Fig. A: From Ellen Forney’s ‘Marbles’
Hi. My name is Whit Taylor. I’m a cartoonist and comics writer. I also happen to be bipolar type II. This does not mean I’m “crazy”. In fact I don’t even know what crazy actually means. That I even had to bring that up though illustrates some of my hesitancy to reveal this. Yes, my experiences with depression (and very infrequently hypomania) have been internal for the most part, but it’s something that manifests externally in the way I see the world. For me, being a creative has always gone hand in hand with some of my mood issues and the more I meet other artists I realize that I’m not alone. I will be talking about my own coming to terms with my mental health, how this relates to my cartooning, the real or imagined association between “creativity and madness”, and why I don’t necessarily see it as a negative thing.
Honest and intelligent thoughts by Whit Taylor. Thank you for this!
Anonymous asked: Whenever I attempt a more long form comic story, I quickly become disheartened, insecure, and frustrated by it for one reason or another. Does this ever happen to you? If so, how do you deal with negative feelings about the quality of your work?
i have predominantly negative feelings about most of my work, so i just try to make the next thing i do better than the last thing. i feel like it’s important to be dissatisfied with everything you’re working on because it means you’re straining yourself. if things start coming easily to you or you are too much in your comfort zone, you are possibly being boring and drawing something shitty.
so i guess i’m saying, negative feelings about the quality of your work are essential, and you shouldn’t think of them as something you should get rid of. (i don’t know if that is at all helpful.)
i also think you should feel comfortable working on shorter pieces if the long form stuff isn’t coming organically. maybe the long form stuff isn’t for you right now. a lot of my favourite authors exclusively write short fiction …
i find it’s helpful to give myself a lot of room to improvise when working on longer stories (kid mafia, sticks angelica, ant colony, elizabeth of canada, leather space man) so if i ever feel stuck some place, it’s easy to veer off into some other new thing for a while.
also, don’t worry about throwing out stuff that isn’t working, that’s a good thing to do and a good impulse to have. there’s no prize at the finish line for sticking with something you’re only half invested in.