Monday, August 8, 2011

Work Schedule

Most of the time involved in creating a book like Dinotopia goes into the final artwork. Here’s my work chart for Dinotopia: The World Beneath (1995). The book has 160 pages, with a painting on every page.

I did most of the artwork from September of 1993 to January of 1995. I set myself a production rate of ten pages per month, or one finished page every three days on average. That page rate includes the research, maquettes, posing, drawing and final painting. If I wanted to spend more than six days on a double page spread, I had to buy time by doing another piece faster than that.

There are a dozen or so paintings circled in red. They are the larger and more elaborate paintings, such as Garden of Hope (p. 73) or The Excursion (p. 70-71), which were released as art prints. Those images stood outside the narrative and did not include the main characters. I had finished most of these “anchor paintings” before starting this production schedule. Those paintings took longer, roughly one to three weeks each.

Before starting this final artwork phase, I planned the book in outline and storyboard form. After wrapping the art in January of 1995, I wrote the final text. I wrote the text last because many new ideas developed while doing the artwork.

I enjoy working under pressure, and I love having a large task like this, which focuses my mind like nothing else. I’ve found that if I set a specific goal, I can accomplish far more than if I just waited for inspiration.

Previously: Storyboarding


Tom Hart said...

Very, very impressive schedule.

There's a good lesson here too, of course, about planning and setting goals. I'll never have an output anything like yours, but I'm glad to have this reminder about the effectiveness of a good plan with specific goals.

Doug said...

I love how the holes left by the tacks make it look like the schedule has been riddled with bullets. In fact the worn and beat up appearance is very symbolic of a typical deadline for a book like this. You can see the battles in the pen marks and the comprimises in the gutters.

goat89 said...

Doig, they sure weren't kidding when they said the pen is mightier than the sword. ;)

armandcabrera said...

You are a big creative machine; I don't know how you had time to sleep, raise your family and be social.

Aaron said...

Sitting over my drafting table is a quote from William Faulkner, and though it is about writing I get up every morning and take it's meaning to heart.

"I only write when I am inspired. Fortunately I am inspired at 9 o'clock every morning."
(William Faulkner)

The majority of artists fail I think, because they can't grasp that they maybe artists first but they must be businessmen (in a fashion) second. It's either your hobby or it's your job.

Gardenart said...

That is so incredibly inspiring. Thank you so much for sharing that. It is fascinating to see the hard work behind the magic of what you are able to create.
I'm in the middle of reading,
"The Greater Journey-- Americans in Paris" by David McCullough. Your post reminds me of the quote that begins the book...
"For we constantly deal with practical problems, with moulders, contractors, derricks, stonemen, trucks, rubbish, plasterers, and what-not-else, all the while trying to soar into the blue."
-Augustus Saint-Gaudens

Michael said...

This reminds me of something the great painter Alex Kanevsky said last spring at a U of Penn talk.

"After doing one portrait or more per day leading up to the show (stressful), ending up with about 44, I realized that some which I thought were failures were not. So I no longer concerned myself with failure, painting with complete freedom ever since."

Michael said...

"The War of Art" by Steven Pressfield. is a short quick read about the constant battle of resistance to just sitting down every day and creating the conditions to allow ourselves or others to be the conduit.

Linda Lawler said...

Organization has always been a problem for me. Being OCD, one list becomes another and another. I find my lists and then I am like a deer in the headlights, paralyzed. What to do first? I would love to read your typical day and how you work on multiple projects. Do you have an assistant to field phone calls and sort assignments? Thanks, Linda at Western View Studio.

Andrés Carrandi said...

Wow! Many of us should do things like these. Thanks for sharing.

A piece of news that might be interesting for you:


Richard Row said...

Since you're on the topic of Dinotopia... just listened to the opening theme music for the Dinotopia TV series on Cinemix. A rather pretty piece of music.