This post is part of a series on the various ways I've used pen and paper in my life. To learn more about it, check out the introduction, or view the "ink and paper brain" category for other posts.
At some point in my childhood—perhaps when they got tired of my closet overflowing with drawings on printer paper—my parents bought me a wire-bound sketchbook. From then until well into college, when I finally transitioned to drawing primarily digitally, the only drawings I made that weren’t in a sketchbook were my notebook-paper school doodles.
By my reckoning, I’ve filled two full-sized sketchbooks completely, and am on my third. When I first traveled to Japan in high school, I brought a half-size book and put illustrations in the first 20 or so pages; when I returned in college and realized I’d neglected to pack a sketchpad, I bought a thin Japanese notebook to tide me over.
My drawing has never been the same type of outlet to me that my writing is, but those pages still contain important parts of my self.
I laid on my bedroom’s tan carpet, carefully drawing and coloring each panel, a plastic tub of colored pencils beside me. When I finished a page, I’d run downstairs to the kitchen, where a pot of spaghetti sauce was simmering on the stove, and interrupt my mom’s cooking to show off my latest work.
I don’t remember exactly how long The “L” Gang took to complete, but when I finished its seven pages and had written “THE END!” in rainbow letters on the last page, it was time to publish. Gathering a spare three-ring binder and some sheet protectors, I carefully slid each page into its plastic sheath, which I then hooked over the binder’s silver rings. When I was done, I held it in my hands. Here was a real comic. I could turn the pages, it had a cover–this was the real deal.
A few years later, when I was thirteen, I started another comic.
Let’s look past the really weak, problematic punchline here.
This time, there was no binder, no sheet protectors. Although I asked my dad to print one copy for posterity, I didn’t rely on the comic’s tangibility to consider it published. Instead, I got near-instant gratification by uploading it to my deviantART account.
Eighths vs. Sevvies continued for five strips. Over the course of those five strips, I developed a digital coloring technique, practiced drawing and pacing comics, and even had a thoroughly developed plot laid out (although I’ve forgotten almost all of it today). One day, I’ll probably write a blog post about the series. But today, I want to look at something else that Eighths vs. Sevvies represents: the significance of art-sharing sites on my creativity as a kid.
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