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6 November 2013

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Book status report

Well, well, the launch of SSSS has gone quite well. And since Wednesdays won't become update days until my work on the A Redtail's Dream book is over I thought this would be a nice spot for a quick timeline overview on that. Here's a little graph that shows where we're at now and my own schedule for the upcoming months:

As you can see I have a little over a month to finish up the book. And it feels tight! Especially since I got a ton of extra work crammed into my schedule due to the print drive being so wildly successful. For one there's of course all the additional things I promised in stretch goals (the minicomics, 5 extra miniprints and 6 more pages to the main comic) that I had to draw which ate a couple of weeks of the time I had planned to spend on putting together the book.

Secondly I had not anticipated the amount of emails that I needed to answer each day, both during and in the weeks following the print drive. I spent several hours every day doing nothing but that during the last two weeks of the campaign and over two weeks after it, and I hadn't budgeted that time into my schedule at all. So I was lagging behind on my book work last month even though I did nothing else but work from morning to...well, morning, basically. I've usually gone to bed way after midnight lately.

But I'm almost back on track because of all those late nights of work (and thankfully the stream of new emails per day has subdued by now, phew!) so as long as I don't take any days off before Christmas I should have the book put together in time. As you can see from the graph I'm almost halfway done with fixing up the pages (minus proof reading). In reality those first ~250 pages actually count as over half, because after page 272 I finally surrendered to the idea of maybe making a book out of the comic in the end and started adding some kind of margins to the pages. Which is pretty darn important since each page needs a 5mm bleed area on each outer edge that will be trimmed off after printing. Which means for all the pages until 272 this will happen:

Yup, not great. Since I only intended aRTD to be digital I never even hesitated putting speech bubbles or important visual material right at the edges of the pages. So now I have to add those 5mm and then some to the sides on each and every page to make sure nothing important gets trimmed off. This is what the page looks like after my prep work on it:

You might also notice that the dimension is slightly different, the pages have a bit more width to them now. It's because 17 x 24,5 cm is the largest page format that my printers can make and still fit 32 pages on each plate, which keeps printing costs down, and of course I wanted to get the book as large as possible. The wider pages will also make the book lay open much neater, which is always good, especially for thick books.

And that's what I'm doing all day long, only 300 pages left, yaaay! Soon I'll have a little bit of margin already there to work with, so things will hopefully speed up. For the first chapter each page took me like an hour to fix, not only because of missing margins, but because my full resolution backup files were completely flattened. Which means I also had to retype all of the dialogue and redraw all speech bubbles. And I had to keep retyping everything up until chapter 3 (but not redraw speech bubbles, thank heavens!) where I finally started to save my master files with the dialogue still in editable form. So with each chapter the pages have become easier to prep.

Oh, and then there's this: converting the colors from RGB into the CMYK profile I got from my printers! Which for most pages just means pressing button and that's it, nothing major will change. But when it comes to some pages with particular colors, bad things happen I have to spend some time readjusting them. Chapter 3 has been the worst one so far, look what happens to the brightness of those saturated turquoises I've been using:

Yeah, that's one color range that can't be printed, it only works on back-lit monitors and maybe some crazy neon colors, so I've had to fiddle around with the values I've used in many of those pages to get rid off the dull result. Another un-printable problem color I keep running into is light, saturated purple and pink, the kinds I've been using in scenes with the Fox family.

That's enough of an overview for now I think, and I better get back to work if I want to ever get over this mountain and get back to drawing things again. And here's today's bunch of proofreading-pages for any lovely volunteers who might be around today. We can get through this together! And new SSSS page tomorrow. :3

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