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.
It’s a page!
Next page status: 4 panels; 3 roughed, one finished. Patreon supporters can see the whole chapter in its current state.
And now to go run some errands, then decide between drawing some more Rita, drawing some other stuff, or playing more Dragon Age Inquisition.
Next page status: Done and in the queue!
I think it is time to admit that I am out of clever page titles for a while. I’m spending so much time jumping aroubd back and forth drawing this chapter that I kinda have no inspiration left for those. Not that it really matters now that the site’s really emphasizing the chapter rather than the individual page.
Next page status: 6 panels, 3 finished, 3 partial. Damn it feels good to be back in the groove of putting out pages on a regular schedule again.
I agonized over the song Tom is singing the end of for a while. (Yes, it’s Tom – he’s got a new Hat. There’ll be some dialogue on the next page mentioning his name.)
See, it needs to sound good. On the next page, Rita’s saying it sounds beautiful. But let’s be honest; my strength as a writer is not in writing lyrics. So I didn’t want to have something half-assed that I try to convince you is beautiful.
I experimented with censoring it, but that felt weird. It gave it extra significance that it doesn’t need to have; it’s just a bit of texture to this sequence of ‘lots of time passes in the green world’.
Ultimately I just decided to go with the final line of what’s clearly a longer song, and a bit of onomatopoeia for distorted guitar playing. Which is basically swiped from the last riff of King Crimson’s “Dinosaur”; the Skylands are very definitely a prog-rock fantasy world, so of course Tom is a prog-rock guitarist.
Next page status: 1.5 panels out of 3, maybe 4 done.
This is the end of chapter 13.
This page took a hell of a long time. Mostly because I’ve been busy doing stuff for Rainfurrest. I’m still not quite done with the conbook cover for that.
Also of course there’s Kickstarter fulfillment starting to happen. I probably need to get some friends together for a shipping party soon…
Rita’s boss is pixellated out because you’re just not cleared for that.
Or maybe they’re pixellated out because they’re a YCH who’s going to be a Kickstarter reward. Possibly at a stupidly high level because I really kinda like having them be a mystery, although I may want to rework them a little bit to make it obvious they’re definitely not Barrett beneath all the pixelation.
Anyway. There’s still some stuff left in this chapter. Guess I’d better get to drawing it.
The second panel of Fantasy World made me giggle so much. I love it when my characters start insulting each other.
Aaand that’s the end of chapter 12. According to my notes there are eight left in the story, and some of them are pretty short.
So I was idly looking at some of the stuff currently advertising on Rita, and saw a very pink ad for “Mock Girl”. I instantly guessed what genre it was in: the Semi-Autobiographical Trans Narrative. It’s a difficult genre for me to love. Most instances of it tend to be boring in the same way I find any autobio boring, and it tends to be someone’s first effort at a Real Comic to boot – so they’re working uphill at something that’s already kinda difficult to get right in my eyes.
“Mock Girl” is doing it right.
The drawing is pretty much ‘serviceable’ to my jaundiced ex-animator eyes, but it’s enough to serve the writing. And the writing? Anything for a laugh. There’s some moments of seriousness, but mostly it giggles wildly from “vanished sister turns out to be an assassin” to “unexpectedly nice and helpful Creepy Clown” to “spooky magical voice from the darkness turns out to be a cranky turtle” and “while stuck in a coma talking to metaphors for her different drives, the main character’s Lust takes the time to crack wise about the size of her boobs”. The transition is an occasional subject for humor, but it’s completely normalized by the fact that it’s pretty much just one more thing to goof on.
Anyway. Go check it out.
The quilt covering Ordinary Human Rita was an interesting experiment with a corner of Illustrator I don’t use too much: distortion meshes. Well, okay, I use super-simple d-meshes all the time; pretty much every bit of hovering HUD text in this comic is in a d-mesh that’s had a perspective transformation applied to it. But this was my first time really trying to do complicated freeform distortions.
You can read more about it on my blog if you’re curious.
ALSO is it just me or there a lot of missing images when you look at this whole chapter?
You might be wondering why there weren’t any pages last week. That would be because I spent a lot of last work doing final approval and tweaks on the files for book 2 – the presses should be starting up soon, then I get to watch the books make their way from China to Seattle!
Holy cow you do not want to know how long the backgrounds in Fantasy World took. And the worst part of it is that I’m going to be using a completely different camera angle on the conversation for the next few panels – I’ll have to do another complex background to use for that before I can cut and paste stuff.
Or I could have some blank space behind them talking, but honestly I only want to do that if it’s actually appropriate to the setting. Future Rita’s apartment is blank because she has very few physical possessions and relishes empty space, so I’m fine with having that vast expanse of white wall on the top side! (Plus it seems to fit her mood, of wanting to shut down.)
Anyway! The next page is written and has its rough layout, so it’s very likely that you’ll see it next Tuesday.
Oops, somehow I managed to forget to queue this one up in all the craziness of the Kickstarter and Further Confusion and whatnot. Hooray for backdating.
This is another page whose expressions made me laugh while drawing it. I really feel like doing this comic has taught me a lot about drawing human emotions! I owe a lot of that to Phil Foglio, and, to be honest, like him, I probably care a little less than I should about keeping faces on-model.
Originally the top tier had three completely different panels, but those will be appearing on the next page. I’ll lose some counterpoint that made me grin, but I really, really felt like I needed the brief pause after Blue Rita’s heartfelt scream.
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!
Further Confusion + mostly finishing off game art project for now – sufficient sunshine + complicated damn pages = OH GOD THIS ONE TOOK FOREVER AND I’M SO GLAD TO HAVE FINALLY GOTTEN TO DO THIS ONE. It’s pulling one of the tricks I’ve been waiting to do since I started this comic.
Hey, it’s a page! It was nice to have an excuse to draw Blue Rita again, even if she was in Red Rita’s palette.
And since this is the first page of the new year…
Also, I went back through the story so far and tagged each page with what character shows up on it! Maybe later I’ll edit the theme so the tags actually show up near the page. But right now I should get some stuff together for Further Confusion.
(I was hoping to have some printed copies of Rita to sell there, but that’s just not gonna happen. I will however have some copies of the first chapter of Absinthe, and a few Tarot decks!)