|How soon is now?||April 21st, 2012 || 8:20 PM|
I hadn't quite realized just how long it had been since I last updated. Fortunately this news post does not come without purpose; recently I had the good sense to not only purchase a reference manual on HTML5 and CSS3, but to also re-install Apache, PHP, and MySQL after a complete system malfunction last October nearly took my laptop, necessitating the complete re-installation of the operating system (yet another malfunction prevented me from re-installing Windows XP, so I'm stuck with Vista, for now). Despite the major set back (and the fact that I waited so long to do all of this), I now have no excuse not to rebuild this entire website from the ground up. The days of utilizing HTML 3.2's chaotic coding structure has long, since passed, and if I don't learn about the proper standards and coding etiquette than this site will never be more than a nightmare when it comes to form and functionality.
The upside to learning the latest form of HTML is that I can not only make the site's code cleaner and more efficient, but I can also integrate the forum fulling into the site, allowing features to overlap (such as account files and the ability to change the site's theme). Likewise, I can rebuild both the site and forum to share a common appearance, making them into more of a cohesive unit (this had been the original intention when the forum was first released, but in my haste to get it out I neglected to polish the visuals). I suppose I should be thankful, since the way I have PHP set up on the laptop now has actually informed me of some (albeit minor) errors that don't normally show up on the online version. So I'm going to be cleaning up not only the HTML, but the PHP as well which, I hope, will allow both to run that much faster.
As for the main purpose of the site, my artwork, I still haven't finished the tenth anniversary comparison image of Karen, yet, but I suppose that, too, is a blessing; I've been tuning my artwork lately, such as trying to draw my figures with more natural proportions (such as smaller heads, wider waists, and more detailed faces). I haven't even look at that Karen image in months, but I believe it was drawn during the transition stage. We'll see how much I'll have to touch up.
I honestly can't say when I'll get all of this done, since I basically have to "unlearn what I have learned," so to speak. I'm feeling positive, though, so that's always a bonus.
Today is the day that marks Kare`n's tenth anniversary. Well, sort of. May 19th, 2001 is the earliest date that I can find with regards to Karen's first appearance online, a sort of "pseudo copyright," if you will. She was actually created some time before I had her scanned and uploaded, so technically speaking her tenth anniversary has long since passed, so I keep telling myself that I shouldn't feel so bad that I didn't get the comparison piece done by today. After all, if anything, I should've been working on it and had it finished by the beginning of the year, and now it's almost half over.
It certainly doesn't help that I went and saw "Thor" tonight (second time this year, actually), nor the fact that I purchased and have already played through much of the new "Mortal Kombat" game. The point is, distractions, procrastination.. and my own ineptitude.. have caused me to fail once again. Even when I do put forth the effort needed to accomplish my dreams it always seems that, for every step I take, I'm leaping thrice backwards; yet I can not give up, because what else is there left for me were I to abandon my dreams and let what meager skills I have fall to the wayside? There have been numerous artists and writers whom did not become successful until well after my own age, and I know that I do possess the ability to focus my thoughts and work so I can not give up hope just yet.
Well, as I mentioned, I did not finish Karen's picture.. but that does not mean that I did not start it, either. The primary sketch is actually turning out much better than I would have initially expected, although if I were to leave it alone for a week than I am sure I'd be more able to see the numerous flaws that I am sure exist. If anything, I may have expected too much of myself when I believed that I could have finished it so quickly, as I can not recall being such a perfectionest with a drawing since, well, since I drew Karen's very first portrait all those many years ago. Still, trying my very best as well as being able to find and correct my own flaws are all apart of being an artist and allowing one's skill to grow. If I can not do either, than I will never be ready to self-publish my own comic (since I have to be not just a writer and illustrator, but my own editor, as well).
On the lighter side, I've a bit of news regarding my sparce "Dungeons & Dragons" campaign. I've finally decided to scan the portrait of the succubus, Ambrosia, which I had drawn and inked last year but had been holding off after wishing to redesign her bracers. Well, the bracers can wait; I believe there's enough of her to warrant inclusion in her statiscs file under her leader, Alura.
That puts an end to this segment; I neither see nor write very well so late at night, and I'm sure that spelling and grammatical errors abound. So, if you'll excuse me, it is time that I get my life in order.
Karen's portrait is still only pencil, but if she scans well than I shall post her as she's being completed, stage-by-stage.
