How's it going? Were you snowed in today? I was. The snow was super light and fluffy during the day. I wish I'd shoveled it up an hour earlier. My back is killing me. Hahahaha...
So it's been a few days since the last update, and I'd like to keep you guys in the loop about what I've been working on. Since quitting my job, I've dedicated to working on my projects full time, but if I don't release anything, it's all moot.
One of my goals this year has been to continue on "Butterfly Kisses." I mentioned in an earlier post that I had been working on episodes 2 through 8 of my web manga. The truth is, 8 months before I published episode 1, I had 11 chapters all written in the traditional format. The problem was that converting them to webtoon, would make that first arc end WAY too late. 1 traditional chapter was equal to 4 webtoon episodes. So that's why it was such a big deal for me in January to have found out what to cut to make the series not drag.
Lesson 1, I Learned
The original drafts were all thumbnails of layouts and characters, with a loose idea on words. It takes time to scan all that, and then reformat it. In the beginning, I think this is needed. You need to see your vision as close as possible. However, in the later stage, you get a feel. Or even, if you become a writer that has passed beyond the newbie stage, you learn what details to include.
In my mid-stage, after the setting and characters had been fully explored in the initial draft, I went through and wrote the entire scripts, word and description first. I used Microsoft word to just go through and write out all the dialogue and what each character was doing in each panel. Each new panel was a new paragraph. That was intuitive.
What I learned specifically to make me successful on Webtoon was to increase the font in the Word document to the size it would be in my web manga. Why? Because webtoon will take a max size of 1280 by 800 for an image (portrait mode). For full stories, you have to cut it down. Well, here's the thing, sometimes your panels may be way longer than that. That's fine. It's not fine when you're in an image creation software, like Clip Studio Paint, and have a 40,000 tall document. Performance goes down and I've had some issues with files saving. After I'm done with my script in Word, I export it as a PDF, then every page is a different file in Clip Studio Paint (I use the Story feature here). I stay true to the PDF as I'm taking the dialogue and copy and pasting into the Clip file. If I need to keep sequences together, that's fine. I just put a note on that blank page that I've moved it to the previous page and keep on going. I extend certain Clip files as I need more room for my panels. So some files in, let's say episode 2, are 2560 px long (my default) while others are over 8000 px. From my experience, I'd say to keep it below 9000, if possible.
Lesson 2, I learned
Since I'd written all of the script up, and thought I was happy, I was about to go and print all these pages off. I thought, "hey, I need to flip through and see what's happening. Sketch things out." I held off on that idea for money saving reasons. Now, I find out it was a great idea not to do that.
You see, your script will change if you learn something new, as I did. That would have been a waste of paper, and I would have had to reprint (because the changes were massive). If I did that for every episode, that would mean the original 96 pages I printed out were useless, and I'd have to print out another 100+ more. That's a lot of waste, even double sided. On a whim of laziness, I thought, "I can at least just copy the dialogue in and add in rectangles and squares. I can use the draft settings and put in rulers for keeping things even." So I did that. That was an easy yet effective use of my time. I then found I could put script directions in blue text under the draft folder (these would not show up in the final image as long as my output setting did not have "Draft" selected) and attached descriptions to each dialogue box. Some blocking issues arose, so I changed it in the Clip file. I found excessive adjectives in the dialogue and pulled them out. It turns out, I just needed each page in Word once to set up the rough layout in Clip. Printing out all that paper was just a waste of time, money, and resources. Digitally, I can make mistakes and just stretch the canvas or delete. You can't do that so easily with traditional media.
My first, manga series was called "The Legend of Auferre." I did that 90% traditionally. It had so many issues but I sake a whole bunch of time into it. I was so happy I published like 60 pages of it. It was a learning process, but I'm glad I evolved.
Going digital, it is so easy and time effective to modify and polish your work. These next few episodes are going to be of some of the highest level of storytelling I have ever done. The quality of content is going to really shine in this series.
Lesson 3, I learned
Now that the story has been thoroughly explored, the script vetted, the plot consistent, the vision is there, layout becomes easy.
It starts out just by drawing these panels on a single layer with squares and rectangles. You roughly place your dialogue text there (without the bubble at this point), you make sure the rectangles are the right size, or your resize them and/or the canvas. Make sure there is enough space between panels for pauses/quiet time.
Brr! It is cold outside where I live and I think there is a draft in my room. Let's get to some updates.
Today I was hit with the realization that I might be getting a full time job soon. What this means is I can no longer spend my time on whatever I want. So this mysterious writing project I was working on, I'm just going to have to get over having it sit in the back. It was actually "Red Chase" version 2, and this story was going to be a fully fleshed out novel. I've written near 70,000 words of it, but from my estimation, it's only 60% done (and that's only the first draft). I'm super happy I was able to work on it as much as I could. It had a lot of fun stories and was a huge step up for me in gaining experience as a writer. Every thing I make after this is going to tell a much better story. I'll still be working on it in the background, but I don't expect the first draft to be done until April.
