Creating Time

On several occasions I have written about my goofy calendar habits. In the first case–The Offhand Thing, in 2009I reflected on the unselfconsciously-made items that tell us much about our abilities and inclinations–as a way of explaining my adaptive response to disliking standardized pre-printed calendars. (Let us not discuss digital ones, though yes, I am aware that Google docs, Doodle polls and the like are handy for scheduling. But I have to mark a surface for it to count.) 

Subsequently I documented the odd pages from 2012. 

Today, on the cusp of December, I'm reflecting on these procedures, now seven or eight years in. It's as if that time does not exist until I chart it in advance. It makes me weirdly anxious when I'm two or three weeks from running out of plotted days in my book. I often schedule things further ahead than that, so events can hang in prescheduled time, scribbled in margins, in limbo. Vexing. 

Charting weeks takes some time, especially as I've tended to rely on brushes as drawing tools over the past few years. Even when laid down in speedy gouache, painted lines take time to dry. So getting six weeks' or two months' time down in the calendar can take a chunk of a day. It seems nutty when I think about it, but it has come to seem necessary to do it this way. 

Typically at the beginning of the year I spend one whole day getting as far into the calendar as I possibly can; typically I make it to May or so, then I look for time in coming months to whack out more time. Several weeks ago I got dangerously close to operating in non-time. So on a recent Tuesday afternoon I banged out the last six weeks of the year.

Some weeks end up going pretty abstract. Others rely on clear images. 

Weeks in December lend themselves to thematic treatments. I had some fun with working up a Christmas treatment for Dec. 14-20. (When I created the series of elements I was thinking about a Ladies Home Journal cover by Al Parker from December 1946.) 

I went for the sentimental landscape for Christmas Week. 

I bought my 2015 calendar book in mid-November, which is a first. I hope to get a start on it soon. 


D.B. Dowd, Calendar Treatment, November 16-22, 2014. Gouache in blank book. The circus-ey type was painted in, sans pencil drawing, starting with the red. Corrected in white.

D.B. Dowd, calendar cover design, 2014. Sprayed blue-on-blue through stencils. 

D.B. Dowd, December 14-20, 2014. A miniature essay in Christmas cliches. From stars and angels to holly and an Advent calendar quote.

Al Parker, Ladies Home Journal cover illustration, December 1946. One of Parker's celebrated Mother/Daughter covers for the magazine (which ran intermittently from 1939 into the early 50s) the scene captures a meta-narrative tracking the postwar baby boom. But from a design perspective, how about that masthead, and those letterforms? Such freedom! 

Dowd, December 14-20, detail. I like the little "c" house ornament and the second "e" ornament.

Dowd, December 14-20, detail 2. 

Dowd, December 21-27, 2014. Trudging to Bethlehem. 

Dowd,  November 30-December 6.  Most pages are like this: some hand lettering over seven columns.

Dowd, November 30-December 6. Most pages are like this: some hand lettering over seven columns.

Dowd, December 7-13. A more abstract take on the problem. Using up an old palette.