Commentary

Tight cast

Growing up, I was that kid who thought that every character in a story needs to have clearly established relatives, friends, pets, teachers, dentists, etc with their own names and relationships with the character. As you can guess, this quickly devolves into Caden’s play from Synechdoche, NY, where they attempt to make literally every character equally important, and the play goes from a tiny project to an absurd recreation of an entire city, with no end in sight.

“There are nearly thirteen million people in the world. Try to imagine that many people! None of those people is an extra. They’re all the leads of their own stories.”
“Hey, Xam?”
“WHAT?”
“When are we gonna get an audience to read your stuff? It’s been 17 years.”

god i love this movie

Big comic industries can afford to create giant universes and expand everyone’s backstory however they like, but that’s hardly something to strive for when you’re just one single person who wants to get a comic done. You need to decide what characters you want the audience to focus on the most, and why. Then reread it again and consider if the answer to “why” is strong enough to waste your time on.

Now, there’s another problem I’ve encountered while trying to achieve a tight enough cast: making the world feel deserted. The characters constantly interact with the same important people, and it’s as if no one else exists or has the right to speak or act on their own. That seems to be another extreme, and boy do I love my extremes. Making the cast interact with background characters is perfectly fine, just don’t bother to give them a name or a backstory if they aren’t that important.

QualifiedNippyAmericanshorthair-size_restricted

There’re quite a few characters that appeared mostly as my own OCs and could’ve been taken out with little to no problem at all. I’ve tried to fix that later by giving them important-ish stuff to do, but it only made the universe even more bloated.

Jinjur’s kids are totally useless and even make her seem a bit OOC (she changes her attitude enough to come back for Leslie, but I don’t think she’s ever dreamed of having that many children, even secretly). Their sole purpose was to make Leslie feel jealous and unwanted, as they best her in everything. I’m quite sure that’s still easily doable without them, though.

I think Sharky could be cut out, as well. He’s funny and weird and helps Jinjur escape from the jail and then dies to fuel more terrible irony; that’s it.

The twins aid the story here and there, but have no actual personalities and most of the time no one knows why they’re there.

Cedric is somewhere on the edge of being relevant, but is mostly as useless as his in-universe character is. He’s pretty good as Nick and Zee’s doofus sidekick and I kinda like the entire deal with his father and the Nomes, but aside from that, his current existence is quite pointless.

When I started writing some Motley Horde bits, I started coming up with an entire cast of quirky people who work there, but really, who gives a shit. Mrs. McDowell and the major are important enough, the rest can just randomly appear, say their quirky couple of lines and dive back into the abyss, with no bearing on our memory. The same goes for some of the robbers.

If we’re talking about characters who need more stuff to do, that would be Jackie, Godween and possibly Quadling and Munchkin. Jackie is just there to be cute and perky and die to fuel a man’s tragedy, and Godween only taunts Ferret with his existence.

If you also want examples of characters I’m perfectly fine with, that would be Nick, Shawn, Zee, Jinjur and Ruggedo. They have their own arcs, serve just enough purpose and end their stories without feeling like a waste of space. The Witches are close enough as well, but they’re too much of a tonal mess.

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Commentary

Olen asked:

Hello, Please consider the idea that so many people being interested in this, two and a half years since the last page was published, is a sign that it wasn’t anywhere near as badly done as you thought. It would still be worth doing.

I will admit that it’s honestly a miracle, and one that I appreciate greatly. However, I will argue that it doesn’t necessarily mean it was subjectively amazing (the fact that people still go see Transformers movies doesn’t mean they’re the pinhacle of cinematic art), and that the public recognition isn’t the only thing that makes me continue drawing.

Again, I don’t want to give the impression that I’m critisizing BBR out of some elaborate masochistic self-deprecation (well, just a little, mayhaps). Like it usually is with constructive critisism, I’m doing it because I love it and see the potential that was buried under the genuine lack of experience. I do believe that this story is worth doing, but I see no point in doing it the way I was going to, since I feel no pride in it anymore. There’s nothing sadder than comics that are continued out of pure “obligation” and have no heart or passion behind them, and I didn’t want BBR to finish its run as a zombie.

Commentary

Winter!Dolly

Kana Celestialogian asked:

I assume that the girl reading on the bench in the snow is more of a symbol than a character, but could you tell me a little more about her? Does she have Name/Title?

It’s just Dolly as she appears in a particular segment that I’ll talk about properly some time later. You can see her in the concept art:

Commentary

Ichor’s Death titles

Anonymous asked:

Was Ichor the Death of any form of death in particular? (like the others being burning, drowning, ect.)

