Happy August, everyone! Thanks for taking the time to read this month's newsletter.
I've been making good progress on "Big Dreamers" and have finally gotten into the flow of the project. It's going to be quite a large book, over two hundred pages, but my goal is to finish the pencils and inks by the end of the year. Considering I've only completed about eighty pages so far, that's a rather ambitious target I've set for myself.
A PAGE A DAY.
In comics, there's an old adage that penciling and inking a page a day is a good, solid pace of work. If you can start and finish a complete comic page each day, then you can probably work at a sustainable pace to make a living in comics.
I think this is true for the most part, but lately, I've been feeling that this approach is a little myopic and puts the cart before the horse. While I agree that comics probably need to be done at a certain pace out of financial necessity, measuring a day's work by this arbitrary yardstick seems to kill all joy and creativity out of the process, at least for me.
Lately, I've been trying to remind myself that making comics is fun and fulfilling, so why am I so preoccupied with getting it over and done with? In some ways, I've been trying to slow down and trust the process to get me to the finish line instead of being fixated on it the moment I sit down at my desk.
This probably seems like a backwards approach since I've already set such an aggressive deadline for myself, but my hypothesis is that if I don't focus so much on efficiency and concentrate more on the process, then I'll arrive at my destination on time and enjoy the journey along the way.
I guess we'll find out on December 31st whether this way worked.
THE IPAD MINI.
I've been doing a surprising amount of work on this little device this summer. While my desktop is undoubtedly more powerful, and my large Cintiq is a more ergonomic drawing experience, sometimes it's just more fun to sit outside on the porch and doodle away.
Paired with the Procreate app, the iPad Mini feels more like a digital sketchbook than a computer. I've been using it primarily for "pencils" on Big Dreamers, and I find I can get a couple of pages done while enjoying my morning coffee. I'm also less prone to surfing the net and watching YouTube because of the small screen.
Could I draw a full comic on the iPad Mini? Maybe. I'd have to adjust my process somewhat, and I think the final product would look a little different, but it would be an interesting experiment to limit myself to a specific tool. I suspect its limitations are more due to the ergonomics of a small device rather than what it is technically capable of.
AN AFTERNOON JIU-JITSU BREAK.
Three days out of the week, I'll take a break in the afternoon to attend a jiu-jitsu or boxing class at Tanuki Martial Arts (check them out if you're in Toronto!). Technically, the class is only an hour long, but by the time I finish rolling, socializing, and showering, up to three hours might have passed before I end up back at my desk.
Is this a wise use of my time? Probably yes, actually. I took up this habit about a year ago, and I found that the break from work to do something physical hasn't really slowed down my work output.
READY TO BUCKLE DOWN FOR THE EVENING.
After jiu-jitsu, I'm not just ready, but really EAGER to get back to work. It's at this point that I'll finally settle down for the day in front of my Mac Mini and Cintiq to get some real work done.
I'll transfer the pencils I did that morning from my iPad Mini to the Mac and get started with inking for the remainder of the day. However, the pages I ink aren't necessarily the pages I penciled that day.
Perhaps it's because I'm not resentful of being chained to my desk all day, but this loosey-goosey approach usually results in me doing one or two pages of pencils and one or two pages of inks a day while attending to other miscellaneous comic stuff (answering emails, handling revisions, etc.). So, I'm up to 200 percent as productive if I don't focus so much on productivity.
Anyhow, that's it for this week. While a little "inside baseball," I hope this snapshot of a typical workday for me was an interesting read.