Concerning Percolation

I have a part-time gardening job. My employer is very proud of her garden, but she still has a hard time appreciating it. For example, it’s being considered as part of a garden tour show, and it’s in the top percentile in terms of quality. She was quite surprised by this assessment by the garden show committee, but admits, she’s a bit too close to provide an impartial opinion of her work.

Frequently, with my own work, I have to immediately walk away from it once it’s been expressed. If I don’t, I’ll think it’s shit. But I’ve found that if I leave it alone for a while, I can provide a more impartial opinion.

So there’s 2 legal pads sitting below my desk with a script called This Bitter Earth written on them.

I wrote this script because I really liked the idea of an orphan boy living on a ferry in the Puget Sound, using the car deck for skate boarding, and spending is free time reading books, drinking tea, and feeding mutated orca whales.

Earth’s sea levels have risen substantially and the dominant life form is mold and fungus. This monoculture of fungus is choking the planet and Zenith spends his days sending signals into deep space, a practice handed down to him from his father. The lore goes that a scientific expedition left the Earth long ago, and that if they can call that scientist back, they can help fix the planet. But, fungus doesn’t want that…

Percolation is also a great method to make coffee.

Concerning Humans, Elves and Buggers

So, I’m done illustrating Enter Cedar. There’s still an epilogue to sketch and ink, but I think I’ll wait to finish those 15ish pages before posting. So it might be a minute before I add new content to the comic on this website.

In the mean time, here’s a concept I’ve toyed around with, that I think applies to some of the “big picture movers” of the upcoming series. I call it “Humans, Elves and Buggers”. Or, the Imbibe version would be, “Beasts, Bots and Boos”.

Humans (or “Beasts”) are beings with finite lives. They must procreate to proceed forward in time and they must teach knowledge to subsequent generations. Titus Waiting is not entirely human, but he is a parasitic being who needs hosts to live. This, combined with his reliance on human culture to build his technology, makes him pretty human.

Elves (or “Bots”) have infinite life (think Lord of the Rings). While they still procreate, they don’t do it to further the species. However, elves still need to be taught knowledge. But because they live forever; once learned, forever kept. The KBR is an infinitely living robot who definitely has no urge procreate, but continuously learns through this knowledge retention programing.

Buggers (or “Boos”) like humans, have finite lives and must procreate to continue their species through time (think Formic Queens from Ender’s Game). But because they have a hive mind and collective knowledge, they don’t teach or pass down knowledge, they just know everything. Cedarface is part of the spiritual hivemind. While his mothers may not procreate, Cedarface was made. It is quite possible that Cedarface’s golem nature may make him mortal. I haven’t figure that one out yet.

I’m not sure if these 3 characters perfectly resemble these 3 definitions. It could be argued that Cedarface, the KBR and Titus Waiting all have infinite live and don’t spend time procreating, which makes them all Bots, which makes the Imbibe Universe a story of Bots vs Beasts, with no Boos present. But it could be argued that Cedarface’s mothers are Boos, because while they live forever in human minds, they are ultimately reliant on the mortality of those human lives. Cedarface’s mothers must cultivate belief of themselves within humans to continue existing

Concerning the Tracking of Labor Stats p2

I started digitally illustrating Deep Circuity (DC) around March 2020
I finished digitally illustrating in March 2021
1 year 0 months
400 pages in 52 weeks
Actual average is 7.7 pages a week
Intentional output was 3 pages a week

I started analogue illustrating Enter Cedar (EC) in Nov 2021
I’m gonna finish analogue illustrating in August 2023 (Note, I estimated 7.5 months back in Nov 2022)
1 years 8 months
100 pages in 60 weeks
Actual average is 1.7 pages
Intentional output was 1 page a week

That’s a pretty terrible decrease in my average. But I’m still pushing out illustrations for a full, finished 120 page script in a year’ish. So I got that going for me.

I think the better way to look at the data is that it’s taken my roughly the same time to finish the same amount of pages.

But, I could look at the extra 8 months for EC and round up, and then the takeaway that it’s taking me twice as long to illustrate by hand. Shit, am I saying I could have finished EC earlier this year and now be finishing up Where the Highway Meets the Corridor, had I just digitally illustrated it?

BUT, also decreased by weekly page output from 3 to 1. So I can’t be too hard on myself. Had I kept that up, I probably would have finished EC in a similar time to DC.

