Monday, December 14, 2009

Out of Limes

Page 7 first-pass color. Click to enlarge. Below, there will be moping.


I spent some time revamping the linework for this page before diving into the color -- that bottom panel has been a big jerkface from the get-go. At some point I'll animate the billions of pose revisions that figure went through. Legs here, legs there, chin here, chin there, arm too skinny, arm too fat -- seen in time-lapse, she'll do quite a jig. Happily, I think I ended up with something fairly inoffensive. The color sort of irks me, though. In the interest of not taking forever, I've decided to leave it for now and come back to it when I've got some new ideas.

In other news, I'll be doubling the resolution of my linework (from 3300x5100 to 6600x10200). My computer seems to be able to chew on this mega-bolus as long as I keep the layers reasonable, and I can knock it down to the lower resolution for the coloring pass. In the end, I can blow up the color layers to the higher resolution, and any loss of crispness will be hidden by the hi-res linework layer. Though I originally did all this to make it easier to do posters, there's another nifty side-benefit to working at the higher resolution -- the flatting plugins handle the little culs-de-sac more deftly, so I spend much less time hunting and clicking through the edges of bushes and eyebrows. Sweet!

The thing that keeps me up at night is the fear that I'm not living up to the promise of the first pages. There are plenty of convenient excuses -- for one, the establishing shots didn't need to move the story forward, so I could sort of revel in the scale of everything. Still, it's a little unnerving to watch the web stats plummet as I move further into the story. This is probably the main drawback to making the development process public -- when the buzz drops off I feel like a schlub, and when it spikes I turn into King Doucheron of the Nozzleites. It's hard to shut that stuff out. Word on the street is that James Stokoe quit the internet cold-turkey for similar reasons. I get it.

I happened across an imperfect metaphor for the way things feel right now: there are lots of parallels between drawing your first comic and setting out on an exploratory voyage during the Age of Sail.
  • Announce your plan to search for the Seven Cities of Gold = start blogging about your comic
  • Queen makes a speech in your honor = Warren Ellis says nice stuff about you on his blog
  • Handbills announcing your departure are posted all over town = you're mentioned on drawn.ca
  • Throngs cheer as you are paraded toward the harbor = you're a Daily Deviant on Deviant Art
  • As you leave the harbor, the cheering becomes inaudible = your blog stats fall off a cliff
  • No matter how many sails are abroad, you can't do better than one knot = you force yourself to sit in front of the computer for ten hours a day, but your brain is perennially constipated
  • Sharks = carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Becalmed in the Sargasso Sea, you boil and eat your boots = you search for your own name on Twitter -- finding nothing, you give Bing a try
There must be a billion of these. Feel free to add to the list. This probably means I'm reading too much Patrick O'Brian.

Please don't tell anybody about the Twitter thing.

58 comments:

  1. I found the Seven Cities of Gold once. They weren't all that. Boots are underrated as a source of sustenance.

    Anyway, while I don't understand most of the technical gubbins, this page is awesome.

    At the risk of asking a question answered elsewhere on the blog and looking like a lazy schlub, what games have you worked on?

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  2. *compares the new and old line art*

    I think you worry too much. ^_^

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  3. Doubling the resolution? Sounds a bit like the classic path towards the detail trap. The practical benefits sound reasonable though. Just make sure that it does not lure you into drawing even smaller leafs. When you are beginning to put outlines around individual hairs, that would be the point to take a step back. Just kidding.

    The amount of detail in your work is amazing. I think this is a thing, many people get instantly hooked up by when they see your work. It may very well be the one stylistic element that gives your work this extra sex appeal that is needed to promote work over the internet successfully.


    However, one thing that makes me wonder a bit is, that through your storytelling I do not get the impression that the detail really is essential to your vision. From your older post one clearly gets the feeling that you even feel hindered by it in your darker hours. I wonder if you have yet made up your mind about this consciously.

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  4. your stats plummeted because I got too busy and couldn't spend all day hitting refresh on my browser hoping for a new page. :-p sorry;-)

    Seriously though..don't let numbers fool ya...just keep producing and they'll be lining up. Im no warren ellis(although I can grow a pretty good beard when called for) but myself and the rest of us mooks will definately be pushing your work to everyone we can...when it's ready that is.