IIRC I wanted to tie that in with Pepper’s death, so something about being squashed.

Also, her second title would be the Silencer, meaning she would be able to mute things / make them invisible / etc.

Commentary

Passive protagonist

Have you noticed that Dolly doesn’t do jack? Because that’s true. She mostly reacts rather than acts, and even then her reaction is usually…not normal.

Dolly was supposed to be passive because she’s just that: a doll. She’s Ichor’s original character, an idealistic image of herself from an alternative universe, she has little to no personality of her own continues Ichor’s cycle of passiveness.

Dolly just says “whoops” when she sees Pepper’s gruesome death. Nick basically admits he tried to attempt suicide in poppies, and she calls him a sleepyhead. She acts very obliviously and innocently about all the disturbing stuff that’s going on, as Ichor just wanted to distance herself from any negativity.

However, that was supposed to change gradually. Dolly would start freaking out and feeling miserable more and more as the plot progresses, Bastille and Nick’s deaths being the last drop, because you can ignore reality only for so long.

Anyways, all this symbolism is fine and good, but turned out that a one-note cardboard cutout that has nothing to contribute doesn’t make for a very interesting or relatable main character.

I tried to cop out of it, arguing with myself that the story isn’t really about Dolly anyway, it’s about all those people that were linked to Ichor and the events she went through. It’s not Dolly’s Awesome Adventure, it’s The Black Brick Road of OZ: the road that goes through that entire world and connects everyone. But still, Dolly is on-screen for long enough to make everyone even the tiniest bit bored and tired of her.

It’s especially a shame because the Oz books are notable for having some very active female protagonists. I mean, the book Dorothy bitch-slapped a lion for attacking her dog. It’s something that I didn’t really think about until it was pointed out much later, so I probably wouldn’t have written Dolly this way. Having a cool fearless hero persona makes more sense for Ichor anyway.

Commentary

Perfectionism

Anonymous asked:

Hiya!! I’m writing the story for the webcomic I’ve been planning for a while, however, whenever I get a good chunk done, I’m unsatisfied with the first chapters or the designs of the characters… and I redo everything again. Is it… a good thing to do? should I keep it up until I’m satisfied with what I’ve got?? By the by! I absolutely adore your art style, your characters always look so alive! And thanks in advance :))

Thanks! And yeah, that’s a very familiar situation.

While being critical of your own work and constantly striving for improvement is certainly a good thing, there’s a point when it turns into an unhealthy obssession with perfectionism that can drown your motivation and self-esteem. I can’t tell you if you’re beyond that point or not, of course, but asking yourself that question might not be a good sign. If you feel like you’re absolutely not going anywhere and/or that redoing everything is almost like a chore you’re forcing onto yourself, it’s probably time to stop.

Unfortunately, we almost never manage to get things done the way we want, and reaching perfection is usually an unrealistic goal. Sometimes you just need to tell yourself “this isn’t as good as it could’ve been, but I’m gonna do it, achieve this little goal, move on and do better next time”. Good luck!

Commentary

World maps

Someone asked:

Hey there, i’d like to know How did you created your O.Z world. How did you organised all the places in the map? It’s because i’m planning to release a webcomic in the future, but right Now i’m just developing the characters & the world, i have the idea and all that stuff of how do the world is organised & how does it looks like, but when i want to draw a map in paper, it becomes really complicated!! & just One more question: Which app or Computer programm did you used to draw BBR?

Well, I’ve already had somewhat of a canon template to start with, and luckily, it’s a super primitive one, because I have no idea how to plan out maps. I think in any other case I’d just use some map generators and go from there.

I knew what countries I wanted the gang to visit and in which order (Yellow Country->Green Country->Red Country->Violet Country->Blue Country), then figured what key locations would be appropriate on their path, and then just made up weird names for the rest. That’s pretty much it.

Not sure what you mean by “complicated”, though? Whether you start delving into too much detail, or you’re just saying that making maps is hard? I honestly don’t know what to advise if it’s the former, but boy do I relate if it’s the latter.

I suppose it’s not as critical if you don’t have to show an actual map in-comic (and if you do, you can always cheat and show some stylized simplified interpretation of it, like BBR’s map; especially if your world isn’t too technologically advanced). Just vaguely knowing how things are located relative to each other usually works fine for me.

I use PaintTool SAI for the most part. Brushes: [x]