Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Journey of a Thousand Miles
I use a spreadsheet to keep track of my work on WHTTWOT (which my friend Otis Frampton pointed out is a pretty cool acronym). The image above captures about half of it. I find this absolutely essential, particularly since I don't necessarily write or draw the pages in order.
Each row represents a page, with columns indicating where it is in the process: scripted, penciled, inked, colored, etc. When I finish a step, I put an "X" in that cell. I also print out hard copies of the pages and snap them into a binder, each scrawled with notes and sketches reminding me what to revise, repair, or do next. In addition, I've got three other binders with several hundred pages of research and reference that are always open and scattered across my office floor. It's quite a logistical undertaking.
What provoked the "yikes" was the realization that, with 208 pages and several columns, just keeping track of it all will probably involve a couple thousand data points representing an equal number of individual steps by the time I'm done.
I have a lot of respect for anyone who tackles a project like this. Even if the result is the worst book ever written and drawn (and the verdict won't be in on mine until next spring), its creator still sat down in front of a blank sheet of paper one day and laid down the first line on the first page, fully knowing he or she had a long way to go. It's quite a commitment, even an act of faith. I feel a real affinity for that person, which makes it hard for me to criticize even the most heinous, useless, talentless work. So I don't.