    Also I am secretly happy that your stats are down..it's like that cool new band who all of a sudden everyone is listening too...this means I'll have a while longer to enjoy your work before I have to turn my nose up at your groupies and be like..I remember when he was twittering himself.

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  5. If you're worried about the storytelling now that the establishing work is dealt with, focus on panel arrangement. Bad artists can tell good stories with well considered panels, and good artists can be ruined by thinking no deeper than 'i want this picture to be big and this picture to be small'. And then there's innovative stuff that people like Frank Quitely and J H Williams III do.

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  6. Nate - spend less time worrying about traffic and stats, and more time producing good work. It's simple.

    If you do a great job and unveil it to the world to see, all it takes is one person passing the link on to another, then 2 turn into 4, 4 become 8 and on and on exponentially.

    The key is to be patient. So instead of wondering and tracking and tweaking and trying to make things work on your site, spend that time on your content. We all know its good - and we're all waiting for you.

    I wouldn't necessarily use the single sailing ship metaphor to describe your situation. Consider this more of an armada taking off together with you as commander and all of us behind you in support. We're all there with you, we're just waiting on where you're taking us.

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  7. Put me firmly into the "don't sweat the stats; get me more pages" group.

    I drop by every time there is something new.

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  8. Keep going full speed - this is an awesome project.

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  9. Mark - Sometimes the internet is a small place. I frequently read your blog! I'm happy you like the page. As to games I've worked on -- from most to least likely to have been heard of by anyone: Demigod, Star Trek: Starfleet Command 2 and 3, Space Siege, GoPets... that's about it. Considering I've been doing it since '93, my batting average isn't too high. Lots of projects get the chop, sadly.

    Daniel - The detail trap is absolutely a danger at the higher resolution -- since I've already gotten bitten by that one in the past, I've been pretty good about keeping zoomed out these days. As to whether detail is something I really want in my work -- I whine a lot (about everything), but I do feel a sense of accomplishment when I finish an intricate page. It's sort of like beating a video game set to expert, or completing one of those giant jigsaw puzzles that's all one color. You're sort of pooped when it's done, but you glow a little. Last night, I noticed that things really literally seem to glow a bit when I finish. I wonder if the tension constricts the flow of blood to the optic centers of my brain or something... probably better not to think too hard about this. Thanks for the great comments!

    Kelly - Ha ha! Thanks for the encouragement. Somehow it feels good to know that people who can grow beards like this stuff. Why? I don't know. It just does. Never you fret about me shedding my indie status, though. I think there's a rule that anybody who uses purple in their panel borders will be shunned throughout North America. But how can I resist? It's just too fabulous.

    dnwilliams - Good advice! You may be happy to hear that I sweat the panel arrangement quite a lot, and that I'm aware of my weakness in this area. It's the main reason I originally wanted to do an animatic -- I was just too scared by the complexity arranging multiple images on a page. It's really hard, yeah? Scott McCloud and Will Eisner are my big go-to guys on the subject. Thanks for the artist recommendations -- they're both crazy good!

    Drezz - Aha! So though there are other explorers searching other continents, you're saying we can exchange mail and fight off pirates together every once in a while. Nice. As for not wasting my time chasing stats -- I've already got all sorts of rules about using the internet during the work day, and I don't let myself post to the blog unless I've finished a page. Still, I've definitely let the blog/tail wag the comic/dog a couple of times. I don't check my web stats anymore, really (okay, once in a while). It's too easy to think of that number as some kind of score. I'm slowly learning self-control. Thanks for the support, Drezz!

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  10. Douglas - Thanks! I am in that group, too. Let's see if I can shave a couple of hours off my page time this week.

    tiltedsymmetry - Thanks for visiting! I really like the new photos you've got up on your blog. I guess I'm a sucker for tilt-shift. Great stuff!

    Diantres - You've coined a new verb, and I like it. I fully intend to wald like crazy today. Thanks for the nudge. When are we going to get to see some new Rodrigo action? The world needs more Rodrigo.

    Brent - Thanks very much! I've got the pedal to the metal. Perhaps I should switch from my sailing ship to something with an outboard motor. Or maybe a huge dragonfly named "Evinrude."

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  11. I've been reading your blog for quite some time, and like the others, I'm mainly waiting in the wings with my money in my fist - counting the days until you'll ask me to part with my cash for some of your truly astonishing art. I'll probably also buy it for every person in my family as well. We're here being quietly supportive. Just hang in there!

