Suzanne from my webcomic Off-Stage has been wearing the same outfit as when the comic started, as have her co-stars for the most part. Having a single well-designed and recognizeable outfit is great and works for many comic characters – but Suze’s could have used a few more iterations. So I wrote a subplot where she changes her appearance a little, and went in search of a better outfit.
The two big issues I had were with her hair (that fringe was always hard to draw from different angles) and her shirt was tough to get right; sometimes it accentuated her form in a way a loose-fitting garment like that could not, but to draw it realistically would turn her into a square blob. So besides the hair I also updated her wardrobe. I tried a few things but eventually stayed closed to the original, which felt like the best match visually and with her personality (far left is the original, the NEW YORK shirt is the chosen design).
This is a weekly recap of what has been going on in my professional life. It’s to keep track of what I’m up to and to give you a peek at what it’s like being an independent creator.
Last week was a bit disappointing. I did get the BlaFF storyline plotted out fully in Twine, which was great because it gave me an instant visual overview of which parts were too linear and which had too much going on at once. I added one location and everything feels better balanced now. The added bonus is that I now have an accurate count of all the clues you can collect during the game and where they are referenced. I was afraid I had planned for too many, but the total number came up short of the space I had reserved for it, so that’s good, I can pad some things out and add more info to find.
But then, bad news. Indie Fund reviewed my submission and decided that it didn’t quite fit with what they were looking for in their portfolio. I hadn’t expected much but it was still disappointing. The next day I heard back from Double Fine too – they really liked the game, but with two guys manning their publishing department part-time and three projects on their hands already they didn’t have space on their docket, but it was still nice to hear. I’ve got a few more emails out, so we’ll see how that goes in the coming weeks.
Mostly it shook me awake to the fact that the core game needs work. I’ve been caught up in polishing what I essentially made in one month, but it needs new features. I’ve just been afraid to break the whole thing open again. But it has to be done. I got some good tips from people that played the demo, some of which I had already thought of myself, so it’s time to put stuff like that in and make the game match up with the promise.
The only problem is I don’t have much leeway to spend time on it right now. I’d love to, but life costs money, and making games is not exactly a quick return-of-investment. So I decided to pivot back to illustration for a while. I could do a Kickstarter for BlaFF, but setting that up would take me another month, and there’s no guarantee that it will work out, especially in the current sour climate in the games industry. I needed to step away from all that anxiety and get back to what I know I can do well: drawing. (I have more thoughts on this that I’ll put in a seperate blogpost.)
But for now I’m good doing illustration. I got two emails recently for interesting and substantial projects. They’re both international, so it’s also a new challenge in figuring out how to process that in my administration. And if you’re reading this and have a nice assignment for me: I’m available for hire!
next week: drawing drawing drawing.
Rewatched Back To The Future last weekend, still a fantastic movie. I had forgotten most of the specifics since watching it last. Then Huey Lewis and The News came on iTunes shuffle, and I had to open Photoshop and crank this one out.