Din Krakatau: First Half continued…

31 07 2008

After a break a bit longer than I planned I shall go over the second half of the so far posted pages.

Page 33 opened second chapter of Din Krakatau. It also opened new chapter of experimentation for me. The idea here was to try digital inking, and also to change the coloring method. Also, no erasing if possible. Page 34 followed that trend, but also experimented with word balloons without any “arrows” pointing at the characters on TV. Page 35 limited the amount of “inking” and it was mostly raw, darkened pencils, no erasing whatsoever, and so was 36, although at this point I started to notice drawbacks of this approach. Decided to roll with it for a little bit longer, perhaps slowly phase it out during the chapter or at the end of it.

Page 37 continued messy art from the previous pages and featured some really badly messed up jaw lines for the main character. 38 added messed up proportions (characters were too small) and a general lack of idea about what to do with the yellow backgrounds. 39 was an experiment in perspective/page layout, which I guess works well despite not that great artwork. And then followed page 40, which I rather despise, I mean, just look at these jaws, the helmet, lack of details inside! Oh well.

Page 41 was my first tiny step towards art improvement, I filled everything with a lot more detail than previously, but I have overtexturized it during coloring. It was also first page I have colored after a hiatus. Meanwhile page 42 was first page pencilled after the hiatus (during which I still had a rather large buffer of finished pages so there was no worries that I’ll run out of them or something like that) and basically here started my voyage to tighten the pencils. I have also picked up heavy shadows. 43 was still messy, but again and improvement, especially the coloring/explosions. Messy artwork worked pretty well on this one. On 44 I have tightened pencils even further, and I must say I was really happy with that page when I finished it.

Page 45 had a lowered amount of textures and again tighter pencils. 46 tried to follow that. After this came page 47. While at this point I am somewhat unhappy with it, when I finished drawing, it was the best page ever. Again gradual lowering of textures and different shading method. 48 allowed me to experiment with large white space and with speed lines.

Page 49 continued from the previous page with yellow speed lines and lighter background under them, and also allowed me to go a little bit crazy with breaking the panel borders (always sticking to the rule  to break to the NEXT panel in sequence not to confuse the readers). Page 50 nearly eliminated the texture, I wasn’t ready to use gradients at this point though so I left them. Also tried to rack up the dynamic there. 51 ended up being one of my favorite pages, and it was followed by 52, a 14 panel page! The biggest number of panels used by me so far.

53 used the same 16 panel grid as a basis, but this time I ended up with only 10 panels. On 54 I allowed myself a full-page long, vertical panel, despite the fact that only people with really large screens would see the entire page. Ended up being possibly the best panel so far. Page 55 cut down on the textures even further, cutting it down entirely from certain areas, while at the same time bringing first gradient experiments. I liked that, so page 56 has even fainter textures and soft shading on the last panel.

57 was the last page with any texture used, I also paid extra attention, I also switched to smoother/gradiented shading of the flaming character. Page 58, no textures for the first time, lots of gradients, some panel border experiments. On 59, even MORE gradients, I remember coloring the buildings was a real pain in the ass on this one. Page 60, experiment with borderless/jagged panels (kind of The Goon inspired).

On 61 I went the easy route  and just drew clouds of dust (which was set up by me on purpose so that I don’t kill myself from drawing all those ruins), and I must say this is a page that came together very nicely. 62 of course is even better. 63 is a bit of a step back, (the faces) but overall it works. And finally came page 64, which took me a while to write, not to mention some perspective struggles.

Overall… last 20+ pages were constant struggle to get the faces, poses, lineart etc. basically everything, to make it better. At this point I am confident that I should be able to finish at least this story (even if it takes several attempts to draw certain things), and perhaps start another one.

Over the course of 64 pages I have learnt a lot. Have gotten a lot more patient with my art (early pages are rushed), improved on anatomy (faces are much much better now) and learnt a lot about coloring.

