Making Comics in 100 Days
By Chris McQuinlan
It’s not as daunting as it sounds, but it’s also not quite what it sounds.
I am talking about The 100 Days of Making Comics Challenge
You may have already heard of it, but for those of you who haven’t, I will offer some background to how this, Challenge now turned artists community, began.
Professional illustrator Kevin Cross, an artist who, like myself and many other artists I know, was struggling to find the time to work on his own comics, between his client work, his family life and everything else that seems to get in the way, as it so often does, Developed a personal challenge for himself to help him create a new habit to ensure that he would spend some time every day to create the comics he always wanted to create.
The rules were simple:
For 100 days, he would work for a minimum of 30 minutes, every day, on his creator owned comic. Whether it was writing the comic, character development or drawing pages and so on.
For each day, to create a form of accountability for himself and others watching, he would have to film a new daily video entry and post it to his youtube channel, for the whole world to see.
That’s it, pretty simple!
And from that moment, the 100 Days of Making Comics Challenge was born.
It was at around this time I was listening to a podcast hosted by Kevin and his friend Joshua Kemble, titled Big Illustration Party Time and I quickly became a fan of Kevin’s punk artist attitude, and had to discover more about him and his art. Which is how i stumbled onto his youtube, exactly around the time that he had started this new challenge.
At around this time, I was just starting work on my own comic, alongside writer Matt Nicholls titled The Legend of Rock and was struggling to find the time myself to work on my comic among all the other distractions in life. So i took it upon myself to take up the challenge and prove a point to myself that I can do it, and so I did, along with many others.
It was at this point that something truly incredible started to blossom, with so many artists who followed Kevin, from around the world, now taking up the challenge and finally starting work on their own comics, a community was born, and we were called ‘Thee100’s’. A name coined by Kevin himself during the overwhelming response to his challenge.
Now at this stage, it is worth pointing out that I only made it to 31 days before giving up the challenge, although I couldn’t tell you the reasons now, i’m sure it had something to do with just not being able to fit the time into my day or something thereabouts. And to my dismay, I also become very inactive within the Thee100’s community, but as was the reason for me beginning this challenge, life just got in the way.
Fast forward a few years, a great many more people had undertaken the challenge, and Thee100’s alumni were onto their 2nd or 3rd round! So come 2016 I decided to finally take up the challenge again, this time with a far greater determination, and a project I was ready to work on, Nevermorrow. I can say with full confidence, that working on my comic in some way for 100 consecutive days, and then some, was the reason i managed to finish that book. And during that time, I was lucky enough to reconnect with the great community, which had now grown significantly. As i mentioned, many others were re-doing the challenge themselves, and with that, I found myself watching them, and them watching me, to a point where we started to feel like we were getting to know each other, and soon enough, we were talking almost everyday, albeit the fact we all live miles away from each other all around the world, thanks to the wonders of the internet and google hangouts.
To this day, I consider myself very lucky to consider these same people my friends.
Now, like most artists in conversation, we shared crazy ideas and stories, and all of a sudden we came up with the idea of putting together an anthology book, as a showcase of Thee100’s community, and an homage to the challenge founder, Kevin Cross.
In the spirit of the challenge, we opened it up to anyone who had officially finished the challenge, and set the guidelines that they must finish a 6 page story within 100 days. That’s right, ANOTHER 100 days. So commencing the 1st of January, 2017, twenty artists all started the challenge once more! To say we were excited would be an understatement, a collective of artists, all creating, communicating and growing as artists, together. True to the challenge, we all finished our stories, and just recently, after many unforeseen circumstances, we officially funded the book through kickstarter and we will soon see the first book published by Thee100’s very soon.
The remainder of 2017 was a very lacklustre year for me creatively. Recently becoming a new father, starting a new job and dealing with what seems to be a very common trait of artists, depression, The intensity of creative output was quickly diminished. I was still drawing for clients, but not enjoying it, and I was constantly pushing my own projects aside to play video games or watch movies, or even just waste away time on Facebook.
Now i’m not sure what it was, but the beginning of 2018 brought a whole new light to my life. I strived to pull myself out of my depression, lose weight, and create more art. And it must have been in the air, because several other community members decided to undertake the challenge once again, and well, i guess I caught the bug, and at the perfect time too!
As I write this, I am 24 days into my 3rd official challenge, and I am loving it.
Not only have I rediscovered my love for drawing once again, But I am drawing every single day, I am enjoying drawing for clients, and reinvigorating my other projects, like Kill The Hero, a card game I have been working on over the past few years as well.
So, if you’ve made it this far along, you might be wondering by this point, Why am I telling you this? What does this have to do with you?
Well, I can only assume that you are browsing this website as you are a comic book fan/creator, whether it be an illustrator, a writer, a colourist, or even just an enthusiast. But like myself, time and time again through my life, I find myself struggling to work on my own personal projects. The stories that i truly love and want to create and share with the world but just keep putting it off.
This Challenge is open to everyone to try, there are no restrictions, whether you only draw, or you only write, if you want to create comics but can’t ‘find the time’ then this is the reason you should do it. 30 minutes a day is a small ripple in the big pool time. This challenge has completely reinvigorated me as an artist, and at this stage, I am planning on undertaking a second round of 100 days right after i finish this round, just to keep up that momentum! It has encouraged me to discover and communicate with new artists and to learn from them and become inspired by the art they create every day, leading to creating new friendships and also giving me a boost in confidence, feeling able to contact artists I wouldn’t normally take the time to.
And lastly, a nice side effect of this challenge, I have seen a great growth with my social media channels. By creating art every day to post regularly to instagram, and posting videos every day on youtube, and seeing new subscribers every day, whether they are aspiring artists or other challengers, it’s great to see this growth and create new fans, and also receiving comments from other creators saying that i have helped them decide to start their comic or start their own challenge, is a great feeling!
I hope that you will consider taking on the challenge yourself and seeing where this journey can take you! And if the challenge isn’t your thing, I highly recommend hopping onto youtube and doing a quick search and checking out some of these creators yourself, I promise you, you won’t be disappointed!