Buying time to travel and do other things

Stephan Pastis at NY Comic Con a few years ago.

In my interview with Stephan Pastis the other day, he mentions that  he draws 14 Pearls Before Swine comic strips every week, which buys him 26 free weeks a year to write other books and travel. He needs 7 strips a week, six dailies and one Sunday and in one week he gets double that done – 14 (12 dailies and two Sundays).

I find that fascinating because one big complaint with daily cartoonists have is that they don’t have a life. Most say they work non-stop, full time and never have time to travel or do many family things, but Stephen seems to have it all figured out, which I love. 26 weeks of free time to do other things is fantastic, especially the travel part.

I do five cartoons a week, he does seven, so with me, that would be 10 strips a week, rather than 14. And mine are single panel, rather than actual multi-panel strips. Not that I have a problem getting them done, for some reason five strips a week, rather six or seven, seems to work perfectly for me and it’s worked out for my travel schedule. I also work fast, which to one cartoon editor was a negative, while I see it as a positive.

I have another 10 With Tom interview with another cartoonist this week and he says he spends six hours on dailies and up to 18 hours on a Sunday strip. I have to work fast, I can’t imagine spending all that time on one single strip. It’s just not part of my constitution.

I have thought about working while I traveling, but I’m not in my element, my office, I can’t get comfortable doing that, so it’s easy to see that if doubling up on weeks, it buys all that extra time.

I do get ideas when am traveling, so while that is work, it’s not actual drawing, it’s just thinking and jotting ideas down, which is great, because them I have an arsenal of them when I return home and am ready to work.

Another thing Stephan said, which I found interesting is that he gets more eyes on his comic strip when posts it on social media because of all the shares. “Those reader numbers may exceed newspapers,” he said, which shows that more people read the comics online and through social media than in print these days.

I like that fact because after all these years, I prefer online publication, rather than print for so many reasons – there is the sharing aspect of course and the main reason is that the deadlines are short, if there even are deadlines. With newspaper comics, the deadlines are sometimes four to six weeks. Online it can be minutes, literally minutes. The cartoon can be drawn and be posted right then and there.

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