Monday, January 18, 2010

The First 24

I was lucky enough to do work for Disney Imagineering  in the 90's. While I was there I spent a week working with an artist who was one of the top concept painters at Disney.  When he wasn't painting he owned and ran a cattle ranch. Ranching was his true love. He did the paintings for Disney on the side or as he put it "for the money".

I was just getting started as an Illustrator and I was struggling making my deadlines. I still do but much less so. I had this experienced artist's ear for a week so I figured this would be my chance to ask him questions hoping to get some insight into what it takes to have such longevity in the art game.

I asked him how did he approach a deadline on a project?

He said this.

"When you first get the assignment do as much as you can in the first 24 hours. Than wait till the night before it's due and finish it."

I was shocked.

I was expecting him to tell me about time management and creating a work flow.



...other than what I had already been doing.

The truth of the matter is as artists we enjoy the rush of ideas that comes with a new project. Your mind starts boiling over with concepts and solutions. After awhile the shiny newness of the gig rubs off and the reality of doing it sinks in. The notes from the art director start flowing in and what started as a straight forward elegant solution is now a jumble of tiny jobs that need patience and execution. So you run away from the work like a Gazelle running from a she lion in the Serengeti.

As the deadline grows near the fear vs. I need money scale begins to tip and you head back to the studio determined to get it done and out.

It's all about motivation.

If it's not the creative juice.

It's the money and or the fear of blowing a deadline..

either way it's time to make some decisions and finish things up.

Dr. Phil talks about a moment of clarity. Forget a moment. An artist can generate 24 hours of clarity when the deadline is looming.

So it goes and you make choices you could have made days or weeks before in a few hours and it turned out well.

The moral of the story...

"When you first get the assignment do as much as you can in the first 24 hours. Than wait till the night before it's due and finish it."

I'm joking.

Create a work flow..timeline...milestones....

or go get a beer and live a normal life.


1 comment:

J.E. Cole said...

Mate, I just spent the last half an hour going through your blog and deviantART site. Brother, you've come a loooooong way since your days drawing Bloodstike. I'm looking forward to seeing what you do next.