40-hour work week

Sat 5/26/2007

I bought the mug you see here at the 99 cent store by my house. Each morning after stretching my back and my drawing hand, I make a cup of Earl Gray tea and take it to Maria Hernandez Park. For the first hour of my day, when my creative mind is at its best, I sit under some trees and script Basewood.

I've found that I'm much happier when I start my day like this; outside, in the sun, working on my own story, before I have to go back to my windowless room to color. Ideas end up churning in the back of my mind for the rest of the day. Anyways, I eat a quick breakfast and start coloring by 9am.

My schedule for this past week has been to color from 9am - Noon, eat some lunch and do errands outside the apartment, color from 2pm - 5pm, take a big break for dinner, etc. and then color from 8pm-10pm. Then I draw comics and wind down from 10-pm to midnight. Seven hours of sleep, rinse and repeat.

It's been working well, though on Thursday and Friday I colored from 9am-1pm and then 3pm-7pm so that my eight hours were done by 7pm and I had the rest of the night off to do whatever I wanted (I've arrived at 8 hours a day, from 9-7, 5 days a week? Talk about reinventing the wheel!)

Aaron's book is totally amazing and I feel SO LUCKY that I am getting to color it. I am learning a lot just by looking at his drawings up close all day and it is a quite an honor to be the FIRST PERSON who gets to read it, one page at a time! :) Every single panel is packed with tons of detail and it is really challenging and fun picking out the colors and deciding how to organize everything. The palette we built is great and my new goal is to have this book nominated for a "Best Coloring" Eisner when it comes out next year! Mark my words! It's going to RULE!!!

BUT. That all being said, the actual physical act of coloring in photoshop is MEGA-ULTRA-TEDIOUS. It's super engaging when you have a new scene and you are picking colors and trying to find the right balance for everything. But when that scene then continues for another 5 pages and you are just repeating the same colors over and over again? Ugggggh!

It's difficult because Aaron's drawing style is so fast and loose that a lot of his "regions" end up being "open" so it takes a lot of brush work to close everything up before filling. Even so, I'm getting faster and faster. My average is already at 5.6 hours per page (down from 6.3 hpp just two weeks ago) As Mike Grube says, "First you get fast, then you get good, then you get good AND fast." I'm getting there...

I guess the MAIN problem is the sheer amount of work. 40 hours is a lot of time to stand in my room (with no windows) staring at a computer monitor. By the end of each day I am pretty wiped out and by the end of the WEEK it feels like my eyes are going to drain out of my head. Still, I felt the same way when I was temping 40 hours a week. At least this is creative, I'm learning a ton, and it's great for my "career." I mean I'm basically PAINTING all day. It's just hard to adjust to the idea that I'm not going to get much else done all day except this. I miss school already! (I told you I would ;)

I'm still not doing a great job of socializing, as I pretty much spend all day every day entirely alone, Monday through Friday. I'll figure something out... I'm trying to get out and do stuff on the weekends and hang out with my friends as much as I can.

A N Y W A Y S, in other news, I recorded about an hour of music today, but I was using this new program, and I saved all the files incorrectly, so I lost the entire session... (Not that it is a big loss) Maybe I will RErecord this stuff? Maybe NOT. Ugh... Either way, it felt good to play my guitar!

11 comments on this entry

Please rerecord your songs! And then make them available to us, your fans! We need music to listen to while reading your comics. The ultimate Longstreth multi-media experience.

greg May26

Don't get TOO excited Greg. They are all covers. But if I can get this recording stuff figured out again maybe I'll write some new songs. You never know...

Alec May26

i can relate to the megaultratedium of the artwork... i often have large fields of darks to fill in...with my current technique i get a little nuts with the repetition...
that's why artists are so weird i guess...
well...maybe not the only reason...

jason May26

i just found a wacom 6x8 intuos 3 tablet on craigslist here in LA -- i'm tellin' ya, it's a world of difference from the 4x5 graphire (which is what you're using, no?)

i'm so jealous of yr dedication to schedule.

nate May27

Nate - Actually, the MINUTE Aaron signed me up for this project I bought a 6 x 8 (pictured above!) and I gave him the 4 x 5 (which I think he still refuses to use! the old mouse-drawer!) I agree that it is a world of difference. I think on the 4 x 5 my hand would be cramped to all hell by now. All hail the mighty Wacom!

Alec May27

the obsessive part of me has to know:

what are all the tiny pictures there? i think i see a lego head.

My 6" x 8" intuos has a clear plastic shell that goes over the drawing surface, so you can slip whatever you want in there to personalize the tool. I used a sheet of fake postage stamps featuring posters by Modern Dog Design of Seattle, WA.

Alec May27

keep up the good work man... I have no doubt it will pay off. Besides you get to work on an amazing book (I am sure)... not just anyone can say that.

Jewett May29

Is coloring on a Mac better than a regular PC? I've always been curious about that.

Arlene May29

Photoshop (which I am using to color) is not platform specific, either are wacom tablets (I believe) so I don't think it matters either way!

Alec May29

Well good. Cause I'm not switching. I don't care how clever the commercials are.

Arlene May30

Post your comment here:

The Basewood Mural
Okay, I am ready to reveal one of the top-secret projects I have been working on! My friends ..
I have the best boss ever.
I biked over to Aaron's apartment today on my lunch break. We got some falafels and sat in the ..