New Eden, Page 16: No More Easy Backgrounds

This next page is going to change the face of this graphic novel forever.  It kicks off a whole new era for this comic.  This has a feature that has not been seen since Lorelei first entered New Life.  For the first time, we have something in the background.  Can you believe the innovation?  I know I can’t and I’m the one who came up with it.  Can I seriously be doing this?  Is it even possible to draw a comic with backgrounds that are more than just two shades separated by a straight line?  Well, time will tell.

So, I’m not good at backgrounds.  Well, I’m not good at drawing much of anything, but I’m especially not good at creating scenery.  This graphic novel’s supposed to be a big practice project, so of course I had to add them in sometime.  We’ll have to see if I’m able to get any better at them over time.

New Eden Page 16

LadyHate: Well, there it is.

LadyHate: The Kingdom Spire

LadyHate: Pretty cool, right?!

Lorelei: So this is the more there is to do?

Lorelei: Hang around a ruined castle tower… thing?

LadyHate: It’s not ruined!

LadyHate: It’s just not finished.

LadyHate: Bunches of players, they’re building that.

Lorelei: So you can build?

Lorelei: I guess that would give you something decent to do.

LadyHate: Yeah, but it takes a lot of players to pull it off.

LadyHate: You can get blood from the Asheaters, and mix it with the ash to make a kind of cement.

LadyHate: Thing is, even the Asheaters don’t pop up often enough.

LadyHate: To build anything of decent size, you need a bunch of players working on a project, just to get enough blood to keep it going.

Lorelei: Makes sense.

Lorelei: I haven’t even seen an Asheater in the… however long I’ve been playing.

Lorelei: How long have I been playing?

Lorelei: I really need to get to bed. I’ve got work in the morning.

Lorelei: Hate, it’s been lovely talking with you, but I really have to get some sleep.

Lorelei: Maybe we can do this again, sometime. Explore more of the game together.

LadyHate: Yeah! Let’s do this tomorrow! And the next day! And then we’ll get Red and the rest of the Midknights to join in!

Lorelei: Well, we’ll see, in any case…

AGLA: Anke!

Lorelei: What?

LadyHate: Hmm?

LadyHate: What what?

Lorelei: Did you not hear that?

Lorelei: It’s AGLA.

AGLA: Welcome to Eden!

LadyHate: I don’t hear anything.

LadyHate: Just you.

Lorelei: Weird. Hey, AGLA. Hate’s here too.

AGLA: Really?! That’s odd. Just a second, let me see if I can find her.

AGLA: Hate? Welcome to Eden too!

LadyHate: Oh hey! Now I can hear him!

AGLA: Wait, that’s you, Hate?

AGLA: The young woman in green next to Anke?

AGLA: Guess you haven’t gotten my package yet.

LadyHate: In the flesh!

LadyHate: Err…. digital flesh. Nevermind! That’s a stupid saying anyway!

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New Eden, Page 15: Night of the Page

Hey, just a heads up, if you’re following along with my little comic series, make sure you go back and check out all the dialog on the previous page to bring yourself up-to-date.  I had forgotten to include the full dialog document when I had originally uploaded that, due to the whole working overtime every night things, so if you skip that one you might find yourself a little lost here.

Just like last time, you might notice that with this one the dialog extends well beyond what actually fits on the page.  In fact, working in dialog is one of the biggest challenges to my approach in building this graphic novel.  People talk.  It’s good for people to talk.  In most any story, it’s important, as that’s how you’re going to deliver any sort of background, characterization, and conflict.  Most of the stories I’ve created in my life have all been through text.  There, having people talk at length is no problem.  They just do it, the reader reads it, there’s no issue.  Working through graphic novels, a far more visual medium, lots of talking takes up lots of space.  So you’d either get a page of almost entirely text, or I’d have to seriously curtail the conversations and thus harm my plot delivery were I to put it all on page.  I took a third option with a lot of these scenes, and just wrote out the text in a separate document, which can then be added to the page.  It’s not a tactic I’d use if I was ever intending this to actually be printed and distributed, but back when I had no thoughts of having anyone else read this other than myself and a few close friends, it actually worked out really well.  Hopefully it works for you too.

