Dabbler obviously avoided the question of what happens when a Succubus is totally deprived of tantric energy asked on the previous page, like if she’s locked away where she can’t influence anyone. I’m picturing a Sleeping Beauty type trance (cause trance sounds sexier than coma) that will eventually lead to death, but they can last a while in that state.

This whole page was originally part of the previous one, which is why I had so much trouble getting it written. When I finally broke it into a separate page it let me fit in a few more gags like Sydney’s though bubbles and the tickle laser bit, so it’s for the best. Optimally though there should have been a pause panel or something after Sydney left before Dabbler started tinkering, but there you go.

If this page looks at all different to anyone, it’s cause it’s the first page I didn’t color all by myself. Allow me to introduce Keith Wood, who landed the coloring spot. He’s been involved in webcomics for a while, most notably Mysteries of the Arcana, which he currently arts. It was a tough decision to make. A lot of people applied, I never heard back from about half of them which isn’t that surprising for something like this. A few emailed back and bowed out gracefully realizing they weren’t quite up for it or acknowledging it was a lot more work than they expected (I gave them the inks for this page to work on, which was an intentionally complicated page as it has Dabbler in both forms and fading between them as well as Maxima, who is shiny and requires a slightly different technique. I needed someone who could jump right in.) In the end it came down to two people and I felt terrible having to tell someone they didn’t get it cause I’m a big softie. I went with Keith because I thought the way he colors would make for easy corrections. I color all the foreground on one layer (well, I break them in to separate layers while I’m coloring, but the end result is all the color, highlights and shadows are on a single layer, (then the background has it’s own colors, etc) where as Keith colors by flatting everything, then doing all the shading on a multiply layer above the flats, thusly:

layers_explodedThe advantage to this is that all you have to do to change the color of something is just change the flats, and all of the detail is preserved. This technique is not without its quirks though. On the shading layer, you can flood fill the whole layer white, then set it to multiply which makes it transparent, then start noodling in the detail. The reason to do this is most blendy-painty tools act differently if there are already pixels there for them to blend with than if you’re painting onto a blank layer. It’s like… wetting the page before you start watercoloring.  Obviously this technique doesn’t work on the highlights layer since coloring a layer white then setting it to Add, Screen, Luminosity or whatever would just make for a white screen.

So Keith colored this page and then I did some touch up to minimize the differences in our techniques. I gave him some feedback based on that and the second page he did for me, which goes up Monday, was much closer to the mark. This process has taught me that I’m really bad about finishing my background inks until I’m basically done with all the foreground colors. I have to get better about that so I can deliver properly finished pages.

So the point of all this is to free up some of my time so I could start putting the book together, and it worked! The first step is going back over all the corrections I have, and over the one weekend Keith was coloring for me, I fixed nearly everything! Remind me never to change a team’s seal or a character’s rank mid comic again. I haven’t uploaded any of the changes except one yet, I’ll probably do that after I get all the fixes done. After that, I have two bonus pages to draw (I think, they’re not necessary for the book, but they’d be a nice addition if I can manage) then I have to draw a cover, scan some early art, etc etc, then put together the kickstarter. No idea how long that will take, but at least it’s moving forward now.

Here’s a random thing that has nothing to do with the comic but I enjoyed it. I think we can all agree that John Carpenter’s “The Thing” is one of the all time great monster movies, yes? Well, someone wrote a short story that is The Thing, but from the Thing’s point of view. I thought it was quite good. It’s read out in an audiobook podcast here. The whole site seems really cool if’n you like short story Sci-fi.

Here’s the link to the new comments highlighter for chrome, and the GitHub link which you can use to install on FireFox via Greasemonkey.