lot, i overthink something and go out of my gourd trying to get it back down to earth but sometimes  you have to know when to fold ’em as someone may have said in a song once. I guess i’m telling you this because I just want you to know that when there’s no comic it’s not for lack of trying, it’s more from too much trying, and so i’m left with a bunch of comic shards and you get nothing to read this week. This always seems to happen when i’m about to go on vacation too, which is probably some elaborate form of self sabotage.

I am in fact leaving for a couple weeks this sunday, but i plan to actually have a comic done before i go so at least it’s not a month between comics. So, ugh, yeah, i’ll be back on the weekend with something. Sorry guys, sometimes i just blow all four creative tires and it takes me several days to stop the car and notice. Comic this weekend, regular service to resume in April. Spring, blooming, regrouping, refocusing, chocolate eggs, etc.


PS: Anyone else have this problem, art-wise? Overthinking shit until you can’t even remember what you were trying to say? Having days of work come to nothing? Any advice for people? I’ll leave the comments open.

PPS: There was some reader art i promised someone i was gonna post this week as well, but i’ll post that on the weekend too so it’s not tied to this grim, depressing post about dramatic mr. artist and his emo tales of woe.

21 Responses to “All four tires”

  1. Jam Says:

    Yessir, I think everyone has that problem.

    Enjoy your sojourn! Avoid excessive meditation and Euro pennies. They are worthless, no place takes them. I don’t even know why they press them.

  2. James Dean Says:

    Eh, everyone gets writers/whatever-medium block. My creative writing is work related in the form of project and business plans. It can get quite nerve wracking when there are $millions and your own and several jobs on the line. Since I’m a straight married male and was born just after the Johnson administration my solution may seem a little odd, but it works for me: A long hot bath with some good bath salts and a bath pillow. Music and candles optional don’t do it for me and my bath salts are manly sandalwood and leather scented! 🙂 I get some of my best ideas relaxing in hot steamy water. It might not work for you, but it wouldn’t hurt! 😉

  3. Leo .W Says:

    whenever i try to produce something, i do nothing BUT this.

    it’s kinda like reverse writers block

  4. joshd Says:

    you could just draw penises as members of nickelback and call it a day. doesn’t jeph jacques pretty much do that with sweet tits and yelling bird?

  5. Questo's Dad Says:

    If you’re looking for something to tie things together, I know of a certain rug that seems to do the trick.

    I’m only creative when I don’t have time to express it. When I have time everything dries right up.

  6. annamios Says:

    I honestly don’t know how you manage to come up with a new comic every week. I’m impressed; my inspiration usually happens once every three months.
    I hope your vacation is phantasmagorical (or regular fantastic, if you’d prefer).

  7. Endy Says:

    Hey, don’t sweat it. My blog has had some screwups from the same problem. Though, I suggest coming up with something which will sate the hunger of us Subnormality fans quickly (impossible, I know), which might give you some time to jot down just some concepts you can develop, and then write/draw more than one at a time. Get a buffer ready.

  8. SoWhyMe Says:

    My advice; don’t worry about tying it all together. So it doesn’t all make sense. So what. Have a character in the last panel say it doesn’t make any sense and have the sphinx bite them in half (make it a female this time just for me, please?). It’s a comic. People’s lives or fortune do not depend on it. I doubt even yours does (but I may be wrong). Also, never EVER read what people post about your work. Do what YOU want, not what others think you should do or wish you would do (except, of course, for my suggestions). Free yourself from self doubt and second guessing your readers. Be spontaneous and carefree in your work. Stop giving a damn if anyone likes or dislikes what you do.

  9. Trenino Says:

    I recorded a bit of interesting dialogue between myself and a friend and have no idea how to animate it. The sheer idea of lip-syncing about 30 whole words (gasp) is putting me off. *sound effect: sigh*
    Good look with the inspiration-finding!
    Visit the Old man of the Ngorongoro Crater, for he knows of the Gblins of the Labyrinth. And stuff.

  10. Trenino Says:

    GOblins, dammit, Goblins!


  11. Johnny H Says:

    You, my good sir, may be the only web-comic author to retain respect when you CAN’T update. Your devotion and commitment are almost as enlightening as your actual work. Please continue rocking my mind with your comics and/or lack of comics. Peace.

  12. RKR Says:

    “PS: Anyone else have this problem, art-wise? Overthinking shit until you can’t even remember what you were trying to say? Having days of work come to nothing? Any advice for people? I’ll leave the comments open.”

    Art-wise? Overthinking? Hahaha… it’s a more general problem that effects any involved thinking process. Take a break. Think about puppies. Do some cartwheels down the hallway. That’s how I’m working through my thesis manuscript.

    Remember: you don’t have to be the best, just so long as you’re not the worst!

  13. Juliana Says:

    I copyedit, and when I can, I add a couple extra days to my schedule to leave my mind alone so it can figure things out subconsciously. Even if that doesn’t happen, a little time away refreshes the eyes and gives good perspective.