This is coming fairly late compared to my post on Xbox LIVE.
This month marks the tenth anniversary of Karen Thorn, a colorpencil-made little devil girl whom I first drew back in high school, and who's existance ended up being the "Eve" to a plethora of other characters, creations, and ideas; and it really depresses me that, for being the character whom I've drawn the longest, I've done so very little with her or with anything else I've created since then. I had even intended on drawing a new image of her in the same pose as the first as a sort of comparison piece since, after all, tenth anniversaries do not come about very often. Well, the official anniversary's is just under a week away and if I focus, I should be able to come up with something. I likely won't be doing anything like this with any of the other characters, but in this situation I just want something to show how much (or how little) my artistic style has improved since those early years.
On a slightly different note, I've already mentioned over Xbox LIVE that I'm working on a new (and hopefully more professional looking) layout for both my website and my forum. Back when my ideas for a forum were no more complex than simply using ProBoards, I had felt that this current layout was satisfactory and "artistic" enough, a very simplistic look that fit my very simplistic style. Now that I've created my own forum, however, I want to recreate the entire site so that they'll both be fully integrated. For example, I had planned on adding a comments section to my artwork so that you can all tell me just how terrible I am, and instead of having a select few style sheets to choose from for the forum, I would give members the ability to customize their own style sheets that would affect both the forum and the site itself.
The forum needs a redesign more than the site does and will likely be affected first, as it is desperately missing out on modern features such as a more complex private messaging system, a search engine, more detailed profiles, and anything else that I can think of
Maybe by then I'll have improved my artistic and literary abilities by enough of a degree that I'll finally be able to finish scripting the first issue of Love Bite and can actually start work on it again. We'll see.
Wow, did I really compare my D&D campaign setting to Tolkien? Gee, that doesn't sound too pretentious, nope!
So last time I was talking about how I was setting up a "series bible" for Love Bite so that I could plan things out a little bit better instead of just doing everything all willy nilly, spur of the moment, basically how I do everything else in my life. Thinking? What's that? Is that why my Intelligence score's a 3? Those flowers are purty. Well, anyway, I also mentioned that I had planned on creating an account system using PHP/MySQL so that I could view it and nobody else would, and that someday I would've like to use that to create a forum for this site.
Now I've worked with different forum systems in the past, from ProBoards to the ancient Lithium boards of Gamers.com. For awhile I had intended on using phpBB's system, and I'd say they're the reason I opted for the PHP route myself. In the end I figured, "well, I made this (horrible looking) site myself, why not make my (even more horrible looking) forum myself? Yay!"
So, that's what I did. I am officially presenting to you the official forum for Schadenfreude Studios. Officially (God, I love Clerks). Now, originally the plan wasn't to open it to the public until I had a much better layout designed, but after working on this the last few months I'm kind of.. sick of working on it! Alright, so I'm a little impatient, but, whatever. Eventually I will redesign the layout (I have a lot planned for it, infact), but for the moment I feel I really need to focus on my artwork again. The only new piece that I have to offer is one of Karen in her devil form again, trying to recapture the evil version that I used to draw so many years ago. I actually had started drawing it before the Santa suit Karen, but it simply took too long to "finish." I quote that because, like my other recent pieces, it's still in black and white, and will likely take even longer to colorize.
The bulk of the forum's programming is finished, so even though it may look ugly, it should atleast work. D&D will always be in the back of my mind, but since I have everything that I need to work on my art (have for the longest time, really), I really need to get back to it again.
Well, that's it for now. With any luck, I might have something worthwhile to share next time.
I feel a sense of déjà vu coming along...
Alright, so the artwork hasn't been coming along too well lately. I mean, I have been drawing, but my focus on both Love Bite and Heaven's Gate has been quite nil lately. Unfortunately the majority of my attention has been spent on my Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 Edition campaign setting, "Tales of Evalon." I completely redid the entire website design from scratch, so although it is still fairly simple in appearance I'd like to think it atleast looks more pleasing to the eye. Unfortunately even the information I presently have there is either out-of-date or incomplete, and either way is far from being finished (of course working on creating an entire world from scratch is no easy task; World of Greyhawk and Forgotten Realms both took decades and a number of authors to get established, and even Tolkien worked on his Middle-earth as early as World War I).
