5 things I learned from redrawing old comics

A comic strip outlining the user journey of a person who needs a knuckle bandaid.

To get my 2021 off to a fresh start, I started refining my portfolio to make it more Dribbble appropriate. You can check that out here and feel free to give me all the feedback! Through the process of trying to make my portfolio look a bit cleaner, I decided to neaten up some of my old illustrations and visualisations… which I will probably spend the rest of my life doing. Here is what I learned from this process.

#1 — Do you wish you knew then what you know now? That’s kind of the whole point…

We all have those ‘ah-ha’ moments when we learn a new skill or idea and wish we could rush back in time and help out our poor little old selves. But where is the fun and suffering in that?

Constantly aiming to improve skills, refine a craft and broaden our understanding is why we show up at our desks each morning… even when we’d rather… do literally anything else.

Can you imagine watching a version of The Queen’s Gambit where Beth Harmon makes no mistakes and never improves her chess game? What a snooze fest that would be.

Redrawing my old comics helped me realise just how far I’d come with my drawing process, despite the fact that I felt really happy with the original drawing I did 3 years ago! If I knew then what I know now, I wouldn’t be able to feel this sense of pride and accomplishment that I feel today! Does that make sense? Cool. Moving along.

#2 — Those 10,000 hours don’t finish themselves.

Malcolm Gladwell wasn’t playing around when he said mastering a skill takes time. This is why Malcolm Gladwell invented the iPad for lazy artists. I’m just kidding, he didn’t invent the iPad. Or did he? Who are you to tell me otherwise?

#3 — I have a strange desire to share my art on social media to help me understand that my work is done

For me, publishing something for the world (well… my family) to see means that I’m done. I am a chronic perfectionist, so I could theoretically keep tweaking and editing my drawings until the cows come home. But when it’s 6 am, the sun is rising and you haven’t slept all night because you wanted to finish that drawing, then you’d best believe those cows are lying dead on the side of the road 10km yonder.

I don’t know if this is a side effect of making a Facebook page at age13 and now needing an Inception totem to spin after a day of working on a computer, or if it is because I need a way to say, ‘Hey brain, this doodle is done. Put the pen down. Step away from Malcolm Gladwell’s iPad’.

Still determining whether this particular lesson is a bad thing. I think it’s healthy. This might be a good time to plug my illustration Instagram page where I post said art.

#4 — Perfectionism is a disease and I’m still trying to find the cure.

Aren’t we all? I don’t have any further detail to go into with this one. This is genuinely something I am working through with the help of self-help Audible audiobooks #notsponsored.

#5 — Drawing is hard.

When I was an industrial design student, my teachers told me I drew like an artist. When I took art electives, my teachers didn’t say anything about my work, which was all the criticism I needed to make me stop going to the classes.

I really didn’t know where I was with the whole drawing thing. I just assumed I was a terrible artist because I couldn’t really fit my square-shaped drawings into a round hole. Suffice it to say that you shouldn’t let your teachers dictate the way you create, you have to figure your process out on your own. It’s more fun and painful that way.

It’s also super easy to see through your work when you’re not following your own idea of what kind of drawer you want to be. I’m currently working as a designer and it doesn’t matter whether I draw like an artist or like a child. I’m still better at drawing than 99% of the people in my office. Just kidding. A little designer stuck in a corporate world joke for you.

If you can communicate an idea to another human that lets them peek inside your mind palace, then who's to say that how you draw is at all important?

The Comic in Question

Here is the culprit in question (keep scrolling to see the original). I originally drew this about three years ago in a design methods class at KAIST here in South Korea. The task was to redesign a knuckle bandaid. I basically did the entire assignment between the hours of 1 am to 4 am and didn’t come up with a very good result. But I liked making the comic. It’s supposed to be a user journey map, but it’s more of a user scenario. It also doesn’t really make much sense but I had such a hoot redrawing it nonetheless.

It also might be worth mentioning that at some point between the 2017 comic and 2021 comic, I switched from using Adobe Sketch to Procreate on the iPad Pro.

2021

A comic strip outlining the user journey of a person who needs a knuckle bandaid.
A comic strip outlining the user journey of a person who needs a knuckle bandaid.

2017

Industrial designer in Seoul. From Melbourne. www.joquinn.com.au

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