Thursday, October 16, 2008

Not a good time to get sick or How I Learned to Love My Bleeding Eyes

O.k., so here's the story about his week. I've been fighting a bug since Monday and have been basically bedridden since Tuesday. I've been able to get up a few time but only for a few minutes and really not enough time to get any work done. To be honest, it really hit me a few hours after making my last post on Tuesday. I'm not saying that my writing made me sick, I'm just saying that it's a big coincidence. I ask anyone reading this blog that if you get sick after, let me know so I can take some writing classes and try to stop this epidemic I'm now calling Acute Writingdeficiency Justistosis.

Seriously though, it could not have happened at a worst time. I did get some work done on Monday and a little on Tuesday morning, but the bedridden part of being sick made it so that I couldn't work Tuesday evening or Wednesday.

Now you might think that one and a half days is not that bad of a loss. But the work I did on Monday I decide to scrap due to the fact that I didn't like what I did (I wasn't feeling well either that day and looking back at my work, I should have just put the pencil down and gone to bed), so add that day to the wasted days column. And the work I did on Tuesday was some minor sketching and the addition to the blog. I wasn't able to do anything that I wanted to get done.

Which brings me today. Usually when I work through out the day I take little breaks every few finished illustrations. Nothing huge maybe half an hour, maybe an hour, depending on how much I got done. But today to make up for being sick I've been drawing straight since 7:30 his morning to about 6:30 (whenever I started updating the blog). So that's about ten hours of drawing (I took an hour break around 12 for some lunch, which was the only food I'd had since lunchtime Tuesday). I'm not going to lie, my eyes are killing me.

But I DID get a lot done today. Baring any changes that need to be made, I only have five illustrations left. Tomorrow I'm going to Billy's dog grooming salon to get some ideas on a couple of the illustrations that are left, and will hopefully be done with the pencil art for the book. I don't know if I'm going to be able to stick to my goal of having finished by the end my vacation (I still have a nine to fiver) but at least I got enough done today to make up for the lost days earlier in the week.

That's about it. I think I'm done for the evening. I'm just going to listen to the radio and give my eyes a must deserved rest.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Meetings and Missteps

Last Thursday, I had a meeting with Jill and Billy about the illustrations that I had done. They were pretty well received, though I do have to make some changes. The changes aren't too big, I only have to make a couple of changes to the tools that I use in the illustrations, and a couple of awkward hand gestures.

So the meeting went pretty good, we basically went over all the drawing that I had done. We also talked about some of the illustrations that I have yet to do. I don't have many more to do, hopefully it won't take long so I can get to the inking stage.

Speaking of inking, the editor wants me to use Adobe Illustrator instead of Photoshop, which I can understand. You do get a crisper line with Illustrator, I just hate working with vector. It's a major pain in the ass. But since I'm getting paid, I guess I'll just jump through the necessary hoops. The main hiccup is that the inking might just take a little longer than I had anticipated, so I need to plan for that.

During the meeting I mentioned this blog, to find out what I could and couldn't say. We also discussed what I could show, if anything, which is why I took down the drawing from the first post. We decided that until we can get permission from the publisher figuring it would be safer to wait on posting anything, so we don't piss anyone off. If it turns out that I can put some stuff up, then I'll upload those pictures again, with some others.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The first batch of illustrations

Yesterday I sent out the first set of illustrations for the book to the authors. I'm going to see if I can show some here, but first I'm going to ask the authors what I can say and can't, and what I'm allowed to show. I got an email last night saying that they liked the drawings (personally I wanted hear the word love, though she used two "!" so that's something) but that some of them need a little tweaking. Nothing to much, a few changes to the scissors or brushes, so luckily nothing that is going to take a lot of effort.

Having done these drawings put me up to 20 of the 30 I need for my contractual obligation. That's the main thing I worry about, not fulfilling the contract and getting sued. I know I still have more than a month to finish 10 images and ink them all, but ever since I signed the contract and got half of my fee, I've just had a major sense of urgency. They also told me that they want more than 30 so the faster I get done with these I can start on the others and get more money (yeah I know that sounds bad).

The authors want to meet up to discuss the changes needed to the pictures, so I sent an email telling them I could do it whenever. Hopefully I'll hear from them soon.

Monday, October 6, 2008

My first Book

So here we go. Following the advice of a friend, I've decided to start a blog chronicling my first illustration job. Since I'm a few weeks into it I guess I should tell the story so far....

It started at my day job at a restaurant called Hot Doug's. I've been working there for about three and a half years now, which is the longest job that I've ever held down. Before that I'd never stayed at a place for more than eight months. The job is good; nice money and lots of vacation time. It also allows me a lot of time to draw.

Several customers knew that I doodled at work and took interest in it. They would talk to me about it, want to see my stuff, ask me if I did anything outside of Hot Doug's. So me knowing how to draw was pretty well known through out our regulars.

Enough back story, now to.....the....front...story? Well anyway...

One day, a regular started talking to me about a book that she was writing, and since I actually liked this particular customer, it was one of the few times that I paid attention. She was mentioning that she needed an illustrator for the project. Since she knew that I could draw and had seen some of my stuff, she asked if I would like to try out for the job. She said that she had to look at other artist but would love to give me a chance to work with her.

And as I said before, I had worked at Doug's for nearing four years now, and having started getting sick of the place, I of course said "aaa..Yeah!"

The project that Jill was writing a dog care book, and wanted it to have a fun, cartoony flavor. And she wanted to see what I had in mind for it so she asked for me to draw up a few sample pictures.

So I had a few weeks to draw up a couple samples, which was more than enough time to get it done. After having inked up a several drawings, I sent them off, hoping that I had done what was needed of me to get the job. The dog to the right is one of the samples.
The next day I get a phone call from Jill saying that she and Billy (the other author) loved the samples and wanted me on the project. Needless to say, I was excited about being chosen. She then told me that the editor was worried that the dog looked to goofy and asked if I could make it look, and I quote "Less goofy"

Knowing what needed to be done, I used that descriptive criticism to rework the dog. After reading the email from the editor that Jill forwarded to me, I was able to figure out what was making it so "goofy" and started reworking the eyes and snout.
After doing several different face (see above) I sent them off to Jill to see if I had fixed the goofy problem. After a few days, she gave me a call to tell me that the editor loved the top left one so I had the job.

Two weeks ago I went to Jill's house to sign the contracts and to meet Billy. After signing all the different things that I needed to sign (contracts, etc.) and getting all the chapters that had been finished, we started talking about the book, i.e. what was needed from me and any idea that I had.

So that's the story so far. Fast-forward two weeks to the present; I've read the available chapters, made notes on where I need to have illustrations, and went to Billy's studio to take reference pictures of the different procedures. Now it's time to actually do the work.

I took today and tomorrow off work so that I can get a good start on it and have spent most of the day drawing, which I have to say is not a bad way to spend a day. I've taken a break to start this blog to record for prosperity what I'm doing. I don't really know if anyone is going to read it but it might help with the project, and help get out to others what I do.

So that's the story so far. I'm undertaking a long journey into a new career and I hope you stay for the rest of the ride.