Erglebergle ermahgerd. First off, a tiny warning: I’m struggling with getting the comic finished in time for Monday due to personal reasons that are smashing my creativity into dust, so I’ll advise that there’s a fifty-ish percent chance that sketches (maybe stickmen, depending on how bad it is; maybe a photo of my cat being dumb if it’s the worst it can be) will be posted instead of a new page, come the day. As always, I’m trying not to have that happen, but sometimes life just kicks you when you’re down and there’s no getting up. I give a hearty thppth to it all.

Edit: Never mind! Got ‘er done!

Good news is that there’s a new section up for the web to look upon! Check the menubar and there’s now a Fan Art section, with works by a friend,  fan, and fellow comicker to start things off. If any of you have ever done or ever will do art based off of my story, there’s a bunch of handy methods for getting ahold of me, all available on said Fan Art page, and you may  gaze upon those knowing that I will publish artwork everywhere that there are buttons to allow me to do so! Unless you don’t want me to. But if you do, it will be done!

Go take a look-see. 

Been looking forward to this. This page. Yes yes.

First: Tieke City! It’s the place I’ve explored the absolute most in story chunks since I began redesigning this story from it’s original version (from way back when I was in my teenage years).

Even more fun, I finally get to mention one of the collaborators I’ve had over the years: my brother, Liam. We always got along rather well as far as siblings go, and it used to be that we’d design these stories together. Aurorin here is his from long ago, as is the aforementioned Stiggs (although Stiggs’ first name, Jardren, is the only remaining reference to an old character of mine who pretty much lost all usefulness as I got older). They’ve been through major redesigns in the last thirteen years or so, including a whole species change for one of them, but all with my brother’s guidance.

It makes me feel pretty special to get to use them in my story.

So, for the record: thanks, Liam! I hope I do your fellows justice.

And having a little sit-down to breathe.

To begin, have a present. This is music by a friend of mine that’s become very much a staple for writing and drawing Prophecy of the Circle and lately it’s seen frequent rotation on my iTunes. I must share! I must. I shall. Beautiful music for creating to. Take a listen and support a fellow creative type, if you’re so inclined. 🙂

Now, explanation-wise: If you noticed me being slow to respond and scatter-brained to the extreme lately (more so than usual; crazy, I know!) it’s because I’ve spent the last month or so working extra hard each week behind the scenes, and I think I’ve finally achieved a tiny, silly little workaholic’s daydream: I’ve got a comic buffer! I’ve officially bought nearly three weeks worth of time for myself and it means so many things. So many glorious things!

Primarily: I have time to do even more work! AHAHAHAHAHA.

…yes.

*ahem*

So.

Here’s how it stands, somewhat. Every week I still have to do a comic to maintain that buffer, but I’ve learned a few tricks that make it easier and faster for me to keep on top of things. It’s been a matter of identifying the stages in comic-creation where I stall and procrastinate and making those fewer and further between. Took me a while to figure out a pattern that works and to get it running smoothly, but I’ve finally got one.

When I sit down to sketch or ink or anything except painting, I don’t just do one page like I used to. I write maybe a whole scene in great detail, all in one sitting. I’ll do the pencils for five or six pages in a single evening. I’ll ink all of those pages in another evening. By the time I’m done that over the course of three days, I’ve got almost two months of pages that only need to be painted, scanned, and assembled, so-to-speak, which I can typically do in one day per page. The faster I get that done, the faster I can get to building another batch of pages, and the buffer grows!

And if I need to take a day to do something else it’s now guilt-free. That’s things like building a solid portfolio for career purposes (those who remember my earlier fears about income… I have indeed found some degree of stability, sorta, but things are still precarious and being worked out on my end; ongoing saga but my head’s currently above water), or attend to comic side projects like more merchandise designs or adding a fanart page to the home site, or even just maintaining the encyclopedia. When I get a little further ahead than I am now, it’s going to be an even bigger relief because I can start squeezing in a day or two here and there to do things I want to, rather than need. Prophecy of the Circle is great – it’s my baby, after all – but it’s like if you had to eat the same thing every day. I do come to miss variety. Got art and half-finished novels and project ideas I’d love to toy with and renew that creative spirit of mine.

The first thing I’m doing, though, is taking a pause for a few days. A real complete total pause. We’ve got a long weekend here in Canada, and tomorrow evening I’m off to Vancouver for a quick holiday. Just family, my sketchbook, and a real paper book to read.

And it’s going to be glorious. 😀

It’s small, and to start off it’s only a couple of t-shirts, but it will not end here.

The store is up and online with two shiny new designs. Lemony-fresh!

