Pride in the Blank Page

Writers and artists talk about the fear of “the blank page”.
It is the anxiety of getting started. That sea of white perfection staring back at you waiting for you to fail. Before it is begun, the project is a perfect concept existing in the brain-o-sphere.
And every pixel or drop of brings the concept closer to reality… and potential imperfection.
The un-begun page cannot be flawed.
Every mark is a potential flaw.

That can be a pretty frightening prospect, especially if you are unsure of your ability to realize this projects potential. The cure is to train yourself to believe that getting it done is better than getting it perfect.
And, the more you get it done, the more you will trust your ability to get it right (not perfect, right).

Recently, the confidence I have gained from conquering the fear of the blank page has led me to its opposite, pride in creating the blank page.

Last week, my Rapid City Below Zero artist, Shawn Langley, submitted a completed page on which he had not drawn a single line. He did nothing but fill the entire printable area with blackness. He was happy to get his usual page rate for a page that likely could have been completed with about 4 mouse clicks. And I was happy to pay him to do it. He nailed it. That was exactly how I wrote the page.

Because that is what the story called for right then.

Nothing to see here, folks.

This is the actual page 3 from Rapid City: Below Zero #1

A page of blackness.

A less confident writer might reason that a reader is paying good money for 22 pages of writing, and a blank page is not delivering. A less confident artist might also worry that blank pages are not what readers are paying their money for.
What I know is that readers are not paying for every individual panel and word. They aren’t even paying for every individual page.
Readers are paying for 22 pages worth of story.
Handing over that three dollars is a way of saying “I trust you to tell me a story”.
And showing that blank page… that all black page… is my way of assuring that reader “I’ve got you. I know what I’m doing. I’m going to tell you a story.”

I am not trying to say that my confidence in that moment and that technique is fully earned, I am just saying that I feel it.

And, apparently, Shawn feels it as well. He cares about this project and this story, but when I told him draw a page by literally drawing nothing he happily obliged. And, not just for the easy page rate. He gets the power of the blank page.
It is similar, in the world of comedy, to the pause before the punch line. It takes real confidence to own that stage and let that set-up just float out there over everyone’s heads. And it is scary. Because if it doesn’t work then it’s just wasted time, or wasted page space.

Is it? We’ll see. But until then I am proud to have written it, proud to have it in my comic, and proud to have paid Shawn for a page on which he didn’t draw a damn thing.

The Below Zero page 20 breakdown.

This is the latest Below Zero page form artist Shawn Langley. And it is a big one.
Below Zero is a twelve issue revenge story. The forward movement of those twelve issues is powered by the pain of loss which happens in the first few pages.
This flashback page shows the two villains falling in love.
This is the start of what they had, that when taken away is the driving force behind the revenge. So this page has to work.

Up to this point, in flashback, we have seen that young Icicle has never felt a connection anyone in her life. Her own family is indifferent at best. On this page we see (I hope) her connections to the criminal underground take root.
So let’s take a look.
Page 20Panel 1. Here Icicle physically enters the criminal under-world. Shawn initially drew the wall at a 90 degree angle. I suggested slanting it slightly. I think it has made a big difference. The situation seems unstable, but also draws her forward into it.
Panel 2. Part of the script for this panel reads “Piledriver is smiling at her and reaching for the bottle”. I saw it as an implied romantic connection. Shawn drew her facing us with her back to him. This makes her still feel isolated and his gesture is much more proactive. In my vision of it, it was a shared bond. In Shawn’s final product it is him intentionally drawing her out. He is taking action and giving attention that no one had ever given her.
Panel 3. This was just intended to show her having fun with her friends. I think it does that.
And panel 4. The kiss.

Will Eisner Week workshop today

Today, find writer, Josh Dahl (Rapid City: Below Zero), teaching local kids how to write comics, as part of a week dedicated to comics visionary Will Eisner.
Million Year Picnic and The Cambridge Public Library host a series of workshops teaching young artists and writers what it takes to make comics.  The workshops run today, Saturday March 8th 2014, in the downstairs space at the Cambridge Public Library.
Josh Dahl has been invited to instruct on character generation and story elements.  By guiding this workshop, Josh hopes to show kids how fun it is to create comics while giving them real-world skills for storytelling.
The workshops start at 12:30pm and will be followed by signings at Million Year Picnic from 3pm-6pm with local pros and comic creator Gregory Benton. If you know kids that  love to write and draw stories, bring them over to join Josh and everyone, at the Cambridge Public Library, today!  

