If you’ve come to this post because a search engine associated it with sparkly vampires, you have been mislead. I’m sorry.
I could follow up on that and explain what I don’t like about it, but it would unfair to go into it, and a bit on the cheap. We’re all free to be critics, but artistic integrity (or something like it) keeps telling me not to publicly criticize until I’m established that I can do better.
This is about what I don’t like about page 17 of this comic.
I made a mistake, trying out a way to provide texture to the sky. The sky looks brilliant, but none of the shots were framed to capture that. The sky is also just one color, despite looking like it isn’t. Or more accurately, the brightest color (the sunset red) is coming from all directions, rather than just the sunset point.
Rey has a medium skin tone with a strong red undertone. Dude has a light tan with a pale undertone. Casting enough light on Rey to offset the all around red and its strong combination with her own tones turned Dude into… Well, a sparkly vampire.
Getting Dude not to glow left Rey very red, and turned her clothing almost solid black.
Having had some time away from it, I’m not as completely unhappy with it as I was. I do need to rethink my plans for night scenes, which is a bit of pinch, since the next 20 or so strips are at night. I proper planner would have accounted for this. In the great tradition of webcomic slackers, I mean artists, I’m figuring this out as I go. In hindsight, that wasn’t the best idea.
That’s the fun of life, though. It really is. If all our ideas were the best, they would be… Common. Unremarkable. Like a Big Mac. I worry about this comic and this story. I agonize. I ask myself difficult quests and I try to make the best comic I can, and aspire to keep its schedule commitment. I was asked if I’d rather make the best possible comic page or update on time. I choose on time updates, because I’m a perfectionist. The clock forces me to produce, rather than tweaking endlessly. I also choose it because it’s the best way to train to get better.
As much as it hurts, and it hurts, when I look at the finished comic I am happy. It’s the most satisfying thing I’ve ever done. I finally understand what it’s like to do something for the love of it.
As much as I think I could have done better, I look at 17 and I am content with my failure. That’s a profound experience for me. The message I got from youth was “failure is not an option.” Given the amount of failure that followed, one would think I would have learned differently. But there is a difference between knowing the path and walking the path.
17 isn’t the only mistake I’ve made. Almost every page is a little off. But 17 is the first I’ve looked and said, “That’ll do, pig. That will do.” It may not last, but I’m going to enjoy the feeling.
It will do.