I've been grinding pretty hard lately.
I'm trying to get this little sketchbook of mine out into the world and--like a lot of illustrators-- I'm doing it while trying to bang out 40 hours a week at my day job.
A few nights ago, I got home from a long day of work with a fried noodle for a brain. I was feeling burnt out and run down and ready to crash on the couch with my sketchbook. I started doodling in my SeqArt with no real plan, and this is what came out.
I penciled out “The Lone Star Racer” in about an hour and the text came to me on the spot.
I started out with that long first panel. Something about it was telling me to put a character in that. He was long and lean and in full profile to start. He looked a bit like Speed Racer with a cowboy twist. That's when I thought to call him "The Lone Star Racer" and this comic got a name.
I had saved an old car advertisement in my reference file and it's just been waiting for a reason to get drawn, so I dropped it right in that second box. I really liked how it came out, but it didn't work with the first panel- the flow was off. So I backed up a bit and decided to put the lens right there inside the car, looking over the steering wheel. It took me a minute to find the image and I threw those text boxes in there just to balance the image out.
Now I had 2 panels I was digging pretty hard, but that third one was still a blank little mystery. "Don't think too much about it," I said to myself, "just keep your pencil moving and let the page find you."
"Hey", I carried on, "that works."
What's the Lone Star Racer think about while zipping through dusty S turns? He thinks about the road. That's what he's always thinking about, matter of fact. The road is life. Life is the road.
And that gave me the third panel. A tattered little shrine; replete with dead flowers, a candle, a skull, a scorpion. Probably a tribute to some other racer who should've just kept his eyes on the horizon.
Just how I was feeling in the moment I guess. When I give myself the time and space to draw a comic it can be better than therapy. This is a little story about weathering the journey with steely persistence, despite the perils at every corner.
I went to bed feeling refreshed and dreamt of fast corners. Woke up the next day ready to pound the pavement, sell some sketchbooks, and let the road find me.