That brings into question: what's the next project?
Well, "Pink Chase" version 2 is going to be released in this month. It's price is going to go up to $1.99. If you want to get it at a discount, you should get it before next week. Here's the link.
I've got to get around to just redoing this one part of Rose Festival before I can release it to the public. It won't take long. I just have to do it.
But my number one priority right now is getting Butterfly Kisses up and going. I'm pretty confident with the scripts. I've got some ideas on how to get it out quicker and not be hampered by the file size restrictions.
Well, that's all. Night,
A Joyous New Year to you all! Hope your holidays were at least chill. I had a good vacation at this undisclosed location doing [REDACTED] things.
Over my vacation, I let the story sit so I could go back and review it. You know, make sure the story makes sense and all the potential has been displayed. I'm gonna need to revise the script before I go into the story boarding phase.
I also updated my 3D models, color pallets, and concept art pages. I think I should be good now for a speedy execution. I'll be rendering out the bulk of Alexander's costume through my 3D program while the rest of it will be done traditionally. I'll also keep the colors minimum, so that I can publish quicker (like 12 colors in my color pallet).
There is an arc coming up after this first introduction arc where the new father and daughter spend time creating a small dream catcher. So, I had to create some concept art. I have 4 remaining dream catchers left now. Check out my etsy store if you want some exclusive concept art for the series.
Chase Short Stories
The majority of this week has been spent on updated "Pink Chase" with more content and more illustrations. It will grow by 50%. I will also raise the price to $1.99, so I would suggest that you all grab a copy before I raise the price with the new release.
A couple of days ago, I said I would have the scripts created for the next 7 episodes of Butterfly Kisses. Just wanted to confirm to you all that is completed. After I return from a vacation, I'll be working on paneling and storyboarding.
Still, the major writing thing I've been working on is about 60% done with the first draft. So, those will be my two major projects for January.
All right. Happy New Year!
I couldn't get any sleep until I took down some items off my to-do list, so here's an update on how things are going.
My Webtoon series "Butterfly Kisses" had a lot of work done thanks to a sudden bolt of inspiration (I was actually on the toilet at the time of these ideas, lol). So, by 3 PM today, I'm planning on having all the way up to episode 8 scripted out and the first arc will then be completed. That's 7 new episodes on the way. What took some time was this was originally going to be a manga. Because of fitting it onto Webtoons and their file restrictions, I had to chop each manga chapter down into smaller chapters. Getting to the main kick off point in the story would have been at Episode 30. That sounded pretty dumb to me, so I reworked it until I got to a better, more efficient and engaging way, at the big plot reveal which will happen at the end of this new 7 episode part. I'm grateful I didn't dive into creation until I had properly worked out the webtoon version of the script for this. That means more quality content for you viewers! :D
Video Game Development
So, time to reveal a secret: I've been working on a new video game engine behind the scenes. This time, I'm not having to create the core from scratch. I've using another company's prebuilt core (which also has prebuilt saving and loading features) and adding in plugins to make the game mechanics work. So, it looks like ALJ and other games will be feasible for me to create. My vision is to have a brand with visual novel and point-and-click story rich games. Just need to keep playing around with the visuals to make sure they are immersive.
Chase Short Stories
I've been working on a lot of illustrations to add to the stories. This week, I've kicked off a series of drawings with Fred. If you don't know who he is, read Pink Chase. So yes, I haven't forgotten about them. I may even revisit the stories themselves.
I also have some more behind the scenes stuff going with just improving my writing. I've even been reading this book called "The Head Game" by Phillip Mudd. I had no idea what I was getting into, but it looked interesting, and I thought it would be fun to mix Alan Alda's "If I Understood You, Would I have this look on my face?" Turns out, those two books had a lot of content that helped me flesh out the details of my characters. Such as, Alexander, being the clever alien parasite that he is, I got to define just how he communicates to others so effectively instead of just saying "he did it." Then for the Guardian Knight/Auferre, I figured out how to show how analytical she is. So a lot of progress was made thanks to these two books.
All right, that's all.
How are you? It's been a while since I've posted a full update on the developments. Taking that one month vacation in November really set me at ease. I haven't felt relaxed in so long, it was good to finally become calm. So, let's get started with the developments.
I took this time to work on writing and other skills, like the above pixel art you see. It was great to work on the fundamentals. I feel like everything coming out down the pipeline is going to be of higher quality, and that's what you guys like. High quality work.
