As an offering to our young talent, and to anyone who might find this helpful–here and elsewhere, green or seasoned–I’ve asked a number of experienced authors to send a little word of coaching, encouragement or mentoring to them. We’ll call this new category MENTORS CORNER. It will occasionally feature some authors who aren’t with First Second.
Check back here on Thursdays every week for new offerings. If any of this speaks to you and answers a need or sparks an enquiry, do add your comment–who knows what dialogue may open up from it.
FROM GEORGE O’CONNOR:
This is primarily directed at those people with the perfectionist streak that keeps them redoing the first ten pages I suppose. A nice, no pressure way to begin any long project is, before you actually begin finished pages, give yourself the necessary warm up time to draw each of your main characters a hundred times or so. These needn’t be finished pieces of art, just doodles, warm-ups, to give yourself the feel of your characters. As the artist, you’re an actor, and the characters are the tools you use to express yourself. Achieve complete famialiarity with your creations, streamline any chunky bits in their design, and most importantly, regard this “doodle time” as an integral, important part of the book, not justr something to get out of the way. Rehearsals, if you will. After you warm up for a few days, begin your finished pages and try not to let a day go by where you don’t keep working, even if it’s just an hour or two on weekends. That way, you keep “warm” and in the feel of the book, and you’ll be less likely to look at what you’ve done already and shudder. If I ever redo a page, it’s invariably the first one I completed after an unintended break from the drawing board.