The art for this has been mostly done for like a week, I’ve just been struggling with the text. I think I’ve found it now. So here we are, passing the Car Marsh on our way downtown to fix the router.
This update is five pages and it was fuuuuun; there will probably be more of this inverted look because I love how it came out. Feels appropriate to the world of Sects.
Little bit of backstory here, about the night the world ended. It wasn’t supposed to, but… they told us what we’d have to sacrifice to save it, and the price was too dear.
Two new pages for Sects! I loooove this brush-pen more than most men I’ve known and I think I’m achieving a style that’s a little more usefully detailed for scenes – like this one – with a lot of movement or exposition. So finally we can jam some plot up in there. It feels like my style changes every time I draw? I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing; certainly I’m learning a lot every time, and I’m happier each time with the result, so let’s call it good.
I went back in and did some outlines on the portrait, and I’m pretty happy with how that came out. The Photoshop portion I’m less happy with; I may end up just scrapping that texture and going back to the original scan and trying something else. I’m not sure what I want to do with the background; might need to do it by hand with pastels. And I’m not sure that all the text I want to put in will fit in that circle, but… that’s a worry for another day. So, a qualified success, I suppose?
Honestly, it’s super hard to think about anything else when what I really want to be doing is playing Hades, my new favorite dad-fighting simulator. Three-headed dog petting, check. Incredibly responsive, beautiful and satisfying gameplay, check. Eternally renewed opportunities to work out deep-seated issues by beating the disappointment out of my dad, check. Game of the year.
I’ve been doing a ton of stuff this week, but unfortunately a lot of it is stuff I can’t show you yet – it’s either unfinished or a seeeecret. I have done some work on the portrait of Eric, though, so here are some details from that. The markers I’m using are… honestly really shit-terrible; I bought this giant thing of like 75 markers in a tube for $20 and got what I paid for, I suppose. They’re fine for now but I’m going to need to look for another option beyond pastels if I want to do a lot of really tiny detail work like this in color.
Today I’ve been laying in some art nouveau-style outlines on the portrait of Eric from the other day. I’m loving Inkscape for this purpose; up until now I’ve done stuff like this in Photoshop, but this would have taken me three times as long and looked ten times as shitty if I’d tried to do it that way.
I have a couple of thoughts about how this might end up looking. I want to fill in the larger negative spaces with some detail and smaller drawings, so I’ve printed it out to go back in with the pastels and pens. After that’s done I also want to make an attempt at laying strong outlines over Eric himself with the brush pen. Might not work, in which case we’ll roll back to the version without. I’m enjoying this process of back-and-forthing between the computer and traditional media, and I like the combination of the softer pastel drawing with the art nouveau frame.
What can I say? I love combining things that don’t go together. No matter what you give me, my first impulse is to misuse it. Hand me a snowglobe and I’ll gnaw on it. Tell me one thing doesn’t work with another, and my first thought is, “Challenge accepted,” whether it’s clothes, food or art. Radical synthesis is how I break past creative blocks – when I get stuck, I reach for the most off-the-wall idea I have, the one that fits least well with whatever I’ve got going, and start chopping bits of both off to make ’em fit. The tagline of this site used to be “perverse pastiche,” and that’s why. When I’m working, I throw in whatever comes to hand and sort it out once it’s in the pot. Can’t promise you that this mess will always be tasty, but it’ll always be a flavor you haven’t tasted before. Like broccoli and jam!
Finally recuperated from the tattoo enough to do some drawing. Today we have further damnfoolishness with the undead. Teeth are the currency used between sects in Sects (and also sometimes between insects), at least in Tooth City. It’s possible they use other forms of currency elsewhere, but we don’t travel much – the roads aren’t great, ever since all the left lanes simultaneously became sentient.
I’m trying some new stuff both with the color and with lettering. I don’t like the way the fonts look over the hand-drawn stuff, so I’m going to start doing it by hand with the sweet Pigma brush pen I have, which I am otherwise too chicken to use. I like the way it came out much better. We’ll see how it does on more color-dense pages.
