THE BELIEVER: Is it true you only sleep four hours a night?

GARY PANTER: Yes, but I take so many five-minute naps it might add up to a regular night’s sleep. I wake up every morning at 7:30 and read the paper and drink chocolate milk, then take my daughter to school. I run errands during the day, and tend to get to work at nighttime, going steadily till three in the morning on different things. I put my paintbrush down, and pick up my guitar ten feet away and try out my new flanger pedal for an hour, then I paint for an hour, and then I make something out of chopsticks and flexi-straws, and then I might write a short story. I don’t find that hard to do, it’s just the way I do it. I notice inspiration when it comes by. I don’t sit down at my desk and try to write; rather, I work at something else and then I’ll get an idea for a story and make a note. That’s how I jump from medium to medium. If you keep pushing paint when you’re tired of it, you lose sensitivity. I can only focus on painting for a few hours, so I’ll stop and work on something quite different. Making art, I try to just gently persist, instead of having freak-outs where I’m like, Oh, my god, I’ll never draw again. You are going to draw again, so you might as well relax.

From a Believer interview with Gary Panter (June 2009).

Also see: Gary Panter’s Drawing Tips

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