You’ve probably noticed that things aren’t what they were around here. Well, I can’t hide it. Things are different, and they will be for a while. Let me explain.
First, the changes that have been made are mostly about time. It takes a hour or so to digitally draw/ink a strip, more if it’s got fiddly bits. I’ve found a distinct lack of time blocks of that variety. Specifically, it has to be an hour-ish that I’m in front of my computer, able to work on comics (and be productive, but we’re not going to muddy the waters with artist depression. Not for a paragraph or two, at least.)
Let’s start with work. I recently moved from being part time at 29 hours to a full 40. 11 hours might not seem like much to be syphoned out of the week, but trust me, you can feel it. The big change is that after work, I used to have time for a quick nap, maybe doodle some comics before I had to go to whatever I had in the evening. That is no longer the case. Of my three super busy days, Wednesdays I’m running to D&D, already late once I clock off. Tuesday I have an hour before my next thing, and Thursday I have a bit more, but still not enough to head home, work on stuff and head back out. So 3 days a week I’m not at home until late (and I really need to get to bed.)
Let’s add in my school as well, shall we? It’s not hard stuff, for now. But I have been having to put 4 hours a week or so maintaining a presence in the course. That’ll probably increase in future semesters, but right now, it eats time out side of my busy days, as Mondays, Fridays, and Saturdays are the only time blocks to put the schooling hours.
So that’s why the comic is not done digitally, and also why its in not in color. Because I don’t have the right amount of time.
I do, however, have all of those new work hours, ripe for multitasking.
It’s A Rough, Rough Life
The only reason I can do so much stuff in my life right now without having to make big cuts is because a lot of my job is sitting with my mind detached while my mouth natters away. That means I can prep D&D, write comics, and maybe even work on school stuff while at work. I’ve also done some reading. Good times.)
It occurred to me, though, back in… October? that I could put in the extra effort and skip the computer step. So I gave it a go for Inktober. I, interestingly, drew the exact number of days I had predicted, ending up with 14ish scripts. I learned a lot in that brief time, mostly about how to manage supplies, to plan a story, and to not try for a daily grind with 2 strips a day.
After letting things lie fallow for a bit, I finished up a hand drawn thing I was working on for a person I know on Deviant Art (where I do post stuff outside of this) and posted it as my first experiment of a complete comic, all in one go.
Currently, I’m running 2 hand drawn comics. The first, It Starts in a tavern, is a D&D thing, based on a comic project that I’m probably not going to be able to do until I make comics for a living. Or until I really know what I’m doing with it. Or both. ISiaT is set in the Forgotten Realms, D&D5e’s flagship setting. I have a vague idea of what will happen in its future, but the next page is almost always a mystery to me. I’m learning a lot though, improving character design for a final release, eventually, makes fore a more consistent tale. And I have more variation in characters to draw than other stories, which will work out for my good. Another plus is there is a lot of talking, which means I have reason to practice lettering.
I’m not good a lettering. Yet.
I still need a lot of practice. And if I redo these on the computer, text bubbles will be handled the old way, text boxes and bubbles, skipping any semblance of hand drawn for them.
Actually, just so we’re clear, I’d love to spend the time to remaster (or just ‘master’. they haven’t been mastered the first time yet!) any of these comics, but I’m not going to go to the effort unless there is interest. (My interest also counts, but moving forward with new stuff feels a bit more useful rn.)
Anyway, I’m getting good practice in. That’s the key part. In fact, this is probably the type of comic I should have been making a long time ago. Really good for working on practical skills, without needing to be “perfect” (or at least, ‘presentable,’ which is often as near as I got to perfect.)
The second comic I’m working on has a very different tone from ISiaT, which is refreshing. I’m posting it only to Deviant Art, as I don’t know if it will be interesting to anyone else. Well, it does have Rachael in it, which people may like as she’s a familiar face, but the other characters are much more niche. So atm, it’ll remain over there.
I did have a moment of realization this morning about my relationship with Deviant Art. While it might have ramifications for the comic in general, I’ll be writing about my insights over on DA somewhere, where at least 1 person will see it. It might be a life changing realization, tho. We’ll see as I get it all down on paper.
So what does the future of Mad-Matt hold? Well, ideally, I want to do more complete release comics, with the intention of having some comics behind a “Pay what you want” wall. Not entirely closed down behind “Give me money” but I do want to try and find more ways to monetize. I’ve yet to find a platform that will do this, but I haven’t looked very hard, to be fair.
That’s far afield, though. More immediately, I do want to finish RiGP, but I’m balking at something, so I need to go back and figure out what it is, then find time to make it. ISiaT and Stalking CCP continue for at least this month. Haven’t gotten bored of them yet!
I’m also looking to expand my list of active comics (because I don’t have enough of those, do I?) I have a few ideas that could have good stories attached, I’m just not ready for them yet. I did learn way too late last night that there are random spaceship generators, that give you a 3D view so you don’t have to make up a ship yourself (which has honestly hampered space things I’ve wanted to try.) I need a bit of time to assemble spacey-thoughts, but I might throw some Sci-Fi at the page and see what sticks I guess.
I’ve also thought about building sub-domain type things for my various comic projects. Making just the RiGP comics accessible at mad-matt.com/rigp, for example. Each page would also be able to have it’s own cast list, story info, all the handy links dedicated to just that one page. I have no idea how much work it would be, or if it would be better to make static access pages with wordpress filtering. I dunno. I don’t think I’m using comic easel the way its intended. Or most optimum or whatever.
I also want to mess around with animation. I need to buy some tools for that, which is not something I do in November and December. Much. But I’m trying to be good, so I’ll have to wait until gift season is over.
If you like all of what I do, rejoice, because it’s still coming. If you like most of what I do, yay? as it might be happening and if might not be. If you don’t like what I do, rejoice, because its happening slowly.
But I’m still here.