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Finally Ready: the “Movie” version of “This Side of Darkness”

It took longer than I anticipated, but now it’s finished and available for download: the “movie” version of “This Side of Darkness”!

What is it?

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one step more from comic sequential art towards movie/animated picture: half an hour of playtime, the original comic pages re-edited to widescreen format, featuring a truely epic score from audiomachine including tracks from the albums Chronicles, Epica, Existence, Helios and Tree Of Life, this version of “This Side of Darkness” is as close as I could make it, towards a “real” movie flic.

It’s available for download in English or German as of now:
get your copy here (English) or here (German).

Chapter 5, Erlangen, Epsilon

Let’s start with the long-made promise: finally, chapter 5 is online, renamed from “Fire and Ice” to “In the Realm of Flies”. Enjoy: 00-intro
(btw, in order to prevent trouble with the gallery auto-scaling feature, I decided to drop the gallery option completely and use “endless” image files instead – tell me, if you’d like to have the galleries back :) )

Then, for something else:
the German print version is no longer published by me.

In the future, printed copies (hardcover, yay!) will be available via Epsilon Verlag, starting at the Comicsalon Erlangen 2014, which will open Thursday 19/06/2014 (meaning: in three days).

I’ll be there, too, at Epsilon’s stand.
If you’d like to drop by for a chat, or want your printed copy signed (or both), just drop by. :)

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Fighting threads

The relocation is done … sort of.
Forseeably, it kept me away of T&D for quite a while, and it still continues to pull effort.

However, I fought myself back to my freshly set up working space, and actually managed to get into it again.

Book One’s plot had two (and a half) threads. Book two will feature four, if I did not forget any. One of them is dedicated to Ulog, Morm and Nala, the young Anukhai, who survived the battle of the Melondel ford.
This part of the story is my current “battlefield”. My next milestone is the completion of this thread. I’m not far away, and I really enjoy how things have evolved so far … mostly without my (active) interference, it’s more about leaving these three doing their stuff, watching and trying to make a sketch of them now and then.

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I did not forget that I promised to publish the next chapter, by the way … stay tuned. ;)

In the meantime …

… work on book 2 continues. As it seems, the upcoming volume of Telaya & Dioman will be quite a couple of pages stronger than it’s predecessor, and will also feature much more dialog – in short, there will be much more to read. :)

It’s title isn’t yet final. At the moment I think about naming it Hrug’s War.

I don’t want to spoil anything by revealing too much, so I’m going to be niggard concerning scene scribbles, WIPs, sketches and so on. However, I think it doesn’t hurt to show you some fragmentary stuff now and then, carefully selected to keep the greater workings hidden. ;)

To make a start, here are a few:

… Cin’Thele, wearing something:
A Pinup

… a scene idea:
A Pinup

… part of another scene:
A Pinup
Humans are naked at times, too … even if they’re male. ;)

During the Seelbach exhibition, Katharina and I talked a lot about ideas finding, sketching technique and related stuff. I tried to explain my usual digital workflow for page scribbling, which is probably best described as a stripped-down digital painting style, reduced to a few discrete shades of gray, cell shading only, characters often – but not always – blocked in as shapes first, outlines drawn later.
Unable to provide a proper description of how to find shapes by gradually refining contours of color blobs instead of immediately working on outlines, I gave up on verbal explanations, and went for a demonstration via tablet and beamer instead … turned out to be a bad idea, because I plugged the HDMI cable into the wrong tablet port and immediately shut it down. :/

So when she left, I promised her to capture a scribble session … which i finally did. Here it is:

PS.:
This has not been particularly fast, about 60min to complete.
Right before, I had done my daily gymnastics routine, resulting in an exhausted and extremely tremulous hand, I completely failed in drawing smaller detail …

Darkness Over Cannae Crowdsourcing

A bit of promotion for a very good friend and her inspiring project:

today, at 18:45, Jenny started the crowd funding campaign for her illustrated  novel Darkness Over Cannae, about one of the most famous and successful military maneuvers in history, the climactic large-scale confrontation following a series of battles fought between Roman armies and the Carthaginian invasion force lead by Hannibal Barca, at 2nd August, 216 BC, in Apulia, Italy: the prototype of an encirclement battle, in which inferior Carthaginian forces managed to destroy eight Roman legions, and almost bring the super-power of it’s time to it’s knees.

It’s a very empathetically and emotionally arranged combination of narrative text and hand-crafted illustrations, which re-tells the events of that one pivotal day from the very personal perspectives of seven people involved in the battle.

