Sunday, October 21, 2007

The Schedule and the Leaky Roof

It’s a funny thing about schedules. When you’ve got all the time in the world, ideas often don’t flow as well as when you’re on a tight deadline.

At least it’s that way for me. Doing the art for the new Dinotopia book meant generating 150 paintings in about a four year period. Four years sounds like a lot of time, but as the crunch got closer, I had to produce each painting in less than a week, start to finish.

This schedule helped keep me on track. I tallied the finished pages in the margins, with the goal of six to eight pages a month. I completed the artwork out of sequence, following the plan of the storyboard and outline.

I had to completely lose myself in the project. Let the roof leak! Chuck the ‘Do List.’ Never mind Christmas! Chain your ankle to the easel and start another audio book! Somehow this regimen put me into the same kind of creative tunnel that monks, prisoners, and students often describe with a grim fondness. The painting studio became a kind of sideways elevator taking me completely into another world.

But now I’m back in this world. For the moment I’m wrung dry. And now I've got to do something about that leaky roof.


jem said...

Just wanted to thank you for your fantastic blog. Audiobooks and podcasts are a blessing!

JFullmer said...

I am SO excited to have found your blog! It is fantastic! Thank you for taking the time to do it.

This post sounds so familiar! I am in the midst of a large writing/illustrating project and I LOVE to hear about your techniques and experiences. This blog is really inspiring!

I'm delighted to hear that others use audio books to get through the long studio hours. Do you have any recommendations?

I think your detail schedule is a great idea and I will toss out the "to do" list straight away.

Me speaking to my wife:
"No, it's OK honey. James Gurney said I could toss it."

Michael Damboldt said...

wow. I just want to say that all of the work you do is absolutely obvious in the painstaking detail of your books. Absolutely awesome. Thanks for sharing that with us!