Archive for the ‘Comics’ Category

24-hour comic

October 24th, 2012 by Reinder

Last Saturday, I made another attempt at creating a 24-hour comic. My first one was in 2008, failed to reach the required 24 pages and will never see the light of day. This second one failed worse than the first one, reaching only 11 pages. However, it allowed me to develop a concept that had been knocking around in my mind for over three years, and I'm actually rather pleased with the results. It also got some good responses through social media. On Tuesday, I added four pages to wrap up the story - or rather, the chapter, as I see this as a chapter in a much longer story that I very much want to make.

Read it here. All of it is as originally posted, including a typo that at the time of writing, I have not fixed. As a 24-hour comic, it's not the most polished art-wise, but you get used to that very quickly. I see this as a first draft of something that would need to be polished up and reworked later.

For a change, it's a G-rated comic that you can let your kid read as well, and I intend to keep that up, for the most part, if I ever get to continue it. Doing a child-friendly comic with children as lead characters again, six years after my work for Malmberg ended, was a revelation to me; I didn't remember it being as much fun as it was during this 24-hour comic event.

Please feel free to criticize any aspect of the story apart from the rough art - I already know that it's rough. As this is a first draft, there will be an opportunity to fix issues with character design, pacing, tone etcetera - but while I've got a laundry list of issues myself, what matters more is what other people spot. You can critique here (within 30 days after this is posted, after which the comments section closes automagically) or in the comments to the comic itself.

American Gothic update notice

October 13th, 2010 by Reinder

Work on Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan is still very slow, but while you wait, you may want to go to see my fiancee's comic, American Gothic Daily, which has started updating again.

Rapid comic development

May 27th, 2010 by Reinder

A couple of weeks ago, Carson Fire of Elf Life started a new webcomic, Oopsie-Doodle, pretty much making it up as he went along and posting whatever he'd come up with that day on the website for people to look at. I didn't like it much, and just prior to the official launch, I posted a critique, telling him what I thought was wrong with the concept and the execution and predicting that it wouldn't have legs. That same day, he launched it formally and ever since, it's been building up a readership, which has been pretty good about donating money to Carson so he could make more (Carson has had severe financial troubles for years, as mentioned here before). It's not Penny Arcade and probably never will be but by any reasonable criteria, I was wrong and his new comic does have legs.

I still don't like it much, but that's neither here nor there. It's just not for me. What I do like is that rapid-development approach Carson has taken: make a few strips, post them, build simple website, receive feedback, make some more, refine the concept but leave the earlier, flawed batch up, collect more feedback, refine more, build out website. It's not how you're supposed to do it, but it's an approach that has some advantages. The immediate feedback means that flaws are corrected quickly and if the concept doesn't have legs, you can just scrap it after the first few updates, which will still have entertained at least part of the audience.

I have a number of non-ROCR ideas floating around in my head, and most of these would be easier for me to do than ROCR itself. ROCR, after nearly 20 years, is a comic with a lot of baggage and complexity - probably even more so for me than for a new reader who is faved with an archive of 1000+ comics. So the next few months, while I'm working on some pretty important changes in my life, would probably be a better time for trying out some of those concepts on that rapid-development model than for continuing doggedly with ROCR.

Art from 1999: Display design, self-portraits and… Ezra Pound?

September 12th, 2009 by Reinder

The images below are all from a single sketchbook from 1999, and are all that remains of that sketchbook.
First, two self-portraits for a solo magazine called IK (me) that I put out in the late 1990s. It consisted mostly of autobiographical stories, some of which made it online.

Penciled self-portraits of me, myself and I. Yes, I too have done the pencil-biting self-portrait schtick.

Penciled self-portraits of me, myself and I. Yes, I too have done the pencil-biting self-portrait schtick.


Display art for a convention. I was winding down as the editor of another fanzine, <i>Impuls</i>, and one of the last issues was a special dedicated to the Devil. We got some good devil-related comics in including a very nice page by Erik Wielaart, and I wanted to make some displays for a convention. Then I crashed and burned on conventions, hard, and didn't go to any for years. Needless to say, this display never got made.

Display art for a convention. I was winding down as the editor of another fanzine, Impuls, and one of the last issues I worked on was a special dedicated to the Devil. We got some good devil-related comics in including a very nice page by Erik Wielaart, and I wanted to make some displays for a convention. Then I crashed and burned on conventions, hard, and didn't go to any for years. Needless to say, this display never got made.

That year, I was also considering creating a graphic novel about the life of the poet Ezra Pound, of whom I'd been reading a biography for some reason. I'd got fascinated by the complexity of his life and his obsessive, larger than life and ultimately very unpleasant personality. In my head, it morphed into an online graphic novel that would fully use the formal advantages that Internet as a medium has to offer, and so we can all agree that we dodged a bullet when I decided to abandon the project. Aaaanyway... while working on it, I tried a number of approaches to drawing the main character:

Semi-abstract or manga-influenced

Semi-abstract or manga-influenced


Realistic

Realistic


White House in Orbit-esque

White House in Orbit-esque


Something more like my default style of the time, so it'd be easier for me to draw

Something more like my default style of the time, so it'd be easier for me to draw


Before scanning these images, they go through a second round of selection. Sometimes there are images that I think are interesting the first time around (at least in the context of when they were drawn and why) but that don't look so interesting on a day's reflection. In this batch, there was an image that I felt I'd be really better off without: yet another attempt at redrawing the cover art for The Green Knight's Belt from 1992. Every few years, I get a wild hair to redraw that cover (the current version is from 2005)... I'll do it again sometime, but the last thing I need when I do that is a lackluster version from ten years ago to refer back to. So that one is gone, and good riddance.

