Monday, October 09, 2017

A Day in the Life of a Comic Artist

Somewhere along the way, I quit talking about my life here on this blog.

I guess that started in 2015 when my depression reared its ugly head and I had difficulty talking about my life in a positive light.  Or maybe a little earlier, when I graduated in 2013 and stopped having as many adventures.  I probably figured no one wants to regularly read about a comic artist who spends most of her day sitting on the floor in a two bedroom apartment, painting, and sketching.  I couldn't think of a way to make that funny at the time.

So here's a little state of the studio update, a little day in the life.  I'll try to remember to share my life more, even if it's just bits and pieces.

My day begins usually around 12:00PM.  I'm really not a morning person, although I can be awake and functional at any time if there's a good reason.  My day to day life just doesn't present one- I prefer to work in the afternoons and at night, and waking up later suits that.  The first thing I do is hobble over from my bedroom into my studio- a small converted bedroom with loads of natural light lamps (no built in overhead lighting or fan), my computer, an anti-fatigue mat (for comfortable floor squatting), and a naggy gray cat.




The first order of business is coffee- a shot of espresso, whole milk, and some syrup, then on to warmup sketches, almost always referenced from Pinterest.  I did micro fashion warmups for the longest time, but I'm currently working on portraits of people from around the world.  After my warmup, I'll begin the day's work- for September, I'm doing a series of mori inspired witches as part of the #Sketchtember movement, and I find it's best to knock those out early in the day-otherwise there's a lingering feeling of something left undone.  These are done in color pencil, and quick- these are sketches after all, but some of them may end up getting refined into something nicer later on.

My main activity varies from day to day- some days I'm batch painting pages of 7" Kara, some days I'm working on putting together portfolios, some days I'm recording tutorials and tests.  The SCBWI conference is coming up at the end of September, so I've been working on my illustrator's contest piece.  For me, it's a two-page comic spread, and so far I've designed, brainstormed, thumbnailed, and roughed.  Today, I'll be cleaning up that rough digitally, redrawing a lot of things, and then printing it on watercolor paper.

My days are pretty solitary, so I leave Discord, a chat app, open all day.  The Ink Drop Cafe General chat usually has something going on, although I also chat individually with a few friends.  Having Discord open helps me feel less lonely, although if the weather is nice, I'll usually take a break around 4 or 5 and walk over to the coffeeshop on Vanderbilt campus.  This is an hour walk, and I usually call my mom on the walk over.

In the evening, I hang out with Joseph-watch TV and Youtube, cook dinner, sometimes go out and run errands. I also work on Youtube videos and blog posts in the evening, if my main activity for the day has been completed.  This involves research, acquisition, swatching, experimentation, creating art for the field test, executing the field test, transferring photos or video, and taking notes.

When my work is done for the day, I share it to Twitter and Instagram.  This is usually any time from 11PM-1AM, which is absolutely not recommended as a time to share work you've slaved over for long periods of time because this is the time when no one will see it.  After that's been shared, I usually take a bath and read manga or comics in the tub to wind down, and sometimes play videogames in bed.

Lately, I've had a really hard time falling asleep-I usually take melatonin, but that hasn't been working.  So these late nights make my schedule even wonkier.

Daily activities can also include- applying to conventions, answering How to be a Con Artist Asks, applying to anthologies and zines, applying to agents, applying for jobs in Nashville, writing descriptions for Youtube videos and scheduling videos, or creating graphics.

Generally, my week looks something like this: 
Monday- Blog updates
Tuesday- Schedule Kara pages, Youtube updates
Wednesday
Thursday- Blog Updates
Friday- Kara updates, Youtube Updates
Saturday- Youtube updates, Webcomic Chat and Comic Book Hour chats on Twitter
Sunday- Comic Artists Unite chats on Twitter, Patreon update, promote that week's posts and videos on Pinterest, Tumblr, Facebook.

Weekends can also look like:
Week before convention: Prep for con, paint new watercolors, take inventory
Tuesday: Write convention announcement
Wednesday: Pack for show
Thursday: Drive or fly out to con
Friday: Con from 10am-9pm (approx, varies on con)
Saturday: Con from 9AM-9PM
Sunday: Con from 9AM-4PM
Monday: Drive or fly back to Nashville