Hi :) I've been following you for like forever. I think your art is amazing and it really gives me lots of inspiration to paint. I always wanted to create my own comic and now finally after years I have some good ideas but tbh I'm a little lost about how should I bring it to another level from just few ideas. Do you have any tips on how to work on your story? And how long it took you from idea to the point you started drawing Carciphona?
Hi! Thank you for writing : D I’m glad you like my art!
Even though I do try to become better, at the end of the day I do everything I do mostly for fun so I don’t have proper knowledge to back it up. Everything I can answer is based on my experience, right or wrong, but I’ll try my best to theorize what I think is the right answer for you.
I started the comic not because I thought I was ready; I just thought it’d be fun to draw the comic and I already had some material (keyword some). In these 12 years of drawing Carciphona, even in the recent years, long after I’ve started the comic, I’ve made some pretty major changes that made the story and plot almost unrecognizable compared to before.
The gist of my advice is just don’t worry about reaching a goal or next level for your story, that’s a really objective way to think about creativity and it usually makes you worry more than be creative.Even if you can’t come up with anything, you needn’t feel lost, just don’t write anything. It’s not always time to write or create. Think over what your world is for now and wait. When you know your story better, you will have more questions that will lead to more ideas for your story, just like how you won’t know you need to learn anatomy until you’ve actually drawn something and then saw the gaping hole in your knowledge about anatomy.
This to me is immersion and I only like writing when I feel immersed in what I am working with. Immersion takes time, so no matter how hard you work, it’s inevitable that you will have to give your story idea months or years to really feel natural for you to work with, and this is probably why you are feeling “lost” now–because you don’t really know your world and character all that well yet to be curious about its unknowns, and you want to move forward but you cannot. It’s likely that instead of patiently waiting for that understanding and then expanding on what you already have, you’d want to make your world more exciting by adding details like more races of people/creatures, more characters, more locations etc. This is a lot easier to do as you can see tons of characters created with little context on a daily basis, but if you force it to become more complex this way just to satisfy your standard, you are most likely going to come up with a story that is unrelatable, irrelevant and not believable (ie. character’s actions feel arbitrary instead of natural, the world consists of races and groups of characters that have no relation with each other or with the world from which they came).
I enjoy the slower method of waiting to feel immersed with my characters and world over time, and then being able to naturally continue the story by asking myself questions with that unconscious understanding of how the world and the characters are like. I think it’s important to think of your story in an inquisitive manner rather than authoritative manner. Rather than tell your world/your characters what they are, ask your characters/your world, why it is the way it is. What is the reason for certain cities to be so much more guarded or prosperous compared to others? what do they have that others don’t? Why do the characters feel so willing to travel instead of staying home? What does that say about the climate of society and civilian life, and maybe the lack of attachment they feel towards home and loved ones? who are these loved ones and what are their lives like, even if they will never appear in the story? Asking questions in this manner makes you explore the background which grounds the world and makes it the way it is–the “why” and “how”–rather than making up random facts and characters just like filler–the “what”. It makes it so that your world and their events, and your characters and their lives, exist within the context of the people and things that surround them, rather than just existing because you willed it. This makes for a solid foundation by giving you lots of gaps of information to fill and be creative about, all with information relevant and reasonable to your world. By working like this, I’ve never hit a wall with my writing in the sense that I am out of things to do with my world; I might have days or months where I cannot solve one puzzle about my story world, but I know it is not a loss of direction as much as simply another aspect of my world that will eventually make sense to me as I understand my story more in time.