< Piro >
Tuesday - March 11, 2003
Funny thing about doing the MT comic is that once I get rolling along, it tends to get easier. Nothing is really hard scripted, i have tons of flexibility in what each new comic is going to be. This is both good and bad. The good thing about it is that I leave a certain amount of room for creative tweaking. The bad thing is that you can find yourself without much to work with late in the evening with the prognosis for the next day's comic looking rather bleak.
Monday's comic suffered from this problem. When i sat down Sunday morning to start drawing something didn't feel right. It felt very flat, because it was little more, really, than a sum arrived at by adding up the previous strips. It felt very mechanical, very devoid of feeling, or mood. Considering the fact that this was supposed to be a important comic, that wasn't good.
One thing i learned ages ago was that if you are struggling too much with something, it means that you might need to do something different. I tossed the original script, and started scribbling. I focused in on the mood i wanted, and let the scribbles talk to me. This is the sketch that helped me fix the mood for monday's comic. Pretty scrappy, isn't it? but it talked to me, and i was able to pull monday's comic together fairly successfully after that. The dialogue completely changed, and the direction of the strip suddenly was far more in tune with what i wanted to do in the first place.
Getting from that vague idea of what you want to a final product is the hardest thing to do as a creative smook. People often ask me if i have Megatokyo planned out to the end. Yes, i do, sort of, to points i do, but it's changed a lot over time, and it continues to change. See, if i had hard scripted everything, the comics that came about after that scripting would have no ability to effect the direction of the comic. I look at the direction of Megatokyo as something akin to a framework, one that has many branches. Pruning and grafting is all part of the process.
An example of hard scripting, or scripting that didn't get the kind of additional creative umph it needed was the whole Moe Moe Ball arc. The middle of chapter 3 fell a little flat, mainly because my focus was too divided, i had too many things going on, and the MT comic was not in the proper place on my priority list. Sure, i could pump out comics, but i'd have to get more structured about how they are scripted and produced.
...If only my mind worked well that way. I was seeing loud and clear that the MT comic was suffering because i wasn't giving it the priority it needed. At that point, much to the chagrin of some people for whom i was doing other things, i made MT once again my #1 priority. It's about the comic, stupid. The extra projects, the side projects, and other things don't mean squat if you let people down with the comic itself. I'm pretty pleased with MT lately, and i feel very good about it's direction right now. Chapter 3 is going to be a tad longer than i had hoped, but some things took a few more comics to do than i anticipated.
The problem with this attitude, is that it's put all the other projects behind schedule ^^;; That's why i'm taking a bit of an in-service day today to throw a tad more time at some things. Let me give a little run-down of what's in the works.
As you may know, Megatokyo, Volume 2 will soon be available from IC entertainment (pre-orders have started, so go preorder :P I've been assured that this really will be the quickest way to get the book, and the problems with the first pre-order shipping issues have been resolved). Of course, one thing i am somewhat behind on is material for book 2. It's a bigger book, 184 pages. Chapter 1 and Chapter 2 together with all the extra artwork and other things make for more material. Now, one of the things that people seemed to enjoy about book 1 was the commentary at the bottom of the first 2/3 of the book. Unfortunately, I can't do that for anything in this book because the comics are full page, not square format. I've tried to strategically add information and comments at points in the book, so hopefully that will give people a good feel for the history behind some of the comics from 1 and 2. Honestly, i'm far more happy with the material in Chapter 1 and Chapter 2 than i am with anything in Chapter 0. It's not a bad read. Seraphim is working on a preamble for this book, which leaves only two things for me to really deal with - the cover, and the extra material.
I thought hard about what the extra material should be. Originally, i was thinking that I would work on character guides, but I need to do those for the website, and it wouldn't be right to make the extra material something that eventually found its way to the website. I wanted something that would compliment the content of Chapter 1 and 2, and make people feel that the book was truly worth the purchase. While paging thru my archives, i came across just the thing - the beginnings of a short story narrative for the whole Megatokyo Endgames ('MegaWinter Nights' as it was first called), that delved a bit into Pirogoeth and Largo's adventures. Since the recollection of Piro and Largo's activities in that game by Miho are a strong thread in Chapter 2, i thought that this would be the ideal addition.
My long range plans for the whole Engames scenario is that it will also be a comic, or a illustrated work of some sort, or even... a novel, really. Most of what i have for it now are illustrations and narratives. Believe it or not, i have the whole scenario roughly worked out, because it is part of the puzzle that is MT... and it is a piece that most of you are completely in the dark about. You are all used to my comic works, and my ramblings here in the rant column, but you haven't seen much of my prose. Granted, i have zero talent at it, but what i had was a really good start at a short story that I think people would enjoy reading if. I added pages to the book to accommodate it. Now i just need to finish writing it. Writing is not less work than drawing the entire thing out - in fact, as anyone who write knows, it can be a horrible amount of work, but i feel that this is a challenge that will be fun to take on. Hopefully, it makes a good addition to the book. That's the thing i need to work on today. I'll be doing some drawings and sketches today to help the process along, and i'll post one of them tonight as a DPD. I hope you all don't mind. :)
Of course, i still have to do the cover image. And there is still work to be done on the commentary. I have to get back to work on 'warmth' - its due in a few weeks, and i haven't even started the second installment. >_< Next month I am doing so much travel that i'm worried about how I will get anything done. Ugh.
In other news, I want to announce that in about a week and a half, a new version/reprint of the Pirogoeth poster that Merekat and I did back in 2001 will be available in the ThinkGeek store. It's a slightly different layout, and the poster is smaller than the original, but it's bigger than the Capture the Bear poster, and we're holding the printer to the same high standards we always do. :) There is more Merekat/Piro goodness coming... Mere has been working hard on rendering the Broken Miho image, and it's looking stellar so far. ^_^
Ok, enough rambling, i need to get to work...