New Eden Page 15

Dialog:

LadyHate: Well…

LadyHate: There he is.

LadyHate: Exodus 🙂

Lorelei: Wow. You just verbalized a smiley.

Lorelei: I didn’t think that was possible.

LadyHate: Never doubt the weird things you can say if you practice!

LadyHate: Anyways, there’s Exodus.

LadyHate: May not be real, but he’s still very pretty!

LadyHate: Maybe when they get the next update in, he’ll actually do something, like play his music, or kiss lucky passerby!

LadyHate: Oh swoon!

Lorelei: He doesn’t do anything?

LadyHate: Well, he kills players if they attack him.

LadyHate: He’s probably some big boss fight, but there’s not enough content here for anyone to get high enough level to beat him.

Lorelei: There’s not?

Lorelei: Why would they even put out a game like that?

LadyHate: Geez, Annie! Don’t you pay attention to anything about games anymore?

LadyHate: This is still a really early beta. That’s why the game sets are so cheap!

LadyHate: They’re still testing things out, and adding content as they make it.

LadyHate: I wish they’d hurry up. There’s like, nothing to fight around here.

Lorelei: Really?

Lorelei: What about those mooks in the newbie area?

LadyHate: Hm?

LadyHate: What mooks?

LadyHate: And what newbie area?

Lorelei: You know, the place I was and the guys I was fighting when you found me.

LadyHate: Whaaaaaat?
Lorelei: …

LadyHate: …

Lorelei: I don’t… was my English wrong again?

LadyHate: No, it’s just…

LadyHate: Those weren’t mooks. And there is no newbie area.

LadyHate: Those were players. High level ones, too.

LadyHate: You can tell because of all the metal they had.

Lorelei: Hm? But…

Lorelei: I just started the game. How could I have beat a group of high level players?

LadyHate: For that matter, where’d you get those spears! And that magic! I want them too!

Lorelei: They were just there when I started. Didn’t you get something too?

LadyHate: No! It was just the character creation bit, then I was dropped in the Ashlands almost naked with nothing to my name!

Lorelei: The Ashlands? Where’s that?

LadyHate: Everywhere. This world is the Ashlands.

LadyHate: The players call is that because there’s nothing but ash and darkness everywhere.

LadyHate: The rest is going to be added later. At least, that’s what the announcement says.

Lorelei: What announcement?

LadyHate: The one you get when booting up the game!

LadyHate: Geez, Annie! Don’t you pay attention to anything?! I thought you were supposed to be smart!

Lorelei: Hey!

LadyHate: Hehe!

Lorelei: I didn’t get an announcement. I didn’t even get a character creation screen. I was just dropped in the game like this.

LadyHate: That’s not fair!

LadyHate: I want awesome weapons like that! And magic, too!

Lorelei: Well, maybe this is part of whatever AGLA’s planning. Starting us all out with character’s he’s pre-played or something like that.

LadyHate: That would explain it. But that would mean that AGLA made your character, right?

Lorelei: Yes.

LadyHate: So why would he make you so…

Lorelei: What?

LadyHate: Curvy

Lorelei: Umm…

Lorelei: This is suddenly becoming a little creepy.

LadyHate: I mean, I know your characters are usually pretty hot, but it’s just a little weird when he does it for you.

LadyHate: Still!

LadyHate: Weapons! And magic! Gotta be worth it, right?

Lorelei: I don’t know. I don’t really know how the game’s meant to be played.

LadyHate: Normally, AGLA giving you a pre-made character would be skipping all the fun of the game.

LadyHate: But seriously! Leveling up is so slow here! And any sort of weapon is very rare! And I haven’t even seen magic before!

Lorelei: Well, what do you have, then?

LadyHate: Same as most other players. I’ve managed to kill enough asheaters to make a dagger from the best pointy bits of their bones! And I used their hide to make the clothes I’m wearing.

Lorelei: You can use magic too, though? You were doing that teleport thing, right?

