It’s been a while, hasn’t it.
Pretty much everything else in the comic is done. I just have this one spread. And a couple other little bits, but mostly this spread. Getting it done seems a little bit closer now that I’ve finished this page of it, and now that I’ve gotten a few of my friends to pitch in for the next page of it.
I am never doing a spread like this again. Future me, if you’re looking back at this thinking that it’s been a while since you did this trick and maybe you’re ready to do it again? Don’t. Working on a climactic spread that takes months to do is a dreary, dispiriting thing.
Admittedly it also doesn’t help when your mother dies in the middle of the process. That ground work on comics to a halt for a couple of months.
It’s been way too long since a new page showed up here, hasn’t it? I’ve been slowly working on this page over the past month or so. I’ve also been working on future pages; folks supporting me on Patreon have been seeing these as they happen, in the context of full WIP chapters.
this spread is taking nine kinds of forever isn’t it
The next couple of pages are going to take a while. I think there is a pretty good chance I will finish the entire rest of the story before I finish them.
Anyway. I guess I should do my taxes now or something. What a great reward for finally finishing this page, huh?
(Slight edit because apparently the apostrophe in the old title was not being properly escaped, and was breaking some RSS readers.)
Well this one sure took a while. It didn’t help that my Monument Valley trip took longer than intended due to getting snowed in, and nor did me getting a cold and being pretty much useless for the week afterwards.
It also didn’t help that this is a complicated page with a LOT of stuff going on. I’d work on it for a little while and it really wouldn’t feel any more done than it was when I started; that’s kind of disheartening, and makes it hard to keep going.
But now it is done.
The next two pages are going to be at least this complicated, if not more so. But they’re also the two pages that I’ve been planning for since the beginning of the story; when I finish those, it’s all downhill from there.
So much for that buffer. I spent the last week doing pretty much nothing but playing video games and having a cold.
The next page is mostly done, so that should be going up on schedule. All I have for after that is my outline, so I guess I’d better get to drawing. But right now the sun is about to set and I’m probably going to fall back into the mindless embrace of trying to get a 100+ kill streak in Diablo 3 or something.
Barely staying on schedule. Must fight seasonal depression.
Large parts of this page were drawn while hanging out at Lucid sharing drinks with cartooning friends.
Next page status: four panels, all roughed, none finished. Pretty sure that’ll be done by the Thursday, and then pretty much the entire rest of the chapter is finished.
I think this will probably be the only page for this week; I don’t have any sketches for the next page. I might have a wild fit of productivity tomorrow and take it from “loosely laid out dialogue” to “final art” but I’m not gonna count on it. I did actually spend three solid hours working on this, which is like three times more than I’ve been able to make myself do for most of the past few months, so you never know. I think spring may finally be coming! (Edit: I had a wild fit of productivity tonight while hanging out at SICAGA and got the next page roughed, holy crap. Lots of complex backgrounds in that one though, so who knows how long it’ll take..)
Aaand I also spent some time throwing together a Patreon campaign. I had a few people ask if I had one; now I do. Basically it’s an ongoing Kickstarter that will pay me per-page, for those of you who’d like to support me that way instead of (or in addition to!) buying a copy of the book about once a year. You can find out more here.
(I’m still going back and forth with the printer on contracts, this is just taking crazy long this time. I will be so happy when I get book 2 in print.)
I finished this page sitting on the show floor at Wizard World New Orleans. That is all.
Hey! Fan art!
TWO pieces of fan art!
The first one is from Alethea, and the second one is from Heuwyn Phynn. (Let me know if there’s anywhere you want me to link it to…)
Sorry this one didn’t make it up last week, everyone. These three-world pages are just HARD TO DO.
This is, at long last, the FINAL PAGE of chapter X. There’s only chapter XI left to do, which should be shorter than this one was, and then it’s off to Kickstarter for book 2. And speaking of Kickstarter, here’s a couple cool comics that’re kickstarting books…
Yu+ME Dream, omnibus edition, and Spacetrawler book 3. Yu+ME involves layered dream realities, lesbian romance, and an amazing kaleidoscope of drawing styles; Spacetrawler is a comic space opera about slavery. Yu+ME is finished, Spacetrawler will be done when this third book goes out. And you can read ’em both for free online, too: Yu+Me, Spacetrawler. Go check ’em out and maybe buy the books!
