Johanna Basford's sabbatical diary, week 16: A few thoughts on time management

Thia week Johanna's preparing to embark on her big show – but not everything's going to plan.

Johanna Basford is on a four-month sabbatical from paid work to concentrate on making herself a better artist, illustrator and all-round creative person.

Every week Johanna aims to publish a diary entry, which we'll be running on Digital Arts so you can follow the ups and downs – hopefully mainly ups – as she pushes her creativity and vision into new areas.

Weeks 16

 This week my list-writing reached epic new heights: we’re talking several per day, colour coded, prioritised and subcategorised.

All in a vain attempt to quell the growing panic within me - for this was the last week of the sabbatical I’d be spending in the studio.

For the next couple of weeks I’ll be working on site at the DCA, installing my exhibition ‘Wonderlands’ that will mark the end of the sabbatical – and, not to be too melodramatic, my Judgment Day.

My pre-install To Do lists have what can only be described as an eclectic blend of tasks;

  • Spray paint boat
  • Order clock hands
  • Test dog for smudging
  • Source humbugs
  • Remix Cuckoo clock audio
  • Print a forest
  • Double check Wonderbeasts…

Any sense of triumph at checking off a job is immediately trumped by the inevitable addition of three new ones.

I feel like I’m wading through treacle. It seems no matter how long the lead time or how well planned the operation. A last-minute panic is inevitable.

  • Should I get up earlier?
  • Should I buy a watch?
  • Should I close my Twitter account?
  • Why am I so rubbish at Time Management?

Well, maybe I’m not. Maybe the last minute panic is just part of the creative process. After all, the final 100 metres are for sprinting, not pacing yourself.

I reason that if I was completely laid-back about everything – felt that things were ticking along to plan perfectly – then maybe, just maybe, I’m not trying hard enough or aiming high enough. Complacency surely can’t inspire the best in us?

So, I’ll keep this brief as I’m acutely aware there is still MUCH to do.

Almost all the studio work is now complete: artwork has been printed; bodies have been inked, fabrics are ordered, cuckoos have arrived, and the beer has been labeled.

Tomorrow, we begin the install. Onwards!

And before I forget…

Wonderlands opens at the DCA on Friday 3 May at 7pm.  Come along, see what I’ve made and enjoy a BrewDog beer or a gin cocktail. Everyone’s welcome, see you there!

And here's another gratuitous pic of the real studio pup.

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