Anyway, so I didn't draw anything...YET. That's what I'm in bed for, right now, to do: draw. Produce. Instead, I did useful distractions, but still distractions: getting reference images. I still didn't get all the reference images I needed. I got like, three or four of the reference images I was looking for, averaging about six pictures for each of those things. (This is a disproportionate one, though. One only has three, another has 12.)
How many did I not get? 15 (well, there's a sixteenth I'd LIKE, but I can't think of key words for: the pose is in my mind, but a complete blank is there for what it would be called, aside from 'recovering' or maybe 'about to throw up' only, not, because it's someone winded and on the ground, recoiling from a blow they were struck), not including emotes specific to a webcomic.
See, part of the chapter features a humorous art shift, and the art shift is meant to take it into a weird hybrid of chibis and the style of Jocelynn Samara's Rain. So that adds another five things I need to search for, through the Rain archives, looking for emotes and whatnot that are at least reasonably close to what I'm looking to create in my comic.
But anyway, that's all the things I didn't do. I went out at six, expecting family night. Instead, I found out that it's gonna be on either Saturday or Sunday. I don't know which, but either way, that's both convenient and inconvenient. Inconvenient, since it cuts off work, convenient, since it opens up tonight for work. Though that being said...I've basically wasted seven hours online, most of it on ComicFury. CF is a serious addiction, I know. I didn't even really do much. I just hung around.
So that brings us to here. And now. Still on that page, page seven. Still need to get to 22 by the end of Sunday. The good news, I managed to sneak in a moment of mafia time, albeit just telling them that I wouldn't be there until Monday, not actually playing. Still, it lets them know at the very least, without requiring them to read my blog. (Though, I told them if they wanted the details, that reading my blog would be an option. I'm sorry, but Red Hood Rider is THIS important to me. To you, it might just be a stupid webcomic. To me, this is a significant part of my soul, that I have poured time and effort and heart into, to bring it to life. Meaning for me...completing it is a vital task. It's me actually proving to myself that, yes, I can set out to do something and get it done. VERY few moments in my life are like that. First draft of my novel finished. Getting a job. Starting track. Admitting I had bipolar disorder. Coming out as trans. Starting Red Hood Rider is on THAT level to me.)
Anyway, still writing, not producing, but while I'm slightly tired, it's not to the point where I cannot be productive. Besides, unlike noveling in which you literally have your brain shut down and be unable to type words coherently (yes, I know from experience, many times, with my writing, where I would write words, enter into a daydream, type things RELEVANT TO THE DAYDREAM, phase back in, and have to delete everything I just wrote because it's 90% daydream, 10% novel, starting over like that many times), for art, as long as you have the ability to hold the pencil, you're good. At least I think. I actually haven't done many late-night drawings, so I don't really know what the experience is like. I'm about to find out, though. But I THINK that I should be able to do okay.
I have a decent working environment. Somehow, I got a lump in my throat, which is annoying, probably a result of the chocolate milk I had because we STILL don't have orange juice, but I'll live. It's cold, but while my fingers are cold and my bare feet are also a little chilled, three layers of blankets get me covered there: enough to be warm, yet also enough that as long as I have my laptop screen open, I shouldn't fall asleep. Also, I've got the radio going in the background, which would make it impossible to fall asleep for a long period of time unless intentionally choosing to. (Which, sadly, happens a lot.)
Now is a lousy time to double-down and do the work, I'll be honest. Late night tiredness will sabotage my work somehow, I'm sure. It'll be a constant, CONSTANT, neverending non-stop battle of wills, my willpower to produce and get things done pitted against my STRONG instinct to sleep powered by inertia to do nothing and let myself fail.
...But if I don't start today, it'll be even WORSE tomorrow, so that means work MUST be done. Not some trivial effort, that means, "Oh, well, at least I tried". No, it needs to be ACTUAL progress. Not one page, multiple. Preferably LOTS. Because, yeah. Inertia is very, very heavy. I can feel it as I type this. That, "uhg, I don't WANNA" feeling. That, "I can do it later" urge. That, "just give up" voice is there in my head. There's the desire to let go, and simply give up. But I can't. I simply cannot give up. Distractions are happening, even as I write this, because my mind is all over the place.
Yet I know this is something I have within me to do. It will be HARD. I will get fatigued. It will become monotonous, to work on my comic for so long. I will get tired of it. I will get sick of it. But if I don't press through those feelings, if I put my pencil, paper, eraser, and whatnot down...I won't pick them up until it's far, FAR too late, and then I'll just encounter the same ol' problems I'm having right now.
