Making Comics

Making Comics: Finding your ideal drawing pace

The following is a post I’ve moved over from my Everything is Comics tumblr, which is still online but not actively maintained. Please note the date on the post. Because it is from a few years ago, not all links are up-to-date and not all commentary and details are 100% current. The post is provided as is, for background and general interest. For the latest information, please go to my About, Books and Making Comics sections.

misterloki asked: Typically, how many pages are you able to draw in a good week? I know every artist is different, though! I am trying to gauge an appropriate number I should shoot for, while still giving myself appropriate breaks for sanity’s sake. Thank you for taking your time to look at my question!

Well, I draw comics full time, so my answer will probably not be feasible for most people who maybe have regular jobs/school. I work about 12 hours a day (with a break for supper), six days a week (I take Saturday off) and my quota is 2 pages a day for pencils, 3 pages a day for inks. It varies with each project, though. That’s my quota for The Nameless City, and it’s a hard one to keep up. I usually need most of my 12 hours.

So if I’m on a penciling week, I’m drawing at least 11 pages a week (sometimes I slack a bit on Sundays, unfortunately). If I’m on an inking week, I’m inking about 16-18 pages.

This schedule is kind of hard, though. I’m really behind on my book right now, so I’m pushing myself to catch up. If you can make your deadlines while taking evenings and weekends off, I think that would be ideal.

When I was in school and doing online comics, I’d do maybe 4+ pages a week, which is still a really high number. The pages I drew back then were much smaller than the size I draw at now, and had less backgrounds. I could churn them out a lot faster. Over the five years I was in school full time and drawing online comics, I drew over 750 pages, which is nuts! I didn’t go out much. Also I was single. 😉

I think if you’re doing an online comic and maybe working a job or going to school, doing 10 pages a month is fantastic. That’s a really good pace, because then you’re drawing 120 pages over the course of a year! That’s an entire graphic novel. Even 5 pages a month will give you 60 pages in a year. It really adds up.

I’d suggest working at the speed you feel comfortable with, but always looking for ways to streamline or improve your process. As you become more accustomed to making comics, you’ll get faster and hopefully your work will become more accomplished. However, I am sad to report that despite drawing over 3,000 pages of comics, I still don’t find them easy to make. 😉 I’m always struggling to do better.