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For NaNoMango, instead of creating 30 pages of one comic, I plan to divide the month into three sub-projects: an ending, a middle and a beginning, in that order.
For the ending, I plan to draw as many pages as I need of Abúi's Grand Tour  so I can 'unlock'  the last two pages, which are already drawn. I have a schedule for the remainder of the tour, which will be a rapid-fire sequence of BR-ZOTs.
For the middle, I plan to draw several redrawn pages of Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan. These are difficult to do and depending on the length of the first part of the project, I may do more or fewer pages. If I have good momentum, it may be up to ten.
For the beginning, I want to take a project that exists in the form of notes, raw script or thumbnails, and draw the first 8 to 10 pages of it. I don't know which of my embryonic comics I will work on, but there are multiple candidates including some that have been dormant for years.

The schedule for Abúi's Grand tour is as follows:
1. Beholderverse (TheCosmicBeholder)
2. Shane-Emeraldwing-verse
3. The Lives of X!Gloop (one of my own ongoing comics)
4. Spun Off (another one of my own ongoing comics)
5. Greyfriar's Isle (one of my embryonic comics and a candidate for development over the rest of the month).
6. Fury of the Plains (a quick nod to the project I worked on and then cancelled last year)
7. Another new comic that I have plans for
8. Bare Squadron. The characters will spend a little bit of time there. 

I have cut one other comic out of the schedule as I couldn't think of anything for the characters to do in Demoniac Verse. And because of the nature of the NaNoManGo project, I have added more of my own comics into the schedule.     
In the next few days, I'll be drawing my own character references for the comic, starting with some recently-introduced village characters and then on to the Misfits of Mischief, because I can never remember who had which tattoos while in faerie form, followed by the New Odds and Myn. I thought that that was going to add up to several dozen characters but now that I look at the overview, it's not so bad. All characters that appear from this point will be nude, no exceptions.
  • Listening to: Module - Swear Love
I've made it through three whole weeks of Inktober! Through a busy general schedule and also a touch of sickness, and while sticking to the official prompts. If it takes six weeks to build a good habit, I'm halfway there. The next milestone for me is in five days, when I will have done a full month's worth over two Inktobers. 
My Inktober gallery is turning out nice and varied as well. There's a bit of color work, several different techniques, and now even some hand lettering. The one thing I haven't accomplished is an Indian ink drawing without smudges and smears, that I could post straight from the scanned page without further processing. I have another ten days to get there.

After that, it'll be time for NaNoManGo. I should be planning for that but it's been all I can do to keep up with Inktober. I know what I want to do, but I'd be more confident about it with some advance prep.
  • Listening to: Module - Swear Love
I've kicked off Inktober with something simple and obvious. The first week, at the very least, will all be like this until I get settled in. The emphasis will be on doing it in the time I have available rather than impressing others with my originality or quality.

I have actually committed myself to four months of back-to-back art challenges: Inktober, then NaNoManGo, then Fatvent Calendar (replacing Decemboobs, which I’m getting a bit tired of) and finally my annual January Portrait Challenge. Of course, I may not finish any of them, but if I do drop out of one challenge, there will be another one waiting for me in the next month.
  • Listening to: Steeleye Span - Cromwell's Skull
I'm back working on Abúi's Travels trying to wrap up Abúi's Grand Tour of other comics before wrapping up the story and the series for good. The final pages of the story are already done and skycladstrega is adding her color touches to them as we speak. This means that pretty soon, Abúi and Adrienne will leave the world of the Misfits of Mischief and do one last burst of teleports into other people's comics, one or two panels per comic.

But which comics? At some point, I had made a list, but it's been over a year and I've forgotten which ones I was planning to do (except for one, which isn't really a comic, but more of a collaborative RPG with prose and comics as part of the project). So I'm putting the call out again. If you have a comic that:

* is active;
* is set in a world in which nudity is normalized so that it is safe for two nude ladies to drop in,

Please let me know if Abúi and Adrienne can vist it! And if you know of such a comic, let me know so I can see if I want to contact the author.

