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.
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.
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.
Ughhhhh this page took beyond forever. I’m sure you can see why. I’m really glad I’ve made my peace with this; most advice on Making Comics On The Web tends to emphasize HAVE A SCHEDULE AND STICK TO IT COME HELL OR HIGH WATER but that advice also tends to come from strippers, who have a much more limited canvas to work on. (And hell, I’m sticking to my official schedule: “aim for two pages a week, don’t fret when that doesn’t happen”. Real life gets in the way, and so does making crazy detailed pages when the story demands it.)
Wanna see some progress shots from this page? Go here.
As with the previous EPIC PAGE, if you’re backing my Patreon campaign you get a high-res copy of that last panel.
I’m off to Portland for Furlandia, maybe I’ll see you there! The next page is a LOT simpler and might even get finished on the train down there.
And while I’m suggesting places to put your entertainment money, let me direct you to this.
Open world parkour Jet Set Radio. By a French team. With music by the guy who did Jet Set Radio’s soundtrack. And occasional stealth bits. How can I not back this? This is the game I’ve been putting off learning enough 3D skills to make myself.
Well so much for getting ahead of schedule, huh? The past couple weeks have been full of revamping the website for the upcoming Kickstarter, working on said Kickstarter, preparing for two cons at the end of this month, and taking a trip to visit my mother; updates will probably be sporadic for the next few pages.
I’m also thinking of taking a brief vacation from drawing pages once I get book 2 finished. I need to take some time to get the story organized for book 3 and work on some non-Rita things.
Also, you cannot really see it, but the trees outside of the windows in the green world are totally based on the trees I saw while I was working on this page in New Orleans’s City Park. Morning Call opened up a cafe in the old Casino building in the park and it’s the <em>best thing ever</em> to sit there drawing and eating beignets. Until the mosquitos come out, at least.
Oh man I am so glad to be uploading this page. It sat half-done for what felt like forever, as I fought seasonal depression. Several times I contemplated just deleting the entire green tier and starting again on those because I kept on looking at them and not liking them.
I bought a huge sunlamp a couple weeks ago, and it’s been helping a lot. And ultimately I decided those upper panels were fine, just unfinished, so I finished them in about an hour and a half. There was another green panel sketch up there, and a couple more brief lines of dialogue, but they just didn’t need to be there.
I was originally going to have some kind of funeral rite being spoken by Gary4 in the first couple of panels, but I couldn’t get something written that didn’t feel like words for the sake of words. So I went with silence.
Also, in an amusing bit of life imitating art, I lost my hat on the bus this past weekend. It hasn’t turned up in their lost and found yet; if it still hasn’t appeared by next Monday when I call them again, I’ll assume it’s gone, and go hunting for a new one. Because winter in Seattle means needing something to keep the drizzle off; everyone thinks you’re a tourist if you use an umbrella, and I’m really just not a hoodie kinda gal.
[Later: Carol’s car used to be a Mazzigatti until Nick said that sounded like a comedy knockoff of Maserati, so I found an Italian cryptographer to namecheck instead – Silvio Micali, one of the co-discoverers of zero knowledge proofs.]
If all goes well, the book should be off to the printer soon. Sadly, I don’t think I’ll have it in time for Rainfurrest (though I’ll have Tarot decks galore there!), but it should definitely be in my hands by the time I go off to APE.
I learnt a lot while putting the book together. Hopefully book 2 will go together a lot faster, since I’ll have actually done it before.
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!)
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.