Drawing/Calligraphy/Cartooning/Too stiff

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Question
Hello!!! I am a aspiring comic book artist/writer and while I don't know what I need to do to get my own work published I know I need to learn to draw in a more lively matter in order to get better enough for people to take my work seriously. My drawings are too stiff and have no life or personality.

Another problem is I have no idea how to motivate myself to do any drawing. When I was in high school I drew and made up stories to pass time in class. As a child I did the same thing to pass time in church, or generally when I was at a place were there wasn't much entertainment.

Now that I'm a young adult I find it hard to pick up my tablet and just draw. Because now I have my own tv, internet and gaming consoles and a suck ass job. The only ways I feel motivated to draw is if challenge, when someone is giving me a deadline,or when working towards something. By working towards something I mean making a web comic or designing characters for a graphic novel game.

My questions are how can I make my art more lively and how do you motivate yourself into drawing on a daily basis? Also is it bad that I only want to draw if I can get something done instead of doing it just for the sake of doing it?

Answer
Dear Stiff I read your letter with great interest mostly because it's sounds oh so familiar having been through the same things myself, and having heard the same complaints from artists over the years.

YOU WROTE
 
Hello!!! I am a aspiring comic book artist/writer and while I don't know what I need to do to get my own work published 

Unfortunately, the days are over where you submit a dazzling portfolio to a publisher and have him hire you on the spot. For one thing, there aren't an abundance of comic book companies, and the competition s unbelievably high. These days even to get hired by the two top companies, they want to know what you can do for them coming in, not what they can do for you. This is the reason why the most ambitious artists are self publishers.  A number of noted mainstream artists, Paul Pope, for instance, did their own stuff first, before the big boys approached them.  Since you are a writer as well as artist, you have an advantage in this area since their are many artists who can draw, but cannot write. Only you have the power to write your own stories, and it's a story the world needs to hear no matter how small that world is at first. You start writing and drawing mini comics, giving them out for free at first to gain a following. In time once you gain confidence and experience you start going out to Indy conventions. You look for ways to distribute your product, and if you're motivated enough, you will find a way. 

YOU WROTE

 I know I need to learn to draw in a more lively matter in order to get better enough for people to take my work seriously. 

I can tell you right now that if you draftsman that road of worrying about people taking you seriously" you're going to find yourself alone in a corner of your room with a blanket over your head. Im not saying you cannot improve what you're doing currently, but is you're any kind of comic aficionado, you know that there's a style out there for EVERYONE, ranging from the most intense photorealism to the abstract. 

YOU WROTE

My drawings are too stiff and have no life or personality. 

The good thing is that your problem is very easy to fix. Just do what animators do. Get out in public and start drawing from LIFE and NOT pictures. Doing this regularly forces your brain, hand ,eye coordination to focus on movement. When you do life drawing you will mostly be doing gesture drawings. Trust me, done consistently, you will loosen up, and once you do, your drawings will have the life ad personality you want.  You can apply the same concept to watching film on TV. If you choose to photos seek out periodicals like sports illustrated, tennis magazines, snowboarding etc. That show the body moving realistically in action. 
 
 
YOU WROTE


Another problem is I have no idea how to motivate myself to do any drawing. When I was in high school I drew and made up stories to pass time in class. As a child I did the same thing to pass time in church, or generally when I was at a place were there wasn't much entertainment. 

Now that I'm a young adult I find it hard to pick up my tablet and just draw. Because now I have my own tv, internet and gaming consoles and a suck ass job. The only ways I feel motivated to draw is if challenge, when someone is giving me a deadline,or when working towards something. By working towards something I mean making a web comic or designing characters for a graphic novel game. 

if you examine what you've just told me you'll  discover that in the past you drew mostly WBEN you were bored and needed something to fill up that space.  While this method works when you're younger, you can't wait around till you're bored to start drawing.

In this case, you'll just have to apply some old fashion discipline. Stay offline, put away the gaming console ad start drawing, sto waiting fr someone ELSE to put you to work. That's waaaay too much power to give someone, because if they can "motivate you to work", then consequently, they'll have no problem stopping you if they choose to.

My suggestion is to start where you are. Your job, if it's anything like one I had, there are a thousand and one annoying things that you can tweak, amplify, and write a story about. It's what I did! LOL! I started an "underground" inter office comic that would've gotten me fired had my bosses found out about it! Being involved with this project actually made work more enjoyable.
Start by writing down what you hear see, or experience, interview co workers, etc. And draw in the evenings.  See how easy this can be?

YOU WROTE
My questions are how can I make my art more lively and how do you motivate yourself into drawing on a daily basis? Also is it bad that I only want to draw if I can get something done instead of doing it just for the sake of doing it?

I motivate myself to draw by drawing. It's like jogging (once upon a time when I was a runner) you feel stiff and lazy those first few steps, your muscles are tight, your breathing is a bored, all you can think of s going back  to bed. But if you push pass this, your body will warm up, your stride will lengthen ad become easier, and your breath will feel wonderful(wow I reaaaallly should start running again) it's the same with drawing. And it's the only way to get better. Wont say that it's "bad" not to want to do it for it's own sake, but will say this; as an artist, no matter what your level, you've been blessed with a great gift, the gift of not only being able to put down on paper the things that you dream and visualize, but the ability to do it for others. Not every one has this gift, and some who do have it taken away from them because of illness apathy, neglect. Drawing is a profoundly human activity and in some cultures a sacred one. What could be a better reason than that to keep it up?

Hope I answered your question.

Elgin. 

S here's a link to a seven part video where discuss the subject of making comics.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gu76CMO85OI&feature=youtube_gdata_player

Otter sources to check out are ANY books by Scott Mccloud particularly is book, MAKING COMICS

Drawing/Calligraphy/Cartooning

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Elgin Bolling

Expertise

Can answer questions about basic sketching and drawing, caricature drawing, and cartoon character creation and techniques. I cannot answer questions concerning 3D character creation and modeling.

Experience

Professional cartoonist, and caricature artist since 1990.

Organizations
Member of the National Caricaturist Network

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