Not quite 10 years ago, I managed to raise funds and (after way too long a time) release a graphic novel via Kickstarter. The book was initially available through Amazon, but I pulled it due to unrelated issues I’ve had with the company over the past few years.
Additionally, I have a lot of issues with the overall art quality of the final product (all on me). The project’s backers and a few early buyers have their physical and digital copies, and I have one of the two physical copies I purchased for myself personally (someone offered me cover price for my other copy, and I happily sold it to him).
While I have a certain amount of pride at having written, edited, drawn, colored, and lettered a book all on my own (as well as all the digital prepress work), as it was my first real work, I learned a lot, especially about what not to do. The idea behind the book was that the funding would go towards three things: working materials, printing costs, and keeping a roof over my head while I worked on it. I had a few issues with the printing process as well as a tendency to redraw pages I thought were unsatisfactory, which lead to it taking way too long to get printed (and, yes, that was all on me).
After everything was sent out and everyone received their items, I took personal stock of the whole project, and decided that I would never again run a crowdfunding campaign for a book or project that wasn’t immediately ready to publish upon the campaign’s success. One night, while I was finishing the last few pages of the book, I was running an old DVD copy of Tucker: the Man and His Dream on a TV for background noise. I couldn’t help but notice how wrong the idea of selling an experimental new car before one had even gotten on an assembly line felt to me, and that feeling has stuck with me to this day.
Additionally, I used the making of the book as an opportunity to work more with digital drawing tools (most of which I already had in some form or another…none of this came to of the project’s budget). In the end, about half the pages were done traditionally, and the other half were all digital.
And to this day, I am still very unhappy with just about every last page.
Granted, I know many artists feel this way about their work, in many cases due to ridiculously high standards that no one can realistically meet. My own sentiments are due to issues of professional overall quality and craft of the final pieces (the kinds of things you notice as a professional artist/designer), and I want to make sure I do much better in the future.