New year new me
Hello everybody and Happy New Year! At the time of this writing I'm still in 2014 but I'm hoping as you are reading this that your new year has already been great! 2014 was tough for a lot of us so I hope you've had the chance to catch a breather if you needed to, or are able to keep some positive momentum going in your life.
Sailing easy waters captain!
As I said in the last blog post, 2015 is going to be a big year for me. I started planning and working on several projects after 100% Inked launched so that I could get a leg up on the 2015 work. So far, all of my projects have been going smooth. I've been working at a brisk pace and have had few if any pitfalls. It has been an interesting challenge preparing for so many projects. I've gotten to the point where I dedicated days to working on specific things (until my 2015 work calendar begins, where I will dedicate my time to working on 1 or 2 major projects at a time). Working like this has been fun for me because I get to dedicate 100% of my brain power to working on 1 idea at a time. It also helps lower instances of decision anxiety which was a big problem plaguing my creativity around the summer of last year.
No more headaches in 2015...hopefully!
Working like this has a lot more perks as well. I get to have some time to ruminate about decisions so I don't feel like I'm committing to anything unless I think it's necessary. One of the biggest problems I had with developing 100% inked was that I started getting really great illustration ideas as I was finishing up the project. Working as I am now, I get a lot of time to think about better methods to create which I'm sure I'll be grateful for when time comes for these projects to bear some fruit. The other perk is that once the day and work on a specific project is over, I get to cleanse my mind of it (or most of it) and let ideas flow naturally to me as time goes on. So I get a great creative work schedule with just enough pressure to move forward, but not so much where great ideas will get lost in the shuffle.
Winter is a cold mistress, but she can be reasoned with
As far as work getting lost in the shuffle, I want to talk a little about my Social Network art or the art in my "Monthly Art" section. To start off, you can look at all of the January art right now by clicking here. The art for February should be done by the time this blog reaches you too. I'm very happy with the quality of artwork I'm putting out and I'm monitoring very closely what performs well and what doesn't. I'll also be changing how I create the art for social networks too. Before I would dedicate the last two weeks of the month to work on art that would premiere after the coming month (for example I would work for two weeks in January to create art for March). I didn't like doing that because it gave me a dead zone in the middle of the month where I didn't know what to do, and made the end of each month "Crunch time", which I like even less! Now I plan to dedicate a couple of hours at the end of the week to make that art. There is a slight difference that is beneficial to me know as well. I've basically transitioned into doing artwork as 'series'. For example, the H2BS comics have been going on for little under a year, making them is fun, but also not time consuming because I know what I want to create with that. With these new series, since I don't have to take time a lot of time to think of new things, I can spend more time making really nice pictures, which is something I think everybody wants to see. As time goes on, I'll continue to watch my growth with my social networks to see which series of art is most popular so I can continue to flesh it out and create backlogs so that I can dedicate the brunt of my time to these larger projects.
To continue on the point of a social network art backlog, around this time last year I was killing myself to come up with about 6 pieces of content a week (this is around the time when I made the little time-lapse tutorials). In short: I refuse to do that again. That period of my life was really hectic and uncontrolled and a blur because I was always playing catch-up. Now that I am working on large projects and back at my temp job for the next 2 months, I can't afford to work so close to when my art releases. I really want to create backlogs of successful series so that I can give myself more time to perfect my larger projects and grow my fanbase at the same time. It might sound a little mechanical, but I assure you it allows me an unparalleled amount of creative freedom. I'm at the point now, where I have to start really building my name by putting out quality content and these backlogs is a win for everybody involved (popular work gets more time to look better, not so popular work is reviewed or discarded for new stuff, I get more time work on big projects and my release schedule stays consistent).
Example of my work calendar. Blue is "A bad day" shortfilm. Orange is....
A bad day update
Alright, now onto some fun stuff. My short film "A bad day" is progressing smoothly. As of this writing, I'm about 90% done with the character charts. I've tweaked one or two points about the story and I'm about to make some assets that will be used for storyboard, the animating and the final film. The final aesthetic will look a bit different than what's in the character sheets, as I just started nailing the style for the film as I started finishing up my February artwork. Really the only thing that will change is the proportion of the characters. I've also got a basic melody in my head for the film which was my biggest problem to date with it. If anybody is curious, I'll probably be storyboarding the short in tvpaint animation 9 pro (I LOVE this program). I will definitely be animating in it to give the short a hand-drawn paper style.
Also, as I am producing this film I will try to have little production doodles in these blogs so you can actually see the progress of the short.
First concept sketch of "A bad day".
Kyle's Dreamspace 3.0
Lastly, I want to talk very, very brief about my website redesign. When I launched the website in April of last year, I had very little idea of what I wanted it to be aside from my 'home'. Redesigning the layout, pages and functions of the website have really opened my eyes to some really cool things I took for granted when I first made the website. The design process is going smooth. Currently I'm working on a new logo for the website, and a content list for each page (along with size templates and other stuff to make the website more consistent). This all leads me to say that the new website might not launch until the short film is done. I don't want to put a concrete date on it yet, because I won't launch it until I'm happy with it. Doing it this way assures that the message and design of the website are as clear as possible. I'll reiterate that in 2015, I don't want to rush into any decisions or choices without giving them the proper amount of time where the ideas can be the best possible. That goes doubly so for my 'home'.
That's it for now!