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29 october 2013

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Some "final" words about aRTD

Well, I guess it's as good a time as any to write a final, teary post about A Redtail's Dream, we've only got two days left before Stand Still. Stay Silent launches. I'll try to not be too rambly but I already know I'll fail at that.

As most of you probably now by now since I keep mentioning it like some kind of mantra: aRTD was my practice comic for SSSS. I got the idea for SSSS three years ago, but I really wanted my dear comic to look nice from the beginning, which I knew would not be happening because it had human characters in it and I... did to draw people. I could through almost copying from reference pictures or with a live model, but that's not good enough for anything. I needed practice, and I sure wouldn't let my newly hatched pet project be the victim of said practice!

ARTD wasn't my first idea for the prectice comic either, I started working on two other comic ideas during the following half a year, and I gave up on both before I managed to even draw one proper page! But behold, third time was the charm! And that comic idea that was supposed to be less than 150 pages long and be finished after two years became over 550 pages long and was finished after two years. I kind of stopped caring about getting good grades during that time.

What most of you might not know was that I wasn't even sure if I'd put the comic up on the web, because I was feeling really insecure about it. I didn't think anyone would really like it, that it was too boring/confusing/weird for anyone but myself to enjoy. And I have seen all of those words used to describe my comic more than once, so I wasn't completely wrong. In fact my first piece of feedback I ever got was "your comic was so boring that I couldn't read past the second chapter". Thankfully this was face to face from one of my graphic design classmates, so it was an easy critiques to take, we all had to critique each others' works every other lesson.

But if I had gotten that In a email from a complete stranger on the web I would probably have spazzed out and taken the whole comic down, I was that insecure! This was long before I enabled comments on the comic, and I've been completely blown away by all the kindness you dear readers have shown me since I dared open a comment section.

I had two reasons to force myself to put aRTD up on the web for all to see. One: to force myself to not give up halfway through. I knew it would be very easy and tempting to call it quits after just 50 pages and pretend that I never even tried if I didn't tell others about my project (I sure wasn't going to show it in class!). But if I told strangers on the interwebs that I was going to make this comic and finish it with my head held high, then quitting halfway through would bring shame upon my being and discredit myself as a reliable artist, and the proof of my failure would forever be etched into the unforgiving memore of the internet and total strangers. Now that's a great incentive to keep pushing forward!

My second reason was that I knew I wanted to make SSSS a webcomic once I started it, and the thought of having some kind of reader base from the very beginning was appealing. If I could somehow grow myself a comic audience of maybe one or two thousand readers by the end of aRTD, that would be anawesome starting point. And, ah, we're pretty far past awesome by now. After the first year aRTD had grown from maybe a hundred readers to a bit over a thousand at a steady growth of about 100 new readers a month, and I was content with hopefully maybe getting to that 2000-reader mark by the end of the comic. And then I...discovered online advertising. Let's just say: money well spent! By sheer numbers aRTD never became a "huge" webcomics, more like upper-mid-sized maybe, but I feel like all you readers made the community feel huge just by being so wonderful!

And now I'll stop babbling for today. I think I'd like to share some of the things I've learned from doing aRTD more in depth in the future, I think other people making or wanting to make webcomics would find that interesting. I personaly love reading about other webcomickers' journeys, so why not share something too.

So what's in store for tomorrow?

I wasn't sure what to post tomorrow, our second to last day of the countdown, but I now have a fun idea! I mentioned that I tried to start two practice comic ideas before aRTD, and I still have sketches for both left in my archive. So hey, why not show some of those?

And here's today's bunch of proof-readable pages, the end of chapter 1. So if you feel like re-reading old pages just read through them and if you happen to spot a typo please leave a note in the comment box below the pages. Thanks guys!

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