Okay. Welcome to another addition of advice for the aspiring creator.
Practice. You hear about it a lot. Artists recommend it. So do writers. It’s mentioned in How To Books. And here is what I say…
Don’t do it. Practicing is way over-rated. If you have artistic talent, you have it. No need to nurture it. And when one says they practice, all they are admitting to you is that they aren’t good enough. Why would you take advice from a person with no confidence in their art?!
Besides, there are so many better things to do with your time. Like playing video games. And let me tell you, unlike drawing or writing? That takes practice to get good at. Or watching DVDs (or just TV). For you writers, that is a great source of ideas. I mean, no comic geek will be able to tell if you ripped off the plot of Legally Blonde 2. Be careful though, as comic geeks will shell out $15 to see Halle Berry and Jennifer Garner in crap-tacular “comic book films”.
Writers also want to avoid “diversifying”. Pick one voice and beat it to death. Don’t try and be one of those “I can write a political thriller, a teen superhero book, a vertigo book and a talking animal book!” Seriously, just look at Brian K. Vaughan’s career, and you will see what a dead end that kind of scattershot writing is.
For artists, realize that “practice” threatens to ruin your distinctive creative voice. For instance, if you were a Jim Lee clone, you might evolve into a Frank Quitely clone. One sure fire way to avoid an “evolving” style is to simply trace everything. Pick an artist you like and trace their work. Or photos. Whatever.
Just remember, while some people will lie and tell you that practice will help your art improve, the truth is, practice just speeds up the inevitible trip to the decline in your work and popularity. Afterall, I’ve heard Stuart Immonen practices…and look where his career is at.