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  12. Nate, in Multifill, do you have Join Areas checked? If so, at what tolerance? For Gabe's pages, I have it set to 10 [Area] and pages come to me at 3046x4667. Without it, those little corners can get pretty crazy.

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  13. Also, the cat fades into the background quite a bit in the fourth panel. I had to go back and look for it after seeing it in the fifth.

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  14. Never mind me questioning the detail. I think the real reason for that was that I somehow tend to feel guilty when I watch your pages. You know, like if I MADE you doing the details. Because I WANT to see it. Ok, that's getting weird...

    Thumbs up, it's all well worth the effort!

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  15. "Please don't tell anybody about the Twitter thing."

    Too late. I just tweeted about it.

    Chin up. Everybody pushing themselves goes through times like that.

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  16. The stats thing can send you a little crazy. Myself and six other Irish comic book artists have a sketch blog (www.eclecticmicks.blogspot.com) and we were quite happy with our 70-80 visitors a day. Until St. Patricks day came around and we got some nice links which drove us up to 4,000 hits. How many people hung around after visiting that day? You guessed it, zip, zero, goose egg. Right back to 70-80 visits a day.

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  17. Web stats are for babies.

    But then again, I've only got like 500 visits (which is pretty much spot on considering the complete lack of quality/content), so maybe I am the baby?

    Either way, that whole little Oni press indy guy comic collective is kinda strange anyway. Just keep chugging alone and people will enjoy watching girls fighting while riding on Dinosaurs.

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  18. LOVE the ship exploring the new world metaphor. So true, at least from my experience as well.

    And I for one love your updates. I'm working on a transmedia project and my background is film. So I'm learning about the comics side of thing. Your site is really helping out with that. Sooooo... thanks for that. Keep up the good work. Don't let me down. My success is completely dependent on you. ;-)

    I kid.

    I really do enjoy your posts and I also love the artwork. I can't wait to see where this goes and how the story moves along. I'm really intrigued. Seems like a great way to maintain buzz if you ask me.

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  19. Website "page hits" are flighty things to track. They very by hour day, and time of year. I am webmaster for a web fiction site. (I won't post a link) and the number of hits on the site can vary as much as 1000 hits between one day and the next. I can only suggest getting out on google to spread word of your site. I got our site on google by setting up an adsense account.

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  20. dude, no one can do a comic where every page lives up to every other page. You're telling a story so as a natural part of the ebb and flow of a narative you won't have helcopters blowing up or girls kissing on every page!

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  21. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  22. This was the above deleted comment. I just found a typo.

    I don't know anything about analytics, but I do know your work continues to impress the hell out of me.

    When I saw the first page of the two characters hiding in the leaves, I was blown away. This page was no different and after looking back, I think you made the right choice with changing the line work on the girl. Her pose now feels more natural.

    Not being a practiced artist and having not messed around in Photoshop for some years, I can't really offer any help on the color.

    Anyway, continued luck to you. I look forward to seeing what you do.

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  23. Ditto what everyone is saying about the stats .......... irrelevant to what you're really doing.

    I quite like this page . Nice balance of colors warm/cool. Keep it up.

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  24. Moebius commented on the madness of comics in that you spend months doing something that someone will breeze through in a few minutes. You have to love it--at the very least.

    Good work Nate. Inspiring.

    We humans are fickle, the web multiplies that. So attention will come and go especially when a thing begins to seem 'quantified'.

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  25. Cameo - Whoa! Thanks, Cameo! Those are really kind words. I'm stoked to have a couple of guaranteed sales, too. If I can clear fifty cents per copy, and assuming your family comprises 500 people, I can use it to buy a new X-Box!

    Eagle - Here's my red-face moment: I was never really sure what Join Areas even did. I'd better go back and experiment a little. You may have just saved me a couple more hours per week! Does it ever get tiring being right all the time? As to the cat fading into the background -- you're right. I've put it on my revision list. Thanks for the help!

    Daniel - So YOU'RE the one making me do the details. I knew it. You know, this is the first time a drawing of mine has induced guilt in a reader. This feels like a milestone. Thanks!

