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Need time for life and art projects? What this artist does.


In this clip from the art podcast, fantasy illustrator Neal Tse talks about using a Kanban method to manage his time between life and art projects. You can check out the full episode hereNeal Tse: Fantasy Illustrator - Tom Ray's Art Podcast

What are some of the things that you're in the process of doing artistically these days?

I always have a huge backlog of project ideas so just coming out of project management mindset I use MeisterTask which is a kanban board setup. That's where you have your backlog and then you have currently working on, and then complete. 

So you take the task and kind of move it across those different columns. It's a way to stay focused. 

Any time I have a random idea for a project I'll throw it in the backlog and after each project, I kind of reassess what my priorities are going to be. Constantly reprioritizing that stack just based on what the current needs are like if it's a client commission the deadline is coming up or I really want to have this ready for a convention so this piece needs to go into the queue. 

It's kind of blending my digital marketing worlds with my illustration worlds. I love picking the best of both things. 

Is it difficult to give priority to personal projects when you do have actual work projects?

It's different in every single case, like the best way to handle it is like I said after every project or maybe once a week look at that stack and make sure you're on track. 

So if you know that you're gonna get a piece done in a week and there's gonna be some extra time then you can slot in a personal project before your next major thing. 

Do pare it down into actual tasks inside of the project? Like, draw the thumbnail sketch for this drawing, instead of the whole drawing itself. How much do you break down? 

I do break it down a little bit. There are certain steps that group well together so, doing your ideation and thumbnails and like rough compositions can be one phase. Then working into your color comps then color roughs. Then settling on the final composition can be another phase.

In digital, you'll do a lot of base layer painting I always try to work back to front so, paint the background paint the objects in it, paint the figures, paint the clothes, and then digital effects would be last. Like a beam of light or a certain glow or something and then I'll do kind of final color tweaks in photoshop. 

So certain things, if it's going to print I'll do a scene with CMYK preview of it and it'll show me like what colors are out of gamut so I need to adjust for those. That's the final stage and then I have the final file composition that's ready to hand off to a client or post on my site.


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