Alec Nevala-Lee

Thoughts on art, creativity, and the writing life.

Making the mark

with one comment

Illustration by Jules Feiffer

I only wanted to do what I could right away. I didn’t want to have to do things that were hard. Hard was too hard. Hard was full of defeat. Hard was full of rejection. Hard was full of self-reproach and self-hate. There was enough self-hate operating within me under ordinary circumstances not to provoke even more by repeated failures at something I felt was beyond my ken, but which might not have been, had I been able to apply a little more effort. So, I think that at least unconsciously, becoming the sort of cartoonist I became, instead of the more traditional cartoonist, was because I felt I couldn’t compete as a more traditional cartoonist. I couldn’t do the slick thick and thin line. I couldn’t draw super-characters with ease and facility. I couldn’t do the work I thought I wanted to do…

Not being able to really be as good as I wanted to at my first love, which would have been a daily strip, I had to invent another form for myself, within cartooning. That no one else could do, that I was the only one doing, so that I couldn’t have any competitors. So nobody could be any better at it than I was. If I invented it, who was my competition? I mean, all competition had to be measured against me. I was making the mark. I’m not saying this was by any means a conscious choice. I think by a process of elimination, I just slipped into it…

Striking off on my own has never been intimidating. Being like everyone else has been intimidating, because I’m lousy at it. Being part of a group is intimidating, because I just don’t get the hang of it.

Jules Feiffer, to The Comics Journal

Written by nevalalee

February 10, 2016 at 10:09 am

One Response

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  1. Well-read man! I like your quote selections.


    February 10, 2016 at 11:09 am

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