Friday, March 31, 2006

The Inner Game or Zen Toon Making

There are days when the writer of a cartoon finds themselves asking “who’s in charge here?” It is not because they don’t know who their employer is or their supervisor, but because they find themselves writing about the adventures of characters who have taken control and exert a will of their own. In the sports world this state of consciousness or unconsciousness of action is often referred to as being in “the zone”. Tennis players who experience this state of mind during competition describe it as a sense that they can make any shot, that the ball seems huge and slow moving and the tennis court seems to be the size of a basketball court. It is an amazing place and most people haven’t a clue how to get there. It is really a place that you get to after lots of practice and a willingness to let your unconscious mind lead the way.

So it is in drawing or writing cartoons. If you are new to doing the work of creating and you have to think about the steps in the process and the “rules” of constructing a story, you are probably not ready to turn things over to your unconscious mind.

There was this great book written about playing tennis called “The Inner Game” which talked about the importance of letting your unconscious mind control your actions. It really helps on the tennis court, and it also really helps in creating animated content or any type of creative work. You can’t really force things but you can help them along by establishing a fertile environment. Some people talk about letting go and reverting to being childlike. Ever watch a couple of six year old kids playing? They assume roles in an imaginary story and go with the flow without a script or structure or any consultation. They just let their unconscious minds guide them.

Now most of us aren’t six any more, at least not chronologically, but we can gain a great deal by following that example. The practice part comes from letting yourself have the innocence to accept the “reality” of your characters. You have to be willing to suspend your adult prejudices and inhibitions and give over to the fun side of cartoon making. Let your characters become real and they will reveal all kinds of great adventures for you to chronicle.


Post a Comment

<< Home