I would like to get this wrapped up soon, so this is the final call.
  • Listening to: King Crimson - Larks' Tongues in Aspic pt. 2
This week, there have been new updates on Spun Off and The Lives of X!Gloop. There's more to come on Spun Off

Remember, paying Patrons of my Patreon get to see the comics early! I have more in the works so keep checking there if you're donating $1 or more a month.

I have not been at my computer as much this week and so I've not communicated much about these new updates. This is likely to continue as it's how I find the time to create the updates in the first place. Eventually, comics that are within the DA rules will end up here, though, and I do find the time every once in a while to mention the others.
  • Listening to: Offa Rex - Bonny May
Courtly2-16 by Reinder
Starting today, patrons of my Patreon on Patreon.com/reinder will get early access to the revised version of the Chronicles of the Witch Queen story Courtly Manners 2: The Unicorn Race. It'll update daily with large versions of the images added as attachments, because I haven't figured out how to make it possible to embiggen them with one click. The free run of this new version won't start until July 14 and will have images that are a mere 900 pixels wide - the Patreon version is 1280 pixels.
The Unicorn Race, of course, can be found elsewhere on the web today, but that version is exactly as it was when I created it in 2005. Here's what I've done for this round of publication:
  1. Redone the lettering for all files. I had originally lettered the images at the size of final publication, which is far too small for the modern web. So to make larger versions, I had to redo all of this.
  2. Cleaned up all images and corrected coloring mistakes. This is still ongoing! When making this promo image, I found a coloring error that had been present since 2005 and that I hadn't spotted before. So now that's fixed. If I find more as a result of posting this stuff on Patreon, I will fix that too.
  3. Recolored the last 8 pages from scratch, because the color master files could not be found. skycladstrega colored the very last one to help me make deadline. 
I hadn't expected to have to do this much work for it, but it's done and the comic is much improved as a result. Please support my ongoing efforts through my Patreon at Patreon.com/reinder. Every pledge helps me get back to more regular updates and while Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan, Chronicles of the Witch Queen, Spun Off, Abúi's Travels and The Lives of X!Gloop will always be available for free online, I will create more bonus material for paying Patrons in the near future. 
  • Listening to: Offa Rex - Bonny May
A bit of weirdness. Today I pondered how I could rewrite the Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan story "Invasion" ( rocr.net/index.php?p=20070219 ) as a non-crossover, by removing third-party characters and focusing on Alcydia and the Valkyries that she cooperates with. I mentioned this to LPHogan and he told me I had sent him a version of that idea before. I found it and not only was I five chapters into it, having made the same basic decisions as I did today, but I had been writing it as a novella or something like that! I have no idea why I did that. The only real difference other than format was that the last time, I approached it as an Abúi's Travels story and now I'm thinking of it as being a Chronicles of the Witch Queen story. In other words, the role of Abúi and the Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan characters will be severely downplayed. That is, if I choose to continue writing it, which I may not. 
Updates about Spun Off and Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan included at the end.

Tomorrow, on Monday, June 4, Chronicles of the Witch Queen will start running a new storyline, the first completely new material in about fifteen years apart from a handful of one-pagers that were published last year. Kidnapped Princesses by Geir Strøm and Daniel Østvold is the long-in-the-making story of Countess Alcydia's business venture kidnapping princesses on an industrial scale.  When she targets Princess Jernia von Fieffelfalsfaffel, Alcydia raises the ire of the entire Fieffelfalsfaffel clan, who select the clan's stupidest scion to recover their relative.

Chronicles of the Witch Queen is a group project started by Geir and Daniel in the mid-1990s, with me coming on board later. There are 9 stories already in the website's archives; Kidnapped Princesses will be the tenth and there are more coming. Because most of the art is not mine, only a few items from it have been posted here on DeviantArt. However, Chronicles of the Witch Queen crossed over with Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan several times and the character of Krakatoa is originally from one of those stories. As a result, the comic is as dear to me as if it was one of my own. 

Kidnapped Princesses will run daily until July 7 and be followed up by another shorter story that will also be updated daily. Read it on the Chronicles of the Witch Queen website.

While I've drawn several Chronicles of the Witch Queen storylines in the past and have had a big influence on how the other stories from Geir and Daniel were translated and lettered, I've decided not to do that now. My editing was limited to a few text suggestions and preparation of the image files for the web; so you get the comic as written by Geir and hand-lettered by Daniel. This fits an overall more brutalist approach to web publishing that I've been pursuing lately, and also allows us to get the comics out to the public quickly. Otherwise, we'd be waiting a long time for updates and they would not be daily. 

Which brings me to those updates about Spun Off and Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan. My aim for the rest of the year is to update with something every day. That means that while Chronicles of the Witch Queen is updating, no other comics in my network of webcomics site will, but after that, I will be doing the same thing I did in July of last year: I'll update daily on one of the following webcomics Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan, Spun Off, Abúi's Travels, The Lives of X!Gloop or White House in Orbit. Or indeed Chronicles of the Witch Queen as Daniel has promised yet more comics work in the future and there is one story by me that has not been uploaded to the website. So no one site will have regular updates, but there will be new material from me trickling in until at least the end of July and possibly much longer. This will help me bring as many comics as possible into the world, which seems to be the best way for me to be productive right now.
The good news: I'm on vacation and I'm doing a project!
The bad news: the project is improving my physical fitness. Art is taking a back seat for the time being. In fact, it's taking a back seat to the thing that's really in the back seat which is practicing the guitar. In between gym sessions, runs and bike rides, I'm trying to build the callouses on my fingertips back up, re-learn some songs and make my both hands obey my brain again doing things that they haven't really done in a while. When that is done, I may take a bit of time to draw, but honestly, the art I'm producing is not great and is coming together at a snail's pace.

The potentially good news: when I started on Project Get Fit(ish) on Sunday, I was working against overwhelming fatigue as a result of my day job situation and some stuff that happened within the family and household over the past few weeks. I am already finding that with more and better sleep, I am less fatigued and more motivated and productive every day. So more and better art may start turning up as my energy returns. The potentially bad news: at this point "less fatigue" simply means I don't want to sleep constantly. I'm still doing jack shit for much of the day after coming back from a fitness activity. 

At the moment, I'm more encouraged to play guitar and a bit of synth than to draw; my art feels very stagnant, whereas while I can't claim I'm becoming a good guitarist, the stuff my body and brain have forgotten over the years is coming back in fits and starts and that's very interesting and exciting for me. 
I'm really glad I posted this:
 

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2017 summary in art by Reinder

because it shows just what a lousy month for drawing February 2017 was, and that I got more productive in the months after that. This year, February is also shaping up to be a terrible month, but there'll be finished art by the end of next weekend, which is more than I achieved last year.
Oc Quiz By Jay042-dc19rc1 by Reinder


Let me start out by saying I hate the term "Original Character". Every character is original to someone, including characters that are in the public domain, and in practice, "Original character" or "OC" is often used to denigrate the very act of creation itself, as if coming up with something new was somehow less-than relying on other people's work. I find that use of the term adds absolutely nothing of value. 
But the questions themselves, relating to characters that people have come up with, are worth answering.

1) Your oldest character
My actual oldest character is not represented anywhere on the internet. I've been making comics since I was a pre-teen. My oldest surviving character is X!Gloop from The Lives of X!Gloop
X!Gloop, portrait by Reinder

2) My newest Character
My newest character that is complete (but not completed - I just mean complete in the sense that he has a distinct identity and name) is Opiyo from a forthcoming comic Fury of the Plains:
Inktober Lite 1: Opiyo by Reinder

Disqualified characters include the Doctor from the same comic, who has an identity but no name; Sixtus Platt and his two sons Carson and Sixtus Junior, who have a name but no visual identity and are also based on real-world people, Liana who is not original, and the two female characters that I'm adding to Lives of X!Gloop because they are also unnamed.

3) Favorite Character
Oof, I don't know. Probably Adrienne from Abui's Travels  right now. I mean, long-term I adore Kel from Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan but I'm a bit tired of her right now, you know? 

4) Any villain OC's?
I'm actually terrible at creating villains. In new stories, I do try to take care to have antagonists handy but I can't think of any delightfully evil characters I've created. I'll try to do better with the Platt clan for Fury of the Plains, inasmuch as they can be considered original. The Green Knight is nicely villainous, but he is also not original.
I guess Barnardus Pothelmus from Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan is an OK villain if you overlook how derivative he is.

