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 – 97,98

Unfortunately, I could not sleep last night, so I had two days as one so to speak, with two regular daily drawing sessions. I‘m a bit surprised I did manage to get two panels out today, which is great.

What is not so great is that the characters seem out of scale in the second shot, at least to me. In my head the placement made sense, the men in the background would step farther away from the fire and Felipe in the front would of course stand closer to the camera. But I don‘t like how the drawn results look next to each other. That is really good to know for the future. I‘m glad I got to experience this now and can watch out a bit better next time.

Also we have another first. I intend to censor a lot of curse words and violent content by fake graffitis. That fits the street theme and might look interesting when instead of actual blood words spill or something the like. We will have to see how that works out.

Lighting advice

I read a bit of Hogarth‘s Dynamic Light and Shade tonight. Apparently now is the time that that book can help me. I could finally understand it. There is so much to do, but I‘m enjoying the journey. I found out what one of my main problems had been. I love dramatic dark shadows, but they don‘t look good in every context. And it‘s not even a given that they always look good in themselves. Hogarth has an idiot-proof rule of thumb for artists like me: light and shadow are mutual. So if you want strong shadows you have to have strong lights. The secret to overcast therefore is to have meh shadows accompaning the meh light. Black shadows would not work here, unless context like the absolute darkest corner in the room that does not get hit with any light. Also, a lazy statement about the highlights of a form and direction of light is better than none says Hogarth. That actually stuck with me since days. A lazy statement better than none…and I started making at least lazy statements and they got me curious to pay more attention and think about ways to make better statements.

PREY christmas special

In the early afternoon I zoned out and wrote down a PREY christmas special. This is not an announcement of it in any form as it‘s pretty late in November and I have a lot of other things to do. But it sparked my curiosity and I have a script. I could imagine making a compromise and like…drawing the first pages and calling it a day. But it depends on how the next weeks are. If they are as ‚hellish‘ as this one and the last one, I might be good with what I‘m doing on a daily basis now. But what is very visible is how differently I treat an idea like this popping up compared to about 100 days ago. No sweat breaks, the idea just gets written down. I sit back and think about it, then I write some more. No stress having a rough first draft that nobody except me will ever see. Life is good. I even had a rough idea how many pages that might result in if I pack 3-4 panels a page. I‘m a slow/low paneler and love to take my time. That preference might change over the years, I can‘t know how and where to I will develop, but for now it is that. At the moment I’m more worried what the point of the PREY christmas special is. What does it give to you in exchange for your time? A warm fuzzy feeling? Is that enough? Learning more about how Rich and Willard became a couple? Telling you that it doesn’t matter whether you believe in christmas (Rich definitely doesn’t), opening one’s heart for love(not only the romantic one, you know) is a risk worth taking. Anyways, I‘m very grateful for the 100 days of making comics. Only two days to go, wow.

100 Days – 93, 94, 95

Another joint blog entry for three days. While I didn‘t stop drawing and creating ever, a short but intense migraine kept me from blogging properly the last days. The training with those environment thumbnails is hard, but it seems to pay off already. Creating the new panels was definitely last pain than last week, or let‘s say different pain as I‘m noticing different things to fix or improve on. Especially building in good-looking details into the environment seems like a distant goal. But I will be patient. So far, that strategy has paid off.

I have multiple days behind me where I was fortunate enough to create more than one panel for the comic per day. Roughly a hundred days ago I could not have dreamed of even having a running webcomic. I might have been a different person, in any case a different creative. And I‘m determined to make PREY happen. There are many firsts in terms of problems that have to be solved on the road coming my way. This weekend was particularly dense with them. For the first time, I have drawn several panel variations …that failed. So I have drawn even more panels for the comic than those that you see here, but they were failures, so I put them aside and either edited them the next day or drew new ones. That really never happened to me before. I know that it is good practise to have several options in thumbnails and even work out several of them roughly if it is necessary to unveil the best version of a shot. And you have to be prepared to make cuts.

Then a new idea hit me. For a very long time I was aware of quite some rules and best practises without ever being able to put them into use. The world of my mind and the world on canvas stayed separate. And for a very long time I had no idea why. Apparently, I just didn‘t have the skills to translate it. And I count the trainable parts of my endurance and focus towards those skills as well. I must have wanted too much, just like every other inexperienced beginner. Last Monday‘s environment catastrophe was a blessing in disguise as I actually got a hold of my personal limits and am now in touch with them and building on them every day. That should be this way. Everyone could tell you that this is how you train. It is just hard to actually pull it off like with many other simple things. So the failed panels showed me that I must have improved indeed as the speed of failures accelerates alongside everything else.

As I‘m not in the best state today (but as long as it is enough to hold the tablet pen and at least draw the dailies), I‘ll leave it at this for today. That could be the first summary of my 100 days of making comics experience: I found out where I‘m really at with my skills, found a way of making comics that works for me and grew as a creative in the process.

100 Days – 91

Today is Friday the 13th 2020 – and the day was surprisingly balanced for that. Good things and bad things happened. I started to draw quite late but still managed to do my current daily tasks. I’m drawing at least 5 environment thumbnails per day. These have the potential to change you like every drawing exercise that is repeated rapidly.

I dreamt about geometry and characters in perspective tonight. Apparently my characters did exist outside of a space ruled by perspective for the sake of getting them done at all when all my fundamentals were weaker. Sure. In the beginning you cannot take care about everything without overwhelming yourself. But I’m not at the beginning anymore, so it’s time to make the jump and update my process. It might happen that I have to break my style of drawing characters another time, just to make everything work in my developing desire for having perspective in my artworks. I could not have planned for all of this and I feel like there was no way of avoiding years of struggle and confusion. What counts is that I’m here and that I’m pushing myself for growing further. And again, it just might take a while until what I came up in my head ends up in my hands. Creating this simple background in today’s panel was pretty much faster and felt “easier” already.

I also started setting up a discord that I’ll be glad to share with you all soon. It will house some of my collected knowledge from my journeys into art, a place for the community around my webcomic (gotta have one, gotta build one!) and a general hangout. Relaxing and having fun between working sessions is very important. That’s another first, setting up a discord like that.

100 Days – 90

Panel 3 needed 2 attempts, too, but I’m one step closer to being back in my daily schedule. I already started panel 4 with the reject I didn’t take for this one. Let’s see whether I can use it.

And to this one – today was another first. The first time I had to add a second shot to an existing one and repose and recolor an equally sized figure in 2D… and I did an okay job. Not entirely happy with it, but not so far away that it insults my eye. And I have the suspicion there are still many firsts ahead.

Today I’m also not hopelessly tired from drawing, so I will work on something different after a break. The passing of time does not make me love this webcomic less. It seems like I love it more every day. Sometimes I’m not content with what I’m doing, but I’m so living for telling the story. I think beginner me was afraid it would become boring working on the same thing every day for months or probably years…but at least so far it’s only gotten more exciting. Or this project is just the right project for me.