Today’s our 300th page, at least according to wordpress! Let’s quickly get into all that stuff I promised I’d show you this week:

The front cover! Click to enlarge.

The front cover! Click to enlarge.

The front cover was the part that bugged me the most about the old design. I like a lot of the old design elements, but the art specifically just wasn’t working for me. I also avoided adding in a lot of the glowing cyans because they show up in CMYK printing as a gross grey-ish blue.

Some muddling around with some CMYK pallet swatches finally found me some acceptable replacement colours–apparently CMYK hates vivid greens and teals a whole lot less than it hates the colour blue, so as soon as I found a combination I liked, the whole thing sort of fell into place.

I also felt a little weird about leaving Cassi off the old cover. I kind of wanted to add Trish as well, since they all play a pretty big role in the first book in comparison to the rest of the humans, but Ethma, Cassi and Henri definitely have the most screen time and Trish got bumped out.

The back cover! Click to enlarge.

The back cover! Click to enlarge.

The back cover for the old design was pretty similar to the one we have now, but there was more room for a bigger description that was really meandering and kind of rambled on and on about things someone picking up the book for the first time would probably not care about at all.

We cut most of it out and then completely re-wrote what we did have, and the result is way easier on the eyes. It did format funny, though–sometimes that happens, and it especially happens when you’re confining text to small areas, so we decided to treat it like a word balloon, and that fixed up any visual wonks we were experiencing.

We had a short debate about whether it should look like a Fiah word balloon or a human one, and while it makes more sense for it to be a Fiah word balloon, it didn’t mesh great with the background so we had to compromise.

The full design! Click to enlarge.

The full design! Click to enlarge.

Here’s the whole cover put together! I’m actually really happy with the overall visuals of it, and I think the part I’m the most proud of is the template I made to make it easier for future covers to be built into it.

We’ve already decided that volume 2, whenever we make it, is most likely going to have a red theme and ¬†feature Noh as a focal point. I’m a bit undecided as to which characters will show up in the background or on the back, but we have a lot of great options and I don’t have to choose for a while, so I’m not going to make any decisions at the moment.

Bookmark designs, front and back. Click to Enlarge.

Bookmark designs, front and back. Click to Enlarge.

And last but not least, here are the bookmark designs. The original design I did had both Endi and Ethma on one side of it with a night/day motif, and I hated it so much that I put it aside until this week when i was getting all of the other things done.

I still have a few adjustments I want to make on them, but overall they fit the green theme that I’m aiming for with this volume. Working on both the cover and these bookmarks has reminded me how much I miss drawing the old designs for them, which is unfortunate because Blaire has pretty much fixed them in this chapter. If and when they wear them again, they’ll look less like weird cosplay and more like actual human beings. With more actual eyebrows and less glowing alien eyeballs in places where one would expect to see eyebrows.

I don’t know…I may have to do a fun poster of their old costumes again in the near future to feel better about retiring them. I’m gonna miss these designs, even if colouring them was constantly a pain in the ass in panels where humans were speaking to them (putting a white speech balloon anywhere near their hair was a nightmare, and I had to rearrange entire pages in the sketching process just to make sure it never happened).

Anyhow, This has been a fantastically productive week, and I’d like to present to you our current set of progress bars for the book:

totalprogress

As you can see, I have 198 pages done–that encompasses all the title pages, copyright pages and blank pages at the start of the book, all ten chapters and Henri’s side-story. You will also note that my math is terrible, and that after removing all the white pages meant to force chapters to start on the left hand side of the book, there are actually 19 pages for bonus content instead of the 12 I initially predicted. Oops!

While one of those pages is reserved for a thank you note to all our lovely backers and friends and family who are making the book possible, and one is reserved for a little bit of info about us, that means we have 17 pages to fill with fun stuff for you.

We have definite plans for 10 of those pages that all involve some sweet new art and world building notes, but that leaves seven more pages. We have a few ways we could fill them, but before we decide one way or another, we’d love to hear what YOU would like to see as bonus materials from the book. Keep in mind that we’re only doing bonus content that centers around things happening in book one, which means that if you ask for info on the ESI or the monoculture, who only show up in book 2 content, then you’re not going to see your suggestion come true, because otherwise it’s going to be REALLY hard to find bonus materials for book 2. Feel free to leave your answers in the comments!

Aaaand, because the progress bars have been really fun and motivating, here’s one for the rest of the work I need to do to finish chapter 13 at this point in time:

pageprogress

There are ten pages left in the chapter once the ones that I am in the process of colouring and lettering are done. I’ve been making a lot of progress today–both of the pages that need colouring have the backgrounds completely done, and I should have both of them coloured by this evening. We’ll be lettering and scheduling all five pages some time this weekend, as well as having a sit-down where we decide exactly what the bonus content is and do some mock-ups for it. Next week will be a combination of doing art for the bonus pages and starting another batch of three pages). I’ve put in 74 hours of work on the book and pages since last Saturday, and there’s no way I’m slowing down now.

Anyhow, I’m going to try and post all the previews of pages and stuff up on the Hiveworks Kickstarter later today or tomorrow, as soon as someone gets back to me with the new password because I apparently have the wrong one. Until then, enjoy, and we’ll see you all on Tuesday!