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.

Webcomic Forums & Communities

I’ve been reading/making webcomics since 2002. Over those years I’ve seen a lot of webcomic sites/communities come and go. Some I’ve dived into. Others I’ve signed up for but barely done more than peeped in on. I’d really like to encourage comments with this post as I’m not only looking to share the places I already visit with readers but also always on the lookout for something good to get in on. If you have any links you’d like to share, comment away

Community Sites

These are the sites that exist to talk comics and other creative projects

ComicSpace – Basically “Myspace for comics”. Apparently it’s a very popular site but I never really spent much time on it. I know you can friend/comment on peoples’ profiles and post/sell examples of your work

Comixtalk – Formerly Comixpedia (they changed the name to prevent confusion with the webcomics wikipedia Comixpedia) – news, reviews, and commentary on the scene

Fleen – More webcomics news

Daily Cartoonist – News from the world of print and webcomics with the occasional flame war thrown in

Webcomic Planet

Digital Strips – Podcast/news site on the world of webcomics

Webcomicbeacon – Podcast/news site on the world of webcomics – Webcomic advice/news site from the guys at Halfpixel, hosts of the Webcomics Weekly podcast. Site recently moved to $30 a year subscription model though there is still some free content available

Websnark – Popular blog with some webcomics commentary thrown in

We Make Webcomics – Webcartoonists talk shop

Top Lists

Sites that list webcomics

Top Webcomics

The Webcomics List

Comic Forums

Bulletin boards for creators based around other sites

Comic Genesis

Drunk Duck

Blank Label Comics

Talk About Comics

Comic Dish

The Webcomics List

We Make Webcomics

Pencil Jack

Drawing Board

Concept Art

Other Community Sites

Here’s a handful of other sites you can use to talk with other creators/fans of webcomics

Facebook – There plenty of webcomic groups/fan pages out there. Some people use their Facebook pages only for family and friends, some use it only for comic stuff, and some use it for both

Myspace – Some creators have a profile for themselves or their comics. Some even makes profiles dedicated to their characters

Twitter – I use Twitter a lot because it lets people post quick interesting/useful links and carry on little conversations. There’s lists of webcartoonists to follow and to be followed on. It’s currently my social network of choice

Webcomic Archive Scripts

If you’re running a webcomic you’ll need some sort of script or system to manage displaying and archiving your comics. (Some people do it all by hand but that can become a problem when you want to make site changes and suddenly you have to edit a bunch of HTML files.) I’ve contributed this list to various forums and sites over the years. It’s always changing as some scripts get antiquated and disappear or new ones get developed. It’s a handy list to have if you’re setting out to build a site and it’s one to keep an eye on if there’s some feature your current system doesn’t have and a new one starts offering it. I’ll try to keep it updated but lets remember that this list is by no means perfect or complete. I’ve broken it down into several types of archive systems available and my thoughts/opinions/experiences with each.

Hosting Solutions

These are sites that will host your comic for you and handle maintaining your archive. There are free and pay versions depending on the service you use and how much control you want over the design/advertising on your site. There’s the benefit of belonging to a community but there’s also the concern of getting lost in a sea of similar sites.

Comic Genesis – Formerly known as Keenspace, one of the longest running free hosts available. You edit template HTML pages with specific tags and FTP your files to their server. Fairly large forum community of fellow creators. I used them a long time ago until I deleted some file and broke my site.

Drunk Duck – Similar to Comic Genesis with a community of fellow creators. Major difference is everything is browser-based which makes it easier to start/edit multiple projects though this probably limits design flexibility.

Webcomics Nation – Built by Joey Manley, the fellow behind Modern Tales and it’s family of sites. Also mostly browser-based in design.


Comic Dish

Smack Jeeves

Stand-Alone Scripts

These are scripts you can upload to your site to dynamically cycle through your comics. Some have interfaces to manage certain things depending on the system.

Walrus – One of the first archive scripts I ever used and learned to edit with. If you’re looking for something simple to build from, especially if you’d like to pick up some rudimentary PHP skills, give this one a shot.

ATP Autosite – I used this one for awhile after I got comfortable with Walrus. It can handle dropdown menus and since Walrus only supported one image filetype at a time it was a nice upgrade. Don’t think it’s under development anymore though some sites still use it.

Web Comic







Comic Update Script for PHP (CUSP)

Autokeen Lite – Free archive script from Keenspot. It’s CGI, which is good for hosts that don’t offer PHP. I tried it a long time ago but there was a loop that caused trouble on a Windows server or something.

