100 Days – FINALE

Above: to the left – original first post-it for the challenge, drawn in colored pencil. To the right – redraw done today with same medium reflecting the current state of creator and blog comic team of fictitious characters.

It is done! Today is day 100 of my 100 days of making comics.

Unfortunately I haven‘t gained superpowers or completed a whole graphic novel. Even worse, some of my problems as a comic creator persist while other new problems joined.

But on the other hand there is this:

1. I have stopped doubting whether I CAN make comics at all. Yes, I can do that.

2. I failed at what I originally set out to do. Of course I did. But I was lucky enough to understand the reasons for it after spending weeks on other, smaller projects. So I learned a lot out of it.

3. I have learned how to „start small“ by doing a series of „Mikiko“ shortcomics in this very blog, focussing on the adventures and comments of my virtual assistant Mikiko.

4. I have started an interactive webcomic with a story that means a lot to me. I am more than a chapter in by now – so it‘s past the first bump already.

5. I have a much more grounded, realistic view of my actual skills and means and what to work on. Constantly working on one long term project like a webcomic is A LOT already.

6. I met a lot of great people on the road and appreciate those that were with me already, looking at them through new eyes. Although I can behave quite reclusive, I have learned that even I am not an island. We are connected and help each other and influence each other all the time. Thank you, everyone, and a special thanks to my husband, whose patience had no end.

edit: 7. Editing is important.

Above: I’m currently doing my best to improve my environment drawing skills. I usually fill in a row of 5 thumbnails a day with studies. The first reevaluation is at 200.

Accountability

The blogposts instead of videos worked out fine for me as means to keep myself accountable. They were especially effective in the beginning. Having to make a blog post about the day later might have saved one or two days. In the last days of the challenge I combined a couple of days into one single entry. The daily work got done either way by then. I will most likely not stop the webcomic anytime soon.

And what is next?

I will continue working on my comic with the same schedule as now (at least one panel a day), but other than support my husband with his „Your Land“ videogame as much as I can. It soon will be ready to publish! I hope I have built enough endurance during these 100 days to keep my humor and get things done, no matter what.

Will I ever do this or a similar 100 day challenge again?

Actually yes! If it was not for constraints such as time and other responsibilities, I‘d simply add 100 more days of making comics right away. But it‘s part of the artist‘s toolkit to know when you better take breaks, even if you don‘t feel like it at the first moment. I have some other things to build and maintain right now. I‘ll be back in time with new announcements. It depends on how the game launch will go, honestly. If there is a lot of bugfixing and changes to do within the next weeks that might be my project for the rest of the year.

For now, thanks to all of you. Your company has made my journey even more worthwhile and I hope my documented stumbling through 100 days has given you something, too. See you back on the road soon!

Above: what better way to end this than with an interactive choice in the comic? Quick, go to the respective discords I’m sharing that post with vote buttons or to instagram and cast your vote until tomorrow(23.11.2020). For more context – you can read the whole comic on this website. Check out “PREY”.

100 Days – 99

Only one day to go! I can‘t believe it.

Panel of the day is done and I already am working on the next two. Today I was reminded again about how important it is to make practical choices. Sundays and sometimes even Mondays are notoriously my worst days when it comes to drawing time and vigor. You rarely see it, because I tend to work around them, but I have to be alert and I can make my life easier or harder depending on decisions I make througout the week. Ideally, I get tomorrow‘s panel done today and finish Monday‘s panel tomorrow latest…and have it a panel that doesn‘t require too much work, so ideally no new environment or other big change. But let‘s see how that works out. I would hate to disturb the flow of the scene, OF COURSE a new decision panel is around the corner with a truly unpredictable result, so I can‘t really plan that one ahead. It couldn‘t be any other way, right? But maybe, on the other hand, that would be a great way to celebrate the end of the 100 days of making comics.

On the technical side, today‘s panel painfully reminded me of the rule „Don‘t have shadows in light areas that are as dark as shadows in dark areas“. Plus subsurface scattering. That arm shadow was a great teacher. If it still looks off, it looked much worse before, haha.

100 Days – 97,98

Unfortunately, I could not sleep last night, so I had two days as one so to speak, with two regular daily drawing sessions. I‘m a bit surprised I did manage to get two panels out today, which is great.

What is not so great is that the characters seem out of scale in the second shot, at least to me. In my head the placement made sense, the men in the background would step farther away from the fire and Felipe in the front would of course stand closer to the camera. But I don‘t like how the drawn results look next to each other. That is really good to know for the future. I‘m glad I got to experience this now and can watch out a bit better next time.

Also we have another first. I intend to censor a lot of curse words and violent content by fake graffitis. That fits the street theme and might look interesting when instead of actual blood words spill or something the like. We will have to see how that works out.

