The productive and disciplined part of my brain has helped me to create a reasonable amount of art and comics. The lazy and undisciplined part of my brain however, has been largely under utilised in my creative work. Therefore the parts of my day when I allow my lazy brain to unwind are generally just used to mindlessly browse the internet, sink into various YouTube rabbit holes and stream TV programs on Netflix.
If I could find a way to utilise my lazy brain, I could have both my lazy brain and my productive brain working on different projects during the day (almost like having two different hard drives, within a bigger computer, working on two different tasks). This would result in the creation of more art overall. This was one of the ideas behind Auto Sludge.
In order to utilise my lazy brain, the project I choose for it must fulfill the following criteria:
The project must be conscious of the weaknesses and limitations of my lazy brain and play to it's strengths.
The project must be one that can be done purely by my lazy brain, without any help from my productive brain. If my productive brain has to step in and take over, then it will defeat the point of this project entirely and end up just being another one of the many projects my productive brain wishes it had more time for.
In order to fulfill these criteria I decided that the project should have the following qualities:
The creative process involved in the project needs to only include the enjoyable aspects of my usual creative process and not include any of the parts that can seem like a drag.
The project needs to be artistically exciting enough to excite my inner child (the 13 year old that used to jump on the bed whilst listening to guitar solos).
What I came up with then is Auto Sludge, an avant garde comic which combines the elements of the Automatic Drawing process used in surrealism (that is so freeing and satisfying to do), with a Stream of Consciousness narrative. The project will be drawn with a brush pen, a set of warm grey Copic markers and a gel pen and it won't be penciled, roughed out, scripted or planned in any way.
Here is a sample of some of the work I have done on it so far (I did most of this when I had a bad headache and therefore didn't have the energy to work on my other comics. I found it relaxing and pleasurable to work on, which hopefully means that it fulfills the criteria outlined above):
Once A Wizard, Now A Pleb. (longer comic)
The original Once A Wizard, Now A Pleb story (above) was only 3 pages long and gave a tiny glimpse into the world of these two characters. I created it for a monthly comic challenge that was set by the Paper Jam Comic Collective in Newcastle, who do a monthly comic challenge where you make a comic according to a single word theme each month. The comics are only really supposed to be one page long, but you can make them longer if you wish.
The theme for the month that I created Once A Wizard, Now A Pleb was "Roman." As I stated before, the comics for this challenge were only really supposed to be one page long, so even the three pages I did were a bit overkill. I really liked these characters however, and therefore I always wanted to bring them back and explore their world a little bit more.
This is why I have returned to writing this comic and plan to release an entire mini comic about them. This comic will include the original 3 page story and then continue their story on from that, as they attend their Bread Centre Plus appointments and are asked about their work activity. It will also delve a little into their backstory giving some clues as to how they ended up living in Rome.
I was working on this comic towards the end of June 2020, but put it on hold while I was working on my 9 Volt Anthology entry (as that had a deadline). The plan was to pick this comic up again after I had completed the 9 Volt Anthology entry, that I have just finished (at the time of updating this text). It's mid September and I'm doing Inktober in October, so I'll see how much I get done before then (when I'll probably put it on hold again). I'm probably not going to spend as much time, this month, doing this comic as I planned to though because I'm thinking of prioritising other things; I might spend some more time on other projects (like the Auto Sludge comic) and doing videos for my Youtube channel. We'll see what happens.
Below are a few samples of the artwork I have drawn for this comic so far: