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Transitions
As this comic progresses, you can tell that there is an improvement in the level of art and quality of image, can you not? The only purpose of this page is to kind of show it first hand, how I changed in my techniques, exactly how I improved, and maybe provide a small link to help you see how I do it now (if it helps those of you who are still trying to learn the software.) Most of the comics can be split up in groups, during the time frame of a certain group, they all basically look the same, with a few exceptions
The First Group - Introduction
As I introduced the comic, I wish it looked a bit better, as anyone initially reading this thing will have to get through this section before continuing. And it is difficult to read something that doesn't look its best. But as I said, this comic only improves from here.

The software I had was very bad, and it produced a grainy image when I saved it to .JEPG. I also had a bit of a problem getting the look of Creature down. I gave him floppy ears at first that folded down. I later made it so that they stayed up.

Later I touched up on these comics. Because they were that bad. The border around this comic was done by hand. It took me forever. Because I had no flippen' clue as to what I was doing.

The Second Group - The Initial Meeting with Todd
I was still having this idea that I wanted every world to be portrayed differently. At this point, I decided I wanted to do Todd's world in pencil. Keep in mind, I still had no idea how to properly illustrate and color images by computer. And it really showed here. I did everything by hand, scanned it in, and then added the text (with really bad software). Because I drew in my own talk bubbles, they were uneven and looked, well, they looked awful. I did the borders too, I tried to use a ruler, but sometimes it wasn't enough. Sometimes a pencil isn't even.

When I first did these comics, I also added a background (the resolution of the image just makes it look extremely fuzzy.) Later, I got lazy and said "SCREW IT! I don't want to do any more backgrounds!" So I stopped doing them. It takes a long time to color these with color pencils, and when you get bored, you get sloppy.

Todd looked different with every comic too. Good thing he was the only human in these comics or that might have been a problem. Nothing like "Ok people, the person in the red shirt and the blue hat is todd. No matter what." I wanted to avoid that problem.

But still, I like the jokes and the story involving Todd. I've just wished I could have gone back and fixed them a bit.

Fillers
I avoid doing fillers. I really do. I've done some in the past, gone through my archives, and immensely regretted that they were in there so I took them out. There has been a few exceptions where I went ahead and left the damn thing in. This was one of them. Mostly because I had this plan with this stupid rabbit from early on and I wanted to do something for Easter just because.

This was the first real image I actually colored completely on the computer. I didn't know what I was doing.

Third Grouping - More of the Vortron
There are still some problems with this particular comic, but I'm working on it. Where before I inked them, here i decided to just scan the pencil and leave the lines soft. I still didn't really know what I was doing in regards to the borders. But they looked a little better and not nearly as grainy as the first ones.

Number Four - Zaret

These ones looked better then the previous world on account of one important difference. Instead of Pencils, I used pens. (to think, at one point I was planning on doing paintings. HAH!) These were colored in markers. And like before, I colored the entire first one and after that, said "screw it."

When I scanned the first image, it came out much darker then it was supposed to, but I liked how it scanned so I kept it.

The rest of them were a little sloppy. I once again drew all my own borders and it didn't look nearly as good as I wanted, as I suffered from the Lazy as I progress Syndrome. I just did it quicker and quicker becuase i wanted to get it over with. And it just got sloppier and sloppier.

Fifth Helping - Even more of El Votrono

I honestly should do more Reader Participation comics such as this one, where I posted a poll and included the results into the comic. I just sketched the thing and for some reason, it got this cut out appearance that I honestly didn't mind. I never had a comic that looked like this since. Of course, I never did anything quite like this since either. I should do another comic.

In the same series, was a new addition to the cast. The Vortron itself. I drew the Vortron in pencil, kind of using a tool I had in the past at my disposal. But I got rid of my technique of wasting my time trying to get the borders in the Vortron right. I resorted to laziness. It worked great.

Take Six - Mr Oregano

There is actually very little you can really say about this character. But may I introduce my first intensive experience trying to color completely on the computer. I still didn't know what I was doing, I hadn't discovered a nifty little thing called Layers yet, and I just tried to color something on the same page. I had a serious love affair with the Marquee tool.

This world stayed fairly consistent. You can see some improvement throughout. But it still has a very strange look about it. But the running joke was my favorite part, and also the best looking thing in the comic. The Pill Pushers exposed.
Lucky 7 - Magic
Magic is one of my favorite characters, and the one with one of the darkest backgrounds. That background is slowly coming to light on the comic.

My drawing of Magic has slowly started to come around as well. At first, I just colored him completely in pencil, to include the blackness of his nose. I tried to keep consistent with his eyes as with that of his young charge Snow. But when I introduced these guys for the second time, I realized I had made an error. I thought my readers were following the comic like I was (damn me for having my insiders look on what is going on here!) and so I had to make a little comic describing the differences between Magic, Snow, Creature, and Splash. Becuase people were getting them mixed up.

Enter the comic of very confusing nature. It was scrawled in a rather speedy way, as I had to quickly draw it and insert it to help clarify what I was talking about to some of my readers who were going, "huh?" This comic is rather, shall we say, odd. I also did a nasty coloring job as I tried something new, and threw it up for all to see.

We actually see only two characters in this specific strip. Snow, and a young dragon who is simply introduced as Night. Night was not seen before and as of only once since doing this comic. I'm debating on how I'll introduce him into the story, as he has close ties to three of the comic's characters, two of them being pretty major characters.

Regardless, this comic was rather messy, but it seems to be a favorite!

VIII - Magic's Tale
Magic's tale has been something that's plagued me since I first decided to do it. (why oh WHY did I decide to go this route?) Although I have to admit that going into Magic's past and explaining him has been a favorite part of the comic of mine, as his tale actualy dates clear back to when I first did the comic as a school assignment. The coloring is vastly improved from Oregano's tale, as this is all done on computer, but I had still not discovered the little thing called layers and how it vastly improves the look of the comic if you know how to use them. Still, every one of these comics was colored, I tried to make them colored as best as I could,. and for the most part, they turned out rather well. As Magic's Tale continued, I redid some of the comics and put them elsewhere on another site of mine, where Magic's tale will continue outside of Creature.

These ones are probably my best comics. One of the most successful panels in the first visit to this strip was the visit to the dragons.

The techniques I learned here I soon used throughout the rest of the comic. Most specifically with the following world. But we'll get to that in a moment.

Anthropormorphic Theater
Anthroporphic Theater was this running idea I had from the very start of this comic, and unfortunately, one that failed, as if I had decided to continue to do it, it would have probably been kind of funny. Using my passionate love for the marquee tool, I basically just copied and pasted this guy on the same background and had a running joke going with him. The coloring wasn't that great and it just didn't have the look I wanted.

The joke was that the comic was being interrupted by a little bit of high class entertainment, such as singing and ballroom dancing, or some other such nonsense that is entirely not what Creature is about. The Fox was trying to host the show and introduce Creature and Splash, who were providing the entertainment, but things just kept getting botched up, such as the Fox's suit ripping, Creature and Splash arguing with each other, or tripping and spilling things on themselves. It was just a big spoof, but it never took off. I put up one comic strip for the idea for Anthro Theater, but later took it out when I decided it wasn't doing its job and was rather a sudden interuption to the flow of the rest of the comic.

Anthro Theater is no more.

Filler - Halloween
Another Filler that was done around the time of October 31st was the halloween strip, and DAMN it looks good! Mostly because this was the first time I had figured out how to do a little thing called TALK BUBBLES! Before I had handdrawn them, but this was when I discovered that you can use the elipse and freeform pen tool to make shapes, combine them, and then STROKE THEM! (The stroke tool can have some really sexual pervasive thoughts springing into ones head). I was still learning about how to use this in the comic, so it doesn't look as good as it COULD, but it still looks a lot better then the earlier comics. And from here on out, my talk bubbles actually had some method to their madness.
IX - The Runt Dragon
I introduced a character here that had actually been a character of mine for some time. But I took a different spin on him. In this world, I also tried some different ideas in how to color the comic, and I came across this idea to use the same damn background each and every time. I learned a lot on this world about Computer Illustrating, and it shows as it is the best looking strip in the comic up until this time. Mainly because by this time I had discovered what 'layers' were.
One of the benefits of this comic is that Ockie shows his purpose in the comic, as before he was just, well, he was just there.

I also introduced some other techniques, such as overlapping panels to get the most into the strip, and overall this comic just looks really really good! And I still didn't know about the Multiply tool. It would have looked so much better and had been ten times quicker to color if I had known about a little thing called 'multiply'. And I wouldn't have taken so long to get through it, as this was a time consuming world and as you can tell, got interrupted by other little things because I just couldn't get through it!

But Tarriel's little world continues to be one of my favorites, maybe on account of some of the cheesy dialog and jokes within it, and the fact that dragons made up some of the main characters and I'm just a bloody sucker for dragons.

And the small fact that I had a naked man running through most of the comic's middle panels.

More interruptions and Fillers.
As mentioned before, Tarriel's world was long for me, and spanned a good four months, from MidNovember to MidMarch. And so I interrupted it whenever I couldn't think of anything else to do.

One of the interruptions that I spawned upon my readers was an introduction to a character that will turn out to be a big one here sometime in the distant future of this comic (or when I get around to it). See, the army sprung one of it's two weeks a year on me and I decided to put something up while I was away. Meet Eyrich.

Unfortunately, the joke was lost when I decided to split the comic up amidst five seperate days, and I kind of drew it hastitly so it looked like doggie doodoo. Later I cringed whenever I looked at it and later went back and fixed it up by sprucing up the pictures I had drawn and combining all the panels into one big long one. It looks much better now then it did.

The comic immediately following the one above was just another filler, a little Merry Christmas from two characters of Creature that hold a little family relation with two other characters of Creature. They're Snow and Night, Creature and Splash's offspring, but you didn't hear me say that.

That just might give away a valuable plot point of Creature for later on, but nobody really commented on the fact that this unicorn hadn't been seen before. Besides, he seems a little happy here and he really isn't a happy character. More like a brooding one that has a lot on his mind.

In other Creature workings, is the one year anniversary of the comic, which I decided i needed to do something special. So I redrew the characters who at this time, didn't really comprehend the importance of eating. Creature highly values food now.

Something about having his cake and eating it too doesn't ring with Creature sometimes. And I tried drawing them a bit different, bug eyes and all. Ain't he cute?

Back to Tarriel
Tarriel took a long time to do, but eventually I got to a point where it had to end SOMETIME. I did quite a few cop-outs, taking short cuts and having dialog come from outside the comic so as to not have to draw that character too.

But when it came to the final conclusion of the comic, instead of following the formula I had been using for the entire world, I did something completely different to wrap it up. I took the three dragons, sketched them out with pencil while adding extra detail, and inserted that as the final panel.

I can draw really well when I take a moment and don't feel rushed to do it. This is one of my favorite panels in the comic in regards to level of detail and the looks on Dyontor's and Jasar's faces. They're a bit stunned.

X - Back to the Vortron
Between worlds we often have these two go back to the Vortron. I put in a few tricks in these panels, like outlying characters protruding from the comic frame (because I love the way that looks) that I had learned from doing Tarriel.

Talk bubbles are used all the time now, and I got to a point with the Vortron world that I would draw the image however I saw fit and crop and paste it into the comic. My comics had gotten bigger from the traditional panel type comics they had been when I started to full page comics for each world, to include time in the Vortron.

Magic and Snow continued their appearances within the comic, Snow begging to know more about Magic, as though she is very interested in Creature's story, for some reason she is dying to know all about her companion. Probably because Magic's history is a large mystery to her.

My style here is really sketchy and not entirely clean. I like how it looks.

As the Vortron Comics continued, so did the method in which I colored them. I would often only color the eyes (which was the only thing I ever colored before in Vortron Comics) now I got to a point where I was also coloring Creature's nose and Splash's nose. As well as shading the characters so they looked more three dimensional. Though I don't know where the shadow comes from, as light comes from everywhere within the Vortron. I believe this is when I first started using the multiply tool, and it definitely shows through the quality of the comic.

And the 'Vortron' makes its second appearance within the comic. As a desk lamp.

I love how the lamp looks here. The vortron comics just get better and better looking. And what's more, no more grainy finish. 'bleh'.

In the vortron I started to also experiment with other shapes of panels. This is where I came up with one side being circular, combined with a square, to give it the most bang for its buck and utilyze as much space as possible. I was really good at the for a while. Then I lost my knack I think.







XI - Frank and Iogo
This world proved to be a little unique, because its a world where Creature and Splash don't show up right away. In fact, they don't show up in it at all, which makes it a world highly dependent on the Vortron's part.

This is the first world colored completely with layers, using the multiply tool, which is a change from the previous world of Tarriel, which was colored in layers but without the Multiply tool. To give Frank's world its own look, I stroked items in Red and Blue, which matched Frank and Iogo's hair. But other then that, it would soon be apparent that most of my comics would henceforth be very much in this same coloring style.

Except these guys were inked before I colored them.

Instead of Creature and Splash making an appearance in their world, they seem to make an appearance in the Vortron instead. To the great displeasure of the Vortron itself. The Vortron comics had from the previous point on stayed very consistent in the way they looked.

Which was what I was after, consistency. Consistency is a good thing.

But this is where another point of the Vortron is made. And we finally meet the 'easter' bunny Patch. In all of his gun blazing glory.

This is the first comic where I made the background from a real picture that I manipulated. These turn out to be rather handy to use as backgrounds. And once more, Multiply tool forever more in use. Multiply tool is manna from heaven.

Explaining the Vortron
Please, just kill me now.

My brother thought that I was starting to get a little complex with how the Vortron worked and said that perhaps I should get more detail for my readers about it. I wasn't sure how I would do this, and then came up with this idea of putting up diagrams as Magic tried to explain it a little better to snow.

I hate these comics. They are painful to look at, and as I started to do them, I decided to get them done and over with as soon as possible. The horror! *shudders*.

I did these ENTIRELY on Photoshop. They did teach me a lot more about Photoshop then I knew before, but still, they are just painful to look at.

Entering Hiatus
I went into hiatus as I decided to get my affairs in order and straighten out the comic. A lot. I didn't know exactly what I was going to do to put the comic up, but I came up with this idea of having Magic introduce the hiatus with a bunch of images in the background that mingle together. They have some foreshadowing involved of what I have in store for this comic, but they don't tell you nearly enough about what's going on.
Kind of a mystery, a puzzle to solve?

XII - Myra
This is the introduction to Myra's world, where the character Myra is talking to herself (or actually, talking to her horse (who later proves to be able to talk back) ) and is evident that she hears Creature and Splash from the Vortron. Creature and Splash are trying to gain access to her world, but find it blocked. For some reason, they can only hear each other.

I took the time to really make this comic look good, at least the first few panels look pretty. I'm not very good on background images but I went out of my way to make them look like something here. Including a brilliant blue sky. My coloring rarely gets this detailed, mostly because this takes way to bloody long to do.

This is the first real time I tried to draw and color humans in this new coloring style. The coloring is getting cleaner, but I still need to work on my humans.

The first few panels of any comic tends to be the strongest, they seem to lose their mojo as the story progresses, which usually equals me trying to get the comic done.


At this time, I started bringing comics out of the panels, so they would blend together. This is also my first heavily influenced shape shifting comic. I'm not sure how successful it was ultimately, Eventually, this world just became a huge experiment for me, in trying things that were new, as well as driving the story on.
Three and Ten - Horror World
Enter the graveyard scene. This comic was driven by Creature suggesting something kind of mundane and Splash seeing the obviosness of just going anywhere can get them into a lot of trouble. Why did she have to open her big mouth?

This world was very sketchy, hardly any color, and overall I just liked the look of it. This is more my style of art these days then anything, just scribbling something onto a piece of paper until I get the look I wanted. It worked very well for this particular world as well.
This particular comic had a finale scene that was done very different then anything else done in the story arc, and I felt it necessary to put in the extra detail largely because this is one of the first true fight scenes in the comic, where it is revealed that Creature is not to be crossed. This was a three panel coloring job where I colored the comic in a way that I had never quite colored it before, or since. And it came out looking pretty good in my opinion, blood and all.

Verse the 14th - Magic and Snow, Again
So, we meet Magic and Snow once more. The last time I colored Magic and Snow in the Vortron, it was all done in pencil. From this point on, like other Vortron Comics, it is a quick sketch colored in Photoshop, black nose and all.

Very little else changes, as from this point on, the Vortron comics are now in their steady groove and look how they're supposed to look, (plus shading) it is nice to find a rhythm.

As we continue with the story, we are now involved once again in Magic's Story. THis time, I tried something a little different with the Font, but overall, I have found a routine for coloring and stick with it.

Magic's story got a really clean bill of sale from me, in my humble and often highly critical opinion. When I first put Magic's story online, however, I didn't get to far with the coloring, but the pencil sketches held their own. I did go back and color the comics later.

At this point, I also moved Magic's tale onto a different website all by itself, to help from detracting from its storyline.

Magic continues to be a fan favorite regardless.

One-Five - Todd the Second

Todd happens to be a personal favorite character of mine, because he is by far a relatively 'normal' human on earth, (though likely a slightly different reality then our own) that has to deal with these two. This is kind of my idea of what a normal person would do if they were forced to be a guide to a couple of interdimensional characters. And I really wanted to do a singing in the shower scene, because that is something Todd would do.

The coloring here was done more subdued at first, again, me trying things with the comic, mostly experimenting, which is by and large what this comic is for me. One giant experiment.

The second shape shifting panel I did, was Creature becoming human. This I felt needed to be done in color, so I colored it.

Todd is just standing there in a towel wondering what his life has become. If you notice, his hair is longer here then it was before. Trying to get a gist of when Todd met these two, obviously this isn't his first, or his last. But he has had a haircut between this time and the first time we met him in the comic. I got a lot of story behind Todd. One of these days, it might even come to light. Maybe.

