Friday, April 4, 2014

Process: Workflow


Workflow: an optimal situation is when there are multiple pieces in various stages of completion, and the process of production becomes effectively a juggling act. Actually I’ve always likened it to some sort of mental Tarzan swinging through the studio, reaching out and grabbing the next vine and hanging on until it reaches it’s relative span of attention and then it’s on to the next one, and so and so forth. There are so many scraps of paper floating around or tacked up on the board, sketches, scripts, thumbnailed roughs, lists and more lists. But as far as what’s right in front of me most of the time, this is the ideal rhythm:

1. Wake up and grind the beans, review the compost heap left from the night before.

2. Erase the drawings that were inked and left to dry, prep them for scanning.

3. Ink in the pencils left over from the last session, set them aside to dry for tomorrow.

4. Pencil up some panels from the sketchbook (which have been already flagged for the next wave of raw material to draw from) onto taped-up sheets of Bristol board.

5. Translate some choice, loose sketches into doodles into the sketchbook in pencil, to be inked up with ballpoint later over more coffee at the café for a “break.” This is also for maintaining the mulch-pile, so as to ferment for future ideas, which in turn begets more random concepts.

6. Watercolor and/or wash a couple panels that the linework has already been scanned during the previous work session.

7. Scan stuff in to be completed on the computer later.

8. Digitally finish panels that have been scanned for print publication, clean up, add either halftones or full CMYK, save in different formats (raw, TIF, JPEG + web).

9. Email works and proofs to clients, check correspondence, upload to on-line portfolios, write some notes, edit backposted blog entries.

10. Take a break, get out of the cabin and go sit somewhere to work up ideas in sketchbook.


PS: Don’t forget to play with the cats inbetween, and clean the litterbox, some housework like dishes and vacuum, make lunch and prep for dinner. Play with cats some more. 

So you can see that rarely is an idea seen straight through from conception to completion in one single sitting. It’s a cascade where one can skip around, stop and start again on another, different task. Pigs in the pipeline.


Note: If I rotate the chair 180° I face the desktop, which also has a corresponding spread of loose ends left hanging. There's always something, and there's never enough time = never a dull moment, and definitely never, ever bored.
Here's a slightly different take:

“A Perfect Day” Home ritual
(approx. 18 hours, or from 6am to midnite*)

Sketch/doodle/surf for inspiration


Pencil some panels


Pencil some more panels

Empty litterbox & empty slop-bucket, take out trash

Ink some panels


Ink some more panels

Read, nap

Erase + scan

Start crockpot/prep for dinner

Cleanup + reformat pieces on computer

Phonecalls & email correspondence

Digital shading and/or coloring

Run errands in town (inc. sketchbook session at café , library or bookstore)

Watercolor wash originals

Eat something

Email and/or archive new works

Brainstorming session on couch, new doodles


*this ideal schedule is just one day per week: the remaining 2-3 days are without all the housework (which doesn't translate into a shorter day - just more art gets done), plus the usual sneaking in any spare time throughout the rest of the week inbetween (or while doing) other jobs.

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