If I Should Fall Behind

Not too long ago I had reached a milestone with drawing the final Uptown Girl book.  I had started penciling and inking it in August 2015 and set myself on a pace to finish 15 pages a month.  15 pages may not seem like a lot but I had to take into account my full time job, The Retros and being a dad so I needed to set a goal that wasn’t unrealistic.  I wasn’t sure I could commit to more than 15 because if I should fall behind and not hit that number each month, I’d either get discouraged or try to rush through a page and produce work that I wasn’t happy with which would also be discouraging.
At any rate, I was happy to hit the 150th page not long ago because 150 paqes is pretty significant and I was at about 2/3 of the way through the book.  But it also meant I was keeping the pace I set for myself.

Well, all that went out the window last month.  Between my job and family life and trying to stay up to date on The Retros, I fell behind.  Not that The Retros takes a higher priority, but The Retros is a series that updates 5 times a week and I need to stay on that schedule.  I am luckily pretty far ahead on it that I am not in danger of missing a deadline but I need to keep it up.  For example:

Page 165 was posted on Friday, July 2nd.

Pages 166-170 are lettered and are ready to be posted for the week.

I have finished coloring up to page 180 and I pace myself to color five pages a week.

I have scanned/Photoshopped up to page 195 and I will letter/color as the weeks progress.

I have penciled and inked up to page 214 and 215/216 should be inked today.

So, I am doing fine and not too concerned about falling behind on The Retros but the past month was nuts and I am not as far ahead as I normally am.  I think the first story arc will wrap up on page 240.  I am trying to make that happen because that would finish a year after the strip launched and I am trying to pace it so each collected book will be a year’s worth of action but…it might go longer than 240 pages.  It easily could.

But back to Uptown Girl.  I finished scanning/Photoshopping/lettering page 159 this morning.  I wanted to be at 165 pages by the end of June and that didn’t happen.  I should be able to get sort of caught up this month as July is looking less crazy than June was.  I knew June was going to be busy but I didn’t think I would get this far behind.  I am not beating myself up too badly though (because it does me no good).  I think it’s because the last few pages have been turning out really well.  So far the book is all about drama and mystery and setting things up.  Now the action has really started and all the energy and tension is just exploding into the action scene I’m drawing.  It’s a lot of fun.  The scene involves a character that is appearing in the series for the final time so I am just letting myself go nuts on the action.  No holds-barred fun.  I was going to post a panel but I think it might give something away so here’s Uptown Girl’s reaction to what’s going down.

OH CRAPI still think I can wrap this book up by the end of the year especially since I thought I needed to redraw the prologue but after looking at it again a few weeks ago I decided that the prologue looks good and I’m happy with it.  How did it go from something I needed to redo to something I am happy with?  Well, I drew the prologue about a year ago and decided to redraw it using a smaller size paper.  I didn’t like the first attempt but I liked the smaller version and thought I would draw the whole book on a smaller scale.  I decided against it and intended to go back and redraw the prologue for the third time.  But after looking at the second/smaller pages I decided to keep them and I am wrapping up the lettering this weekend.  I was very happy that I was able to salvage this scene as it saved me at least a month’s worth of work.  This kind of evened out the discouragement of falling a little behind in June in terms of page productivity.

So yeah.  I realized I probably could have finished another page in the time it took to write about it, but…well, there you have it.


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