Yeek. Here’s a scene from East of Everett.

Concerning Aliens Wearing Flannel

I think I’m identifying a advantageous pattern. I post 1 page a week right now. This 1 page is focused on linearly progressing the Imbibe narrative forward. These blog posts are separate. They are meant to explore other areas of Imbibe, if only to provide some relief to the hyper focus necessary to carry the linear work. I should attempt to always have some new sketch or concept done for Sunday, as it will give me something to blog about.

This is a sketch for “Where the Highway Meets the Corridor”(WHMC), which is the next big project in Imbibe. You’ll recall Gray in “Enter Cedar” mentioned a brother cousin, who is responsible for crashing the saucer that left Gray stranded. Allen (above) is that brother cousin, playing the banjo. Allen has been on Earth for a long time, possibly 30 years. If we place “Enter Cedar” in the early 1980s, WHMC does not have smart phones, so it’s early 2000’s.

Allen has been on Earth long enough to develop affinities for Earth culture like playing banjo, wearing moccasins, sporting flannel, and obsessing over the collection of firewood (the cousin subspecies of Erueniks don’t like to be cold). David (the mustachioed fella on the right) has kept Allen a secret for a long time. WHMC is the story of attempting to get Allen to safety once that secret is revealed.

Allen’s personal style was actually a relic from when this project was intended to be a live action mockumentary. It would have been a low budget indie film. To cover up a potentially underfunded makeup job, our alien was going to wear bulky clothing, a hunters cap and cataract sunglasses. There’s even some footage on a hard drive of me holding a styrofoam head, painted gray, with 2 green Easter egg halves over the eyes. The eggs had motion tracking marks on them, I was going to create “alien eye goggles” the actor could wear, and then we’d add the eyes in post.

Concerning Happiness and Focus

I have a new friend. They do poster art professionally. They’re work shows a great deal of enthuesiasm. I visited them last week and they showed a bunch of their work to me. You really feel like they enjoy the process when you look at their stuff. It made me reflect on my own work, and how much I don’t enjoy it sometimes.

My own work makes me think of the quote “I hate writing, I love having written” by Dorothy Parker. I think of this phrase often, as a lot of my process is driven by the need to produce anything. It’s driven by hitting a quota, because the fear of becoming unfocused and moving on before the project is finished is paramount.

This led me to reflect on how much I miss animation, and I spent a whole day considering the idea of adding a 30 second animated teaser for each comic project. I’m not an animator, so these projects would be limited, probably involving a lot of “squigglevision” style (which I’m a big fan of). But still, it would require a lot. I’ve probably spent a good 6 months on this particular project, and it’s not done.

But I spent most of the day considering whether or not to purchase After Effects and a few plugins, as I have other animated teaser ideas for my other projects. I think a few years ago, I wouldn’t have thought twice, and would have impulse purchased After Effects. But this time, I wrote out my projects, and my wants, and came to the conclusion that with the labor and skill available, adding animation would be untenable.

But it really sucks to walk away from the ambition of that. Which brings me back to enthusiasm, but enthusiasm within the scope of what can be done. I would love to get to the point where my work reflects how much I think and adore the characters, places and ideas in my scripts and comics.

Like, “Enter Cedar”, I knew that these characters had names, but I never took the time to discover them until this week. I was drawing them uniquely, they’ve had personalities, but I was rushing through the illustration of pages and not taking the time to discover what those names were. Perhaps it’s these areas I should make more time for.

Concerning the In-between Comics

So, in the same vein that “Groph’s Green Wizardry” brought us from “Deep Circuitry” to “Enter Cedar”, what if we do that between “Enter Cedar” and the next project? Maybe some sort of story about the Knowledge Retention Bot (KRB)?

We first saw the Knowledge Retention Bot in my short film “The Antique Dealer”, played by my good friend Hazel Blue.

Like, I’ve got this idea of a short scene where Ian meets KRB when he’s an adult, while out on a jog. The KRB has just found information about Ian’s interactions with Squash and Gray, which is what “The Antique Dealer” was about. So then it’s a matter of going from “Enter Cedar” to “The Antique Dealer”, and then to the “Algorithm Interviews”, where the KRB is still trying to solve where the aliens are.

And then all of this leads into the next big project “Where the Highway Meets the Corridor”, which is a tangential story that involves the KRB helping a group of humans help the aliens escape from the United States government. Yeah, I think that works.