Author Topic: Woo Hoo! 6 Months online!! (contains images)  (Read 5276 times)

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fesworks

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Woo Hoo! 6 Months online!! (contains images)
« on: January 10, 2007, 10:30:11 pm »
(I'm going to rework this post into a full special on my site for my 100th strip in about 5 weeks.... fair warning... IT'S WORDY!)

I just reached my 6 month mark for my comic. My first strip was my first sketch and genuine attempt at making a webcomic.



Needless to say I really didn't know what I wanted to do with the strip. I decided to put myself into it since I obviously know myself enough to right about. Ernst was to be the more angry and critical side of myself. born out of a fit of depression, I intended the comic to be a bit depressing with various rants that would either be in comic form, or be combined with a blog. As well as Ernst insulting Fes whenever possible.



Ironically, setting out to make a depressing comic strip ended up making my depression less severe and and happier. I forced myself to take steps to get rid of my depression and the comic was certainly working, though not in the way I intended. I did not want to make my comic cliché and use stereotypes... but I could not help it at the beginning, and decided to experiment around until the comic took it's own direction.




Some methods I used to "force" myself to work on the webcomic was to start drawing and start making the website. With a website in place, I elected to have no counter on the site at first because I did not want to see how few people may or may not be reading my comic. I knew some people were, and people hate when you miss updates, so I made a committment (sorta) to make regular updates. When I have a comittment to people, I have a respsonsibilty to see it through.



I originally started on Geocities and the to Atspace. I did not think where to really get my comic going because I never really talked to anyone in the community. Well, I have interacted with Mat from Badly Drawn Kitties before, but that was about it. I was in no community. I never wanted ads on my comic. I always hated ads for crap I'm never going to buy, and just block up the screen. (of course now I have Project Wonderful ads, but its much different than forced ads that try to get you to buy crap, and you can put them where you want). So basically I would rather try to by my own space than sign up with Comic Genesis and such. Then I found Xepher.net through the webcomic Dan & Mab's Furry Adventures. I decided to check it out. The Application process was interesting and looked like a good challenge for me to try and push myself to work more on my comic to improve it. Of course I get ahead of myself and apply before I really have enough to apply about. I stuck with it and continued to stick with making comics.

I always wanted to make simple one-off strips, but my writing is pretty bad for confining what I want to illustrate. My first big strip (and even today people always mention it after reading the archives) is the "Salt" strip that was the first idea to take more than one strip:



Which led to the future ideas to use more and more strips to explain my thoughts. Trying to come up with a "gag" to end on each strip on these multi-strip "gags" was difficult and ended up taking a a few ideas on how to rework the strip and panel size and how to delay a punchline to fill in the the remaining panels, etc. For the most part I started to really get into ideas and jokes that might have been too inside.... or perhaps just too weird.



I ran into problems with having giant anthropomorphic animals in my strips. My idea was originally to to a half furry, half human strips so I'll be able to easily make cameos from both kinds of comics. Obviously I started by merely making larger animals that could talk and think, and they didn't wear clothes because they had fur. After finding out that I can cop-out on my difficulty drawing Ernst, by adding clothes, I successfully transistioned animals into humanoid form, as well as explaining a world "taboo", developing Ernst's character more, and avoiding an easy, yet cliché, set of strips which I would feel as a cop-out.



Soon I found myself more on a roll with my first intentional arc. While only intended to be about 10 strips based on my summer camping trip, I found I had more ideas to share and that I don;t know how to write well enough realize that people don't need to know all mundane details. Which dragged my first arc to almost 4 times as long as I planned.

[abridging to not take forever in this post]

Over time I learned more and more techniques, improved my skill, and increased my audience. While taking a lot of time to do this strip, I've enjoyed it, and, for the most part, and been a consistant updater. I look forward to where this perpetually experimental comic will be taking me!

In the mean time, I'll enjoy doing cameos and plugging music and other things I like while breaking the fourth wall and pouring suagr in your gas tank!


