Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Chapter 6, Final Artwork Completed!


I've got a small production diary. On February 17th, 2014 I wrote this into it:

"Daniel of the future, when you are reading these lines and Chapter 6 happens to be finished, then please give yourself a nice and good slap on the back! Because right at this moment I really can't imagine to ever finish this task."

Today I've painted the last panel of Chapter 6. I know from my older blog posts that with every chapter it felt weird to have actually crossed the finish line. It's such a cut if there's no next panel to paint. And this time everything is heightened through the fact that I've never worked so long on a single chapter. My longest production until now has been Chapter 5 with 440 hours. On Chapter 6 my counter currently stands at 680 hours. And I've still got quite a bit of work to do. When the layout is finished, the cover illustration painted and the special content created, I will arrive at over 700 hours for this chapter. Over half a year will have passed since my first brushstrokes.

The next few days will be the reward for these long months of drawing and painting. There's nothing like having all the artwork at your disposal and preparing it for publishing. When I browse through all the paintings that will make up Chapter 6 I can't help to jump up and down in anticipation. I just can't wait to show them to the world. I've put SO much love and hard work into this chapter, almost more that I could handle.

I don't have a preview image for you this time as every single panel of the fifth milestone would be a spoiler to what happens towards the end of the chapter. But now you won't have to wait too long until the chapter will be published in all its glory. I still can't commit to a fixed date yet because the translations are still worked on and I also have to prepare the upcoming kickstarter campaign that's supposed to be launched together with Chapter 6. But I can assure you that I'm not wasting a single minute and that the release will happen as soon as possible.

You know, because there's no one awaiting the launch more eagerly than me!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Chapter 6. Milestone 4 reached!


Oh, what's that over there? Could it be? Yes, I guess it's ... the FINISH LINE! I can SEE it!

So, milestone 4 is reached and that means that it's only a couple of weeks now until all the artwork for Chapter 6 will be finished. During that time I will also have to finalize my texts, work on the English, Spanish and French translation, do the layout and the extra features for the app and The Attic. AND, there's going to be one more thing! I've talked about it here and there but I guess it's a time to announce it somewhat officially now: Together with Chapter 6 I'm going to launch a kickstarter campaign for the first volume of the English book edition. So, everyone who's waiting for the English book will be able to help to make it happen very soon. More on that later.

I'm not yet ready to commit to a fixed date for the launch of Chapter 6 but we're pretty much shooting for a late July/early August release here. I actually can't wait for it to happen. I want to send this behemoth of a chapter into the world and see what it does.

As for this milestone:

Milestone 4 always is a tricky thing. It's really hard to enjoy the fact that 80% of the work is done because I can only think about the finish line that's coming really close. My mind wanders to that glorious day not so far in the future when the last panel will be painted. That's going to be huge. But you don't arrive there by accident. It's hard work until then and every panel and every milestone counts.

I've spent nearly 100 hours on milestone 4 and you're seing me fixing the drapes there because the entire milestone takes place inside the throneroom of the Azure Palace. I guess I don't spoil anything if I'm telling you that. I think that it can be expected from a storytelling standpoint that we will meet the King of the Center. But what will this meeting be like? Maybe the preview image will give you a hint about that:


Please let me remind you that members of The Attic receive additional preview images at each milestone. There already are 14 preview images available over there!

In some other news:

Video2Brain recently released the last one of the three video trainings that I've recorded this year. This time the video is particularly interesting for fans of the Wormworld Saga because it's a character design training in which I take Jonas to demonstrate the different aspects of my character design process:


There are several outakes from the 2 hour training available on YouTube and I'd especially like to point you to this one where I talk about some aspects of Jonas' personality and how those are reflected in his costume:


Again, I'm sorry that these videos currently only exist in German language.

That's it for now. I'm going back to work to finish that last milestone!
 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Chapter 6, Milestone 3 reached!


