031: Fear of Finishing
Wherein we discuss how to apply self awareness and reject bad friends.
Welcome to Week 31 of the Draw or Die Newsletter for Visual Storytellers. A big welcome to all the new members who have joined, most likely from the Promptober Drawing Challenge. I hope you all stick around!
A quick note here that you all have access to the previous newsletters. A great place to start are the “top” posts from the archive here.
It’s day 23 of the challenge! You can’t quit now! Only 8 more days to go, then on Nov 5th, we’ll be handing out some sweet prizes.
Onto this week’s topic…
The Fear of Finishing
The topic this week I want to touch on came by way of DM from fellow club member, Keith M. :
“I’m not sure if this every happens to you or not. But it happened to me recently (and honestly EVERY time) when I was within about 4 pages of being finished with the new comic I am doing. At that stage I started looking at the pages before and I started to question every artistic choice I had made on those pages. I spent about a week just paralyzed looking at the previous pages. I finally managed to work past it, mostly with the help of friends telling me I don’t suck, but I was literally about to just scrap this whole project.
I’m hoping the same thing doesn’t happen with the current issue I am drawing. I’m curious if this sort of thing happens to you or any artists you know. Or maybe I’m just an odd duck.” - Keith
It’s not just you, it’s me. It’s all of us.
I’m going to say that this happens on some level to all artists I know or know of. Even those at the top of their game. Second guessing, listening to that “other” voice within. The doubts. The fears. The quiet killer.
This is something I still struggle with personally, even today. It’s an ongoing process you have to stay on top of.
I suffer from the fear of finishing.
I have a few projects on the shelf that just kind of stalled out, and now when I think of the “WHYs” that I assigned, they just feel like convenient excuses.
It’s as if I’m talking myself into avoiding the deeper issue.
I have a dozen or so pages left on the God Child Series I started in 2014. Everything was going smooth until the publisher died, Gary Reed. This was indeed depressing to me. The publisher was now in limbo. It was a convenient excuse to quit. But would Gary have wanted me to quit? Hell no!
The truth is, I had taken so many breaks between drawing issues, the characters shifted in style. My wife (the writer) would point it out. I didn’t think that part really mattered much and the readers would forgive. Now that’s my current excuse, that I don’t want to go back and re-draw anything,
And more recently? I have a simple 24 page issue of my other comic where I’m on the last two pages and it’s just STUCK. The excuses I give are that work got busy, or other projects took priority…
But deeper down? The deeper issue?
What if nobody wants what I’m making.
That was the real paralyzing factor.
It seems like such a simple thing to say “stop worrying about what others think!”, but I was stuck listening to that OTHER voice.
The voice that told me I was a failure on my other big projects.
The same voice that told me my 16 year marriage and my life up to that point had fallen completely apart because of my pursuit of my passion and dreams.
Thing is, that’s all bullshit. None of that is REAL.
“There are more things likely to frighten us than there are to crush us; we suffer more often in imagination than in reality.” - SENECA
You can never fail if you never finish.
How I Become Self-Aware
I only know that now because I practice the art of self-awareness. Removing my ego, my own agendas, and just looking at the heart of the matter or feeling at hand. I have a conversation with myself.
Here’s how to flip the script from negative to positive.
You might think to yourself… “My Art Sucks!” or “Nobody is going to like this!”. Instead of just accepting that voice and feeling sorry for yourself or quitting… talk back!
Sit quietly and listen to that voice and ask WHY. Have a quiet conversation with yourself in your own mind. Like this.
The Other Voice: “Bro, people are going to think this sucks!!!
Self-Aware You: “Why does it suck though?”
The Other Voice: “You can’t draw horses for shit, bro!”
Self-Aware You: “Okay, let’s schedule some time to do some figure studies and life drawing exercises to work on that.”
The Other Voice: “Man, I don’t want to draw horses! That shit is hard!!!”
Self-Aware You: “We got this. Here’s this nice lesson from Proko on Youtube. Let’s goooooo!”
The Other Voice: “Fine! Whatever!”
The fun thing is, the more you talk back to that OTHER voice? The less you end up hearing from that “bad friend” again.
The “better you” takes over all the conversations. Instead of focusing on what’s lacking, you’re now on a never ending quest to improve and grow.
And that better version of you knows this only happens by taking action.
What action are you going to take today to grow?
Today’s Drawing Prompt is:
“Was it man or animal?”
the secret twist is… must include a sword.
Here’s mine for today. I went with a Centaur.
Don’t forget, even after the October challege is done, we have Daily Drawing Prompts to keep your pencil and mind moving. Try it for free.
Stay encouraged out there, and draw every day!!!
👁 Connect with me elsewhere? I’m @djcoffman on Instagram / TikTok / Twitter
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Getting caught up with the weeklies. Yeah, this one hits me big time. Got a comic I’ve been working on since 2018, no lie. Haven’t finished it, I kept going back and retooling the pages I did, and sometimes I even undid the changes and back and forth for the last four years on and off. Somehow I managed to make it to 53 pages and I’m nowhere near done with the story. Time, health issues, too tired, busy doing something else, family, a movie I haven’t seen in ages is on…etc. I have to get back to this rhythm of alternating one day drawing non comic story stuff one day, and the other focus on the comic. Back and forth. I can’t draw horses for shit either, dogs, and I’ve realized cars are a headache too. Fuuuuu….