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Okay. Let's talk about art for just a moment. I received a lot of notes on the art last week, along with several concerned emails from folks wanting me to revert to my 'old style' again.
This IS still my style. I didn't switch styles or dump an old style for a new one, I assure you. This is my regular drawing style. I just spent more time on it and tweaked a few things I wasn't happy with. I wanted the characters to have a bit more definition in their faces, and a allow more opportunities for light and shadow in them (noses and lips.) I also made Ellie's eyes a bit more enclosed (but still open) and gave her individual eyelashes. That's essentially it. I did laugh when someone suggested I was shooting for an Adam Warren look. I am, and have been, a huge fan of Adam Warren for years. But I wasn't referencing any of his work when modifying the characters. I did, however, reference various ways some artists were drawing eyes, and used what I liked. I looked at some Disney character sheets for drawing Ashliii's eyes glaring through the fish tank, and some stock photos for body poses.. but that's nothing unheard of for artists.
We're entering a new story, and with that I did another forced 'art push.' You can see one I did further back here ...where Ellie looks very off-model for this time in the strip. Typically with my these instances, my art fans out a bit far with detail, then reverts slightly as these new details become more ingrained in my drawing habits. It eventually finds a median look until I do another.
I consider an 'art push' or 'quality push' something different than regular art evolution, since I'm forcing it instead of it gradually happening. It HAS gradually happened quite a bit with Shotgun Shuffle. To an extent, I think art evolution is a natural occurrence, but it's only natural if it's something the artist genuinely wants. Latent or otherwise. This is not to be confused with an artist's style 'settling.' Settling is when an artist has drawn his comic or creation long enough, he's no longer struggling to keep the characters on model. The entirety of what they're doing is becoming more refined through repetition. I'm not content with stopping at that.
I treat my art the way God treats me. Just when things get comfortable, I throw more obstacles at it. It's the only way either is going to grow. You gotta keep your thumb on it and expect more than what you're getting out of it. Always. I've actually brought a future panel with me from 2025 where my art has become so advanced, it appears photo-realistic:
On a side note, the panel where Ellie has the fat pet store animals behind her is actually one of the first times I was truely content with how Ellie looked.
Now don't go taking anything the wrong way with what I'm about to say, because I'm not one to denigrate other cartoonists' craft. A comic that has art that both the artist and their readers are content with, is a good thing. But... webcomics that have idled art styles are everywhere. I'm being very very frank about what I see in comics I like, and comics I don't. But there are some cartoonists out there that have settled into their styles, and I feel some styles plateaued before they should have. This is where my concern is. I won't ever name names, but sometimes getting comfortable can be a bad thing. An even worse thing, is when cartoonists actually start to regress. I used to think the former was bad enough, but the latter is happening more than I ever would've thought nowadays. Sometimes we need a break, sometimes we have to just get to that deadline. Other obligations arise, I know, I get it. Priorities differ. But an increase in income as things get better, should never mean it's time to relax. An increase in fanbase means it's time to double your efforts. There are some big-namers out there that have left me a bit confused with what they're doing to their creation... or don't care to do anymore.
(Just one man's opinion.)
You'll hear many times in blogs and webcomics, Content is King.
Yes, but Quality is Queen. What I have to show for my time, for my stress, and for my sacrifices while working on this comic, are always going to be the best damn quality of work I can possibly produce. Sometimes you'll get to this site, and the comic's not up yet. Sometimes, I may post an update that it's delayed. I hate it just as much a anyone, but each comic has to be better than the last. I cant post anything halfass. This is MY body of work. My ART that represents what I want to convey to my READERS. Love for both.