LadyHate: Nah, that’s not magic. Every once in a while you find some ‘Unliving’ monster. They’re a lot tougher than the asheaters, and they’re pretty much the only place to get metal our other rare equipment.

LadyHate: Once, I joined a group that was fighting against a pack of them. I survived getting hit with an arrow, and got to keep it! That’s the only metal I’ve been able to find. Maybe I’ll make a bow sometime, and I’ll get to kill one thing with it.

LadyHate: Anyways, one of the Unliving had a teleport stone. The group already had one, so they gave it to me as my loot!

Lorelei: Huh.

Lorelei: So what exactly are you supposed to do in this game? Other than stare at Exodus all day?

LadyHate: 🙂

Lorelei: How do you do that?!

LadyHate: Well, most people play it for the VR experience, and to hunt the random Unliving. And to get ready for when there’s finally more to go on in this world than just the ash.

LadyHate: But there is a bit more to do.

LadyHate: C’mon, we’ll port again. I’ll show you.

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New Eden Page 14: Dead Batteries Edition

Just got through crunch time at work, and I’ve been working late all this week.  Still needing some time to recharge before I can get back to writing anything, but in the meantime, I hope you’ll accept this next installment of New Eden.

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LadyHate: Wait…

LadyHate: You are Annie, right?

LadyHate: Please tell me I didn’t just glomp a stranger

Lorelei: Hattie?

LadyHate: NonoNO I HATE THAT NAME!

LadyHate: You can call me Lady Hate or Hate or Exodust or That Chick or Doofus or anything else, but not Hattie! I hate that name so much!

Lorelei: Sorry.

LadyHate: God! What were my parents thinking! Hattie Lim, that’s like the dumbest name ever!

LadyHate: Anyways, Annie! This is like the first time we’ve met in person! Or something close to it, anyway.

Lorelei:Yeah, and it’s weird hearing you talk. I guess I always thought of you speaking with entirely misspelled words.

LadyHate: What?! So mean.

LadyHate: And what about you! You talk weird too!

Lorelei: I do not! I’m just Dutch. My accent’s different from yours.

LadyHate: What do you mean? I don’t have an accent.

Lorelei: Umm… you have an American accent.

LadyHate: Americans don’t have accents.

Lorelei: What?

LadyHate: We just talk flat. Anyways, what are you doing? I thought you and Red weren’t going to be playing.

Lorelei: Yeah, I’m just stopping in before I go to bed.

LadyHate: I didn’t know you even had a set.

Lorelei: AGLA sent them to me. I’m not sure why.

LadyHate: That’s the package you got! Why would AGLA send you something like that? I still think he’s got a crush!
Lorelei: I don’t know. His letter said he had some sort of plan for us and this game.

LadyHate: Hey! Then we can get him to play too! And if you’re playing, Silver will play, and that’ll be enough to convince the rest of the MidKnights! We can go full-force on this, like we do anything else!

Lorelei: Silver’s… it’s complicated. And I’m just on for a bit. I… well…

Lorelei: You said Exodus was in this, right? I was hoping to see him.

LadyHate: Ah! That’s the same thing that got me playing this game! People said Exodus was here!

LadyHate: Red was right though, it’s not really him. He’s like a boss enemy or something.

LadyHate: We can still go see him if you want, though! I can ‘port us there!

Lorelei: Could you? I’d still like to see him.

LadyHate: Ok! Just hold on a sec, and…

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New Eden, Page 11-The Color’s Revenge

It’s a bit of a rough week for me.  Standard Content will come shortly, but in the meantime, we’ve got some more of this content to fill the gap.

New Eden Page 11

At this point, I’m still working on getting used to using the markers, and I think it shows.  The acquisition of some lining markers helps, as it gives us actual outlines for what we’re doing here.  Still struggling with using the color to illustrate depth, however.

