ACW 135 – Why Today’s Web Comic Is Late

Click on the thumbnail above to see the full-sized comic.

A funny thing happened to me last Thursday. I had been contacted by the girls’ school about helping out with a t-shirt for a fund-raiser the school is hosting in two weeks. They needed someone to convert 16 JPG graphics into EPS format, which I said would be simple enough to do. But when I got to the school to talk to one of the staff, things sort of snowballed on me.

Not only did they need the JPGs converted, they also wanted to know if I could lay out the back of the shirt. Apparently, the printing company had decided to tack on extra fees this year to do the EPS conversion at the price of $35 an hour. I understand why they would charge that, being a freelance illustrator myself, but this is a shirt for a fund-raiser. The point is to raise more money than you spend on running the event. So I said yes, I could design the back of the shirt as well. After all, how hard could it be to convert 16 black and white JPGs to EPS and then lay them out in a 4×4 grid with a bit of text above saying “Thank you to our sponsors!”

Only the graphics weren’t black and white. And a lot of them were very tiny and badly pixelated. And some of them were in file formats that I had never seen in all my years of doing computer graphics.

And did I mention the school also asked me to do the artwork for the front of the shirt as well?

In the course of 24 hours, I went from converting 16 sponsor logos to converting 27 sponsor logos and designing both the front and back of the t-shirt.

It was supposed to be a 3-day weekend for us. The girls had off from school on Friday, so I was going to spend the day with them running errands, swimming at the Y, picking out pumpkins to carve from the local pumpkin patch, and helping them finish up their costumes. I had also planned to do a bit of client work and draw today’s cartoon, plus polish off a personal project that I had been waiting weeks to get to. And there were also several loads of laundry to do, a kitchen to clean, a pumpkin carving party to go to, a couple 15 mile bike rides to take, and so on and so on…

The girls and I did run errands, get pumpkins and go swimming, although by that point I had already pulled my first all-nighter so we were a little slow getting out the door and I had to cut the day short to get more work done. And we did make it to the pumpkin carving party, where Mich began assembling the braid for Pixie’s “Rock Star Goth Rapunzel Vampire” costume. And I made it out for one bike ride around the neighborhood. But that was it. The rest of that 3-day weekend was devoted to creating that t-shirt. I pulled 3 all-nighters in a row. I bitched and moaned a complained on Twitter and Facebook while doing it. I played very nice with the ladies organizing the charity event and did not kill anyone. And I worked 27 hours in 3 days and basically pulled a few miracles out of my ass.

I have been asked if I would design another shirt for next year. I have said yes, upon the condition that we start this process in the spring of this school year, after I get through Girl Scout cookie sales. That way I won’t be forced to deal with another rush job that leaves me sleep-deprived and dangerously snappish. I have been thanked heartily for my work, which is always nice, and I have ensured that I will not need to do any further volunteering for the school for several months.

Yesterday, after the worst of this weekend was over, I told the Hubster how psyched I had been at getting this shirt done. In spite of all the hassle, the lack of sleep, and the stress over doing a rush job, I did actually enjoy myself. This was in my area of expertise, after all, and I was in the zone the entire weekend, crushing each and every challenge that came my way. I worked miracles, folks, and I enjoy doing that. But I was also really depressed that all this work had been done for someone else. Sure, it was for a good cause, but it upset me that I never got to do that sort of thing for myself. If I were to spend that kind of time on my own projects, there’d be no stopping me! I’d rule the universe! But I could never possibly put in such long hours making my own miracles and masterpieces for myself.

“Well, why not?” the Hubster said.

“Because you’d never see me,” I replied. “If I worked like that on my own stuff, the laundry would never get done, the house would be a disaster, the kids would have no idea who their mother was and you’d probably forget what I looked like too. I just can’t do that every weekend.”

“Well, no, not every weekend,” Hubster said. “But what if you did it one weekend a month…”

And at that moment I knew I had married the best man in the world.

Essentially, Hubster has agreed to give me a free pass once every month to disappear into my office and bust my ass on my own artwork. He will take care of the kids and the house while I do it. It is an incredible gift on his part, and I love him dearly for it. I don’t know when the next weekend will be yet, but when it happens I will let you know. And when it happens, I’m going to call it “Helen’s Art Binge” and I’m going to gorge myself silly with time spent on my projects just for me. I will tweet and post to Facebook all through that weekend to let folks know of my progress, just like I bitched and moaned all through this weekend over that t-shirt, and when the final product is done, I will share it for all to see.

So stay tuned. There will be interesting things happening in the near future. All thanks to my very understanding Hubster.

About Cynical Woman

Cartoonist, Artist, Geek, Evil Crafter, Girl Scout Troop Leader and Writer. Also, a zombie. I haven't slept in I don't know how long.
Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.