So, yeah. It seems I've forgotten my username, password and the email address that I signed up for both of those webcomic-list-voting-button things with, so I can't update the vote incentive image with the one thumbnailed to the left there - a not-particularly-witty joke based on Commander Keen, Keine Kamishirasawa and Imperishable Night. Blame IRC people. So instead, I'll link to it here and just trust people to go click on the shiny buttons. Go click on the shiny buttons, people!
Eh, I was thinking about taking them down anyway, they feel kind of vain. Not to mention that they mean I have to keep drawing new incentive art which I keep forgetting to get around to.
So, yeah. It turns out that drawing with a re-installed version of Painter which has lost all my tool presets is surprisingly like drawing with an entirely different pen, and thus this week's comic looks a little different, line-wise. I'm annoyed, 'cause I really liked how I had the pen set up before my old computer exploded. Did I tell you guys about the exploding? Flames and smoke and everything. Anyway. I also, when retrieving the font I was using, remembered that actually I'd been meaning from the start to use a totally different font - Eurocomic instead of Digitalstrip, so I went back to that. I'm looking at it wondering whether I shouldn't have re-downloaded DigitalStrip after all - let me know if it's horribly unreadable or anything.
I already switched the font on 152, since I'd done that page entirely while I was away, and used a pretty out-of-place font for it at the time. Pages earlier than that still have DigitalStrip.
As to pacing... yeah. When I started drawing Precession, I wasn't paying any attention to that kind of thing at all, I did the first ten comics or so more or less at once and I think they kind of worked for it, but from then on I was more or less improvising a page at a time for a while. These days I have a three-stage process - I have an overall 'things I want to happen this chapter' plan (Chapter 6 was broadly "Baja and Bur meet up with the Valentine administration, get the situation the city is in explained to them and realise they'll need to confront the monitors"), which somewhere around the beginning of the chapter will get converted into a rough page-by-page script, which will in turn be modified a little as I draw it to take into account page layout issues I didn't anticipate when I was writing it.
This last chapter has just suffered a bit from me being quite busy with several other things recently, not least going away and computer problems; I hadn't done the page-by-page script by the time I had to draw the first page, so I just copped out with a intro-scene, and the last two pages have been drawn without the benefit of what I did get down, 'cause the script is on a HDD lying on the floor of my lounge right now and I've not yet switched it into the USB enclosure I'm using to get my old stuff back onto my new desktop PC. But yeah... even leaving that aside, I probably don't pay as much attention to pacing as I should. I certainly agree that this kind of story should have a more screenplay-like presentation, which is what I aim for when I remember to think about such things...
And don't worry, if/when I remove the voting buttons I'll still occasionally put up random bits of art; if nothing else I like to have something for those little side pictures on the news page which isn't just a cutout from the comic page. And I've been gathering the stuff I actually like after seeing it more than once over here.
Hey there Jake/Sar,
The fonts don't look any different to me. Did you already switch the fonts in the old strips?
Glad to see you back up and running. I would agree on the vanity of the webcomics voting things. While Buzzcomix in the past has allowed me to find some pretty neat comics, there is also just as much crap near the top that it really doesn't say much besides who has the most zealous/gung ho fan base. I have enough comics in my favs bar that I only visit new ones when I see them recommended by other artists (and not even then at times).
But I liked seeing your incentive art, I have a few dl'ed to my computer - at some point I'll probably put together a screensaver of your work like I have of Dan's top images and Penny pictures.
One thing that has been bothering me a little about Precession is the pacing. It seems that not a lot has happened in the last few comics, and what has happened could have been implied or explained during the "action". I've always thought comics like this one (that isn't one-off haha type of comic) should have the same pacing as a movie or book, and each comic should look at what it is contributing to the overall movement of the plot and story. So comics like the one where it is just Li running, or the oneshot of the broken auto that started the chapter, don't add much.
In this chapter, there are already 5 pages, but what have we learned?
1. The auto is definitely dead (this could have been inferred with the next part, making the first 1 1/2 pages obsolete)
2. The auto has a black box that shows the last few hours of its life. Burr removed it, did something with it, and then wiped it.
3. The CA is coming (we already knew this though, from the last page of chap 6)
4. A signal is being broadcast to let them know Baja just wants to talk.
IMO, these things could have been done with 1, maybe 2 pages to keep the pacing up. At the moment I'm not getting a sense of dread/urgency or tension that the monitors are coming (a feeling that seemed to be implied at the end of chap 6).
I guess I've been tainted by working closely with a screenwriter, who showed me that it is boring to tell people everything, but better to infer that the audience can figure some things out on their own. In this case, it could have been easy for Burr to simply show up with the black box, with Baja answering the question as to what it was - this would tell me he had already gone out and retrieved it, and that the auto was truly dead.
Anyway, I'm meaning this as a constructive, not as a slight. Hopefully it isn't coming across like that, it's hard to judge intent with just text. If I didn't like the comic, I wouldn't be bothering to put in my 2 cents to how (I think) it could be improved. Of course, your storytelling style is your own. These are my opinions, and thanks for taking anything I said into consideration!