Every creative person cringes when they see / hear / read their first widely-exposed creation. My wife Tandye does it with her early art, my friend Colin does it with the early incarnations of his music, I did with with my first published story, and Rachel Deering does it with her early work in comics. “You gotta start somewhere”, Rachel tweeted yesterday, along with a link to Mrs. Peterson and the Wolf – her “first attempt at writing AND lettering”.
Illustrated and coloured by Glen Ostrander and originally published in Nix Comics Quarterly #3, “Mrs. Peterson” is like a Tales from the Crypt episode condensed into five pages: smart alec kid sticks his nose where he shouldn’t, smart alex kid gets fucked up. It’s fun in a way that makes me want to high-five someone and then play Rob Zombie really loudly. You can read the first two pages below, then visit Rachel’s site to read the whole thing (or buy Nix Quarterly #3, loaded with lots of other comics too and a steal at five bucks).
Given my mandate of only sharing werewolf stuff I like, “Mrs. Peterson and the Wolf” is certainly worth posting about on its own merits. However, I particularly wanted to share it with Werewolf News readers because I think Rachel’s feelings about it are a prime example of the self-critical tunnel vision that afflicts creative people.
This is Rachel’s first published writing and lettering job, so all she can see are its flaws. I can totally relate to that. I can’t read my own story in Wolf-Girls without cringing at what I perceive to be sloppy mistakes and missed opportunities. Nevertheless, I think creative types (including myself) would do well to remember that audiences won’t notice 99% of the flaws we see in our own work. We’re too close to be objective, and so over-exposed to the thing, whatever it is, that even the subtlest nuance seems hamfisted and strident. Irrelevant. As creators, we must be kind to our first creations. If anyone likes it, we have succeeded, and the fact that we made and finished a thing at all is something to celebrate.
And of course, when we’re done celebrating, we can always go and make something new.