"Whaaaaaat is going on" you may be wondering. Well the paper-thin story excuse for this is that the Princess, who has just gone to sleep, is having wacky dreams; it's a convenient excuse for me to draw whatever the heck fantasy art I want to draw for a while!
There are two main reasons why I'm doing this. For one, we've pretty much finished the first main story arc, and are coming up on where the second would begin--so we're between story arcs at the moment, and I've been noticing that the little wrap up / introduction things one would like to do for character and story reasons in this kind of transitional phase are tricky to do and take a heck of a long time to get done in a once-a-week silent strip--a long and relatively boring time for all concerned, I suspect. And that seems a drawback of the form, so maybe I have to rethink that approach.
The second reason is that I've found that...it's hard to draw the Princess and the Giant. Together. At least, in an interesting way. It's just a scale issue: to fit her in, he's got to be cropped severely, and to fit him in, she's got to be drawn really tiny. This is awkward, especially since I would much rather be drawing pretty princesses than warm-hearted giants, bless their nightshirts. =P So in approaching the next story arc, the first thing I found myself thinking was "okay how do I get the Giant out of the way for a while" and then I realized that hm, this is likely to be an ongoing problem that you'd have thought I'd have thought of and solved way back, like, before I started the comic. But it was so easy back in the beginning because I knew I wouldn't have to worry about fitting the Giant into the page for like at least thirty pages or so. :P Well time has caught up and yeah this is another thing I might need to rethink.
So while I do that, or procrastinate from doing that, I think I'll just draw crazy fantasy dreams. That's more or less what the strip was intended to be in the first place, anyway, albeit arranged in some sort of chronological story. Any chronology or even relationship of any sort from page to page in this dream phase, however long it lasts, are likely to be entirely coincidental--except that many will probably feature the Princess, or someone suspiciously similar to her, in some dream form or other.
For instance, in this week's page, could that be a future Princess who's become a bad-ass warrior woman, obtained a custom-tailored fur onesie, freakin' huge neck, strange ornamental glaive, and an urge to pose in front of smoke with her hand in a weird claw sign, and has sort of absorbed some of the facial features of that second probation officer from that "Misfits" BBC show that I may or may not have been watching recently? I will leave it to your imagination! *cough*
Also here's a photo of the page when it was just pencils:
I had to take the hair down a little later. >_>
So anyway I'm not sure when she'll wake up or if the dreams will ever take on some more sensible, story-like shape. Hopefully the art will at least be halfway decent! This week I found that it's pretty fun to do smoke and cloudy skies in ink wash. That fire may need a bit of work though.
EDIT: Blehh turns out random fantasy art is harder than initially calculated! Attacked the painting anew to eliminate some lameness. Here's the initially uploaded version (fortunately I tend to upload these late at night when nobody is looking! :D):