5) Main reason for creating OC's?

Duh, I don't want to use someone else's characters for my comics. 
... on second thought, that's not entirely true, is it? I've used public domain characters, real-world characters in masks   and author avatars in my comics. But the main reason I invent so many people is to populate my comics.

6) Describe your character creation process
There's a process? I just daydream shit. These days I do try to refine what I daydream a lot more, but that's just to save myself time later on. 

7) Favorite OC ship?
Neive from Spun Off + Finbar, Gavin and everyone else with a penis in the same comic. Actually scrap that. No penis required. Besides, those goblin dicks aren't gonna fit. 
Yeah, I've made up my mind that Neive is poly and a relationship anarchist and that both her sex drive and her capacity to connect emotionally are basically limitless. Oddly enough, it took a guy emailing me to insist on introducing monogamy into the world of Spun Off to help me make up my mind about that. Polyamory is the default setting for the faerie society in Spun Off. Deal with it.

8) Do you ship your OC's with someone else's?
No. Maybe? I guess eventually I would like Liana (a character who is at least based on a character in the public domain) to get it on with Opiyo, but that's not happening until a few years down the line, and it's not because I think they're the best OTP ever, but because it'd make for a good character arc for both of them. It's possible that by the time this could actually happen, the characters will disagree.

9) Weirdest OC?
Dude, have you read The Lives of X!Gloop? Any character from that comic is so weird enough they make Zaphod Beeblebrox look square.
What am I saying? Nobody reads The Lives of X!Gloop because from one page to another, nothing makes sense. So let's just say that John Longcoat is a bug-eyed, floating space alien, X!Gloop is not, when Ahasveros Or Why Man Has Two Eyes ups sticks, she literally picks up a bunch of sticks, and all of them are condemned to live a thousand lives because X!Gloop fucked up badly that one time, and the two out of three that are human believe, in most incarnations, that pants are for other people. 

10) Favorite OC design?
Well, not Abúi, who is impossible to draw. Er, Sheriff Hogsworth from Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan. He's so much fun to draw!
The Sheriff by Reinder

11) Would you consider yourself nice to your OC's?
Nicer than I am to real people, anyway. I mean, the whole dying a thousand deaths thing sucks but most of the time, X!Gloop and pals aren't aware of it. And he gets to be in several of my comics for his troubles!

12) An OC you've killed?
X!Gloop, John Longcoat and Ahasveros or Why Man Has Two Eyes. Over and over and over again. They get better each time. Sent X!Gloop to hell as well.

13) Are any of your OC's parents?
Hell yes! Kel and Jodoque from Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan are parents. Ragnarok from Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan is a parent - as is either Tamlin from ROCR or the Baron von Fieffelfalsfaffel who is originally from Chronicles of the Witch Queen and therefore doesn't count as an OC. Aléas from Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan, Spun Off and Abúi's Travels is a parent, as is Maghreid, also from Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan. Their male co-parents are also unknown but they're from a canonically polyamorous society, so that's not unusual. Ethan and Edina Shirtley from Abúi's Travels are parents, obviously. Shireen from Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan has a brood worthy of Nanny Ogg, and there's a multigenerational dynasty of witches in that comic as well. If you want more single fathers, Sheriff Hogsworth is your man, though to be fair he's  terrible father. I'm not sure I'm done, but I'll leave it at this.

14) Is there an OC you find yourself neglecting?
All of them, because my day job eats the time and energy I need to work on comics. I'm getting closer to where I feel I don't need it, so eventually this will end and I hope I'm not too burned out by that time.

15) An OC that is difficult to write?
None. My writing issues have more to do with plotting. 

16) Tallest? Shortest?
Tallest is Globbo who was briefly in Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan more than 20 years ago. He's a cyclops and is gigantic, or was, until he was magically transformed into a large armadillo.
Shortest is, oh, I don't know. If we go by named characters then probably Emea from Spun Off who, in her non-divine embodiment, is a small faerie and is shown to be shorter than the other faeries. On the other hand, now that I think of it, in her divine form, she may be larger than Globbo.

