Friday, September 23, 2011

Something new on the horizon

It’s been a long cold year in space. The crew of the Celeste Fitzgerald have been stuck in the Persephone alternate reality. The sign written in blood on the wall read “Abandon all hope. . .”. Well if any of you are still following Strange Cargo you may have abandoned all hope.

But don’t fret. The crew will get out of that spot and be back on the job soon. And I’m really excited about the new format. I refuse to tell you what that format is at this time since it’s classified. However, I think that you may like it.

I will keep you posted.

P.S. There’s no particular reason for the 10 month hiatus other than once you get out step on something like a daily comic, it’s hard to get back in step.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

End of the quarter blues

I hate the end of the quarter. I'm sure that most of my students would disagree but for me things get hectic. This is why I haven't updated the comic since before Halloween. I also am working on a new demo reel and updating my portfolio so I just don't have enough on my plate <wink, wink>.

I hope to update soon.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The reason for no strip this week.

This has been one of those weeks that a person can be ever so glad is almost over. I started being sick and because of that I got behind on my teaching assignments. So now I'm trying to tighten up and get it done for class. That's why I am writing this at 1:58 am CST in the U.S.

I was hoping to finish the current Halloween storyline on Sunday. But it looks like that may not happen. However, I may try a "24-hour comics" day on Saturday. I just don't know at this point.

Again to all my readers, I'm sorry for the inconvenience. I hope to get the strip up and running again by next week.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

No strip today

There will be no strip today because I have been sick for the last couple of days.

Sorry for the inconvience.

Friday, October 15, 2010

It's all black and white.

I have made a big decision about the strip and it's sort of bitter-sweet. Since the strip began it has been in color. I did this because I knew that it added something to the overall appeal. However, it takes forever to create a strip from pencils to color, especially if you're trying to do it more than once a week, and if you have another full time job.

So, after much thought, the decision that I have come to is to move to pure black and white, with maybe a screen tone here and there. There are several reasons for the change in the strip, including the ones listed above, and I think I owe it to my readers to explain as best I can why I have decided on this change.

  1. Time: As mentioned above it is very time consuming doing the color. I have a full time job and the other commitments that anyone has. Until (and if) the strip turns a profit, that's not going to change. I would love to do this full time (hint, hint to readers who might want to donate or click on the ad links).
  2. Quality: If I have to decide between the overall quality of the story and the art, or having color, I vote for the story and art. Basically when you're a one man show you have to draw each strip around four times, if you include color and shading. There are quicky solutions like using the paint bucket or magic wand. However, these require an unbroken line and usually there is a lot of clean up that has to be done afterward. Also, the colors don't trap very well, meaning that the color doesn't under-lap the line art if you use these techniques. To solve this I use the pencil tool to trace around the line art making sure that I trap the color under the black line. Then I use the paint bucket to fill these enclosed areas. When I'm finished with the flats I use the magic wand to select these areas of color and use the brush tool to do the shading. So starting from scratch: 1. pencils 2. inks 3. lettering 4. flats 5. shading and special fx.
  3. Print Publishing: It's the dream of most aspiring comic book creators, even webcomic creators, to eventually have enough content to publish in print. However, unless you have a huge readership, publishing in color is cost prohibitive. Most small press and self published books are black and white or monotone.
  4. File Size and Storage Space: This is one of the least important reasons, but still a factor to consider. The more art that is produced, the more disk space used. Right now, with three months under my belt, Strange Cargo has taken nearly 9 Gigs of disk space. So assuming that I keep doing this for a year we're talking 36 Gigs. Now I knew from the start that eventually I would have to invest in some external storage, but wow! Color files, especially CMYK master files take more space. This includes the reduced web versions.
  5. Not My Strong Suit: Color has never been my strong suit. I'm a draftsman at heart. Pencil and ink baby.
  6. Others Are Doing It, So why Can't I?: Some of my favorite web cartoonist started out in b&w until they could work on their strips full time. Scott Kurtz and Brad Guigar are two. And some still do b&w (or grayscale) strips, like Dave Kellet and Kris Straub.
So for the good of the strip, for me, and most importantly for you, the loyal reader, this strip is going black and white. I will keep the archived color strips up for now, but if this ever goes to print they will be in b&w.

Thank you for your time reading the strip and this little missive. And don't forget to be back here on Saturday for the next installment of the Halloween epic, "Reality Bomb: Persephone"

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

New Schedule:Sat., Mon., and Wed.

Due to the strip's new art style and page size I have decided to do the strip three times a week. This seems to be an acceptable schedule for many other webcomic creators. I want to be able to keep the quality of the art up to par so this is the way it has to be for now.

So in keeping with my teaching schedule the new publishing schedule will be Saturday, Monday, and Wednesday.

Be here tomorrow.