Since Family Man is an ongoing comic that updates once weekly, I like to feature a teaser detail from each week’s page. I look at all this art zoomed in so far during the long production hours that, when I see it in actual web resolution, I can be a little surprised at how much is no longer visible. It’s a good reminder to myself to keep moving, rather than wasting an hour drawing every individual hair.
But sometimes it’s fun to show off the little fiddly bits.
Taking the summer off of updating Family Man, and away from the internet in general, allowed me to do a lot of things. Foremost among them was getting married, which was fantastic. Workwise, I devoted a lot of time to hashing out plot details and writing new material for Family Man. And, in the category of “So Fun It Didn’t Feel Like Work” is Outfoxed.
Several years ago I wrote a script for a short comic – a cynical little fairytale about a girl and a fox. It’s probably the tidiest idea I’ve ever come up with for a story, and my original intent was to draw it in 14 pages and submit it to the Flight anthology. But paying work and personal life intervened every time the antho deadline came around. The constant scramble of a freelance career made it hard for me to justify spending time on “personal” projects other than Family Man.
Of course, I realize now this is a terrible attitude; the thing that keeps you alive as an artist is making new stuff, different stuff, and giving yourself the chance to remember why you enjoy what you do in the first place. You have to play. You have to force yourself to play, if necessary.
So I had three months of “break”, stretched before me. Realistically, I couldn’t spend it all in isolation at the writing room at the library; I’m the sort of person who starts having aggressive conversations with inanimate objects after six hours alone.
So I said what the hell, and decided to devote a month of studio time to finally drawing Outfoxed. To help break through my tendency to second-guess myself I asked a studiomate to be my “teacher”, giving me deadlines and offering critiques when I hit milestones. I expanded the comic to 20 pages to lower the panels-per-page count, designed everything in a drawing style that I find fun and easy, took up the missions of learning how to ink with a brush, letter with an Ames guide, tone with a single Pantone spot color, and draw to standard comics dimensions (big and tall). All sorts of big-kid stuff that I never gave myself the breathing room to learn.
And it was a blast.
I hope you enjoy it. it’s all online now:
Okay, those of you who scoffed at the mild semi-nudity in previous weeks of Family Man pages, this time you really DO need to be concerned for your employment.
Sorry it’s late (APE tripped me up a little), but I didn’t want to just crank this one out. Beyond that, I won’t say much about this week’s page; sorry. It’s up to you, kids! And I’ll see you next week, possibly with a multiple-page spread. (ooh la la)
Folks waiting on me for commissions and/or products, never fear, tomorrow I’m back behind the retail wheel and will be sending out pictures and grammar labels galore.
LASTLY: After I wrap this chapter up I’ll be putting together an incredibly belated podcast; I’ve been avoiding doing one in the strange certainty that there nobody could possibly have any questions left to ask me that weren’t just Family Man plot spoilers, but who knows. So if you have a burning question, throw them my way in the coming weeks, and I’ll answer as best I can in mp3 format!
Before then I’ll also be posting about some of the other projects I’m working on right now, so maybe folks will get intrigued about those.
No wild tip-offs in this page: but some useful insight into who the Rector is. Also: lots of dead stuff! Yay dead stuff!
Next week: what the Rector was doing in between Universities. (Wild tip-offs: possible.)
Notes for pages 131-140 will go up this weekend, per tradition. Rather than spending my evening seeing Star Trek a second time with my friends, I spent it researching the history of wig-powdering and Reform theology. I can’t tell if this makes me more, or less, of a total dweeb.
Other news: I am finally well(ish), so shipments of Bite Me! are now going out at a regular clip. I hope to work my way up to present-day on domestic orders very soon, and then send out stuff to all you international types in one big orgy of customs forms.
Thank you to everybody who’s ordered the book! It’s been a lot of fun sending it out into the world.