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You Have a Superpower

Banes at 12:00AM, June 3, 2021

shields up!

Our struggles are probably different in some ways, and maybe the same in others. But as comic creators, there are certain issues many of us have in common:

Finding time to make our comics,
Spending too little time…or too much time on them,
Making decisions about our stories, like what they're about, what happens, etc
Making decisions about structural things like page length, release schedule, story length, etc
Working with collaborators,
Handling criticism, praise, or advice from friends or readers,
Wanting to be better at writing and art,
Wanting more readers,
Lack of confidence in ourselves and our abilities,

and so on

Add to that the challenges of the bigger picture of your life aside from making comics - the challenges, frustrations, decisions, surprises, and other people and events in life are diverse and endless.

How are we to handle all this stuff? There has been great advice in these Newsposts by our weekly contributors over the years - I'm gonna get a little more conceptual with it; maybe that will be useful to you.

Your Superpower

The personal boundary is like a border around each of us. They're invisible - well, usually. Mine is hot pink.
No - of course, it's a psychological concept, and not a physical thing. But it has incredible real world applications and effects that can be felt when you use it.

Your boundary contains your identity, and separates you from other people and the rest of the world. Everything inside it belongs to you and is your responsibility, and everything outside of it is not your responsibility and is outside your control.

Handling Criticism

So let's look at one of the struggles from the list at the top - Handling criticism. The basic definition of the boundary - a shield separating you from everyone else - gives us a place to start. The critic is another person, and is therefore outside your boundary and by definition, not your responsibility or concern.

I knew a lady, a friend of my Dad's - very plain spoken and wise, and once I heard her say if someone is mean or rude to you, or says something hurtful, “you just let it roll right off your back”. She's talking about a boundary.

So if your boundary is intact, the criticism hits the boundary, and disperses harmlessly…like a blast on the shields of the Star Track Enterprise.

Now here you might be thinking that this doesn't help, because criticism CAN sometimes hurt. You were criticized and it made you sad, or angry, or frustrated. Believe me, I hear you!

In that case, the criticism got IN to your boundary. And once the criticism is in your boundary, it IS yours to deal with. And the negative emotion becomes yours to deal with. And it can be dealt with - we can do it without beating ourselves up, or starting a verbal war with the critic. That's a whole other topic we can look at in another Newspost or the comments here on the Duck if you like (I'm not on Facebook personally).

But the first line of defense is the boundary. When we talk about “being able to take a punch” or “having a thick skin”, this is what we're talking about. If negatives are getting in and messing you up, you have a hole in your boundary and may need to do some work to patch it up.

I don't mean that to sound glib - we ALL have holes in our boundaries to some degree, and to some level.

But if you are solid in your identity, know what you want, know your preferences and where you want to go - in short, if your boundary is well developed - then you are far more capable of handling criticism AND dealing with all the other problems listed above.

Your boundary is your superpower, and your birthright, and the key to solving multiple problems we face every day.

I realized this topic is much bigger than I want to cram into one Newspost so I'll leave it there for now. Maybe just a few Boundary-related bullet points that we can explore later -

Have a good one!




kawaiidaigakusei at 7:57PM, June 5, 2021

Also, add "Contemplating/Dreaming up new ideas of future comics constantly" to the list.

bravo1102 at 4:47AM, June 4, 2021

I haven't gotten negative feedback in years and at times the positive feedback is embarrassing. What am I doing wrong? And there are page views so someone or something is reading--

bravo1102 at 2:40AM, June 4, 2021

@banes : you're doing something wrong. I get Guinan or Troi every time. Hold on, error message you're getting rerouted into feline supplements. No wonder you're getting Data's cat!

dpat57 at 12:11AM, June 4, 2021

@cdmalcolm1 “but what keeps me going is that I’m doing this for me. It relaxes me. It is therapeutic from daily stress. I write stories that I want to read. I draw comics for me to enjoy.” INDEED, this is what pushes me also, I do it for meeeeee. Surely someone out there must have the same comic tastes I have. They just haven't found me yet, lol.