17) Oldest? Youngest?
Well, let's see. Grandma Turniproot is the oldest, for any meaningful sense of the term old. She may not be the longest-lived, but she's at about the limits of human aging. There may be gnomes or elves or faeries who have lived longer, but it's hardly fair to compare that. They have longer lifespans. And when you get to characters who have reincarnated over and over again, things get really complicated.
Youngest is Harold from Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan, who was born some time after Fay from the same comic.

18) Do you dislike any of your OC's?
Bertie Hogsworth and his father are both scumbags. Kel can be difficult but I think that's part of her charm. 

19) Self-insert?
I've been a minor villain in Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan a few times, yes. Back when I had hair. 

20) Any OC regrets?
No.

(Ganked from jay042. Dunno where he got it.)
In response to 

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2017 summary in art by Reinder
, Valyrian-Wildfire626 asked me how I saw my art developing this year. Well, I think it will become more realistic and detail-oriented, but I also know some of my plans will go against that, because I will need to speed up my process if I'm to do even a fraction of what I plan to do. Here are things that I want to do in 2018, which is not quite the answer to Valyrian-Wildfire626's question but it's the best I can do:

* Exceed the number of updates I added last year, which was... er, the document in which I tallied them is on my other computer and not in the cloud. It was a pretty good number, especially thanks to the one month in which I posted an update a day across my different comics.
* Take part in at least three drawing challenges and do more art than I managed in the three drawing challenges I did in 2017.
* Take part in NanoMango for once.
* Start two comics, but not before they've been properly outlined and a full chapter written.
* One of these comics will be in black and white, because I really miss drawings that can carry the story without colors.
* At least one of these comics should be with a Photoshop-free workflow, either all-traditional or using a digital process that Photoshop isn't part of (so e.g. Pixelmator, GIMP, Krita, or Clip Studio Pro for all processing steps that I currently do in PS)
* Learn Clip Studio Pro.

I'm going to need to make a lot of time for these things. That will be another resolution, to aggressively guard my non-work time.
As in the two previous years, I am collecting the best of this year's Decemboobs challenge into this post. This year, with 28 entries, I managed to stick to the schedule pretty well despite fatigue issues hitting me hard this december. The quality was pretty constant especially during the first three weeks in which I did traditional art. Having said that, I do have favorites. They tend to be the works where I got faces and hands more right or that were inspired in other ways. I'm not sure I improved much as the challenge went along; the discipline of doing one a day was more important, more urgent to me this year.
My favorites from this year:

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Decemboobs 2017, Entry 1: Chilling with a cold one by Reinder
 

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Decemboobs 2017, Entry 2: BLEH! by Reinder
 

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Decemboobs 2017, Entry #14: Good morning? by Reinder
 

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Decemboobs 2017, Entry # 16: I have insecurities by Reinder
 

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Decemboobs 2017, Entry # 18: Framing by Reinder
 

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Decemboobs 2017, Entry #25: Post-millennial pals by Reinder
 

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Decemboobs 2017, entry #27: Deserted station by Reinder

It's been a very Yournudemom month. The model reblogged several of the artworks she was in on Tumblr and these became very popular there; the most response I've ever got for anything on Tumblr was for the second image above, which got more than 120 likes and reblogs. I drew her five times in a month; she's not just a body type I enjoy drawing but she's willing to be goofy and fun, and she does selfies in an interesting way, often using timers or hiding her camera in other ways. This allows her to vary the angles, poses and framing more, which results in more interesting pictures to draw. The only conventional selfie that made it to this selection is also by her (I thought it was by a professional photographer at the time, but it was Yournudemom goofing off during a shoot). 

Before the challenge, I warned that this year's drawings could be more erotic, without being pornographic, because I'd sourced several images from reddit subs including r/normalnudes and r/stacked. I ended up using no images from r/stacked even though some would have been interesting to do as they showed women with comic-book proportions or adult entertainers with implausible breasts that nevertheless still existed in the real world. However, I make a point of only ever using images when I can retrace the original source, because I don't want to be party to some guy's revenge porn. Turns out that for these fast-moving subreddits, simply saving the image isn't enough - you have to keep a note of the post they're from or you'll never find them again. So over the course of a month, I developed better bookmarking habits, but it was too late for the ones I'd prepared. 

