I just realized it’s been almost a month since I signed on to illustrated John Edwards’ book “The Tryceratops.” Wow, how time flies. I’m sure a million illustrators have drawn clocks with wings, so I won’t even go there. Just visualize it.
I’m down in the nitty-gritty of finishing my sketches, and I’d say I’m about 80% finished with drawing all spreads. The sketches have been commented upon by the author/publisher/editor (let’s just call them APE for short), and my next step will be making those small revisions and moving forward with painting! Oops, I forgot the cover. Okay, I’m 75% done with sketches.
Last night, I walked my mom through each page of the book, and her excitement felt revitalizing. She was actually laughing out loud at certain pages. It was like an ice-cold mojito after you’ve been walking in the MN humidity for too long. Basically, I started out this project drafting the BIG PICTURE storyboard and figuring out the flow of the book, but ever since, I’ve been down in the tiny details, sitting with my pencil and paper at the dining room table every night, sometimes producing quality work, sometimes not. Sometimes I scribble angrily at the page for about 12 minutes and get all huffy, and just eat chips and watch episodes of “The Colony” on Netflix instead, while making lists for apocalypse preparedness (true story — maybe next time I’ll illustrate the list…at least then I’m drawing).
I mean, it’s definitely fun, but it’s work, and as an artist, you’re always grappling with those feeling of inadequacy. I recently saw these on a fellow illustrator’s Facebook page (The “process for writing a book” could be the creative process for anything, including illustration):
And how true. You just have to power through, I guess. I don’t force it when I’m not feelin’ the magic, but I have developed my own regiment for staying focused:
• Clean up my space. I can’t work if there’s clutter.
• Have water at the table. And a snack.
• Have storyboard & all sketches handy for reference, and to remind yourself that you’ve created quality work in the past & can do it again!
• Set a timer. I’ve been doing 60 minutes per night, which feels like a good amount of time. Not too short, not too long.
I guess that’s it. I tend to procrastinate by doing everything OTHER than draw, like clean up my entire basement because I can just *feel* its clutter even though my studio is upstairs. Yeah, I’m insane. I know. But slowly, surely, this book is happening. And I think it’s gonna be kind of awesome.