The biggest downside to all of this, however, is that I have been neglecting my first love: art. Then again, perhaps it was all a blessing in disguise? I had started the "first" page of Love Bite back in September and did a little more work on it in March. However, the way I had the first issue layed out in my head, what I had been working on would've instead been the second page. Now, of course, the second page generally sits behind the first, right? Which, for most English readers, would be on the left-side of the comic book. I, however, could not picture this page being on the left-side; it just didn't feel right and would've seemed a bit awkward with regards to the layout and story telling. So, I have decided to completely redraw that page as a two-pager, taking up page two and three. This leaves me with the original idea I had for page one, and I can enter into the story with a bit more pacing than I would have had. Furthermore, the "first" issue that I had originally planned turned out to have enough that it could be spread out for three issues, so this would've necesitated quite a few changes, as well.
Speaking of layouts, I bought myself a small yet thick Moleskine notebook so that I could sketch out the pages of the comics before I went ahead and actually drew them. Gasp! You mean I'm actually putting some forethought and planning into this? But wait, there's more! A few days ago I began typing out a document that would serve as the "series bible" for Love Bite, giving me a nifty little resource to look back in on when I need to relearn a bit of information about a certain character or to simply hold the synopsis for a future issue. Honestly I already had the makings of such a document started many years ago and I also had a number of notes written out in a smaller, lined Moleskine that a dear friend and inspiration gave to me; this is merely the first time I've begun to expand upon it.
Now I have a habit of backing up my files online, but of course a document such as this would contain sensitive information that I wouldn't want to get out. Well, granted, most people probably wouldn't care, but that's beside the point. So, how to keep the information private? Many websites use PHP and MySQL databases to store information and privatize websites, allowing only registered members who are "logged in." So, I cracked open my PHP resouce books and began coding away, learning the processes of allowing a person to register an account and then log in with that account, thus allowing said person to view information not normally allowed to the public. The idea behind this is that I would create a single account for myself and thus allowing me to use this account to view the series bible online, while anyone else attempting to view it would be redirected back to the main website if they did not possess the proper authorization.
Again, I doubt too many people are going to care about character backgrounds or future storylines for a comic book that doesn't even have a single issue published. Still, learning this information is valuable in and of itself, since I could potentially use such knowledge to create my own message board system or online store. Nifty, huh? I'm a long way off from realizing any of this, of course, but it's still a nice, little dream to have. Of course I could go the easy route and just have someone else do all this for me; then again, I could just have someone else make this website, or make my comic. No, I like being able to learn and do all of these myself. Would you have someone else live your life, after all? The biggest downside to all of this is that, barring the installation of a MySQL server onto my own laptop, I have to be connected to the internet to test out any scripts that I write.. and I do find the internet to be a huge distraction to my work.
Well, that's all in the future, now, anyway. I am offline as I write this, and after wasting an entire day sleeping and surfing the web I finally feel content in the workseat (of course having an almost empty, distractionless and airconditioned room greatly helps this). It's not so much laziness that hinders me, though I can't quite think of any other plausible excuse. Once I start upon something, though, I'm pretty much good to go; it's just the starting aspect that I have trouble with. Well, I've started now, haven't I? That's a start. Heh, and to think I actually want to become a writer. Well, I did finish a few drawings since my last posting, sans any coloration or proper shading. I have one picture of Denise given a more adventurous and hardened look, inspired my a favorite game of mine. I also a festive piece of Karen to put in the holiday spirit. The remaining four are all Dungeons & Dragons related: Quintessa, her chief cleric, Alura, another cleric presently named Angela, and Nikita, a fearsome red dragon turned human. They will be shaded and colored at some point in the future, but for now I have too much else on my plate to worry about entrées.
So that's probably all the news for awhile. The first issue of Love Bite is still a long ways off. I want to fill out the series bible as much as I can first before laying pencil to paper, but hopefully this will allow me to remain a little more focused on things.
I seriously need to lay off the internet; I find it both sad and ironic that I get more work done playing videogames than I do while on my computer. Still, I've finally managed to continue working on the first issue of Love Bite that I had started back in September. Doing the layout for the background (perspective and proportion have never been my forté) is taking longer than expected, but at the same time I've got a good feeling that I can actually do this, that I can finally get my very own comic book published online (and perhaps, some day, in printed form).
