What happens in 279 hours and 30 minutes

When working on a project, at some point you are likely to end up staring at your computer screen till 1 AM and penciling your days, nights and weekends away, either because of a deadline or just insane enthusiasm. On those moments, when everybody else is asleep and you just keep on going despite everything that your parents ever taught about sensible bedtimes, it’s fun to toy with the idea of finishing the project and ponder how you will celebrate it. Maybe a dinner at your favourite restaurant? A weekend full of absolute nothingness? A movie night with friends? Skipping all the healthy options in the morning and going for a fresh croissant instead? Whenever I’m in a swamp of work with a deadline that temporarily kills my free time, thinking about all those nice things helps me ignore the fact that my eyes are hurting from all the drawing.

Sketch by Emmi Ojala

This week, I finished a big (massive!) project that I have been working on since autumn. It’s a children’s book, and although I won’t be able to reveal too much before it’s going to be published in May, I can tell you that it has been one of the most laborious but also one of the most fun projects I have ever worked on! It took 279 hours, 30 minutes and one sketchbook to complete. Me and the client, an incredibly sweet and passionate Australian author, exchanged 549 emails of which roughly 50% were spiced up with smileys and one included pictures of puppies. Her morning was my midnight and my daytime was her bedtime, but surprisingly enough we managed to communicate very smoothly. I sent her illustrations and she replied with feedback right before going to bed and the first thing in the morning. It has been great working for someone who is so dedicated to the project that a solitary freelancer like me feels like she actually has an invisible colleague right here…despite the fact that we are literally on the opposite sides of the world. (Isn’t that strange…? Two people can complete an entire book by being connected through the Internet…oh the wonders of the World Wide Web!)

For the past few weeks, I have squeezed all my illustration juices into this project to get it finished on time. I spent many late nights working and fantasising about the moment when all the illustrations would be finished, thinking about how I would reward myself. Now the book is finished from my part, and it’s time to put those fantasies into action. I shall celebrate with home-made hummus (eaten straight from the jar, because that’s the way, aha aha, I like it) and tea with a friend!

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