Doug TenNapel – EWJ and GEAR
November 29, 2012
There are really only two of my projects that could apply to start up video game designers or graphic novelists and that’s Earthworm Jim and GEAR. One is my first original video game, and the other is my first original graphic novel… both were the exact kinds of things that don’t get made by other content creators every day.
I recall writing and drawing Gear where I had no idea where the story was going, and I was changing paper stock, inks, even page dimensions as I learned along the way. It’s hard to tell if this is good advice to give, or if it’s just the way I did it, but I always do something before I’m really good enough at doing it. This isn’t something I learned in the art department, it’s something I learned from life.
I didn’t learn to be a father before I had kids. I didn’t become an expert at marriage before I got married and I didn’t get good at graphic novels and video games before attempting to make them. Our desire to do the thing comes long before we’re good enough to do that thing. I fell down 15 times learning to waterski before being able to do it. So why do so many gamers and comic book artists wait to make something before some magic moment happens?
This is your excuse to get in the game. I’m not trying to fill you up with empty promises and poofy dreams, your game will likely be bad, as will your graphic novel. I think my own characters weren’t polished masterpieces; they were clunky, energetic, creations of a young mind that didn’t know he couldn’t do it.
Lest you think I make it look easy, you probably don’t know that I cut a record in the late 90s in a band called TRUCK. Horrible music, but I made a record. I know of musicians and bands that are still talking about recording music one day, and I’m terrible at making music yet I’ve recorded more than them. I ran a marathon before I was any kind of serious runner.
So let’s make it! Go-go-goooo! Have that child, write that book, make a play, build that boat! It’s better to make than not to.