Xepher

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Woo Hoo! 6 Months online!! (contains images)
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2007, 03:08:48 am »
Heheheheh... Ahhh. I have to laugh. It's funny, because I see a lot of myself in what you're doing. I'm betting you feel a bit self-conscious about this "huge" post here, talking only about yourself and your own ideas. (Which is probably why you cut out the middle bit.) I know exactly how you feel though. I tend to do the same thing from time to time. My various posts of the genre "OMFG-Xepher.net-is-stupid-crazy-huge-and-I-can't-believe-it-because-it-used-to-be-so-small!" are a prime example.

You mentioned worrying if your jokes are too "inside" as it were. If it makes you feel any better, I found all the comics you posted here funny and I "got" them. I think that's what makes for a good comic (or any creative work) actually. Art (and I include writing and comics in that word) is about communication with people. Good art is stuff that communicates on a deeper level than normal. That means showing things about yourself or your ideas that aren't normally seen, known, or talked about. When something does that, and a viewer "gets" it, it's a sort of connection... that "I'm not the only one" feeling. A great example is a comic I just recently started reading called, xkcd. http://xkcd.com I read through the entire archive in one go, and there were dozens of comics where I just so precisely identified with what the subject that it was almost eerie. You'll note the "art" in the comic can barely even be called that. Today's comic... http://xkcd.com/c208.html I do that exact thing, AND I've actually learned regular expressions. http://xkcd.com/c196.html this one, I've actually done... save (sadly) the part about "with a girl." This one http://xkcd.com/c162.html was possibly the most romantic nerdism of all time. But this one... http://xkcd.com/c85.html This one I used to do every single time I ever walked on campus. It got so bad I tried to NOT think about it, and found I couldn't do it. I couldn't just walk, without planning my route for maximum efficiency at every turn. A comic like that, that lets me know someone else out there thinks like I do... that's what art is about.

Your discussion about salt... The same question, but phrased about cheese is one of my favorite random conversation starters. I've used it regularly for years. I mean, how did you get the first cheese. "Hey look, that milk has gone so sour that it smells like old feet, has turned green and blue, and started to get chewy. Should we throw it out? Naw, let's squeeze it dry, and put it in the basement for 6 months and see what happens!" Seriously?

So anyway, congratulations. Your art is getting a lot better, and your dedication is impressive. When I accepted your application, you were definitely one of my "borderline" cases. I find most all of those die within six months or so. Glad you're the exception!

fesworks

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Woo Hoo! 6 Months online!! (contains images)
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2007, 04:56:37 am »
Quote from: Xepher
Heheheheh... Ahhh. I have to laugh. It's funny, because I see a lot of myself in what you're doing. I'm betting you feel a bit self-conscious about this "huge" post here, talking only about yourself and your own ideas. (Which is probably why you cut out the middle bit.) I know exactly how you feel though. I tend to do the same thing from time to time. My various posts of the genre "OMFG-Xepher.net-is-stupid-crazy-huge-and-I-can't-believe-it-because-it-used-to-be-so-small!" are a prime example.
Well, it was more that I didn't want to bore people because I tend to ramble. I originally intended this to be a quick "then and now" comparrison... but then I realized I was doing the commentary to the "P.S.I. DVD" so-to-speak :P Personally I love commentary, and in this heavily Blogged world, people also like to read about what people think. Even my Archive has a bit of Commentary for each strip.

While not that big still, I'm pulling in about 60 unique vistors a day/update, which is about 300% from a few months ago. Though adding myself to The Belfry and ChoiceComics and my participation in TWCL and Ardra has been increasing that. I'm just glad others are enjoying my strip. Even going to be the Artist for Ardra is a big high for me :)


Quote from: Xepher
You mentioned worrying if your jokes are too "inside" as it were. If it makes you feel any better, I found all the comics you posted here funny and I "got" them. I think that's what makes for a good comic (or any creative work) actually. Art (and I include writing and comics in that word) is about communication with people. Good art is stuff that communicates on a deeper level than normal. That means showing things about yourself or your ideas that aren't normally seen, known, or talked about. When something does that, and a viewer "gets" it, it's a sort of connection... that "I'm not the only one" feeling.
*nods*

Quote from: Xepher
A great example is a comic I just recently started reading called, xkcd. http://xkcd.com

....

