Dude, where’s my color?

2007 October 21
by Vanir

You may have noticed a distinct lack of color in today’s Evensbrook comic. This is for several reasons, but perhaps not the obvious ones.

It takes me, on average, 6 to 8 hours to do an Evensbrook strip. This time has decreased somewhat over the last few months with some practice (and a sweet new Intuos tablet Efreak got me for my birthday to replace my wiggly-line-making Graphire). However, it’s still a pretty significant chunk of time out of my week, and I find myself staying up way past my bedtime to get it done pretty frequently. I have NO idea how most webcomic authors pull off a daily strip. Those who know me are well aware that staying up late is my standard pattern of doing pretty much anything, so it wouldn’t normally be a problem except I’m starting to get a little frustrated with the strip.

Why, you might ask? Well, Evensbrook is a comic retelling of our group’s best-loved D&D campaign. Everybody who played in it has really fond memories of it. I still get excited remembering stuff that happened. But one problem I realized early on is that I felt somewhat obligated to relive every last detail – and I’m fairly obsessive-compulsive. Then, a few weeks later, Jonathan Drain posted an article that struck close to home. If nobody wants to hear about your D&D character, drawing a comic about them that takes up all your free time isn’t a very good idea.

This probably sounds like I’m planning to stop drawing Evensbrook. Happily, that is not the case. I am, however, going to change things up a bit. Here’s a basic idea of what’s going to happen, at least on an experimental basis:

  • Less color – It doesn’t look as nice and polished, but it is WAY FASTER to do a black and white comic. I’ll probably be saving color strips for big plot events, or if I’ve got lots of time and am feeling colorful. In the meantime, I will learn how to shade better.
  • Better pacing – Every strip you’ve seen thus far? Happened in the very first session of the campaign — and there’s more to go — and I already left out plenty. I love owlbears as much as the next guy, but even I was amazed it took me a month to get through that part. In a daily strip, I could see this working, but I don’t want to bore everyone to death on minutiae when I get one strip a week.
  • More comic-y – I don’t know if that’s even a word, but what I’m getting at is I want at least one of two things to happen during a strip – a plot point, or something funny. This doesn’t need to be an exact blow by blow of our old campaign.

The other change we’re planning on making with the comics here at SR is that we have left Critical Failure woefully neglected, dooming it to live up to its name. This will soon be addressed. The thought process around here is that people might connect better to a regular, more generic D&D comic than they would to a serial strip about an epic adventure. We’re not sure, but it’s enough to make us consider making Critical Failure a weekly feature, and have Evensbrook update whenever I can get to it.

At its heart, I love drawing these comics for everyone but I have enough on my plate right now that I want to make sure my attention is where it’s needed (and wanted). The comics page gets hit pretty hard every Monday — but we rarely get feedback on it. I would greatly appreciate any feedback anyone has to give here.

Sorry for the sudden instability, and for a slightly bumpy artistic ride for a little while. Just to reassure everyone, though — nobody’s quitting drawing anything. I’m just trying to figure out how best to do it. Thanks for listening, and especially for reading.

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