This is not a final picture, this is upscaled and painted with some different brushes, but I feel I’m onto something. The trick is whether this technique scales to full size, which I intend to spend today testing.
Trying to ink digitally at 900 DPI with the intention of downscaling to 600 and my laptop is chugging. Naturally. What if I go 450 to 300…
I can ink and paint at 450 DPI with the GDQ brushes. We may have a way forward.
I only got 2 or three hours to paint on this, and I feel like I need a solid 8-12 hours to produce a final painting. But already I dislike where it is going.
I don’t dislike the concept sketch though. It suggests a final product I could be quite pleased with. But how do I get from here to there?
Should I do successive refinements leading to a printout across 4 pages of 8.5×11 with each page of the final book being inked across two pages? Should I kickstart funds for a big printer/scanner? Should I try to ink in vector art? Should I suck it up and see the painting to the end, wherupon I discover the lameness in this muddy middle was merely an awkward growing pain?
I’m not sure. But it’s good to ask these questions now, because I feel the answers are just beyond my fingertips.
I’ve been too sick to move the last three days. Going into my sickness, I tinkered with Alpha Test (which I’m now calling 8-Bit Demake). I got a single comic done, and then I crashed hard.
When I look at all my projects, the only one that strikes me as long-term is Awesome Moments, because the only thing that matters in this world is who makes it into the next one. I would like to make the list. I would like my children, also, to make the list.
I’m a bad man, so I don’t really care if anyone else besides my friends and family make it, but it would objectively be a good thing if something I made got some rando stranger I don’t care about into God’s Kingdom.
Hat Trick, Re-Tail, all my other projects are dust in the wind. I will make better things in the Resurrection. Awesome Moments is the single project idea I have that will matter even after this world is aborted and the do-over spins up.
That’s technically not 100% accurate. I’m sure more people have been converted by Narnia than by Mere Christianity, by Lord of the Rings than by any theological rant of Tolkien. I don’t know how God will use my creations. My calling as an artist is to make the very best creations I can, and trust God to use them well, rather than trying to be a second-rate priest instead of a first-rate nursery jester.
But it’s close enough to the truth. I do have a duty to catechize my children. If I choose to do so by making for them a picture book, why shouldn’t anyone else in my religion profit by my labor? Truly, this is the only project of mine that can objectively be seen as urgent.
Yesterday, as I was slowly emerging from the mucus-encrusted cocoon of my convalescence, a thought began to find its way through my crusty brain. You see, my first book was a big 8.5 x 11 inches. But all the books I have created since have been scaled back to 6×9. There are two reasons for this:
It felt wrong that my books were bigger than Dr. Seuss’s.
I want to make my art large, and then scale it down for the book. But I haven’t a scanner nor a printer capable of handling something larger than 8.5 x 11.
The first objection was dealt with simply by reading a biography of Dr. Seuss. I ceased to view him as an unattainable standard, and instead began to see him as a rival I could one day overtake. There’s nothing sacrilege about having bigger books than him! If kids like big books with big pictures, then that’s what I should make!
The second objection fell last Sunday, when I did some art of Wren for fun. You remember, this bit?
I’m not 100% happy with this process. But I didn’t need to be for this picture. It was a one-off, not a product for a client or something.
However, that process of drawing a picture at low resolution, scaling it up and painting over it, then scaling it up and painting over it again… that could work as a “multiple drafts” way of making a children’s book. If I did the writing at the same time, gave each draft some space, got proofreaders and editors involved before the pictures had too much work put into them…
Maybe I can make 8.5 x 11 inch books after all.
So now we come to the end of my story. Today I woke up strong enough to cook and clean and look after my family, who are all ailing just as I was. And I had an impulse to do a quick color sketch of the first few pages of Awesome Moments.
I think tomorrow I shall pick a pair of pages and try to produce a polished painting so as to prototype the process.
Tomorrow I will try and do at least 4 more draft pages, and polish 2 pages, probably 4 and 5 (the middle pair) or 6 and 7 (the dragon pages!) into what would look like a final form. Tomorrow or Tuesday, another 4+ prototype pages and a a write-up of what Awesome Moments is, and why I’m so insistent on doing it. I aim to take Thursday off.
The Action Points now charge up automatically, based on the Speed of the character, which is the only stat thus far implemented. As a safety harness, the program keeps track of how fast all the combatants are and ensures that the speed at which AP bubbles charge is kept to a manageable level. I don’t like how I implemented my safety harness. But hopefully we’ll never even run into it.
Slow but steady progress on this game. I’m not a fan of how slow it is going. But we march ever onward!
Just to show that Speed does, in fact, play into the equation.
And I’m sorry, I can’t resist posting a full-color screenshot when forced for any period of time to contemplate the gif compression. Not that the gif isn’t doing its best!
The story is finished. Here are the next steps I plan:
Produce an additional 10 or so pages of character art/random illustrations in a finished state.
Make the damn book out of the storyboard pages, with the extra pages slotted in.
Have a printer’s proof made thereof.
Let it lie for at least one month.
Run a Kickstarter to fund editing and production.
If the Kickstarter funds, make a comic book!
I think I’m gonna spend a couple months playing with vidya. Running a Kickstarter in December is unwise because everyone’s broke with the Christmas spending. Running a Kickstarter in January is unwise because everyone is still broke with the Christmas spending. But February? February is fine. February is more than fine. People are starting to get their tax returns in.
We are inching ever forward. The climax is storyboarded, all that remains is the denoument. The storyboard may well be finished this week. Not sure how it’ll go after that. Probably I’ll do a print proof using the storyboard art just and, say, 10 pages of original drawings just to give room for any extra I have to add in the second draft. This way we’ll see how bad my margin error is. Then take a month or two off from this project to let it settle before working on revisions.
I continue to tinker around the edges with my Piqha RPG. If it works out well, frankly it makes more sense for me to tell future Hat Trick stories as mini RPGs. But at this precise moment it’s more me feeling an unmet need to write a little code. I think I may duplicate last year, though, and turn December into an attempt to get the prototype of the RPG up and running. We’ll see.
Well, crap. I’ve been doing something wrong this whole time, and now that I’m 80 pages in, it’s gonna be a beast to fix.
My template is set up so that the panels bump right into the gutter.
There should be a sliver of a margin between the gutter and the panel border unless I’m intentionally running a panel into the gutter (which I do, from time to time).
I think I’m going to do a test print of the storyboard as is, so we’ll see how much of a problem it is before I set out to fix it, but… bro.
That said, 10 pages storyboarded this week, bringing the total to 81 penciled and 83 paneled and lettered.
That’s a full week of storyboarding. I am done making promises I’m constitutionally unlikely to keep, though. I will be pushing forward on Hat Trick next week, and I will be tinkering around with my piqha RPG, but we will see what actually happens.
Lost all of last week. My tent was well suited to my working at a slow but steady rate, but now winter is making overtures.
By the weekend I had settled on converting the basement into an art dungeon. And then I injured my knee, rendering large quantities of stair-climbing inadvisable.
My knee is just about good enough now that I can start building my art dungeon tomorrow. However, I also have a lot of busywork to catch up on unrelated to my comic, so my objective for this week is to catch up on responsibilities, and maybe, hopefully get a page or two done. My ultimate objective is to handle all my potential excuses so that I have no excuses remaining next week.