Art from 1998: White House in Orbit sketches

September 11th, 2009 by Reinder

I've gone through my sketchbooks over the past week to pick what all I was going to keep and what was going to get thrown out. Pickings from the year 1998 have been slim: unless I find another sketchbook from that year that I haven't torn up yet, the images below are all that I want to keep at all.
All are early sketches for White House in Orbit and what's noticeable is how little character art I did. It was pretty much one or two drawings per character, no turnarounds, no height charts, not even many repeat drawings to hone and stylize the characters. Just one or two, and then I got on with drawing the actual comic. Things have changed a lot since then.

Agent X8.5 in a checked suit. I decided against that for the very obvious reason that they're a pain to draw

Agent X8.5 in a checked suit. I decided against that for the very obvious reason tht they're a pain to draw


Jane and X8.5. "Rocket Bandits" was already being written by the time I got around to working on "Orbital Germans"

Jane and X8.5. Rocket Bandits was already being written by the time I got around to working on Orbital Germans


President Perkins was inspired by an old cartoon of President Roosevelt that I saw in a book.

President Perkins was inspired by an old cartoon of President Roosevelt that I saw in a book.


The Servo-Maid. I'd have liked to do a robot revolt story some time.

The Servo-Maid. I'd have liked to do a robot revolt story some time.


Freiherr von Schwanzwald. I'd forgotten all about that name...

Freiherr von Schwanzwald. I'd forgotten all about that name...


Junker Von Schwulenbad. The Germans all had vaguely, or sometimes not so vaguely, insulting names, very few of which we actually ended up using in the comic

Junker Von Schwulenbad. The Germans all had vaguely, or sometimes not so vaguely, insulting names, very few of which we actually ended up using in the comic


X8.5, one more time

X8.5, one more time

Trust me, it will get better as I zoom through the years.

Art from 1998: Cast art for Mana Tracers

September 4th, 2009 by Reinder

Aphid the non-nude pixie - two character drawings from 1998
Two character drawings for a comic I worked on in 1998, called Mana Tracers. It was supposed to be captioned strip like I the ROCR storyline The Corby Tribe that I would work on three years later. It floundered because I couldn't spare time from working on ROCR (which at that time was not a webcomic) and the other projects I had going, on top of a full-time job I got started on in September with a one-hour commute. Also, I had no confidence in my ability to write prose fiction in English at the time. I still managed to get 23 episodes drawn and every once in a while I tell myself I should do something with those episodes.... as I'm trying to get some sort of closure on the period in my life that will be ending soon, I just might. Maybe. Possibly.

Art from 1996 – Krakatoa, trolls and proto-White House in Orbit

September 3rd, 2009 by Reinder

I'm cleaning out my bookshelves full of old sketches, and I'm planning to be quite brutal. I've already thrown out two whole sketchbooks, pausing only to tear out the sketches below so I could scan and post them. The paper versions of these sketches will also be thrown out, but I do want to share these drawings.

The sketches are from 1996, my first visit to Norway. I stayed there for three weeks as a guest of Daniel Østvold, Geir Strøm and Anne-Kristin Mathisen, and his brother Trond and Trond's wife Tanja. Being around so many creative people and around so much good if expensive Norwegian beer meant that a number of ideas got spawned there: a beery conversation with Geir resulted in him writing The Eye of the Underworld for me a year later. But there was another idea from those conversations that we only touched upon and Geir only revisited a year later:

Sketches for a proto-White House in Orbit character and robot

Sketches for a proto-White House in Orbit character and robot


I doodled this 1920s-looking charater and the robot, briefly discussed retro-sci-fi with Geir, and evidently forgot about it until Geir came up with the script for the first White House in Orbit story, a lightweight, flimsy little piece that nonetheless introduced the principle characters and setting well.

I also drew these trolls:
Trolls for a comic called "Hej, Kalle"
as preparation for a story called Hej, Kalle! for which Trond wrote the captions (but not the script). This story is not currently online, which is a bit of a pity as it's by far the daftest thing I've ever done.

Finally, there was this:
My first attempt at capturing Krakatoa from Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan/Chronicles of the Witch Queen
Geir and I had already discussed what would happen if Kel from Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan met the Baron von Fieffelfalsfaffel from The Double. From that came the idea of a meeting between the general casts of both comics... but I already had other plans for Kel, so Daniel and Geir ended up creating a young witch as a prototype Kel. Krakatoa Hekludottir, of course, ended up in my comic instead... The above drawing was the first time I tried to draw her, and as you can see, she looks nothing like the present version.

More old art coming soon as I find, scan and destroy it!

Congratulations, Barbara Stok!

August 20th, 2009 by Reinder


Barbara Stok has won the Stripschapprijs, the Netherlands' most prestigious award for cartoonists. Congrats, Barbara! I was wondering why your name had started turning up in my search results. (The Grim Barrowman, a collaboration between Barbara and me.)

Scandalously, Barbara is the first woman to win the award in its 36-year existence.

[Adam] Skeptic’s Circle Update

April 27th, 2009 by Adam Cuerden

I fell really quite ill last week, and now face the problem of whether to do something half-assed to get it done, or make it worth the wait.

Insomuch as it's possible, I'm going with the latter.  A quick, unfinished sample to tide you over.

[Adam] Ursula Vernon has been robbed

September 16th, 2008 by Adam Cuerden

Artist Ursula Vernon, of the webcomic Digger, The Little Creature stories, and one of my favourite DeviantArt accounts has been robbed.

Here's her livejournal post about it. She hasn't lost everything - she was about to move into her boyfriend's, and that saved her laptop and (I think) her computer, but she lost her scanner, her printer - all the electronic stuff needed to, you know, do her job as a freelance artist.

I'd encourage everyone to do what they can.  I'm also going to try and do some fanart for her, I'd encourage everyone else to do the same.
-Adam Cuerden