Hey everyone, I have something really important I want to talk about right now, so grab a seat.

It’s really awesome that all of you have been weighing in on the art–you’ve given me lots to consider, and I’m glad that some of you enjoyed the way things used to look. However, I want to state, right now, that as much as you liked the way things used to look, telling me about it isn’t going to make me go back to it.

I’ve learned a lot from drawing this comic, and while you may feel that older pages had more personality, be assured that I’m working on that with the newer pages. There’s no reason newer pages can’t have personality as well as the technical skill that I’ve been trying to develop these past three and a half years, and while I like to think that I’ve been doing an okay job of it, there is always room for improvement and I am certainly doing the best I can with every single page to be constantly improving and evolving.

What I am doing now works, and is working better than what I used to be doing, which is crucial for me–each page takes fifteen to twenty hours from start to finish, and I need to have two a week posted. That’s thirty to forty hours  (and that’s a minimum, because I generally try and get more than two done a week if I can) of work that I give up family time, chores and sleep to spend drawing. I need to feel like I’m making progress to keep myself motivated–if I’m not making progress, it’s really easy to look at the work I do, and then look at all the things I’m missing out on in favour of work and wonder why I’m spending forty hours a week doing something that I’m not even getting any better at when I could be spending forty hours a week doing literally anything else like all of the other adults in my life do.

Don’t get me wrong, I love doing this. I LOVE it. But I’m not so naive as to think that I will always feel this way with zero bumps in the road–there are so many awesome webcomics out there where the artist up-and-quits because they come to feel like the work they do is a chore that is keeping them from the rest of their life. I think it would be really cocky and short-sighted of me to say that that will never happen to me, and so the need to see constant improvement with every page is one of the things that I, personally, need to do continue to love this and not feel like sitting down at my desk to work is nothing but a chore.

I do care that you all feel certain things about my art. I do care that it mattered enough to you to say anything to me at all. It means so much to me that you are all invested in our story, and invested in us as creators and people. But it means even more to me that I keep loving this, and that I keep pushing forward and improving because I do not want to be one of those long epic webcomics that the author gets tired of, posts a ‘this is how it was going to end’ summary and then stops making new pages. I want to finish this story. I want to draw every page. We are going to do this, which means that I need to improve, or at least feel like I’m making some progress, or understand something about drawing better now than I did last week. I need this.

And that is why I also need to stop talking about the art with all of you.

I am very much enjoying how much I’m improving, but every time someone sends me an email through the contact form, or a private message on tumblr or leaves an essay-sized comment about why the older pages were so much better, a little voice in me whispers “Why are you even trying? You heard them–you could be shitting out four low quality pages in the time it takes you to draw one. And then maybe you could be joining Cory and your daughter at the park this afternoon, or going swimming tomorrow night, or catching up with old friends next weekend instead of slaving away for hours and trying to improve when clearly your readers would prefer that you not even bother with it.”

That’s not me. That’s not a trap I want to fall in to, and every time I have to type out a counter-essay to a comment that apologizes for trying to improve but insists that it’s something I really want to do, it wears on me just a little bit harder the next time someone asks me if I want to go see a movie and get dinner, or if I have time to go do some fun activity, or even if I want to play some videogames, and I have to tell them, no, I have to get some work done. Because those are all things I would love to be doing. That’s not a bad thing, but I need to LOVE working more than I would love to be doing those things if I ever want to get anything done.

I understand that some of you might take this as an excuse that gets me out of any and all current and future criticism of our comic’s art–that I want to use this author’s note as a free ticket to tell anyone who is critical of the art to shut up and go away. I don’t, and that’s not what I’m saying. You are free to be critical of what I do. All I ask is that you stop talking to me about how awesome the old pages are. I’m not going back, this is why, and I can’t afford to stand still. I could certainly put the time I spend responding to emails and comments lamenting the changes I’ve been making to better use, and I want this to be the last time I have to type any of this from here on out.

I’m still here, I’m still working as hard as I can, and I still appreciate every comment and email you guys send. Please do me this one favour so I can keep on keeping on.

Thanks again for reading, and if this author’s comment loses me a reader, then I’m sorry and sad to see you go.

– Ran