169. The Calling
Zen Pencils is finally back for 2015. Thanks for your patience and happy new year. So this is something a bit different to start the year: an original comic featuring my words. I’ve done a few original strips before (The Artist-troll War, The Next Generation) which were wordless comics, but this is the first time I’ve actually written the prose for a Zen Pencils comic.
The inspiration came from two sources. I was originally adapting a quote by Steven Pressfield, taken from his fantastic book The War of Art (which I recommend to all creative people):
“The artist committing himself to his calling has volunteered for hell, whether he knows it or not. He will be dining for the duration on a diet of isolation, rejection, self-doubt, despair, ridicule, contempt, and humiliation.”
I was also listening to a recent Nerdist interview with Paul McCartney, where he mentioned that he STILL has moments of self-doubt about his music and sometimes thinks he’s not good enough. Paul friggin McCartney! One of the most successful artists of all time still has self-doubt?! Depending on what mood you’re in, this is very comforting or extremely depressing. Comforting to know that even the greats still second-guess themselves. Depressing because you realise the second-guessing NEVER goes away.
The story I envisaged kept growing and growing until eventually Pressfield’s quote didn’t really fit anymore, so I decided what the hell, I’ll try writing it myself. I’ll leave it up to you to decide whether it works or not. Just know that I suffered extreme self-doubt, uncertainty, and fear while making this comic … but I also had lots of fun.