There is So Much To Hear in Silence (feat. Shan'rekk)

The Circle is Breaking (feat. Renn'tekk + Jahrd)

Or, in other words, a quick update about merchandise. I’ll keep this very quick so I can go back to making it a reality. First: it is indeed happening. I’ve finally got some designs drawn up and most of the kinks in the process worked out. Second: it will start pretty small, but more will be added as time goes on. Third. When? Soon, though it’s hard to plan these things; monkey wrenches find their way into the machine at the oddest times. If I have my way, sometime this week.

Keep watching this space. Or take a look at the Facebook page. I’m considering sticking a couple of preview images up there once I have them. 😉

Edit: I won’t be around in the audience for as long as I was last time since I’m technically on a small holiday with family, but the Livestream of the translation of the comic is happening again tomorrow at the same time as last week (that’s 2 PM Mountain Daylight Time). Any of you who want to can definitely come watch or, if I’m there, to pester me. I’m, er, quite shy, though. I’ll warn you now. But friendly!

It’s looking like this may become a regular thing. Feel free to stop by. 🙂

If you want regular updates about little things like this, they’re posted to the Facebook page for the comic and to avoid excessive journals that’s probably where I’ll continue to mention these things.

For anyone who’s curious, my friend Foldo is Livestreaming his translation process of the comic, and I’m in the audience. Come and take a look, if you will.

foldo on livestream.com. Broadcast Live Free

Edit: Comments closed; over the course of a week, with conversations had between here and elsewhere, I believe that I have a plan. Actually multiple plans, in a way. Now what I need is time to bring the plan(s) to fruition (or something closely approximating fruition), so bear with me if I’m quiet a bit. Many many things happening. Thanks, you guys. You’ve been really super at keeping me on the right track and sparking my inspiration.

Life has a funny way of taking sharp turns when you’re not really expecting it. Such is the situation I find myself in currently.

Without a great deal of warning, I’ve, er, found myself in a bit of trouble. I’m staring at a very real, very near future of financial dire straits. In essence, the amount my day job is looking to be very soon paying me is not matching up very well with the reality of bills and rent and groceries, and I am but a singular human with a cat for company, trying to keep myself fed, with a roof over my head, and hopefully to continue working on this story which I’m really, really fond of.

The trouble is, there are only 24 hours in a day, I have to sleep sometime, and to make ends meet I’m afraid I’m looking at two possibilities: one is cutting back on the comic in order to scrounge enough work out in the world so that I can continue to eat and be sheltered,  or to see if ProtC can pull its weight so that there’s even the slightest possibility of it at least helping me to survive. Odd as it may seem, I dislike both options. The first, obviously, because this story is important to me, and I just want to tell it and to see it enjoyed. The second because it may seem odd, but no matter how I approach it (and I have before within my own head, hence the Store button at the top), I feel very strange at the idea of taking money from my readers, even if they offer it freely and get something in return. I know. I’m a crazy person.

Still, I think about you, all of you, and I don’t want to take the story away at all if there’s even a chance of keeping things running smoothly. It becomes pretty obvious which of the two options is preferable. So I pose the question:

If I were to offer merchandise, what would interest you? What can I do? Is there anything that comes to mind? T-shirts and art prints are my favorite ideas because I know how to make those happen, somewhat. Not entirely sure, as I’m rather new to this internet entrepreneur idea and it’s hard to know which manual out in the internet is the right one to turn to, but I have a few leads and ideas. I’ve done some research.

Also since I know that a rather large amount of interest in this story revolves around the art, I’m also considering doing small original sketches and drawings and selling those. I am nervous about handling shipping, but if it helps, right?

I’m really eager to hear what any of you have to say to this. Please, feel free to leave anything that might be useful in the comments. Ideas, thoughts, possibilities or even just encouragement. Anything and everything is welcome with attempting to figure out what comes next.

First, I want to say that I was impressed by the thoughtful comments left on my last journal entry. There were a couple that were really thought-provoking on top of my own fairly basic points. It’s a debate that I can throw my two cents into, but which I didn’t feel I was all that qualified to discuss at length beyond the post itself since… well, politically savvy I  am not so much. Not confidently so, anyway. So while I couldn’t add much personally, I felt the thoughts of others who pass through here were worth pointing out.

Now the reason I’m really writing this: Wow, how neat is this? For some who may be interested, The Prophecy of the Circle is now being actively translated into French at La Prophétie du Cercle! Thanks are in order to one J. N. Squire, who you may or may not have seen wandering around in the comments section. We’ve been emailing back and forth for a while now, getting things ready and today’s the day.