So after this paragraph, save a distraction, I'm going to pick things up, switch to the appropriate screen, and get to work, 'cause there is much work in need of doing.
OMG update less than half an hour later, I'm actually drawing and I think I have the hang of Ruby! Without referencing previous Ruby images (though I did have *a* reference image), I drew Ruby, and she looks basically perfect as far as I can tell and better yet, the post I was going for I more or less got! Well, I didn't quite get the angle right (I actually angled it backwards, with her body tilted forward and legs back rather than vice-versa), but otherwise...a complete panel of Ruby done, with no reference image of her, just a single reference for what the pose was, which I didn't even use that much! And her proportions look pretty solid, too, meaning that I got it all!
One panel down, six to go on this page alone, and when that page is done, I'll just need to do three or four more at minimum in order to stand a chance (if I get page 10 done tonight, that means 6/day: 6 Saturday and 6 Sunday), ideally more, so that means that I'm still really behind, but...
...In a SHORT TIME FRAME, with LIMITED REFERENCE, I nailed another look for Ruby! That's a sign that I'm getting stronger as an artist which means it's something to take a small break about to put in my blog, but now I need to get back to work. The next Ruby panel I'm basically going to do a direct trace: I found an absolutely PERFECT reference image, down to the very inch, for what she'll be doing, a silhouette which has the EXACT features of Ruby, meaning I can cheat a bit, trace it, and then fill in the details. Dirty trick, but hey, it'd literally be criminal NOT to use that. (Okay, no. No, it wouldn't. In fact, using it is much closer to being criminal. But shush, you. That's a mere technicality. Metaphorically, it's criminal not to, m'kay?)
So...EXCITE! SO MUCH!
Another update, about an hour (well, more like hour and a half) later: so I modified a panel from the script, since the original called for a repeat of the second page I did's second panel. While I COULD have done that, to show how much I've improved artistically since then (well, it wouldn't be an exact repeat, but the intention was a near-exact replica save two details), instead, I decided to semi-trace one of my reference images, my last chance to do so for this chapter, and use it, even though it may not make quite as much sense, because, dang it, it's an awesome pose and I wanted to use it so I'm USING it. (Which means half the Ruby images on the page are cheats. And it's pretty obvious which are which, given that the panels where I did traces are noticeably better.)
Anyway, that's not really what I was coming here to talk about. I was more coming here to say: while things aren't quite going as fast as I was hoping for them to go...there's good news. When I first started drawing Ruby, I had an annoying thought: "GOD, she looks like a boy". Given that she's a transwoman, this isn't NECESSARILY a bad thing, but it's not something I *wanted* to have, so I wanted to improve. I mean...obviously, once I added the pigtails in, BAM, instant girl right there, but I'm dead serious that literally, if you chopped them off, Ruby would encounter the same problem that's a major spoilerish plot point in Rain. Dead serious. Try it out yourself if you don't believe me. Ignore her body, which usually is feminine. Go off of just the head. Then remove the pigtails on most of my art. Does she still look like a girl to you? Well...she didn't to me, which bugged me.
...Yet now? NOW, whenever I draw her, she actually LOOKS like a girl. I mean, she doesn't necessarily look like a FEMININE girl. Without the pigtails, she looks like a tomboy. (Kinda like Mike from Re:Set, actually: pretty similar hair style when you take out the pigtails.) And that's...not bad! Ruby's not really a girly girl. She's definitely feminine at certain times, but other times, is very much...not.
So now? Now I'm feeling really, really confident in my art. Because, uh. Yeah. I can draw Ruby quickly. I can draw her accurately. I can draw her with many nuances. I've progressed so far in such a short time. This is LEAPS and bounds above what I could do before. (I evolve artistically in an...interesting pattern. I start out at a level. Regardless of how much art I draw, I tend to stay at that level...until I stop. Then, when I come, back, regardless of how long it's been since I last drew something, I'm better than I was before, and can improve a bit. That time-based stair-step method is pretty odd, since it flies in the face of all logic. But it's how I've gotten this far.)
Anyway, it's 4 AM here, which means I need to speed things up. I probably shouldn't spend the WHOLE night drawing (all-nighter, more meaning, "almost all the night with a brief nap before the day"), especially since it could be family night AND I need to stay up for anime AND I still need to draw 15 pages (this is still page seven!), meaning I'm pretty much screwed but I need to have smart decisions when it comes to what I work on and what I don't.
I'll probably stay up until 8. I'll likely be woken up at some point between 10 and 2, so that gives me 2-6 hours of sleep. Though...given that...that's actually a bit of a long period, so maybe stay up until 9:30 or so. I can't stay up the full time (well, I CAN, I just SHOULDN'T), so...I should at least get a nap. It can't be too long of a nap, so delicate balance, there. Too much sleep, I lose my last chance at getting work done. Too little sleep, I destroy my day.
