Archive for March, 2005

Bride of the second cousin of technical difficulties

March 30th, 2005 by Reinder

[UPDATE: April 4, 2005: The control panel in which artists can edit their archives is back up, but doesn't appear to function properly. I can add chapters but not new installments. It may be a while yet before I can restore the archives fully.]

[UPDATE: March 31, 2005: The sites aren't back up, but Joey Manley has informed cartoonists that the data up to January 28, 2005 has been saved. It may be possible to get to the more recent data. If not, cartoonists will have to re-enter two months worth of data, which may take them a while.
Before then, it will take a few days before the sites come back up, and Moderntales.com will be last for technical reasons that I won't go into now. You will see old material on the front page, and miss new material in the archives, until they've been re-entered.
Having to re-enter stuff would suck, but it wouldn't be a great disaster.
Practical consequences for Courtly Manners: there are updates in the queue at the free sites until Friday. Between Friday and the day Moderntales.com gets back up and is back up to date, I won't add new updates to the queue. It's difficult enough to keep the three different locations where the comic is uploaded in synch without having to deal with major technical problems on the most important one (the one that pays me money). After that, re-runs are a distinct possibility. ]

What happened less than a week ago with Keenspace is now happening with Modern Tales, where my subscription-based webcomic archives are housed. This may have longer-term consequences if the database is damaged. In that case I will have to reconfigure Courtly Manners and re-program the re-mastered episodes of the "Guðrún" archives.
Until then, look for the most recent Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan episodes (basically, anything I hadn't cleaned up yet) at ROCR.net and the latest Courtly Manners archives at the secret Courtly Manners site.
Normal service will be resumed ASAP.
Meanwhile, the Talk About Comics Forums are about to go registered-members-only, so that instead of a two-front war against spammers and DOSers we will only have to fight a single-front war against the DOSers. I prefered to have the forums as open as possible, but once again my ideals on this matter slammed into the brick wall of Reality. The Reality is that the trust-based Internet isn't working and that spammers, DOSers, trolls and hackers will destroy anything that isn't nailed down. Top Admin Joey Manley has decided that instead of deploying an army of unpaid volunteers to clean up after every dump taken on the forums, he will get rid of the pollution the simple and effective way. Doesn't cure my urge to go out and break some spammer fingers, but it will allow me to get on with productive work, so I won't object.

Work update

March 29th, 2005 by Reinder

A week and a half into my "break", I got the following things done:

  • Did my tax returns, or at least the part of it that I absolutely had to. In practice, that meant bringing my books up to date, doing my VAT calculations and asking for an extention on the Income Tax return.
  • Remastered two chapters of the Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan storyline "Guðrún": Escaping Winter and Kel and Jodoque Live it Up. I used the new A3 scanner to make high-res scans of the A3 originals from 1998/1999 and make new letterings which I may also be able to use for print. The new finished files are a consistent size and slightly larger size, have greater greyscale depth and have larger, neater lettering. They should be easier to read and not so off-putting. I'll do the rest of the story when I have time - it was mostly the first few chapters that offended my eyes.
  • Drawn a tiny, tiny bit. Some art needed to be reconstructed for the remaster project, and I've finished one installment of Courtly Manners. That' s right. Just one, and it was already partly drawn over Christmas. The rest of the week will be spent drawing some more episodes.
  • Fought spam on the Talk About Comics forums. I won't link them here because it looks like threads linked from this blog are more likely to be targeted by spammers. I've had to close down the nitpick thread, even.
  • Made a lot of promotional graphics from the existing material

(boring discussion of ad effectiveness below the cut)

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Whoo-oo-oo!

March 27th, 2005 by rahball

Well, by rights I shouldn't have seen the new Doctor Who yet, coz it probably has to run in the UK before the ABC's allowed to get its mits on it..

But I have, because of Naughtiness. The Fuzzyball and I watched it the other night.

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The Doctor is in.

March 26th, 2005 by Reinder

Here be spoilers. Read on at your own risk.

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The Doctor is back!

March 26th, 2005 by cmkaapjes


Just caught the new series of Dr. Who on the BBC. I've always loved the character of Dr. Who and his charming, but eccentric and weird ways. I mostly remember the series with Tom Barker and Peter Davison, so I guess that makes me biased. I either never really got into any of the others, or simply never got the chance to see them. I must say, I quite liked Christopher Eccleston: His manners seem to me a mix between Barker and Davison, with enough quirks of his own to make his mark.
I feared beforehand Dr. Who in this day and age would suffer from too good special effects, that the cardboard-y feel would be lost. The makers, willingly or not, did a splendid job, however, in creating that crappy '70's feel. And I do mean that in a positive way!
Some special effects were actually flashy high-tech, but those where generally filmed from such bad angles so it didn't disturb the feel too much. The acting by secondary characters was quite bad, and the dialogue in some scenes quite stupid. Also the way of story telling was as it should: the writers assume (correctly in my opinion) that todays audience knows how stories are told, and therefor can leave out all those nasty details that make a story plausible. Series like Dr. Who don't need that, they need interesting plot twists and witty dialogue, and I see enough of this in the new series that I'm looking forward to the next episode.
Link to the BBC Dr. Who site, where among other things, you can download the sound of the Tardis.

