Captain’s Log 0201019.205: Gap

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.

I’ve done some musing in the mean while.

Continue reading “Captain’s Log 0201019.205: Gap”

Captain’s Log, 0201009.084

The right-hand page seems like a good one for ad purposes.

This week I kept a steady pace. No sudden jumps forward, and the only missed day was yesterday, due to an early morning medical appointment, which is the first time I’ve skipped a day for totally legitimate reasons. Here’s what my storyboard folder looks like:

I strongly suspect that I can make my panels and text a lot smaller. Fit more story into less space. I’m not going to do it for this book because it’s better to finish than to risk stalling out by starting over.

Ideally, I would have made a small book of 20-30 pages at this scale, printed it, and then made the judgement call. But that’s not the way it worked out this time. I’m making a big-ass comic book instead. God help me.

Captain’s Log, 0201005.160: The Drums of War

Work on Hat Trick proceeds apace. Pages through 65 storyboarded, through 67 paneled and lettered.

Hopefully I don’t go much higher than 90 pages. My numbering scheme didn’t account for a third digit.

Right! That’s enough for the progress report. Now for the navel-gazing!

Continue reading “Captain’s Log, 0201005.160: The Drums of War”

Captain’s Log 0201002.092 Vidya

Storyboarded pages 60-61, lettered and paneled 62-63 today. That means I have completed an average of two pages a day over the five day workweek. Of course, I also work on the comic Saturday.

Something about the math is funny, ’cause I know I did an extra spread on Tuesday, which means I should be ahead by two. Oh well.

I aim to ink this storyboard, for promotional purposes, though chores winterizing the farm means it may wait until next week.

In other news, towards the end of September I was toying with doing Inktober this year. But I decided against it. Instead, I’m studying Japanese and playing Mario RPGs, starting with Superstar Saga.

And plugging away at Hat Trick until it is done.

Captain’s Log 0200925.092: Momentum

This week, from Monday through Friday, I completed 10 pages and paneled/lettered 2 more. Here’s the tail end of that. If you want to see all the pages, you can drop $2 at SubscribeStar or just wait for the book to come out.

That’s an average of one two-page spread a day, although the average is off because I had a birthday to celebrate this week. I’d like to kick that up, but I’m happy to be hitting what I feel is a bare minimum.

Specifically, I’ve gotten in the habit of finishing each session by paneling and lettering a two-page spread ahead. This is a low effort, ‘finishing touch’, and it allows me to begin the next day with pictures (the fun part), and a strong sense of momentum already in place. I’ve heard of authors writing a chapter a day, but each day it’s the second half of today’s chapter, and the first half of tomorrow’s, just to make sure they remain motivated to write tomorrow. And Hat Trick did stall out at a chapter break, so I think I’m going to continue using this trick.

October is coming. I had hoped to have the storyboard done by October so I could run a crowdfund to produce the comic. But it looks like I won’t be.

Anyway, I need to go rescue my chickens from my kids.

Playing with widgets

WordPress has a widget that lets you overlap two pictures of the same size to get a drag and drop before and after, and I’m making this blog post purely to play with it.

Allright, let’s do it again.

This page will be useful to my proofreaders. Guys: in the Hat Trick comic, I plan to have two types of speech bubble. If you see a double border, I mean the final bubble to be white text on a black bubble. I goofed and did a heavy border instead of a double border on this specific page.

Last, but not least, I want to say a quick word about lettering.

I got the idea of putting the text into my storyboards so I can test text and picture together, rather than trying to compose — and edit — them separately. When I converted the process over to comics, my plan was to continue in the same manner, but to merely draw in the speech bubbles, and letter the comic in the PDF editor. I bought a license for Spinner Rack to give Hat Trick a unique, but multifaceted font. But: my printed ‘pencils’ now had letters, and on a whim, I tried hand lettering over them.

I love how expressive they are. I love how the sloppyness/messiness of them matches the impatience in my inking. Even if I don’t love that impatience itself.

Just for the record, I am not trying to match the shapes of the letters in the Spinner Rack font. This is my natural comic lettering style, developed when I was learning to be a cartoonist, only instead of an Ames Guide I’m using Krita’s text tool and Blambot’s font to work out the spacing and position.

Captain’s Log 0200921.093 – Splashing in the Rain

3 pages so far today on the Hat Trick Storyboard.

I’m aiming for 4 a day, 6 days a week, but I’ll not complain so long as I move forward. Slow and Steady wins the race and all that.

I’m thinking of stopping and producing that page 40 splash. It’ll be good to add to my morning tweet rotation, and as an advertisement for the book.

We are now solidly within the overlap of the first Hat Trick Book and this comic, which is meant to take its place as the beginning of the series. I’m walking carefully, trying to retell the same story bit from a slightly different angle, trying to make sure everything needed to enjoy Hat Trick is present, but the people who own the first book don’t feel like it was redundant, or they aren’t getting anything new.

In the first book, this section takes place in rain. That was a considerable pain in the butt to draw, and I’m considering just quietly pretending that never happened in the comic.

I’m also minded to work on a new idea: St. Patrick’s Breastplate, illustrated by me. But we’re going back to the iron law: one project come hell or high water, all others only once I can report project on the one.

Pants on Fire

Or: the Advantage of Pantsing

In writing, it is generally thought there are two approaches, and a writer falls somewhere on a spectrum between the two:

Pantsing and Plotting.

A Pantser “writes by the seat of his pants”. He charges forward and sees what will come out of his pen. A plotter plans ahead, giving himself character sheets and a plot outline.

In general, I have a certain amount of contempt for pantsing. It strikes me as writing by accident. At the very least, a man ought to know how he intends his story to end. Otherwise, how does he know it’s any good? And indeed, the more I use formulas and structures and plots and principles, the better my stories tend to get.

However, there is a certain point where planning is stalling, and you just need to start executing.

I’ve been stalling on the second half of Hat Trick: Night Mare Night Mare for a couple of weeks now. Time to get back on those storyboards.

It is easier, after all, to fix a bad draft than to fix no draft.