Lighting advice

I read a bit of Hogarth‘s Dynamic Light and Shade tonight. Apparently now is the time that that book can help me. I could finally understand it. There is so much to do, but I‘m enjoying the journey. I found out what one of my main problems had been. I love dramatic dark shadows, but they don‘t look good in every context. And it‘s not even a given that they always look good in themselves. Hogarth has an idiot-proof rule of thumb for artists like me: light and shadow are mutual. So if you want strong shadows you have to have strong lights. The secret to overcast therefore is to have meh shadows accompaning the meh light. Black shadows would not work here, unless context like the absolute darkest corner in the room that does not get hit with any light. Also, a lazy statement about the highlights of a form and direction of light is better than none says Hogarth. That actually stuck with me since days. A lazy statement better than none…and I started making at least lazy statements and they got me curious to pay more attention and think about ways to make better statements.

PREY christmas special

In the early afternoon I zoned out and wrote down a PREY christmas special. This is not an announcement of it in any form as it‘s pretty late in November and I have a lot of other things to do. But it sparked my curiosity and I have a script. I could imagine making a compromise and like…drawing the first pages and calling it a day. But it depends on how the next weeks are. If they are as ‚hellish‘ as this one and the last one, I might be good with what I‘m doing on a daily basis now. But what is very visible is how differently I treat an idea like this popping up compared to about 100 days ago. No sweat breaks, the idea just gets written down. I sit back and think about it, then I write some more. No stress having a rough first draft that nobody except me will ever see. Life is good. I even had a rough idea how many pages that might result in if I pack 3-4 panels a page. I‘m a slow/low paneler and love to take my time. That preference might change over the years, I can‘t know how and where to I will develop, but for now it is that. At the moment I’m more worried what the point of the PREY christmas special is. What does it give to you in exchange for your time? A warm fuzzy feeling? Is that enough? Learning more about how Rich and Willard became a couple? Telling you that it doesn’t matter whether you believe in christmas (Rich definitely doesn’t), opening one’s heart for love(not only the romantic one, you know) is a risk worth taking. Anyways, I‘m very grateful for the 100 days of making comics. Only two days to go, wow.

100 Days – 96

I can’t believe how quick the week is passing! I was so hungry for more studies that I did a whole sheet in one night. Also I caught myself thinking “yeah, I’ve drawn a panel for the day, but this is not enough”. It is. A couple of more complex panels are coming up. The next one is already in work but I would not want to risk missing today’s update window just for this gamble and rush it. Also that dummy simple looking over the shoulder panel took me 3 attempts that nobody will ever see or acknowledge, haha. That is art and the dirty behind the curtains work of it sometimes. All part of the game.

100 Days – 93, 94, 95

Another joint blog entry for three days. While I didn‘t stop drawing and creating ever, a short but intense migraine kept me from blogging properly the last days. The training with those environment thumbnails is hard, but it seems to pay off already. Creating the new panels was definitely last pain than last week, or let‘s say different pain as I‘m noticing different things to fix or improve on. Especially building in good-looking details into the environment seems like a distant goal. But I will be patient. So far, that strategy has paid off.

I have multiple days behind me where I was fortunate enough to create more than one panel for the comic per day. Roughly a hundred days ago I could not have dreamed of even having a running webcomic. I might have been a different person, in any case a different creative. And I‘m determined to make PREY happen. There are many firsts in terms of problems that have to be solved on the road coming my way. This weekend was particularly dense with them. For the first time, I have drawn several panel variations …that failed. So I have drawn even more panels for the comic than those that you see here, but they were failures, so I put them aside and either edited them the next day or drew new ones. That really never happened to me before. I know that it is good practise to have several options in thumbnails and even work out several of them roughly if it is necessary to unveil the best version of a shot. And you have to be prepared to make cuts.

Then a new idea hit me. For a very long time I was aware of quite some rules and best practises without ever being able to put them into use. The world of my mind and the world on canvas stayed separate. And for a very long time I had no idea why. Apparently, I just didn‘t have the skills to translate it. And I count the trainable parts of my endurance and focus towards those skills as well. I must have wanted too much, just like every other inexperienced beginner. Last Monday‘s environment catastrophe was a blessing in disguise as I actually got a hold of my personal limits and am now in touch with them and building on them every day. That should be this way. Everyone could tell you that this is how you train. It is just hard to actually pull it off like with many other simple things. So the failed panels showed me that I must have improved indeed as the speed of failures accelerates alongside everything else.

As I‘m not in the best state today (but as long as it is enough to hold the tablet pen and at least draw the dailies), I‘ll leave it at this for today. That could be the first summary of my 100 days of making comics experience: I found out where I‘m really at with my skills, found a way of making comics that works for me and grew as a creative in the process.