Return of the son of continuing technical problems

March 26th, 2005 by Reinder

Keenspace, webhost of the main Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan site, Capn, The Pantheon and sundry other works created by the people who write in this blog, is down for the count yet again. Apologies for the inconvenience if you're a reader of one of these comics.
Alternate location for Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan/Courtly Manners
Alternate location for The Pantheon

In related news, and on a different website, I have redesigned the web pages for The Eye of the Underworld to be more consistent with the look of other sites. After only 7 years online, the story now has its own logo graphic! Other one-shots will also be redesigned and re-scanned.

Retro illustration

March 25th, 2005 by cmkaapjes


Through Drawn!:
Two great illustrators where mentionend on Drawn! recently. The first, Tadahiro Uesugi, is a Japanese master of illustration. He makes wonderful intuitive drawings, with great sense of texture and colour.
Pictures of his current exposition in Japan can be found here. His work has a retro feel to it, as well as the work of the second artist mentioned: Ronnie Del Carmen. He works at Pixar as a story artist, story supervisor, character designer, and illustrator. His illustrations also display a great feeling for colour, form and composition. Their work, especially Uesugi's, remind me a bit of that of the late great Dutch artist Fiep Westendorp. Unfortunately I can't seem to find a good gallery of her work, when I do, I'll update this.
Retro '50's, '60's and '70's style illustration really seems back with a bang, beautifully integrated in Pixars' "the Incredibles," especially if you know the Art of the Incredibles book.

Courtly Manners now syndicated

March 23rd, 2005 by Reinder

The Department of Putting Things Inside Other Things has put the Courtly Manners on the old Reinder Dijkhuis homepage. People still visit that, and it still shows up in Google searches, so I might as well give them some updating content.
Thanks to the dilligent efforts of the Department of Putting Things Inside Other Things, you too can now put Courtly Manners on your webpage. Cut'n'paste this bit o'script:
<script language=javascript src=http://www.moderntales.com/tooncast.php?series=courtlymanners&affiliateID=xxx></script> making sure that no line breaks appear in the code.
The Department regrets that it could have done this earlier - it requires just one switch in the Modern Tales control panel settings. However, that switch is now set, so help yourself to a daily comic for the next few weeks.

Monitors, continued

March 23rd, 2005 by Reinder

Using the new monitor at home has been a bit of a shock. Everything has colours all of a sudden! Bright ones. This has made me realise that the monitor I work with at the studio is, not to put too fine a point on it, appalling. Not quite as bad as the old home monitor was, but bad enough to affect the quality of my output on the web. I couldn't tell black from gray on either the old home monitor or the studio monitor and it shows in recently scanned art where lettering is added in grey (56,56,56) instead of black, or banner graphics where a lightish gray block has been "corrected" with spots of black.
This will not do. The monitor advice thread is still open; if you are a cartoonist, illustrator or graphic designer and have recommendations for a new monitor, please post.
Of course, we will have to find a way to pay for a new monitor. I will have to make time for commissioned art and illustration jobs. That will take a while to prepare because I've just come out of two years of nearly-uninterrupted comics work taking its toll, and there's a lot to do before I can fill up my calendar again. But in the mean time, I will plug one of my revenue sources a bit harder. The Modern Tales house ads on ROCR.net don't pay directly but hopefully they'll entice some people to subscribe to one or more of the sites. If you like Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan, Courtly Manners or any of my other comic strips, you will love the over 800 episodes archived on Modern Tales which also houses Jeroen's Shadow project. Meanwhile, Adam and Timmerryn's Dangerous and Fluffy can be enjoyed in all its farmery superhero goodness at Graphic Smash which has become my favourite comics site thanks to T Campbell's great hand at picking interesting artists who make exciting, unpretentious webcomics. Your subscription money pays for our tools! And put food in our babies' mouths, because all of us have lots of babies.

Swarb walks!

March 21st, 2005 by Reinder

Following up on my post on Swarbrick Plays Swarbrick, I just found out that Swarb has finally had his lung transplant and has appeared on stage with Fairport Convention on March 12. He was able to walk and even sing along on the choruses of one song!
I couldn't look at those pictures with dry eyes. He may not look too great to people who don't know about him, but for a man who was bedridden before the transplant, it's a huge difference. Long may he continue, and may he return to active performance soon!