Why You Need To Finish Your Project

This is a stack of 126 hand drawn comic pages. I started drawing this in 2016 and it's taken me two years to finish it. 

In that time I've had a lot of serious doubts about the story, my strengths as a character artist, and my ability to write good dialogue. It's been nearly debilitating at times. I've read so many amazing graphic novels that I sometimes wonder, "who am I to contribute anything to this medium?" A few times I've had to pause production, take a step back, and think about it before cautiously resuming work on it again. 

For years my main hang-up with drawing SkyHeart was that I wasn't a good enough artist to draw human characters, I wasn't good enough to tell the story, and my dialogue writing was stiff. So I kept putting off this dream project until I got better at my craft. I think that's a fair approach: get good at something by practicing on a smaller scale before taking on something BIG. 

But when is a creator ever good enough? When you compare yourself to your influences and idols, you always come up short. At some point you just have to start your big project, realizing that if your idol waited until they felt like they were good enough, they would've never started either. 

But starting a project and finishing a project are two different things. Just because I made the resolve to start didn't mean I had overcome my self doubt.

Self doubt can wreak havoc on a project. Concerns about one's abilities are legitimate, but it shouldn't stop a project from happening. What's amazing to me is that as I flip through my SkyHeart pages I see a rad story unfolding, I see an artist gaining confidence in his character drawings, and I see dialogue flowing more naturally. 

All of that came about because I pushed through and kept working on it. I'm a firm believer that you learn more from doing X than from studying X. However, when you're lost in the weeds of a project it's hard to remember that. I clearly forgot about that during the duration of this graphic novel. 

I'm posting this here to remind me that regardless of how I feel about the quality of the my work on a project, halting it until I get better at the craft is not the answer.

Roman Emperor and part-time philosopher, Marcus Aurelius wrote on this. He said:

"The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way."

In my case, my abilities were my impediment to finishing SkyHeart. They were a roadblock standing in my way of finishing this book. Ironically, finishing the book was the only way to remove that roadblock. 

In short, getting better at the craft happens only by working on and finishing things.

That's the outlook that sees me through the next 126 pages. 

-Jake