Transitions

So I guess most of you know that Dragon’s Fall is back from hiatus. We’ve been updating every Monday and we hope to continue. It’s great to be back, but it’s also very strange.

I’ve been thinking of The Elves of LleuGarnock as being finished, even though there are still 6 pages that need character inks and colors and 2 that need backgrounds. It doesn’t seem like it’s going to be a problem. My creative vibes aren’t intersecting with each other because LleuGarnock inks and colors can be done pretty much automatically when I’ve got no ideas left in my head.

I needed to continue Dragon’s Fall or some other project because I found myself with nothing to write or thumbnail. There was no real channel for my creativity. I almost started a silly shonen manga-style comic called Tigermen, but then Will gave me the go-ahead for some new Dragon’s Fall pages.

It’s odd, because when I was working on both comics at once, I needed separate standards for the two comics. So LG was “just a comic,” and every DF page was “real art.” This kind of messed me up because I didn’t know what I was doing with DF and when I had to get a page done before I had figured out how to draw it it kind of crushed me. That’s what real art is like – you could continue working on it for ever and only when it approaches perfection would you consider stopping. At least that’s how I and other semi-insane artists think of it.

Now that I’m only working creatively on Dragon’s Fall, it’s somehow found its way into the “just a comic” spot. This is a much more comfortable place for it. I have a realistic expectation of the quality, and I stop when I reach that expectation instead of driving myself towards perfection. I feel like I could actually sustain this pace.

And the great thing is, this is all still true even though the standards for Dragon’s Fall are at the same level as they were before. I just approach it in a more systematic, familiar way. And I’m much better at the same steps than I was then.

It’s surprising how much it helps to just follow the familiar steps. Even switching to doing sketches on paper the way I did for LG has improved the process a lot. There’s something about drawing on physical paper that leads me to be content with what I already have and just improve it as much as I can, whereas in a digital context I might change a picture radically, scrap it, or put off refining the sketch until the rest of the page is nearly done. These all make the process much more complicated and stressful.

Also, having a clean black-and-white ink layer always saves more time and energy than it takes to draw. I knew that, but comments from people close to me were throwing me off.

There’s never been one way that I did shading in LleuGarnock that I was really happy with or that I could do on autopilot like inking or flat color. I needed to figure one out that would be consistent enough to use without too much sapping of my decision juice, but would also be consistent with the standards of Dragon’s Fall. I think I’ve found that. Right now it does take a lot to shade a page, but I’m pretty sure that once I learn the technique better, it will be a smooth step in the process too.

So all things considered I’m really happy with how the art of Dragon’s Fall is going. All of the real issues we’ve had since the hiatus have been script issues. I’m still trying to focus on the art and just giving the scripts a once-over check for quality, but it hasn’t turned out to be that simple. Well, I’m sure we’ll work out the issues in time to update. I have a backup plan.

Also, for those of you interested in the continued future of the Sun Elves universe, I already have a few scripts for Book 2. I don’t have a specific date in mind for updates to begin, but it will obviously be after the end of LG, and probably not until at least the beginning of 2012.

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