- Who are you and how long have you been working as an artist?
My name is Eric Merced (pronounced Mer Said) and I am a cartoonist/comic book artist. I’ve been drawing since I was very young and I’ve worked as a professional illustrator and comic artist. After many years of putting it off, I’ve finally put freelancing aside to concentrate on working on my own comic book ideas.
- How do you personally define art block? How often do you get art block?
I don’t really see it as “art” block since the art itself isn’t what’s being blocked when we go through these phases, but rather our motivation to be creative. I went through roughly 2 + years of art block. The art was there. I could draw whatever if, say, someone put a gun to my head and told me to draw or die, so that’s why I say the art isn’t what’s being blocked, but rather our motivation to be creative. In those 2 years I struggled with the motivation. I struggled with the reasons of why I needed to draw. It got so bad that I finally threw my hands up and said there was no point. There was no point to drawing. I won’t say this will never happen again, there were reasons for this, reasons like the lack of freelance work, the lack of getting anywhere with my work, and the fact that I had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, but whenever I feel it coming on I do make an effort to push forward and not let any feelings overcome me.
- What are some specific strategies you employ when dealing with art block?
There’s no set formula to be honest. I think what worked for me may work for 1 or 2 people but not for everyone. All I can say is that many times, Art block can lead to a breakthrough. Maybe a breakthrough in your art, style, personality or even goals. It can be seen as a negative but sometimes art block is a way of our minds telling us we need to recalibrate ourselves. I find these times as times of exploration. Times to search deep within yourself and figure out what exactly it is you want from your art and yourself.
We don’t create art specifically for other people, we create it for us, because it’s in us and as creatives, we have a desire and a drive to be creative and we need to find a way to channel that creativity. For example, during those 2 years, I moved from drawing to photography. It was a new experience that allowed me to be creative. So maybe, find something else to do in the mean time. Something like wood working, sculpting, maybe even hiking or photography. Anything that really grabs your attention. I am happy I went through those 2+ years of art block because during that time I learned a new outlet of expression in photography, and I finally made a conscious choice to work on my own creations.
- Describe the biggest obstacle / challenge you’ve encountered working as an artist and how you overcame it.
Acceptance. I said we create art for ourselves and not for others but deep down inside we all want to be accepted right? I mean, after we create for ourselves there’s also that urge to share what we just created with everyone and, deep down inside, we want to be accepted. We want people to love what we love and support us and our works. So it’s hard when you work hard on something and put it out into the world and even the crickets don’t make any noise. But I’ve learned that despite that, we need to keep moving forward. And know that you’re not alone and that the world does not and will not revolve around you. All you can do is create for yourself and share it with everyone else, but if most do not pay attention, you keep going. I am currently working on my creator owned comic called Frank Rain, a character I created years ago. A project I tried to get going years ago and fell flat on my face. But the reasons I fell flat on my face were not only was I not ready, I was also very worried about what people would think of it. This time around, I went in thinking it doesn’t matter if I don’t sell a single issue, I’m doing this for myself. If people like or love it, that will simply be a very welcomed and much appreciated bonus. If they don’t, I will go to my grave without a single regret.
- Where can we see more of your work online?