In the midst of experimentation

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Hi everyone, right now it's a special time: I need to experiment and it's more like a wind that is blowing quite strongly in me. You have probably already noticed it by the latest content I shared on blog or on social medias. So I'm telling you: I'm very likely to scatter myself, multiply various attempts, and test even more things soon.

So I have no idea when the next episode 38 of Pepper&Carrot will be released, or rather let's say "in what form". I have already written several screenplays and storyboards but now too much time passes between writing the screenplay and putting them online in the form of comics and I have a very bad time with this long delay. It feels like posting feelings and emotions that I had a few months back. As a result, I often get tired of my story before I even publish them and need to rewrite them because I no longer find in it a means of expression.

I currently need two months for only seven pages of comics. Why is it so long?... It's because I have to take into account all the specificities of the project: my rather slow painting style first, then the cycle of collaborative corrections, and then finally all the technical requirements for the translation system. All that takes a lot of time, it's even so intensive that I often need several weeks to recover from it because it always ends in sleepless nights. Also, it bothers me to disappear from the networks during these long months of production, it only adds distance and oblivion for the characters and the story. And all this to only publish two or three stories a year, which frustrates and depresses me. All this machinery doesn't bring me closer to my story, my art and readers: it distances me from them.

So that's why it boils inside me all the time. I would like to reform my way of publishing my stories because this mode of production clearly puts me in an impasse. I have the intuition that there is a new angle but also that I will have to experiment. However, one thing is certain in this whole story: I intend to share this exploration with you.

License: "In the midst of experimentation" by David Revoy − CC-BY 4.0
Tags:  #news  #sketch   | Download: Markdown


link Valvin Contributor,

It doesn't matter how long it takes and where experimentation leads you and Pepper&Carrot. The most important is you take pleasure to do it. If so we as reader or as contributor will feel the same <3 <3 <3

link Jiří  

Would it make more sense to publish the comic on a page-by-page basis rather than episode by episode? For me as a reader this would be preferable. Maybe it would be more manageable for you as well.

link David Revoy Author,

Thank you Valvin, and thanks for all your contributions!

link David Revoy Author,

Thank you for suggesting it. Yes, it might be a way to be 'in a process rather than in a loop where every episode is a monolithic project.
The main downside to that would be to release the pages in a sort of "beta" situation for English dialog and fix it later before publishing a collection of pages that form an episode.

link Fernando  

Crazy thing is, I have you as a model of quality and production... pumping chapters as perfectly crafted as you do, as fast as they come, is nothing short of amazing

I do find your blog updates very interesting, they made the waiting time shorter

keep up the good work!

link rv  

Good to know, thanks for sharing. Go on!
The idea is for you to be happy. That's the really important thing. ^_^

link Cliff  

It doesn't matter how long it takes. What matters is that you enjoy it. There will always be drudgery involved, but there may be ways to make that drudgery less frustrating, of course. Had you considered giving some of the 'machinery' to someone else? Michelangelo had teams of assistants!

I love reading about your thoughts processes, as I dabble in writing and I've blogged about my thought processes now and then! I understand your frustration, which of course can lead to depression, but know that your efforts are really appreciated by many, many people.

link Michael  

Would it speed up your process and reduce your burden if you would put them out in french first and let other people worry about the translation stuff? I hope you find a mode that reduces fatigue for you and increases your joy!

link David Revoy Author,

Thank you for your nice words. I hope I'll find an even better solution in the near future to continue interesting stories without touching on the quality.

link David Revoy Author,

Aww 😍, thanks!

link David Revoy Author,

Thank you Cliff, I forgot to add the label on my brainstorming board 'Delegate' or 'Hire' help.
It's an interesting part to explore even if my first reaction would be to not have the money for that because it quickly cost a lot to hire someone (on my taxes and on my country). But I'll study, maybe I have false ideas about it.

link David Revoy Author,

Thank you Michael, it's interesting. Maybe a release where the dialogs are not 100% ready could make a Beta, and this workflow could be a way. It would accelerate the release and it might be a solution to bypass all the machinery. The pass of cleaning the SVGs, ordering the XML nodes, transcripts, corrections, enhancement, and translation to other languages could come after the Beta. That could speed up the process and shorten the distance between my impulse to tell a story and the final release to the audience, even if Beta.

