27 December 2011

A visit from Gregory: An Education Experience.

"Christmas with Gregory" was intended to be conceived, and executed this past November, giving at least two weeks of December address-grabbing to make a decent mailing of the project. Certainly, the project was with the best of intents, with a use of landscape format, and the research and pre-production steps one needs to take with any comics project.

But, like many artists, I have a pesky dayjob that interferes with this proposition. Mainly a retail gig that lacks regular hours, where shifts are frequently switched, and you never know which mornings and evenings you are gonna work week to week. So deadlines on the self-set production schedule get pushed back... and pushed back... and pushed back even more.

So fast forward to December, the race is on to get his mini drawn, lettered, printed and SHIPPED before goddamned Christmas. And by December 19th, it's set. except...

The surface of a standard Office Photocopier is 17" wide while the full size of the original artwork (including that centerfold spread) is 18" wide. First Proofs are cropped artwork, no good, and no time to resize it since I'm at the zero hour AND have a holiday-season store shift starting in ten minutes.


Game sum total: no printed mini comic this year.

Which brings about some lessons learned.

Lesson the First: Format is vital! ALWAYS know the final format of your project: aspect ratio, codec, ppi, frame rate, interlacing, color codes,paper sizes available, and of course, the size of your scanner bed before you even set pencil to paper to brainstorm!

If it's a painting to be framed, know what frame sizes are out there, first! Neglecting to even measure the scanning bed of the Xerox machine I was gonna use ahead of time shot me through the foot at the finish line.

Lesson the Second: If you aren't in an environment conductive to your goals: get out of there! A large part of what killed "Gregory" was the simple inability to predict what times would be available to work on it, due to working for an outfit with highly irregular hours.

It's not the store's fault for interferring with the schedule, it's mine for allowing it to.

Lesson the Third: Be a royal jerk about it!

We live in a culture that neither appreciates or understands the practical aspects of making art, regardless of discipline. Try out the following statements :
"I'm sorry, but I have church/a shift at McDonald's/ a picnic to go to" vs.
"I'm sorry, I have to draw"
Which of those two is somebody gonna debate?

Nobody else gets it. Not your semi-altzemic great aunt who thinks working a register at Michaels puts you "in the biz", not the government with it's comparative disregard for cultural enrichment and miniscule change jar excuse for a grants fund, and ESPECIALLY not any well meaning person or rationale that gently reminds you you "can always do that later."

Hell No.

In such an environment, to really stick to your guns and make it through requires significant force of personality: traits such as selfishness, rudeness, obsession, stubbornness, and even the occasional tantrum... at least where the work is concerned.

Cause otherwise, you're gonna cooperate yourself right the hell out of what's really important.

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