Networking vs Not Working

I was at a con a few months ago talking to an artist who I had met a few times before. He had a booth and I was just walking the floor, and we were sharing our impressions of the show in general. We both agreed that the turn-out was not very good.
He asked me about who else was on the show floor. I shrugged and said that I was not too impressed. A few nice looking projects, but mostly I was just going around talking to the other creators so that they would know who I am.
And then there was that awkward pause…
“Like we are both doing right now.”
And we laughed. We are both relentless self-promoters. We were networking.

Everyone who knows how the comics business works will tell you that it is who you know as much as it is what you know. The exact ratio between them varies from person to person, but you need both.

Someone who does not network is not going to work.

Beware, however, of the allure of putting the cart before the horse.

Working, on your own, in seclusion, and for no pay, must come before networking.
This work that you do toward perfecting your craft must come before “getting your name out there”.

The reason that this is important to point out, as opposed to being completely obvious, is that seductive allure I mentioned above. It goes like this…
I know that networking is essential to a career in comics. To move forward, I must network. Networking effectively takes time and energy. This time and energy I am expending is going toward my career in comics. I am good it, as evidenced by my many contacts and associates in the comics field.

Can you tell how good that feels?
I get the energy of meeting new people and finding what they are all about. I get attention and praise. I get contacts! And it feels, because everyone has told me how important it is to network, like I am advancing toward my dream!
Advancing without the arduous labor of actually making the stuff. Without the emotional risk of putting myself behind a creative endeavor. Without the loss of hours and hours at the drawing (or writing) board. Without the Without the risk of wasting all of that on a project that goes nowhere.

All of the benefits and none of costs!

Except that if you don’t do all of the real, hard, work, when your networking finally pays off and the editor of your dreams shakes your hand, looks you in the eye, and asks “what have you got for me?”…

all you will have is “a bunch of great ideas” or “some pin-ups and commissions”…

or, as it is known in the comics industry: “nothing”.

Absolutely get good at networking, but not if it means not working.

-Josh Dahl

Writing dialogue, how I do it: A numbered list

Writing good dialogue is hard.
In comics, that is the writing flaw which shows up the fastest.
If you know nothing about character development or plotting, those will take a few scenes to surface. Dialogue, however, can sink you in a single panel.
I think that I am pretty good at doing dialogue… though I do fall into the same traps again and again. But this is true of even the best writers. Every person has only one view of the world, despite how well they may take on other views. In some way or another, all of my writing is going to sound like me.
But, to work as hard as I can to avoid repeating myself, I have gleaned a few tactics from the reading and experimenting I have done. Here’s a bit of it.
These are some guidelines I follow when I am writing dialogue. This is just my approach, there are many others that work very well for lots of pother people.
Usually I start by vomiting out huge passages of rambling, repetitive, chatter that generally gets out what is going to be said. Then I run it through these filters.

1. Show character.
This is not just words on a page. this is a person opening their mouth and letting others know their thoughts. This means something. Basically, I ask “how would THIS person say this?” Is she shy? Academic? Bold? Stupid? How can those qualities surface in word choice? In speech pattern? This is the first level, where it starts to look like that person in general.
If it isn’t quite coming through, I have another trick or two.
1a. Base it on people you know. Or, failing that, actors.
When it comes to how they talk, I base almost all of my characters on people I know. Or if I can’t think of someone I know, I think of an actor I know of who could pull it off. Once I have that character model in mind, I take the raw dialogue I wrote above and strain it through this person’s mouth. How does it sound with him, or her, saying it? This will change a lot of the word choices and cadences. With flat. stock, or background characters, this is often enough.
1b. Don’t show off.
This is more a warning against bad dialogue than a rule for good. Don’t try to sound like a scientist or a cop or whatever. Sound like a person, and then add some cop words on top of that. Don’t try to write great dialogue. Write natural dialogue in great scenes and it will seem great.

2. Show background.
Realistically, you can’t use this one every time. There are some situations where an individual’s background simply does not surface in their speech. However, if you dig you will get more mileage out of this filter than you think. Essentially, you ask yourself how this character’s unique background would affect what they are saying. At the shallowest level, this is accents and regionalisms. What does he talk like? Deeper than that, look at the position life has given your character. Someone who has worked in restaurants their whole life is going to ask for help in a different way than someone who has only even been waited on. Someone who is ashamed of their ignorance is going to speak differently than someone who is fundamentally curious.
This is not a mandate “You MUST show background”, but rather an opportunity “how can this background come through in what is being said right now?”.