Also, I've created some handmade, DS game badges. These are being sold on my etsy store. Click on the images below to be taken to that product's page.
I've got the entire first arc planned, so as I finished scripting the first 5 chapters, I found there is a lot of fighting, and not enough talking. Like, not much character interaction or development. So, I'm currently working on gutting out half the fighting and adding in more talking scenes between the main group. I'll keep updating you on the progress.
Behind the scenes
I've got some work that I'm doing behind the scenes that can't be revealed yet. The reason is that it's in the experimental stage and may never really come to fruition, so no need to talk too much on it.
All right, hope you all have a good week!
After years in the making, and a hectic month later, I am proud to release the pilot episode of "Butterfly Kisses," a heartwarming, sci-fi, web manga series. You can read it now on the Webtoons platform. This web version of the series is free for everyone to access and read. However, it would help me out if you could hit that heart button. Then, you can be notified when the next chapters come out.
Since this was the inaugural episode, I decided to make this all in color so that you the readers could get a good grasp of the world and the character's designs. The next chapters will be done black and white since this past month was WAY too wild. Lol.
Boy, has it been a productive week. All 5 short stories I've been working on this month, including "Cyan Chase," have been sent off for developmental edits. So, in total, that will be I've written 9 short stories at a professional level. I feel like my writing has improved by leaps and bounds and I feel confident to take the next steps towards greatness.
By the way, "Cyan Chase" will be the final story in the Chase series. I may revisit these short stories again, but right now, I've got to move onto the next project.
Last week, I announced work on Butterfly Kisses. Being a webtoon manga, it's drawing intensive. After I finish this first episode, my speed to produce art should increase greatly. There really is no way to produce great art faster other than practicing like heck. This will be the most time consuming part but the good news is everything else is done. Writing, storyboarding, paneling, webpage creation, marketing materials - done. So if I'm quiet for a while, I do apologize. It's really just me cranking out manga panels at this point.
Oh, random note, but I got a Ko-Fi account. Basically, it's a simpler way to support creatives by simply giving them enough money to buy a coffee. It's a one time payment and the money goes directly to the creative. Here's mine (this whole paragraph is basically a long link).
Lastly, I forgot to finish my train of thought with the Chase series. I wanted to have some toys / promotional items for the main character, Alexander's Succubus and Incubus clones. I've been working on the artwork for some mini dakimakura, or body pillows. There will be six in total, but right now, I've only finished the Azure and Crimson ones. Take a look at the artwork.
The fabric is on its way to being printed. I'll know in a week or so how the printing went. In the mean time, I have to finish the other 4.
Okay, I'm tired. Talk to you all later.
I can't believe that today is the day that I FINALLY release the series page to "Butterfly Kisses," a heartwarming, josei manga series. For the past 6 months, I've worked on this project behind the scenes. Man, it took so long to create that much artwork... and even refining the text took a long time. Still need to finish the house painting...
Anyways, enough gab. Take a look at this new series's page. I'll let you know when episode 1 comes out through the blog and on the series page.
Now, if you'll excuse me. I'm going to take a victory lap.
Glorious day to you all! It's been a while since the last update.
So, to catch you guys up to speed on the behind the scenes, I've been working on "Crimson Chase" which was going to be a book with chapters. Each chapter was going to be a fully fleshed out short story that told a little bit more of the character's arcs. For instance, the chapter titled "Arachnophobia" was themed around spiders. The original goal was that each chapter would not be more than 2,000 words. There would be 7 chapters like this, so that would be a minimum of 14,000 words. I nicknamed these chapters "Mask Horror" stories. However, my estimation was WAY off, I realized "Crimson Chase" is turning more into a novel. I can't work on a longer story right now because I want to get to "Butterfly Kisses" and "A Long Journey VN" before my time runs out (my deadline was November). What I will do for now is finish off those seven chapters and submit them to online zines, and in the future, years from now, I may come back and finish "Crimson Chase."
Speaking of "A Long Journey VN..." I've been working on some designs for the reboot this year! Here's some of my WIP environmental models.
I just need to add some paint, some props, some resin for the pond, and then decorate the pond, and it's done! You'll notice the crystals sticking out of the ground -- that's because this is the Quartz region that ALJ VN takes place in. Doing some sculptures like these really jogged my creative juices. I can base my 2D art off of these.
As for "Butterfly Kisses," let's just say doing all these "Chase" short stories first had really paid off in the end. I've learned so much about feeling and good storytelling. Donald Maass's book "The Emotional Craft of Fiction," has really been a game changer for me. I'm really proud (for the first time) how well this manga's story is going to turn out.
Well, "Azure Chase" is being released at the end of this month. I gotta get back to work. Enjoy your weekend, internet.