comic | episodes & e-books | commission me | store | about
< previous month | next month >      : Oct. 2018 : News archive | News search | RSS
 
view titles only (low bandwidth)
 
  X-Mas starts right after Halloween, right?Oct 31, 2018 11:16 PM PDT | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:The Christmas music I've been listening to while working on A* all year—an obsessively customized Pandora channel of mine : P—is almost back in style!
 
 
 
 
·····
 
 
 
 
  TalkiesOct 30, 2018 10:02 PM PDT | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:It's been silent for so long, I almost forgot to add the dialogue for today's page. : P
 
 
 
 
·····
 
 
 
 
  Sunlight night light satellitesOct 29, 2018 9:57 PM PDT | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:The BBC had an article a few weeks back about a Chinese company's announcement of a scheme to illuminate a city by reflecting sunlight from a geosynchronous satellite down to the ground, saying it should be possible to cover "an area of of between 10km and 80km" with reflected sunlight "eight times" as bright as moonlight.
 
It's being proposed as a cost-saving device, cheaper than the cost of lighting a city with street lights.
 
While a space mirror could do that, the article points out technical hurdles: it would have to have a very stable orbit over its target, and very steady, precise targeting to prevent the light beam from wandering across the Earth's surface.
 
And even an on-target beam might cause problems, say for wildlife (or even just for light-sensitive human sleepers without heavy curtains on their bedroom windows : P), because it would be shining that brighter-than-moonlight illumination everywhere in the target zone, not just on streets.
 
Russia actually ran a test of such a space mirror in 1993: their Znamya 2 satellite's 65-foot reflective solar sail trailed a 2.5-mile-wide beam across Europe for a few hours one evening (the spotlight moved over the ground at 8 km/s).
 
The test was considered a positive result for the concept, but a 1999 follow-up satellite with a 20% larger mirror accidentally caught its fragile foil on an antenna of its Progress spacecraft as it deployed, and the mission had to be scrapped. Russia had an even larger mirror satellite in production, but cancelled it after that second test failed—and that has been it for the space mirror concept up to this point.
 
 
 
 
·····
 
 
 
 
  Silly home repairsOct 26, 2018 10:20 PM PDT | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:I should post a Patreon supporter sketch or something to leave here over the weekend but I'm tired. : P Spent too much time this week re-wiring my living room and other silly stuff, hopefully that's pretty much done now! And the whole getting my front door winterized—that's done too, yay! It was such an odd job that the handyman said he'd recommend to my landlady that they have the whole doorway replaced, which would be nice; hopefully the patchwork of multiple weather strippings he stuck around it for now to plug all the gaps will at least hold up over winter. : P
 
So hopefully next week will be less exciting and I'll just have to concentrate on drawing. : D
 
 
 
 
·····
 
 
 
 
  Page too tall; Friday update a toss-up!Oct 25, 2018 7:33 PM PDT | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:*Might* miss an update tomorrow: the handyman was baffled by my weird front door—which is right next to my comic work area—when trying to do his winterizing on Wednesday, was supposed to take a second crack at it early this afternoon, didn't make it (might have had to go get more supplies instead—my landlady's text about it was a tad vague), and is supposed to be back somewhat later tomorrow afternoon to tackle it. So we'll see how that goes. = o
 
Here's a rotated version of today's page to save your neck some twisting:
 
Image
 
When I was initially imagining this scene in my head, the ship was berthed horizontally, but then I realized that was silly. : P
 
 
 
 
·····
 
 
 
 
  May be down for apt repairs tomorrow!Oct 24, 2018 2:31 AM PDT | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:Tomorrow afternoon, my landlady's handyman is supposedly finally coming by—for the first time since I moved in at the beginning of summer—to take a look at just a couple of the things in the apartment most in need of repair, such as the ancient, porous weather stripping around the front door.
 
If repairs actually do get underway, there may be so much excitement here—the front door is right next to my A* work area, for instance—as to prevent me from getting a whole lot of comic work done. So it's quite possible that I won't be able to generate a new A* page tomorrow. But if my apartment actually gets some proper winterization going on (it could be tricky, considering that the front door is for some reason—resistance to abuse, I suppose—metal, and a half-inch too narrow for the door frame : P), that will help me shiver less and draw better through the winter! ^_^
 
 
 
 
·····
 
 
 
 
  I invented time!Oct 23, 2018 1:29 AM PDT | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:I guess one plus of painting multiple layers is that I get to catch up on sketches for Patreon supporters while waiting for paint to dry!
 