 It got so bad I tried to NOT think about it, and found I couldn't do it. I couldn't just walk, without planning my route for maximum efficiency at every turn. A comic like that, that lets me know someone else out there thinks like I do... that's what art is about.
Those are good strips! Plus, I always do that when walking too! Especially when walking in a parking lot... judging how cars are parked as I walk by... where is a good spot to cross between the cars that they will obstruct and delay my progression the least :P

Quote from: Xepher
Your discussion about salt... The same question, but phrased about cheese is one of my favorite random conversation starters. I've used it regularly for years. I mean, how did you get the first cheese. "Hey look, that milk has gone so sour that it smells like old feet, has turned green and blue, and started to get chewy. Should we throw it out? Naw, let's squeeze it dry, and put it in the basement for 6 months and see what happens!" Seriously?
HAHA! Mark Davis (some guy somewhere) submitted a theory, or such, about the origin of cheese to my website back in the day... I just found it on the Archive.org archive!
http://web.archive.org/web/20070111045033/http://www.geocities.com/fesworks_inc/essays/cheese.htm

Here's the main archive... All graphics in there were made by me and MS Paint :D
http://web.archive.org/web/20011120085836/www.geocities.com/fesworks_inc/quick.htm


Quote from: Xepher
So anyway, congratulations. Your art is getting a lot better, and your dedication is impressive. When I accepted your application, you were definitely one of my "borderline" cases. I find most all of those die within six months or so. Glad you're the exception!
Hehe, Yea, I had the feeling it was a borderline decision. ;) I'm just the kind of guy that does not like to leave things un-finished. Even if I have to reduce my comic to 2 updates instead of 3 (which I had been considering for a while). I'll still plug away because of the current Arc, and the one after it. I wish I could dedicate more time because I just wanna show off my ideas and stories... like a little kid :P

dragyn

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Woo Hoo! 6 Months online!! (contains images)
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2007, 06:19:26 am »
And here I somehow managed to pass the year mark without even noticing it...

Congratulations, Fes!

Xepher

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Woo Hoo! 6 Months online!! (contains images)
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2007, 07:33:41 am »
I've been thinking a bit on that cheese problem since my post earlier. And I just read your friend mark's ideas on the origins of cheese. I've also been reading a lot of evolutionary biology and sci-fi today, and I've come to an interesting thought. I was thinking about "essential" humanity. That is, what is it that we as a species would do or become, regardless of the circumstances? I mean, you can point to things like the Apollo program and be amazed by the level of cooperation and such required for it, but in the grand scheme of things, we just got really lucky there. Very exacting circumstances were needed for that to come about. Cheese on the other hand is much like beer. It was bound to happen. Beer was invented dozens of times by every culture on earth, as was cheese. It's just something we, as humans, seem to always do. So when we meet an alien race, what is it we're most likely to have in common with them? Is it computers? Diplomacy? Higher mathematics? All those other classical "constants" you get from science fiction. The first interstellar contact isn't going to be scientists signaling base-math patterns with blinking lights and music... it's going to be a bunch of people sharing beer and cheese.

fesworks

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Woo Hoo! 6 Months online!! (contains images)
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2007, 05:48:42 pm »
Quote from: dragyn
And here I somehow managed to pass the year mark without even noticing it...

Congratulations, Fes!
Yea, I noticed because I found I could not nominate you for best newcomer in the WCCA... just barely though, i think.



Quote from: Xepher
The first interstellar contact isn't going to be scientists signaling base-math patterns with blinking lights and music... it's going to be a bunch of people sharing beer and cheese.
*is reminded about how Star Trek: First Contact ended ;) *