So what comes next? Well, obviously second half of Din Krakatau! And after that, one of my 40+ projects that either will be pitched to a regular publisher, or shall become another webcomic.


Din Krakatau: First Half

28 07 2008

About five hours ago 64th page of Din Krakatau has went online. This officially concludes half of the storyline.

Wow. 64 pages. The longest story I have ever finished. Or wait. I have not i finished it, not yet. This is just the half of it. Still, it’s an impressive achievement for someone who couldn’t finish a 10 page comic 2-3 years ago. What happens now is that I am taking a break to figure out the rest of the storyline (writing on the spot is all fine and stuff, but the closer I get to the end the bigger the chance it’ll be difficult to wrap it up the way I want it) while at the same time looking into the usual problem of “oops, need money to live”, which usually collides with w my creative processes.

Looking at these pages, I have went through several artistic changes. And I have attempted to improve constantly, making sure that the page I am working on is better than the older pages. Now, making every page better than the previous page is impossible, we all have better and worse days and some things are harder to draw, but I tried to make sure that there’s a noticeable quality jump every 10 or so pages.

In the beginning it was all about keeping a daily schedule. First page was a bit of a nightmare to do, I think it took me 5-6 hours alone to color it. Second one went a little bit faster though. Third one improved on the “painterly” look of the backgrounds while the 9th one was my foray into 9 panel grid. The fourth one was the page that got everyone all worked up and saying “hey, you should make it a regular webcomic”. So I did.

Page 5 had a lovely upper panel and not that great other  panels. And the statues were drawn better than the main character. Page six failed on the “swirling flashback” panel while having a nice “white background” panel, and page 7 was absolutely lazy in the pencilling/inking stage, as I fell back on filling it with “painted” green, but it had my first attempt at breaking the panel borders. And I screwed up the character’s proportions too. Page 8 has a minor transition problem to me (although I think it works) but it also features some artistic improvements and I have used the “coloring using two layers” approach for the first time (while shading the Polytacular).

Page 9 continued the action sequence and features some of the most warped heads I drew in the entire story, and what I considered to be a lame attempt at being funny. Apparently though most people who read it, liked that. At this point I was sick with filling all green bushes and blue sky. Page 10 was the first experiment with colored inks, which was followed by page 11, my first attempt at varying the line thickness. While it was fun to see the results, it was rather straining on my wrist, so I dropped that. On 12 I almost succumbed to switching to flat coloring (see last panel) and I also used my first gradient there (see the mountains on the sunrise panel).

Page 13 was very muddy, and at this point I have realized that this messy coloring has it’s place somewhere actually. It also features my first shy attempt at hand written/drawn sound effects. 14 is, even at this point, one of my fav pages. The panel layout, coloring and shading, all work very well together. 15 was an experiment in overlapping images on a grand scale, and also the first time I used textures to simplify the shading. 16 continued that, although I still used both approaches, as well as colored inks.

At this point my art was noticeably better than at the very beginning, although the jump wasn’t that great. Page 17 featured some lettering experiments and a ten panel layout. It’s also the bloodiest page so far. PAge 18 as a comparison was a drop in quality (although people told me they like how I drew the cop/guard). Page 19 meant more action and more handwritten sound effects, and also featured the idea that started an entire wave of various crazy ideas I had in this story so far. Page 20 featured an 11 panel page that was rather wordy, and introduced the second main character. If it wasn’t for the warped faces, I’d be really happy with that one.

Page 21 I remember as one of the most difficult to make. Not only it caused problems at every step, but at some point I wrote it over with the smaller online versions (originals are big enough for print). 22 featured return of action, and beginning of what could be called chapter 1 finale. Also, it’s the first car I drew in the entire story! Going crazy with sound effects from now on. 23 on the other hand had a rather unusual layout choice (which I rather like) and is followed with 24, that has more cars. It also has one of the most unclear panels in the entire story.

