Welcome to the Weekly Blog of Christopher Hart
Best-Selling Author of How-To-Draw Books on Art Instruction
If you have a passion for drawing - whether it’s manga, cartoons, comics, or the human figure, then you’ve found the Blog that’s written just for you. Every week, I’ll discuss tips on drawing; offer my analysis and predictions about the rapid changes in the publishing industry; offer advice on how to become a published artist; and, of course, give brief updates on my books. So make this a regular stop as you surf the Blog-O-Sphere. No reservations required.
HOW TO MEET DEADLINES WITHOUT GOING CRAZY
Many artists struggle with deadlines. How do you make progress, with the clock ticking, which becomes like the the Sword of Damocles hanging over your head? And when you're working on more than one project, it can get tricky. How do you prioritize? How do you know which project to work on the hardest, and which to let wait? Here are some suggestions:
1) When you've got a deadline, before you begin to work, figure out how much progress you must make on a weekly basis in order to achieve your goal. If you've got a 28 page comic book to do, you know you need to do one page a day for a month. But is that really true? You probably need more time for looking over the work and refining it, or re-drawing some pages, before handing it in. Therefore, for safety, you would aim to finish 28 pages in three weeks, leaving the final week for revisions. Three weeks means you would have to produce about nine pages a week of finished art. So, that's a little more than one drawing a day for three weeks, right? Not really. Remember, a week is not 7 days, but five days: Monday-Friday. So, in order to produce 9 pages in 5 days, you have to come up with about 2 pages a day.
2) When you are doing more than one project at a time, remember this rule: The project that is closest to publication is always the most important one. This will help your work look its best, and also, benefit your relationship with the publisher. Quite often, I'm working on a new book, and then, my editor sends me a copy of a book I did six months ago so that I can contribute editorial suggestions. I'd love to stay on a roll and keep working on the book at hand; however, that's not the one that's about to go to print, which is the publisher's primary concern at the moment. So I literally drop everything and work as hard as I can - long hours - to squeeze in the new, additional work.
If you're having trouble coming up with inspiration while under a deadline, I've got three suggestions:
3) Do not take a long walk along the beach or head to a coffee cafe in order to allow your imagination to blossom. Stay working: draw, draw, draw until something comes up. Pros work hard to produce their work. It's a craft and skill in addition to being an art. What if a newspaper writer said to his editor, "I can't write my column this week; I'm not inspired." You think the editor would let him have a week off to get his head together?
4) If pushing through the stuck imagination isn't working, then drop your entire approach to the project and drastically switch directions. In other words, if you were drawing a pretty girl walking her dog, in order to come up with a cute scene, then instead of continuing to refine a drawing that's not working, drop it, and draw a completely new character and new pose. Frequently, you'll find that this allows you to approach the drawing in a fresh way, when you feel totally stale.
5) If all else fails - go back to the basics. Be less ambitious, and draw something that's in your wheelhouse. Then see if you can tweak it enough to give it a fresh angle.
Hope that helps! Thanks for stopping by. See you soon.
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