I'm slowly fighting my way through the monster that is Chapter 6. Today I've reached the third milestone and effectively finished 60% of the total illustration work.

I knew in advance that it wouldn't be as much work as the last milestone but this segment of the story wasn't easy either. I don't spoil anything if I tell you that together with Raya and Jonas we will attend a public proclamation and that means that I had to paint ... a couple of people. No, in fact I had to paint TONS of people and that was a challenge on its very own. I came up with some nice workflow enhancements but still it was a lot of work.

I've spent 116 hours on this milestone. Together with the first two milestones we are at 464 hours now and this already is more than I've spent on the COMPLETE artwork of any other chapter. I know, I'm beginning to sound like a scratched record. Yes, Daniel, it's sooo much work. We get the point!

But I've got to tell at least SOMEBODY. Most people around me don't even understand what I'm doing all day long. My neighbours only see me bringing my son to the daycare in the mornings and taking him back at lunchtime. I keep telling them that I'm working on something that's published on the internet but I guess they think I'm unemployed anyway.

Ok, let's not go down that rathole. Instead, here's the preview image for this milestone:

Jonas and Raya join a public proclamation on the palace square
As always I'd like to point out that members of The Attic receive additional preview images. I've published 4 preview images now here on the blog and the social networks. The Attic members already have 11 preview images! If you'd like to give me a little bit of support, please consider to join The Attic for a mere 9€ per year. You'll get plenty of extra content as a reward!

In other news:


I'll be attending the International Comic-Salon in Erlangen next month. I'm going to sign books and draw into your sketchbooks and I'm going to speak in a bunch of panel discussions concerning self-publishing and webcomics. If you are there come to the Tokyopop booth or to the panels and say hello!

And there's another video training published by Video2Brain. This one is about drawing with simple geometric bodies and how to combine them to more complex forms. Again it's in German only.


You'll find more info about this training on the Video2Brain website where you'll also find some free preview clips.

Alright, that's it for now. Two more milestones to go! We're getting closer!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Chapter 6, Milestone 2 reached!


Man, you can't imagine how I was looking forward to reaching this point. You might notice that I'm pretty late with this milestone update. The reason for that is that I was caught completely off guard by the amount of work that this second milestone threw at me. I kind of anticipated that this portion of Chapter 6 would mean some extra work. I mean, after all we're entering the biggest city of the Wormworld with a lot of people running around and I was going to present the city with lots of panorama shots. To make things worse I also decided that it would be fun to dive deeply into a crowded bazaar scene. But you know, I've remembered the detailed backgrounds of Chapter 3 and those had no substancial effect on the time it took me to illustrate the chapter. So, I thought that I might just need to throw in a couple of extra hours and that would be it, right?

WRONG!

Turns out that it is a HUGE difference if you're painting people and architecture as opposed to trees and vegetation. You paint a couple of bushes: done in a few strokes. You paint a couple of people: everyone needs a pose, a hint of a face, clothing. You paint a background of trees: just suggest the foliage, eyeball the perspective and you're done. You paint a huge cityscape: everything needs to be in perspective, houses need roofs, windows, signs, everything in different colors and values, you're constantly changing brush sizes, work with tons of layers - it drives you insane!

You want to hear the bottom line of all this?

Alright, let's have a deep breath!

I've spent 76 hours on the first milestone of Chapter 6 and for the same amount of screen space in the second milestone I've spent ... 162 hours.

One hundred sixty two!

To put this into perspective: the total painting time of the ENTIRE Chapter 1 was 154 hours. Think about it: I've spent more hours on this milestone than on Chapter 1 which is more than double the size.

Maybe now you can imagine how it feels to have wrestled that beast. It took me 6 weeks to do it (I've spent one additional week during that time to record video trainings for Video2Brain). When I'm browsing through the artwork I still can't believe how insane I was to put so much work into that comparably small space. But it will show and it's been absolutely worth the effort. I can't wait until the last milestone is finished and I can finally put everything into the big layout. It will be overwhelming for me to see it all come together in one big picture and for you beloved readers it will undoubtly be a special feast for your eyes.

