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!

Restructuring IV – The Failed Meta Comic

The 100 days of SPREY (Street Prey) have started already, but the restructuring blog series isn‘t over yet. In fact, finishing this series of blog posts on my thoughts and new knowledge from the 100 days challenge is part of phase 1 of the new challenge. Making room for new things also implies not only finishing old things but also properly reflect on them.

Today it‘s time to look at the failures in my comicmaking challenge. Two big things strike me immediately. The first one was tackling a much too ambitious comic, Corvus, first.

Wishes, will and skill just didn‘t align at all and I was so inexperienced that I had no chance to see that. Unfortunately I did not learn much from working on Corvus that way, as I never actually got into drawing the comic. The blog comics and having to deal with SPREY daily took over that part. But indirectly, being able to dissect it in retrospect, I can see where the problems were and in some areas still are. My desired environments for this comic are crazily complex! This is something a more skilled future me can attack.

My second big blunder is creating thumbnails for a full chapter of a metacomic. This thing will never actually make it outside of my blog or see full production. Why is that so? That meta comic chapter is the epitome of a bad idea!

It‘s about exploring a meta level of narration somewhere between fiction and reality, where my creation gets a chance to talk to me. It contains some good ideas that worked well woven into other blog entries of mine. But it would be a terrible, self-indulgent comic to read for anyone else!

A reader that is not me has no chance to understand that chapter if they don‘t know my blog and the characters in it. And even then I haven‘t ever introduced all the characters properly. So that thing was a good learning experience as it helped me to create something, maybe even to process some thoughts myself, but a thing like this has no business being out there published.

When in hindsight all the meta comics, not only the thumbnailed chapter, seem like a bad idea, why did I do it in the first place? I think I honestly didn‘t know it better – if you start out with something, you can literally start anywhere and with anything, you will not know what it‘s worth on any metric like monetary or progress at your craft. Another factor was that I was under a lot of pressure and for most of the time had not find my calling with SPREY yet. I had to deliver things daily and on some days Mikiko and making meta comics out of my thoughts probably saved me from dropping the ball. It is impossible to not make mistakes. I do not regret them. Thumbnailing that chapter was another sign that showed me I could finish something. I felt horrible about it, but I grew from the experience.

And I guess this is a great lesson in itself. You don‘t have to publish everything you make. Sometimes you will need 3-4 attempts to get one piece right (or many more! Open end!). I have this with my daily panels sometimes, and you only get to see the winner who made it online that day. And in other cases that means to abandon a project before a stage where you could think about publishing it. While you have to make mistakes, you don‘t have to make obvious mistakes you see and identify as mistakes like a rising sun on the horizon already. What you put out there to the public must be more than a self-indulgent artistic piece. It can even be self-indulgent if it must, but it must give the audience something more than just that in exchange for their time and attention. My metacomics have their place on my blog, but you will most likely never see a direct representation of them outside of it – and that is okay.