Script, Pencil, Ink, Color, Repeat

There are four basic steps to each Schlock Mercenary strip: Script, Pencil, Ink, and Color.

Oh, and “Repeat,” which is the process of getting down off the “I did it again!” pedestal and getting back to work.

Of these, I think inking is physically the hardest. Scripting and pencilling, though… those take THINKING. Yesterday at the Keep I tackled inking, and realized that I was physically exhausted going INTO the process… so I took a page from Chalain.

Chalain once told me that in the mornings there’s a smart guy who sits at his desk, looks at the pile of work, and attacks it. In the afternoons there’s a dumb guy who can’t do much beyond chopping wood and carrying water. So he arrived at a strategy in which Smart Guy does very little coding in the morning — he solves problems and leaves instructions on how to execute on those solutions in simple, easily reducible steps. Chop wood, carry water. The result is that by noon he has nothing to show for his work except pages of notes. By 5:00pm (or 10:00 pm, depending on how long Dumb Guy is required to stay at the office) he has piles upon piles of working code, most of which Dumb Guy can hardly believe he wrote.

For me the scripting and the pencilling is the smart guy work. Sometimes he’s home, sometimes he’s not. Ofttimes he gets distracted by blogging or Live Journaling (he will have to answer to Dumb Guy for spending cycles on THIS post, I’m sure). On Monday he handed Dumb Guy a big pile of scripts — some were blank, some had been pencilled. Dumb Guy looked at them and decided that trying HIS hand at pencilling would be disastrous, so he opted to ink instead.

Chop wood, carry water. It’s not thought-provoking, and it’s not EASY. Make no mistake — it’s WORK. But it’s work I can do when I’m having an off-day. Yesterday was an off-day, and I got a full week of comics inked. It’s nice when I can get piles of work done on an off-day. I feel like the king of the world.

My goal this week is to finish the Book I footnotes and Marginalia, and by Saturday have one more week pencilled and inked, two weeks colored and uploaded, and a fresh week or two of scripts. Inking and Coloring is chop-wood-carry-water. I figure with two on-days and two off-days I can make it… provided Smart Guy remembers to leave Dumb Guy some notes.

10 thoughts on “Script, Pencil, Ink, Color, Repeat”

        1. The best chop-wood-carry-water beverages, for me anyway, are:

          1) diet Dr. Pepper (in small quantities)
          2) diet Mango something-or-other Slurpee
          3) Water
          4) Diet “Twist-Up” with some added flavor, like cherry or orange

          Sugared beverages turn my brain all the way off, and dumb guy turns into sleepy guy.


  1. Yeah, that’s about what it’s like.

    Only, lately, smart guy has been getting really tired at work, so dumb guy has to do the comic all by himself. 🙁

  2. I didn’t realize it.. but that’s exactly what I do. All the things that require brain work, I do in the morning… as early as possible. The rest of the day I devote to laundry and folding and filing and calling clients. (By that time, they understand me better too…)

    I started doing that when I noticed that no matter how sharp I still felt by noon, it took me significantly longer to do things like logic problems. And things that have me stymied in the afternoon, I can look at, fix and say ‘why, that was easy‘ at 5:30 am with my second cup of coffee.

  3. Yep, that’s what I do too… all the thinky stuff in the morning, all the stuff I can basically do in my sleep in the afternoon. Never thought about it. Maybe I’ll start leaving Dumb Girl some notes.

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