Status of the blog 5-26-11

  • On May 26, 2011 ·
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I’ve been working on chapter 1.1 of 2071. I scanned all the pencils I had and have been drawing digitally this week. I went from working in 600 dpi to 300 which has made both file sizes and actual drawing sizes more┬ámanageable. I really like the stumpy pencil photoshop brush (V2) though I’m still trying to settle on a proper inking brush. I downloaded this one but haven’t tried inking anything with it yet. There’s a lot of stuff I’ve known about in photoshop but never used that much until recently. I made an action that expands a selection by 2 pixels and fills it with the foreground color. Right now I’m using it to fill spaces while inking though it should come in handy when I’m coloring again. I know folks who swear by the flatten and multifill plugin. I also really like the floating lineart and convert white to transparent actions.

I’m trying to get into the habit of waking up at 5 and working on 2071 until noon or so, then winding down by experimenting with pin ups and stuff for a gallery. Problem is I tend to be in the starting frame of mind early in the morning. Once I’ve been drawing a few hours the part of my brain that decides how to lay out a new image shuts off. It’s hard to get out of render and refine mode. Usually I get stuck looking for references and don’t start drawing again. I need to get better at giving myself assignments for the day. I’ve got lists of images to draw I just need to rough them out enough so I can transition to them later when I’m starting to lose it.
In other news, I’m enjoying following people on tumblr nowadays since there’s a bunch of people on it. Haven’t posted anything on it since I stopped feeding my twitter into it but I might drop some of my experiments in there. It’s neat for following inspirational image accounts and I actually talk to people I know on there. Really I’m just looking for real conversation at this point. So many people set these things up as little outposts for themselves and it’s like seeing a bunch of billboards that all say “Buy my book!” Either that or I get the feeling people are talking to me while they happen to be checking their iphone and doing 5 other things. That’s sort of convenient I guess but I’m not a game for people to pause.

Status of the Blog 3-24-11

It’s been awhile since I’ve written one of these. I’d probably try to record it as a podcast but I’ll get to why I’m not doing that later. First thing’s first – Hi. How’s it goin’? Things have been busy. I’ll try to break it down.

Comics

I’m working on chapter 1.1 of 2071. I had hoped to bring it back early in March but the advertising campaign I was planning for it on that date fell through. I decided it’s better to try to make the best pages I can instead of trying to stick to some arbitrary deadline. That said I really want this comic to go live again as soon as possible.

Rebuild

If you’ve been following me on twitter you’ve most likely seen my highs and lows of working on the site. Google marked it as serving up malware because I had an iframe injection issue. I decided to rebuild the network entirely so I could clean up directories, make things work a little smoother, and safeguard against future problems. Though my hand was somewhat forced I’m glad I did it and all my sites should be running better now, save a few finagling details.

Minor Issues

You’ll see the occasional weird text character pop up in archived posts. This is because WordPress’s post importer, though improved from the time I split the sites up originally, is still imperfect. It’s just gonna happen with archived posts whenever they get imported. I’ll try to clean them up when and where I can.

The cellphone photo gallery isn’t displaying in the sidebar anymore because all the widgets I used for it aren’t compatible with Woo Themes’ Tumblog plugin. Posts made with that plugin don’t act like other posts which makes converting them a pain. And so far it’s the best solution for simple content posting. I figure I’ll find something that’ll work eventually. For now they’ll just run on the site like regular posts.

Podcasting

The mic on my headset died. I have other mics but they’re not as easy to use (long cables requiring adapters, requires batteries, yadda yadda) and doing episodes quickly/regularly relies on simplicity. I’m picking another one up soon.

I finally submitted the podcast to the iTunes directory. This should make it easier for people to find and share. Just subscribe in iTunes or whatever podcast catcher you prefer and you’ll get the latest episodes when they come out. I know I wouldn’t be able to keep up with online content as well as I do now (which is still pretty poorly :/ ) without feeds.

