100 Days of SPREY – 18, 19

I feel like I broke through a wall this week. I am still surprised where I find myself right now and scramble to adapt.

Remember how we left off last time? I was worried because Instagram does not seem like a viable platform for me right now anymore. Well, the next day I started streaming on Twitch. You got to interact with the world and bring your comic to the people somehow. And it‘s going very well so far! Apparently, writing this art blog since months has prepared me well to talk for hours, even if I‘m not given cues what to talk about.

What I also learned very quickly is that if you have to show and explain your own process to people, you think about it differently than when you are staying just in your own head. I realized that my current process is working but probably not the most efficient one. I left that first stream so inspired that I practised and experimented for hours the next day to improve upon it. And then I actually had results!

Both of these things combined, realizing I can „survive“ in a public space and the successful drawing development, let my confidence shoot through the roof and it is great. I like to know that what I‘m working on every day is meaningful. That I actually have a grip on my process and can change things. My new best friend is Krita‘s clipping mask equivalent alpha inheritance now. I seem to really like the crisp edges this gets me. Now I have to follow up with a mountain of color studies to back that up with less guessing and more informed choices on what to actually do with it.

I‘m not planning to leave Instagram anytime soon, though, I am connected to some friends and colleagues that are very dear to me over this platform. And some of them do come to my gallery every day to look at the new panel.

Saturday I spent a very important hour with administration work, restructuring how I organize and view my tasks and finally thinking things through. In the past I might have avoided that not to feel overwhelmed, but I have to face it now. A wild garden also doesn‘t care whether you like it that way. If you don‘t tend to it it just continues growing in all directions it wants. There are always many projects, opportunities, ideas and responsibilities crying for my attention. And finish one, two new ones pop up. Everyday life really is a hydra that grows more heads.

My plans concerning my own stories had always failed in the past. Sometimes I still feel the crushing echoes from this. As I hadn‘t ever finished anything of significance I was also lacking the experience of how to plan, creating a loop of failure. But then the 100 days of making comics happened and I‘m farther into Street Prey than I was into any other personal project ever before. I wasn‘t stupid or lazy, I was just inexperienced. It happens. Time, patience, especially patience with yourself and hard work resolves that. You just can‘t see that when you are walking down the path through the fog yourself right now, especially in the beginning.

So after my initial unease to think about and prioritize everything in Street Prey that I haven‘t done yet but could and should be doing to push it‘s quality, I had a lot of ideas. I wrote them down. If my husband and me could finish a videogame, if I could finish all my smaller tasks so far, why shouldn‘t this work? And when I decided that it must work and I must find a way to make it work, I started to see it. I had made a whole mountain of tasks ahead of me visible by writing them down. I should be grateful for it, as everything is brightly lit and accessible now. I can walk the way, take the steps. It sometimes just is hard to determine which step to take next. Fumbling and falls are inevitable, too. But this is just a new adventure on the big journey.

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”.