Don’t worry, the adorable won’t go on forever until the awkward starts, but I do think this page is adorable. The panels on this page all serve purposes to the story for me, or represent memories or moments that are important, and we’re almost to the halfway point of this storyline, so hopefully it’s gonna start to pay off and be exciting soon. New page planned for tomorrow.
I’ve been drawing so much that the way I see the pages is kind of getting strange, they look different to me after they’ve sat for a few days, when I’m actually still drawing them I see a million faults. Sometimes when I’m inking I think the whole thing’s a clusterfuck of mistakes, and then when I erase the pencils and go in with some white paint to touch it up, I can’t remember what half the mistakes were. Which I take to mean that they’re looking alright.
I do know that I love this story and I’ve had a lot of fun researching photo reference things for it, whether or not much of the photo reference is actually all that visible in the final comics. A couple of years ago, I might have just drawn a generic ferris wheel, but this time I actually went and looked for a bunch of photos of different ferris wheels. It’s still a pretty simple ferris wheel, but it helps when little details of the shapes are taken from reality rather than only memory. When I’m using photo reference and it’s going well, I end up using bits and pieces of a million different things and recombining them with memory into something that hopefully in some weird way is me. The ferris wheel is bits of some I found from around the sixties, the fonts are from different places, the roller coaster started out being based on photos of old wooden ones, but as I started drawing the details I wanted it to look more rickety, and now it kind of looks like it was nailed together in somebody’s back yard out of pieces of plywood, which I like. I also noticed that in pretty much all of the wooden roller coasters I found photos of, there were rails next to the tracks on which the cars run, but I didn’t want to draw that as it seemed like it would be too cluttered, so I guess these little robots are thrill seekers because the whole thing looks pretty dangerous.
I think I’m trying to find a good mix between cartoony and detailed that is right for these characters. When I started I had the idea that the robot story should look more exaggerated and cartoony than some of the other strips I’ve been doing, and I looked some at the inking of Calvin and Hobbes, that being the best illustrated newspaper strip maybe ever, and I started inking this with a brush to do something vaguely in the realm of that look. I’ve started using a weird mixture of brushes and nibs at this point, and I think I like it.
New page tomorrow.
OK, I think I might make this the last new post until Monday, because I’m gonna be working on bits of several pages simultaneously, so for the next couple of days I’d like to just do pencils. Then after Monday hopefully I’ll have new pages daily until the end of the story. That’s the idea, anyway, so check back. Doing this story has been a lot of fun so far. Thanks to everybody that’s commented or messaged me that they’re enjoying it, and I hope everybody sticks with it, and the stories that follow!
I finished inking the cover for my upcoming book collection yesterday, and so I was drawing that instead of this yesterday and I might not post tomorrow, but there will be a new page up by Thursday. Enjoy!
This is the last of the pages I originally started penciling around a year ago, so it feels good to finally have all those inked and done, and know that it’s not gonna be an abandoned project afterall. By the time I got around to finishing it, of course, I repenciled almost everything, but it’s still there.
I’ve finished up through the next pages, and today I’m gonna be trying to finish a cover for the upcoming book collection, so there will be a new page tomorrow, but possibly not one on Wednesday. If there’s not one on Wednesday, I’ll probably post Thursday, Friday, and Saturday so that there are still five new pages this week. I’m kinda awesome like that.
This page for me is a great example of just how personal these comics can be, if in an abstract way. When I had to come up with a sexy boy robot for Rickets to fall in love with, I come up with one that has glasses and buttons on his front. That’s all me, because I have a ridiculous glasses fetish. Hard to find porn with guys wearing glasses, but I have had some guys let me fool around with them with their glasses still on, and those moments are amongst the ones I use to remind myself that life isn’t pointless.
The particular boy that this robot story primarily is about for me wore glasses when I met him, and cute plain button down shirts he got at places like Target and GAP. I thought he was completely sexy. If you read a lot of my comics, you’ll probably guess that this whole thing isn’t gonna turn out that great for Rickets. With the boy I’m talking about, he eventually started wearing contacts a lot more, and the cute nerdy glasses were replaced with Versace sunglasses. The cute simple clothes he liked eventually got replaced with designer T-shirts and jeans from brands like True Religion. He started to go to a gym, too, and his example of the type of natural, twinky body I fixate on suddenly had pecs. If all that’s what somebody wants to do to feel sexy or good about themselves, that’s fine I guess, people should do what makes them happy, but I always thought the boy I met with nerdy glasses and plain, preppy button down shirts was cutest. So, when I go to draw the robot that Rickets gets sprung on, that’s what I draw.
