Website Makeover

I bring great news!

I am improving my website for a better reading experience and more comfort using the site in general.

You can see some very visible changes already such as the new landing page. Now scrolling through the chapters of SPREY is easier and more fun than ever. I must admit that I have to rethink how to present SPREY chapter 3. The chapter will be quite long, so presenting it in ONE scroll could become a bit tedious. I’ll figure it out!

There’s more to do though! A change like this screams for a new header for the page and a proper comic cover for SPREY. Also, the Manul project will over time give up it’s spot to a portfolio. But today is not the day and I’ll finish the project like it deserves it.

Finally, the blog. At first I thought the change broke it as the blog is “forced” out on the front page now. Then I realized that my blog is actually better off than before as you can easily access and read at least the latest 5 entries without me having to turn to clickbait titles to make you interested in them anyways. And for the other blogposts, I hope putting them in useful categories and also giving you access to the cloud of tags I accumulated over time (calling it the Styxcolor iceberg amicably) should help you to navigate through the rest.

This blog is running since more than a year now! Going through my old posts while assigning categories made me humble. A different person than is writing now has started this journey and put a lot of effort aside to document it and share information with other artists who might struggle and might save some time by not making all my mistakes. The struggle probably does not end ever, but the particular problems to solve change. I am no longer scared of the comic page as an opponent or having to redraw characters again and again. Not saying I am good at it, it is just not as hard as it used to be in the beginning.

I would have had the opportunity to go in and edit or even delete some of the old posts, but I decided against it. You get the full picture with me. A lot of my things didn’t work out in the past. Maybe that is just the nature of creative endeavors, that a lot of them fail. But if you learn from it, they pave the way for the ones that succeed.

And with that I’m returning to the drawing table.
See you next blogpost!

Announcement – 100 Days of STREET PREY

edit: I have just decided to change the working title of my webcomic from just “PREY” to “STREET PREY” to distance it better from the awesome videogame series it has nothing to do with. The new nickname of the project is SPREY, a word that apparently doesn’t exist. Well, now it does.

I have an announcement to make! I will embark on a new 100 days challenge tomorrow! One of my favorite options was simply adding another 100 days of making comics on top of the previous ones. If something seems to work, why change it? But then I found a way to slightly pivot this into a more personal direction. Fellow artists Grant Roberts (his IG: grantrobertsart) suggested I could focus on my webcomic. First I was surprised…how to focus more on it? I was doing SPREY since weeks already!

But then it dawned upon me – was I really doing everything I could do in my power? No! Not in the slightest! Other friends keep calling me out on that, too, (and I‘m endlessly grateful for it, thank you all), but what kept me from acting differently in the past was that I simply didn‘t have more time and energy that I could invest into SPREY. I already did what I could.

And why was that?

SPREY had to share my attention with other projects such as the Manul Project and constant worries and confusion about where to go, what to do, what to commit to as a creator. The confusion was so bad that I was barely moving forward at times. I must have been quite unfocussed in the past and sneakily changed during the 100 days challenge. Working on SPREY daily has become my nature enough that I find it harder and harder to divert myself into working on more than a maximum of one thing on the side per day. I must have done that in the past a lot! A lot of hopping all over the place. And then being unhappy that I wasn‘t getting exceptionally good at anything or even…finishing things. And now I couldn‘t imagine being like that. I will admit, I still feel the echo of it though, whenever I turn another opportunity or new challenge down. I cannot do everything that sparks my curiosity for SPREY‘s sake. I feel, with this project I finally have the chance to go my personal path and I should not risk losing it again.

RULES

The 100 Days of SPREY is my very personal continuation of the original 100 days of making comics challenge and not connected to the challenge or it‘s official rules anymore.

But in order for it to be a challenge or a similar vehicle for transformation over time like the original 100 days, it must have rules.

1. I will continue updating SPREY daily, one panel at a time.

One panel a day seems like a working formula that I should not disturb.

2. I will blogpost at least once a week about it, Sundays, with a filled out report card.

While I love to blog and hold myself accountable over it, I might not have exciting things to say every day. So I will not blog and ramble just for blogging‘s sake. I also feel that sharing my daily panel is not that newsworthy anymore after it‘s working since more than two months now. My daily warm-ups are even less interesting unless I make a big technical discovery. They happen like a force of nature.