3. Show perspective.
Ok, this one is more like a mandate. Especially when page space is limited. If you are not showing some unique perspective, then shut your mouth and let someone else talk.
Perspective is related to background, but it is more specific. Background never changes. It is who you are. Perspective, on the other hand, changes from moment to moment. It is how the world looks to you right now. When you are relaxed and comfortable, you have a very different perspective from when you are terrified. When this guy says this thing at this moment, what does it mean to him?
“What do you want for dinner?” can mean just that, but it can also mean “I Still love you and your well being is important to me.” That depends on the character’s perspective at that moment. For this filter to work you have to really get inside your character’s head.
This is where great misunderstandings and unanswered questions can come from. A character who is feeling shaken from a previous interaction may take a simple question as a flagrant challenge to his authority. Or a character who is giddy on the high of a new relationship may completely gloss over relevant details.
This is similar to showing motivation. Every writer has a slightly different approach to finding this level.
Again, not every line of dialogue is going to reveal this level of depth. But if it isn’t, that is a good red flag. If you are not showing perspective, do you need this line?

4. Less is more.
This is a tough one for me. I like my dialogue. I like the way my characters talk. A tend to want them to just talk and talk. But space is limited, and a little goes a long way. People in comics do not talk like people in real life. Don’t try to make them.
One stammer in an acre of word balloons is enough to let the reader know that this person is insecure right now. One dropped ‘r’ is enough to show a Boston accent. Let it go. Trust your reader.

And to demonstrate that less really is more…

-Josh Dahl

Indie Comics in the Changing Economy

Nick Dedual recently posted and interesting piece on his Odd Truth Blog about making comics in “The Great Recession”.
One of the points that he makes is about the increasingly experiential nature of the comic convention.

Nick points out the cons are shifting to be more about what you DID THERE rather than what you GOT THERE.
He is absolutely right about this, and it is only the tip of the ice berg. It is called The Experience Economy, a phenomenon affecting the global economy, accelerated by the faster-than-ever commerce of the web.

I first heard about it a few years ago in this TED Talk.

Basically it is like this…
People used to trade at an agrarian level, where consumers actually consumed the products.
Then came the industrial economy, where consumers were removed from the producers and were given a range of products to choose from. The consumers chose the best products, or the ones they liked the most.
As manufacturing steadily leveled the production playing field, we moved into a service economy. When the product is universally available, the decision to purchase is made based on the service that comes with that product.
And now that customer service is theoretically instant and around-the-clock, that decision to purchase has shifted to the total experience that comes with owning a product.
I am not an economist. Watch the video if you want a real explanation.

Is all of that true of comics? Is it true of indie comics?
To some degree, individual artistic endeavors like making indie comics, will always be on their own micro-trajectory within a larger economic movement. But, also, they’re not.

Let’s walk through where we are in each stage and how it might affect us going forward.

Agrarian Economy-
Lots if the interactions in indie comics fit pretty nicely into an agrarian system. Specifically, I mean the barter economy the fuels much of the actual production. “I will write for you if you draw for me”. Individual producers producing for individual producers.
The one-on-one sales that we make at conventions and where ever else are also at this level. I have it, you want it. Done.
Indie comics will always do fine at this level. Developments at the industrial level and higher may take a chunk out, but they will never close this door on us. Even when we go completely digital, it is still happening at the near-barter level.

Industrial Economy-
Industrialization has largely been a boon to the indie comics world. It gave us Print-On-Demand. Largely as side-effects of movements in the larger economy, we have discovered all kinds of ways to make out comics faster, easier, and cheaper.
Industrialization has also affected consumer expectation. A consumer can now see Rapid City right along side X-Men and Booster Gold, be it paper or digital. That is a great opportunity, but it also affects the way that the books are seen. They are a stack of items to be purchased. While the irregular production and quality of an indie may have once been part of its charm, even a selling point, they have now become areas where the indies might not measure up to their shelf-mates. There is an expectation that comics will be produced on a regular schedule… a monthly schedule.
I am not saying that indies can’t be produced at that rate, I am saying that the expectation is an artificial side-effect of industrialized publishing.
The counter-industrial nature of indie comics gives us some small advantage as we easily side-step into the realms of service and experience. It is easier for a reader to have a personal interaction and relationship with an indie creator than with a large publishing machine. There is, however, a fine line to walk between the two worlds. Similar to the artificial expectation of a monthly publishing schedule, the indies have generated an artificial expectation of personal relationships with creators. And this is great. And it is usually accurate. But, it can cause a creator who is meeting with success to navigate awkward growing pains. It is reasonable for a fan of Rapid City to expect that I would respond personally to emails or letters that I receive. It is not reasonable for a fan of Hellboy to make the same assumption of Mike Mignola. The minefield of expected interactions between my level of success and his is uncharted and ever-changing.

