Thursday, April 25, 2013
Riding a creative wave is comparable to swimming in the New England ocean. I can't even count the times my friends and I floated in the Atlantic at Nantasket Beach waiting to hop on the perfect wave. I guess you're just looking for that sensation of weightlessness, when your stomach flips a little. For that one moment you don't have a care in the world.
It's a different kind of "happy" than we normally feel.
The beaches I frequent in New England don't have the fiercest waves, so it takes time and patience to wait for the right one. The in between waves are enjoyable enough, but when the right one comes, you have to act smart and fast or you'll miss it. Position your body the wrong way and you miss that perfectly synchronized moment that lets you coast to the shoreline. Being an artist is kind if like that, in relation to both projects and... feelings.
I find that when I'm busiest, it's comparable to riding that long, bubbling wave. I'm working on a book right now, (I haven't worked on a new book in over a year) and I am loving every second of it. I'm currently riding a wave, and here's what it feels like:
-The panic I feel staring at my barrage of sketches waiting to be colored. Here it comes, will I catch this next wave?
-The joy of seeing the pages and characters finally starting to take shape. I'm at the top of the wave now with my eyes closed, all smiles, elation, adrenaline.
-The tension of the tedious, small tweaks and finessing of details. Preparing for crash landing.
-Inevitably, the relief of accomplishment and the simultaneous regret that maybe it could have been even better. BOOM! Sand in your bathing suit hopefully not in your face, legs over your head, your arms all floppy.
The wave leaves you abandoned on shore, bidding farewell to the characters you've spent so much time bringing to life. But one day they'll come back to you in the form of a nicely bound book. And so, you get up, brush the sand off and run flailing mad back into the ocean to wait for another wave so you can feel that high again.
That's making books.
I should note that the little ounce of regret is what makes you level up as an artist. It's crucial to growth. And whether you miss the wave, ride it for a little while and fall, or float on to the coast, you always end up back in the same place: Waiting for a new wave to roll in from the salty, ocean abyss.
Because if you are in books, you love books, and you'll have that patience it takes to wait --and the readiness to ride that wave when it comes rolling in.
I'm currently riding two waves in tandem. Not only am I working on a contract job, but I am also writing and storyboarding my very first picture book. I have always loved writing, it's another whole wave in itself. If only I were stretching my muscles more instead of my brain, trying to stay afloat is very tiring! :) Nonetheless, it's exhilarating too, and I can't wait to share more!