Double time

Hello chums, I’m going to recap a thing I’ve touched on here before, the idea of the two things plan.

Prior to covid I started this new process where I would chop my day up into doing two things. I mean not small things, not like take-a-bin-out, but things I consider cognitively hard; two pages of inks, two pages of pencils, two chunks of layouts (a chunk being roughly 12 pages, so two chunks is layouts for an entire issue).

Of course, it’s a tiny amount of things, but if you can do it consistently, literally every day of the week, every week of the year, you’ll end up – if the two things are pencils/inks of a page – drawing 365 pages of comics. Obviously, it’ll not always work out like that, so I try and aim for 25 pages per month. You’ll need down days of course, and sometimes one of the things will be pay the tax man (because man, that is a cognitive load just filling that form in and hitting send on the tax)

The reason for doing this is because I can be over productive sometimes, and find, even as I draw three, four, five pages (of pencils or inks) in a day that I end the day frustrated that I haven’t done enough. That somehow, drawing twice as much as an average artist just isn’t going to cut it. So I have to set myself a hard limit.

Once I hit those two things, fair enough if I’ve time I can start doing other stuff. And, again, prior to covid, I managed to find the time to write, blog and draw for fun (my sketch books can be pretty shallow things because I save my drawing for work)

Anyway, along comes covid and all plans hit the fans and suddenly I’m trying to do as much work as is humanly possible. An entirely unsustainable thing. Part of the problem with being fast is you miss a day or two (because the world gets in your way) and suddenly you go from being on time to 8 pages behind.

Now, this week, owing to the fact that my wife and youngest son are heading off to Disneyland Paris, I was looking forward to getting caught up on a serious amount of work. I’d be staying at home. BUT disaster struck and my wife came down with vertigo, necessitating a change of plans on my part – so now I’m also heading to Paris to ride the many many rides my son assures me he wants to go on.

So I needed to rethink my work and so I decided, counter intuitively it was no use just ploughing through it and trying to hurry it up and see where I landed, I needed to break it down day by day. Initially I figured I could chop it up in to two pages a day, and somewhere in that time draw the extra left over two pages (so some days would be a three pager) and that started well, until I discovered that I’d accidentally calculated the time left as one day longer because I forgot there wasn’t a 31st of June. Recalibrated, it turned out ok, because I’d started and already done three pages a day for most of it. But doing so really made me sit down and start thinking; two is the way to go.

The past year I’ve really sort of relaxed the reigns when it comes to knowing what work I’m doing, nothing has had deadlines which has meant I’ve just been doing work as and when I can. Didn’t work today? doesn’t matter. No deadlines.

But, of course, it does matter, because no one is paying me for my days off.

So, work scheduled up to the 30th the on hols for a a week, where, of course, I will be working. Nothing too hard though. Probably two pages of very very rough pencils per day…