State of things: May 2006

So here is one of the more boring type of posts that I'll leave open to all, my self-evaluation of where I and Dicebox are at the moment. They probably won't occur too often, they are scheduled for beginning of May and beginning of November. I've chosen those two months for a few reasons, but mainly because these are the months I tend to lift my head up, look around and assess what's what. That's true in just about all aspects of my life, not just art--Kip and I are doing our spring clean and purge this weekend, for example. I imagine it's because May straddles spring and summer and November fall and winter, May is before June, my birth month and November before December, the end of things. (Hm. I guess this might be my Celtic roots showing in Beltane and Samhain.* Eh, I can live with that.) I already did a Private post on May 1st of a laundry list of goals, needs and achievements: such as how many additions I want to make to the cast page by when, where I'm at at filling out the Explication page, reader statistics, etc. This'll actually be more about making actual pages. Also, I'll probably revise and add stuff over the next couple of days.

State of Dicebox as of May 2006

Current page count: 160 (Chap 1: 27; Chap 2: 24; Chap 3: 38; Chap 4: 22; Chap 5: 29; Chap 6: 20...)

I figure I'm about 10 to 20 pages "behind" what with missed and partial updates. I'd like to do a couple of two page updates to ease this, but that won't be able to be even considered until July. I hope to regain at least a one page backlog by then.

Art I'm pretty happy where this is going in terms of quality and execution of mind's-eye intent.

It's been painful going through a learning growth curve for pretty much all of this chapter. Not too much decrease in quality this time out , which is what usually happens when I'm about to jump a level in skill. But everything has been going sooooo slow, especially in the line art, which has forced me to scale way back on background detail a lot more often than I like.

Layout and panel composition has taken a big jump: a couple favorites are the second panel of page 9 and the first panel of page 14. Good sense of space and things in it.

People have commented on the new use of close-ups. I credit most of this on my new practice of doing my roughs at 7.5" x 10" and then scaling those up 130% to 9.75" x 13.125" for the finals. I have a natural range of size I draw faces at (say, .5" to 2.5") and when I did my roughs 1 to 1 with the finals I never pushed the size enough.

Also apparently of note is the line quality this chapter, which I partly credit the oil pencils Clio turned me on to back in October. They seem made for my method of drawing and building line.

Color has been progressing quite nicely. Not only has the Cintiq been speeding things up, but I've come to know when to keep it simple and when to get fancy. I need to do more extreme color play like page 3.

Production speed

Layout and roughs These are taking longer than I thought they did previously. It might be the new attention to layout and that growth curve or I simply misremember or am off rhythm. My feeling are that they should only take two hours if alone and concentrating, complete in an evening of socializing.

Pencils I might be returning to normal speed, but it might be too soon to tell. the last five panels of page 19 took me an evening to do, about 4 hours for eight figures/faces, which seems right.

Colors Getting real damn fast. Page 18 took me only six hours to scan, clean-up, letter and color. A simple page that I'll touch up someday to be sure, but still, very pleasing. That's mostly the Cintiq making the difference there.

There. I'll see where I'm at in November.

*Additionally, Kip has pointed out that this follows the school year, which doesn't really resonate with me per se, I think more September and June have a different set of emotional responses to those. But I can see it's merit, and as I pick up on a mass emotional wave, it could affect or reinforce my responses to May and November.