Monday, July 6, 2009

ZX page 5: Embarassing Family Photographs

Don't you feel really weird when new people come to your place and check out the family photographs?

This is a formalist variation to just a straight strip of rectangles. I feel it's pretty successful in summing up the background of Mary. We'll catch a glimpse of current motivation in Chapter 2, which is 4 pages, sadly it's mostly internal monologue, but I've tried a few tricks to keep it interesting, we'll talk about them when we get there.

Her hand in the last frame is really big and I need to fix that for the final release.

On other news, I am going to finish page 12 today. I'm lagging behind a day or so! For shame!!

Do communicate with the lonely author if you get the time, feedback is really appreciated. I'll repress the urge to urge the urge in the readers to tell their friends about this comic and this blog because judging from the google analytics, ~500 hits a week and ~5 minutes on average on site seem just about right.

You know what else? The summer is beautiful here in Greece even if it's terribly hot. It's difficult to not dream up positive futures in this country. I've travelled a bit around the world with the company of wonderful people (who are currently convening in Florida without me :( ) and I don't think I really could live anywhere without such a pleasant climate, such beautiful sky and wonderful beaches. Not that I've been at any beach yet, but I'll kidnap my girlfriend and take her somewhere... soon. "Paleflesh nerd making long-format comic, doesn't go anywhere" will have to be a cliche to combat! But it's so difficult, because a page takes 3.5 days to do right. One for conceptualizing and drafting and penciling (this REALLY should have been 2 or even 3 days if I could spare them because a lot of little errors in fundamentals are creeping in, but they're pretty negligible I hope) and 2 for inking and .5 for lettering in two languages. About 5 hours a day, man. And yes, I know, you people working real jobs are scoffing right now at my part time creative haven of an occupation but do keep in mind: a) I'm not getting paid. This creates unfortunate psychological effects, like bouts of 'who am I kidding? This isn't worth it, go get a real job' b) 5 hours of creative work a day are very taxing on the primate brain. Lots of artistic decisions every minute, and lastly c) my brother has moved out and taken black thing with him!!

He's happy with him and his girlfriend, but... but... I love him so much :(

I went to visit them at their house-warming party and he crawled on my shoulder and nuzzled around my neck, he hasn't forgotten me. He purred and purred and I asked him "do you want me to take you with me?" and he extended his claws slightly and prickled me playfully at the neck. I DON'T KNOW HOW TO TAKE THIS. And then when I left I heard him crying above in the apartment. He never cries!! :( Man, it's taking its toll on me, the lack of black thing.

At least I still have Cat!!

So... enough of that. How's the summer going for you fleshy bags of emotions?


:( black thing :(


32 said...

Commenting for the first time (have I really been reading this for a year and not commented? shame), maybe I would have earlier but I have a bit of an apprehension to posting on the internet most of the time (something about not liking having my dumbassery archived)

Comics are probably my favourite story telling medium, and yours are really great, I enjoy the unconventional layouts and altering drawing styles, and of course the humour, its an interesting way to look at the human psyche without all the seriousness and pseudo psychology. I particularly liked those short strips at the very start of the blog with the anecdotes (x is an x who x). Definitely enjoy the process posts and chat below.

We had to put our cat down just a few weeks ago, it got into a fight with something and broke its jaw and couldn't eat, not that I was particularly fond of it (its favourite hobbies were scratching my ankles and knocking me down whenever I left my room) but there's some sort of a relationship I had with it that I miss.

It's winter down here in australialand, and a particularly cold one (look at the Australian whose never even been sub zero complain about the cold). Despite the temperature I'm enjoying the school holidays and getting time to learn some things I care about. How are the beaches in Greece? I recently went down to Byron bay (a touristy hippy place) with my brother, the beach there is really wonderful, doubly so at night time.

Anyway, I'm enjoying this comic, and cant wait to see what story comes out of it.

PS. I know you from pixelation where I go by the same moniker

Ryan Marlow said...

I've been enjoying the comic so far & should have commented earlier.

It's always great when a non-japanese artist can borrow from manga without resorting to pure mimicry. The ZX holograms are a nice touch to that style.

Keep it up!

Cow said...

I've been re-reading your Technodrama a lot, just so you know.

Helm said...

Hey, thanks for the comments.

32, glad I've coaxed you out of lurk mode!

I'm sorry to hear about your cat. Even if it claws at your ankles, it's still your cat, man :(

The beaches in Greece are the most beautiful beaches in the world, that's how they're like!!

Cow : I'm glad you find enduring interest in it. I hope the current series, when in its entirety, will prompt multiple reads.

Helm said...

Oh hey sorry I forgot to put your comment up for a second there, Ryan. Thanks for the kind words. It's true at least half of my regular comic reading is of the manga variety, but I don't especially struggle with making my stuff actually LOOK japanese, heh.

Johan said...

I'm from The Cold North, and during the long, dark winter, I truly envy you guys down there :(

"He purred and purred and I asked him "do you want me to take you with me?" and he extended his claws slightly and prickled me playfully at the neck. I DON'T KNOW HOW TO TAKE THIS."

I think this is something cats do as kittens to stimulate the production of milk when they are feeding from their mother. So I think you should take it as "YOU ARE MY MOTHER" basically.

Helm said...


benji said...

don't be :(
be ^_^

Nick said...

Exams, studying,studying,studying, 2 weeks vacations ( camping @ kyklades ), more studying,more exams... That's how my summer will be going. All good though, maybe better than ever :]

Helm said...

Nick, glad to hear activity is positive! Enjoy your vacations!

Solar said...

Like the use of photographs to tell her story, but your own story of cat loss and artist angst is just makes this whole project more compelling.

I must say it is great watching your work evolve. I follow several webcomics but yours is the only one with direct dialogue with the fans. There are clearly many of us out there.

Great stuff, turning the page.

Solar said...

PS: 'Mary opines...' not sure what opines meant, did a quick wiki and got:

'Opines are low molecular weight compounds found in plant crown gall tumors produced by the parasitic bacterium Agrobacterium.'

Also, my summer has involved moving house, which is a considerably stressful and exciting time. I hate living out of boxes and being restricted in day to day activities because practial items are lost in the packing nether, however, the adventure of a new place and a new life are in some ways liberating. Just want to unpack but my current local is only temporary.

Otherwise having a good one though.

Helm said...

to opine: to express opinions :)

Thank you for the kind words.

Where did you move to, and from where?