comments off, go to the last page to discuss this chapter.
comments off, go to the last page to discuss this chapter.
I’ve been sitting on these pages for a while while I worked on that spread at the end of chapter 25. That one took a hell of a long time, and at first I went ahead and worked on these pages to keep myself feeling like I was getting something finished. But eventually I ran out of these and there was just… That Spread.
I’m really glad to finally be able to show them to the world.
Comments off, please go to the last page to discuss this chapter.
This fucking page.
This fucking page took like half a year to draw. Admittedly there were a couple of months in there where I got absolutely no work done on the comic due to my mother dying. But this fucking page.
Now it is… well, okay, not totally done. But done enough that I’m going to post it. And the entire rest of the story, because I finished all of that off while slowly grinding away on this page, too. The blank spots remaining are mostly reserved for friends who said they’d draw a few panels for me and haven’t yet. I’m not gonna name any names; I know all too well how complicated life can get sometimes.
Tell your friends. Decrypting Rita is finished. Kickstarter for book 3 soon.
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.
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.
Woo. This is the start of chapter 25. The next few pages are gonna be pretty damn complicated. I’ve had the image sprawling across this chapter sitting in my notes and my head for the entire duration of this project, and it’s both scary and delightful to finally get to start drawing it.
At long last! It’s THAT PAGE.
This is the end of chapter 14; next up is chapter 25, unless I decide to add one more page here to make the narrative point that this chapter cuts off before Rita makes her choice.
hi I just came home from the work session at the bar and I didn’t actually eat anything today so one glass of cider got me pretty wasted. Also I finished a page before I got all wasted. Don’t worry it was already half done when I started drinking.
Up next: That One Page In Chapter 14.
This is a monologue I’ve been working towards since, oooh, chapter VII or thereabouts. It will continue for the next couple of pages, culminating in an unglitched version of that page you’ve been seeing hints of for the entire third volume of the story.
The start of a new chapter! In which we will find out what Mattie said to Rita that had to be so deeply encrypted.
This page concludes chapter 24. Which has generally just not been a good chapter for Rita, has it?
Next up is, at last, the full version of chapter 14.
30-40 pages left. I really need to figure out what the hell goes on in the chapter marked ‘denouemont’, my notes on chapter order just say “How long is this? What exactly happens here? Does it really exist or does it just shade into the epilogue?“. Which is not very enlightening when trying to estimate how many pages this final volume will be.
Today I walked from my mom’s place to a cafe in the French Quarter. As I did, I wrote down all kinds of things I was noticing as part of the look of New Orleans – both in the Quarter and in other parts of the city. Ultimately I hope to only draw a lot of these things one or two times, and turn them into parts of a massive library of art brushes, graphic styles, and symbols that I can use to make drawing ‘The Drowning City’ go super-fast.
And then I sat in EnVie for about an hour and drew the big central world 2 panel, and edited a copy of the first one into the second one. And now this page is done.
Tomorrow I fly back to Seattle, and this page gets posted. Buffer? What’s that. But I’ll be able to draw on the plane.
I mostly finished this page on the plane to New Orleans, and did the final tweaks while sitting at my table on the first day at Wizard World New Orleans.
Next page status: fully sketched. And here I am with a few hours of the first day of a con stretching out ahead of me. Yeah I think there’s a good chance of me getting back on schedule.
It’s the beginning of a new chapter! Again. This one’s even in numeric sequence with the previous one – how long has it been since that happened?
My notes had things going from chapter 23 into chapter 25, with some indecision about whether I’d call attention to the missing scene, but I decided to to show most of what happens here after all. Jumbled timelines are fun to read and write if done well, but sometimes you need islands of coherence.
There are about 32-35 more pages left, in this chapter and five more. Next page status: I have first draft dialogue for the blue timeline throughout this chapter, and four panels roughed out of about, oh, eight or ten, probably. Depends on how I handle the other timelines.
Edit. This just came out of the queue and the next page isn’t done. I might be able to finish it on the plane tomorrow but I’m not making any promises, especially since I’m going to be at Wizard World New Orleans this weekend. I also have the next seven pages completely roughed out, so things should be moving again soon. Expect a brief hiatus and be pleasantly surprised if it doesn’t happen.
At long last, after a hundred and fifty or so pages, and almost four years of me drawing this comic, Rita gets to point a gun at Barrett and pull the trigger.
Next page status: um I have some sketches? I’m also posting this a week and a half before it goes online.
I learnt the very basics of After Effects to do the glitched out text. Don’t worry if you can’t read the center text; it’s not supposed to be legible. You should be able to get some idea of the top and bottom text, though.
In the print version, of course, this text will just be in spot gloss.
(Also thanks to STriker for shaving the file size on this almost in half!)
This chapter has taken forever. Not surprisingly, really: it’s got a complicated thing going on that required me to lay the entire chapter out at once, plus dealing with three back-to-back conventions followed by a wedding, followed by a visit home just as I was starting to get a rhythm again, followed by a lot of fighting seasonal depression now that it’s starting to get dark around 4:30 here in Seattle. These last few pages were finished a while back; here’s hoping i can maintain this buffer for a while. Maybe even increase it. I’ll need some buffer for certain really complicated pages planned for chapter 26.
I’ve also been getting some work done on Secret Project P. Here’s hoping I can get that done before the window of opportunity for it closes.
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.
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.
The black space in the background is intentional. Just saying.
Also here is some fan art by Dragonaur! Thank you!
Next page status: five panels, one drawn one sketched. If I can keep making myself actually work on the comic for an hour or two every day it really shouldn’t be a problem.
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.
Here are some close-ups of the books Tom and Rita are reading. Click for full-size.
The title of Tom’s book is a terrible machine translation of “Oyster Soup Kitchen Floor Wax Museum: A Memoir”, which is a title swiped from a King Crimson song off of one of their later albums. It contains one of my favorite guitar solos ever, right after Adrian Belew says ‘Play it for me, Spider-fingers’.
And while I am making you listen to King Crimson let me also include one of my favorite songs of theirs of all time: Dinosaur. I find myself singing this every now and then in a certain kind of mood.