Guest appearances in the mostly-befuddled audience, L-R: terrible referenceless caricatures of my college buddy Jason Fonseca, Sigil, Orv, Dana.
Some of these sound effects might look familiar.
This song totally sums up Rita1 and Carol1’s gestating relationship.
Also HOORAY, this is page ONE HUNDRED.
This page is a whole week later than it should be. Mostly because every time I’d look at it, it was scary and intimidating. And when I’d get a panel finished, there was still a huge amount of work left. Having ten panels on one page will do that to you.
I’ll be at Anthrocon this coming week, which will probably counteract the effects of going down to two Ritas per page for a couple of weeks – a cross-country flight plus the Biggest Furry Con There Is is probably going to leave me useless for anything more than playing video games for a half a week.
At any rate, if you’re going to be at Anthrocon, be sure to drop by my table!
Looks like I only managed one page this week. Not surprising, there were errands to run in the sun, the beginnings of a complete revamp of what I eat, and a much-needed visit from the ex-with-benefits after a couple weeks of that not coming together. At least I knocked off a couple of not-Rita art things that had been lingering for ages.
Also, if you are deep into the Tumblr thing and feel like being my unpaid promotion team, maybe you feel like reblogging some of the recent things I posted on the Ask Rita tumblr – I threw some big chunks of comic in there to see if I can get any new readers from what everyone says is the most hoppingest social media site nowadays.
The spell circle dragon-Rita’s sitting in owes a ton to imagery from The Dark Crystal. I had the art book from the movie when I was young, and I think it shaped something subtle and important that runs beneath the surface in my art. There was gonna be some purple in it at one point but then I was all “wait no Barrett doesn’t have that access in the it’s-all-a-hackjob interpretation”. It is hard to write four narratives at once and try to make things work with at least three different interpretations of What’s Really Going On, but if you’re gonna write reality trouble stories, you kinda have to. Geez, writing stories with only one layer of reality is gonna feel so easy when I’m done with this.
While I was finishing this page, I spent some time reading a manga called “Ultra Heaven“, which touches on a lot of the same themes as Rita for its first two volumes. The third goes off in a very different direction from where I’m going, and I think ultimately kind of punctures everything the first two volumes set up – but it’s pretty interesting while it’s going. If you’re looking for another reality trouble comic to read while I slowly finish this one, this isn’t a bad choice at all. Although it is really quite lacking in cute robot babes. Thanks to the ever-awesome Brandon Graham for the link.
Okay now to set up the next page and then go get baked and play board games with some friends.
There is a layer in this page called “I thought I was done drawing bookshelves when I finished chapter 1 of Absinthe”. It contains abstracted books, cut and paste from that comic.
“Never draw anything you can copy, never copy anything you can trace, never trace anything you can cut out and paste up.” – Wally Wood
Also, Mattie’s shape is inspired by some of the work of master photomanipulator J. K. Potter, most specifically his portrait of Lydia Lunch.
This one took a while! Lots of finicky stuff. It would have taken less time if I hadn’t come up with silly titles for the books in the second panels of the lower tiers, but sometimes you just have to do these things.
I dunno if we’ll ever see Tom10 (Heckboy) or Tom12 (Steampunk Vampire) again. I had to draw the entirety of each Tom, so here’s that panel without the world-layer effects…
And also here is a shot of the library close enough to read it. If you can figure out what all of the titles are mutations of, then… you’re probably me.
ALSO here is a model sheet I finally threw together of Dragon Rita. I really need to make these for more of the characters, to be honest. I’m lazy.
As it turns out I think this one would have been a little late even if I HADN’T spent Wednesday doing dirty Adventure Time fan comics and going to see “John Carter Of Mars”. Having two characters start to tell stories in parallel, with a whole bunch of new designs on the page, made it pretty slow going.
