After spending the last year working on my first original graphic novel, I’ve learned a few things that have helped me push through the process while trying to juggle all my other freelance work. Here’s four:
1. Try to do something every day, even if it’s small.
Inking panel boarders. Penciling in that rough figure. Making yourself come back to the pages every day will keep you from getting out of the habit of working on your project. Sometimes you’ll go to do that small thing and just find yourself sitting there until you’re done with the page.
2. Think of the book in smaller sections.
Break it down into chapters. Use the end of each act as a goal. Either way, thinking in terms of smaller sections makes the overall project seem a little less daunting.
3. Spend some time sketching out your characters
This is where I need to be more consistent myself. Over the course of 100 pages you’ll get more and more comfortable drawing your characters. You’ll start refining and simplifying. For stronger, more consistent characters, spend some time sketching them over and over in your sketchbook.
4. Learn to Draw When You Don’t Feel Like It
If you wait to feel “inspired” or at your best, you’ll never finish. Train your mind and body to do the work when you don’t feel like it. You’ll be surprised after a spending a little time at the drawing table how you’ll begin to warm up to the task. Even if it feels like pulling teeth, it’ll be gratifying when the page (and eventually the book) is finished.