I also didn't draw a lot of what I call non-normative breasts - breasts that are different from what we think of as normal, for example because they were reconstructed after cancer surgery, implanted for cosmetic reasons, or on women who are visibly transgender or intersex. All of these count, and I will keep an eye out for good sources for those for next year.  


Previous roundups: 
Decemboobs 2016 roundupLike last year (), I am collecting the best artworks of this year's Decemboobs challenge. I was surprised to find I'd made fewer entries than in 2015; however, I'm happy about the quality compared to last year. Most entries were better than the best entries from last year, and the ones that were bad, I at least got some useful practice out of it. This is good, because practice results in incremental improvements in how I draw, e.g. folds in clothing, eyes hands, noses and so on. 
My favorites from this year: 
         Decemboobs 2016, Entry 19 by Reinder Decemboobs 2016, Entry 21 by ReinderDecemboobs 2016, Entry 23 by ReinderDecemboobs 2016, Bonus Entry: Drunk Wife Theater by Reinder
That's over half the total number of entries
  Decemboobs, final evaluationWhen the call for participation in a drawing challenge focused on breasts arrived on my dash, I thought, "sure, I can do that easily" and so I joined. Turns out I was wrong about that: I missed 8 days out of 31 and the quality of the work I produced was very uneven. I still had fun most of the time, and it's allowed me to chip away at problems in my art and hopefully helped me become, like, a 0.1% better artist. 
My favorite pieces from the project: 
           Decemboobs Day 29: Olivia Campbell by ReinderDecemboobs Day 30: Silhouette by Reinder 
These are the ones where I think I was "on" on the day I drew them. The other ones, meh. I think the fact that my quality is so inconsistent is as big a problem a
We're halfway through Decemboobs and I'm on track to get a drawing in for every day of the month. Compared to the last two years, I've been doing things a little differently by drawing exclusively in pencils and graphite pencils on illustration board. Initially that was just out of convenience and to get away from computer screens for a while (though my reference photos are still on screens). Then it was out of inertia: I kept telling myself I'd switch to digital soon, but with my pad of illustration board being right there, keeping on doing things that way was the path of least resistance. By now, I've embraced it: I don't want to go back to digital unless I have to, and am trying very hard to get better at drawing in pencils and getting every nuance from the reference images into the greytones that they offer. The only things I might want to change:
1) I might want to add white pencils to my toolset for highlighting, or work with grey and white pencils on grey paper so I can work from the midtone to the shadows and highlights; and
2) I may put the reference photos on the TV screen one day, sit or stand at a distance with a large sheet of paper and draw super-fast with charcoal sticks so it's more like doing life drawings. I don't have access to life drawing classes right now and while they've never been my favorite thing, they'd be good for me.

How do you like this new approach? Which of the 17 drawings posted so far is your favorite? Which ones haven't worked for you at all?
In a few days, December rolls around again, and that means it'll be time for #Decemboobs; the annual challenge of drawing breasts from reference. I've said this before: while dedicating a whole month to drawing titties can be a very sexist thing, this depends on the execution. I think in the past two years, I've done a decent job at keeping things varied, tasteful and respectful. I plan to keep doing that this year, by not restricting myself to one body type, by checking in with people whose faces appear in the reference photographs and respecting it when they don't want their pictures drawn or published. Two things will be a bit different, though:

1) in the past year, I've discovered a Reddit sub called Normalnudes. People post pictures of their nude bodies there, usually without their faces visible and identifying marks such as tattoos removed, for commentary and critique. In case I decide to use one of those anonymized photographs, I won't ask for permission, though I may remove the drawing if asked. Another consequence may be that when I use a Normalnudes picture as reference, the picture may be a little more sexualized than I normally allow; not porn, but possibly intended to arouse and provoke. One thing the sub is good for is letting people be safely provocative, and I do need a bit of practice at creating intentionally sexy drawings. We'll see; it all depends on what I choose in the moment. 

2) I've gathered up a stash of images from Reddit and Tumblr in advance. This makes it more likely that I'll actually end the month with 31 drawings. As before, I will still link to the locations where I found those images - or to their ultimate source if I can track that down on TinEye.

