100 Days of SPREY – 60

The struggle continues!

I have this theory that no long term project actually wants to get made. Otherwise most dreams wouldn’t just stay dreams and we would swim in awesome creations! Your long term project will throw any problem, challenge and distraction it can at you to keep you from finishing it, but at some point it will give up resistance.

I have good news today about the future of Street Prey(SPREY). I found a surprising solution for it that honestly sounds like I could have known earlier…but I couldn’t. I needed to fall off a cliff, go on a new path pushing my design skills and draw and 3D model many pages of unrelated concept art to realize something. And I hope sharing this serves as a shortcut for you so that you don’t have to go through that, too.

Like all of my stories so far, SPREY has been conceived in a vacuum. A version of Styxcolor was at work that had no understanding of how expensive time is and that designing a world properly costs a lot of this as does a huge and cool ensemble of characters. You will never catch me saying a single creator cannot do a thing. But some projects would require you to sacrifice your life to one of them alone and work on nothing else ever. This seems to be an unreasonable project scope to me. I found out, what hinders me from just continuing to make SPREY like before is this: I cannot afford to create a comic of SPREY’s original scope by working hours and pay I don’t get for it and also release it for free, at least not right now. People will understand. Concept art pays. But I don’t have to let you hanging. I am downscaling SPREY. I will try to tell the essence of it, close all arcs I opened and deliver a satisfying ending building on what I already established. And I will ideally do so within the next six months. That is my self declared goal.

I started off today already by writing a skeleton script. It’s pretty exciting as most things fell into place without much resistance. I am still a bit critical about the scope. That might still be a bit too many scenes and places to design. You will probably not see much movement with the characters on the other hand. So tomorrow I’ll trim fat or if I’m still clueless I’ll start to thumbnailing around. Maye that will influence and correct a moments or two as well. But hey, at least the script will most likely not get bigger than it is now!

And no, I feel no pain about SPREY. I’m surprised myself. Instead, I feel enthusiasm. As if that thing can overpower me, now that I found a way to break it down into something present me can do. I’m not sorry for everything we will not see in this run of SPREY. It was formless potential so far, so nothing is really lost if it does not come through. It never “existed” in the first place. Who knows what the future will bring. I have learned yet another valuable lesson from SPREY. And after all, it’s not about me. I’m worried about my readers first and foremost and that they have a satisfying finished comic that was worth their time in the end. I might have been so inexperienced that I didn’t even know how to start small and how to operate small. My new definition of that is: If I’m capable of pulling it off with my current skills and ressources (including time). And how do I know what I can do? The script will tell me. The design sheets will tell me. If I literally can’t do it, can’t write down a coherent version of the script, can’t draw the scene, vehicle or environment for the love of everything, it is too big right now.

And this leads me to the spectacular conclusion of this blog entry. Today I realized that a good chunk of my problems came from inexperience, from the faint hope I would pick up all the skills necessary on the road to become someone who can actually pull off what I imagined SPREY should be. I was dealing in I should bes and I should dos. When the truth was before my nose all the time. If I could pull off the script that classic SPREY would need…I would have done it! It is okay! So I didn’t fall out of the sky as a master. I have a much better grip on what current Styxcolor can actually do and move within a week of unrelated fulltime work. And I can and must go from that. I cannot base my works on someone I am not (yet), on skillsets I do not (yet) have. Imagine trying to buy something with money you will maybe make in the future (outside of the stockmarket). I must stay with what I have right now. Just wildly imagining an epic story without any constraints is easy I would say. It is much harder to bring it into a form that you or you and a team can actually make come true. Keep it real. Less is more. Start small. Your personal “small” might grow over time.

I hope the readers of SPREY do not have to wait for too long anymore. I will still do my best not to rush anymore ever and take the time it needs. See you next blog entry!

100 Days – 20

Only day 20?

So in a day the third week of my journey is over. And what a journey it was so far! I started at nothing and worked my way through anxiety, insecurity, and now into a new area, environment art. I‘m only starting out there, so be patient with me. But I‘m sure, in a couple of weeks I‘ll be at an acceptable level where comicmaking is actually possible. I had no idea that this held me back all the time.

Getting better at drawing is a task of it‘s own and unavoidable. I feel that it‘s my duty to do everything to get good at it. Otherwise nothing I‘ll ever create will be truly good in craft.

On a different note, life has a weird sense of humor sometimes. I was dealt some interesting strengths and weaknesses that make it hard for me to say what I could and should be doing best. I tried to narrow it down myself and force myself to specialize. But every time I‘m trying to do that it seems to have disasterous effects.

So knowing that one of my biggest fear for this 100 days of making comics challenge was that some sort of big distraction, especially making videogames, would weasel it‘s way into my daily schedule again. It happened. But it did not stop me from working on the challenge, on the contrary. It actually made me more productive. Do I …did I need a bit more of pressure all the time? The way I‘m thinking and working actually fits well with the field of videogames. We will see how this will work out throughout the 100 days. I have rediscovered or allowed my passion for working on „Your Land“. Maybe I should continue with a 100 days of game making after this challenge is over, then. Then I‘ll have a direct comparison how both behaves as a main and as a side thing.

As for „A Pattern Language“ today – did I really need an architect to explain to me how poetry works as opposed to prose? Apparently I did! With much surprise and a lot of amusement after I understood what had happened I grasped a piece of wisdom that I can‘t even touch or fully put back into words. It just makes me think of how many different vessels there are to tell a story and how art can be poetic or practical, too. I think I understand the beauty of small, well crafted things now. I don‘t have to have a comic of pompous length and most spelled out details to make it right. If it works in a small space, condensed, it is not lesser. I don‘t have to have the most detailed painting. It can work on a small scale. Why I couldn‘t understand this was that I was imagining small scale differently up to now. I thought small is empty and shallow because you can‘t go into depth with anything like showing the world in a beautiful way or giving the characters the space they deserve. Well, poetry begs to differ. Also do I even have to know that much? The eye needs shadow areas to rest, too, after all.

And what does this mean? I thought I had to learn how to be shallow, instead I have to learn how to condense. I can have my grand vision and still give it a digestible form. But this could all be just a trick to make me give up Corvus in the middle. I won‘t. If it‘s necessary I‘ll pick single scenes and treat them as mini comics. But Corvus isn‘t getting away anytime soon. And no, it is not my magnum opus, what do you think how I would treat a magnum opus candidate (apart from the fact that you don‘t get to choose what work that is but your audience)? I have thoughts and ideas. And I‘ll continue fighting to evolve. My lines were so wonky all day, but I still worked and worked and worked.

See you tomorrow!