Making Comics

Making Comics: A day in the life …

freeglassart asked: Hello! I’ve wanted to ask… you draw a lot! Like, a lot a lot. You’re super productive (by my standards) and its all great quality stuff. Now I’ve asked a couple of people about this but I’d really appreciate getting an answer from you… Do you ever get the feeling of being tired of drawing as a whole? Like “ugh I REALLY HAVE TO finish this but I just– I just don’t want to!” And if so… How do you deal with that feeling? Many thanks!

So this is pretty much my work day:

Faith Erin Hicks draws herself working on a typical day, part 1

Faith Erin Hicks draws herself working on a typical day, part 2

Faith Erin Hicks draws herself working on a typical day, part 3

Yes, some days I really do work those kind of hours. Most days I try my best not to, but when crunch time happens and I have a deadline looming, the hours get really long. And here’s the unfortunate reality of being a professional artist: you will absolutely have moments when you are sick of drawing, when you can’t stand the idea of putting another line down on your Cintiq (or paper, or whatever), where you feel like all inspiration has been squeezed out of you and …. well, those deadlines are still looming, so you just have to keep drawing. You gotta be a pro, you gotta get your stuff drawn.

Drawing comics is my favourite thing in the world. It is my dream job. I don’t think I will ever want to do anything else, but I still have days when drawing is a drudgery. I once heard drawing comics compared to “being force fed your favourite food every day,” and I totally get that. After I’m finished drawing a graphic novel, I usually don’t want to draw at all for a few weeks after.

Burnout is definitely a thing in comics. I recommend having some hobbies that aren’t related to drawing or comics in order to combat it. I like reading, jogging and playing video games. Going out and seeing people is also super important. Anything that gives you a break from the drawing desk.

But … sometimes, the deadlines are just too tight. You don’t have time for a break. You just have to keep going. If you’re lucky enough to draw comics for a living, you should absolutely treat it as a job and try your very hardest to make your deadlines. During the final push to get Nameless City book 1 drawn, I had 3 days off over a 3 month period. I hope I’ll never have to do that again, but that was just what happened this year. I took a week off after the book was done. I slept a lot. Played Resident Evil: Revelations. Didn’t draw at all. It was nice. 🙂 I absolutely believe in keeping a work/life balance, but … well, sometimes you just gotta give up on life for a few months in order to make a deadline. And then you schedule your coming year so that you won’t have to go through that again. 🙂