    Thanks for the strip, Winston! Keep doing it the way you want to–even if that means the occasional meltdown. 🙂

  14. Robert Says:

    I actually am just emerging from having done that for about four years with my novel. I was still doing other stuff artistically in the interim, but now that I’m writing the long piece again I realized that overthinking, in this case, may have been a good things. It’s pouring out!

  15. James Dean: I definitely get a lot of thinking done in the bathroom, and would also recommend that to anyone.

    joshd: Yeah, but i’d prefer to skip ahead and just call it a day.

    Questo’s Dad: Ha, i just watched that movie over christmas.

    Thanks all for the comments, I’m on the way back up out of my cave as we speak…

  16. Skutbag Says:

    Just discovered Subnormality and how awesome it is. So don’t worry! At least one of us has still got at least a years worth of your comics to read.

    Sheesh. Dont feel bad, you’re in it for the love, you can’t really ask more than that.

  17. Stag Says:

    I would have a stern talk with my subconscious mind. Tell it that you won’t allow any TV or internet access unless it spits out an idea. You watch. It’ll only take about three minutes until you suddenly get the urge to write about why the sex trade workers last Christmas wore Canadian Flag uniforms.

  18. Jeff Says:

    Yeah Winston, let me tell you what works for me when this comes up. Whenever I have an idea and start over-thinking how to express it, often coming up with drafts that aren’t QUITE right that tend to inhibit me, the first thing I do is what you just did: start over. Usually over-thinking something comes from trying to make something work that never fit the original inspiration anyway. So I start over and in my mind re-experience what inspired me like it was the first time, not putting any ideas to it and seeing what comes to mind after that.

    So try it,

    close your eyes,
    take a deep breath,
    re-experience what inspired you or compelled you
    come up with a new idea.

    Sometimes, while working on the new idea, you might find that some parts of the old idea can be salvaged and actually fit perfectly in different parts of the new idea! That’s because probably while working on the old idea, the “good” parts of it came naturally but didn’t fit with the “bad” parts. But don’t be actually thinking of the old idea while working on the new one, that’ll just, you know… ruin things. Let those “good” parts of the old idea fit in naturally if those really want to.

    Good luck!

  19. Not quite the same thing, but an editor once taught me a technique to use when you are juggling too much information for a story: make a map of your ideas.

    Basically you take a big sheet of paper and start jotting down al the things you know about the story you are trying to write: themes, bits of dialogue, ideas, characters and so on.

    Next, start drawing lines to connect all the things you just jotted down. Which bits of dialogue could belong to which character? Which ideas push the story along?

    The advantage of this method is that it can help you see the big picture, and that it can help you see connections you did not realize were there. The disadvantage is that it does not always help you get rid of the confusion in your head. But that may be a good thing too: the realization that there just isn’t a story there (or more likely: that there are too many stories, and you have to pick one, for now).

  20. GerryB Says:

    If you live near trees, go sit with a pencil and paper beside you. Don’t touch it until you can count having seen 3 different types of plant, 2 different insects and heard one bird sing and another reply.

    By the time the counting has distracted your head from the thinking, the stressed hind-brain may have come out of the mind-spasm it contracted into due to the self-induced deadline stress, and thanks to the Noticing Gland being on tangential alert, will be there with the things you missed when you tried gunning it down the road to creativity.


  21. Richter Comics Says:

    “PS: Anyone else have this problem, art-wise? Overthinking shit until you can’t even remember what you were trying to say? Having days of work come to nothing? Any advice for people?”

    All the time. Very frustrating. Only advice I’d give is the one you’ve probably heard a million times before : the present moment. The only way to ‘cure’ overthinking is to, well, not think. Reground yourself in the present moment. No thinking about the past or future, only what you’re doing in present.

    The past and future are thoughts, concepts, shapes and forms. IE : bringing back the past after it’s gone and/or projecting oneself in the future.

    The present is physical perceptions. Mostly, your five senses. The trick is to refocus the brain into physical perceptions more often during a day. Give less “brain-time” to the past/future and more to the present. Because not all 3 can co-exist in the mind. There’s only room for the past/future (a bad beast that sucks your energy) or the present (something good that gives back energy).

    So next time there’s overthinking going on, anxiety, worries, what-have-you, take deep breaths and focus on physical perceptions. What are you seeing? What are you looking at right now? What is its color? Any sounds? Coffee machine dripping in the kitchen? A baby crying in the other appartment? What are your hands touching? Pen? Paper? Focus 100% of your attention on the texture of the paper, the grain of your wooden pencil, etc. Experience all those perceptions, and they’ll push out the forms and thoughts. And keep breathing slow.

    At first I could only do this for 10 seconds per day before the absense of the past/future beast drove me nuts. I was so used to being a slave to it that I wanted it back. But the brain’s a muscle, and it takes a while to flex it. Now I can get calm, in the present, in a snap, and voila! Anxiety gone. Overthinking gone.

    It’s all about the present moment. The future is only good to think about for “clock future”, like remembering to pick up the kids or taking out the garbage. The rest is useless. Thoughts are parasites of the mind. They take from you and give nothing back.

    The present moment. That perpetual 1 second where you really live, where you’re really feeling. That’s your ally.

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