i can’t draw

I’ve been playing this game called The Binding Of Isaac. If you’re as late to the party as I am, allow me to describe it: it’s sort of roguelike, in that death is permanent and the various levels, enemies, and gear change each time you play. It’s sort of like the original Zelda, in that each level feels like one of the boss levels in that classic game. It’s also sort of like Robotron, in that you use one hand to move your guy around in eight directions, and another to have him shoot in four directions.

It’s simple enough to be played quickly, different enough each time you play it to not get boring, and relentless enough to make actually finishing the game so fucking goddamn jesus cocking difficult you quickly develop an unhealthy relationship with it.

I love this game, and it’s helped me occupy part of my mind while the other part works on stories and things. It’s really great, and you can find it in a variety of locations including Humble Bundles, Steam, and in your mom.

…sorry. I don’t know where that came from.*

So it actually has a story that I won’t spoil for you, that features these little animations between each level. The characters are all drawn in a very simple style, that’s very similar to Cyanide & Happiness.

While I’ve been playing it, I’ve been stopping at the end of each level, and trying to recreate the art style, because I really like it. Here’s a page that I’ve been filling up for a few days:

Click to Embiggen
Click to Embiggen

So most of those aren’t very good, but just let me give some context: I have no artistic skill, at all. I have never been able to draw a damn thing in my life, but by copying the style in these cut scenes (and I guess not having a fuck to give about being perfect, instead just amusing myself by trying different expressions and postures), I got to a point where I felt comfortable to try … a comic.

So earlier today, the events of this stupid comic I drew actually happened in my house:

That bird had been there for a few days, too, because it was pretty stiff.
Click to Embiggen

I enjoyed myself while I drew it. I thought it didn’t suck when I was finished, so I showed it to Anne, and it amused her.

I’m not gonna lie, Marge: it amused me, too, and was surprisingly fun for me to do, and I’m glad I did it. I’m glad I took my own advice, and remembered that the idea isn’t to be perfect; the idea is to be creative, and to make something where something wasn’t before.

…and now I’ll go back to working on Monday’s Wil Wheaton Project, which is what I should have been doing when I was drawing a dumb comic.

*but your mom sure did.**

**sorry. sorry.

46 thoughts on “i can’t draw”

  1. Pretty much a lot of good comics aren’t drawn well. It’s the story that matters.

    Helps more if your a little horse famous too.

  2. The binding of isaac is a great game… Played it non-stop for quite a while but now FTL has taken it’s place. If you havent played FTL I highly recommend it as well. Also, if you make comics of FTL, use the federation cruiser.

    1. When I think of the hours I have spent playing FTL, and the fact that I still have not won a single game … I want to go play more FTL.

  3. Applause! Applause! [crowd cheers wildly] Thanks for sharing these. These were good enough to try again when the mood strikes you. And really… you SHOULD do more comics.. that is, in between all the other myriad millions of things you accomplish every day. Oh yeah… and don’t forget to stop and hug Anne

  4. #Protip: most cartoonists do not do their own lettering, so don’t worry about that part.

    You could build an app to do this too, Think about it: the tweets you two do are the material, they just need to be, shall we say, “Wheatonified”…

  5. Your comic doesn’t look too much different from the style of Happiness and Cyanide or XKCD…I think I got those names right…I’m too lazy right now to do a simple google search even, lol. keep up the good work entertaining me +Wil Wheaton

  6. Excellent! I was amused, and if you and yours was amused as well, then: mission overaccomplished 😉 And if you get the time, and feel inspired, I think most of your tweets and other weird thoughts can be translated into visual imagery. Good or not, just good enough.

  7. I love it! So much for saying you can’t; as the other commenter said, you just did – and rather amusingly, too. It’s the cool stuff like this why I follow you on twitter. Because of reasons, dang it.

  8. I think it’s fine. It’s funny, and several internet comic artists use a similar artstyle. Please do more, if you feel like it – I’d read them.

  9. You may say you should have been working on the show but you were doing something far more important. You were being Wil. Don’t ever stop being Wil because being Wil is more important than any show. And sharing these little tidbits with us interwebbers is very cool indeed. Keep up the awesomeness.

  10. I don’t know if anyone remembers the early-ish web comic User Friendly, but I always thought the drawing talent of that artist to be amateur at best. But that didn’t matter, he seemed to be putting a lot of effort in and a lot of people liked his stuff (not including me, though).

    Some people seem to like Dinosaur Comics, and that uses the same six frames over and over, which is just downright bizarre.

