Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Wednesday Shop Talk

I don't want to burn straight through the Narnia material too fast. I've got to space these covers out to better remember them.

I thought you might want to hear why I had a change of heart about the blog Summer Hours. I really was ready to shutter the blog last week. Wanna hear what changed my mind? What made my workload easier?

A stopwatch.

I downloaded a stopwatch widget for my computer. I figured I would time myself for each of the steps in completing a page. There are four steps. All of the pages already exist as fairly detailed sketches, so I need to take the sketch page and apply the following:
  • Step 1: I create the borders, word balloons and letters. I'm hand-lettering this puppy, and all future graphic novels, hand-lettering just looks better.
  • Step 2: I do the final drawing. I'd call that "inking," but I'm doing it digitally, so the word ink doesn't apply.
  • Step 3: Is the layer of shading, all grays.
  • Step 4: The final layer of blue laid over the gray.
This stopwatch is HUGE, it fills my second monitor with giant, angry numbers--it looks like the countdown timer on a self-destruct button from a movie. Anyway, I've been carefully timing each step. I record the times on a paper, then total them to see how fast I can do a finished page. For some crazy reason, the stopwatch has kept me on task.

Here are my records:
  • Step 1: 20:04
  • Step 2: 1:07:05
  • Step 3: 48:43
  • Step 4: 13:45
Those are all from different pages. My fastest overall page was 170 minutes total.

Also, I ratcheted my desk up to standing height, so I work standing up. It seems to give me more energy. These measures might sound crazy to you, but when you work alone, from home, this is the kind of thing you have to do to stay on your toes. It's a constant mind game. When I was penciling CALAMITY JACK, I asked Shannon and Dean if I could report my pages to them each week--just a page-count to keep me on track. They agreed, and we got that book finished on time. I didn't finish RAPUNZEL on time, but that's another story.

So, if I use the stopwatch, and the stand-up desk, I get my pages done in the afternoon. If I DON'T use the stopwatch, and sit in my comfy drafting stool, I end up working laaaate into the night.

If I don't use the stopwatch, sit in the comfy stool and live-stream the E3 (video game expo) press conferences all day, then I don't even finish my quota for the day.
  • Monday, Press conferences watched: Microsoft (lousy,) EA (okay, new SSX looks good) Ubisoft (entertaining, side-scrolling Ray-Man looks fun) and Sony (if they put out a Monster Hunter on that new PS VITA, I'm so getting one.)
  • Pagecount: only 1.
I hereby promise to use the stopwatch and the standing desk tomorrow. (After the Nintendo presser! Gotta see that! What will the new system be!?!)


Clint C. said...

So interesting. Could I get one of those stop watches to hover over our heads during homework and chore time?

Heather Hoyt said...

I so want a standing desk.

Helene said...

I saw a picture of the new Nintendo console and my brother described how it's supposed to work. I can't wrap my mind around it.

And awesome plan with the stopwatch! I can't imagine standing up to work, though. But if it works maybe I ought to try it!