    Colin - I saw that you tweeted about it! I feel like we're headed for some kind of infinitely-recurring internet Moebius loop of tweeting and blogging. I guess now you should tweet about me blogging about you tweeting about me blogging. Thanks for tweeting in the first place, though! My chin is at a significantly higher altitude now.

    Stephen - That story rings very true! It's funny how you can get conscious of stats even though you start out not caring at all about them. It's a little like a magical elf appearing in your bedroom one night and telling you that you get thirty fairy points every time you eat a grape. You're like, "wait, I'm getting scored on my grape-eating?" Even if I had no idea what fairy points got me, I'd probably end up eating way too many grapes. The internet is sort of the same thing. Anyway, I love your ink-work! That Jedi drawing is awesome! Thirty bonus fairy points for you!

    Michael - Yep, I am definitely a crybaby. But dude, you stopped putting new stuff on your blog! What comes after Mercenary Tao? And as to pressing down hard with a mechanical pencil -- until I got the Cintiq, that was pretty much the beginning and end of my technique. I'm scared of ink.

    Mark - I'm glad you're into the story so far. It's especially encouraging that someone with a background in film is enjoying this. Good luck with your project! When you've got some stuff to see, feel free to mention it here in the comments!

    Warren - Yeah, stats are definitely fickle. I actually thought about doing adsense, but then I realized I would officially have crossed over into stat-whore territory. For now, I think I'll just concentrate on drawing. Thanks for the advice though!

    spleenal - Dude, I don't have helicopters or girls kissing on ANY of the pages! Is that something I need? I didn't get the memo! (tears out hair) It's okay. I can go back and put exploding helicopters in every panel that's got exposed sky. Now the comic's going to be good. What a relief!

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  26. Nate, I love this new page! I think it is just as impressive as the first one. As long as you are setting the tone and telling a good story then who cares which pages might look better to someone.

    Also, I hate stats now. They have drained all the joy out of my life and I am left with an empty shell. Joking, but they really do suck me in way to much. I've searched my name on twitter too. Isn't that what Twitter is for? Business to see if people are talking about them?

    As far as the size of your pages...for the love of everything holy, that is huge. I love it! Keep it up man, I am really enjoying everything you are doing.

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  27. Join Areas and Flag Areas are both useful. Join makes it so all those little tiny areas get combined with nearby larger areas. This can save time in some spots, but waste time in others as I've noticed no pattern in which nearby areas it will end up choosing. It may not be the -nearest- larger area.

    Flag lets you instead turn all the small areas into hot pink [or whatever you choose] splotches of noticeable colours that [hopefully] stand out from the random mess around them so you can manually decide which areas they're supposed to be part of.

    I don't use Flag, myself. I hide and show the lines channel regularly to see what's attached or not. After a while, though, my eyes go numb to a page and I miss little spots of different, but very similar colours. With the randomness of Multifill, I frequently get spots of colours that are so similar to the larger areas around them that I just can't see a difference with the lines on.

    The Height/Width or Area settings let you decide how it decides what makes a spot "small". If it's wider or taller than your chosen pixel count, it won't join or flag. Or if it contains more pixels in all than your pixel count, it won't join or flag.

    It's always fun to find something I can help with. :)

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  28. Shaun - I'm glad you think the new pose works better. There was definitely something odd about the original legs-together stance, and her arm was all wiggly. And her chin was bloated. One nice thing about having no deadlines on this is that I can go back and bang on something as much as I want. If this had been a game concept, I would have had to let the early version lie. It's not a great feeling, having embarrassing artwork out in the world that you can't take back. Thanks for the compliment, Shaun!

    Dominic - Yeah, I know. I see now that I got a little carried away with the stats thing. I'm sort of a drama queen sometimes. I'm very happy that you like the page, though! I love your recent LA noir piece. I grew up not far from City Hall, myself.

    JP - Moebius said that? Huh! The really disheartening thing is that in his case it's more like, "you spend fifteen minutes drawing six masterful pages and someone breezes through it in seconds!" But I'm happy he felt this, too. I suppose you have to draw for the one kid out there who will keep coming back to each image, just like you did when you were a kid. Thanks for the kind words, JP.