Retro Gaming

I’ve always been a super casual gamer but I do like to tinker with stuff. I’ve gotten into watching Let’s Plays and other old school game reviews online and it’s made me want to check out games I’ve missed. I’ve been playing around with stuff in Boxer which takes DOSBox and flavors it for OS X.

My first computer was a Performa that ran System 7 so finding ways to run that old OS and the programs I still have for it is a nice nostalgia trip. Still sorting out the best setup for that though I’ve found several good solutions.

Minecraft

Still love this game. I’ve been building on a survival multiplayer server most of the time. I also have my single player game blinged out with all sorts of mods to keep it lively. There’s just all kinds of different gameplay possible with it. I’d like to do a video tour of my SP game though I might just make that another Crafting Mines episode. We’ll see.

That’s some of the stuff I’ve been up to, excluding family/friends and a few things I’d like to do some dedicated blogs about. I definitely want to go into detail about the system I’ve been using to get organized and some new stuff I have here in the studio. Basically the plan these days is to work in the studio early on comics and then do other stuff to unwind. I’ll post more about it as more stuff gets done.

Status of the Blog 12-10-2010: End of the Year Wrap-up

It’s been a relatively busy couple of months though it’s also been a little quiet on this home page. I think it’s time to post about all that’s been going on and where we’re headed in 2011.

October

I spent this month researching camera stuff intending to shoot a short film. The film didn’t pan out though I’m in a better situation for video production in the future. I’ll probably return to the project next year when the Halloween bug bites me again. I know where I stand as far as video quality, lighting, and things I need to improve next time around like getting a bigger location to shoot and some better compositing software.

November

My brother got married in Jamaica. (A reason I decided to update my camera setup in the first place.) Having to straighten out passports/flights/reservations for my dad and myself has really restored my confidence in my own ability to travel as well as to plan things. When you sit at home working on stuff by yourself you start to wonder how all together you really are. When I decide to attend conventions again I know I can manage myself fine. This is also when I started to delve into learning more about 3D software, something I’ll return to more as the projects I work on make use of it.

December

This month has all been behind the computer for me. I intend to run a real network of sites and that’s meant cleaning things up. I’ve moved everything over to WordPress Multisite and I’ve been working on easily setting up new sub sites down the road. There’s still things to do of course but for now I’m comfortable with where things are. I’ve got placeholders and templates in place for when I roll stuff out. Now I can begin to focus on the content again and making things to plug into that system. I also made a site for my buddy Gerry’s bad movie night, Bad Movies About Raptors. ­čÖé

2011

Here’s where we stand as we look towards the coming year. I’m cautiously optimistic and trying to be realistic. Last New Year’s I was angry and seeking drastic change. This time around I want to do a lot of little things. I want to set goals I can actually accomplish. I’m still the same anxious person dealing with the day to day but I’m feeling better about managing it.

Podcasts

I’ve been returning to podcasts lately with an intent to do more. The No-Rights Podcast will probably be in two formats – more “live” shows where I bring in friends to chat and more “solo” shows where it’ll just be me going over the latest goings-on. I’d also like to do some more Crafting Mines: A Minecraft Adventure here and there. I don’t want those to get old as I had a lot of fun with the first one even though it was a bit of a strain to produce.

No-Rights TV

At the moment NRTV is going to be a blogging tool like podcasting. I’ll do the occasional chat in front of the camera and film any cons I go to or chat with friends who come by. I’d really like to do some animations for it at some point but first I need to get a regular production schedule for my cartooning in general before I devote the time to a bigger project even if it’s only a few seconds or minutes long.

Weird Cellphone Pics

Earlier this year I started a photoblog on my tumblr of weird things I took pics of with my cellphone. I was taking these pics anyway for my own amusement so I decided to share them. (I had a tumblr account that was going to waste anyway, might as well put it to use.) Turns out tumblr’s been going through some growing pains and experiencing lots of downtime. The last straw for me was losing posts randomly. I’ve since moved the archives that were there to the sidebar on this site. My cellphone’s camera also started giving me trouble after my recent trip to Jamaica so I’ve got a new phone and I’m looking to take some new shots with it. I tend to update it on Tuesdays if I have anything interesting so keep watching that. Of course any posts on the site get added to my twitter feed.

