We’ve all had those moments when we can feel our creative batteries running low and in need of a recharge. And like me, I’m sure plenty of you have your go-to ways of doing this.
Unfortunately not all of those options are on the table at the moment, but there are still other things that can be done. So I thought I’d take a slightly more casual approach to the blog this week and just share a few things that I’m currently doing to keep my brain creatively active during isolation and see what you’re up to as well.
I love reading comics. I also love making comics. The weird thing is that when I’m making comics it actually makes it hard to just read a comic without stopping to study and analyse every page. I’m having a few weeks break from a comic project I’ve been working on and I’m enjoying reading comics for fun. I’m currently catching up on the amazing manga THE GIRL FROM THE OTHER SIDE and also revisiting Christophe Chaboute’s remarkable adaptation of MOBY DICK.
If anyone’s after some lockdown reading recommendations then I’d recommend diving into the HELLBOY universe (they’re available in omnibus editions now and are some of the best comics ever made).
One of the advantages of working from home again is that I get to spend the day with my record collection. It’s quite a fun process to sit down over some breakfast and pull out a stack of vinyl to slowly play through as the day goes on. Music has always been a big source of personal and creative inspiration and it definitely helps to keep me focused.
For anyone interested, I spent today playing my way through some Godspeed You! Black Emperor before moving over to a few outstanding blues compilations released through Mississippi Records.
When I started working on art full-time I spent less and less time working in sketchbooks, it felt like I was wasting my time when I should have been producing art for whatever projects I was involved in at the time. In recent years I started to get back into filling up small sketchbooks, starting with characters designs and ideas for stories, but then I started to use those pages to make art to share with friends, and sometimes making things just for myself. It’s those moments, when you’re creating without any real intent or purpose, that I find new ideas and pathways reveal themselves.
And if whatever you’re drawing turns out crap then no one has to know anyway.
The Listener, Be Kind and Frank The Electric Skull by Matthew Dunn
Another advantage of all of the above things is that it stops me from spending too much time scrolling through news feeds and social media to keep an eye on what’s going on around the world. I know that not everyone has the option to disconnect, but if you do have that option then it’s worth doing now and then to let your brain breathe and release some tension/anxiety.
So that’s just a few things I’m doing during this strange and stressful time. What have you all been up to? And what are some good book and music recommendations you can throw my way?