Speaking of which, here's the preview images from this milestone:

Jonas is thrilled to leave the transport ship and explore the city

Jonas and Raya enter the city of Kingspeak
I've intentionally chosen panels that don't show anything of the insane imagery that took me so much time. I don't want to spoil anything. If you're longing for some more material though (also without spoilers) you might consider to join The Attic. There's a brand new preview gallery with lots more images there!

In The Attic you'll find much more preview images than on the blog or Facebook
Ok, on to the next milestone then! There's still some complex artwork lying ahead but I don't think that any of the last three milestones will take me as much time as this one. However, due to the long time I've spent on this milestone the release of Chapter 6 will most likely not happen at the end of May. And, with three milestones still ahead, I don't think that it makes sense to commit to a new release date just yet. So, for the time being let's just say "it's done when it's done".

In other news:

I've already mentioned that I've spent some time recording new video trainings for Video2Brain. The first of these trainings has just been released. It's a training about drawing in perspective for beginners. As usual, the training is in German language. Here's a little trailer:


The three hour training is available at the Video2Brain website and as always you'll be able to watch some free sample clips there.


Friday, March 7, 2014

Chapter 6, Milestone 1 reached!


Alright, the first milestone of Chapter 6 has been reached! The first 20% of the chapter are illustrated now and it took me a little bit less than three weeks to do that. That's lying within the timeframe I've expectated for a chapter as huge as this one.

It's such a good feeling to start once more into this adventure and to see the journey of Jonas and Raya unfold. I have to admit that it wasn't too easy for me to start my work on the first panel though. It's been nearly one full year since I've finished the last panel of Chapter 5 (on March 24th, 2013) and it felt a little bit unfamiliar at first. However, when the first panel was finished it all came back to me and I enjoyed this first 20% of this chapter enormously. Unfortunately I obviously can't talk much about what's happening in the chapter but it certainly is no secret that in the beginning Jonas and Raya are still on the transport ship. I loved to paint all the different people in the background and I even started to tell little stories with them that you most likely won't even see in the standard version of the graphic novel because a lot of it will be covered up by word balloons. However, I really enjoyed putting these little extras in there and I'm already looking forward to entering the big city of Kingspeak where even more people will be running around.

As always there's a sneak preview of this milestone for you:


 Aboard the transport ship, Jonas and Raya face an unpleasant surprise.
A NEW thing is that there now exists The Attic, a place where the most generous people on the planet gather, discover all sorts of exclusive material about the Wormworld Saga, and regularly support the project with a small subscription fee. To give you an additional incentive to join this group of fine people, from now on you'll find additional preview images with every milestone update in The Attic.

Ok, the next milestone will be delayed by at lest a week because once again I'm traveling to Graz, Austria to record new video trainings for Video2Brain. Although I'm generally not fond of delaying production, I'm really looking forward to that trip. And if you happen to be located in the vincinity of Linz, Austria, you might like to visit the Nextcomic Festival on which I will appear on Staturday, March 22nd to give a presentation about the Wormworld Saga on stage. I'd love to meet some fans from Austria and talk to them! And I'd be more than happy to sign anything you happen to bring with you.

Ok, on to the next milestone then!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Chapter 6, Title Announcement


Man, every time I kick off the illustration phase of a new chapter - starting at 0% - I just can't believe the amount of work that's lying ahead of me. And this time this is especially true. As you can see in the milestone illustration above, Chapter 6 is going to be a MONSTER of a chapter. It's pretty much the size of Chapter 1 and 2 combined! It even makes the giant Chapter 5 look ridiculously small. And the beast has a name! The title of Chapter 6 of the Wormworld Saga is:

Chapter 6 - The Smoldering Doom

There you go. What a fitting title. Everything will go down. I will die trying to battle this beast.

