DISCLAIMER: I feel like this post isn't going to make much sense. If you find yourself getting confused, re-read the title and bear with me.
I feel like I'm stuck in some kind of artist-block. I also feel it's unintentionally self-imposed. I also feel like I'm about to contradict that in this post. Yeah, that disclaimer wasn't fucking around.
I feel like I need to up my print game. At conventions, my (and most other comic goblins) work comes in two categories: books and prints. Now there are some people only do prints, some who only do books, and some like me who do both; although I lean heavily towards books. And I'm generally happy with my book-favoring slant; I consider myself a writer first, an illustrator second. That being said, I feel like I'm well past due to update my print catalog.
Some people do stand-alone prints, but I prefer to do prints as a series (The Bishops, The Orphans, etc.). There isn't a right or wrong approach in that regard, my brain just seems to favor the series route. The last print series I did was The Bishops. Since then I've done a whole ton of books, both for print and web, hence the "it's time for some new prints" mindset I'm in.
It's probably illogical, but I have several book ideas lined up and at least one script written, laid out, and ready to illustrate; but I won't let myself work on another book until I get a print set done. So it's like I'm holding myself hostage, but I feel if I don't do this, I'll just keep putting it off. "I'll do it after this book. After this webcomic. After this book." etc.
Problem is, I have no idea what to do for the next print set and it's absolutely infuriating. I know I DON'T want to do fan art of other people's characters or property. A lot of illustrators do it and there's nothing wrong with it, but if I'm doing a print set, I want it to be something that is exclusively ME, if that makes sense. I also know it's gonna be horror, 'cause that's my thing, but the type of horror I'm interested in can't be easily expressed with a bad-ass monster.
So...new print series. Horror/dark/spooky stuff. No pre-existing stuff. No monsters or cliches. Something unique that sets a specific tone. Those are my parameters and I have no idea how to fulfill them yet. I've explored some threads and even made some stuff. Here's an example:
This was the first piece in a series I was cooking up called The Harbingers. I actually did a couple of these, but I couldn't shake the feeling that I was forcing something that wasn't there. So I scrapped it.
Speaking of forcing ideas, there's another concept I'm struggling with. My previous print sets came very naturally, I came up with an idea for an image and a series just organically built off of it. I couldn't tell you where the ideas came from - I didn't sit down and go "I'm going to do a print set" - they just...came to me.
So not only do I not know what to do, I'm also having a constant argument in my head:
-Jamie, you need to relax. All your other ideas came to you naturally, you can't force inspiration.
-Jamie, fuck that. If you sit around waiting for something to happen naturally, nothing's going to happen. Think straight. Get to work.
I just looked back at all this text and it's possible I'm overthinking this. To sum it up: I'm in a hole. It sucks. It's a shitty, terrible hole to be in. However, I know I will get out. I'm just not out yet.
Contradictions! (fuck this post is falling apart)
So I just wrote waaaay too much about how I don't know what to draw. Now, check out some awesome stuff that I've been able to draw:
Damn, I'm finding I really like doing commissions. I think it's because I can shut the writer part of my brain off and focus on making a cool image. Oh, and I totally did a NES variant of the Jason Voorhees commission 'cause I'm a huge nerd:
SHAMELESS ADVERT INCOMING: If you want in on this, I've still got a few spots open. Jump on over here to commission your own art thing. (Making money's nice, but honestly, I just really like making these for people.)
I feel like there's more to cover in this post, but like the title says, things are kinda terrible right now. They'll get better, I know that. But for now...just terrible.