Comics

2071 will return in the new year though I can’t give the specific date yet. I’d like to launch some new comics, serials and one-shots, as well as maybe re-visit my older stuff. Basically I just want to work on a crapload of comics in the new year. I’m thinking I’ll devote a week to working on something at a time so I can decide if something’s working or not. That should keep me from feeling stuck in a rut while at the same time feeling like I’m making progress. Updates, when they’re announced, should be regular, though I’m considering things like seasons as opposed to more rigid scheduling.

Audiobooks/Digital Downloads/Ebooks

This is something new I want to get into. I like conventions but I so rarely make it out to any. Physical books are great but they’re also pricey to make and require storage space. Since this is the web and all I’m going to try focusing more on digital products. I’ve had the store site for awhile and it’s been empty some time now. As I make content for the site I’ll try my hand at making content specifically for there as well.

Miscellaneous

And now I’d like to talk about some stuff which has probably nothing to do with the site but it’s my blog and I’ll talk about what I want :-p

Games

I’m a super casual gamer but I’ve been playing plenty of Minecraft these days. It’s such a versatile game. You can just build, fight monsters in survival mode, or join some of the various multiplayer servers springing up. I like how flexible it is.

I bought Epic Mickey last night. It looks like a cute game with an interesting world though right now I’m lost. Basically I’ve completed the stage and I’m staring at a wall trying to figure out how you finish the level. I’m sure I’ll come back to it.

I also got in on the pre-order for the new Back to the Future game that’s coming out. So far there’s the behind the scenes stuff and the trailer up. I think as long as we can distance ourselves from the original trilogy and just experience it this game is going to be fun.

Status of the Blog 9-28-10

Lately I’ve been looking into things like video production for a short film I’m going to be working on. Also getting things ready to attend my brother’s wedding in Jamaica. Also also – Minecraft. Lots and lots of minecraft. To make up for some of my absence, enjoy a new episode of NoRightsTV.

A video used to be embedded here but the service that it was hosted on has shut down.

Status of the Blog 7-30-10: Premier of NoRightsTV

Site News

Watch the video for the general news update. Scroll below to read some specifics.

A video used to be embedded here but the service that it was hosted on has shut down.

We’ve gone through some changes under the hood you’ve probably noticed already. This site will become my general blog/news page as well as a hub for all my creative endeavors. Lil’ Reaper Books will become the store site where I’ll eventually be stocking merch. Towniescomics and Grim & Saddam have their own sites again. I’ll customize them when I have the time for it. Right now I need to focus on drawing comics.

Where’s 2071?

2071 is a special case. It exists in it’s own universe story-wise and I want to have a site where I can add stories that come before or after it in the timeline. I haven’t settled on a new domain that fits the entire series just yet. (And the most obvious domain right now is taken) So for now you can read the archives here. I’ll post the last page of sub-chapter 1.0 on the new site when it goes live.

What’s NoRightsTV?

Lately I’ve been feeling the “productions” in No-Rights Productions has sorely been neglected.├é┬áThe idea was always to start with comics and transition into doing films and other multimedia as well.├é┬áI consider myself an animator at heart and I have plans for a number of film projects. The only way I’m going to get into posting and editing videos is to actually do it. So you’ll see video blogs, interviews, tutorials, reviews… pretty much anything I can think to add there.

Status of the Blog 5-28-10

Site News

WordPress 3.0 is currently in Release Candidate which means the final version should be dropping soon. Webcomic 3 is also on the way shortly. Once they’re both out I’m going to simplify the site a bit. I don’t plan to spend very long on it as I’d rather have a site that’s functional and updating as opposed to wasting my time playing with bells and whistles. The goal is to make things load fast, look nicer, and to make it all more navigable. I’m mentioning this mostly for the folks who manage their own sites but the casual visitor will probably see the changes as well. I don’t expect it to be drastically different but I’ve been holding onto things from older versions and now I’m just gonna start fresh.