    Jason - Yeah, the stats are mean, aren't they? You know, the one that really hurts is the Comic Blog Elite -- they update in real time and rank you with everybody else. It's like a horse race. I am intimately familiar with every blog that passes me: "Oh, come on! Dwarves Who Love Moon Night got a thousand hits today?!?!" But some of the above commenters are right that stats don't have much to do with the quality or viability of your work. Still, on a lonely creative journey, you look for encouragement anywhere you can get it. I think people will take our stuff seriously once it's done and on the stands. I know I'll be buying ReMind! Thanks for the support!

    Eagle - I'll be doing some more flatting this week, and I'll have your comment open in a separate window. I'm looking forward to seeing if this helps! Thanks a lot!

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  29. I totally agree with you about people taking it seriously when our books are on the stands. It's really hard to keep people interested with just a promise that you will one day have something finished. But on the other hand, posting your progress online and actually getting feedback, as small as it may seem, is much more motivating then trying to do it alone for 3 years without showing anyone. Not to mention you are inspiring others in a huge way!

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  30. Hi, Nate. I've been one of your silent watchers both here and on deviantart. While you're far ahead of me both artistically and in realizing/developing your comic -- maybe I can be where you are in ten years -- I still sympathize with every pitfall and understand the hours of work that seem to yield only incremets of progress. I'm also scavenging your techniques like mad!

    Your struggle is our struggle, so hang in there. Also, it's been enlightening to read about your coloring and drawing process, but would you ever consider posting about creative choices like character design, color palette, or perhaps your setting and creature design? I love your fantasy fauna, by the way. I'd be interesting in hearing how you arrived at these decisions as well as how you implemented them. Thanks, and godspeed!

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  31. Jason - Yeah, I sometimes get a little depressed by the profusion of incomplete personal projects on the internet. It's just a giant graveyard of blogs that were last updated in 2004 with "this is it -- I'm finally going to write my novel/write my screenplay/draw my comic/record my album!" I wish people had more time and more money to actually chase those dreams. It's especially bad when there are no comments after such posts. You wonder if they'd have done better if they were getting the sort of support that's been given around here. We're pretty lucky guys, Jason!

    Varcolaroux - That's a really generous and inspiring thing you've written. I felt a little glow when I read it. It was a nice feeling!

    I will definitely be posting more about my process, especially as it begins to crystallize into something that has definable attributes (right now, it's mostly "click on random button in Photoshop, click on random part of the drawing -- if the drawing is worse, undo, if the drawing is better, repeat"). As for the fauna, I think it's heavily influenced by my early interest in dinosaurs. I really idolized dinosaur artists like William Stout, Gregory Paul, Doug Henderson, and Mark Hallett (so much so that I ill-advisedly majored in Paleontology for my first three years of college). I'm pretty sure most of the stuff in my book comes from years of looking at dino skeletons. There's probably a lot of Star Wars influence there, too.

    Thanks for the wonderful comment!

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  32. Just wanted to let you know I heard about you on Scott Kurtz's twitter and have been following ever sense. Speed is not much of an issue for me, as, it's interesting to see the weekly/bi-weeklyish updates as I slog through my comics trawl.

    But, man, if we're gonna use that analogy then there has to be some point where you hit land and then have to negotiate with the natives and/or begin to navigate your way through jungles filled with a wide variety of exciting new insects and/or venomous snakes!

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  33. Started listening to Patrick O'Brian. The Catalans. Boy, howdy, is it boring.

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  34. lunabird - Very good point! Am I headed for Roanoke or Tenochtitlan? Will it be a long, unforgiving winter or a profusion of tropical diseases? Will I be eaten or worshiped as a shiny metal god (actually, I think I might be mixing up my history and my Star Wars with that last one). Anyway, thanks for following along.

    Eagle - Huh. I've never heard of the Catalans. I guess I should avoid that one. Interesting that you started out with a book so obscure that it doesn't even have a Wikipedia entry. I hope it doesn't put you off the Master and Commander books, though. Trust me -- they're nifty.

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  35. Absolutely not put off. I'm just listening to them in the order that he wrote them. I just started The Road to Samarcand now.

    He did five books before he started with Aubrey-Maturin.

    The reviews for The Catalans are mostly positive:

    http://www.amazon.com/Catalans-Novel-Patrick-OBrian/dp/0393051102

    It's just not what I'm looking for while working.

