So, if you follow me on Twitter, or look at my tweets via this site, you may have seen my travel notice. In June I had two family trips, one to Houston to see my mom’s side of the family for my maternal grandfather’s funeral, and one trip to Tennessee for a family reunion (dad’s side of the family). These two trips did knock me off my schedule and routine, hence the extra lateness.

By the way, about my grandfather… He was an incredibly talented artist. If you enjoy wildlife art, nature photography, portraiture, and stories about Texas history, you should take a look at his Facebook page, Art and Tales by Acree. Click on photos to browse by album or image. I especially like his pen and ink drawings of big cats, and his watercolor river scenes.

Papa Acree followed my comic pages on Facebook, and always had encouraging things to say about my art. Knowing how long it’d take me to finish this story, I had a sinking feeling he wouldn’t get to see the whole thing complete… But, it still feels kind of unreal that he’s gone. I had a dream about him last night actually, that he and my grandma were visiting, and everything was fine, as if the cancer had never happened. I’m no longer in shock about his passing, but I’m still missing him.

Another thing I wanted to talk about, while I was at it. For some time now, I’ve been wondering how long it actually takes me to finish a page of What Nonsense. So I timed myself for each section of the comic-making process.

*Deep breath* Here goes…

 

Planning the page layout: 36 minutes

Sketching: 1746 minutes, or 29 hours and 6 minutes

Looking for photo references online: 56 minutes

Lettering: 160 minutes, or 2 hours and 40 minutes

Inking: 502 minutes, or 8 hours and 22 minutes

Cleaning up the scanned page in Photoshop: 25 minutes

Filling in flat colors: 162 minutes or 2 hours and 42 minutes

Adding gradients: 168 minutes, or 2 hours and 48 minutes

 

FOR A TOTAL OF: 2855 minutes or 47 hours and 35 minutes

 

Even worse than I thought! D; Now, I know there are little things I can do to speed up the lettering, inking, and coloring sections. I can learn more Photoshop shortcuts, resist the urge to “smooth over” inked lines, maybe try digital lettering.

But what I’m MOST concerned about is how freaking slow I am when I actually sketch. It’s not the details and shading that trip me up. I throw details on very quickly at the last second. It’s the basics I struggle with: making faces look okay, good poses, balanced proportions, perspective that makes sense. I’m not trying to make things perfect, just “acceptable,” but it still takes forever for some panels to come together.

So, if there are any other artists following me that have some advice on improving your drawing speed, I’m all ears. I honestly don’t want to get too stressed about this (Because I get headaches and migraines easily), and I don’t want to rush the art. I’d just like to try some exercises that might help me improve gradually. I do follow one very good Touhou fanartist who mentioned that her art speed began to improve after doing “1 hour drawing challenges” over the course of a year. So I’m thinking that might be one place to start.