As much as I wanted 25 to work, apparently the car tossing bit is somewhat unclear and can confuse people. Other than that I was pretty proud with the layout. 26 was tightly filled with small panels but the best part on it is the hand holding the hammer in panel 4, where I shaded it properly. That tiny bit made me thinking of making some changes further along the line. 27 is another crazy hair idea, and 28 is 2/3rds awesome. At this point I was using textures irregularly and have been experimenting with different custom brushes for coloring than before.

Then comes 29, where I went weird with the sound effects as background and a rather bizarre first panel. And finally 30, which was an experiment. Most people seemed to like the result. This theoretically wrapped up the first chapter, but I wanted it to have 32 pages, so the next two pages featured a quickly assembled epilogue that also wrapped up an unfinished bit of plot from this chapter. Page 31 was somewhat lazy (but it worked the way I wanted it to), while page 32 was ALMOST a splash page (avoided that by adding a second smaller panel, haha).

And we’ll make a short break here, seeing how long this post is turning out to be.


26 07 2008

I seem to be somewhat lazy in the last few days. After the selfbondage report, I ran out of writing steam and haven’t blogged about anything in a couple of days. To be honest, nothing that important happened… although I did have a misadventure, but I’m not sure if I want to share that online. Nothing bondage related anyway.

So I’ll just make an overall update.

First half Din Krakatau is all drawn and uploaded, last page hits Monday, so that’s when I’ll write more about it. I have already started to scribble notes on where the story goes on from there. First half of chapter 3 should write itself quite easily, so that’s one worry less.

Music? Not much new on this front. I really need some funds going first so that I can afford a new, bigger drive to start  editing those 400+ tracks. Still scratching my head what will go to the video content of the box. Since I caught my selfbondage session one frame a second, it would be possible to do a high speed video of that which perhaps could be uploaded to youtube first and then made part of the box. Don’t know yet.

This Monday, unless the large scratch on the back of my heel won’t heal before then, I am going to a job interview. If lucky, that should make some funds flow. If not, I shall fall back to the trusty “at least I have time to create things” pattern. We’ll see.

Feeling like making a post with lots of youtube vids next time. Just because I can. And I should add more links, something other than just comics category.

Kinky Jinkies pt.2: A Selfbondage Tale

21 07 2008

Ok, I did it. Yesterday night  I had my first TRUE self bondage session, that is a session where I couldn’t get out until the timed release system worked.

Since not everyone wants to view pictures of me tied up and wearing boots, you’ll have to view the full post 🙂

Read the rest of this entry »

Kinky Jinkies pt.1

18 07 2008
Older photo of my long boots.

Older photo of my long boots.

Last four days were great. Everyone has left for the seaside (and judging by the weather they’re stuck in their rented room rather than enjoying the nonexistant sun) and I am free to do whatever I want without worrying that somoeone will walk in on me in some compromising moment, haha.

Well, what have I been doing then? Oh, not much, just taking the opportunity to practice walking in my boots. There aren’t many opportunities to actually wear them anywhere as it’s not the kind of footwear that you can put on while shopping in the local supermarket. So yeah, I’ve been wearing boots for hours, walking in them all around the place, and I must say I am getting quite good at that. As long as the surface is flat, I can keep my balance very easily, unless my feet are tired after hours of wearing boots, but then it’s the time to take them off anyway.

I also did some light selfbondage, and it was fun too. So far I haven’t tried nothing that would be dangerous (other than forgetting that I am crouching blindfolded while wearing my platform boots, so I’m actually 10cm higher above the ground than normally, but I rolled back fairly safely and missed any furniture).

So it’s been four… well, three, as today I am normally dressed… ok, three days of going crazy and absolutely enjoying myself. As a result I haven’t done any work on my art whatsoever and that’s the only bigger problem (other than being short on money, as usual). I should have this place for myself until thursday, or at least wednesday, so I can still try out more things. We’ll see how it goes.  As long as I’ll find the time to color the last three pages of Din Krakatau’s second chapter. Page 62 goes online on wednesday!

