One of the best parts of putting together the first Schlock Mercenary book was deciding which artwork to stick in the margins. Consider: each page has room for four “rows” of Schlock on it — four daily comics, or one Sunday plus one daily.
Unfortunately, Sundays MUST be kept together. And often there are footnotes. But not often enough. The result is that the best page layout for the book is 3 rows per page: Sunday, M/T/W, Th/F/S… three pages for a week. And that leaves three rows worth of blank space. We filled that space with existing footnotes, a few new ones, and piles of artwork, some brand new. There are concept sketches, marker pieces, and a few pieces that point up punchlines in weird ways. Some of the “margin” art takes up half a page or more.
So… picking the margin art was fun.
One of the worst parts of any job is cleaning your office. My office is FULL of stacks of stuff that might make good margin art. Some of it might make good auction pieces. Some of it would be perfect bird-cage liner. And it’s all in three or four unsorted stacks, a couple of boxes and one wall-mounted “in box” thingy. No, I don’t have a “sketchbook.” Every sketch I whip out is loose-leaf. What a disaster.
After tearing through those piles to find good stuff for this book, Sandra and I have decided that we need to tear through them for ALL upcoming books, in one big triage party. It’s pretty easy to tell which pieces would go with which book — especially when I’m designing aliens for a particular story (the first book has half a page of sketches showing the evolving design for the bug-eyed cave-men I called “cruxapes”). It’ll take a little mental energy, but when we’re done they’ll all be sorted by book in nice folders I can then put away in a single box.
This evening I began tidying my office, and ran up against these piles. I have a sneaky plan. I’ll go upstairs now and do the dishes. Then Sandra will be sooo excited about the clean kitchen she’ll rush downstairs and help me file margin art for the next three years’ worth of books.