Week 69

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.

The week started off with the classic inking of a new Off-Stage page. It took a little longer than I anticipated so I had to finish up on tuesday. Time to get a buffer reinstated again! I’m starting on the next one as soon as I finish this post.

On tuesday I did a lot of holiday shopping with the girlfriend. Being away from the internet for a day feels quite regenerative. All the energy spent fussing over this or that on social media can be put to much better use. Interestingly, similar thoughts were also explored on the latest Surviving Creativity, a podcast I recommend you listen to if you’re a creator, and the season 3 pilot episode of The Newsroom.

On wednesday I ported some bits of code from the old version of Trusted Soil we made in college to the new version currently in development. Progress has mostly been going on outside of my purview, the artists and designer setting up the new project and determining the art style. I’m waiting in the wings for tech support on the more difficult features. I quite like being on this end of the gamedev spectrum for this project.

Last week also saw the version 2.0 update for Mischief, a vector drawing program I really like. No real new features yet, but the interface is much cleaner, and interestingly, there is now also a free version! If you’ve ever had to do something in print or with varying resolutions, you’ll understand how magnificent this tool is.

The only thing I’m not crazy about is the new icon. I have a dock on my desktop with flat Windows 8 icons, so it didn’t really fit. So I decided to make my own. If you want to use it too, grab it below!

And finally, I woke up this past Saturday and read through the week’s webcomic updates in Comic Chameleon when I was struck with the idea “what if I get Off-Stage into this app?!”. You may have seen me post about it, and if you’re interested in helping me achieve this, read about it here (only takes a minute).

Next week: I expect more flailing in search of new opportunities.

Help me get on Comic Chameleon

Heyo, I’m trying to get my comic Off-Stage into the Comic Chameleon app, which would mean you automatically get new pages delivered right to your phone or tablet, and by reading them for FREE you’ll be supporting me financially (it’s magic, I know).

All you have to do to help is post to Twitter (or Google+) with the following text:

I want to see offstagecomic.com on Comic Chameleon, the ultimate webcomics iPhone app! http://comicchameleon.com/ via @comicchameleon

Copy-paste! Only takes half a minute! Thanks so much.

And if you did, be sure to stop by the Comics Chameleon Kickstarter to make sure the app becomes even better: http://kck.st/1sdkFeb

Week 68

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 I booted up Off-Stage again. It was on hiatus for a while because my other projects took up too much time, it was becoming a drag to fit in the drawing and it didn’t improve the quality of the strip. Coming back to it is always fun, drawing the characters again and playing with page layout.

But returning to WordPress also meant dealing with WordPress, something I despise and enjoy in equal measure. This time around I spent some time tweaking the site design before going live. There were some little quirks in the design like miniscule empty spaces between the main content area and the sidebar/header, inconsistent line spacing and conflicts between plugins and ad boxes. I also took the opportunity to add a Patreon link to the sidebar. Finally I feel like the layout is solid and how I wanted it. It’s not a big change but those little things annoyed me every time I opened the site. It should also be a bit faster now thanks to a new caching method. Oh and I built a rad Cast page!

On wednesday I stopped by the Dutch Game Garden networking lunch again to catch up with some colleagues. I was also meeting an old client there who may have some new assignments for me.

I also got to send my first international invoice this week, for an assignment in the UK. A joyous fact, but it meant I had to dive into the tax database to figure out how to do the VAT charge. It’s a bit dense, and it depends on what kind of person you’re selling to, but I think I got it right.

Over the weekend I went on a weekend getaway with my girlfriend and some friends, hanging out in a cabin on the German border. It was very relaxing and ‘gezellig’.

Next week: ???

Week 67

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.

I got started on some sketches for the new illustration project I was contacted for. First up was logo design, and the goal was something iconic without it being a flat icon per sé. I like that, it’s more fun giving the logo some depth and styling it according to the feel of the game, like it could be part of the world. Here are some designs that were not chosen (I’ve blurred out the name for obvious reasons).

As you can see it is Roman themed, which is cool because I’ve never worked on something in that time period. Obviously I can’t tell you anything more until the game is announced. All I can say is I’m very happy with the final result. Here is a snippet:

I also worked on new Off-Stage comics, the first of which will debut… today actually! It’s been a long time, but you can check out the new page here. I’ve missed you buddy. More about that in next week’s notes.

Part of my new focus on illustration also includes connecting more with the local illustration communities. I’ve been talking with my drawing and sushi buddies Lowen and Ming about creating a sort of hub for dutch illustrators to come together and share knowledge. And seeing my girlfriend use social media to promote her artwork made me realize my twitter presence is mainly focused on games and international folk. Maybe it’s time to change that.

It remains weird to me how I’m just turned off to gamedev currently. I love all the devs and creativity in the community, but I feel like I just need some time away right now. Like I said last week, I’ll write more about that soon.

And near the end of the week I got an email from an old and appreciated client to work together again. This pleased me much. More on that soon too.

Next week: sticking my hands in the guts of wordpress, and social (media) strategizing.

50+ followers!

I just noticed this blog surpassed 50 subscribers!

Thank you so much for reading my words and liking my posts, that’s what I do it for, so I’m glad you are getting some enjoyment out of it. I always see the activity ticker ticking away in the upper right-hand corner of my dashboard, but it never occured to me to check how many of you there were in total. Rad!

How did you find my blog? Any types of posts you would like to see more of? Leave a comment!

Week 66

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.

twine

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.