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How long does it take to finish a book?

If I give myself enough time to finish a project, let's consider what that could be:

  1. Week 1: Script and story plotting. I mean, this is probably just three days, but let's consider mental story blockage and the need for me to stop if the ideas aren't flowing. Let's say that's a full week. Also, let's put the actual storyboarding and page layouts here since I often work on both at the same time (may also contribute to it taking a week).

  2. Week 2: Backgrounds. With Book of Fates, I realize I'm likely to re-use backgrounds for different scenes, so let's just get ahead of that and build those completely. This should go from starting sketches to finished colors. I'm not concerned so much with lighting and shadows at this stage because the rest of the scene isn't complete. But yes, this.

  3. Week 3: Oh look the fun stuff! Drawing the characters atop the backgrounds. This includes peopleing scenes that need them with additional characters or folks, THEN adding the foreground characters and other elements. I can do this in sections because these are just sketches. Quantity over quality here, really, but the sketches should be as detailed as possible so I'm not wondering what this random line stroke in the corner is instead of guess if that's an elbow that SHOULD be there.

  4. Week 4: Inks! Or as I call it digitally, refining. Here's where I go in to lay down clean line art over my sketches. Quality over quantity, but I still need to move fast and figure out how I can do more than one page per hour. This *may* go into a second week if I'm not careful, or if the project is too big.

  5. Week 5: Colors! Foreground flats, really. Like pencils, quantity over quality. I just want to pick the right colors for each page and scene and make sure they're laid down and move on to the next page. At this stage, I can also plan out lights and shadows, but I don't want to get stuck here with those details. Just get it done and move on.

  6. Week 6: Lights, shadows, and effects here. Everything I planned during the flats stage should be realized here. Go in on details that make sense but again, don't get stuck on any one thing. Still have to keep this process moving.

  7. Week 7: Dialogue and speech bubbles this week! I'm experimenting with drawing them in Photoshop instead of going into Illustrator, but in either case, one week should be enough to get through this.

  8. Week 8: Publishing is getting its own week just so I can spend the time doing this right and getting everything laid out correctly. Honestly, if I've followed all the previous steps right, this should be a snap and shouldn't be more than a full dedicated day. From here, off to the printer! But also, I want to get some page snips for social media and the IOF shop.

Okay, so having this laid out, I'm at peace with my process now, especially since everything is here. This is less a "schedule" and more a routines list to keep me on track with whatever I'm working on. For instance, not listed in here are days off. I'm hoping I can put off vacation days until after a project is complete (so maybe a string of a few days at the end of a project before starting the next).

Now as I master this routine, I'll get better and faster. For an ongoing book (I have one coming up, y'all!) smaller page sizes but also a tighter routine will have to be the order of the day so I can stay properly ahead of the curve. In any case, staying on top of my work should be easier and less stressful with this plan in place.

So where am I now with Book Of Fates? I'm jumbled right now because I just came up with this, but I'm working on those foreground sketches without having done the backgrounds. But that's okay, I'll get to those soon enough. That means I still have six weeks of work ahead of me. So be it, I can't be in a rush on this anymore. For now, I'm living it up in sketches land and I feel like I'm producing the best work of my career. These pages make me just so happy to look at, and so happy to work on. I still do wish I could see these pages splayed out on my floor, or hung up on my wall like in years before but honestly? Digital drawing has really changed my entire workflow and it's invigorating. I'mma live here for at least the rest of the year and going into the next book for this year.

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