August (so far): 28
January was me determine to make up for the last few years – I Knew I was capable of a page a day (and had often done more) and I wanted to do that, so I figured out ways to keep track (you can read these methods in the blog under the process tag) I was pretty pleased to hit 28 pages, and there was even 5 days where I did nothing at all, so theoretically I could do more.
Feb I was about 14 pages in to the month when my wife broke her dominant arm at the elbow. A pretty serious break that, 7 months later is still a problem (and, in fact, she’s having an operation to see if it can be improved). I managed to claw some more pages back, to hit 19 – not great but not too bad anyway, given the circumstances.
March was awful. AWFUL. Between looking after wife, kids, and my returning stomach pains (which appear to be diet related and I’m mostly on top of now) 11 pages was pathetic, but I was prepared to wipe out the month.
April was rejigging things in my work and a determination to hit 28 pages again but somehow I plateaued at 16, and for the next few months it felt like 16 was all I was capable of, and that was depressing. It meant, even if the work where their I wouldn’t be capable of meeting a monthly deadline on a book and I certainly wasn’t prepared to go looking for more comic work when I felt so low about how much I was producing (and while quantity does not equal quality it always feels to me like the more I produce the better it gets)
May and June same as April, except the spiral downwards felt like it got worse, a real “should I stop this and think about a real job?”
July, god knows what happened here. Start of school summer holidays, I think. At this point ready to throw in the towel in comics – I earned so little last year and drawing 16 pages a month (assuming the work was there) wasn’t going to pay much more. It felt like my earning potential was severly limited, and I missed having a day job (secure money+could draw what I like when I like? WHY DID I GIVE THAT UP? IDIOT)
I.. I’m not sure what combination of things happened. Maybe I’d hit rock bottom? (God, I hoped so – things couldn’t get much worse).
I took some extra work I was offered (they way I felt I’d never be offered work again) and burned through it. I switched from inking with a brush to inking with pigma pens (and I’m an inking snob so this has always been something I’d refused to do) moved to using the lightbox (see yesterday’s post) and found, somehow, I got faster and faster and happier and happier and, I think, better and better – my ego has always been intrinsically linked to my art – when I feel great about the art I feel great about me, and when I suck so does the art.
I’m off for a week, where I’ll just be pencilling, hopefully I can come back and ink like a demon and get three pages per day done (ending the month on an unheard of high number of pages for me). Kids start school next month, and there’s a possibility, one I daren’t hope for until now, that I may actually do all right in comics.