    And look at the incredible expressive work in XKCD, using only stick figures!

    The point being, artistic skill is surprisingly low on the requirements list for creating a decent web comic. It’s all in the writing, which brings the funny, and the characters.

  11. As an artist myself, it always gives me a little pang of sorrow whenever I hear someone say, “I can’t draw.” I don’t mind if they don’t like drawing, or if they aren’t good at it, but that word “can’t” stings just a little, because it closes the door so completely.

    I have no singing talent, no training or experience to speak of, and not much inclination to start singing, but I still wouldn’t say I can’t sing.

    Drawing can be a lot of fun, and it was cool to see you find a way to approach it that didn’t feel inhibited by a lack of experience. I liked the comic, and it seemed to play to your strengths as a writer, too.

    For me, drawing was the first shared activity I got into with my girlfriend’s sons, when they were just four and six years old. I’ve used games to great effect as well (thanks, TableTop!) but sitting in a pizzeria, waiting for our food after a visit to the Children’s Museum, I’d always pull out a little sketchbook, tear off pages for each of us, hand out some pencils or crayons, and we’d bounce around crazy ideas of what to draw, and have a lot of fun doing quick, simple cartoons or sketches.

  12. I paint even though I’m not good at it.
    I always say that I do it not out of an abundance of talent, but just because I enjoy it. And that’s a perfect reason to do it!

  13. Hi Wil,
    Felt I had to comment for two reasons: I played a few games of Binding of Isaac recently (as a break from studying for medical boards). Its the first time I had any spare time to game in the last 6 months or so. Second, I caught your new show, pretty entertaining stuff, me and my wife both enjoyed it. Keep up the good work!

    I haven’t seen CleverNickName post in a long time, what’s your goto tech site now-a-days.

    Happy Father’s Day by the way (it’s my first!)

  14. Is that your next doodle for NFDoodleday 2015? I’m putting an early bid
    Right now!!! Thanks to all the wonderfull 2014 contridutors for their time and effort for a great cause. I didn’t win your doodle but won a doodle from Diana Salvatore! Thanks Wil for participating!

  15. That was funny and who cares on style. I can draw to some degree but it took a long time to get here. If I didn’t like it, I would not have learned it.
    The key is enjoying it, and you are obviously so glad you shared with us fans!!!

  16. That is the most perfect description of Binding of Isaac I’ve ever seen. I got gifted that game on steam by a friend who thought it was so hard that they were actually screwing with me by giving me a game I’d never beat.

    At first I tried explaining to people why I liked the game. I’d load it up and they’d sit and watch me die over and over and over, my argument looking less and less credible each time. Eventually I just stopped trying to explain it. I’d just shrug. My sister has never played a minute of binding of isaac in her life but because we share an apartment, she knows when I’m playing just by hearing the sound from my laptop.

    Steam says I have logged 449 hours of Binding of Isaac. I suppose my friend did mess with me, just not how she thought.

  17. Laughed my butt off at your cartoon. Of course the “present” from the cat is in awkward place to retrieve!!! And sometimes one MUST do something else creative before getting back to the business of creating…frees up the brain to look at things differently.

  18. Remember, it’s about letting go. Fun is just the perk. Not giving a flip or two is additional perks. People get more enjoyment out of the here and now rather than the perfect. Loved the comic. It was funny! Remember, KISS – keep it simple stupid. Too much attention to detail derails the fun. Plus – STICK MAN RULES! ! ! !

    1. “STICK MAN RULES! ! !”

      I second this sentiment. I love your style (yes… it IS a style). Keep ’em coming. When you need a break but still want to be creative, you can choose this medium. It works for all of us! (Greedy bastards that we are.)

  19. It shouldn’t be a surprise that people on Deviantart have taken to drawing the Isaac creations they make with the various item creations. You should check it out because they’re both terrifying and amazing.

    1. Wonderful article, @Brandon! I hadn’t seen this from Adobe yet (I may have been asleep, who knows.) I’ve shared this with some of my tech savvy friends with very young children. Amen, I say, to using both sides of the brain!

  20. Binding Of Isaac is the game in my Steam library that seems to have all the hours (all of them). I’m a huge TBS fan, and you’d think it would be Civ V or something, but there’s just an amazing amount of fun, replay value, balance, and wonderful weirdness in this game.

  21. Got all of the achievements on that game. Yep, I was that addicted. Even after all the flash crashiness.

    Looking forward to the Rebirth remake. More stuff added, more rebalancing, more weapon combos, a more pixel-art style, and best of all, no crashing.

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