This is the story of a big problem with an easy solution.

At the end of the summer, I was finding myself in a bit of a creative slump. I still enjoyed comics, but, for whatever reason, I never wanted to sit down and draw them. Even when I did, I could only work for about 40 minutes or so before needing a break.

I was feeling kind of discouraged, but I didn’t want to miss a deadline, so I sat down at my computer and pulled up the most recent comic page. My digital pen and art software had been glitchy since I upgraded my computer’s operating system, so my pen would occasionally lag or the computer would misread a stoke of the pen as an attempt to move something on the desktop. I tired of the start-and-stop process that digital drawing had become, so I decided to work on penciling instead. I adjusted my drawing table to optimum height and position, but within a minute, the table had slipped back into it’s low default position. That table had been a part of my studio for about a decade. used to belong to my uncle. My parents found it while cleaning out my grandparents house and decided I would have the most use for it. It was second hand when my uncle got it and it’s at least twice as old as I am.

About then, I finally reached the obvious conclusion. The reason why I’m not enjoying comic drawing is because all of my faulty equipment is making the job tougher and slower than it should be. I was putting in too much extra work for the same reward.

For the rest of the day, I changed focus from working to fixing my workspace. I uninstalled and reinstalled most of my art software until it stopped glitching. Then I started checking online shops for a new drawing table. At first, I thought about buying another wooden table for the sturdiness and stability, but then decided I wanted a glass top for the light box capabilities (For the non-artists, that means I want the option to put a light beneath the table for tracing.)

I ordered the best rated drafting table on Amazon and, in a cartoonistly short amount of time (about three days) the table arrived. It took two hours to assemble, then two days to rearrange the furniture in my studio space to accommodate it. I hoped that I would make up for the lost time by working faster.

A few weeks have past and I have no idea how I was getting by before. I’m finishing pages faster, with no loss in quality. Plus, small pains in my hands and shoulder have been fading away. It thought those little aches were just the result of getting older, but no, they were drawing-posture related. Best of all, I’m enjoying my work again, more than I’ve enjoyed it for quite a while.

I’ve always been a big believer that proper tools and equipment can be what makes the difference between professional quality work and amateur work. (That’s part of the reason why I teach digital art to school children.) Yes, practice and dedication are still the biggest factors, but you can’t build a house without bricks, right? For all of you creatives at home, take care of your equipment and take care of yourselves.