There is no such thing as the finished first draft. You know, I would start with a design, I’d start sketching, and when I came up with that initial sketch, I’d put down another piece of paper and I’d tape them down to my old drawing board. And then I’d start sketching again, because while you’re designing, other ideas begin to surface. So I’m now on my second layer. Then I’m on my third. Sometimes those layers would be 15 pages deep until you happened upon something that you really, really liked. So it’s an exploration. It’s not a, okay, I’m going to design this floor plan and I’m done in five minutes.
When you turned in your sketch Wednesday at 10 AM, it was probably a fourth or fifth draft by that point. Even when I write for myself, it’s like minimum three to five drafts. This thing I’m working on has gone through one draft, a second draft, a third, and now it’s going to be looked at by someone else who’s going to — her job is going to be go through and organize it. So there’s a page there.
The book was originally published in individual issues by Fantagraphics before I revised it and published it as a single volume like this, with Pantheon. This is actually a page that was in one of the individual issues and got cut from the book because it wasn’t necessary. When I put it together I didn’t need that page to make that transition so I cut it out. Boy, a textbook… oh man, I don’t even know if I can count how many times we’ve gone through an individual page, because Matt and I are both writing it together. It’s a collaborative work. So one of us will do the initial draft, which is often very, very rough, the second person will read it and add some more material, and then we’ll go back and forth sometimes up to 10, 15, 20 times. You know, maybe just skimming over a little piece and changing this thing, or we’ll use the notation ability of Microsoft Word to note things. I’d say, on average, at least six to ten times one of us has looked at it back and forth. Then we have an editor read it.
Then it goes into design and we draw and choose illustrations to go into it. We read it again once it’s in design, an editor reads it again, there’s a couple other editors who also read it, there’s a copy editor, there’s a proofreader. I mean, it gets read 50 times before it’s done. Maybe I’m exaggerating, but close.