And if you’re wondering, I would have cut and paste that drawing of Elf Barrett even if I wasn’t drawing seven other panels completely from scratch. Sometimes you just gotta do a hold!
Also I hope that it’s pretty obvious from the context that a “sundrop” race is one whose route takes it REALLY STUPIDLY CLOSE TO THE SUN.
Welcome to Pallas!
I was really tempted to slack off and finish this Tuesday but, well, I got started on this one late because I spent a couple hours on the phone with one of my idols. And one thing I am continually amazed by when we talk about getting stuff done is HOW FAST HE IS.
So, you know, I let myself take some breaks and browse the web a bit, but I kept on thinking, man, Matt Howarth wouldn’t be doing this, he’d just be sittin’ there at his desk, chain-smoking and drawing up a storm. So I ended up making myself stay up late enough to finish this page.
There is a growing part of me that wants to go back and make the expressions of the earlier pages a bit wilder; I really feel like I’ve gotten a lot more comfortable with all these characters as time goes on. But I’d rather press forwards and keep telling the story. Speaking of which, there should be EXPLANATIONS forthcoming for both of the on-stage Ritas next page!
Also I got my first rejection letter from a publisher for this project. IT’S A REAL THING NOW.
I decided to have one more page of setup to make sure you know what’s going on – the “Rita1 glitches into World3” page ended up being almost entirely about the glitch and not about establishing the situation.
Also OH MAN I HAD SO MUCH FUN WITH RITA’S FACE IN THIS PAGE. Seriously. I REALLY LOVE the fact that I’m approaching this like an ANIMATOR instead of caring about accurate depictions of reality, I get to draw CRAZY EXPRESSIONS. Man I never draw expressions like that when I’m doing a pin-up because “worry/repulsion” is just NOT an emotion that comes up in that context.
Posted this one a tiny bit early because guess who did absolutely nothing to stay on top of her buffer this past week? I worked on a single-page comic for a broadsheet compilation, threw together the first try at a printed volume, and did social things instead. And still managed to draw this page from scratch (not counting my chaotic notes) in one day.
Sound effect: a brief burst of the horrible noises you get when improperly inserting a cartridge into a game system.
Now you know why Carol (the sorceress) looked so confident in the last page.
Also, huzzah, I’m actually putting a couple pages in the buffer for once along with this one!
This page took too long. Way too long. A week of distraction followed by two weeks of vacation and a funeral, followed by a week of recovery. Today I finally managed to get together enough sustained effort to do several panels in one day. I’ve got partial scripts and pageflow for the next four pages; hopefully they’ll come a bit faster. Sheesh.
Meanwhile… My old friend Gabe’s been doing this cool little strip about growing up in the seventies. It’s kind of the polar opposite of this story about the future, really. He just came out with a collection of it.
You can pick it up here; if you want a copy. Or get a PDF for five bucks if you’re going all digital.
I’m kinda thinking of moving the unofficial schedule to Tuesday/Wednesday. Especially now that I’m doing three rows per page.
Things I googled for reference while drawing this page:
• David Bowie’s Area
• Rigging diagrams
Also holy crap drawing three tiers on one page takes forever. Now I know why nobody does this multiple-stories-in-parallel thing for very long. It’s going to get worse, too.
Yes, this is still a sci-fi comic despite the dragon, the elves, and the lady on a flying boat with a magic sword. Trust me, okay?
ROSA from Jesús Orellana on Vimeo.
Here is a short, dialogueless film called “Rosa” about some very, very, very pretty robots. I mean seriously pretty, the kind of space I was going with the Wind-Up Boy in Five Glasses of Absinthe (NSFW).
Sadly it gets kinda wound up in its fight scene; halfway through I kinda quit caring about the green-eyed lady as a character and just wanted to see how pretty she was for a little while longer.
And speaking of green-eyed ladies, yep, now there’s FOUR Ritas in play here. This one may be riffing on the ideas Nick and I had for the first sequel to Five Glasses of Absinthe, though I swear I didn’t pick the color palette with that in mind. For that matter I wasn’t expecting to have a fourth world in here for a while yet! I need to update the cast page to reflect this, and finish documenting the other three worlds in it for that matter.