We spoke. I couldn’t believe it. Actually speaking with someone I looked up to, and still look up to. Someone who had so much work under his belt, so substantially there as an artist.
I told him that he had some issues in a pdf he sent of a draft of some chapters for a new book he was working on. Mostly, I saw grammatical and pacing that were the main issues, which are easily fixed. I felt that telling him this was overstepping over some boundary that I didn’t know, that telling an established concept and comic artist that he had some basic writing mistakes, that his writing was lacking. I almost didn’t send the email.
He replied to that email, though, saying how appreciative he was of my notes, of my help, and that if I wanted to, I could really edit those chapters, which I’d downloaded from his profile on Gumroad.com. I was astonished and anxious to be working with an established artist. Also, I was very excited to be helping someone whom I admire with something I felt that I was good at.
After working for him for a couple of months, I noticed, but shouldn’t have been surprised, that working with him was like working with anyone else. I don’t mean this in a bad way. I was still very much starstruck when I thought about it at all, but when we would speak on the phone or exchange emails, he was just like any other dude. The big differences were that he had and has a great and specific vision, and that since he’d already been part of so many projects, I never felt quite justified in changing his work, even though I saw errors, inconsistencies, and just self-consciousness in it, which I did try my best to ameliorate.
Thinking about the work I did for him now, I can only think why didn’t I do more? Why didn’t I just do what he asked? If he didn’t like it, he’d say so. I shouldn’t have been so timid. Trusting my own abilities wasn’t happening. This experience is another in a long line of experiences, some large, some seemingly insignificant, that show that the little voice in the back of your head that’s telling you to push, that you can offer more, should be listened to. At the end of this project, I did actually listen to myself and basically rewrite part of a chapter he sent me the way I would like it to be. I changed, probably 90% of the chapter. When I sent the chapter back to him, I was incredibly nervous. I imagined that he would reply saying that it was good, but…
He loved it. It was exactly what he was hoping for the whole time.
Sorry if the featured image is scary. That’s pretty much how I felt.