“Today, in our field, there is so much talent and recognition that we are reaching a saturation point. An artist should no longer strive only for breathtaking craftsmanship; he should, instead, try to help us live better, either by dressing the wounds that are constantly being opened by society, or by offering solutions to get us out of the mess we’re in…But it’s going to be difficult and we have a lot of work to do.” - Jean 'Moebius' Giraud

Sunday, November 18, 2007

KANEDA_90 minutes

Couple e-mails have come in asking, "Why only give yourself 90 minutes? What's the significance to that time limit ? Are you really doing these in 90 minutes?"

It's story time, kids!

Once upon a time...well, maybe about a year ago, when I was working in the kingdom of television animation and feeling quite uninspired by the show I was working on (I won't go into which show I'm speaking of), I'd get into work about 10:30am and being that it was such a soul-sucking experience to be there every morning, I tried to do everything in my power to pass the time without passing out at my desk. So I figured I'd draw some images that made for good exercise and burn an hour and half until lunch time rolled around. One of the things that would (typically) motivate the morning's subject matter was the movie I plugged into my portable DVD player - which coincidentally was also around ninety minutes long. Natch.

Yeah, I know what you're saying. "That just sounds like you were wasting your time while you're at work!" Or maybe, "So you didn't feel like working and you just found something else to draw?!"

Yes. Sort of. Well...yes.

And let me tell you, if you were in my shoes back then, it was either that or a sharp pencil to the eye. So instead I put that pencil to paper and it allowed me to get faster and disciplined (heh!) enough to get an image done in an hour or so. Things are different now, of course. I actually love my job and I absolutely love what I'm contributing to - but I still manage to (or try to) find an hour and a half every day in order to stay sharp. I didn't know it back then but doing those drawings with that time limit in mind allowed me to focus on the things that are really important and essential to my illustrations in order to communicate an idea or story point and disregard all the frivolous crap that I'd get caught up with in the past. I just think about how much I need to draw with as few lines or shapes or whatever else possible so that I can move on to the next thing. You know - don't get too fancy or precious with the drawing and get it off my desk because there's no time. I mean, that's put me in tough spots before. Reference, accuracy and whatever else sometimes can hold me up, but more often than not it's not such a task heavy process. Just draw whatever for 90 minutes and when the clock dings - I'm done.

So maybe it wasn't really wasting my time, per say. It gave me perspective and discipline and it's something I carry onto my work in comics and illustration now. Or at least I try to. Heh.

Anyway, there's the story behind that. I've seen and have been told about other people doing the same thing and I don't know if they're doing the exercise because they got it from me (in which case you guys owe me a nickel) or because it's something they've come to on their own. But I hope they have the same eye-opening experience that I had. One of the many benefits I've found is that I can look back however many days/months/years from now and I'll have a point of reference as far as how far I've progressed. If you want to be witness to that, you can look back at older posts that I've uploaded on this here blog and you can see how rough those early drawings were. Or I dunno...maybe they were better back then because they were such crude cave man drawings. Who knows? But that's the whole point, isn't it? Learn. Apply. Analyze. Repeat. And as Kanye says (actually, Daft Punk said it first):

"Work it harder make it better, do it faster makes us stronger, more than ever, hour after hour work is never over..."

Heh. Enough of that talk. Here's Kaneda. Enjoy.

Oh - sometimes, some of the images take longer than 90 minutes. But I'm very honest about which one of these are. I ain't trying to pull a fast one on ya'. Promise.

[*EDIT: Thanks to all who wrote in for the correction of the character's name. Much appreciated.]


Tannerama said...

Its good to know that someone else uses that Daft Punk line as a motivational quote. I thought I was the only one.

weshoyot said...

yes! you finally explained the 90 minutes!!!

and this is a prime example of how your perspective drawing powers continue to blow my friggin' mind. 0_0*

GOUZY said...

You have made a little mistake, that's not Testsuo that's Kaneda.

Boothy said...

Love the pic, but isn't that Kaneda?

Pacco said...

I really like, this manga feeling with a comics style !!!
It's great Man,
as usual !!!

Toyebot said...

sweet! Thx for the story too!

Craig Zablo said...

Love the drawing and the story behind them all!

Pipocalavera said...

I absolutely never thought it was a waste of time...And I am surprised someone could think that way.

Eddy said...



arnie said...

hey it works fo me. thanks for the history lesson and producing cool art witha such a simple excersie.

peace out




dustin said...

man, remember how cool the soundtrack was? i thin it was the last good movie soundtrack for me... though i remember you pimping that matrix soundtrack pretty hard on our roadtrips...

but matrix..whatever. aint no Lavern and Shirly. i'll tell you what.

Juan said...

Great composition!
(like always)


"but matrix..whatever. aint no Lavern and Shirly."


Andre said...

This is amazing. I always pop in Akira when I dont know what else to watch.