I haven’t drawn any comics since March 2022. My excuse is that my picture book Emet’s Box was released in April and I was busy working on that. Then, I had a table at VanCAF in May 2022 and I was busy gathering all the EJ Rascal comics that I’ve drawn since 2016 when EJ was 5 years old. I had over 100 comic strips that I compiled into comics books and printed at home to sell at VanCAF. When I was going through all my comics, I felt a sense of accomplishment and wanted to create more comics. At the end of VanCAF on Sunday, I had dinner with some friends who came to visit at VanCAF. One of the kids brought my comics to dinner and two other graphic novels written and illustrated by a well know person and published by the big five. But I noticed the kid would read my comics, put it back into her pocket and took it out to read it again after a while. This happened several times during dinner. My DIY comic book got a little wrinkled but a lot of love. It felt so good to see a kid enjoying reading my comics. This reconfirmed my earlier feeling that I want to make more comics and to get better at making comics.
Last year, I’ve read a book on Zen Buddhism and I wanted to draw comics about KOAN. According to Dictionary.com, a koan is “a paradoxical anecdote or riddle, used in Zen Buddhism to demonstrate the inadequacy of logical reasoning and to provoke enlightenment.”
I love the ideas of contradictions and shattering our logical reasoning. These are something that I see in flowers which inspired my paintings.
This morning I woke up thinking maybe I can draw one comic strip per day. Or one per week so I will get better at it.
So I did one today.
This was inspired from a Youtube video that I watched yesterday: “Meditation Is Good For Nothing” – Zen Master Shohaku Okumura.
I do meditation regularly and I was intrigued by the title of this video. Basically his master said if you want to get something out of your meditation, there is this egoic desire which pulls you away from the now. If we are thinking about achieving enlightenment through meditation, we are thinking about the future. But if we have no desire or wanting during meditation, we can be one with the now and that’s where our power is. I think it’s the same as appreciating the now, be satisfied with whatever we have in our life right now. When I feel overwhelmed or frustrated or not having clarity, I told myself that I don’t have to do anything right now and I feel calmer and more relaxed. I think I was conditioned to do things quickly so I can achieve results quickly and that took out the fun of the doing.
I was going to make this series of KOAN comic black and white only but I ended up colouring just the main characters. I tried so many purples for ZigZag (my son EJ said it’s ZigZagi because he named the characters).
I will see how I feel about my comic style as time goes. I just need to make more comics so I can get better. Another great video I watched recently: THE PRACTICE by Seth Godin | Core Message Basically he says 1. Make more work 2. Commit to sharing your work on a regular basis.
I also bought Scott McCloud’s Making Comics which is a great book. He shows you how to make comics in the form of comics.