I’ve now been working on Sunshine for over six months. Originally I’d hoped to be finished before the end of January, then before the end of summer. Both of those goals sailed past without me having time to notice.
As the year’s ticked on, my concept of what Sunshine is has become more ambitious. It’s crept up from being one small project of many I was planning this year to being a big freaking deal, most likely the main thing I will make all year. The bar’s gotten much higher. I’m now going back and perfecting imperfections I would have previously let slide. Overall it’s a pretty good thing because it’s meant I’m much happier with the quality of the illustrations. Every fixed line and adjusted colour has me feeling better about the work, like I’m actually getting to voice the story in the way it deserves to be told.
The problem with raising the bar is knowing when to stop. After six months of working on this comic I should be well and truly ready to share it. If I average it out, each page has taken over two weeks to finish. Pages of The Otherwalls used to average between one and three days, which still felt like ages. Sure, I’ve had other commitments this year (Full time work, that manga class I ran, knitting, re-discovering how great books are), but that doesn’t change the fact I can’t perfect pages forever and soon I’ll have to get ready to let them go. Really soon. This is starting to get a bit silly.
Short format comics are very different to the longer webcomic epics I’ve written (and abandoned) before. With the long format it’s all about building the story, and the exact quality of a page is perhaps a little lower to compensate for the speed at which the work is produced. It’s also finished one page after the other, as it needs to be updated chronologically. With short format I’ll be releasing it all at once. I have time to sit and think about my technique across the whole comic and make sure it feels cohesive from start to finish. This is great, because it’s an area I’ve previously been quite weak in.
Even though It’s taking forever, I’ve learnt so much. Next time will definitely be faster. I’m completely sold on short format, it’s deliciously addictive. I’m finishing my final pass correcting the last niggly bits of the lines and colours. Then all I have to do is put the words on and get it ready for the internet. Undoubtedly they’ll both have their own delightful series of tears and steep learning curves.
I can’t wait!