Guess What? Mistakes Actually Aren’t The Worst
Making mistakes while we are drawing sucks. But they only stay mistakes if we don’t learn from them. Learning from drawing mistakes is, like the meaning of the box on that episode of Friends, threefold:
1) Know you can fix them.
2) Don’t label them as weaknesses.
3) Know that perfection isn’t the goal.
Here’s how to do it:
1️⃣ YOU CAN FIX THEM
It’s a real “no sweat!” situation. No matter what form you are drawing in (digital, on paper, or a hybrid [i.e. paper to digital]) you can fix it! Digital is, of course, the easiest. All you have to do is erase the marks you don’t want in whatever program you’re working in (like Photoshop). On paper you can use a type of white out paint to erase any ink lines you don’t want. And, my favorite, if you draw on paper and then digitize it, given you don’t need the original for any other use, you can hold off on the paint and use the joys of digital erasers (as mentioned above) to erase whatever you don’t want.
2️⃣ DON’T LABEL THEM AS WEAKNESSES
Adrian Tomine, one of my favorite comic creators, makes some of the most amazing comics and guess what? When he sells origials of his work, they have correction paint all over them! He, in all his years of experience, isn’t exempt from making boo-boos (they’re part of the comic making game.) Embrace the fact that you’re gonna draw something you’re going to correct (whether it’s a must-correct like accidentally sneezing while inking–whoops!–or a choose-to-correct like not liking the way you drew something). So don’t punish yourself for messing up. It’s not a flaw or weakness. And know that if there is something that you’re not confident in drawing, the more you do it and simplify it in the mean time, it’ll catch up to your strengths in no time (trust me.)
3️⃣ PERFECTION ISN’T THE GOAL
Communicating is the #1 goal of a comic. Detail doesn’t make communication any stronger than a lack of detail. You know what communicates? Stick figures. Think about it: DC comics don’t communicate any better than Sunday newspaper comics. Studio Ghibli films don’t communicate any better than Adventure Time episodes. It’s the message of your story and the way your drawings tell visual, sequential stories across the comic panels that matters.
Get out a piece of paper, pencil, and draw without holding anything back. In fact, make mistakes on purpose. Draw the lines you want to have drawn and see how easily you can erase the lines you don’t want. Now try it with ink and correction tape or paint.
And Most importantly…
Before you begin anything… don’t let the fear of making mistakes stop you. As you can see here, it’s no biggie. We all do it. So let’s change how we react to messing up and embrace it as part of being a comic creator. Total badge of honor 😉