Added 2 new A* pages:Over this past weekend, somewhat to my surprise, I got A*'s subscription mode AND the digital download e-book thing all done, so I'll be trying to roll both of those out over this coming weekend--so if you're watching then, you may see some weirdness for a bit. But never fear! I'll probably get it all sorted out before Monday. >_>|
What this means is that starting next week you'll be able to purchase a one-year subscription to A* that gives you the comic ad-free, and automatically at the size of your choosing: regular or HD. Oh and subscribers also get to download the most recent episode e-book (episode 16, currently) for free, so subscribers will get that, too. And all completed A* episodes will be available for purchase as downloadable, .pdf e-books; the ones of recent episodes--the hand-painted ink stuff--will be in high-definition. (Like episode 14, which I'm giving out for free! Well so I guess technically that one won't be available for purchase. ;) But you can download it directly from this link (.pdf, 2.31 MB), which I've been passing around for the past week or so.)
The site's top menu will change slightly, and there will be a few small things rearranged in the widget bar beneath the comics. The site's front page will actually be dynamic, rather than a pre-generated static .html file--which doesn't really mean much in practical reader terms, but excites me because I've never done that before. :D Oh, also the addresses of all the comic pages will change to a new, shorter format--if you happen to find an old address laying around somewhere, it should redirect to the same page in the new URL scheme pretty much transparently.
Since I managed a halfway decent page today with page 46, I'm ending the "subscription preview mode" with that page (it started way back with episode 13, page 136!); from here on out, new HD-sized pages will go to cryptic pathways that only the subscribers' version of the comic browser will take them to. I'm such a meanie! D: But I certainly hope some of you will be inspired to support the comic by getting the subscription and its goodies, and/or some of the episodes as e-books that you can read offline on just about any remotely smart device. (I don't have any smart devices myself--except this computer--but all my friends--who are cooler and more "with it" than I--seem to. Hm maybe I'll be able to get one of them to let me see what one of these A* e-book thingies actually looks like on their smarty things!)
All the high-def comics in the "preview" section--episode 13, page 136 through episode 17, page 46--will remain accessible in their ad-free, giant form, so if you've got a 1080p or larger screen, go to one of those and click the "subscription mode preview" link at the lower-right corner of the regular-size comic page to see what the super-sized (and ad-free) pages look like, if you haven't given that a shot yet.
I've talked about how I should do it, but today I finally did--did some warmup sketching before starting in on an actual A* page. It was handy for page 45 there--I used it to work out the pose/perspective of that Selenis close-up. The close-ups still aren't coming out quite as I'd like, usually, but I'm hoping that if I can get into this warmup loose sketching, I'll be able to start transferring more of that style into the larger-format drawings. Anyway here are the pre-page 45 sketches in all their uncensored roughness:
Hm now I notice that the ones where I didn't sketch the hole head shape first didn't do very well! I actually *did* do the whole head shape first for the full size page, which I think helped.
I didn't intend to do practice sketches for page 46--this paper doesn't grow on trees, after all! or eh well money for it doesn't :P--but the first attempt at the figure didn't go too well, the second had some possibilities but also some rough parts, and the third and fourth were pretty tragic; I'd ended up just doing these side-by-side on the full-size piece of paper originally intended for the A* comic, and a fifth on the flip side was no better, so I came back and ended up polishing up the second attempt, and turning the first, third, and fourth into trees. Yay recycling!