A big floppy sun hat sounds like a fun wardrobe choice until you have to draw it.
It was actually a pretty relaxing break, but I’m back in it now. And excited, too. It was nice to kind of kick back and not feel chained to my desk every night, but nothings beats seeing a page start coming together. Getting that sunlight functioning was pretty rewarding.
I might be tinkering with my color style on the first few pages here. This is a lot less… intricate, I guess, than what I was doing last time. I feel pretty good about it, but I might need to adjust as I go. Especially when I see what it’s like outside. But, hey, that’s fun, too.
You know, while I was away, I designed a whole city, several new costumes and characters, and none of that bothered me at all. It was fun. More fun than I expected, actually, given my general lack of interest in fashion and architecture and such before I started work on this comic. But interior design is no fun at all, as it turns out. Figuring out the color schemes and furniture in 7 houses… Not doing it for me. I hope it won’t come off as too uninspired.
The hardest part of making this strip, as ever, is how long it takes to put out. I started the document for the script to this story on May 6, 2014. It’s so frustrating to have the ideas in your head and not be acting on them for that long. Ah, well. I’m on it now. And trying to find a balance between still writing for the future, but not writing too much. There’s a lot of images in this story I’ve been really eager to get to. It’s scheduled to run 22 pages (The last story ended up 3 pages longer than I initially expected). Here we go.
As you can see, things look a little different than last time you were here. I had been putting off updating WordPress for awhile because every time I do, it seems to mess everything up. This time, though, it really broke. The theme I had been using is really messed up. I switched to this. I hope temporarily, but the old theme has been broken for 2 months, and seems to have changed owners since I first downloaded it. I’m working on trying to get things back in working order before comics start back up next week. Sorry, guys. See below for this week’s update.
This week, we have one more round of old concept art. A few of the bikes, a few of the buildings, the first drawings of the monster, and some of the wrist communicators and how they work. I worked all the vehicles out in the sketchbook before doing them in 3D. I eventually started designing all buildings in 3D first. And that’ll do it for process posts. Next week, barring any unforeseen circumstances, actual comics will begin posting again. Thanks for being patient while I got everything ready to go. I hope the story will be worth the wait.
I’m running out of interesting stuff to show (That I can show) for the next thing, so how about this? Stuff from the very beginning. The top is the bunch of faces from which I pulled the cast. Just straight up Janelle Monae up there, isn’t it? I ended up swapping a more interesting haircut onto Jac. Below that, clothing design. I have a file full of little figures that I’d occasionally open and sketch out an outfit when I was inspired. I haven’t added to that in awhile, actually… Finally, we have the first full color images of the main cast I ever made. This is when it was serious. They were suddenly real. Next week, I think, we’ll see some other prep work for the first story.
And the week after that, I think we may have a comic again. Took me a little longer to get there than I expected. I’ve been letting myself relax more, to be honest. But also, I’ve gotten obsessed with finishing my 3D city first. I’m getting really close on that. I’m gonna have visitors from out of town this coming weekend, though, so I want to push it one more week for safety. Might push it again if I feel like it, whaddaya want for free? Aside from those concerns, though, I’m pretty much ready. I finished my roughs this week. I’ve seen a crude version of every page. I got a script, I got a plan, I got costume designs, I got a 90% finished CG model… it’s showtime. I’ll put up some kind of promo graphic when I’ve decided. See ya next week.
I did a lot more stuff that’s not very exciting to show this week, but I also started looking into color tests. Trying to find simpler ways to do color, speed up the process. I’m not sure how much time could really be saved, but it’s worth a shot. so here’s 3 variations on a very unimpressed Amanika. Top is how I did the last story. Middle is a more gentle approach to the highlights and shadows. Bottom is an even more subtle approach, which is starting to grow on me. Also the hair. A’s hair was easily the most time consuming aspect of any character in the last story (Even with all that stupid scribbling on Pat & Wei’s clothes). Been looking at ways to make it easier while not losing texture. Just experimenting, really.
I suspect these are going to get less and less interesting. I might try to switch it up. A less productive week, I think. Tripping up on things. I drew a lot of floor plans, made some new buildings, continued doing my roughs (I needed the floor plans first). I think things should really start sliding into place in the next couple of weeks, though. Still planning to get the next chapter posting sometime this month. Also, I made this comic about Prince becoming Batman:
Hi again. Just plugging away. Did a lot of 3D this week. My first model of the city, hastily thrown together for the wide shot of it early in the first story, was not terribly complex:
When I needed exteriors for the place the characters hang out, I started making more complex models in a different file, but I began to realize I’d want to redo the whole city some day. I’ve been working toward that. I took a screenshot of the crude model and blocked out what would be residential, what would be commercial, which parts are abandoned from when the trade lanes closed and which are still inhabited and such, then started to build stuff here and there. It’s not as daunting as it sounds. Since these colonies are prefabricated cookie-cutter things that were being tossed onto planets all over the galaxy, there’s not a whole lot of variety in building design. You’ll see a lot of repetition all over town. So once I have enough different models that I’m satisfied, I can just plug them into the grid I have and that’ll be that, more or less. I’m getting pretty close. Here’s a shot from the other file where I’ve been building stuff:
Not bad. Anyway. I’ve shown glimpses of all the main cast now, so I don’t know what I’ll post next week. Let’s find out together next Monday…
I finished my “final” pass on the next script this week. I’m sure it’ll continue to get edited as I go, but it’s pretty complete. Started drawing my rough layouts. Did some floor plans. Drew some more character designs. Discovered a problem with my 3D city model just minutes ago I need to fix, but a problem whose solution is actually going to help me, I think. Keeping it movin’. I’ve begun to think I’ll start publishing the comic again in mid-May or so. Stay tuned for a final word on that.
Like I said last week, I’ve got a lot of design to do for the next story. I’m trying to figure out how to give updates without giving much away. Here’s some snippets. New costumes for the characters, new characters, and a look at some 3D. As you can see, my 3D is pretty rough. I don’t just drop it into the strip and call it done. It’s mostly there so I can save time worrying about about the geometry of it all.
This is the last page of the year. Christmas vacation would make making another one pretty tough, and I hope you’re too busy having fun in this time to look, anyway. This is actually a pretty natural place to break. I seem to get lucky with those.
This time last year, I had no idea I’d be 31 pages into a comic now. I wasn’t planning to do anything. I think the initial ideas began to form in January, and I didn’t draw anything ’til February. Now look at it. Thanks for taking the time to read Closed Galaxy! Come back in January for some all-out action. If I have done my math right, this story should wrap up in March. Then I have a shorter one planned, and then I have a longer one planned. Plenty of comics waiting to be drawn in the future…