One of my favorite parts of this panel is the conveniantly obscured nudity of Creature. He doesn't seem to think any differently about it one way or another, as Creature doesn't fully grasp the concept of clothing. Hey, if you think about it, animals might think the same thing of humans. And Creature has the thought process of a sentient animal. At least, that's what I would think he would think as.

From this point on, Todd's world gets really sketchy. I had a lot of comics planned for this story, and to put to much detail into them would take me, oh, about a million years to get through the story arc. So I went into sketchy mode, trying to give each character enough distinction so that you can tell human Creature from, say, Human Ethan (who we meet later.

I would hope that the storyline saves the story as the art doesn't carry it. Still, a lot of the little jokes in this world I had in mind from the conception of this comic, including the catch phrase of Todd's mom asking Todd if his friends are on drugs. And my personal favorite, getting Todd out of his comfort zone by summoning up something out of a Vicotoria Secrets catalog.

Dream Sequences

For the first time in the course of the comic, Creature and Splash stay in a world long enough to dream. And when they dream, repressed memories tend to surface. Splash's dream first starts off in a detailed manner, but eventually, I forego backgrounds in favor of getting the story across. We meet Tulla and Kessa, Tulla is later learned to be another name for Splash. And this storyline is actually an important aspect of Splash's life with her sister, and a root to her fears which haven't been fully realized in the comic. I enjoy doing the dream sequences because they are the only true way to dwelve into the backstory of the comic while remaining true to the flow of the comic. And Creature and Splash's backstories are very important to who they are, and where this comic is going. While having fun on the side.

Back to Todd
Complete With Snowboarding!

Todd, with lack of anything better to do, invites both Creature and Splash to go snowboarding with him and his friends. This is where we get another aspect of Splash's personality down, she takes deep offense to being called Black, though personally, if you were to cast Splash in a movie, I would likely get somebody of a dark Indian (as in India) to play her, or somebody of mixed race to play her.

Physical violence is always fun. I can just see this as being *POW*, in a large way of the old batman comics or what not. I love the energy of this comic. They generally don't come across as this successful to me.




Creature shows great fear of the chair lift. I took a lot of jokes in this arc from personal experience. Again, the art is all sketches and not my favorite, I just tried to make it so that the story could carry the comic instead of the art. I may have lost a few of my readers in the process, however. Still, despite the level of art, I have gotten very good at showing emotion. Todd is annoyed and Creature is terrified. If one thing can be said about my comic, I have gotten emotions down.

Dream Sequence, Take Two

Creature, much like Splash, falls asleep. And then he falls into a dream sequence himself, though his is more violent and more chaotic then Splash's memory. Again, i tried something very different when depicting what Creature saw vs what Splash saw. One thing we don't see in Creature's sequence is Creature, until the end. Everything is red, with limited amounts of color throughout the images. In this respect, I think I came across as getting what I wanted out of the comic.

And then there is the comics when Creature wakes up. Because of the importance of what happens, and a bit of foreshadowing, I felt it necessary to make sure the level of detail in these comics was up. And here I tried some new tricks in regards to the mirror sequence, and mirror images. As mirrors work differently with Creature in regards to his connection to the Vortron. The trick with mirror images was something I had to work out, and this is actually the second time I used this technique, the first time was when I did Magic's story the second time. This is actually a lot of fun to do, and consisted of using the smudge tool and other ways of distorting the image. All in all, I think it turned out looking pretty sweet.

As mentioned before, foreshadowing. This will come to pass later.

4 x 4 - Intro to the Demon Chronicles

The Demon Chronicles was spawned in a moment of thought about what happens later on down the comic, and how Creature and Magic would get along if they were forced into the Vortron together. There is plans for this comic, and I kind of gave a teaser to it with this image. However, it is something I have planned in the future.

The image has been used in a lot of promotional type stuff around creature (banners and the like) and depicts what Creature looks like older. I'm not always consistent with his size, but the Vortron does influence it. Meanwhile, this is the best image I have in depicting Magic and Creature together. And of course, the little black critter in Creature's arms is named Demon. Will meet him later.

Prime Seventeen - The End, For Now

THe comic has seemed to find its footing since Demon Chronicles was teased, and for the most part, it has remained consistent. My art continues to improve and hopefully over time I can come up with faster ways of coloring it. If you've read this far, I hope you have enjoyed my little tirade. Maybe one of these days I'll continue to document changes through the rest of the comic.

Vortronics Comics K Erickson, AKA Risawn
1996 to Present