📝 How to make good work on a short deadline.
Making crunch time a little less crunchy!
The illoguild is a critique group consisting of writers and illustrators who are breaking into the publishing industry. We meet twice a month to encourage and equip each other. These sessions often yield so much value. We’ve recently started a substack as a place for us to share the overflowing of what we do.
This week, we answer the question; “ How can we make good work on a short deadline”. You can read my answer here, and follow the group to read everyone’s answer.
📝 How to make good work on a short deadline?
Know your strengths and lean into those. - You should be able to articulate 3 three to five qualities that make your work unique. You want to make sure the work you are ‘rushing’ has all those qualities in abundance. Some of my ‘qualities’ are: Humour, Texture, Energy, Composition & Expression. Pushing these qualities will mean that the client is getting what they hired me for.
Rely on your collections. - I’ve been thinking a lot about the intellectual capital we amass as creatives. The things we collect. Sketchbooks hold a ton of ‘pre-work’, that I can later call upon in a crunch, a pose, an expression, a character - these are some things I can easily borrow from my collection (sketchbook).
Other forms of pre-work that comes in handy in crunch time are color pallets, brush collections and step by step processes. Having these worked out in advance mean less work in the project. I also have all manner of collections in Pinterest which serves as a useful source of inspiration which I rely on in a crunch.
Be Decisive - Recently, I completed a book on a very tight deadline, and apart from pulling all the stops above, I saved a lot of time by being decisive at every available opportunity. This meant committing to the creative decisions and following through on those decisions to their best possible outcome. So much of the creative process is spent second guessing and playing. I recommend that play become part of the broader creative process. But during crunch time, put the play aside and focus on the craft.
The only way to really be prepared to do well during crunch time, is by doing Pre-work. Sometimes when I’m doing this kind of ‘pre-work’, I get asked is that real work (as in is there a client for that) or personal work (as in just fooling around), my response is it’s invariably, it’s all real work!
Just like money you put in the bank is real money. Time spent collecting and gathering material, refining your process, and discovering yourself through creative play, is all money in the bank. You can take out what you put in with interest. So spend some time every day investing in your craft.
Ps: This newsletter is one way I invest in my craft (by refining my thinking and self awareness), but it’s also an investment into your craft as I try and package these ideas into actionable next steps for you every day! If you find this valuable please consider sharing it with a friend, and if you haven’t already, become a paid subscriber. It will be an investment for you and ROI for me. ;)
Such a good topic, thanks for these tips!