I realized today I never actually got around to sharing my last batch of Starchips characters that I drew a couple of weeks back. So, today’s bonus gives you four characters, instead of just two. I also think I’m close to starting to draw actual comic strips, which means I’m looking at starting to dress out the theme for the site. So, good news! Starchips is much closer to going into actual production.
Here’s the cast:
Dr. Amanda Briggs is the team’s resident physician. Any galaxy-traversing crew needs to have a doctor on call because let’s face it, stuff happens and people need patching up.
Jex is the team’s computer expert. There’s an unconfirmed rumor that he’s even had his brain replaced with a computer, but no one’s been able to get him to crack his skull to find out for sure.
Sketch is the pilot and general muscle of the team. While the rest of the team are general brainiacs and Sketch is of, ahem, ‘average’ intelligence, he doesn’t let that slow him down.
The jury’s still out on whether or not Marvin is a help or a hindrance. This helper ‘bot certainly has a mischievous streak.
Crossing the street today, I was nearly run down by, not one, but several vehicles. One of them honked at me, and the driver yelled, “Get out of the road!” Now, you’d think by their reactions I was jaywalking or something, and were that the case, their reactions would be justified. But this is a major intersection, five lanes wide, and heavily traveled. I always make a point of calling for the walk signal and waiting for it, and today was no exception. What it boiled down to was impatient drivers with no respect for the crosswalk and pedestrians with the right of way. Needless to say, I was somewhat annoyed and was careful to watch out for the mad drivers, since they clearly weren’t going to watch out for me. It’s a shame that drivers don’t seem to have much respect for traffic laws, particularly those that protect pedestrians.
It is through the efforts of two gentlemen that the existence of “Reclaimer”:http://reclaimercomic.com is possible. The first is Tyler Martin, who has created the beautifully designed “ComicPress”:http://mindfaucet.com/comicpress/ theme. Tyler’s design makes it eminently easier to produce a regular comic using the powerful WordPress platform. I’ve long been a fan of WordPress, and I’ve wanted to produce a Halo comic since Halo 3 first hit store shelves, so I’m very grateful to Tyler for making it that much easier to make it happen. With the release of “ComicPress 2.5″:http://mindfaucet.com/comicpress/2008/05/19/comicpress-25-released/, things are even better. Tyler built five different layouts, with the graphic novel layout being the design of choice for Reclaimer – and by the feedback I’ve received from you, my readers, it’s been a very positive change. So, my thanks to Tyler for putting the effort into creating such a great tool for producing webcomics.
John Bintz has added another great tool to ComicPress 2.5 that makes it even more efficient to post up new comics. It’s a plugin for WordPress called “ComicPress Manager”:http://claritycomic.com/comicpress-manager/ that goes hand-in-hand with the ComicPress theme. Before, I had to make the comic, use Filezilla to upload the file to the comics directory, then go into the WordPress dashboard and create the new post, write the title, write a little blurb about the comic, add tags, set the category, and set the date and time so that the comic publishes only when I want it to. With ComicPress Manager, all I have to do is create the comic, make sure the file name contains the date and name, and use ComicPress Manager to upload the file. From there, the plugin automatically sets the date and time for me, pulls the post title from the tile of the comic file name, and even creates thumbnails for the comic archive and the RSS feed. I can set my tags and blurb right there. What took me about five minutes before now takes literally 30 seconds and adds more features than were previously available. It’s a powerful little plugin that makes it even more fun to produce a comic by taking away a lot of the ‘pain’ in posting.
Again, my thanks to these two gentlemen for producing these great tools and volunteering their efforts to the webcomic community.
Over the weekend, I spent some time with Photoshop, Filezilla, and a couple of my favorite text editors to put together a complete visual redesign on “Reclaimer”:http://reclaimercomic.com. I’ve picked up a few new Photoshop tricks in the last few weeks, and I upgraded to the latest ComicPress theme release for Reclaimer, so I figured it was time to finally tailor a custom look for the site and really make the comic its own entity. It was extremely helpful that Tyler Martin, the creator of the ComicPress theme, was generous enough to bundle five different variations on the theme, one of which is a graphic novel version – perfect for Reclaimer. Since he’d already done all the hard work of coding the layout, it was a relatively simple matter to simply fit some background graphics to the theme to make it Reclaimer-specific. I’m extremely happy with the final result, and I’ve already received a lot of positive comments about it. The Reclaimer site also sports a new forum (at the request of a handful of my readers) that runs on bbPress, which is by far my favorite forum software since it’s so lightweight. Feel free to check out the redesigned site, catch up on the comic, and join in on discussion on the forum.
Another “xkcd”:http://xkcd.com/422/ today. Personally, I think this is a no-brainer.
Here’s the comparison. Waddya think?
I had a few minutes between projects, so I took a moment just now to draw a cartoon version of myself based on this picture. The inspiration for this is because I’ve kind of wanted to replace my “Gravatar”:http://gravatar.com (again, the aforementioned photo), and I kind of like the idea of using a drawn portrait, especially one I’ve done myself. I’m starting to get more comfortable with drawing cartoon people that look semi-real, so I wanted to see if I could draw myself.
Unfortunately, I don’t have a digital version of the final product to display yet, but I quite like the outcome. It took a little bit of experimentation, tweaking, and nudging of graphite to get it right, but what I ended up with is a fair resemblance of myself as I might look in a cartoon. Once I get home this evening, I’ll ink it, scan and color it, and post it here.
“This right here”:http://www.thebookofbiff.com/2008/05/06/biff-art-auction/ is exactly why I want to ultimately draw on paper every comic I hope to be doing in the near future – and always why Dave Kellet recommends in _How To Make Webcomics_ having original artwork. Plus, there’s just something extremely satisfying about drawing with pencil and inking by hand that just can’t be matched by working exclusively in the digital medium.
Meet Jessica. She’s the first of the characters I’ve created for the webcomic I will eventually be drawing. She’s smart, sexy, and often sarcastic, and she’s one of a team of space-faring adventurers manning an exploration outpost on another planet. Science is her thing, and she can think circles around just about everyone else on the team.
This is Carter. Technically, he outranks Jessica, but you wouldn’t know it from their interactions. He’s the outpost commander, but that’s more as a result of luck than actual leadership skill. He’s intelligent, but common sense isn’t exactly his strong suit. Ever the sober-minded one, he does take his responsibility seriously.
These are the first two characters I’ve drawn for my comic. More to come in the near future.