I realized I cannot maintain the schedule I had promised.  I had hoped that the vacation would have helped me recharge that battery, allowing me to go on producing three strips a week like clockwork, for at least a month or two.  It didn't last at all.

I have now officially moved back to the "irregular" schedule.  Updates will still occur at 7 am Finnish time, but I won't promise which days, or how often.

In other news, I have pencilled #32.  It is utter horror, and silent.  Utter.  Horror.  I can hopefully get it inked, colored and uploaded by Tuesday, or perhaps Wednesday.
I knew as far back as around #10 that #30 will be significant.   Between #10 and #30 I was moving my characters from point A to point B; the characters having fire and destruction, metaphorically, five steps behind them.  Until I reached Point B, the scripting and drawing was rather simple: take the characters where they were then, and use their momentum to advance them a bit.  Simple stuff, and mostly automatic.  Of course, I did an unplanned detour with the Marian Tealy sequence (#13..#19 and #25..#28) to vary the pace, but otherwise it was just walking from A to B.

I reached B in #29.  Scripting became difficult.  It wasn't because I didn't know what should happen next; it happened because I did not believe in what was supposed to happen next.  I had to take my overall strategy I have for this story, and translate it into a tactical plan that would carry me up to at least #40, perhaps even #50.

Here's what the problem was: my initial tactical plan was to have Grossom and Pacwoman engage in a Mission Briefing.   I'd already scripted a beautiful strip starting it.  But it was DEAD ON THE WATER!  I could not find any enthusiasm for actually drawing that strip.  Now, that's my sure sign of the script SUCKING.  Only I could not come up with a better script; it was time to go back to the strategy and rethink the tactics.  That meant I had to take a break.

Break nominally over yesterday, I opened the script again.  No joy.

There was better luck today.  The big problem with the existing script is that it's safe.  You do need safety every now and then, to provide  contrast to the jeopardy, but too much safety is boring.  Without spoiling #31 too much, I'm going to borrow a tactical maneuver from Raymond Chandler: "When in doubt, have a man come through a door with a gun in his hand."

Thus, I now have new tactics.  The mission briefing is still there, but transformed.

I believe I can get #31 drawn for the Tuesday update and get back to schedule for a while at least.

Update: The strip is pencilled, but inking and coloring cannot be completed in time.  I need to watch my sleep rhythm, and I got started too late.  Sorry.  But Thursday's looking really good: about half, time-wise, is already done.  – Yes I know, I should have a buffer like that Howard Tayler guy.  Someday, I swear...

I am leaving in a moment to drive to a town I have never visited before, and I need to find a specific place.  I could, of course, take a GPS navigation device with me, but I prefer to know my routes myself.

Enter Google Street View.  It allows me to view, and memorize, what certain intersections look like.  It allows me to see what the signs say.  In this case, it turns out the complicated-looking route Google Maps gave me can be distilled into a simple street sign guided route.

How did we manage before Street View?!

#30

Apr. 8th, 2010 12:48 am
ILIIT 30 is now uploaded and should appear this morning at 7am Finnish local time (+0300).

This was one of my slowest-to-write scripts, and fastest-to-draw strips.  We are now at one of the crucial plot points, assuming I manage to pull it off, which leads to difficult scripting.   Also, it's a talking-head strip, which means fast drawing but not very interesting visuals.

I got to study Andy Grossom's face a lot here.  Grossom's a puzzle– he was my first character, and his visual design is very undistinguished.  As I develop drawing technique and visual eye, Grossom changes and acquires visual character, but the flip side is he's no longer quite the same fellow, looks-wise; and it becomes a challenge to keep him recognisable.

Pacwoman's also one of my early characters, but her problem is about the opposite from Grossom's: she has such strong distinguishing features that it becomes harder to modify her to suit my developing style.  Grossom's basically a badly drawn life-like man, while Pacwoman is an exaggerated cartoon woman (at least her face) – developing better life imitation skill improves Grossom but makes Pacwoman a challenge.
That is a genuine question. I have several blogs already.

I figure this will be the place to let my hair down. Or perhaps it'll languish in neglect. We'll see.

Now, to script, pencil, ink, letter and color a strip.

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Antti-Juhani Kaijanaho

April 2010

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