This past weekend was my chance to put my new production ethic to the test. My goal was to whip up a handful of illustrations for a soon-to-be announced project. Very soon to be announced, like let’s just get through Thanksgiving and I’ll be ready to spread the word about very cool things. I’m so excited I just want to start yapping and yapping about all things new and cool. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Back to my weekend and the work I had to do. This new project called for 11 illustrations and a cover image. That’s twelve paintings. My early aspirations were to complete all 12 paintings on Friday and then spend the weekend navel gazing or watching college then professional football because what else is there to do this time of year? But, as you recall, part of my new work ethic is that I don’t kill myself, working from sunup ‘til sundown, as well as many hours in the dark. Given that my paintings skilz are newfound and that I only work on such things in small chunks, I did not complete the paintings on Friday. Or Saturday. Or Sunday. I wrapped up the last painting on Monday afternoon.
That said, I was far from discouraged. In four days, I painted 12 illustrations for a single project. 13 if you count the one I screwed up and had to repaint, but let’s not talk about that. The total number of hours spent making those paintings was just under 20. That’s slower than I’d like, slower than I need to work to do a large, graphic novel, but given the parameters of this project, it was pretty good. Especially when you consider that to do the same work in pen & ink, it would have taken between 72 and 96 hours. At this point in time, I have no idea how I could have survived something like that.
Plus, the more painting I do, the faster I’ll get. Remember, I’ve only been at this for five months. I had fifteen years worth of rust to knock off my painting brain. But I will get faster as I grow more comfortable with what I’m doing and how I do it. In time, projects like this, which will require roughly 20 illustrations, will become routine and I’ll knock them out of the park in far less time.
It’s still strange to not devote the whole of my being to making illustrations, thus negating any kind of normal life. For instance, on Saturday, I didn’t get started until noon and I put my brush down at five thirty so I could make my way across town and take in a double feature of classic films at the local movie palace. Such things did not happen last year when I was inking the Salem book. Or in years prior. There simply wasn’t enough time in the day to work and to live. I don’t regret the last decade’s worth of work. I’m quite proud of what I accomplished. But I think this new approach is far more likely to keep my sane and productive. I’m looking forward to the time when it won’t seem weird to spin out a project in a few weeks rather than a few months or years. I think, for a while at least, it’s going to feel like magic.
Hm… that might be it at the moment. With the impending holiday and the painful travel it warrants, I think I might be tapped out for now. Give me a week and we’ll see what I can come up with. I’ll sum this little post up with the notion that heading home for the holidays without the pressure to get back to my desk and slave away feels pretty nice. Very strange, but nice.
Safe travels and all that crap to one and all.