Of course I can atleast say that I was foolish for thinking that I could've done a page a day... well, I s'pose if I learned to focus an entire day on nothing but my art (which is what I should be doing in the first place), then maybe I could. On the other hand, I don't want to rush myself, either. I want to get this done, but I don't want to do a half-assed, rushed job, either. If I just remain calm and focused, everything should finally work out... so long as I stay off the internet.
Switching gears, I must apologize to Scott Roller of Wizards of the Coast; when I added Clarissa's art page to my gallery last month I forgot to give him credit for the goliath greathammer that is depicted in her hand; I've added him into the copyright notice at the bottom of the page. I also have a few more images that I'll eventually be adding to the gallery as well, but I think I shall hold off on them until I've atleast given them some proper shading. Love Bite needs to come first; even if I do succeed in completing the first issue, I still haven't thought of the storyline for the second, so any sketches I do in my downtiime will have to sit on the backburner for now.
Until then, may my muse show me the way...
Once again I am slow to update. This time, however, I updated big. I've competely redone the menu system to the left, first off; it may not have the fancy text that it did before, but it'll be easier for me to update in the future since I won't be wasting time making additional images. Much like my Dungeons & Dragons website, clicking on a particular hyperlink will open up a set of additional links. What this means is that the Gallery is now seperated into pages for specific characters or groups. The old Gallery set-up is gone, as well; instead of opening a pop-up window upon clicking a thumbnail, the image will appear in a frame above the thumbnail list, complete with title, date of creation, and a description detailing the history of the particular character or piece. After all, in this day in age, no one needs any more pop-ups, and thinking back to what inspired me to draw a character and their history was fun.
The various comic books that I am trying to work on will operate in much the same way, minus the description info present in the Galleries. In this manner one can simply choose the month and year of the comic that will be read, so I hope this will work out as an easy to use index. Speaking of which, the three-page test comic for Love Bite is filed under October 2006 (the date I published it to DrunkDuck.com), while the unfinished Valentine's Day comic for Heaven's Gate is now filed under an Unfinished category. The 24-hour Comic Day piece I failed to completely will likewise find its way here, as well, and maybe someday I can finally create a full issue to be placed under a Heaven's Gate category once more.
As for the real first issue of Love Bite... well, I still only have that half-a-page done. Atleast now that I have my website working the way I want it to (well, aside from not testing this out in any non-IE browser), I have no excuse not to focus all of my power onto it and my other pieces of artwork as well. Let's see what becomes of me now, eh?
Yep, I'm still kicking around; granted, my last update was mentioned over X-box LIVE. I've reset the bulk of my webpages to PHP and am in the process of overhauling this place. Places your bets now, who'll update faster: me or Maddox?
September 17th, 2009 || 11:00 AM
I've finally started (well, restarted) "Love Bite." I almost have the first page finished, a mixture of lazyness and distractions still slowing me down. I probably won't upload the pages immediately, or atleast not until I've also finished upgrading this site sufficiently. Still, it's a start...
So I'm participating in 24-hour Comic Day, albeit unofficially. The reason I haven't updated in a year is because I haven't really had anything worth updating. Procrastination's a bitch, right? Yeah...
October 20th, 2008 || 5:36 AM
So 24-hour Comics Day has long since ended and all I have to show for it are eight un-inked pages. Thusly, I have failed. Okay, show of hands, who didn't this coming? Well, there's always next year... At any rate, I think I'm going to start inputting the time along with the date.
October 21st, 2008 || 9:17 PM
I've finally started to ink in those pages I've drawn, and every picture in the gallery now has a snazzy, new watermark.
I'm not dead yet, and I'm far from being done with this. It's amazing how quickly time can pass when it's wasted. I finally got around to giving the Gallery section a proper update; nothing special, click the thumbnail to open the picture, then click the picture to close it. Convenient, right? Except that's it's highly suggested that you close a picture before opening the next one. Still not too familiar with Java after all these years, so clicking on a new picture opens it in the exact same window as the old one, and right now the code is set up to open a window specifically sized for the particular picture. If anyone knows a cleaner way of doing this, contact me! Maybe I'll just use the exact same window size for everything and add other content with the picture... just not going to bother with it right now. Below the Gallery is a nice little Links section. Check it out!
