After graduating, a group of my RISD friends and I decided to take our crazy ambitions to Austin, TX. We arrived in Austin in the summer of 2008 and continued to work on Slimed (the movie), which took a little longer than planned for (two years). As we sent out our festival submissions, I realized that I was finally ready to finish Clarence. This time I would not stop until it was done. I put my nose to the grindstone for the last time.
All my friends were sick to death of Clarence. I missed out on many a social opportunity, strapped to my chair, in my work cave of death, cranking out illustrations and rubbing my eyes furiously. People kept asking me why it was taking so long, and in response I would usually begin to cry because how do you explain seven years of your life.
While in Austin I had switched to Photoshop and dropped Corel Painter completely. Photoshop's brushes had made advances, but more importantly the program didn't crash constantly. By the time the final images were completed I was broken, bloodied, beaten down but alive, barely.
Unfortunately, there is slightly more to Clarence than the images, and I started on the long, arduous journey towards a finished text layout. I talked endlessly about the "readability" of various fonts, my conversations with my parents and friends verging into a territory of strange.
Fonts were too big, too small, too close together, too expensive. I took a trip to the bookstore to explore what other kids' books were looking like these days, since I had barely come out of my room to emerge into the light of day, or to pick up a piece of art or media that I had not created.
I took my girlfriend, a lovely girl who stuck with me while I was really putrid and disgusting, sitting in my chair, rotting like a piece of leftover meat, the stench strong and fetid. We opened and read classics, never-to-be-classics, and oddities of rhyme, design, and varying taste levels.
After playing with creating my own font, I realized I should just take a page from the masters and mirrored my text design after the great Lane Smith's use of Franklin Gothic. I added some character and personality to the layout and the text was done. The book was done. I had finished it. Almost.