Service Economy-
When a major purchase factor is the mode of delivery, you are in a service economy. The old-school comic convention dealer room is some bizarre hybrid of agrarian, industrial, and hunter/gatherer. And it is the opposite of service economy. It thrives on the scarcity of service. Though there is some thrill in hunting down that certain rare treasure, those sales conditions would not exist in a world where there were other service options. Which is why I am amazed that those show-floors still exist. Ebay exists. Ebay is a kryptonite crucifix to comic con back-issue retailers. As a side thought, maybe they exist as some nostalgic experience economy… but how long can that last?.
The positive effect of this trend is that more con attendees are there to look something other than rare back issues. I will talk more about what they are looking for in the service section.
With digital delivery and print-on-demand, the indie creator can compete pretty well in a service based market place. It is harder for us. We simply have fewer resources to devote to every aspect of the customer relationship. But, the fact is that the tools are there. And, the more that more of us use them, the easier they get to use.
The barrier of delivery, a key factor in a service economy, is rapidly vanishing for the indie creator.

So, what’s left?
Experience Economy-
The wild west. As the industrial and service fields get more and more level, the remaining stand-outs are those that excel in creating a great user/reader/fan experience. In comics, no one knows what this means yet. At best, some folks have a piece of it. And, until the big publishers can really get a handle on their experience model, this is a chance for us indies to seize some ground.
The strength and power of the major publishers comes with a bit of immobility. Because their appeal is so broad, it often fails to reach readers directly. Personally, as a fan of big-time superhero comics, I often have to shrug and willfully over-look something by saying “well, that wasn’t meant for me”. Indies, however, don;t have the luxury of having this problem. Our readers have sought us out because they want what we have. They are a self selected group whose expectation is expectation is for more of what we are already doing.
Outside of content, which is where the experience economy lives, the indie creator can offer a much more direct experience to a reader or fan.
That is the value of social media. That is why I write this blog.
That is why I work in the Rapid City Open Studio. None of those are a product. None of those even help get a product in to, or cash out of, a reader’s hands.
They are part of what a reader thinks of when they think of Rapid City.
That is the reason I try to have a personal conversation with anyone who approaches my table at a con. That is why I will draw silly stuff on the comics if a reader will let me. That is why I let folks with kids know just appropriate my books may or may not be. It isn’t just to sell a book right in that moment, it is to create a pleasant experience that can be carried forward to the next interaction.
Which brings me to the idea that inspired this post to begin with.
From Nick Dedual:

…as comic cons become more pop-cultural events and less about comic books, the audience at the comic con will look more for experiences they can enjoy at the moment…

More and more, the comic con is becoming an event. Attendees are there for the experience. So, what does that mean to those of us in Artists Alley? How can we take advantage of this?
The bigger guys host panels and make announcements, but not everyone can do that. What can we offer in the realm of live experience at a convention (or some other venue that we have not yet thought of)? And, how can we monetize that experience?
Is it enough to just generate good will and hope that it comes back in the form of a strong fan base? Can we sell “A lunch with Josh Dahl!”?
I don’t know.
Right now, our versatility and connection to our audience seems to be offering us a lead in this new market…
How do we take that lead before it slips away?

-Josh Dahl

I am here… and there.

A modern comics maker has to also network and be a part of the greater comics community.
I do this better than people who do it badly, but not as well as people who are really good at it. But, with as fast as things change on the social media landscape, I bet everyone feels this way.

Ok, so here’s where I am and what I am doing there as of early February 2014.