Darkness Over Cannae Illustations
With friendly permissions of Jenny Dolfen

If you would like to help the first print edition of “Darkness Over Cannae” become reality, please visit her campaign, share and/or support it at

Darkness Over Cannae

 

 

Still there :)

First of all, thanks to anyone of you who actually supported the project over the last weeks. I decided to publish chapter 5, but as I am rather busy with other tasks at the moment, it will have to wait a few more days yet (among other challenges, our relocation is looming near … yes, we’re leaving the Black Forest area, for a variety of reasons … sad, it’s one of the most beautiful spots in Germany).

Currently, I’m also doing the promotional video for my good friend Jenny and the soon-to-start crowd sourcing campaign for her illustrated novel Darkness Over Cannae, an incredibly captivating, very emphatically written (and illustrated!) view on that one bloodstained day, which – almost – decided the Second Punic War in favour of Carthage.

Have a look:
Darkness over Cannae

I’ll write a dedicated announcement as soon, as the campaign launches.

This project also gave me a reason to finally dive into Blender’s video sequencer functionality (I can just say: great!), which implies, that the barrier to create the “This Side of Darkness” movie final cut has fallen.

It’s the next topic on my ToDo list now (except getting more book 2 work done, stemming the relocation) …

For my German-speaking readers, here’s a little content gap filler: these were the posters I showed at the Seelbach exhibition. There’s a bit of backstory, a Tanai legend on Amaro, and the Why-All-The-Nudity explanatory text in German.

Viel Spass beim Lesen. :)

Further Plans

Four chapters are out, the web site is online for three months, release party over. Looking back at these three months brought me to the conclusion that I don’t want to continue this way.

I will drop my two-week chapter publishing cycle, and leave the “entirely free content” path.

There are several reasons:

  1. I have several ideas which just fit better with a different approach.
    One of them: I made an agreement with the guys from Audiomachine, which allows me to offer the “movie” version of TSoD for download. Since it’s tremendous success at the release party I know THIS is the way to go. However, I can’t offer it for free, as 3rd-party rights are involved, and, honestly, because it just deserves to be paid for.

  2. As the chapter-wise online publication so far created virtually no feedback, I feel, my doubts about splitting the (originally monolithic) story into chapters might be justified (however I will not omit it entirely at once, but continue it on an experimental base – read below).
  3. To be honest, I just can’t afford it. I just can’t spend my time in building an auditory for the comic, setting up Facebook accounts, writing lots of forum posts and so on, may other webcomic self-publishers say whatever they say. If I do, I’ll stop making the comic, because there will be no time and thought left for it. Others may be able to stem both tasks simultaneously, and even enjoy the promotional part.
    Not me.
    At least not at the moment.
    One should learn to know (and accept) one’s weaknesses.
  4. There are several tasks stalled at the moment, because I can’t afford to continue pre-financing them. One example: the English print edition would require me to buy ISBNs first, then of course commit the print job. I will only take that risk, if I see a realistic perspective to get my investment back. Offering download versions for sale, on the other hand, would require me to upgrade my wordpress account (or set up another site from scratch myself … which, again, would distract me from making the comic).
    Plainly spoken, I need a bit of monetary motivation to continue to invest into these tasks. If all of this turns out to be illusionary, I’d rather fall back to a traditional publishing company approach …

There are probably even more reasons which I forgot at the moment. Might be I post a followup later.

However, back to chapter publishing: I’d really like to know whether you want to read on or not. So far you did not tell me – for that reason I’ll for now just revert the burden of proof: chapters will get published as soon as certain goals are met (call it kind of “light weight” crowdsourcing).
My current idea of what the goals will look like is about this:

  1. A certain amount of donations (say, US$ 120) fills my paypal account
  2. A certain amount of Likes (say, 200) is given to the existing chapters
  3. TSoD is up-ranked at topwebcomics.com by a certain number of slots (say, 50 or top ranked ;) )

I know, 200 Likes sound like quite a lot.
Admitted, my mean idea is that it can’t be achieved by the small crowd of visitors currently dropping by, but requires some additional sharing, to get more people click those tiny little like-buttons. ;)

A bit of a weak spot in my own view is, that you – the reader – in case of a donation, can’t really verify, whether the goal has already been met or not. My idea of a solution is to create “supporters” list dedicated to each chapter published in future, which will credit any contributor (with her/his permissions, of course).
Supporters would also receive the chapter they have donated for, via mail, without regard of whether the goal is reached or not.

So far my ideas for the future of publishing on this site.
I hope you do understand them a bit.

You are welcome to comment, blame me, make suggestions, whatever. :)

I’ll write an explicit announcement soon, concerning the next chapter Fire and Ice, normally due at Do, Apr 3.