    I got puking sick of the Star Wars books once I hit the Episode 3 one. Several hours into it and Grievous' ship still hadn't crashed on Coruscant because the author kept having endless sections talking about how famous each character is and what their emotional motivations are. As if we really need a series of paragraphs going on about how children across the galaxy argue whether Anakin or Obi-wan are the better fighters.

    I suppose I may as well just stick with the material deemed to be of sufficient quality for the screen.

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  36. Oh, yes, I can very much see him coming into his own now. Sailors and gangly, naive scientist types.

    There's a doctor in The Catalans, which hints at his scientific curiosity, and there is mention of the sea, but he doesn't feel like he's in his element. That's all changing now.

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  37. From the perspective of the cheering throngs:

    Great explorer disappears beyond the horizon. Realizing they'll not be returning with the goods for another year, you go back to work and try to kill time until you see the sails coming back the other way = hype will always be at it's highest when first announced and just before release... you'd exhaust yourself trying to maintain your hype boner that long. It's the same for movies and games. Don't worry, when people smell their copy in the wind they'll perk up.

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  38. Eagle - I'm glad he's getting into the swing of things. It sounds like you're a pretty thorough guy -- do you frequently start with an author's first book and go all the way through in chronological order? I suppose that matches the "Sam the Eagle" mental image I've got of you. Well done!

    xyzboy - Coop! I hope you're right! I keep forgetting you read this thing. I like the phrase "hype boner." You're my hype fluffer, dude. Get to work.

    Also, have you started work on your comic yet?

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  39. Sometimes, yeah. If the author himself seems interesting and not just a particular series, I'll check out some of the other stuff they've done. It helps if that other stuff is easily available. In this case, all his books came bundled together.

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  40. Hi Nate congrats on another page well done. Your art has an amazing "feel" to it: there's a brilliant depth and life to every panel. The characters are quite well defined too in such short narrative, I'm very intersted to see how the plot goes.

    I'd say your worries about stats are unfounded. I used to check your page daily for updates; now I check your facebook link instead. So perhaps the fall-off is in fact a more realistic calculation.

    I truly believe that when you've completed this chunk of awesomeness and released it into the big bad world 9through paper and the interwebs) the masses will lap it up. You, my friend, will have all your hard work rewarded. Just stay true to what you want to do with the art and the story, keep believing in yourself, because I'm no comics expert, but I know your stuff is original and exciting, and is destined for major success.

    Q'apla!

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  41. nate, I've now read your waldo pages 3 times over. and because they're so good, I went back and read your entire blog. it blows my mind that some so sure-handed and artful as a storyteller is so self-critical and punishing at times.

    nate, your illustration is good and your story drew me in faster than the death-star's tractor beam. you gotta stop reading mckee's "story" and comparing yourself to the pieces mentioned therein. or any movies for that matter. a movie rewritten dozens of times -- the initial writer's pages, the producer's notes, the director's notes, the actual production, the editor... your final draft is the film's rough draft. chinatown was hundreds of pages before polanski got ahold of it. so was bottle rocket. (a personal favorite). anyhow, I'm rambling. (I'm in filmschool right now, so we're reading the same books and traveling the same bumpy road.)

    anyhow, I just wanted to say, you gotta ease up on yourself and plow through. don't compare your work to anyone else's. including your own first pages. just finish this. it's amazing. and I'm betting your feature script is as well.

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  42. Eagle - Merry Christmas! I hope you got many Cintiqs in your stocking this year.

    jLOVESj - Thanks for the encouragement! I'm now of course a little regretful that I aired my little crisis of confidence publicly, but maybe this sort of thing also deserves a place in an honest account of the trials of making a comic. Still, I'm especially relieved to hear that the story is interesting to you. That's a very good sign! Thanks for taking the time to write, and double thanks for writing what you did.

    BenHansford - Thanks, Ben. Yeah, it's a tough balance for me, because if I go too easy on my stuff a lot of really crappy material sneaks through. The trick is to separate self-criticism (good) from self-loathing (bad). I think I may be slowly getting the hang of it. I'm sure you're grappling with the same balancing act. Sometimes, a little bit of frustration is just what's needed to get across the finish line. Regardless, I've gotten a good recharging over the Christmas break, and I'm rarin' to hit the ground running when I get back to Seattle. Thanks very much for the commiseration. Good luck with your film work!