Anyway, this has been a good blog to write, especially since putting my thoughts out there allows me to actually focus and do stuff and gives me ideas that I might not otherwise have if I didn't write them down, but...work. Now. Do.
Uhg. Finally finished page seven (of 22, need I remind you), FINALLY. And it's almost 5 AM as I write this. My willpower is definitely fading, and I can feel my body aching and my eyelids sinking. I'm in a little bit of pain right now, and my body really, really wants to rest, now. Yet I know if I go to sleep, it'll be far, far, FAR too long before I wake up. Not unless I took an alarm or something, but I wouldn't even know what time to set. (I try to avoid alarms, plus, I want to use one Sunday morning so using one Saturday wouldn't be the best.) Uhg, this sucks so much.
And...ack. The next page is going to be really, REALLY awesome if I can pull it off, but I'm not sure I actually can. It's not quite a back-shot, but it's 7/8ths of the way there, and is meant to show Ruby and the villain in one gigantic panel rather than separated in half, the villain at top in the distance, Ruby at the forefront. It's a technique I should be able to do. Heck, I learned how at art school in a few classes, among them, the infamous stupid cow project which was quite memorable for me. I want to do something like that, yet I'm not sure how to attack it.
This...is not good. It's taken me four hours for one page, and this is me when I'm feeling GOOD about my work.
I don't want to admit it...but even if I stayed up THE ENTIRE TIME, working 24/7 on my comic...guh.
Four hours a page, probably not unrealistic an estimate even though it really needs to be faster, and...gah. That math sucks. Fifteen pages to do...at four an hour...60 hours. Keep in mind it's 5 AM, and realistically, my deadline at the absolute latest is probably that time borderline-Monday on Sunday night. (Meaning, pulling an all-nighter.) Which, as of now, gives me...oh. Let's see. 24 hours from now would be Sunday at 5 AM, so...48 hours?
And I might need 60?
And that's solid work. I didn't take any hour-long break or anything. No sleep, no eating. No ComicFury. Nothing but drawing, for four hours, and...one page.
Not very encouraging. But I'll keep the fight up. I have to. Even if the results look grim, this is IMPORTANT. Even if it becomes physically impossible for me to finish even assuming solid work (which there won't be: the human body can't stay up that long, there's family night, I'll need food and hydration, then there's anime), I have to keep trying for that reason alone.
I am thinking of trying to get a short nap but forcing myself awake the moment I next feel lucid--see, normally, on days like this where I wake up at two in the afternoon, I actually wake up much, much earlier. Like...we're talking anywhere from ten 'til noon. It's just that I don't feel like getting up, even if there's important things to do, so I stay asleep, huddled under the blankets. If I FORCED myself awake with sheer willpower, though...I'd get the time, and also the rest.
Of course, this has the drawback of being a wildcard. I also know I get really, REALLY disoriented in the morning when I force myself awake the moment I gain lucidity. I might even be worse short-term than normal. But it's worth the risk in my mind.
So...coming around to posting this.
I do hope you wish me luck. Because I need every bit of it that I can get. This is not an easy task. This is something where I'm not giving up, where I'm trying to fight every step, but it's a battle it looks like I'm losing, and all I can do is try and make strategic decisions: strategically choosing what to do, what will get me the most work possible in the least amount of time, stuff like that.
And I only have my best guess. Everything I do could potentially doom my project to failure. Heck, even just typing here could do that, because it's typing, not working. (See, it's already 5:10 here and I started writing this section at like 4:50 so that's how much time it takes me to write.) I could make a series of bad decisions, or have just one bad decision be enough, for it to all come crumbling down. It's a fragile project, easy to shatter. Yet with every passing second, I still try to make tactical maneuvers, to best approach the problem and find potential solutions.
And it looks like I'm kinda at a leap of faith right now.
It's moments like this where praying can be a good thing to do. If you've read my blog, you more or less know my religious views (kinda sorta, anyway), so I do kinda believe in God, and while I usually don't like to ask for anything trivial as to not cheapen the process of asking for something, this is something I'm praying on anyway, because honestly I could use some divine intervention and angelic luck to finish this.
And I'm definitely losing my coherence as I type this. Not to mention, the pain in my arms is increasing. I really, really hate making a decision which very well could be disastrous, in this choice to not work for the next little while, yet...I have to pray, have faith, that it's the path I need to take to succeed.
So here goes nothing.