That Princess of Time thing is a bit of a relic that I’d be cutting out were I going back and editing this thing now.  Originally, everyone was supposed to have a class and an element.  The element relates to their powers and a main plot point we’ll be seeing later.  The class didn’t really have much in-story purpose, but on a meta level it was supposed to relate to their character arcs.  Lorelei, here, as the Princess character, was originally going to be struggling with the fact that she was thrust into a leadership role but nobody really expected much leadership out of her due to the strong personalities she was surrounded by, which would lead to her being largely used by other characters, particularly the Prince character, either as a motivator or as a tool towards their own ends until she learned to break out of it and stand on her own.  I’ve since dropped a lot of that arc, as well as the idea of using the classes, as a whole.  I feel that in the kind of story I’m trying to put together here, adding in features that aren’t justified in-story is just going to be causing problems.  Lorelei’s now just the Goddess of Time, rather than Princess of Time.

Transcript

Panel 1:
Ah, there we go.  Princess of Time?

Panel 2:

Well… won’t argue with that.

Panel 5:
This game!  So empowering!  I may just stick with these newbie mooks all night!

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A New Eden Intermission

Hey!  It’s the holidays!  At least in America, everyone’s taking a break for Thanksgiving weekend.  Including me.  So I thought I’d give the characters in my learning to draw experiment a rest as well, and just post a bit of concept material for the story.

I’m a fair bit ahead of where we’ve gotten through the posts in New Eden, and it’s time for me to introduce a new character.  I’m having a lot of difficulty settling on a design.  I’ve sketched out a few possibilities, and thought I’d show the most likely one here.

DSCN0354

If you’ve been following along as I’ve been posting, you may have noticed I’m not really all that great at body proportions.  This design is my attempt to get more practice in that area.  He’s based on Greek statuary, which were built with a very specific set of proportion.  I don’t think I’ve got it exactly right here, but hey, that’s what the practice is for.  I’m not completely enthralled with this design.  I still think it’s got just a little too much going on, and the toga bottom and sash going up the side of the body throw a lot of the balance off.  Still, I thought I’d throw this design to the mercy of the internet as I work on improving it.  So hey, if you have any feedback on it, now’s the time.

New Eden Page 8: Suddenly Color!

New Eden Page 8

Would you look at that?  It’s like a magical fairy came to my world and brought me the mystical voodoo that is 1950’s Technicolor!  And wouldn’t you know it?  That’s pretty much exactly what happened!  That magical fairy has a name, one we know well here at Lost to the Aether.  And that name is Mishka Jenkins, Author Extraordinaire.  The whole thing.  Appellation and all.  Pretty sure she legally changed her name to that, as some point.  Anyways, Mishka got me a set of really nice markers, and this was my first try taking them out for a spin.  I had no idea how to use them properly, and I think it shows in this picture, but I’ve busted the markers out a few times in the creation of this graphic novel, and I think I’ve been getting better each time.  In particular, the pencil lines really aren’t meshing with the ink here, and I think the color visuals vastly improved once I picked up better inking equipment

One thing I don’t think anyone but me will really notice, but Lorelei’s hair color completely changed, with the advent of color into our work.  Even in pencils, it was a much darker shade the last two pages, because I imagined it as being a dark brown but it stays this light blue from now on.  Models keep evolving, if you let them

There’s a lot I could complain about this, and a lot I want to, really, but instead, I’d like to take a moment to point out that Lorelei’s hands in this image?  Almost flawless.  Given that I was really wanting to work on hands in this learning-to-art adventure, I was really happy with those.

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New Eden Page 7: I Love Fight Scenes

Someday, my art will be good enough that it’s worth investing in, and I will own a scanner.  Until then, I’m afraid these low-quality images are the only way I have to document my work.

Anyways, the page!  So, here we have Lorelei’s thoughts as our narration.  I was trying to keep them short and clipped, like a stream of consciousness probably would be in the middle of a fight.  Not sure if that quite comes across, but I like the idea.  Think I’ll keep it going.  Only way to get better at this sort of thing is practice, after all.

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Transcript

Panel 1: Hey!
Panel 2: What is this?
Panel 3: Movement.  Just like in real life.
Panel 4: I have weapons.
Panel 5: Think I’m starting to figure this out.