Just kidding! In fact this chapter is so long for a very good reason. Since there also exists a book edition of the Wormworld Saga for some time now (in German and French as of this date) I started to wonder how many pages future books should have and how many chapters to put into each one of them. The first book contains the first three chapters which add up to 90 story pages which in fact is a very nice chunk to read. The second book is going to be a bit shorter containing Chapter 4 and 5. For the third book I'd love to have more pages to read again and so I decided to make Chapter 6 and 7 bigger, so that combined they will aproximately fill 100 pages.

The crazy thing is that although I intentionally gave me more room to "play" with this time I don't feel like I had more room that I needed. The different sequences in this chapter are still very concise and I often had to shorten things up in order to not run out of space. There are some more atmospheric shots in this chapter compared to the other ones and I even have some scenes in which there's no dialog at all. But from my point of view there's no "wasted" space in this chapter and I really think I wouldn't have been able to make it any shorter. Maybe it's true what they say: you'll always fill up the space that you're given.

Ok, so from now on there will be milestone updates again. With preview pictures! Man, I'm looking forward to that!

Stay tuned!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Chapter 6 Production Starts!


It's February! I've finished my work on the game project I was talking about in my last few blog posts and now it's finally time to start the production of Chapter 6. First thing I had to do was to make some room for new chapters on the website. Our nice paper toys came in handy to temporarily fill some of the empty space on the new shelve. I have to make more chapters quickly in order to fill it up properly! :)

The Chapter 6 icon is going to reflect the milestones of the production so you will be able to check on my progress with a glance at the website. The main production steps will be:


Finishing the preliminary version

Our new baby kept us busy and I wasn't able to finish the preliminary version before the begin of production which was my original plan. Now that I can concentrate my time on the Wormworld Saga it should be finished soon though.

Title announcement and milestone steps

As soon as the preliminary version is finished I will present you the title of the new chapter and you will get the milestone update charts that you are used to. Every milestone update will come with preview images!

Editing

The translators and I will start to work on the different translations of the chapter as soon as possible (we can do it already with the prelim version) and when the illustrations are all finished I will do the word balloon layout and create the special content for Chapter 6.

Launch

My goal is to finish my work on Chapter 6 at the end of May. The closer we come to that date the more accurately will I be able to predict the actual launch date. With the preceding five chapters I've always launched as soon as possible. This time I want to make sure that the launch on the website will not happen before the launch in the app. I also have to coordinate the launch with the French website so there might be a little bit more waiting time than usual between the 100% milestone mark and the actual launch of the new chapter.

I'm really looking forward to the next few months. It's such a blessing that the budget for this chapters has been secured and I will work hard in order to make this a very special new chapter of the Wormworld Saga. I've been spinning it around in my head for over 9 months now and I'm eager to see it realized. I've got some pretty ambitious artwork lying in front of me and I have to admit that I'm a little bit nervous if everything will turn out the way I'm envisioning it. It's such a bizarre feeling to look at the long road and to imagine that at some point it will lie behind oneself. But then I'm looking at the existing 5 chapters and realize that it can be done. It's hard to believe but the evidence can't be ignored.

So, let's put on the walking shoes and go the distance!

Monday, January 13, 2014

2014 Kick-Off

Nicolás Lieske Costas, * 11th January 2014
Oops, my kick-off posting for this year is a bit late! I've been kind of occupied with preparations for the first big event of 2014 and this weekend it finally happened: our second son was born without complications and we all are very happy to welcome him to this world.

So, only two weeks in, one of the major goals of this year has already been accomplished (mostly by the mother though). Now it's my turn to reach for some additional goals and I'd like to inform you about what to expect from the Wormworld Saga this year.

Until the end of January I'm finishing up my freelance work on a game project that I had joined last year in July. I'm looking forward to share some of my artwork from that project but that won't happen before the release of the game which is scheduled for 2015.

