Wheel Spinning

Theoretically, as I work, study, and brainstorm in my card box, clusters of cards will eventually grow to the point where I can just harvest one such cluster and produce a book.

As I’ve noted before, though, I feel less like I’m producing books and more like I’m spinning my wheels. Previously, my method was to pick a project, and come hell or high water, work until it was done, while allowing myself to be flakey and goofy about which projects come next. And I grow increasingly convinced this is the superior methodology in some ways.

Maybe not in all ways. Maybe the Zettelkasten concept is a piece of what I need to do rather than the whole. But my lack of apparent progress annoys me, and I think I need to buckle down and finish something.

There’s more to it than that. Picking from my latest big list of projects is hard. Right now I am in an excellent position as an artist: my needs are cared for. But this is the first time in 20 years I haven’t earned my own way, and the desire to try and divinate which project will earn me money is strong. After all, if I made even a little, my family’s situation would be greatly improved. We’ve always been poor, and if I could only stomach a real job, I have the intelligence to get us into lower middle class.

Just not the will. At present.

In addition to a roof and meals, God has furnished me with a pastor I kinda sorta trust, so I’m going to be hashing it out with him on Wednesday. But I’ve kind of settled on the idea that I’m making an idol of my role as provider. Better to be poor and raise my own kid than middle class and send my kid off to be indoctrinated. And if I should provide for my family, it should be a provision consistent with who I am and who they are.

The joy of Jump the Shark isn’t in Jump the Shark and the Pirate Princess. I need to go back to making books as gifts for specific people.

SO: in conclusion, I’ve already mostly decided to pick a project, push it, and hand-draw it. I’m not sure I’m going to officially commit to one until its Zettelkasten cluster is finished, but if I still feel like I’m spinning my wheels at the end of the week, I may change that rule. This week will be spent exploring whether any of my projects have the same gift potential my first book had. Although to ask the question is to answer it: really, there’s only The Little Mermaid. And that book, as it is, is too big.

In the mean time, I’ve been working on some proper drawings. Not sketches, but actual drawings with backgrounds and composition and the like. Saturday, I did this:

I like that I got a lot more detail and implied story going on. I dislike that I got sloppy with the hatching after a while, and I dislike how un-dynamic the pose is, so..

Today’s sketch looks like this:

Finishing pictures is a great way to deal with the frustration of “not getting anything done.” Of course, if it turns out this Zettelkasten idea was a bad one, it’s only concealing the pain. But I think having some nice pictures to point to is a worthwhile thing while I sort my objectives out.


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