I’ve been struggling a lot to keep writing, to keep creating, to find the inspiration and the focus I need to do my job. A lot of it is related to my Depression, but there comes a point when the difference between being a professional and a hobbyist is actually doing the work, even — especially — when it’s hard.
So this weekend, Anne and I took the kids up to Santa Barbara to celebrate our birthdays (which are all in the next two weeks), and to get a change of scenery for a couple of days. It was a gorgeous trip, emotionally and spiritually, and while it didn’t give me the magic bullet to suddenly break through the struggle I’ve been having, I made a ton of progress, because I read a book that I took with me. Here’s my review that I posted to my Goodreads thingy:
It’s a quick read that you can finish in one sitting, but the ideas and advice it contains will stay with you long after you’ve put it down. Some of Austin’s suggestions will validate what you’re already doing, some will challenge you to fundamentally change a creative practice, others will inspire you to grab a notebook and get to work immediately.
Because it’s such a small and accessible book, you’ll want to go back to it from time to time. Just like Stephen King’s On Writing, as you change and grow as an artist, it reveals new ideas and inspirations to you that you may have missed on a previous read.
This is a fantastic addition to your library, and a wonderful gift for any creative person in your life.
I’ve been profoundly inspired by Austin’s book, because he reaffirmed things I’ve already been doing as an artist, but mostly because he gave me permission to think about the entire creative process differently.
For a long time, I have felt like a travel writer who never leaves the house, and Steal Like An Artist helped me find the door so I can get back on the road.
This scene was written this way, verbatim, in our planning notes years before we got up to starting detailed work on Return of the Jedi. The allusion to Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan was just too delicious pass up.
As it turned out, when we got to the sailbarge fight, we came up with a better idea, and ran with it in the actual comic. I, personally, was very sad to see this one fall by the wayside. But I'm pleased that it has new life and finally sees the light of day as the final non-canon bonus strip in this extended intermission after the original six films.
As previously announced, the next strip will be the opening strip of our treatment of Rogue One, appearing on Tuesday 1 August. See you then as we continue the Darths & Droids journey into an exciting new frontier!