Tag Archives: book progress

Hone your craft

Something I knew but didn’t know:

Progress is like a diet. I’m in the design world, so I am able to see progress with my eyes. (Note: design isn’t just aesthetics)

If you are generally a healthy person and you’re trying to lose weight, you know you have to hit the gym hard. You opt for the smoothie over ice cream. Fruit becomes a treat. You rarely splurge, so when you do, you know it’s going to be the best damn cupcake in the state. Time + good habits + baby steps will make a difference, but the harder you go, the faster you will hit your goal.

Why are our vocations or hobbies any different? Perhaps some of us are healthy and in no hurry to improve. Maintaining the same pace will inevitably lead to expertise years down the road. But when I see people like Jon Contino or Jessica Hische going balls to the wall to perfect their craft, I realize that why everybody fawns over their work. They weren’t born with a magic gene; I think they just work like mad dogs. They have young faces and old sensibilities.

The book constantly has me evaluating my rhythm and flow. I never ever thought it would be this much work, but it’s 100% worth it. I look back on the earliest drawings and I see a completely different illustrator: charming, but not stretched. It’s amazing to know that when the book is finished, I also get to keep the best version of my craft. I have so much to learn, but what a beautiful thing practice is. Moving in fast forward was the boot camp I didn’t know I needed.

*Photos of Swan Lake by White Worm

t: @beckycmurphy  |   i: @beckz_

If you’re wearing white, you should be ashamed

Happy post Labor Day day. This means you get to omit Monday or Tuesday from the week, because you only get four days. Remember while you’re deciding, you still can’t wear white.

Why was this a great weekend?

1. Both Iowa State and Baylor won.
2. Exceptional tailgating despite the 100 weather.
3. Really mostly like the drawings I did for the book this week. I post stuff on Instagram sometimes. (@beckz_ or @IdRatherBeShort)
4. Homestead had a 75% off lots o’ ceramics sale yesterday. Bought some fancy plates and bowls.
*official announcement & justification for future meal photos on Instagram. In my defense, the plates are actual supermodels.
5. Really really inspired by Woody Allen and a little inspired by 90’s gangster rap this weekend. Also entertained by the very funny British sketch comedy, That Mitchell and Webb Look. Watched the whole season in no time. Check them out on Netflix. I’ll probably start referencing Numberwang, Sir Digby Chicken Caesar, and the BMX Bandit, so jump on the elitist foreign comedy train while it’s still hot [no rush; it will always be hot].
6. Speaking of foreign trains, I get to see my London pal Kinsey tonight. Thank God I live near Dallas. Haven’t hugged that firecracker in two years.

This week is fresh but it keeps getting better and better. I hope yours is already filled with joy.

*Nice work from Erik Marinovich for Friends of Type


Book: Progress Report

Howdy pals. I hope you’re getting reading to have a great Tuesday.

Some of you have been asking about how the book progress works. Do I give it to my editor in one lump at the end? No. Neither is my editor a man behind a glass desk smoking a cigar [setting: New York] putting me on speaker phone saying, “Don’t mess this up for me, darling. You know my career is riding on this book.” My editor is named Kate and my Agent is Laurie. They are both cool, funny and encouraging.

Here’s the process breakdown:

I found out I was getting published by Plume mid-July. Since then, I’ve waited for my editor to refine my original list of 100, then I edited it, then she did, then I did. Then I was able to start drawing. I submit 10 new illustrations to her and my agent each Monday. I submit changes a few rounds later in addition to the new batch. The whole thing is due November 1st.

When I did 15 drawings in April for the blog, that was surprisingly difficult. Now I’m adding 25 more each month. Yikes! I am making leaps and bounds each week by refining my methods, but I still have a long way to go. I always assume the drawings take significantly less time than they do — I get so absorbed that time flies. I have since found each takes about two hours. One drawing and one on the computer. I HAVE NO IDEA HOW. None of it seems strenuous or time consuming. I am hoping to cut that down to half the time by the time this project is over.

I’m more excited to write about my new habits and methods, but that is for another day. Trimming the fat is one of the greatest challenges to arise from this project.

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