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One day down, and I’ve come up with the following thoughts:

  • I must start on time. (That’s 10pm most nights.) If I didn’t fear it would slow my poor tablet PC to a crawl, I’d look into scheduling a nightly UStream session.
  • No breaks. I should get any drinkage and snackage prepped beforehand.
  • Reuse old inks as pencils. I’ve done this sporadically in the past, but never considered it part of the process. Given further thought–even though I prefer to draw fresh “inks” every time–I have to wonder why I should reinvent the wheel in pencils if I’ve already drawn something nearly identical in the past. (Thanks to Scott Kurtz’s drawing session for the brainstorm.)

To break down last night’s action: Pencils took :30, lettering took :20, inks took :45, fills, grays & touch-ups took :10, finishing steps took :20.
(Not included: Writing & thumbnails, which I did during lunch in about 20 minutes, and late night breaks for a bowl of cereal and to find my sweatshirt, which also took about twenty minutes.)

It seems like there must be some way I can speed up that “finishing steps” portion, which involves converting to RGB, switching grays to browns (I work in grayscale to keep the computer working as snappily as possible), and formatting a copy for the Web. It’s really waiting for the computer to finish saving and opening files that eats a lot of the time. More RAM? Hrmm…

:: 5 Comments... ::

  1. Whitey

    More RAM might help. But what about automation/scripts? Is there anything that could be mapped to a few key strokes instead of having to navigate menus?

    This is a good exercise. I really don’t know how long my comic pages take me; it would be good to find out, and to figure out where time is being wasted.

  2. Chris

    I do have an action I can use to apply the Web template and save out the site strips, but it’s most of use when I’m doing a big batch. I’ll have to consider whether there isn’t some automation I could apply for the overall save-out process, though. I think you’re right–I should be able to turn that whole shebang into an automated action. Thanks!

    In just two days, I’ve seen a lot of value in jotting down timing notes as I work. I already had ballpark estimates for my pencils, inking, etc., but now I really know where the time is going.

  3. Tom Galambos

    I am most impressed with writing and thumbing over 20 minutes at lunch. I have to drag my ideas into existence over long periods of time, kicking and screaming.
    Your newest strips (1 hour experiments) have not suffered in quality. And if I knew anything about Pokemon I would understand today’s strip better.
    Keep it up!

  4. Chris

    Thanks, Tom :)
    It’s probably a bit misleading to suggest I do all my writing in twenty-minute stints over lunch. That’s just the “formal” time. I keep a notebook in my pocket, and collect ideas constantly. Whenever something suddenly gels into a strip in my head, which happens sometimes, I jot that down, too. The lunchtime period is often about finessing notes into a proper script, and doing rough thumbs.

    The challenge strips, by the way, won’t start appearing until mid-June :) What you’re seeing right now was done a few weeks ago. Otherwise, I’d be a constant mass of quivering stress.

  5. Odori Park » Archive » 30 Days: Halfway Home :: A webcomic comedy of culture shock in love, life, and family, by Chris Watkins ::

    [...] personal challenge. Being halfway through, it seems like an appropriate time to share more lessons learned (your mileage may [...]

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