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
  • 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.