Comic Gallery

Schlabo’s Comic of the Week (COW) – Sort of built around a Pic of the Day system but I never got it to work too well when I was using stand-alone scripts.

Integrated Systems

These are updating systems that are part of something bigger. They’re basically themes/plugins for existing blogging software to give them comic managing abilities.

Comicpress and Comicpress Manager – As far as I know this was the first real plug and play system for using WordPress to power a comic site. (Which makes an incredibly robust system for handling blog posts/searching and managing an archive) There were sites which offered guides/hacks for doing it before but Comicpress was the first prebuilt theme for doing it. Comicpress Manager is a handy plugin for getting the most out of the Comicpress theme. I used this system early on but over time it became harder to edit as design elements got spread over various files. You can find various tutorials online and even videos.

Webcomic & Inkblot – Similar to Comicpress and Comicpress Manager except here the plugin (Webcomic) handles the archive management while the theme (Inkblot) deals with how it displays. It also supports converting existing WordPress themes to work with it. This is the current system I use because of it’s flexibility in editing and ease of use. Also has a series of tutorial videos.

stripShow – Another WordPress webcomics solution that started around the same time Comicpress did.

WPComic – WordPress theme for webcomics

Manga+Press – Yet another webcomics solution for WordPress

Fantastic Planet

Today I’m going to write about an interesting animated French/Czechoslovakian film from 1973, Fantastic Planet. Before I even try to explain it, check out the trailer.

So yeah. What is this thing about? Well it’s a story about humans living on an alien world. On this planet the dominant species is gigantic. They keep some humans as pets. Others are seen as pests and are exterminated. It’s a very strange sort of science fiction. There are some insanely imaginative visuals going on and just when you think you understand the logic behind some of what’s going on something weirder happens. It’s an interesting effect. The world we’re shown is truly alien and strange which gives us this uncomfortable feeling – the same as the humans in the film feel.

It’s not so much a “humans must rise against” kind of movie like Battlefield: Earth. It’s message is more about learning to co-exist rather than forcing dominance. It certainly has the look and feel of a 70s animated film with a style that reminds me of Yellow Submarine or Monty Python. I really recommend checking this one out for yourself and seeing what you can take from it. It’s easily found online but as always I encourage legit viewings of good films to support them.

State of the blog 3/8/10

How’s it going?

Things are progressing nicely these days as I’m getting a handle on staying organized. I’ve been sorting and prioritizing my work, setting tasks and whatnot. Now that I’ve finally got my bookmarks and notes under control I’ve been putting calendars together. Before I’ve always had the trouble of writing stuff down and then never actually doing it when I said I was going to. This time around I’m getting into the routine and keeping on schedule fairly well. The two key things are to be consistent and realistic. I need to go to bed at a regular time and get up at a regular time. I need to be working on certain things at specific times of the day. There’s some wiggle room here and there. I like drawing in the morning when I wake up and writing in the evening to wind down but I’ve found I can color the comics almost any time of the day, even later into the evenings. There is a point to just stop and go to bed – when I’ll do more harm than good. I’m not in college anymore and I shouldn’t be pulling all-nighters but sometimes the work’s engaging and can benefit from that type of environment. And some nights I just can’t go to bed so I might as well be in the studio. Luckily that usually comes around on weekends.

You get what you give

I’ve seen people fail to visit their own sites regularly and then wonder why nobody else can be bothered to, either. I’m taking this to heart and I’m going to announce this here: The site will be updating every weekday for the foreseeable future. This could be blog posts that are newsy such as this one, they could be info dumps with useful links and advice, random pieces of art or previews of work I’m doing, hopefully more podcasts/reviews/interviews, or it could be comic updates. Rest assured I’m going to have something new on this page every weekday and I’ll try my best to make it worth everybody’s time.

Brand new comic “2071” launches next week

Speaking of regular content – the new comic should finally be arriving a week from today on Monday the 15. Why the 15th? Getting all my ducks in a row, writing new blogs to be posted later, and to give myself time to hit the ground running working on the next section. I’ve already been doing research and collecting ideas. I’m eager to move on in the story from the part I’ve been laboring over lately. I’m very proud of what I’ve accomplished so far on this. I can’t wait for everybody to see it.