Comic News

I haven’t forgotten about 2071, (Or my other comics for that matter) I’ve just been busy with other projects. I’ve been sorting out some freelance and, if you’ve been following my twitter, working on some digital painting. I have a pretty decent knowledge of Photoshop, I just never spent much time painting with it. I’ve mostly used traditional media and Painter for that.

I still have one more page of Chapter 1.0 to put up, which will serve as a proper cliffhanger. I think I know what the process is going to be like for working on that chapter and I’m pretty excited about it. This comic has always been a bit different and bigger scope than my other work. I’m treating it more and more like production work on a movie as opposed to a simple comic.

Status of the Blog 4-20-10

Lately I’m of two minds. I have to be thinking of the site and keeping it updated regularly. I also have to be thinking about the comic itself and the book it’s going to become when it’s printed. If I rushed an update through “just to get it done” and wasn’t happy with it I’d have to deal with seeing that lesser page in the book. Likewise I’d have to deal with seeing it in the archives on the site. The immediacy of a regular update is lost when I show that work down the road and get a “meh” response.

There’s only a few pages left in Chapter 1.0. After that I’m going to try working on the next sub-chapter as a whole before pushing the updates on the site again. I can work in weekly batches until I get 1.1 done. I need to give myself time to thumbnail layouts and spitball character/prop/set designs. It’s very different when you have time to develop and tighten the imagery versus when you have to constantly be putting something out. You all deserve something better than just what I can manage.

5 full color comic pages a week is a nice goal to strive for but it’s also a lot of work. (Plus I’d like to launch other new projects on the site, both by myself and possibly some from other creators in the future.) But I need to get further ahead in production before that can happen. It might even be a good idea to cut back the number of updates so that buffer lasts longer when I do push updates. I’m not bringing all this up to be whiney or to offer an excuse. The reason I’ve got a blog going is to involve more people in the creative process. Figuring out how to manage a production schedule, how to build and maintain a buffer, these are things to deal with and should be shared. I know I like having a buffer and feel better when there’s work loaded ahead of time. How big it needs to be is something I’m still considering.

I’ll blog while I’m working, maybe even bring back the progress meter I had. When I’m coloring and working digitally I’ll try streaming. Of course I tend to work in the mornings EST and that doesn’t seem to be a popular time for webcomics fans to want to tune in. We’ll figure something out. I want to make the act of creating the comics as engaging as the pages themselves.

Status of the Blog 4-3-10

Sorry I haven’t been very talky here lately. I’ve been working to make sure the comics go up regularly so that means time to write blog posts has been limited. I’ve got a few drafts written but I’d like to save those for days when I really need something good to post. The plan is still to have something new here every weekday, be it a comic, a blog post, a podcast, something. Making comics regularly is hard work and 2071 is easily the most involved comic I’ve done so far. But I also believe it’s worth all the effort I can give it.

I’d really appreciate it if you can comment on or share the posts on Twitter, Facebook, etc. (There’s links to share at the bottom of each post) Retweeting when you see something new posted would also be very helpful.

I’d like to use these Status of the Blog posts to get some feedback from folks, see how everyone’s liking things so far, and maybe get some ideas for more material. I know my posts about art are doing well so I want to write some more of those. If you have suggestions for things you’d like me to write about more in depth (Drawing hands, backgrounds, photoshop techniques, etc.) feel free to comment on this post. The podcasts are also open for discussion. Kyle and I tend to review movies on our episodes. I’ll eventually have my brother on a few, more than likely. If you’d like to be a guest or have an idea for an episode you’d like to see, comment here or Twitter and we’ll see what we can do. I’d certainly like to talk to some other webcartoonists and such on here. Thanks for visiting and thanks very much for your support.