Exvulnerum (my webcomic that you can read here) uploads will resume next month with regular updates! Starting January 2nd, 2015, I will upload a page every Monday, Wednesday, AND Friday! That's three uploads a week, and I'm not taking holidays off--so 150+ pages a year!
I'm dubbing this event the Enterprise Launch, so get hype. #exvulnerum #enterpriselaunch
That's all you need to know, and I hope you find it exciting! But if you want to hear the details, read on:
I've wanted to be a webcomic artist since 2009, and I started work on Exvulnerum in 2010. Once I finished the Prologue in 2011, I released the comic to the public, but I never committed to any kind of update schedule, and so I made pages irregularly, rarely, and so even though the comic is over 4 years old, it hasn't gone very far, page count-wise.
The Exvulnerum story idea itself is even older. The earliest evidence I can find is this Amber drawing from 2007 (with an outdated spelling of her name & outdated story mechanic), back when I intended to make the story a novel. So, as of this month, Exvulnerum is 7 years old in my mind.
In all that time, I haven't lost interest in the plot or characters, nor have I really given up on my dream of being a webcomic author. Earlier this year, in March, I resumed my focus on the webcomic and made a handful of new pages, all the while thinking of ways to make the project feasible as something to really pursue. I started revamping the plot, taking out the stupid parts and adding in cool mechanics, supporting characters, side-plots, and background stories. (My biggest achievement in the overhaul, I think, is creating a super neat magic system and finally figuring out the comic's ending.) Still, creating pages took a very long time, and so I hesitated about what I could do next. I knew I had the discipline to commit to a project, thanks to my daily dedication to Japanese study, but drawing was different than studying because it required output.
Fortunately, during August I undertook a different, large drawing project: Barnlocked 2, for a friend's birthday. In doing this, and drawing for 3 solid hours each and every weekday, I realized that I could probably handle the daily drawing workload of a webcomic if I wanted to. And I decided I did want to, so I made up my mind to commit to Exvulnerum as a full-time project.
There was one thing standing in my way, though. I still had a novel project I was also 100% committed to that was unfinished. In fact, it was already 3 years old and massive, with still a long way to go. In all those years, I hadn't found the resolution to really buckle down and finish, but my desire to work on Exvulnerum was the motivation I needed: because I decided that my novel, being a commitment from its start, was imperative to finish before distracting myself on such a major undertaking as a webcomic.
So during the month of September, I created my own Writing Month crucible in order to truly get the novel (called Genie) finished once and for all. I was able to step up to the challenge and completed Genie--a big accomplishment, it being my first ever finished first draft of a novel, (though I've tried to write plenty).
With Genie out of the way, I was free to pursue Exvulnerum fully. I decided that I needed to be absolutely sure I could draw multiple comic pages weekly, and so I created Trial Runs (of which you can read about on the Exvulnerum site's news section). Basically, I dedicated 4 weeks to "testing the waters" and acted as though I had to make as many pages as I would have to if it was the real, updating weekly thing. This had the added bonus of letting me accrue a sizable buffer.
A webcomic buffer is simply a number of completed pages withheld from being uploaded to give the webcomic artist leeway in case they fall behind schedule or want to take a holiday. For example, if a webcomic artist uploads twice a week and has 4 buffer pages (not-yet-uploaded pages) and they get sick for a week, they can still upload pages without having to draw (and they will be left with 2 buffers). Whereas, a webcomic artist without buffers would either have to draw while sick (harsh) or skip uploads completely (which is kind of disappointing to fans.) Basically, buffers mean that an artist can easily stick to a regular upload schedule even if life ends up getting in the way.
I'm pleased to announce that I have 20 buffer pages, which means that there is an extremely high chance I'll be able to maintain 3x weekly uploads for a long, long time. In fact, I've accounted for buffer consumption in my plans and will make up for it by having a net gain of +1 buffer page per regular work week, meaning that my pool of buffer pages shouldn't shrink to dangerous levels, meaning that even if life unexpectedly gets in the way a little bit, I can still maintain the MWF schedule.
A Big Change
Making 4 comic pages a week is nothing to scoff at, though, and so even though I've done everything I've seen fit to prepare myself, it is still going to be a major life change. In fact, as I'm unemployed, it's going to become my job. This probably won't mean much to my watchers that don't usually interact with me, but for my friends: this is it. I'm going to be buried to the neck in webcomic duties the majority of the year, from now on, and hopefully for years to come. I ask for your support and understanding.
How long, exactly, will I keep this up for? My firm commitment is to a full year (meaning that even if I lose all motivation and everybody hates the comic, I still will continue for a full 12 months), and so next December I will reevaluate the comic's popularity and prospects. As long as it has garnered a modest degree of success, which I believe it will, I will continue it another year--on and on for maybe 10 or more until the comic is complete (heh, yeah it's sort of long. BUT GOOD).
December & You
Even though most of the necessary preparations for the Enterprise Launch are taken care of, I still have a lot of Exvulnerum-related stuff I want to do this month, mainly uploading some bonus art here on dA! I also am going to do some behind-the-scenes stuff like nailing the plot down more and studying 'how to make comics' books so that I can improve my abilities as sole director.
But you, the loyal and interested few, who I am incredibly grateful for, also have a job to do! First, please reread the comic to prepare yourself for the awesomeness of 3x daily updates--the story is going to start moving fast, and so you need to be fully prepared and in touch with the Plot So Far. Even if you're sure you remember the story, give it a go anyway; I've done some revamping of the prologue and there might be a new page or two. (I also changed some of the dialogue and added in a few new panels on old pages.) It's much improved!
If you're feeling extremely festive this holiday season, try drawing some fan art! I am going to feature all fan art drawn this month on the official website (something I don't plan to do in the future; instead I plan to link to fan art via a deviantART collection), so now is your chance to get your artwork and username forever cemented in a special Enterprise Launch Festivities page! Be sure to tag your stuff with #exvulnerum or #enterpriselaunch so that I can find it! Or link me directly if you want to be on the extra safe side!
But if you can't make the time for that, at least you made the time to read this entire journal! Thank you so much! Please comment below, and I will try to make something special happen for you this Christmas as thanks! ^_^
This is a really, really, really big deal to me, and I promise to give my all this coming year!! Prayers and support will be appreciated!! Thanks guys!