The Comic Artist Project Diary is based on diaries I made for myself during some of my busiest periods. They were a great way to organise the work I had in front of me as well as keep an eye on the work that I’d done over the year.
Unlike other diaries you’ll find none of the diary pages have dates in them, instead, at the start of every week you’ll want to sit down, date the week ahead and set out the work you intend to do.
And while there are slots for marking off four pages per day (two if you use the cross mark to indicate a page is both pencilled and inked) even a full time comic artist is more likely to get one or one and a bit done – those extra boxes are there in case you decide to use the diary in delightful and unexpected ways.
Before you get to the diary pages, you’ll open up on the project matrix (yes, a stupid name). Here you’ll see what looks like a a mad-soduku conundrum or a do-it-yourself crossword puzzle.
It’s actually neither of those. The table to the left is a list of your projects-a colour code, a deadline, and a name. I found highlighter pens work best for this, but anything that makes a colour will do.
Let’s start two projects. Project “SCI-FI X” we’ll colour code red and make its deadline 5 March, and project “Cowboy” we’ll colour code blue and make its deadline the 2 Feb.
The soduku box to the right is to allow you to mark out each of these project page counts, you do it now so you know exactly how much work you have to do.
“Sci-Fi X” is a 23 page project. So write 1-23 in the first 23 boxes. Project “Cowboy” is just six pages. So mark 1-6 in the next six boxes. Project page counts are written in this box in the order they’re listed in the Project Matrix. If it makes it easier you can colour code those page count boxes.
As I pencil and ink pages, as each page is pencilled I mark through the page with a / slash, and when I ink I mark it with a \ slash – so a completed page has a very satisfying X in the box.
The Calendar is not a Calendar, it’s actually log of how many pages you complete in a given month. It’s possible you can do more than 25 in any single calendar month (and good luck to you!) but I found 25 a reasonable target (rarely hit). Every time you complete a page in the month, you simple cross out the box. For clarity it’s also a good idea to colour code each page as it’s completed, so you can have a very solid idea of which project took up most of your month.
The events ahead section is for you to list… well, events ahead – put upcoming conventions, deadlines, important dates here. Then, as you get to the week you transfer them to the diary and mark them as complete here. Essentially this is for things to come that are not covered by the project matrix.
The Weeks Ahead
Each double page weekly diary entry is blank. At the start of the week you sit down, date the double page spread and write out what projects you intend to get down. Also, if you fancy getting creative, you could stick a Kirby quote in the gap too. There’s checkboxes here for up to four pages per day – or rather four completed tasks per day. I’m happy if I get two done.
Pencil your pages in the page counter box – only ink those pages in after you’ve completed them. This way you can rearrange your week as things happen – and things ALWAYS happen. And again, I use a / slash to indicate the page is penciled and \ to indicate its inked (and an X to indicate it’s finished).
Every day has a group of circles at the top and these are for using with the pomodoro technique. The pomodoro technique is a fairly simple task technique, using a timer you do 25 minutes focused on a single task (eg inking), followed by a 5 minute break. And repeat four times, after the fourth focus time take a 25 minute break. I find I can do about 3 sets before exhaustion hits, but by then I’ve usually gotten a fair amount done. I mark off one circle for each pomodoro timer, and if I concentrate on doing that then the pages almost draw themselves. (they don’t though, this is hard work!)
The timer sets look like this on the page:
And I break those up by doing the first set from 9-12, then 1-3 then I get a little more relaxed… say from 6-8 then 9-12 – but I just try and get as many done as possible. But the important thing is find the gaps in your time when you can do at least one 25 minute focus work, and mark them off as you do them.
There’s plenty of apps to help with this, I like to use focus keeper for the iPhone.
Each day also has four squares for marking which page you’ve completed, I pencil what I want to get done at the start of the week, then ink it in and cross it out once it’s completed – I might also colour the square to represent the project.
And finally, the point of this diary is to learn as you go, figure out how you work best and if this can help. The diary pages are undated because you don’t need to start from the 1st of Jan, you can start right now and while tthere’s actually more than a full year of weeks in the book, you can use it any way you like.
Oh, the QR code at the bottom of this page will take you to my website (ww.channelhex.com/layout-books/creator-project-diary/) with this same text , maybe even it’ll have colours! (as well as typo fixes and other things).
[UPDATE 20 Aug 2021]
Well, I knew I’d find some typos! Diary/dairy is a monster, isn’t it? fixed here. Well update the amazon kdp file, but feel free to not worry about this 🙂