My other plan for December is to get back to drawing ROCR after a brief break, so I can resume publication in January. Work at my day job is slowly dying down for the year, though as I write this, it's not reliably slow yet, but I expect in December I will have more time again. I am also planning to get back to prep work on the two new comics I have planned, writing out some scenes, getting past plot hurdles and redesigning the characters. I have a pretty good idea what the characters in Caltrips of Time will look like, but they do need to be practiced; as for the characters in Fury of the Planes, they need to be overhauled. I noticed how much it disturbed me whenever some of the existing character sketches got added to porny collections on DeviantArt, and I have decided that for most of the comic, they will be wearing rather more than they have been so far. No more nudity, and more modern African fashions instead of tribal wear for most scenes. I am not against porn in all circumstances (see above) but I'm very much against these characters being treated as porn.

I hope to be able to find time to work on all these comics in 2018. With better time management, I should be able to accomplish much more than I have in recent years. 2017 was a start when it came to being productive again; 2018 should take it to the next level.
During the past few super-busy weeks at work, sketching for Fury of the Plains stalled, but I didn't stop thinking about it. Conceptually, things have been falling into place bit by bit and thanks to new information coming my way, I've been able to make some decisions.

First, forget all the sketches where Liana, Opiyo and Adongo are nude except for decorative bits on their waist, ankles, neck and wrists. They will wear loincloths by default and may only appear nude in situations where that is explicitly called for by the script. Thank the guy who put my Inktober sketch of Opiyo in a collection entirely dedicated to dicks in general and Black dicks in particular. This comic is not Spun Off - it's not about sexual habits and dick jokes. I'm a little more protective of these characters than I've been with others, but I didn't appreciate that sort of thing with most of my other characters to start with. 

My main reason for doing some development with nude characters for this comic in the first place (something I initially did not want to do, for a change) was to help bring about the fall of Western civilization. It's a long story, but basically this was something that right-wing shitbags in my country took seriously as an idea, and I wanted to stick it to them. However, much as I like to give the middle finger to neonazis everywhere, it's not a concept that works that well in-comic, because as part of the backstory, Western civilization has already been destroyed. I've alluded to Fury of the Plains being set some time after a Very Bad Thing, and if you surmised that the Very Bad Thing in question would be a nuclear war, you'd be right! I've now filled in a few of the blanks: the Very Bad Thing is a limited nuclear war in which the nukes were used as EMP weapons, over the US, Europe and South-East Asia. This means that the cities in these areas are mostly still standing; however, civilization has broken down entirely in those areas and 3/4 of their population has died as a result of starvation, disease or violence. Sub-Saharan Africa, on the other hand, has been spared entirely, and got a chance to take a good look at modernity's end point.

This backstory has the advantage over the more commonly envisaged form of nuclear devastation that any European or American individual I need to be alive and in Europe or America, can still be. But there's no world economy left to speak of, and a return to traditional ways of life will seem extra attractive. 
My scheduling/planning abilities have improved to the point where... I can tell you today at which point I will start missing updates. Yeah. The predicted date is October 28 with some possibility of missing October 24 as well. It turns out that no amount of planning, time management or discipline can make up for me having all my weekday time eaten up by the day job and spending 3 out of the last five weekends being sick for at least one day (as well as spending an afternoon at a running event on one of the other weekends, but that was included in my original planning). 

In my original description of the update challenge, I mentioned a forfeit that I'd make myself pay if I lost. I've decided to waive that, because there were two things I didn't anticipate: one, that I'd get sick so often during the challenge, and two, that there were so many double updates among the pages that I'd be redrawing. Instead of 19 pages, the full scope of the update is 24 or 25. So a bigger workload and less capacity for a reason I cannot do anything about. Since I don't want the challenge to be another source of stress in an already high-stress life, I've decided that dumping more work on myself as a forfeit for failing this challenge under these conditions would be a step too far. Drawing a line right there so things stay enjoyable for me. I'm unlikely to allow myself to buy a new guitar though.
The Patreon is now set to monthly payouts instead of per creation. I just thought I'd get that out of the way while there are still only a few patrons. Most reward tiers that I could think of will only work with monthly payments. If you're a patron and don't want to pay monthly, please adjust your settings accordingly.