This is so good. When I started posting Prophecy of the Circle, I told myself that my mission statement, so to speak, would be very simple: to just have someone read what I was writing, and look at what I was drawing, and hopefully be glad that they had. If one person took some enjoyment from what I had to offer, then mission accomplished. I’ve achieved that several times over, even made a few friends because of it, and still nothing makes me more giddy than just having someone tell me that they love what I’m putting up here.

And now I get to reach a whole new audience. That’s a really really nice feeling. I hope they like it, too.

Success! I have a desktop computer again and, most importantly, I finally have Photoshop and my scanner running again! I’m still slowly transferring files over in chunks, but all of the most important things are back where I need them. Looking at what I’ve managed to get done on the comic (mostly on lunch breaks at work; no rest for the wicked >> ) and then looking at the time I have left… It’s going to be tight, but I think I can still reach the Monday deadline if I pull a late night or two with painting it. Monday looks very likely. I’ll give it a 90% certainty, barring any unforeseen distractions or disasters. 🙂

While I’m here… The unfortunate part about all this is that I missed the SOPA/PIPA blackout day because I missed the memo since my contact with the world of the internet over the last few days has mostly involved being up to my elbows in computer cables. By the time I found out, the world of the net was a dark, angry place and I was very impressed. TIME Magazine was right on the money to call 2011 the Year of the Protestor. It’s still going on now in 2012.

It just goes to show how amazing the internet is as a voice of the world. I was born when the web wasn’t available to the public. I remember when it slipped into households around the world, and I’ve watched it change everything through the course of my life. It’s astounding, the way it’s become such a foundation for society all over the world, and how dramatically and quickly it’s changed the way that communications and media are used. It’s opened up a whole ton of gray areas that weren’t there when I was born and yes, one of those is the issue of copyright.

I’m going to drop this here for your viewing pleasure, although you’ve likely already seen it a dozen times:

PROTECT IP / SOPA Breaks The Internet from Fight for the Future on Vimeo.

In a world where the results of hard work and creativity are composed of insubstantial data that can, in seconds, be picked up, multiplied millions of times, and scattered around the globe without significant cost or clutter, the old ways of thinking cease to fit, and I understand that it’s hard to come up with a reasonable way to look at and deal with the result. But that’s what the internet is. That’s what we’ve wrought, the way forward that we’ve embarked on, and who we are when we’re a connected global community. The reality of it has to be faced, not buried and censored and blockaded, especially at the expense of the little people like myself. The internet has been a haven for people like me – it is the reason I even have a voice – and while copyright infringement hurts in a way that every artist, big or small, feels, the methods outlined in SOPA and PIPA aren’t the way to handle it. It’s too broad for its target, and power lies too strongly in the wrong hands for something as complicated and user-generated the web. I don’t want to go back to even a shadow of what it was like when I was born. When I was small, and already telling stories because it’s what I love to do, I remember the looks of pity I’d get and the lectures I’d hear about how hard it would be to get anyone to hear what I have to say or see what I had to show: that it’s a business world, and that I didn’t have a head for business, and I was creative but looking at an uphill battle. The world wide web arrived, Twitter and Facebook and WordPress and DeviantArt arrived, and it changed. For the better, for the better, not just for the worse. You can all hear me, I can tell this story, and I’m still not a business-minded person. That is huge and I don’t want to see it damaged.

As a Canadian, I’m slightly on the sidelines since it’s not my government that’s trying to push this ludicrous thing through. As a creator who can only thrive where I can share my work with the ease that exists today, and who would still be depressed, alone, and trapped with a story in her head that she could not tell if it weren’t for the free and open internet… I’m right in the middle of the mess and I strongly oppose this thing.

No real surprise, I suppose.

Certainties of life: death, taxes, and the inevitable burnout of a computer. Two out of three became a prominent part of my weekend, but it’s the last one there that requires an update from me here. I knew it was coming but alas, not the day nor the hour. It’s an old PC and for ages it’s been giving me signals that it’s not as healthy as I’d like. Saturday was the day when I could no longer ignore it, and it was a pretty major and sudden failure. BOOM.

Fortunately I still have my laptop so I could at least post the comic (which, also thankfully, was complete enough that I didn’t desperately need my PC), but next week’s is in question. I have a new computer to replace the old already (yes, the explosion was that bad) but it’s the rigmarole of getting it pieced together, running, everything installed, all the files back in place, and happily connected and functioning while I script, draw, and paint the next comic in the time that remains on the side. I’m optimistic (as well as a slightly crazy breed of stubborn) but there’s a tiiiiny chance that next week’s comic will be late. Probably not skipped entirely, but yeah, late. I’ll keep you guys posted as the weekend draws nearer.

It’s also a given that I may be scarce this week, which is awful because I’m already badly behind on keeping up with correspondence.

Aaaaahhhhh somebody stop time for me just for a while… XD