The Captain's BLOG #2, "Hoist the Anchor!"

Preparing for the Voyage

In one of the last posts, "Captain's Rant #1 - Organization and Writer's Block," I discussed my planning & task management system. Now that we are past the planning stage in which we identify what pieces we need and when, I want to discuss my two types of preparation for the actual task of working on a project.

Mental Preparation.

In your brainpan me mateys is where all of your art begins. You may be inspired by the awesome waters and islands that surround you but in your mind is where you make it your own. This is where some of the most crucial planning & art begins.
When you look at that blank page, canvas or screen you need to know what you are getting yourself into. A long voyage needs ample supplies and plentiful forethought. Simply acknowledging and planning for the long haul can make the difference between a successful project and a great attempt. This little step can also help to prevent burnout because you are knowingly going into a project with the long term mentality. 
Here are a few methods I use to plan for my project, both illustration and graphic design. 
1st: I thumb everything. I constantly keep a piece of paper at hand ready to doodle ideas down as they happen. Creative people, professional or not, are still creating when not at their workspace. Just because I am not at my drafting table or at the computer with a open art file in front of me, does not mean that the creativity is off. I have just had to learn to manage its output and control the way it works. After I few days, I take the random sheets and scrapes from the different notes and place them into folders separated by project. Then, when I sit to work on it, they are all in one place and it helps to revive the energy in which I dreamt them up.

2nd. I talk alot! With this I mean that I discuss with a team or friends what items are exciting me or causing problems. As they have said on the Paper Wings Podcast, a circle of friends is one of the most priceless tools you could have. Everyone needs people they can go to when hitting a wall or have exciting news to spread. They need to be people who will honestly love on you and put you into place when needed. I also have an editor; my wife. She loves me, knows me and "fixes" me and my art when she can and it is almost always a dramatic improvement. It may be your name on the art, but it doesn't have to be created all alone in the dark hull of the ship!!

Workspace Preparation

Ok, here is one that I am sure gets us all. I am still learning to perfect this too. If you are going to master a long journey, your ship needs t be able to handle it. I simply mean, have an area that is functional and allows you to just do the job. You don't need a studio to make awesome comic art, you just need an acceptable board or table and the right environment. 

Make this a focus because if you aren't producing the quality or rate that you are wanting, something as simple as good music and foot room could be distracting your awesomeness. I am just asking you to be aware of how your surroundings can help or hinder you. I have worked in many environments over the years and the best are the ones that are so accommodating that they disappear when you are working. At that point, it is just you, your tools and the "canvas" and that is when you truly create. 

I hope these tips can help you and I look forward to what you produce when you approach and perform with the best preparation behind you!

In my next post I will be conducting the first entry in my tutorial series. It will be titled "Off with his head!" and I will be explaining my approaches to the ever famous head sketch!

As always, best wishes be to ya!

Captain Dutz

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