To get a sense of what working in passes looks like, imagine seeing a cathedral from a great distance.
[Pages 119-157 in Workflow]
Working in passes is the controlled process of advancing your work one step (‘pass‘) at a time towards your vision. Every pass must be short, simple, and focus on improving just a few important aspects of the work.
To get a sense of what working in passes feels like, imagine seeing a cathedral from a great distance. You notice its general shape, size, height, but not much more.
Now imagine yourself walking towards the cathedral. Gradually, the features of the building become more and more defined; you begin to make out individual forms, spires, maybe some color too. Then windows, doors, some of the more prominent ornaments. Now almost at the feet of the cathedral, you can appreciate the hundreds of fine decoration elements. Get even closer, and you detect textures and minor defects in the material itself.
When you work in passes, you go through a very similar experience as you create your own ‘cathedral’. You start with a basic shape, and every pass is like taking one small step towards your final work.