Friday, January 25, 2013

Chapter 5, Milestone 2 reached!

It's time for the next milestone update! A little bit over 40% of Chapter 5 is now illustrated. Originally I planned to reach that point last Friday so I'm 4.5 days behind schedule right now. While that's not so good news it's noteworthy that the delay of the second milestone is not due to the extaordinary length of this chapter. It started one day short into this milestone because January 1st was a Holiday. Another day was lost because I visited the publisher Tokyopop in Hamburg. I consider that day a good investment into the future of the project though because I spent endless hours with the CEO of Tokyopop developing new ideas to bring the Wormworld Saga forward. Then I experienced a super frustrating Photoshop crash which destroyed the work of another full day. And last but not least I spent about a day to figure out a nasty problem whith Adobe's Creative Cloud service which inexplicably switched all the software I'm subscribed to into trial mode. So, while the delay is annoying, there's a good chance that the next milestones will be reached within the timeframes I scheduled for them (two weeks each). Well, if life doesn't continue to put obstacles in my way that is...

In the illlustration above you can see that I replaced the Christmas tree from the last milestone with the Ankal Aasha idol. The second milestone consisted mainly of images from the "Great Celebration". They were a joy to paint and the following preview panels represent only a tiny glimpse of what's waiting for you in Chapter 5:

The sun is setting and the inhabitants of Ankal Aasha prepare for the Great Celebration.
Jonas and Raya join the crowd on the townsquare.
Ok, let's hope that the next milestone runs a little bit more smoothly. I'm looking forward to it because it will lead our heroes out of the ancient city of Ankal Aasha and into ... the unknown. :)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Chapter 1 Available in 24 Languages!

The latest addition to the translations of the first chapter of the Wormworld Saga is the Arabic version. You might have noticed that I've stopped announcing each and every new translation here on the blog. I only do it  in special cases. Now, this translation No. 24 is special in that way that its flag is now filling the last empty spot for translations of the first chapter on the homepage. There literally don't fit any more translations than that into that space. Ok, maybe I could squeeze a forth row of flags into there but it already looks very cluttered so I'm not going to do that. No, with the upcoming Chapter 5 I'm going to give the redesign that it desperately needs. Not only because of the many translations but also because of the growing number of chapters. I won't spoil anything for you now but let me just say that in the future there can be an unlimited number of languages and the chapters will be presented much more prominently.

The Arabic translation is also special because it is the first translation for which we mirrored the layout of the Wormworld Saga:

It gives me a complete headache when I look at my work that way and you might just check the Arabic version out for this wonky effect.

So, my thanks you out to Khaled Al Sabouni for his translation work and once again to Ivan Berov who did a wonderful job solving this puzzle and providing the layout for the Arabic version of the Wormworld Saga.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

2013 Kick-Off

I wish everyone a happy new year 2013! I hope you all enjoyed the Holidays and those special days between the years where one starts to think about the events lying behind and the challenges waiting ahead. Just like last year, I'd like to kick this year off with a comprehensive overview of the Wormworld Saga project, where it stands and where it's heading.

First of all, the most amazing thing for me is, that during 2012 I was able to dedicate my whole time to the Wormworld Saga. I didn't have to take on any commissions in order to fill financial gaps. The only commissioned work I did last year was the variant cover illustration for the first issue of 'Finding Gossamyr' and that I honestly did for the pure enjoyment of it. Being able to invest all my time into the Wormworld Saga resulted in some great progress of the project. 2012 saw the publishing of Chapter 3 and 4, and the first images of Chapter 5. And I was by far not the only one working hard to bring the Wormworld Saga forward. It starts right of with my wife who dedicated most of her free time to develop the products for the Wormworld Saga Treasure Chest kickstarter campaign which was successfully funded just a few months ago. The good guys at Robot Media brought the Wormworld Saga App to the Android platform and a feature on Google Play attracted nearly 150.000 new users for the app in only one week. And then there's the incredible people of Tokyopop Germany who did a wonderful job converting the German version of the first three chapters of the Wormworld Saga into a beautiful hardcover book which had a great debut on last year's Frankfurt Bookfair. All these achievements wouldn't have been possible without the support of all those fans out there that were spreading the word, giving encouraging feedback, and supported the project financially by donating, buying prints, and supporting the Wormworld Saga on kickstarter. A very special 'thank you' goes out to the voluteering translators who have translated the first chapter of the Wormworld Saga into over 25 languages now and are continuing their work to make more and more chapters available in all these different languages. The very fact that most of these translations are already layoutet and published is due to the staggering efforts of a single man: my volunteering layout assistant Ivan Berov, who did the layout on ALL translations that were published in 2012. I can't even say how many translations that were and how thankful I am for his help. I'd like every single person addressed in this paragraph to know that your support means the world to me and that I'm seriously not able to express the level of gratefulness I'm feeling towards you all.

Being able to write these lines helps me tremendously to prepare for the challenges of this new year. My goal is to keep working full-time on the Wormworld Saga and to present you the chapters 5, 6 and 7 before the end of 2013. Together with Robot Media I'm going to offer an HD version of the story inside the Wormworld Saga App. And together with Tokyopop I'm going to approach publishers all around the world to make the book version of the Wormworld Saga available to you in as many languages as possible. These are the major goals for 2013.

The biggest challenge in reaching these goals will be to secure the funds for the whole year. I've never talked much about the financial situation of the project since its start two years ago. The last thing followers of the project might remember, was my pitch video for the Wormworld Saga App kickstarter campaign in early 2011. There I explained that my plan was to live from the earnings of the app as soon as it would be published. As far as that goes a lot of the fans are likely to think that the finances of the project are secured since the release of the app in October 2011. Well, that's not at all the case. Funding the last year was a pure adventure with a lot of luck and modesty involved. I won't go into the details just now because the first months of 2013 are already funded and I don't want to raise an issue before there actually is one. The app is generating money and so are the books. Foreign book deals might add to that. This month my wife and I will open up the Wormworld Saga Shop in which the fans will find lots of opportunities to support the project by buying merchandise and collector's items. It will be very exciting for us to find out how all these sources of income will develop and how far they will carry the Wormworld Saga. If there should arise a problem I will address it early enough in order to find a solution together with the fans of the project.

In the last few months I often wished that there were a point of security to reach. A point from which on I would not longer have to worry about the financial aspects of the project for at least some time. I guess I have a pretty naive image of the life of comic creators in my mind. I slowly start to accept that insecurity is part of the concept of an author's life. Something has to balance the advantages, right?

Alright, so let's get this year going! I didn't expect to make it through last year and it somehow worked out anyway. Why should it be any better this time? It's an adventure after all!

It's comforting to know that I'm not on my own on this one.