Buffering, Buffering

Today has been rough. When I awoke there were two tasks in front of me: color everything I drew yesterday, and script everything I need to draw tomorrow.

Consider, I COULD have gotten up and started coloring immediately. It has to be done to build the uploaded buffer, but it’s work I’m comfortable doing a day or two before the strips need to air (though I SHOULDN’T be comfortable this way — computer problems or FTP woes could easily knock me into “no update yet” country).

Scripting, on the other hand, gets done when I feel like scripting. It’s often the bottleneck, because a thick stack of scripts means that when my hand is up to it, I can draw until the cows come home. In January of 2004 I pencilled two weeks’ worth in one sitting. That was the time the buffer went from 4 in December to 40 in late January.

So I decided to script. There were three possible avenues I could take, and I spent three hours not writing anything while I worried over which would work best. I had breakfast, I napped a bit (sometimes napping shakes ideas loose. No, really.) and I paced around the house.

It was noon before I sat down to actually WRITE.

The good news is that it’s now 1:20pm, and I have another week’s worth of scripts. I’m going to be able to incorporate a script I pencilled 2 weeks ago, but that broke the flow of the story, and THAT means I only have EIGHT rows to pencil instead of NINE. Oh, and the Sunday script is a two-row Sunday instead of the usual three rows (when the story goes forward and the punchline arrives in two rows, which is unusual, I do a two-row Sunday. It’s NOT because I’m lazy. Really), which means only SEVEN rows need pencilling.

BUT… I haven’t colored anything yet. This evening I have an art class with my daughter, so I’m losing some productive time. *sigh*.

Maybe I can get everything colored before then.


p.s. Thanks for all the kind words in response to demiurgent‘s reply to my last Journal Entry. Though I’m not soliciting praise when I talk about the buffer, I certainly don’t mind HEARING it. This is hard work that I take lots of pride in, and I’m glad that folks not only love the story I’m telling, but appreciate the effort that goes into producing it with no interruptions.

5 thoughts on “Buffering, Buffering”

  1. We definately appreciate it.

    I’ve already posted my agreement with the above mentioned thread, but I just wanted to say we definitely do appreciate the effort. Although your artwork has increased in quality since I started reading the strip what keeps me reading is the story. I’ve been an SF reader since I was LITTLE (we’re talking around 4 yrs here) and I know good SF when I read it. I look forward to every new strip and always long for the day when you accidentally upload the entire buffer for me to read instead of just one little strip at a time. 😉

    Good work Howard, keep it up. And relax, a weeks worth of buffer is still good and art class with your daughter isn’t productivity time lost. Have a good evening.

  2. This is not exactly the same thing, but there are obvious parallels: I do a daily podcast that involves reading existing text (okay, it’s The New Testament) and that means I have to sit down and record, then I have to sit down and edit, then I have to sit down and post. There is basically no way that all gets done every day. And sometimes, like recently, I lose my voice for several days. Oops. Taking what one does seriously is the difference between punting a week, or having prepared to stay on schedule (or at LEAST having a backup plan like a guest reader, in the last example.)

    So, yeah, I know where you’re at and good on you for taking what you do seriously. It’s hard to do when you really feel like watching CSI and munching Tostitos. Hopefully it’s rewarding, too.


  3. Yet another devoted fan here to sing your praises. I know how important it is to get feedback from fans. We love what you are doing with Schlock, and when you need to take time for your family, most of us will understand, so don’t let us stop you from spending time with your daughter, or the rest of your family.

  4. No time spent working on your art is wasted, and if you can do it with your daughter, even better.

    Glad to see the buffer-fu in action.

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