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  Google+, China in space, A* in ink washOct 01, 2011 7:24 AM PDT | url
Added 1 new A* page:Thanks to everyone who has been nice to me as a newbie on Google+! It's been fun and I've already found some neat stuff other people have posted, like this post linking to a cool scanned article from 1936 about raising the WWI German fleet from the bottom of Scapa Flow, where they had scuttled themselves after surrendering. And then there' okay well I can't link to the post for some reason (I've noticed some UI rough edges like that around G+ so far, like for instance the rather important "Notifications" display seems a bit fiddly), but anyway I was talking with the author of megaTexas about the grays he used in his comic, which show an impressive variety and depth! I thought maybe he might have used something like watercolor or ink wash for them, but nope, it was all Photoshop. Shows what I know!
China just launched the first section of what will eventually be their own space station. This Chinese station, which apparently will be fully assembled by about 2020, will weigh in at about 60 tons, which is pretty tiny compared to the International Space Station's (expected to be in operation through 2028) 495 tons, but it still sounds pretty hefty to me. You can probably do tons of cool stuff with a 60 ton station!
I said yesterday that I'm thinking of / planning to switch to doing A* comics in traditional media--pencil, brush pen, ink wash--rather than on the computer, and that today I'd explain why, so here goes!
The first reason is health: if you do it in traditional media, you aren't stuck in front of the computer all day! I think various bits of me, like my wrist, back, and eyes, will appreciate that in the long run. I'll have a nice little drafting table (which my very supportive parents offered to get for me months and months ago, since they were worried about the standing desk arrangement I was switching to; I hadn't planned to take them up on it, but for traditional media work, such a table would be super!), so I can work at a nice incline, and have solid elbow support, which is pretty nearly impossible to have with a drawing tablet, since the top of the tablet isn't level with the rest of your desk. But I'll also just be able to, say, work on the other side of my tiny apartment one day if I feel like it. Scenery!
The second reason is filthy lucre! If you do your comic in traditional media, you can sell that original physical version--once you've scanned it in--and people seem to like getting these types of things because they're lovely one-of-a-kind pieces of art. And in fact a local gallery my dad (and self-appointed business manager) was hitting up to display my stuff was interested, but wanted something a little more unique to display than prints, and I bet they and other similar-thinking galleries would be much more interested if I had physical original artwork they could display. Anyway the main thing though would be that I could sell the 11x17" original painting for each A* page to whoever really liked it, and that could really help pay the bills! And I've heard of other webcomics that get a good chunk of their income from selling their original art, for instance Dave Kellett's Sheldon (and I'm planning to kinda copy some of the things he does with his art-selling interface, but I'm gonna have to figure out how to interface with PayPal's payment notification protocol so that I can mark an original that sells as sold so my site won't try to sell someone else the same unique item :o--but it looks complicated :ooo).
And those were my original two reasons, but a third I've been thinking of since doing some practice with brush pens and ink wash is that I think--if I get decently good at using these media--that I'll eventually be able to make pages that look nicer than what I've been doing on the computer; I'm not sure why, but there's something about the organic look of real natural media work that is awfully appealing. Maybe we just like trees and rocks because we live (and have evolved to live) among them, and so we like things made from trees and rocks, too. And then there's a crazy complexity of unexpected detail and accident in natural media that you don't get in computer art, exactly. And you can kind of see the process the artist used to compose the piece in natural media, a lot of times, whereas in digital work people are pretty good at covering their tracks--and I always find it fascinating to be able to see parts of the process.
So anyway, I think it's worth a shot. It certainly doesn't prohibit me from doing pages on the computer, too, or going back to doing them all on the computer if this ink wash thing just, like, bombs. So I hope you'll bear with me while I get my fingers dirty for a bit! I know it'll be a little rough at first, but things will work out one way or another eventually.
At any rate, I won't be doing a real A* page that way for a while yet--at least a week or two. Gotta get in more practice and experimentation with the brushes and ink; hopefully I'll have some more attempts to scan in and show you next week (and hopefully they'll be gradually improving!).
Heyyy over the weekend, stop by and check out a new page of my fairy tale comic, "The Princess and the Giant," which will get its new page on Sunday, as usual. Here's a teaser/link to last week's Princess page:
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