 
 
 
·····
 
 
 
 
  Don't forget the big rubber glovesOct 20, 2018 2:15 AM PDT | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:It's late and I'm going to bed for the weekend. : D Back for more on Mooooonday!
 
 
 
 
·····
 
 
 
 
  Gradients are really for the daringOct 18, 2018 9:49 PM PDT | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:Was too chicken to disturb my initial painted gradients here by going over them darker. : P Gotta do a bit better on daily time schedule, I've been running slightly behind and then I feel rushed and don't want to take chances with the art so much.
 
 
 
 
·····
 
 
 
 
  Two colors = too much?Oct 17, 2018 10:57 PM PDT | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:Might need more monochromy?
 
 
 
 
·····
 
 
 
 
  A crazy idea? Well why notOct 16, 2018 10:46 PM PDT | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:This got messy! : o : D It wasn't really the right way to do things, but I decided I wanted to make stars by dabbing one of my poor dried sea sponges dipped in white ink onto the page—something I don't think I've really tried since the earliest days of doing the comic in traditional media—so I went for it! 8o
 
 
 
 
·····
 
 
 
 
  How to do a 5 minute illo in just 3 hoursOct 16, 2018 1:12 AM PDT | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:This was one of those days where the bulk of the work time went into part of the page that in the end I realized just wasn't working, so I blotted it out with white ink and then painted in something (the tiny figure of Selenis, in this case, which originally was larger, and kneeling) al fresco, as it were; fortunately, this time it came out decently on the first re-try. (Maybe slightly too small compared to the scale of figure-to-railings shown two pages ago, but who's counting.)
 
So while in a way it seems like there were hours wasted, I have to think that those failed efforts ended up informing and guiding the eventual solution, which, composed of free brush strokes with no guiding pencil lines beneath them, achieved a certain free and straightforward style that it never could have otherwise. It's a risky approach, and ALWAYS fails spectacularly when I try to do it that way on purpose—but I guess that's because when I try to do it on purpose, I'm also trying to skip some of the necessary hours of failure along the way. : j
 
 
 
 
·····
 
 
 
 
  I will send you so many sketchesOct 13, 2018 1:28 AM PDT | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:Here's a sketch I got to send to a reader for supporting the comic through my Patreon campaign : ) :
 
Image
 
You can help me keep A* going through Patreon for as little as $1 a month! At higher support levels I can even send you a reward each month, like an e-book ($3/month) or a sketch ($10/month). : ) Thanks everyone who's helping me out, I couldn't make a new A* page each day without your support! **\o/**
 
[Update 11/9/18 - Oh man I posted this same sketch two weeks in a row! : P]
 
 
 
 
·····
 
 
 
 
  Astronauts escape Soyuz launch accidentOct 11, 2018 9:41 PM PDT | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:High drama on the edge of space today as a Russian Soyuz rocket with an American and a Russian on-board launched toward the International Space Station from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan: a malfunction of some kind occurred with the booster rocket between the first and second separation stages, the rocket's emergency escape system, at the nose of the rocket, deployed, taking the small Soyuz capsule, with the two men aboard, on a steep descent back to the ground, and they landed successfully about 500 km from the launch site.
 
Russia has now grounded their Soyuz fleet while they try to figure out what went wrong, and how to prevent it from happening again.
 
The BBC article on the incident notes that the last Soyuz launch accident was way back in 1983, when a rocket caught fire on the launch pad: a dramatic photo of the deployment of that rocket's emergency escape system above the exploding rocket booster can be seen here.
 