Still, it’s amazing what you can do with couple of belts, two padlocks, homemade ballgag (from a soft plastic ball and a thin belt), some ropes, stockings, some loops of stretchy fabric (for blindfolds), clothespins, and couple of other things. Just be careful, and think what you do.

The future of Din Krakatau

14 07 2008

Seeing that I am about to hit half of the story, I have spent some time pondering the future of it. Now, I have an idea where I want to take it, perhaps even might write a proper script before I start drawing it, rather than work on small batches of pages as I do now. Still.

Wow, I am looking at the rough layout for the 64th page, about to transfer it onto a larger page and then fill it with all the details. As it is right now, this is the longest story I have drew. Ever.

In the 1995-2005 period I did a total of 11 pages (in five comics ranging from 1 to 3 pages), and then later in 2007, a short unfinished story (4 pages out of 9 or so, the style used for this one was too time consuming, one page was taking up to a week to finish). Not very amazing result, isn’t it?

As a kid I have filled at least couple of thousands of pages with my drawings and comics. Now, this is a very rough estimate but I can tell you that I used 120 or 160 page notebooks for my drawings and I have filled dozens of these. All of these formed two stacks of notebooks, which if put together, would make a tower taller than I was at that age! Sadly, we threw out most of them, which I really regret. I did save one though 🙂

In the later phase of that period, I was drawing “comics magazines”. Each notebook had a cover (of some sorts) and was filled with a hundred plus pages of short comics, sometimes forming serials, sometimes not (and sometimes botched ideas which I usually quickly abandoned in the oh so creative way of “kill everyone and write the end” ). The longest story that survived from that period had 20 pages. I am guessing that 2-3 “serials” were longer, for example my attempts at my own version of Turtles, these were running for up to 50 pages I think (a guesstimate, as I have none of them left).

So right now Din Krakatau is my longest drawn creation. And I am only halfway done with it.

So what’s in store for the second half? Oh, you’ll have to read that. More adventures, perhaps couple more weird inventions and characters. But this isn’t the kind of future I want to talk about.

Well, what do I want to talk about then? *checks word count* Hah, 400 words of introduction. I always get carried away. Anyway. The idea of putting Din Krakatau into print. Now, I know this isn’t amazing, neither the visuals or the writing. But still, a couple of people who so far enjoyed the story immensely (or so they say and I have no reason to not believe them seeing how they pester me for further pages), and some of them would love to see the book on paper.

I know there’s no chance to sell it on paper in quantities that would cover the printing/promotion bill. I am simply not known enough to sell more than a hundred or two hundreds (and even that if I’m lucky). Regular print is out of question. So I looked into the cost of printing on demand. What’s POD, you may ask? Well, as the name implies, they’re printing your book only when someone orders it. That cuts out the cost of printing thousand copies, shipping them, storing them etc. On the other hand this method of printing is rather pricey, and this is where we come to a problem. On Lulu.com, printing a b&w book costs 2cents per page (plus various flat fees per book, costing extra if it’s a hardcover etc.) Printing a color book costs 15cents per page. So I’d have to sell the finished story for… oh, 30$? That’s not much, right? I mean, for 128 pages? Hell, that’s not much… that’s simply WAAAY TOOO much. But still, I have people wanting it in color.

And I am sure there’s a couple who would love to grab it in b&w. And this is where the wonders of POD come out. I can do BOTH editions and then people can choose whether they want to pay twice as much for color or not.

So, if the world still exists by then, Din Krakatau shall be made available 2009 in color and b&w versions. Meanwhile, I shall return to working on the 64th page.

A minor success!

13 07 2008

Just a quick note this time.

I have managed to recover my Google account at last. Having already set up this blog, I decided to import contents of the old one rather than return there. I like Worpress more anyway.