Today is Friday August 6, 2010. As I write this, it is 10:50 in the evening. The day is almost done. Today is also the one year anniversary of this blog. It was one year and one day ago that I drew the very first illustration for this massive project. And today I finished the illustration for page 339. I guess that puts me about 27 days off of what I had hoped to be a daily pace. At first, that made me a bit sad and I felt like maybe I had been a bit lazy. But then I realized that I had created 339 illustrations for this project, a nice handful of alternate images, a few whale drawings, and nearly 20 pen and ink "Solar Brother" drawings in those 365 days. In retrospect, I think I've actually been quite prolific and worked very hard.
It's stranger than I thought it would be to look back at the past year and see just how this illustration project has given it shape and direction. Back then, when I first started, I couldn't even conceive of what it would be like to complete 100 illustrations much less over 300. Back then, I had absolutely no idea how much work this thing would turn out to be. Back then, there was no way I could foresee how much of an obsession this project would, at times, become. Back then, I never would have imagined that I would end up with an agent, a book deal, an editor, and (amusingly enough) a very real deadline. Back then I didn't think a gallery owner would give me, a non-artist with no degree, the time of day even though I've now had conversations and made tentative plans with a few.
I'm not sure how I feel right now. I do feel a faint sense of happiness and satisfaction. But there is still so much more work to be done, and the upcoming chapters are the most ferocious, complex, and challenging pages in the novel. Honestly, right now, I mostly just feel tired. Not burned out. Not yet, and not at all with this project. But I am tired. For the past year I have thought about Moby-Dick and these illustrations during almost every waking hour. I've missed spending time with my wife, going for walks in the woods, and just goofing around. But I don't for a second regret the work I've put into this project, and I am committed to seeing this through to the awful, apocalyptic end some time next February.
For now though, I am going to rest for just a little bit. Pause, take a deep breath, refocus my energy. I'll be drawing again tomorrow, but I think this blog needs a day off so posting will resume on Sunday evening.
If any of you have any thoughts you'd like to share with me about this project and the last year of work, I'd love to hear them.