100 Days of SPREY – 20

Alright! Is a week of 100 days of making Street Prey(SPREY) actually over before I reviewed it and filled in the repord card? No! So here we go.

Overall, I had a really good week. I did everything and beyond but the manul zine. Adaptation is very important and apparently me spending my weekend building up my Twitch was a very good move in that regard. I already connected to a lot of fascinating people and their content this way and accelerated my own growth and speaking skills!

And the zine? Well, after three weeks my official phase 1 for the SPREY challenge is over already. I’m supposed to increase the amount I’m working on SPREY now. The infrastructure and materials for that have landed already, as we have seen in the blogpost before. The mountain is ready to climb, bit by bit. Would it be detrimental to my plans if I kept working at the zine and everything else on the side in small doses instead of hoping to make it in the future or even worse, waiting for a “good” day to do it all at once? Such days unfortunately do not come. You have a sea of average days instead where diverting 10-20 minutes seems to be more realistic. And even that compounds over time.

The magical key seems to be to not work on more than two different things per day with one slot always being Street Prey. My time is precious suddenly or at least more obviously precious. Becoming a pro is a process, not a decision or singular point, I guess.

I‘m looking forward to the upcoming week. See you next blogpost!

100 Days of SPREY – 13

The 100 days of making Street Prey (SPREY) made an interesting turn this week.

I was about to say, on the outside nothing changed or will change, I‘m just doing business as usual with SPREY for another week, every day – but then with the last possible panel of the week a dramatic change took place.

My black outlines and soft airbrush coloring coexisted for a while. Suddenly, black inky shadows appeared. They felt so natural, it was as if I was just uncovering more of the picture as it was meant to be. It‘s not wrong. I love dramatic black shadows and chiaroscuro (which will undoubtedly be the endgame of this). I was just not expecting it would shift now.

In a way this is exactly how the black colored pencil foundation snuck in towards the end of chapter 1. I appreciate it when I can „kill“ most of the lighting decisions with the decision black or not black. Mastering this simplicity is not easy and you should definitely aim for at least a 3 value system in the long run I have heard…but for now, why actually not? SPREY is gritty unless Rich and Willard have a romantic moment. Also, why don‘t I just make the jump and adopt that style for my other works, too, to get better at it? Or is this the last rebellion of the chrome effect brush that I will sacrifice when I change to Clip Studio Paint for a while to see whether this helps me to do a better job?

My performance this week feels not as good as last week, my exhausted Thursday and Saturday cost me dearly, but did not throw me out of schedule. The concept art gig needs only one more session until I deliver to the client again. It would be great if the Manul Zine would be finished the upcoming week, so after the concept art is out, this one gets priority.

Today I thought something that I have never thought before: „No, you won‘t do 5 more environment thumbnails right now. You already did five and you are tired. You would rush them and not learn a thing. Come back tomorrow“ And I could not argue with that. Is that …the reprimanding voice of experience?

See you again next blogpost!

Restructuring V – Mikiko and Resistance

And with this only one further restructuring blog post is left. For me a dream comes true to give the past first round of 100 days of making comics this bit of extra space and deliberation in the six part restructuring blogpost series. Thanks for sticking with me and see you next time!

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.