In February I will finally start the production of Chapter 6 of the Wormworld Saga and I'm aiming at a release in May for that. As soon as production starts you'll receive milestone updates and preview images just like you're used to. And currently it looks like I'll be able to start with Chapter 7 right after the Chapter 6 relase so chances are that we will have at least two new chapters this year. And there's another thing I'm roughly planning for the middle of the year but more on that at a later point when those plans are a little bit more advanced.

I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to the upcoming months. Chapter 6 has been building up in my head for more than 9 months now and I'm chomping at the bit to finally create it. It's going to be a huge chapter both in size and in relevance to the overall story. It will introduce new characters, hint at even more new characters and open up the scope of the story considerably. I'm really curious to find out how it will be received and of course this can only be accomplished by publishing it.

So, let's get busy!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

(click for larger version)

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Wormworld Saga lauches in France

wormworldsaga.fr is the new place to goe for French readers of the Wormworld Saga

I've already talked about the French edition of the Wormworld Saga here and there in older posts. Today can be regarded as the day on which the Wormworld Saga officially starts its adventurous journey into the Franco-Belgian market. Today the French version of the Wormworld Saga website has been launched:


So, now there are two Wormworld Saga websites which is quite an interesting development. Right from the beginning of the project my goal has been to reach an international audience with my story and to publish the Wormworld Saga in several different languages. With the amazing support from the fan translators and my volunteering layout assistant Ivan Berov (I can't praise him enough - by now I owe him at least one of my offsprings for all the chapter layouts he's already done...) this approach has branched out in ways I could never have imagined.
But of course there are limitation to how much content can be handled  in a reasonable amount of time by a small group of people. The Wormworld Saga website itself has always been in English and the special content of the Wormworld Saga App and The Attic only exists in English, too. There's not even a translation into my German mother language of these things. Everything - all the making of articles and author commentary - is created by me besides the graphic novel and it's just impossible for me to handle more than the English version of that content.

When Dupuis entered as the publisher of the French book edition of the Wormworld Saga we also talked about the digital version of the story and how we could develop it to support the printed version. I explained to them pretty much the things that I've written in the paragraph above: not even if they would provide translations for everything I wouldn't have the time to implement and maintain that content. That's when we decided that the only way to do it would be to branch of a French version of the Wormworld Saga website that would be completely maintained by Dupuis. And that's where we actually arrived today.

Louis-Antoine Dujardin and me at the French office of Dupuis in Paris
The new website brings some substancial advantages for the French readers of the Wormworld Saga. The most obvious one being that the whole website is in French language. More important, it features professionally edited versions of the French chapters. You won't believe the amount of typos and layout glitches that were fixed in the editing process! And the French readers can look forward to be able to access the special features of the Wormworld Saga in French language sometimes in the near future. The thing that I'm most happy about is the fact that Dupuis will keep access to the chapters free on the website. I actually hadn't expected that from a big publisher and I had already prepared to accept payed chapters as a compromise in exchange for the effort that is put into the website. But since the chapters remain free I can honestly say that this colaboration comes with absolutely no drawback for the fans.
As you can see, wormworldsaga.fr also comes with it's own design and feature set. When we first talked about the project I thought we might just copy the international website. But now that it received its own design, I'm loving the idea of a design competition between the two websites. I will have a close look at wormworldsaga.fr and I will definitely adopt ideas that work well for wormworldsaga.com (I really like that cover flow...).

Dupuis is on the children books fair in Montreuil now and is handing out the first info material about the upcoming book edition. I wish them a good time and hope that the Wormworld Saga has a great reception over there. I'm really looking forward to developing the French branch of the Wormworld Saga with the great team from Dupuis. Many thanks to Louis-Antoine, Laetitia, Mathias and all the other people involved.

And since wormworldsaga.fr has already revelead the covers of the first two French books I can share the cover illustration of book 1 with you! It's a custom version of one of the final panels of Chapter 3 and I really like how it turned out.