Chuck Forsman and Melissa Mendes were kind enough to return to WRJ last week as visiting artists. They talked about their comics, Oily Comics, and life after CCS. During the Q&A a student asked what advice they wish they had heard when they were students. Chuck was more than prepared for this question. Here’s his response:
1. Never listen to someone giving you absolute advice. There is no ONE WAY. Pick the people you trust and listen to them. But do not lose a sense of yourself. It is always your decision. Ignore blow-hards and people who don’t know what they are talking about.
2. When writing a story, do not worry about how long it is going to be. No one cares. (Unless this plays into number 3.)
3. When overwhelmed by page-making decisions, set up boundaries. This can be a grid to work within, page-size, tool choice, number of pages
4. Serialization is not bad. It teaches.
5. You don’t have to make a “Graphic Novel.”
6. Stop thinking/worrying about your style and/or what it is. It will come eventually if you keep at it. (Ivan Brunetti said this to me)
7. Dead-ends are not a waste of time. They are very valuable. It’s okay to give up.
8. Write for yourself. Be selfish. Bury outside expectations in the ground in the backyard. Examples of this: your perceived expectations of readers, a publisher, a market, parents, etc.
9. People will respond to the work you have the most fun doing.
10. Be mindful of your health.