Hey all! Three more pages and this chapter is over. Last time around I think I gave people some cryptic sentences hinting at things that would happen in this chapter…and I’m not going to do that because they’d have to be so vague that it isn’t really worth hinting about (unless you consider ‘some characters that we have previously seen are in this chapter!’ helpful. Let’s just say that the next chapter encompasses a lot of my favourite characters who I haven’t gotten to draw in a while, and leave it at that since this is wrapping up.

Anyhow, I wanna talk about something important for a minute.

So, as you will note from this past chapter, everything is much better than it used to be–backgrounds are more detailed and I’m drawing them pretty much from scratch in every panel instead of drawing it once and then just pasting it in repeatedly, characters have consistent volumes when standing next to each other from panel to panel, camera angles are more interesting and poses are less…people just standing there, talking. All of that is part of my new-years resolution to step up in the art department, and I couldn’t be happier with it! It is, however, not without its own difficulties.

Pages take time. I want to keep doing two a week, and, if I could figure out a way to do everything faster but still at this quality or better, I would gladly be doing THREE pages a week, even. As it stands, these pages take 4 to 10 hours longer than pages used to take me, which is murder on my hands and back. I’m not used to hunching over a desk for this many hours at a time, especially since I now have to designate my entire weekend for working because I can’t spread it out as much as I used to be able to.

On top of all of this, I’ve been complaining about my tablet since before Christmas–I figured that a lot of the problems it was having had to do with the drivers on my old computer. Problems like losing sensitivity every second or third stroke, or it just…not working. Like, the light shuts off and it will not work again until I jiggle the cord around and unplug/re-plug it in. I ended up getting a new computer, and despite starting fresh in the driver area (and then trying four or five different versions), the issues have persisted, which means that it is likely a hardware issue. I am very afraid that it’s just going to crap out on me, and I will not be able to afford a replacement.

I’m pretty vocal about my tablet woes, and I’ve had more than one person say ‘hey, didn’t you just do a successful kickstarter? Can’t you just take extra money from that and get a new one? It would be justified.’ I will be honest–every piece of money we earned for the kickstarter has been spent on the print run, rewards, shipping those rewards here, art supplies for making more rewards, to the point where Hiveworks is actually covering a portion of the run so that we can also afford to comfortably ship everything to you when it gets here. Even if I could justify it, then money is bespoke. There is no ‘extra’ money that isn’t specifically for you guys and your books.

So what’s my solution? I have no idea. I’m pinching pennies, but my kid is growing like a weed and we have bills to pay–I cannot justify diverting what little money I am making off of ads from bills and groceries right now. Ideally, I’d like to upgrade to a Yiynova MSP19U–the poor man’s (better) Cintiq. It would lessen the strain on my back, and even though I’ve been drawing with a tablet for years, I still have a lot of issues with the disconnect between where my eyes are looking and where my hand is actually drawing. Drawing directly on the screen would cut hours off of how long pages take, which would mean consistent, not late updates and the possibility of being able to up my schedule to three times a week some time during the summer. The unfortunate part is that even though it;s way cheaper than a Cintiq, it’s still going to run me $700CAD (for the unit itself), about $50 for shipping, and then another $90 at the border when they throw HST taxes at me.

I don’t want to beg for money, but I honestly can’t think of any other option right now. I’m going to be putting what little money I can away for this–it’s probably going to take ┬áme months, though. If you would like to chip in and help me make it go a little faster, feel free to toss me a few bucks: