No idea how I found it, but there was a long debate in The Comics Journal’s letters pages several years ago about what “craft” meant to comics creators and their work.
James Kochalka started with a column called, “Craft is [sic] the Enemy.” He holds to some unpopular opinions about not only what craft is, but why his definition of it is detrimental to creators.
I’m a bit in the middle on this concept. One one hand, I think artists should strive to take care with the materials of their work—whether physical or not—nearly the same way they care about the work. I think care in the presentation of work makes a difference, too, at the least conveying that if we care about that, we care about that, we likely care about the work itself. That’s part of craft.
It isn’t what things you make, that’s just medium or field. It does help you stand out if you care more for craft than others around you who don’t.
And yet, it isn’t the first consideration. If anyone thought there were gatekeepers to the arts worlds, they’re mistaken. Everyone can declare themselves in the game, and if you have something to say, I think you should start.
If you aren’t good enough, the only thing that will make it better is more work made and tenacity. But keeping work from the world until you reach some stage of objective readiness is depriving it and you of valuable feedback and growth.
I think we need to care for craft. But we don’t need to hesitate in starting.