Two Fallacies to Watch Out For

November 25, 2013

This essay is dedicated to all my wonderful kickstarter supporters– you guys made this essay possible when you blew by the $35K stretch goal!

I also couldn’t have written this essay without the insights of my cartoonist friends Josh and Michael. We catch each other falling into these traps all the time– so much so that we named them! Check out Josh’s adventure comic, Jackie Rose, about a girl who has to fight sky pirates to retrieve a stolen crown. Also, take a look at Michael’s kid-friendly thriller comic, Adamsville. It’s about a city where something is not quite right, and about the kids who are swallowed up by the mystery… and the monsters.

This is officially the last essay for Brick by Brick! Thank you all for being here!

Work on the kickstarter is going well. Last week was a bit hard because I got overwhelmed and stressed out by thinking too hard about all the things I need to do. But I’m doing better now. I just need to take it one brick at a time, right?

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17 Responses to Two Fallacies to Watch Out For

  1. colleen lindsay on November 25, 2013 at 4:57 pm

    thank you! Now i know i’m not the only one who plays these tricks on herself.
    So, I’m off to shop for the perfect brush!

  2. Becky Hancock on November 25, 2013 at 5:05 pm

    I guess that ‘perfect brush’ is better defined by the one that gets you to practice more, eh? ;)

    I just stumbled upon your page a few days ago, but I love all the information you have. I came on too late for the kickstarter, but congrats on getting it funded!

  3. John on November 25, 2013 at 7:49 pm

    From a non-artist’s POV, I always figure that when someone asks things like the “what brush?” question, especially in comment sections, they’re just trying to make small talk, trying to start a conversation, or using it as an innocent way to add a positive comment when they can’t think of anything to say. Same goes for tutorial requests, which I have to believe are mostly attempts to compliment (or ingratiate themselves upon) the artist. :)

    • stephen on December 2, 2013 at 8:00 pm

      Maybe it is that way for some people! Not for me though, ha ha.

  4. Brian Russell on November 25, 2013 at 8:11 pm

    Man… you know how to cut to my core, sir. I am especially guilty of number 2. But, to a certain extent, perhaps we shouldn’t all plan for our reality, but maybe a more realistic goal. Sometimes it’s good to have a goal that is higher than reality as something to strive for. So, maybe instead of 100,000… you set a goal of selling 20 and try to see if you can reach your goal.

    Because if I base all of my goals on reality… the answer is always 1 or 0. lol

    Sometimes it’s just good to have a goal to strive for.

    • stephen on December 2, 2013 at 8:01 pm

      Ha ha. With the internet the way it is today, you can put pre-orders up to test product viability– that’s a good way i think.

  5. Dave Van Domelen on November 25, 2013 at 9:03 pm

    Or “What brush did you use? No matter what I try, I keep leaving bristles in the painting….” ;)

    What I try to emphasize to budding artists is that the quality of a tool is an upper boundary, not a lower boundary. You’ll know you need a better brush (or pen, or marker, or computer program) when the one you’re using starts to keep you from being able to express your talent. So, in that context, asking a better artist what brush she uses is asking for recommendation on what to switch to once you approach her level of talent.

    • stephen on December 2, 2013 at 8:01 pm

      That’s a great distinction! I like that a lot.

  6. S. on November 25, 2013 at 9:04 pm

    Ah, the search for the perfect brush. Too true. There’s also the ellusive perfect technique or perfect method (perhaps more of a painter’s problem), wherein you search for a perfect method and wonder why magic does not spring off the canvas when you follow it exactly. Good technique, like good brushes, good tools and good materials, are helpful to you as the artist, but they only play supporting roles themselves toward the outcome.

    Of course, if you are a pretty decent artist, but you’ve been working with crummy watercolor paper or brushes so bad that the hairs fall out and stick in your paint, or you’re taking photos of your sketches from your phone or webcam instead of a investing in a scanner, that is where the right tools can make a big difference.

    • stephen on December 2, 2013 at 8:01 pm


  7. Dado on November 26, 2013 at 4:39 pm

    I agree with the magic brush fallacy and have fallen to it by buying carpentry tools with the hope that I could make fine furniture…

    I also note that the best craftsmen that I know find and use the best tools for the job. These often dream of that new tool they will buy as soon as they can afford it.

    • stephen on December 2, 2013 at 8:03 pm

      That’s true dado, they do make a difference if you have the skill to use them. Just like the first tablet you bought me!

  8. LePhenom on December 4, 2013 at 4:48 am

    I just found this masterpiece while getting distracted on the internet and read it all in one go. Haven’t written a single page all evening and haven’t been productive for weeks… honestly haven’t ever been that productive, I was exactly the same as you in college, and to this day still only work under pressure, from time to time, a big chunk at a time, when I feel I have no other choice. I feel weak/lazy/bad about it and it makes me feel anxious.

    Your 3 extra strips will be in the physical book, right? I definitely want to read them and will buy.

    There’s so many things I learned and remembered reading your comic and can’t wait to try to put it all in practice. So much stuff actually, I wish I could have read your book years ago in college, it feels like adapting myself now will be harder. Should be a mandatory read for all artists; teachers talked about some aspects of it but really not enough.

    That said, only one thing left to say: thank you!

    • stephen on December 6, 2013 at 6:21 pm

      You’re welcome! Thanks for being here!

  9. Apricot on March 13, 2014 at 2:34 pm

    I know, there is no perfect brush, but I’ve got a problem: I do not have any software for drawing comics, but I’d like to try it. Is there anything you’d reccomend for me? You are a proffesionalist, so I think, you could help me a lot. Thanks for everything!

    • stephen on March 29, 2014 at 6:16 pm

      Software is great for making things move faster, but it doesn’t necessarily make things better. I think you can learn just as much with pencil and paper than with a computer– and there are still a lot of things pencil and paper can do that computers can’t.

      But if you’d like a cheaper way to draw digitally– I think a $300 Wacom Intuous tablet with a $30 copy of Manga Studio Debut would be a good start. Good luck!

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