Just Keep Swimming: What To Do If Your Comics Project Falls Apart

Lyndon White writes:

Making comics is hard work. I’m not saying this to glorify those who spend time making things in the medium — I say it as a matter of fact. Whether you’re an indie creator, a zine-ist, if you’re climbing the ladder or a pro — wherever you find yourself in the spectrum, you are the one who spends countless hours making your comic. So, what happens if you spend all those hours, days, weeks, months working on your book and somehow, the project falls apart?

I’ve worked on a range of comics now. Some published, some self-published. Really, it all depends on the project. My new book with Jordan S. Adams (writer), is The Mind of James Svengal, and I’ve got to say it’s one of the hardest books I’ve ever worked on.

You could say its due to its length of 180 pages, or the fact it’s about someone dealing with PTSD and addiction, themes that can be often mishandled or difficult to portray. However, the main reason is what happened during development. The Mind of James Svengal started out as a pitched project. Things were going well. We’d gotten through the door and were well underway with the artwork. Unfortunately for us, ours and many other projects got axed overnight.

This wouldn’t have been so bad if we weren’t so far into development. But after finishing 162 pages of line work, inking, and adding text, a lot of time had been spent on the artwork. Not to mention all the time Jordan had spent writing the script.

Now, these kind of things happen in publishing; it’s part of the nature of the business. So we licked our wounds and started to prep pitching again — which is quite hard once you’re already so far in development. This also takes time for people to read your pitch, review it, and (hopefully) get back to you. Long story short, we struggled to find a suitable home for The Mind of James Svengal, leaving us with a book that had a full draft of artwork (which still needed to be coloured) without a home.

This leads me to Kickstarter. It’s become such a popular platform over the past few years, from small projects to big scale, epic stories. There’s a place for everything and this is where The Mind of James Svengal has found its home. Not the original home that we planned, but still a damn fine one.

I spent a few months colouring the book on top of my normal freelance workload, so that it was in a respectable position to be brought to Kickstarter, as a finished product. Kickstarter has defiantly changed the way creators can pitch a project. Instead of pitching to and editor or a publisher, you pitch directly to your audience. I won’t say it’s the be all and end all of ways to get your book made, but Kickstarter is a strong viable option — one that I’m glad exists.

I’ve been working as a freelance illustrator and mostly in comics for four years now; I’m still fairly a newbie. One thing I’ve learnt is that every book is different. Events beyond your control affect the project. Things change and you must be willing to adapt. The Mind of James Svengal is a prime example of this. For those who work in comics or are planning on getting into the game, just remember there will be setbacks. You just have to decide if it’s worth pushing forward or throwing in the towel. I’ve given this advice out a lot but remember: “Just keep swimming.” Finish the damn thing and get it out there. However you can.

Our new graphic novel, The Mind of James Svengal, is now live on Kickstarter. Please check it out.

Summary: Struggling with PTSD, James battles his inner psyche and his addiction. Trying to keep himself together while falling apart.

Twitter – @lyndondraws
Instagram – @lyndondraws
Email – lyndon@lyndonwhite.com
Website – www.lyndonwhite.com

About Rich Johnston

Chief writer and founder of Bleeding Cool. Father of two. Comic book clairvoyant. Political cartoonist.

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