It is a new year, so it means time for some much-needed cleaning up—digitally speaking. Yes, today I’ll write about the Very Interesting Topic of file management.
This may seem boring, and you are correct, because it is super boring, but also important.
File Management: So Many Files
Between making weekly comics, writing blog posts, and maintaining several websites, I create a bunch of files each week. For example, every Foxes & Boxes comic I make equals at least nine new files each week.
- A scan of my original comic drawing.
- The pencil and ink version in Clip Studio Paint.
- The colored version of the final comic in Clip Studio Paint.
- The exported full quality PNG of the finished comic.
- The optimized version of the final PNG.
- The teaser image for linking on Facebook. (also used for Instagram)
- The teaser image for linking on Twitter (different size from Facebook).
- The update image for Tapastic (again, its own size).
- The resized version of my original comic scan for my Patreon Behind the Scenes posts.
A single blog post, depending on how many photos I use, is in about the same range as well (at least five if there is only one photo, every other photo increases this by two).
Multiply that by 52 weeks in a year, and you see why I take file management seriously.
File Management: The Name Game
With so many files it is important to stick to a common pattern when it comes to names. All of my comic files, from the scan to the final optimized PNG, all go like: 2017-01-09-foxes-boxes-19. This not only helps me keep track of files, but the plugins I use to publish my comics need this to keep everything organized. The associated social media images have a similar pattern they follow.
I name my blog post documents like I do my comic files (I always write my blog posts offline in OpenOffice), and this keeps everything organized.
Welcome to Folder Town
Naming files is one thing, keeping them in the correct place is another. I have separate folders for each part of my comic files.
Doing so cuts down on how many files I have to look through later. Say I need the pencils for Foxes & Boxes page 15: I know exactly where the file is, and there won’t be hundreds of other files I have to sift through.
Frequently used folders I rename with numbers in the front so they are always at the top of the list. EX: 1 2017 Blog Images inside my main Pictures folder. That’s about as life hack-y as I get here.
At the start of the new year, I create new folders with the current year, and pack away all the old stuff in the previous year’s folders. This cleans up my working areas in the main folders and it makes it easier for when I do my data back-ups. (I’ll know I already backed up everything in the 2016 folder). I even do this with my downloads folder each year.
Go forth and organize! You will thank yourself later, trust me, when you need to recreate a banner ad from eight months ago or turn part of a comic page into a t-shirt.
Daniel J. Hogan is a geeky cartoonist and writer living in Michigan. Daniel is available for freelance writing and cartooning commissions (Contact Daniel). This post contains affiliate links, unless it doesn't.