Banes at 8:24PM, June 3, 2021

@hushicho - I guess my opinion is that other people's take on things can be ignored, considered, or responded to and it's the artist's choice whether to do so. Maybe the right move sometimes is to express certain things to the critic and try to inform them - sometimes ignoring it is the way to go. I agree that it's not our job to humor negative responses - but we don't control the world, or other people, so the world and other people will do whatever they do. If we can take in the good and withstand taking too much damage or change ourselves too much from the bad, we'll do alright.

Banes at 8:14PM, June 3, 2021

@cdmalcolm - That sounds like a great deal of self awareness to me! Very good on you! Doing comics or other art for yourself first sounds just right; I'm on the same page there!

Banes at 8:12PM, June 3, 2021

@damehelsing - It's a good point - and now that you both mention it, my own doubts come from within as well. It can be harder to deal with that stuff. I think those struggles you mention are at least somewhat positives, to look critically at what we're doing and hopefully improve over time...or at least practicing as much objectivity as we can about what we do. Ha...maybe the comments on old pages are subtle compliments about how much better the newer stuff is!

hushicho at 3:44PM, June 3, 2021

Ultimately, criticism is not something everyone needs or wants, and we as creators shouldn't be expected to just shrug off especially unsolicited complaints or opinions, which are usually fairly irrelevant and not constructive or useful. A good boundary, I find, is the phrase "I didn't ask". Art is unique in the way that everyone feels entitled and knowledgeable enough to voice what they dislike (which is, as I've said many times before, a mistake to look for -- it's much easier and requires no thought to come up with negatives), because many don't value art or the work behind it, and are never taught to. They feel art is something anyone can do expertly, and they often say things like "my little cousin is an artist!" when it's a child who scribbles with crayons. We should not encourage this. It is not our responsibility to humor those who do not value or respect us nearly enough. It is up to the artist to determine what they need, and to assess their work and themselves to do so.

cdmalcolm1 at 2:32PM, June 3, 2021

I get hurt from criticism a lot. Yeah, they hurt, but what keeps me going is that I’m doing this for me. It relaxes me. It is therapeutic from daily stress. I write stories that I want to read. I draw comics for me to enjoy. I publish my comics to hear what ppl have to say. Some say I draw like Rob Liefeld, while other say I need to work on my faces. The thing is I do work on things that ppl criticize me on. My skills as an artist don’t always push out great, hell, good work. I just keep pressing on. I know what I need to work on and sometimes it takes time for me to get a good grasps on different aspects of the style I want to achieve. Speed is my biggest and worst criticismI I place on myself. (There is not enough time in a day for me.) Due to this, I lose a lot of fans waiting for updates. Really, if it wasn’t for coloring, I would make deadlines easy. The masses like color and I want to see my work color as well. At the end of the day, I’m my worst critic.

damehelsing at 8:45AM, June 3, 2021

Criticism and doubt also starts from within for me. I often have thoughts like "is this layout clear enough?" or when I'm done working on a page I began to think "does this look like something you'd find in a top notch comic book in a comic-book shop?" etc - but I try to remind myself that nothing is perfect and this is a webcomic that I'm learning from. Over the course of uploading my art online, I have developed a thick-ish skin, when someone shares an opinion but I don't agree with it because it pertains to my art I often say "Thank you, but I don't think it would work with my style." or something along those lines, funnily though, any comment regarding anatomy or "corrections" always seem to happen on early comic pages/art, like someone will comment today on a page from 3 years ago and in my head it's like "did you not see the progress I made?? Did the angle of the cup make you stop here? I don't understand." lol

Banes at 8:15AM, June 3, 2021

Good point - I once desperately needed advice from Guinan but from her on down the list, nobody was available except Data's cat. That little jerk didn't care, either!

Gunwallace at 12:56AM, June 3, 2021

The problem for me is that the criticism and doubt often starts from within, like some virus that is making the Enterprise computer go all haywire and shutting down important systems. (Save me, Number One! Number One isn't here, you say. Who can help? Wesley!? Really? Only Wesley? No one else? Sigh.)

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