Rapid City on Facebook
My personal Facebook. I use this just like everyone else does. I also use it to keep in touch with some comics people. i use it to comment on comics news and events. This is my way to do all the normal sharing that most people do, as well to get my actual name out there. I am careful to not come off like a stalker or something, but when I can make a relevant comment to someone who is actively making comics, it gives me one more drop of name recognition. This is a tough one, because I know this behavior is on the edge of annoying. I don’t comment just to comment. I comment when it is relevant.. or amusing. That is the goal anyway.
Of course, I also use this account to communicate with other comics people and to participate in various comics groups around Facebook.
Facebook groups. I am a member of a few and I have started a few. Some are better than others, but healthy participation never hurts. As with all other parts of the internet, stay positive.
Rapid City on Facebook. Chances are you are seeing this post through my Rapid City Facebook page. You know how this works. This is where I share anything that i think a fan of Rapid City might want to see. It gets a little reperitive here because it cross-posts from other places on the web. Sometimes I pay to have these posts bumped, usually if they have some good art in them.
Rapid City Open Studio on Facebook. This is a special thing. It is a closed group for people who are actually working on a Rapid City comic. This is where we do our collaboration, out in the open. For anyone who is curious about how the collaborative process works, this is where you can watch it happen.

Rapid City on Twitter
Twitter is great for running conversations and commentary. I am not very good at using it. I have just never adjusted to the pace of it. Maybe I need some better desktop app for it or something. I have just never gotten used to following twitter updates. Not using it to its ful advantage, I generally use it to get word out about things I have updated in other places. I do occasionally get in to a conversation about making with other creators.

This blog
Here it is. This is where i write about making Rapid City Comics.

Rapid City on Tumblr
Somewhere in between Facebook and Twitter. I still do not get how to use it or what niche it fills. I try to keep up my Tumblr in hopes of figuring out how to use it. I think one of my problems with it is that I do not know how to use it as a reader/user. Do i browse it? Do I have some sort of “feed” of interesting Tumbls that I follow like on Facebook? I am not sure what it is doing.

Rapid City on Instagram

Shawn made me set one up. He is the artist, so I trust him with the visual stuff… though I do not know how to best use it.

And probably some others that I should be keeping up on.

And Linkdin. Crap I forgot that one.

Please click on these. Share them. Like them. Comment on them. Whatever you do… do it to these links.

-Josh Dahl

“F**K YOU, PAY ME.” “No, f**k YOU.”

You remember that from that scene in Goodfellas.
It is the scene where Ray Liota’s mafia guy explains how he and his cronies make their money. In it, he flips the bully/victim relationship on its ear.
This speech is villainously empowering. It makes it feel right to do the wrong thing. It makes claiming what’s YOURS feel like claiming what’s MINE.
When applied to non-villain people, it can become a mantra of legitimate empowerment.
“Give me what’s mine.”
I saw this great video a while back.

It is for and by graphic designers, but a lot of it applies to any creative venture which involves money.

Making comics is a creative venture that involves money. But it isn’t exactly a bully/victim relationship; nor is it exactly a client/contractor relationship.

This came up in an online discussion group about collaborations among comics creators.
One artist drew the line in the sand “Never work without getting paid”.
I get where this position comes from .
Historically, in big deals and little deals, artists have been taken advantage of. An artist ho enters into any kind of agreement with his defenses down in a fool. Too many artists have been promised to get paid “on the back end” someday only to find that someday never comes.
Also, too often the visual arts are taken as fun little hobby that an artist can just whip-up at the whims of other parties. This generates a defensive default in the artist. It is a matter of self-respect. the work you do is worth something. You deserve to get paid for it.
All of this is absolutely true.

However, there is one huge factor that has been overlooked.
In the above situations, the artist is in a client/contractor relationship. In that relationship, the goal of the artist is to get paid to apply his or her skills at the direction of the client. This is not the goal of the comics artist.

The goal of the comics artist is to make comics. Better, to make good comics.
If your goal as a drawer of comics is to use your skill to make money, then you are not a comics artist. You are contracted pencil-mover who has been hired to draw a comic. And that is fine if that is what you choose to be. But if that is you, then this is where you exit this discussion.

The artist who makes good comics has more to consider than whether or not paychecks will bounce.
The artist who want to make good comics must consider whether or not a given script is a good vehicle by which to advance their art.
This artist must find a good story to draw. That good story… that is part of your payment. And your good pencil work? That is part of your payment to the word-and-story artist who has crafted the piece of script-art from which you are drawing.
That rule that artists should always get paid… well it applies to writers as well.