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  43. Bah. Humbug. Nobody loves me quite that much. ;)

    I did order myself a Nostromo N52TE yesterday, though.

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  44. Happy new year everybody. Inspired by Nate I've started my own blog to chart the creation of my own graphic novel called Near Death. So if you have a moment drop on over to www.neardeathcomic.blogspot.com and say hello.

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  45. Eagle - Nostromo N52TE? That's the name of the ship from "Alien," right? It's so cool that somebody bought you a spaceship.

    Stephen - Go, man, go!

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  46. Hahahahaha. Indeed, it is! Can't help but feel "Sulaco" might have been a better name, though.

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000WMEHYG/ref=oss_T15_product

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  47. Hey Nate. Did you see the article about you?

    http://idrawdigital.com

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  48. Look, it's not about the amount of hits you get on your blog - it's about the dedication of the viewers that you already have. I don't know about you, but I'd prefer one thousand fans who'd all buy my future book than ten thousand page views who wouldn't spend a dime on my work. I know that's a bit exaggerated, but it's not about the quantity but the quality of the fans.

    And if it makes you feel any better, I almost never see a blogspot post with 50+ comments. Look at all these people who enjoy your work! Keep on going!

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  49. Hope everything's going well Nate ^_^ I check the RSS feed for this every few days, always interested to see what you're getting out next :)

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  50. Jason - We're famous! I'll try to remember to wear dark sunglasses when I go out today -- hopefully the paparazzi won't recognize me. But seriously - congratulations, dude!

    Kevin - Good point! And I love Spacefood. To stave off suicidal thoughts, I'm going to disregard the fact that you made it in high school. The sound effects cracked me up so much I had to watch it twice.

    Nobbynob - Sorry for the lack of posts - the holidays put everything on hold, but I'm back in the swing of things now. Thanks for checking in!

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  51. O'Brian's "Richard Temple" is not at all, in my opinion, worth sitting through, no matter what you're doing at the time.

    The Golden Ocean and The Unknown Shore are interesting. They are very personal stories of two different ships that start out in the same group, bound for the same destination, but ultimately end up in vastly different circumstances. Both have his signature hint of scientific and natural curiousity doused in seamanship.

    Moving on to Abrey-Maturin now. Can't finish Richard Temple.

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  52. At first, Nate, thanks for your words about my work. After, I want to say, this time in your blog, that your work is for me an inspiration. I think you must continue drawing and writing comics, because your work is brilliant. I like very much your drawings, but I need to say something about your fantastic color. I like the way you do, because the colors are at same time bright and smooth: a real delight to my eyes. And I hope learning myself something, by the observation of your pages.

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  53. Good luck, loving all you work so far. We're going for a slightly (much) less ambitious single issue of a comic...

    http://deconstructed-comics.blogspot.com/

    Will be following your progress!

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  54. Eagle - I'm still surprised by the thoroughness with which you're attacking the O'Brian catalog. That said, I have discovered that a comic artist runs out of listening material pretty quickly, so I can see how you might learn to strip-mine entire sections of the library. Still, I hadn't been all that tempted to read Richard Temple, so it's nice to be able to write that one off completely. I'm looking forward to your thoughts on Master and Commander!

    João - Thanks a lot, man. I'm really enjoying the color experimentation -- it sort of feels like learning chords on a guitar by strumming at random. It's such a nice feeling when you find a combination that sings, you know? Your stuff would look great in color, by the way. I look forward to that day.

    Den - Your dev sketches are looking good! And it's awesome that Spleenal submitted 3D fanart. That's always auspicious! I'll be keeping my eyes peeled for your first pages. Thanks for swinging by!

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  55. It's going great! There are far more frequent spots of humour now, but their rarity still makes them noticeable enough to illicit a response from me. And the enormous length of each book isn't nearly as horrifying as some other books. More of a boon, really, and you learn so much. I've caught hints of thoughts that came up in the Lost Fleet series, too.

    Yes, we certainly do run out in a hurry. You'd think it'd be harder, what with so many books ever written...

    The reader for this first of the M&C series was the same as one of the pre-M&C books. He's got such a particular voice... Takes a while for me to get used to him, but once he hits his rhythm and stride, I can put up with his gutteralness. I can certainly picture him being a grizzled old sailor for real. Throw a little tea in him and his throat loosens up some.

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