I really do love this page. As much as I might ramble in some of the blogs about all my artistic intentions, I’m still simple enough that I’m amused by a robot that, for some reason, has a watch. For all the bitterness that might come from breakups or things turning sour, I mean this page, and a good number of my other comics, actually, to represent sincerely the good moments of connecting with other people, or having a crush on some guy, that make for beautiful memories.
New page on Monday, so check back!
I’m not sure how much I should go into talking about these since, obviously, the story is silent and what’s communicated is meant to be mostly through the images. Still, I’ve thought enough about these pages that I usually have things to say about them, I suppose I’ll just try to do it without sounding too pretentious.
This is the first of the pages with six panels, but they’re all designed and scripted on a six-panel grid, the idea being that I wanted a very particular rhythm for the story, so that when something broke that rhythm the impact would be apparent. So, on this page I didn’t alter the basic six-panel structure at all, because the page is showing images similar to images from the first few pages to establish that this is the daily pattern of Rickets, and you could watch it in a loop like this for him day in and day out, until that last panel where he sees something that breaks the rhythm for him. You’ll see what it is he sees on the next page. Life can have a comfortable rhythm, but something could come along at any moment to break it. Sometimes that’s what makes life fun.
New page to be posted tomorrow.
So, here we are inside of the little robot factory, where we discover that what goes on there is the creation of teddy bears. Although that’s not really a surprise for people who have gone through all the archives on here, because I posted a drawing of Rickets making one of the teddy bears a long time ago. I’ll resist going off on a long discussion right now about how this relates to the fact that Rickets eventually has a thing for Prester, but it does all make some kind of sense.
Next page to be posted tomorrow!
And we’re inside the little robot factory. I had a lot of fun looking at pictures of old factories for this one, and I loved some of the things I found, like the big coal furnaces in the back. Some of the other stuff was designed from bits of a lot of different photos, and some of it comes from things I was tooling around with in my head for a long time before I really scripted this out. There are also several little hints in here about where the story’s gonna go later. I think I’ll hold off about going on about it more right now, but there will be a new page tomorrow, so check back!
Alright, the second page finally, I know I posted a version of the first page a year or so ago, so anybody who saw it has probably wondered what to make of the image, and what was happening to the robot after he woke up. Well, here it is, the robot in his little robot city marching off to the factory in the last panel, which is where he works. It’s exciting for me to be posting this, because it’s been going around in my head for a really, really long time now. The sun on the factory in the last panel is something that’s been showing up in my comics for years, and now finally you’ll get to see some of what that’s all about. In the next couple of pages when you start to see some of what goes on at the factory, you’ll start to know some of what Rickets the robot is about.
The little robot city, for me, is emblematic of a lot of things. It is, in one way a reference to the kind of suburbia I grew up in. I was thinking a bit of the suburbia in Tim Burton’s Edward Scissorhands, and actually I grew up not that far from where Burton did in Southern California, so when I saw that movie I always identified immediately with the type of suburbia he was doing an archetypal version of, and sending up. I wanted my robots to come from a kind of generic housing that’s idyllic on one hand, but immediately slightly creepy. When I see housing tracts like that, I think of them being stamped out from repeated blueprints over and over by corporations. They spring up around areas having some economic growth, where the old housing no longer is enough to house everybody that works there, so they’re meant to look cute and enticing or whatever, but really they’re just kind of like shelving, a way to maximize space, or a place to shove all these people. They’re not amazing houses, but you’re selling an American dream to people who have just broken past having enough money so that they don’t have to live in apartments, so they’ve got like little lawns and little driveways and just enough amenities to make people satisfied, and feel like the job they’re commuting to is worth putting up with for the prize they’ve been given. They’re the real estate version of sedatives.
The little robots in the story, of course, are completely satisfied with their little houses. The houses have driveways, even though none of the robots have cars. They have driveways because the houses would look incomplete without them. The robots are being sold an image that they know is supposed to be what they want, but they can’t actually drive anywhere.
The factory is probably my version of the retail jobs I’ve had. It looks cute and exciting with the big sun in front, but if you look closely, there’s barbed wire on the fence, some of the windows are broken out, and next to the gates there’s a little guard tower with opaque glass that looks like something from a concentration camp.
Melodramatic, maybe, but the point is I really disliked working retail. I’m talking about big corporate chain retail, of course. Retail is the same, they’re selling you the idea of good times, excitement, or sustenance, but it’s all just a big machine designed to get your money from you. The placement of shelves, the signage on the walls, you can look at it in a good way, which is that they’re trying to make a pleasurable shopping experience, or in a more cynical way, which I came to, which is that they’re just doing whatever they can to get in your wallet, and they’d sell everything from cardboard carts if they could. The two ways of looking at it are basically the same.
Anyway, the plan is for it not to take another year to post the next part of the story now. Page three will be up tomorrow.