For four or five days, I sat inside of my micro apartment and went nuts on getting the pieces together for my next book. These marathon sessions lasted anywhere from ten to thirteen hours, and I got some of my favorite pieces done in unlikely circumstances.


I try to follow a method for drawing marathons:

1. The first drawing of the day is a "warm-up" piece. That means something simple, maybe one that I can get done in fifteen to thirty minutes.

2. The second piece, after I'm warmed up, is the big one. I'll pick the most complicated piece of the day and go for it once the coffee is flowing and I've had a little to eat.

3. Once the big piece is done, I go at it as long as I can and collapse at my desk somewhere after ten straight hours.


This time around, I noticed that my favorite drawings were coming at the end of every marathon. I don't know why, they just did. Illustration days lasting longer than ten hours typically bring out an emotional melt-down. In this psychological collapse, I question the majority of the decisions that I've made in my life while staring at an incomplete list of drawings. This didn't happen during this marathon. Instead of my three-step process, my process was pushed into "get up, get in the zone, stay in the zone until you pass out."


I don't know what to think about it, but I do know that my favorite pieces from this book came out in times that they usually don't. This unpredictable mess of a marathon is going to be a great memory for my journey. You can set up schedules, you can build timelines, but you can't substitute the unpredictable rewards that come from working your tail off.


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Ando Ehlers | 
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