For the past month I have been embroiled in a painful struggle to clear out my apartment and deal with everything necessary to move but now the end is in sight. As of Monday I will be flying back to New Zealand.
It is a profoundly sad thing to be leaving this city. I spent an hour in the middle of the night just wandering aimlessly around my neighborhood reminiscing. Even managed to find the spot where I caught my first Pikachu. But, all good things must come to an end and I must return home to try and improve my health.
I’ll try to get settled back home as soon as possible and start cranking out pages as fast as I can.
Because people occasionally ask me about it, I thought I would give you all a behind the scenes look at what my comic writing/drawing process is like.
When it comes to writing, I’m not a big fan of fully writing out all the specifics at the beginning. I usually write in tiny thumbnail sketches of the pages without actually writing in the dialogue. I just draw in little speech bubbles for which character is talking and leave the actual script in my head. For the thumbs, I have a journal that I carry around with me everywhere. I just draw in some a page full of thumbnail boxes every now and then. Continue reading My process→
I want to start this bolg post/update thing by saying that I’m sorry.
I’ve been saying that a lot recently, to a lot of people and they all tell me not to be sorry. That this isn’t something I’ve done, that this is something that has happened to me.
But that doesn’t change anything.
People are still feeling bad because of me. I’m still letting readers down by not posting new work (especially those of you kind enough to donate money to me each month) and having a “good excuse” doesn’t make me feel any better about it. If anything it makes me feel worse, because it wasn’t fully in my control and it should have been.
At any rate I feel like I should let you know what is going on with me. Because you deserve to know what you are getting into if you decide to invest your time into something. Ok… here it goes,
Over the last month or so there has been a growing suspicion that has finally been confirmed. I have cancer.
I am going to try, with everything I have, to continue making comics but the truth is that some days I just wont be able to. I didn’t actually manage to put out any new pages for June or July and that is not ok. I know people will tell me that cancer is good excuse to miss a few pages, but it’s not.
This is what I want to do, and I’m going to keep doing it.
It’s been far to long since I posted a new page and I feel like I should probably explain why.
Basically, I have accidentally been becoming a literal starving artist.
For the past few months my health has been gradually deteriorating without me noticing, I would get home from work exhausted with very little appetite and just end up going to sleep earlier and earlier each day. At first I thought I was depressed since I’m dealing with a long distance relationship and all the rigmarole that comes with trying to immigrate to the US so I can get married, so I didn’t think much of my constantly tired state until I realised how little I had been eating.
My meals had been getting smaller and smaller for who knows how long and a little over a week ago I made myself some toast for dinner, I only made it halfway through the first piece before I felt so full that I thought I might throw up. So out of curiosity I weighed myself and discovered that I had, in a very short span, lost a little over 12kg (27lb).
A visit to the hospital told me that I, for some reason, have gastroparesis which is when your stomach becomes partially paralysed and no longer moves food along the digestive tract, stopping new food from entering. Meaning the reason I have had zero energy for the last month or so is that I have been slowly starving myself.
I still have a few more doctors visits and tests till we figure out exactly what is causing this (including apparently being violated by a robotic camera snake) but for now I’m on medication that at least allows me to eat a little more and slowly get my strength back. I’m trying to get back to drawing as much as I can but it is still slow going since taking time off to recover is extremely difficult here in Japan so most of the energy I do have is still being consumed by work.
An unfortunate side effect of drawing my comics traditionally is that I can only really do the bulk of the work at home where I have a decent size desk set up with all the accroutements needed to pull one of these pages together.
For a while now I’ve been looking for something I can work on when I’m out of the apartment since I almost always have a tablet on me capable of kicking out digital work fairly easily. But I didn’t want to switch Other Tales to digital and I din’t want to take away from its writing time either.
Enter Dwarf Fortress. If you’re not familiar with Dwarf Fortress, it’s a surprisingly detailed simulation game that models a world according to some loose parameters you set. Fills that world with dwarves, elves, goblins and nightmarish forgotten beasts. Then it tracks a truly mind boggling amount of information about most everything you could ever want to know. It somehow manages to tell you everything about everything while also being vague and abstract enough that all that information is completely open to interpretation.
Basically it’s a very complicated story generator.
After a few hours of playing a game that is more or less just staring at text, you can’t help but construct a narrative that strings it all together nicely. And so that is what I decided to do.
So I have started a second comic called Bridgedflickerd (the auto-generated name of my fortress in game) about my attempt to build a functional fortress. It will be a yonkoma style comic with each strip focusing on something I found funny or interesting in the game. You can find it in the comics section along side the Other Tales chapters. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did drawing it.
Hello again, welcome to the new and slightly improved coal powered press site.
I’ve updated the look a little, but far more importantly I’ve set it up to be the a home for the comics to live. New pages will be going up here as quickly as I edit them into English until I’m caught up, at which point they will go up here seven days after my Patrons get a look at them.
I’m also planning on using this site a lot more in general for any blogworthing things that occur to me as well as the main place for my comic related news. so expect to hear more from me here from now on.
It’s that time again and I’m gearing up for COMITIA7, this year I will be at the table alone and I’ll be over at C15.
This time around I’m trying to put together an artbook around the seasons in Otherworld. It will be about 20 full colour pages and printed a little larger than the usual books. I’m currently posting the illustrations as I finish them up on my patreon page so give that a look if you’d like.
The weekend is over and as is the launch of Other Tales and my first experience exhibiting at a Japanese comic market. COMITIA went well. Far better than I was anticipating to be honest, managed to sell out of our first print run about an hour before the end of the event. The feeling of sticking that sold out sign up on our banner was exactly as satisfying as it looked on all them animes I watched.
We will definitely be back for COMITIA6 next June with a reprint of this book plus a new, considerably longer issue. In the mean time progress on the story and behind the scenes sketches and illustrations will be going up on my Patreon page regularly.
Now that it’s a little further along, here is an update on the aforementioned comic.
It is an collection of short stories called “Other Tales” or at least it will be once I do the English translations for now it’s called 他物語 (hokamonogatari). The first issue is finished and will be debuting at a small comic market in Sapporo this Sunday.
The first issue has two stories; “Joust” a somewhat cutesy fantasy story about a boy and his dog and “Lamplight” a slightly darker folklorish tale about a will-o-wisp. I will be finding a place for these online at some point but for now they will be available in print or on my Patreon page
Since I’m now living in Japan and have access to a whole world of wonderful manga supplies basically everywhere I turn, I have begun working on a new comic. The first traditional media comic intended for print publication I’ve attempted in… 6 years I think.
However unlike “A Rindice Fairy-tale” which fizzled out in the first issue, I already have the first three chapters of this comic in various stages of completion (from fully written to finished inking).