I'll probably keep English first, it's anyway the lingua-franca used on my social medias and blog and also the one we use on the collaborative source forge (our Framagit Gitlab CE instance hosted by Framasoft). Thanks for bringing some matters to my brainstorming board!

link uze  

FWIW I'm not bothered by the production schedule, and I speak as a Patreon supporter and printed book owner. I read many webcomics, a few with daily updates, and I enjoy them, but this is a different story with its own pace. I like to be fully immersed in this world even if it's only occasionally. By all means do experiment if you feel frustrated but rest assured that there's nothing wrong with your output so far!

link William McKee  

Take your time. Thanks for the pencil sketches. They are great for remixing!

link Larry Hubatka  

It doesn't matter how long it takes you to feel like you have the finished product you seek. The important thing is to be able to define your start point and then look back at least once a week and prove to yourelf how far you've come! Goals and visions are interesting targets; to be strived for, but rarely to be reached. Your work has inspired me, and i sincerely thank you for that! Ask yourself three simple questions: Honestly, exactly where am I today. Where do I want to be in one year/five years. And, finally, how far have I come since I asked the first two questions? Expect the "where do I want to be" to change especially if track and grade how far you've come on a recurring basis. We can see how far you have already come. So enjoy the trip, your patreons are all right there with you.

link David Revoy Author,

Thank you Uze for your nice words and all the support!

link David Revoy Author,

Oh, I'm glad you like the pencil sketches. It's first time I decided to post 'unedited' pencil sketches because usually I cannot resist to tweak them or clean lines with Krita after scan; here they are almost 1:1 output of the scanner (I just changed the contrast). I posted the sources and full resolution here:

link David Revoy Author,

Thank you very interesting "Goals and visions/where do I want to be" for my brainstorming board. Also thanks for your comforting words. 👍

link Alkarex  

As mentioned higher up, I also suggest you publish your inspiration in French (in beta) first without waiting for other languages. Then translations can either be made from French (that is what we do for Danish) or wait for e.g. English to be finalised.
Feedback can be received from your version as well as from a quick non-finalised English version

link Ryan M Miller  

Have you considered switching from a japanese magaka workflow to a western comic book illustrator workflow? I'm just asking because I've been reading that Jack Kirby, the main illustrator for Marvel during its heyday, worked in a collaborative team with other story writers and illustrators. As a result, a western comic book tends to have a larger collaborative team working on a given issue than a Japanese manga issue. This workflow difference could also explain why Japanese manga is not usually colored.

link David Revoy Author,

Hey Alkarex!
Right now in my brainstorming, I'm looking at what was effective in the first years of Pepper&Carrot, and probably going directly into English with proofreading is the most effective path. Especially when the French version can be done quickly by me with the precious help of Nartance and Valvin from it. When I look at the big picture, having acting/dialogue that matches exactly what I had in mind is not the super most important. I even went further in my brainstorming, because I saw that the episodes I prefer are the ones where the text is mostly decorative. The visuals in them are enough to support the storytelling. I'll try to post an article with the (too early) result of where I'll go later this week. I need more tests to align the "what I want" with a realistic "what I can produce".

link David Revoy Author,

Hey Ryan, the workflows you are describing can't really be applied to Pepper&Carrot, because they are industry publisher-funded workflows (eg. Paying for additional in-house 'background' inker, lettering, colorist, etc). It's possible when the budget is doubled or tripled on production, and you'll see it only on big-budget 'star' comics, and that includes black and white comics as Manga.

An employee in France would cost me at least a minimum of 3000€ per month. It would also require a special rant of a room to get an in-house worker (an additional minimum of 1000€/month to find a rental plus all electricity/water expenses) and maybe a budget to get the hardware in-house and fix the place to be at minimum compatible with all the requirement (eg. fire prevention, accessibility, air quality check, etc...). Well, if I had like 6000€/month of 100% sure income, I would probably consider the adventure, but I'm very very far from that. I'm also not really motivated by this living this production, to be honest. I wish to continue alone.

To give you an idea, right now, less than 3000€ is the budget I receive for the production of a full episode (the price displayed by the Patronage platform has to be diminished by 5% fee of the platform, 2% fees variation of converting/transferring, and around 25% of tax). In parallel to that, the production of the newer format of episodes takes up to 4 months recently...

Much of the time I spent on my experimentations, the extra time on the episodes is founded thanks to two other sources of income: Freelance activities (eg. work done for the Spritely institute or Framasoft), and "passive incomes" like the sales on the e-shop (eg. Redbubble, Print on demand for the book publishing) and recurring donation on Liberapay, bank account, and Paypal.

So, in the big picture, funding Pepper&Carrot is still a challenge, and I can do that only because I'm not spending a lot on my own life and keeping freelance work and passive income in parallel. Also, I forgot about it, but rarely, I have "exceptional" donations (bank or Paypal) that are a real breath.

It's not a bad thing or bad system by the way: I like that, and I don't really want to reform this part of my current brainstorming board. With this production funding, I can really take the necessary time (most of the time) to express what I have in mind and do the test, experiment, learn, and evolve on the way. I'm not complaining, but there is clearly what's possible and what's not in terms of workflow and I just wanted to do the demonstration that hiring someone like in Manga studio or American comic studio (Marvel) is out of the picture. Thank you a lot for taking the time to write me the suggestions, it is always materials for thoughts.

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