I'm not a huge fan of Alec Longstreth. I find his pacing too leaden, and his art too timid. I never understood why so many self published comics kids kiss the ground that he walks on. Until yesterday. Corinne lent me a couple issues of his self published zine, Phase 7. The issues in question (010 and 011) are a history of Mr. Longstreth's involvement w/ comics. He goes from childhood to whatever age he is now (early 30's, I suspect) in claustrophobic detail, outlining how he came to be the artist he is today. He worships Dave Sim for his monastic productivity. He reads Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics like a bible. He holds Bone up as and the greatest comic ever drawn (To me that is like someone saying that Jurassic Park is the greatest book ever written -- he could have chosen worse, but Bone, really?!?). He cites Blankets as a modern classic. In short, his heroes make needlessly thick books. This brings us to the interesting part of his 100-page meditation on comics. Mr. Longstreth sets out on an almost spiritual journey to find out how a cartoonist hones him-or-herself into a comics making machine. How you go from the kid at the kitchen table drawing two-page ninja turtle comics to a 32-year-old man in Portland obsessing about your high-school girlfriend for 4 years (or 500 pages, whichever comes first). I encourage every self-published cartoonist to pick up these zines, because we all need to adopt some version of his work schedule, which he calls the schedule. A rigid ten-hour work day broken up into three sections that has a planned lunch hour at noon, and a built in errand/hangout with friends time from 5-8 so that he can have some semblance of a social life. For him it isn't about what you get done in a day (like Dave Sim's page-a-day system) but just how much time you put in. I know that Corinne has a adopted an 8-hour version of this that's working very well for her. I have yet to adopt any such system. I really appreciated Longstreth sharing his knowledge with the rest of us. I wish more cartoonists would do likewise.
If anyone has a handle on the the schedules/work habits of other cartoonists or writers, please send me a link or the name of a book. I'll post them here.