San Diego Comic Con is coming up this weekend. While I won’t be attending this year it is a very big anniversary for me. I drew my first comic book exactly 15 years ago this month. It was for San Diego comic con in 1997. I often talk to people at conventions about where I started as an artist. But they don’t usually believe me when I say I wasn’t all that great when I began. I thought for this auspicious anniversary, it might be nice to post those first pages for you all to see. My embarrassing first attempt. Worts and all!
I drew these pages in a little over a week. It was a bit of an epic adventure to tell the truth. I’d never drawn more than a page of comics before, and Barely had any experience with adding text, or printing or anything of that like. And the week I spent creating this comic was one of the best I’d ever had. I thought it was going to be an amazing book. I thought people would love it! And I would make back the $1000 or so I spent on this print run in no time. But I couldn’t have been farther from reality on all points. I showed it to dozens and dozens of artists, and publishers at San Diego. It was brutal. Most of whom told me I should not be an artist. And warned me to do anything but comics. I left that show feeling insecure and disheartened. And couldn’t draw for months after.
What followed was a long journey of more than 7 years, of me learning to draw from anyone I could meet. I’d travel to conventions to meet creators just to get them to get a few minutes of instruction. I’d sit in on every “how to draw comics” panel I could . And bought every book I could find on anatomy, perspective, inking, and making comics. Until eventually I learned how to draw well enough that I didn’t get people telling me I should quit any longer.
Recently I did some sketches of my main character Anna from this comic, just to see if I could. It was considerably faster, easier, and with much better results. Its satisfying to know I’ve come such a long way. Even more satisfying to be able to draw something so easily that once was such a struggle. I enjoy sketching as much now as I did back before I became insecure about what I thought I could do. I feel as confident now as I did then, only now I actually have the skills to back it up. And I challenge myself each day to get better and better. I can’t wait to see where I’ll be in another 15 years.
What about you? Do you struggle with where you’re at artistically? Leave me a comment about it!