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How it all began

Tantz_Aerine at 12:00AM, Feb. 25, 2023

I was supposed to write the last post on my ‘toxic’ character design series, but I've been deep cleaning the house all day and I'm exhausted. My brain refuses to think so that post will need to wait till next time. Instead, I'd like to talk about how I got into art at all! How it all began.

I always find that how people get into things is fascinating, because often it's just a little thing or many little things that gently push us in a certain direction. So much so that sometimes it's hard to even remember what got us into something.

My weapon of choice when it comes to art is the pen, rather than the brush: I've been a storyteller well before I ever tried my hand at visual storytelling or drawing at all. Not a good storyteller, mind you, at around 8 or 9 years old when I remember my first efforts to write some Enyd Blighton fanfiction. But an aspiring one.

I remember how I first decided to write surprisingly vividly- it was at school and I was enthralled during literature class, which was one of my favorites thanks to all the short stories. We were reading a short story that honestly I think wasn't for elementary school kids, even though it had kids as the main characters, because it was about the Nazi Occupation (sound familiar yet?). And it had a bitter ending that I just couldn't accept. I liked these characters, and I didn't want them to be helpless, dead, out in the streets like they end up in the story. So what I did was furiously write an alternate ending to the story during the school break.

And that was it. Anything I didn't like, anything I wanted to see and didn't, I took to my notebook and my pencils and I wrote that sucker down so I could read it whenever I wanted to!

The concept that writing had skills to be learned and that there was good writing and bad writing, and rules to be followed before they could be bent slapped me in the face a couple of years later when I dared show my notebook to someone else, and they tore my beloved stories to shreds with their criticism. It was valid criticism, but so nastily delivered to an 11-12 year old that I burnt all those stories and swore I would never write again.

But not writing began being painful about six months in my pledge. So I knew I'd want to write but I was terrified of writing something bad. That's when I started reading books on writing and it took me another six months or so to dare start writing again, this time in a far more aware, disciplined way. The stories were still crap, don't get me wrong, but they were at least trying to adhere to some basic elements like character design, plot development, and consistent settings.

The rest is history, I guess! I've never stopped writing since, never stopped trying to find ways to get better.

With sketching, I had a similar route, but really, I got into comics basically because the only way to entice my class of English language learners to learn irregular verbs was to cartoonishly draw them in a “magic school” comic I would continue only if they scored top marks and did their homework. After I didn't need to do that anymore because the kids liked performing in class for the sake of the class and not the comic, I kept doing it because I liked it, but created my characters instead, and made Wolf, which is still here on DD if you want to see how bad I was starting out.

So what about you? How did you get into writing, comics, or any other art form?

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HawkandFloAdventures at 6:16PM, Feb. 25, 2023

Funnily enough I started Last Space Wizard Again around the time this blog post came up ^^

PaulEberhardt at 12:55PM, Feb. 25, 2023

Most likely, I started, because as soon as I knew how to read (age four or so), my grandfather let me play with his typewriter and afterwards gave me some pencils, which tend to make less noise. For a long time I drew only volcanoes, explosions, dinosaurs and cars with impossibly large engines. Then I got better at reading, found children's literature too saccharine and started making illustrated stories where the bad guys won. Around the same time I drew my first tiger in a comic and have never quite stopped since. At age twelve, my best friend and I got it in our heads to make comedy films, so we wrote lots of scripts together, drew storyboards that turned into comics and stopped right there. I'm amazed at how good some of the gags were, considering. At seventeen, I edited one of the Star Trek parody scripts into a very uneven, derivative novel, but that taught me more about writing than any teacher ever did. Most of what I drew in my teens has been lost to mice nesting in the box.

PaulEberhardt at 12:42PM, Feb. 25, 2023

I remember how I was annoyed with my teachers for always keeping me from drawing and writing what I wanted to. In their defence, I have to say that all they tried to do was teach me something else. Today I do the same to my students, but I tell them that I only do it, because drawing is only half as much fun if it's allowed.) Btw. I never got along with any of my art teachers (except for one, who I never had art lessons with), and all I remembered about creative writing in lessons is how I made my German teacher regret giving us an assignment to write about "What's the worst that could happen?" The poor guy told my parents he had nightmares for a week. Funnily enough, I'm anything but a horror author today, and it's probably because I eventually got fed up with the splatter fiction of my boyhood and never really felt up to pulling off the psychological horror I've always liked a lot better as soon as I grew up.

anonymous at 12:40PM, Feb. 25, 2023

very good and intresting

RobertRVeith at 11:25AM, Feb. 25, 2023

I've been writing stories and drawing comics for as long as I can remember. The first stories which got me some measure of attention—in that they were shared with others—were written in elementary school. The teacher would give a creative writing assignment each week and I would use the assignment to tell a sequel to whatever story I'd written the previous week. The stories all involved me and my friend, who was a seven foot tall, green-skinned, one-eyed alien. This amused the teacher to the extent that he got me into a program for local young writers. These other young writers (of which I was one of the younger) encouraged me to keep going… mainly because they took me seriously as a fellow creative. Even though some of them had driver's licenses and I hadn't yet lived a full decade.

usedbooks at 3:14AM, Feb. 25, 2023

I got into writing as a kid because my family always had computers (back in the 1980s). The word processor was a fun program to play around with. The first story I recall writing was about a kid getting lost in the rainforest and having adventures. After that, I wrote a lot of "episodes" for shows I liked. I drew as a kid too but wasn't good at it at any point. I was awestruck by the art kids submitted to Highlights magazine. I took every art class in high school too but still wasn't good at it. I got into drawing "comics" because no one wanted to read my prose, and I wanted to make a story inspired by my housemates to share with them.

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