I’m sure that you’ve probably notice that my update speed on this comic has slowed a bit, moreso than the usual erratic update rate since I started using Patreon to fund it.

The primary reason for this is I have some freelance projects that I need to budget most of my time for right now, and have been spending most of my work time on over the last three or four weeks. You might actually be interested in hearing about what I’m working on. If you’re familiar with the Facerig software, I’m in the process of creating a few avatars for it.

When I was in college, I took a hybrid major of art and computer science in the hopes of becoming proficient in 3d modeling and animation to pursue a career in videogames, but I did not finish school with a very competitive portfolio, and had to find other work. I wound up working various tech-support jobs before going full-time freelance with commissioned artwork. The Dawn Chapel was started while I was working one of these jobs – I prefer the idea of spending my life doing work more personally fulfilling than just helping small business owners install their routers, and if it meant doing it for free on the evenings and weekends, then that was what I was going to do. When Patreon came along and allowed me to earn an income doing this comic, it was a godsend.

However: my interest in games and 3d artwork never really went away, and when a friend expressed interest in hiring someone to create custom Facerig avatars for him, I told him about my 3d background, and we worked out an arrangement, with the understanding that I’d since gotten pretty rusty and would need to be learning quite a bit about the process along the way. But now I’m pretty close to having some functioning prototypes and stuff that used to be scary and foreign to me is quickly becoming familiar and rote as I work through the difficulties involved in the process.

Here’s a look at the progress I’m making:

I’m in the process of setting up a separate website to post updates for my Facerig and 3d/game-related projects, and once it’s good to go, I’ll let you folks know, so you can follow my work if that sort of thing is interesting to you.

But — that’s not the only thing that’s been slowing me down lately. Ordinarily it takes me about two days to turn around a comic page – one day to thumbnail, pencil, ink, and stretch the page, and the next day to paint, scan, and post it. But I’ve been having an increasingly difficult time staying interested in this story, which I guess I should have seen coming, given that it’s a big leap to go from doing six-to-eight page stories to a book-length one.

When I started doing The Way Back in 2011, I had outlined a story that was meant to run for about 140 pages that introduced the world and the foundational premises of the Empyrean setting, with the intention of learning how to tell a long-form comic story in a world that meant a lot to me. I had to set it aside to focus on commissioned work for a while, because prior to Patreon, the comic itself wasn’t earning me anything. But I’ve been steadily at it for about a year and a half now, and right now I’m at a point where I’m kind of really tired of looking at it. And I know that if I’m bored with the story that I’m telling, it’s probably not going to be all that much fun to read, either.

So, I’m not giving up on The Way Back – but I think it’s time for me to set it aside for a little bit. I’m going to do a few of the smaller stories and one-offs that I used to do, so that I can be excited about making comics again (and so that I can finish stories before I can become bored of them). What I’ll probably wind up doing is alternating between 8-10 page scenes of The Way Back and standalone stories of similar length, until this The Way Back is finished, and then we’ll see what happens from there.

And, as ever, if you have any questions or comments about my 3d work or my plans for the comic, please feel free to drop me a line!