I have created a report card for the challenge using my experience from the first 100 days, where I can tick off the daily comic panel and other tasks related to my journey every day. You will meet it for the first time this Sunday and I will also share a blank with you so you can use the report card for your own projects if you like it.

3. Sunday itself is a compulsory rest day where the only art related work allowed is a single panel update on the SPREY comic.

This might sound like a stupid rule to you, but makes a lot of sense for me. I am a workaholic and no, that is not a cute quirk, that leads to long term problems, if left untreated. My sleep problems of recent might be a result of working seven days a week and never resting, not a bit. It is very important to relax and practise relaxation. You need breaks and that is not only for having new ideas when you allow yourself to disengange with work. I want to create all my life, so I need to stay as healthy and balanced as I can. In my opinion, a rest day like this is a great idea for a start.

4. The first phase of my challenge is to continue narrowing my focus on SPREY – „breathing out“ (approx. 30 days)

I will finish still running unrelated projects such as the Manul Project and not start or continue things on the side. Only exceptions are continuing the work and support on „Your Land“ and my freelance gigs. I hope to take no longer than a month (30 days) for this phase.

5. The second phase of my challenge is to actively grow SPREY – „breathing in“

I have a wishlist of things to try, look at, build and develop here, but this comes into play once I have created the room for it after working through phase 1.

See you tomorrow!

100 Days – 77

Above: gestures exploring movement in rugby

I am surprised to declare it myself, but the „early phase“ of my Mikiko blogs just ended.

No, this does not mean that Mikiko or other meta adventures go away. Instead, written blog entries like this one make a return, coexisting with the comic-only ones.

Lately, I have come to realize, that I cannot express everything that I need to say in Mikiko comics as they are right now. There is a simple reason for that, I have to make them fresh every day and usually lack the time to go in depth with any topic, unless I spend 2-3 hours working on them. And even then the quality is not ensured, as I literally do not have the time to think through them twice.

On the other hand there is of course a certain beauty to keep things short and crisp. It just isn‘t enough for me anymore as I‘m rediscovering or realizing for the first time what it actually means to take your time with creating.

You know, just like they say like a mantra „Don‘t rush“. I‘m a working horse. I have high ambitions, I am ready to pay the price for it, I am rushing for a living. And nobody ever could explain to me what „Don‘t rush“ entails and how to tell a good quick artwork from a rushed one. My partners in discussion used to retreat to „Well I just know it when I see it“ intuition argument. It‘s not wrong, you indeed see it in whether the artwork grabs you or not, whether it has silly mistakes in it‘s details or not that you could easily have avoided if you took the time to check. But you can also make a not rushed, still empty-feeling, boring piece. So it is not that easy that time spent on it automatically makes it better.

Are we coming back to a simple subjectivity of taste argument? No. What my blog comics and other works lack sometimes is substance. Substance is accumulated over time, working through something, getting rid of some strands that go nowhere, refining what is there, adding new things where necessary. A rushed product is raw in a literal and figurative way. It might do it‘s job, but it might lack the finesse and cultivation that makes it into something that is more than barely functioning.

I am not unhappy with rushed products in general. I am acknowledging that life and creativity usually happens on tough deadlines, the conditions are rarely perfect, so you have to prioritize things over others. I just didn‘t even have the chance for a different choice than quantity, as nobody could explain to me what quality is supposed to mean and entail. A part of quality is more than crafts, research and time spent alone, ethereal or abstract. So now that I found a path to that other mode for myself, I will explore it for my curiosity and your entertainment! Would it make a difference if I drew a thing and instead of hitting publish came back the next day to look at it and wonder „How could I make this even better?“ I guess I am rediscovering fire aka editing work. Editing can be a destructive force that destroys the energy of your original creation or it can elevate it. I am perfectly used to the „no brain, just create“ mode of making first drafts. And now it‘s time to add a second mode and a second phase on top.

This blog entry is the first test of this new approach. I have written it yesterday but after sleeping a night over it almost completely dismissed the original draft. Not even sentence one survived unchanged. And that is okay. Let‘s just say there would definitely be more editing possible, maybe a second round, but one round is definitely better than none. Let‘s see whether this translates visually. I‘m getting nervous at the thought of letting things lye around and ripe instead of throwing them at your head every day in best intentions. But I have chosen to explore that, so here we go! Let‘s see whether getting slower with conscious editing times does make things better here.