Reward tiers are coming. Will be brainstorming them this weekend.
I have launched a Patreon, and you can find it here: www.patreon.com/Reinder
It's still in its baby stage; I don't have any pledge tiers, goals or rewards set. You can pledge money if you want, but for the time being, everything on there will be free and open to the public.

For the time being (again), I will mainly be running another repost of the Feral storyline, publishing daily until caught up, with extra background info about how the pages were made, what the thinking behind them was, and what I can remember about the period in which I made them, if anything. Where the version of the story on rocr.net is the original cut and the remastered version on ComicFury is the Director's Cut, this one will be the Director's Cut with a commentary track.

Over time, I will set some pledge tiers, goals and rewards, which will involve things like more behind-the-scenes material, essays and criticism, early access to new (as opposed to redrawn) pages when I'm ready to do them, and possibly even a first look at new comics projects with the opportunity to critique and influence them.

I'm not in a hurry to do that, though! I don't need money urgently; my main reason for doing this now is to bring some more accountability into my work on Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan. If there are paying patrons waiting for pages, that will keep me motivated and disciplined. Until the time that I'm actually ready to make those new pages, I'm happy to learn the ropes of using Patreon and share some interesting stuff with you there. So hit that Follow button so you're notified if there's new stuff!
Working on redrawing Feral has helped me take another close look at the story and that in turn has helped me get a better idea of the big picture of where the story should be going, past the last page that I put online several years ago.

When I wrote the first story notes for Feral, it was a different kind of story than it is now: a short, self-contained story in which a woman living alone in the woods is accused of being a werewolf, our witches solve her mystery and absolve her of crimes, and at the end it turns out she is a vampire instead. Ha ha, that's funny, on to the next story. And it might have worked if I'd scripted it in full with an eye on keeping it under 40 pages. Instead, I started taking the scenic route through the plot and its implications, and as soon as it started growing past 50 pages, it had become too weighty for such a throwaway ending.

And now it's sprawled past 120 pages with side-plots and new characters. For a while, it looked like it was going to be the story of how a single event causes the gang to unravel; with most of the gang being clearly guilty of stealing sheep and hiding their criminal activity from Kel, the mystery plot had faded into the background, replaced by the tale of, potentially, how the gang as a whole come back from that.

But looking at it now, perhaps the story is how they don't come back from that. At the end of The Rite of Serfdom, Kel has reconnected with her heritage and unlocked her full magical powers as a half-faerie. Yet throughout Feral, she is unhappy: querulous, short-tempered and judgmental. Something is clearly already not right. Where Serfdom ends on a rising pattern, in Feral everything, tonally and thematically, points to a fall. So perhaps its right for this story to end with another seismic event: the split of Kel from the Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan, combined with the breakdown of all the gang has accomplished since rescuing the Duke of Dungill Fens from his captors years earlier - restoring them to outlaw status and something like their original grouping.

This would also resolve a practical problem I have as a creator: what to do after Feral. Chronologically, Feral is followed by a story I was working on at the same time, Invasion, part of a massive multi-universe crossover between several webcomics. Lately, I have become weary of crossovers and the way they tend to get out of hand while they're being made, and the maintenance headaches they present afterwards. The one thing I like about Invasion eight years after working on it is the epilogue, which first shows the gang's daily life in a faerie village, followed by the return home of all of them except Kel, Jodoque and Fay, and their discovery of a new gang in their old homestead, including a very familiar face. If I could skip directly from the denouement of Feral to something like that, that would make things much easier for me, continuity-wise.

So I'm considering 1) having Feral's plot development play out to where everything irredeemably goes to shit for everyone in the gang; and 2) removing Invasion from the overall continuity. This would also remove all of Abui's Travels from the Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan timeline, turning another large crossover into something that didn't really happen. Considering how far Abúi's Travels takes the characters it borrows from Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan from what they originally were, this would lead to a much more consistent fictional universe. I would, naturally, keep the stories archived somewhere that people could still read them.

That's some major surgery on the established timeline, so I'm not quite decided on it yet. But as of today, October 2, 2017, it feels right to me. The best part of this development, though, is that I'm starting to develop the obsessive level of involvement that I need to bring Feral to its conclusion. Even if it's not the conclusion I had in mind in 2006.