graphic novel

How to Proceed: Next Chapter(s)

First: thanks to the lots of great feedback you gave “This Side” over the last couple of weeks.

I’m happy that you enjoyed it’s story & artwork, and am hoping you’ll drop by for the last, defining chapters of the prologue story.

For these chapters, I’ll try a somewhat different approach, an idea I owe to Egypt Urnash:
I’ll switch to page-wise update, twice a week, but will still stick to the one-url-per-chapter approach (i.E. the chapter pages will be built up over a couple of weeks, instead of been filled by a single upload).
This for once makes things a bit more consistent and thrilling, and for another has the advantage to get away of the large single files with potentially bad user experience concerning download times (however I’ll make the single-file chapters available via download link, additionally to the PDF version).

The next chapter, Moon Wanderer, will start next week, Thursday, 02/12/2015. New pages will be uploaded on Mondays and Thursdays.
I also hope to solve that chapter navigation issue until then …

Announcing New Chapter and some Site Reorganization

Yes, the next chapter of This Side of Darkness will go online in a few days, at Sunday, twelfth of December.

Another year rushed past, and has seen this site in an intermediate state, a weird chimera of a near-webcomic and a production blog.

As the making of Hrug’s War will keep me busy quite for a while and, together with what one calls ‘life’, leaves only little time to deliver too much additional content here, it will remain that way even longer, but anyway, at least the site can use a bit of reorganization.

So I did the following:

  • Hrug’s War got a menu entry of its own.
  • … and in the same turn, “Read Comic” has been renamed This Side of Darkness.
  • The German version is offline, for the moment.
  • I’ve added a World menu entry. There’s not too much content available at the moment, but I hope to add more soon.
  • In general, I’ve cleaned up the menu a bit, and grouped some stuff which previously cluttered the menu bar into submenus

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?

tsod_slide_1

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).

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 …

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. 🙂

Miamone

The events of “This Side of Darkness” (and it’s upcoming sequel, too) take place on a earth-like world named Amaro, which is the larger of the Miamone twins, a double planet similar to the Pluto-Charon pair in our solar system.

I have to admit that this is not an idea I had right from the beginning, but one that evolved while I was working on TSoD and started to ask myself, what the story of that large moon would be, which kept slipping into the TSoD’s panels.

So I discovered, that this is no moon (but no, it’s NOT a space station either 😉 ), but yet another planet, very close to the one Cin’Thele just explores – one, that is tightly coupled to Amaro by gravitational forces, and rotates together with Amaro around a common center of gravity, two objects that behave like one, shaped like a huge, asymmetric dumbbell.
Seen from each other, Amaro and Amian appear at fixed, observer-position-dependent locations in the firmament, just like satellites in a geostationary orbit.

While Cin’Thele travels west, she can see Amian deep over the Eastern horizon, on a clear sky.

Amaro and Amian have three larger moons, which also orbit around their common center of gravity, and several hundred smaller satellites forming a ring around them.

The Anukhai, who live in the grassy highlands of Olveare, see those small moons ascend from the horizon like a chain of pearls, touch the shape of Amian and disappear behind the twin, and finally reappear in the firmament, on their journey from one horizon to the other.

One of their legends is inspired by this nightly view: it tells of the moon wanderers, who descend from the stars to escort the bravest among their hunters, to the world beyond …

Admittedly, there are a number of consistency flaws in TSoD concerning this astronomical aspect. In particular, as far as I understand (I’m neither Physician nor Astronomer), such a twin planet should have a much slower day-night-cycle than what we’re accompanied to, because at a given energy level, the large “dumbbell” would rotate much slower than a single planet of the Miamone system mass would (see Wikipedia: Rotational Energy).
Meaning, that the sun-rise scene in the first chapter would occur dreadfully slow, Cin’Thele would probably have to dive several hours to see the sun rise by that distance. On the other hand, no one says she did not. 😉

It’s Over: Thanks for a Great Weekend!

Need I say more?
The “This Side of Darkness” release party an exhibition in Seelbach is over, and it has been so much better than I had anticipated it.
I’m short of words, seriously, and am in a state of positive mental hangover at the moment.

Of course that’s also because it has been a first-timer for me: I’ve never-ever had a solo exhibition, never-ever organized such a thing myself, never-ever had the opportunity to introduce a comic book of mine, never-ever got thundering applause for a “movie” opening night even TWICE … never-ever been cured from the traumatic experience left by the last party-like event I organized at age 17 to complete disaster … 😀

Not to talk about the strange and wonderful experience of finally meeting people you’re befriended with for almost a decade without ever actually seeing or even speaking to each other, and observing how the “virtual” friendship just seamlessly turns into a “real world” one: Jenny & Katharina (pity, that you could not come, Toby – next time 🙂 ).

Wow.

This maybe has been that weekend’s greatest experience. So great in fact, that we (meaning the “artist fraction”: Jenny, Rina, Basti and me) completely agreed on the necessity of a followup event as soon as possible. Theme to be found later on. 🙂

I’m also very proud of having been able to feature works of them at the occasion
… and I’m even more proud to have the originals here now. Will post them here later.
It is a honour beyond words … thank you so much. 🙂

Btw, I’m still missing my digicam, so I have not yet been able to take a foto of Rina’s so-damn-cool miniature painting of Sneaks (Schleicher), but you can have a glance on it at her Deviant Art site: click.

The weekend also played a bit of a creativity booster role.
Jenny pulled of an unbelievable scribble and watercolor run – view the sketch dump at her project site Darkness Over Cannae … which immediately caused more creativity eruptions: another spin-off of this weekend, with more than (literally!) running-gag potential: just have a look yourself!

Yeah, it will take a while until I’ll be grounded again … 🙂

Before I finish for now, I would like to issue a special “thank you” to the address of Susanne Gerold, whom I met at Friday, together with her husband Gerd (a first-timer, too: cool, that you two found the time to come!).
She published an article on “This Side of Darkness”, which made me blush: “does she actually write all this on MY comic”?

It’s German only. But I could not seriously hope for a better review.
You can find it here.

PS.:
don’t forget: new chapter release is due tonight. 🙂