A long-awaited (by nobody) update to this mostly ignored blog. Hah! Thought it was dead, didn’t you? Not a chance. The domain and hosting expire in April 2022, so we’ll still be around. Also, I intend to keep it going. So nope, this blog won’t die, just yet. But what’s the point of a blog that isn’t frequently updated? I’ll tell you.
It lets me know how much time I’ve spent doing other things instead of updating my blog. Previously, I had plenty of things to fill these pages with. An update a day because I had so many things to talk about. As time went on, I found myself spending time on things other than writing because writing for fun isn’t that enjoyable when you do it for a living. To me, at least.
I can pinpoint my blogging habits according to the amount of writing I had to do for work over the past few years of my life. I wrote a lot more when I didn’t have to write much for work. I guess my body has a limited word output capacity. Also, it’s a mental thing. I’m sure I could keep on writing if I wanted, it’s just that I choose to spend my energy on other things instead.
Like Animal Bus. In case you weren’t aware, one year and eight months after the comic launched, I have completed it, and I couldn’t be happier. This means I get to work on other projects without feeling guilty (self-imposed, mind you). Nobody was making me feel bad other than myself and now I don’t have to anymore. While it’s not the best comic I have ever done, it is the first full-length I have completed and it was a great learning experience.
The art and story are terrible, I had the chance to make changes to them and I didn’t. Why? My goal for the comic was to mess around with my Wacom tablet and experiment with the graphic novel format. It was never intended to be my magnum opus (on a side note, do people ever know that what they are doing is going to be their masterpiece?) but a chance for me to prove to myself that I was capable of working on larger scope projects and seeing them through to the end.
What did I learn? Making long-form comics as a hobby is not easy. You need a lot of motivation to push yourself to keep going, especially if you’re working solo. In a team, you can be held accountable. If you’re being paid, you’re expected to deliver. When you’re doing something this ambitious for fun, you’ve got nobody to blame but yourself. If you don’t feel like working, nobody can call you out. You’re just doing this for fun! It took a lot of willpower and faux discipline for me to complete all 50 chapters.
Things that appear simple aren’t so simple. There’s a reason major, scheduled comics have teams working on them. You have a writer, artist, inker, colorist, and letterer. It’s not so easy doing everything by yourself. For someone with no experience in laying out comics, I had to fall back on making simple layouts (4 panels per page, somewhat equal sizes). Speech bubbles were another thing to consider – where should they be? How much text should I put inside each one? What’s the reading order? Does it look good visually? What about the text? When should I break sentences up? There’s a lot I had to learn during the execution of Animal Bus.
Unless they were written with the intention of being comics from the beginning, stories are hard to translate into interesting comic panels. The original draft for Animal Bus had tons of monologue, character thoughts, and other non-visual elements. Because I originally didn’t have plans to turn it into a comic, I had to make a lot of changes while drawing it. This ‘translation’ process took up a huge chunk of my time. I had to be clever when deciding what to cut out, include or change.
If you’ve read the comic from the start, you would know that I initially wanted to color the whole thing. I mean, it’s just line drawings – I could use the paint bucket to color everything right? Maybe if I was more careful with my drawings, that would have been possible, but I had to use the brush to manually paint them, and that took up so much time. A few chapters in, I decided that it wasn’t worth it and skipped coloring altogether.
In any case, it was probably too ambitious of a project for me to tackle as my first comic but if I didn’t complete it, I wouldn’t have been able to tell you this. That being said, when I do go back into making comics, I’m definitely going to work on a smaller scale. There’s no need to bite off more than I can chew. It won’t be anytime soon though – I’m done making comics, for now. I might still doodle stuff here and there (find me on Instagram) but I’m going to spend more time on music, dive back into game development stuff and maybe experiment with video essays (I’ve gotten very interested in them recently and am curious if I have the chops to pull one off). I also recently got back into Dark Souls, so that’s a good time sink.
Hope everyone is staying safe from COVID-19. The world kinda sucks right now. Take care.