While debating which of seven different character design variations to choose today, I came to a pretty big realization. It’s actually something so simple and basic that it prompts a “no duh” response.
To work faster, you need to make decisions faster.
It’s as simple as that.
Ask yourself this: what stage of work are you slowest at? I’ll just about guarantee whatever stage you’re slowest at isn’t actually the most labor intensive, but the stage you take the longest to make a decision on. Could be anything– plot, script, character design, location design, page layout, figure drawing, expressions, rendering, inking, lettering, coloring — but on one (or many) of those stages you AGONIZE over what direction to go.
Maybe it’s choosing between three possible panel layouts. Or two different color palettes for the scene. For me, it’s definitely sorting through endless character design possibilities. Should I use this body type on this character or save it for the cool guy in issue two? Who gets this sweet haircut, the girlfriend or the tv show hostess? The amount of decision making that goes into a character design, just bogs me down.
It reminds me of some advice Joe Kubert gave me when I asked him about drawing faster. At first he said the answer to drawing faster was to just force yourself to draw faster. Typical Joe Kubert answer! Thankfully he went on to elaborate a little and basically said that you force yourself to get into the habit of drawing faster. He forced himself to draw faster, setting limits on how long he’d work on something, which in turn forced him to make decisions faster. And the more he pushed himself to make decisions faster, the faster the decision making process became.
It’s much easier said than done, but I’m hoping now that I’m more conscious of it, when I start to get bogged down on a certain stage, I can realize I just need to evaluate things, make a decision and get on with it.
Want to work faster?
Sit your butt in the chair and make some decisions.