That is the specific point where the comparison to the client/contractor relationship breaks down. It is more like a slightly unbalanced client/client relationship.

As I write this. a more valid relationship comparison comes to mind… and the earlier scripted exchange still fits.

It isn’t the aggressive, confrontational, meaning of “F**K YOU!”.
Rather, it is the more cooperative meaning which is the opening volley of every successful collaboration.
It is the slightly more literal meaning which says “Let’s get into bed together and see if we can make something great happen.”

So, in that sense…
Comics artists, F**K YOU!
And you if you do a real good job at it… here’s some cash to cover your supplies.

No respect for the format

I write my scripts for Rapid City and other comics projects using a free script formatting software product called Celtx.
It is the free version of the more popular (and more expensive) Final Draft.
Celtx handles all of the formatting stuff involved in making a comics script look like a comics script. Side note: If you are one of those writers who scoffs at formatting software and says “I just do it myself in Word”… you haven’t tried it. The fact is it save a lot of time and energy. Establishing clear, consistent, and readable script format is not a part of the creative process. It is a tool.
But that’s not my point here.
My point is that I have been raving about Celtx for years.
After a very small learning curve, your scripts just cook. It is very intuitive.
I bought the pro-pack that has a few extra writing tool and have subscribed to its cloud service in the past.
You might be able to detect that I am about to bitch about this great product. You are right. I am.

Ok, Celtx offers a variety of formats. Movie scripts, stage plays, audio-visual, comics, and radio. Maybe some others. Each format has function that generates a “typeset” which is a complete PDF version of your script. It includes your information on a formatted title page. It is a nice, professional-looking, document.

Every format, that is, except comics.
Every other format takes the script as it appears in the composition frame, and pretties it up for the PDF by adding page numbers and such. I know almost nothing about coding, but it would seem that taking something from one format and outputting it in a nearly identical format would be a fairly simple. I know that this must be fairly simple because Celtx does it for (almost) all of their formats.

When you use the typeset function in the comics format it outputs some absurd spreadsheet. It is laughable. Or, if you actually used it, humiliating. I feel bad just thinking about the comics writer who just blindly trusts that the coders at Celtx know what they are doing and submits a great script to a publisher in that silly looking format.

Here’s a recent script I wrote in Celtx for which I generated a PDF by printing straight form the script.
And here is the same script in their silly typeset format.

I should also add that it is an industry near-standard to include page breaks in a comics script at the end of every comic page. Celtx does not allow you to add those breaks.

I have been bringing this issue up with them for, literally, years. I know that sounds crazy, but I have been polite about it. Just asking if those features might be included some day.

They have a support forum when their staff answers the questions that users have.
I posted a question about exactly this problem earlier this month. Most other questions posted around then have view counts as high as the mid-30s. My post hit more than a thousand views. It stops counting at a thousand. I have more views than any post I have seen in my cursory scrolling of their forums.
And no answer. Still, no answer at all.
I searched the post tags for similar questions.
I found some.. and still I found no answers.

So… what the hell?
It is hard for me to be objective and take this as anything other than an open disrespect for this medium I love so much. I love Celtx, and I love comics, but Celtx seems to hate comics. So, can I still love Cletx?

Ok, so now I have filled a whole blog post bitching about the shortcomings of a free program. That is weak.

So, here is the larger view. Maybe this is a symptom of a wider cultural disrespect for comics… and the writing if comics.
Early in my quest to get Celtx to adopt a more universal format, I was assured by one of their people that “there is no standard for comics”. Just because there is no SPECIFIC industry standard does not mean that anything goes. I doubt that anyone would take such a cavalier attitude toward a more respected medium.

This is part of a bigger problem.

Josh Dahl

The tools of the trade

For those of us in creative fields, modern technology just won’t stop providing great new tools. Everything you need, or want, to do can now be done quicker and slicker.

But tools can also be a hindrance. Your efforts to maximize efficiency can take the place of the thing that you were trying to do efficiently. XKCD did a great cartoon illustrating this.

Tools are great, but they can become excuses. I can’t do ______ because I don’t have _______. That is a lie that you tell yourself because you are afraid to commit to doing _____.

Because dithering over the details and the versions will make you feel like an expert craftsman without actually taking the creative risk of putting your product out into the world.
Stop trying to get it right and just get it done.

Sorry for the rant. To smooth things over, and to give you positive proof that you don’t need the proper tools to get the job done, I give you two balloons and a box.