 
 
 
·····
 
 
 
 
  Google doesn't want me to mess with channelsOct 10, 2018 10:21 PM PDT | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:My brain's devious procrastinating mind found its time-wasting outlet today in delving into Youtube's labyrinthine mechanisms for transferring ownership of channels (which are apparently "Brand Channels" if you did it "right" originally : P) between Google accounts. It's kind of scary, hard to find all the controls, and apparently buggy—as of a user report from this summer, at least, one kind of transfer could simply result in your channel and all its videos simply disappearing into the ether. I was thinking of consolidating my YouTube channels into one Google account, but eh now I think it won't mess with it. : P
 
 
 
 
·····
 
 
 
 
  Behind schedule, back Wednesday >_<Oct 09, 2018 2:55 AM PDT | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:I'm not going to get to work on a new page tomorrow/today (Tuesday). I spent Saturday re-working Friday's page; I had Sunday to sort of course-correct and get ready to get an early start on Monday, but somehow I failed to do that. :/ In the past, I might have rushed out as good a page as I could manage quickly to catch back up, but I just don't seem willing to do that now. The end result is that although I think I got a decent (by my lights) page done today, I'm drastically behind schedule and need to take what's left of Tuesday off to recover and reset.
 
Going into each new week I always tell myself okay, THIS week I'm going to stay on target, keep ahead of the clock, get to bed on time (I've finally realized that better pages happen, and faster, when I'm caught up on sleep! : P), etc...and each week I seem to find a new way to mess that up. ; P Okay, so starting WEDNESDAY I'll be on the ball, ahead of the game...
 
 
 
 
·····
 
 
 
 
  Go big--hairOct 05, 2018 11:39 PM PDT | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:Here's a sketch I got to send to a reader for supporting the comic through my Patreon campaign : ) :
 
Image
 
Pencil sketches are the reward that go out to those contributing at the $10/month level, but you can sign up to contribute as little as $1 a month, if you like; $1 doesn't sound like much I guess, but it makes a big difference to me! ^_^ So thanks to everyone who's supporting the comic, and thanks for reading!
 
 
 
 
·····
 
 
 
 
  Not as bad as a spider-faced catOct 04, 2018 8:32 PM PDT | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:A creature of startling aspect crossed my path today:
 
Image
 
As far as I can tell by comparing it to photos on the Internet, that's a specimen—about an inch and a quarter across maybe, counting the legs (with the bright orange color, my first impression was of a tiny crab!)—of Araneus gemmoides, aka the Cat-faced Spider; perhaps you can see why it has that name from my photo, even though it's actually the back end of the spider that we're seeing there. ^..^ And it seems they are highly regarded by gardeners for their pest-eliminating prowess!
 
 
 
 
·····
 
 
 
 
  My studio unplugged tomorrowOct 03, 2018 9:37 PM PDT | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:The electrician is due to come back tomorrow afternoon after a long absence to check my recalcitrant apartment heater again—and hopefully this time fix it. The heater is right behind where I sit at my drawing table, and, if it goes anything like last time, the electrician will be switching the whole apartment's power off and on, so it's possible I may not be able to get much comic work done tomorrow! It probably won't keep me from getting a page done, but that *is* a possibility. So, if you don't see a new page from me tomorrow, at least it will probably mean my heater got repaired. ; )
 
 
 
 
·····
 
 
 
 
  Old brushes are the best brushes?Oct 02, 2018 11:01 PM PDT | url
 
Added 1 new A* page:The tiny, size 0 brush that I've been using for ages now has lost most of its bristles (I think at least some of this was because my new place has sinks with separate taps : P and I was washing it in water that was probably slightly too warm, which can loosen the glue—but I've also just been using it for a very long time), so now it's got an extremely narrow brush head, and can do these super thin, spidery lines, which I am rather enjoying—probably too much! But it makes it possible for me to convert highly sketchy areas of pencil lines directly into paint, which I could never really do before.
 
 
 
 
·····
 
 
 
 
  Episode 35 begins, ep. 34 e-book available!Oct 01, 2018 7:55 PM PDT | url
 
Added 2 new A* pages:Episode 35 is on!
 
And I've got episode 34 bundled up in e-book form: supporters of my Patreon campaign at the e-book reward level and higher will get an email with a download link for it when I send those out this coming week-end; the e-book can also be purchased and downloaded through the episodes & e-books page.
 
 
 
 
·····
 
 
 
 
 
< previous month | next month >      : Oct. 2018 : News archive | News search | RSS
 
© Copyright 2018 Ben Chamberlain. All rights reserved. | Privacy Policy