So, low-income mental healthcare is a constant delight! Every three months or so I have to spend a few days calling various people over and over, asking them to do their jobs. This is the only way I can ensure the continued supply of the drugs that permit me to be a person for, oh… maybe a total of fifteen hours a week? without my spleen leaping up my throat to throttle my brain. When there’s any kind of hiccup in this utterly asinine process, like for example a holiday, or twelve inches of snow, or a computer glitch, the result is almost always a week or so of sliding back into the Well, remembering how steep that slope is, how hard it was to get to the basic level of functionality I now occasionally enjoy.
Winter is a pretty frustrating time for me as a result. At the moment I’m about a week into lacking one of the four pharmaceuticals I require to provide you the half-assed entertainment you’ve come to expect and demand. Without Adderall, Bupropion, marijuana and caffeine, I’m just about capable of showering once a week. No promises, and no pants. So this week the Adderall’s out, which is much better than the Bupropion being out – weariness and OCD ruining my productivity > suicidal despair – which is why you’re getting something half-finished. I want to do more with this but I’m in a lot of pain and very tired so it will happen tomorrow. I’m happy to feel like I’m getting better detail out of the pastels than I have before. They’re unpredictable little fuckers but I seem to draw better when I’m in less control of the process. It seems like I’ll improve when I can stop thinking so hard about what I’m doing. Isn’t that everything, these days?
At any rate, here is Eric, one of the four people currently living in Johnny and Ava’s family home and comprising their very underwhelming cult. I want to fill out all that negative space with some art nouveau designs and detail about him. There’ll be a portrait like this of each of our main characters. Couldn’t tell you why there’s a hairbrush on his desk, as he doesn’t have a damn bit of hair. Yes, he uses an old Macintosh that he found in a dumpster. He interfaces with it primarily via his chin-tentacle, so it sucks a lot less than you’d think. Yes, he’s naked. He doesn’t wear clothes around the house much. Just imagine all the majestic views of fish-dicks to come!
In the cold and painfully bright world beyond the internet, I do graphic design that tends to target parents and schools, which means I’m never allowed to do anything remotely fun. No jokes that even a twelve-year-old would consider “edgy,” current events carefully whitewashed, reality edited down to a PG level at all times. This may be why I’m so extravagantly sweary and filthy around here – I have all this spare vitriol stored up from work.
The funny thing, then, is that I kind of love the work itself – I love Photoshop and Inkscape and I spent all day being kind of overwhelmed by After Effects. I love designing logos and writing inane ad copy so long as I’m allowed to be as ridiculous as I want to be in it. Spare me your booster club meetings and chamber of commerce lunches, but if you need a flyer for your semi-legal taxidermy business, or a great logo for a dominatrix, I’m your man.
You can tell I got my start in gaming more than narrative; I love the worldbuilding, the details in the background that give you a sense of endless layers of structure, each more batshit than the last. So today you get a flyer for A Deeper Gnawing, which used to be a pet store before the Fall, and now trains, treats, modifies and maintains all classes of familiars, non- and semi-sentient pets, contractors and employees. If you’ve been chewing through the latest issue of The Hand That Feeds, salivating over the newest biological weaponry, but you’re balking at the prices – $59.99 for rabies, you have GOT to be shitting me, when I could piss off any feral raccoon and take my chances – come on down to A Deeper Gnawing, where they’re having a back-to-school special on installations! The school board has just approved the new list of campus-safe upgrades – you could be the first one at your school eating acorns, cherries or grapes straight off your faithful familiar’s horns right in class!
Today we get our first glimpse outside the Sects house. I realize zombies are done to death, so you’ll be pleased to know that they’re not a major feature of this world – this was not a zombie apocalypse; the zombies are the equivalent of an old man’s garage tinkering for one of our characters. He raises them, makes them march around the yard doing rifle drills, and tests the corgi’s reflexes and ferocity against them. So far the corgi has been rated insufficiently ferocious.
My new technique is to block out the light and colors with pastels, scan that in, tart it up in Photoshop a bit, then print it out and draw on the resulting print with the Micron pens. This protects the Microns from dragging through pastel dust, which I’m not certain would ruin them, but who wants to risk nice pens? And it seems to be working out really well; I’m very happy with the detail I was able to achieve here while retaining the depth of color and layering of the pastels.
Also, corgis are fun to draw, whereas zombies are annoying to draw. Still haven’t named the corgi yet; feel free to comment with great names for a perfectly ordinary corgi with absolutely no supernatural qualities whatsoever.