On to stage 2 of our ingenious plan

Pencils and preliminary inks on the prologue to 2071 are done. The next stage involves scanning all the analog work and touching it up digitally. This includes whiting out inking mistakes, straightening out lines, fixing some wonky circles, and over-all getting the best linework we can get before toning/rendering/lettering/what have you. I’ll be streaming it live and blogging about the errors I’m fixing. I haven’t settled on a streaming service yet but I’ve tried most of the ones out there. Everyone’s invited to come watch and join in on the chat. Following NoRights on twitter is the best way to keep up with me.

Team Coco

“Nobody in life gets exactly what they wanted – but if you work hard and stay positive, amazing things will happen.”

Those are some of Conan O’Brien’s parting words on his final episode as host of The Tonight Show. As I watched it on Hulu the other day, I was reminded what a class act he is. He refused to compromise the integrity of a show he loved doing even at the cost of leaving it. It’s a shame NBC didn’t give his show the chance it deserved. He grew his fan base over the years on Late Night and put in a lot of work to earn Leno’s seat. Jay Leno’s a decent guy, too, but I’ve always found Conan’s show funnier. Maybe it’s because he was the underdog working hard to make you laugh and having fun. (A reason why I enjoy catching the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.) I know I and the rest of Conan’s fans look forward to following him onto whatever project he pursues next.

Something I like to take from all of this is try to be happy with your lot in life. Don’t settle, keep working hard to reach your dreams, but don’t forget what you do have and appreciate it. Some people let what they could have been in life overshadow what they are and it bums them down. Your dreams should be a goal you strive to obtain, not some specter of failure to haunt you. Rather than being bitter about his situation O’Brien chose to be happy that he got to host a show he dreamed about hosting his way and had no regrets for it. Now that’s the way to live.

I put this blog on the main page to share and learn from my experiences. Some of it’s technical concerning software, tools, or skills, and some of it’s philosophical and life lesson-y. Lately I’ve had a lot on my mind. Drawing/inking is usually a quiet zen-like experience where it’s just you reacting to the work and you can dwell on things. So I’ve jumped into other projects that have been more about problem solving and keeping my mind occupied. I’ll share some of these in future posts but right now I’m trying to focus on cartooning again. I’m almost done inking the section I’m working on. Once it’s scanned I’ll be streaming the digital side of the work and I hope some of you can join me. I really recommend you follow me on twitter so you’ll get the updates from the site, any links or other stuff I put in the feed, and if you’re on twitter you can comment on the blogs I post here.

Monday Morning Eve

I’m posting this Sunday night since Monday I should really be focused on inking instead of blogging. I hope everyone had a great New Year. 2010 is hopefully going to be a busy year for me. I’ll be launching my new comic this month once I get the prologue done. (I was aiming to have it ready by the first but with 5 pages to finish that didn’t happen.) The holidays hit harder than I would have liked but I’m going to try getting back on track here. I’ll be blogging more on drawing and cartoon oddities when these pages are finished.

Bring Me The Head of Charlie Brown

I’ve got topics for posts and at least one podcast waiting to be edited but right now I’m at this point in production where I need to get as much done a day as I can. I don’t want to half-ass anything in terms of blog posts or other content so that means dedicating my time where it needs to be. I’m hoping to launch the new comic at the start of the new year but we’ll still have to see. I could blog every day or I could finish up inking and working on these pages and blog once they’re done. You can either follow the site’s RSS or you could follow me on twitter as that way you get both site updates as they come as well as my random ramblings.

Today I’m going to share a quick little video, Bring Me The Head of Charlie Brown. This is a 1986 student film by Jim Reardon, director and storyboard consultant on The Simpsons. It’s black and white and rather rough, but that’s the fun of it. It’s violent, crazy, and exactly what a student film should be.

Disney and Dali – Destino

Destino has an interesting history behind it. Originally Salvador Dali worked with the Disney studio in 1945 on this experimental film. Though storyboards and 18 seconds of test animation were produced, the film was scrapped because of financial troubles. Supposedly Walt’s nephew, Roy Disney, discovered the project while working on Fantasia 2000 and revived it. I’ve also heard it was rekindled because Dali’s estate was seeking to recover his contributions to the film since it was never completed. Either way, the short was finished in 2003 using mostly traditional animation and some computer work. It’s seen a limited theatrical release along with playing various festivals. The home release has been delayed a number of times for different reasons. Last reported it was slated for 2010. Until it’s available you can find it on various places online.

Picture of Salvador Dali and Walt Disney