So, about Love Bite; I've scrapped the old first issue I was working on so many months ago and have started from scratch. I figured the original idea I had, Denise walking down a street in the beginning commenting on the state of the world and her own mind just sounded too.. boring? Maybe even preachy, even. Yawn. I'm going to start things off a little more simply than that and, if anything, the current story I've got going is actually working itself out far faster than before. And, who knows, maybe if I can get this thing finally done I'll be able to put out that issue of Heaven's Gate for next Valentine's! Yeah, right...
November 18th, 2007
Fixed the Gallery; now each picture opens up in it's very own window, as well as centered instead of being in the top-left corner. Also fixed an embarrasing scripting error.
November 30th, 2007
Added some new pictures of Quin, Xiu Mei, and Ariel along with Lucy, Alura, and Janus. All but Alura lack shading, and Alura will probably change a bit, anyway.
It's been over a month and all I have to show for it is one page of Heaven's Gate's first issue. Granted, all that's left is shading which I've yet to decide on since shading in black and white isn't the same as shading in colour. Still, I have pages two and three and, I think, four scripted and paneled out as well as an idea of what the cover will look like. The controls that flip from page to page have been reversed; figured it'd make more sense since the pages read right to left and all that, and the three-issue Love Bite mini-comic has it's pages reversed, simply because, if I ever begin to update comics on a regular basis, the newest page would come first.
I could offer any number of excuses as to why Heaven's Gate isn't finished, but I think my previous news piece explained it well enough. I'm not giving up, though. I mean it's not that hard to make a comic, dammit, I just need to make sure I devote time to it and not to things that, well, aren't going to get me anywhere in life (granted, my comics aren't doing that, either, but for now that remains to be seen).
I'm finally working again! Yay! Well, sort of. I think I'm about done tinkering with the site and all, so any other changes will come up slowly. The first issue of Love Bite is still in the developmental stages..er, that is, I've got the basic plot down and.. well, most of the plot.. some preliminary sket... yeah, screw it, I'm not doing anything with Love Bite at the moment. With Valentine's Day coming up next month I figured I'd massacre what remains of my sanity and draw an issue of Heaven's Gate to celebrate; well, basically I'm continueing from the page that I already have up. Have you noticed? That page is in colour now! Very, very bad colour.. but it's colourful! Now Karen's wearing a pretty, red dress and her dissembodied head of a boyfriend is.. still a dissembodied head. So that's it for Heaven's Gate, it'll probably be nothing more than just a special issue-type series of sorts while I work on Love Bite, something to do when the rabid monkies aren't gnawing on my brains.
And, yes, that is a Filler Bunny quote up there. Just got in a shipment of Vasquez's comics in yesterday, and I think they're starting to affect me. JTHM #7 was out of print, though, and I'm still waiting for my Happy Noodle Boy shirt. Where is my Happy Noodle Boy shirt? Why won't he come home to me!? Er, ahem, anyway, I'll probably end up replacing the picture of Denise to the right there 'cause of the whole Soul Edge thing... or I'll add shading. Haven't really decided. I really wanted a picture there but I don't have too many good ones that look as good a that. Bah, I could've made her hold a cigarrette but, nooo, it had it be a copyrighted weapon! Bah.. bah it all!
January 11th, 2007
Okay, screw the colour. That's probably the last thing I should be worrying about.. colouring in a picture before I've even finished it, how stupid. Ahem, anyway, if I do colour it won't be until I've finished drawing all the pages, so the next update will be in black and white. Oh, and I finally replaced that pic of Denise to the left. Yeah, left, not right. I think I'm getting vertigo or something...
January 19th, 2007
I'm a lazy bastard who can't get anything done... ah, well, I've remodeled the first page of Heaven's Gate to look a little cleaner, and I've drawn a bit more.. excuse me while I go hang myself.
Welcome to Schadenfreude Studios.. or what there is of it, anyway. The site's going to be under heavy construction for the next month or three, atleast until I get the first issue of Love Bite finished. So expect a lot of changes to occur during that time; or no changes. Or for this site to mysteriously dissapear for no reason at all. And then reappear. And then steal your coffee. Getting the point yet? No? Then here's a tip... Wait, where was I going with this?
Denise Âmesang, Morgan Powers, Karen Thorn, Ariel Le'Ammas, Love Bite, Heaven's Gate, and any other related characters and content © 2001-2011 RJM Whittaker (unless otherwise specified)