My webcomic Here We Are is launched! The first chapter (10p) is available online at http://dirchansky.com/hwa/01 :)

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I want to acknowledge to myself that...I'm a very hard worker. Sometimes I feel subpar or barely meeting the status quo, but when I look at what I've been able to create/produce in tandem with all the other things happening in my life (full time day job++OT/travel, volunteer work, freelance work, personal work, etc.), I will give myself that pat on my back.

I will never be the best from a technical/visual/storytelling POV because of my circumstances (and ever-evolving moving target of what "good" looks like), but I have come to terms that I'm not at the point in my life where going deep into craft/skill-building is the highest priority, and know that my expectations will need to scale to the available space-time-continuum. I also scaled back on social media, consolidated my stuff into spaces that I prefer (e.g., this freetalk blog, mastodon) and that I feel that I have more control over.

A few personal achievements

  • Finished all my Love Love Hill comic work well in advance; learned that I have to start planning/plotting/drafting months in advance of the due date, ahaha (especially since I find the planning/plotting stage takes longer and longer as years go on; the well of stories is running dry in my mind)
  • Made a small visual novel game called Come for a Drink; practiced writing (using Scrivener), coding (where indentation matters) in a new game dev engine (Renpy), all while working with a set of very dependable, professional, skilled, and talented voice/music/sound folks!
  • Launched Here We Are webcomic, which I aim to continue and focus on in 2019, since LLH is taking a break next year (from anthologies, conventions, tabling, etc.); I'm making a conscious effort to experiment with the way that I tell stories in verbally/visually, thinking more consciously about voices, etc., so I'm sure the comic will be a bit of a mess, but I'll learn a lot from it! If I'm too strict with the planning, I think I'll feel creatively stifled/locked-in, so there's going to be a bit of "making it up as I go along" from a story POV.

(more fake dialogue)

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(fashion exploration)

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I owe most of the above productivity to pre-planning, time management, and years of built-up resilience; given my other responsibilities and unpredictable client work, if I let anything one slip too long, things will pile up and be due at the same time, and ultimately leads to detrimental mental/wellness ripple effects to all aspects of my life. When that happens, I feel over-extended, over-committed, and oftentimes bitter! I will continue to negotiate all these aspects of my life to strive for better balance, and keep myself out of situations where I feel bad!

Thank you to everyone who has supported me in this year and to everyone who engaged with any of my stories!

In 2019, I want to continue to add more positive vibes into the world, rather than self-deprecating/negative ones. After watching the tearful Mr. Rogers documentary Won't You Be My Neighbor, I really need to up my game on being kinder and nicer to people around me.

(My stardew valley life)

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Hope that 2019 brings you folks some good stuff! There's a lot of garbage stuff happening in our world, but a lot of greatness too. Don't lose sight of the good!

Lastly, here's today's music post: Lambo-san no Yabou (Lambo-san's Ambition) by Junko Takeuchi. It's a character song from the Katekyo Hitman Reborn anime. I really empathize with being a big crybaby, and particularly the parts of the song where Lambo's voice starts cracking/wavering. The voice actress (also does the voice for Naruto) puts on a great performance.

(I'm also very happy that I cut my hair short, I didn't think it would make such a big difference)

For the past 7 month's I've been having some health problems, so I finally went to see a doctor to figure out what was happening. No updates at this moment since the investigation is just starting. Thankfully my symptoms are not especially debilitating at this moment...?

After all this year's game projects, it's good to return to something more familiar.

Inking with bamboo reed pen; a photo for now because my scanner stopped working! Image description

Timelapse video of the above

Hopefully by December 31st: Here We Are will launch?! I've been working on the first chapter. Here are some previews with FAKE DIALOGUE!

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Timelapse video of me doing some flat blacks and tones in Clip Studio Paint. I barely know how to use CSP but will learn, over time!

I've also been trying to "get ahead" with a buffer, but who knows if that will work out. At least things are thumbnailed, right?

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^Although she starts as a side character at the beginning, I hope to write out her own dedicated storyline after this first arc!

Stay tuned...! I'm really looking forward to Scrivener getting the windows update so I can get deeper into writing in the new year. Scrivener was recommended to me by Jade Feng Lee/Dumplingheart and was really a gamechanging tool when I was writing for my non-linear narrative game, Come for a Drink.

Today's music post: Patti LaBelle performing "This Christmas" at the 1996 National Tree Lighting. Many things go wrong during the performance (outside of her control) and she still kills it!!!!

I just sent off my 12-pages for a short comic called REFRAME for Love Love Hill's next comic anthology, themed around COOKING + CRYING. It's a bit of a dramatic story, but I think it ends on a positive note! This comic features a mom and son. The mom also appears in It's Getting Hot in Here, while the son is a familiar face from Motivation, Concentration as well as Tie the Knot.

Worlds colliding! Everyone is connected! I'm unstoppable!!

Here's the sketch, inked, and toned version of the first page

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Some quick snapshots of my monitor as I was inking

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To be honest, I like drawing kids quite a lot. They are usually very expressive, so I get the chance to draw a wide range of expressions and make them say silly things!

Here's a timelapse of some digital inking (done in fire alpaca).

The comic anthology will be debuting at Toronto Comic Arts Festival in May 12-13, 2018!

Please look forward to it!

Today's music post: Shine on Me by Chris Dane Owens. I found out that the music video is going to become a full length film this year... I CAN'T BELIEVE IT!

I thought I was going to have a less busy season work-wise, but more things got piled on to me than I expected! Every year I tend to destroy a bit of myself for the months of March-April to finish all my comic submissions.Every year I try to stay on top of it so it doesn't get too bad!

I finished my Plant Fever 2 pages in January. The pages are in colour for this issue! It's going to debut at TCAF 2018 in May 12-13. The same garbagey autobio drawings and stories you expect from Life on the Hill, but with added garbagey colour!

A bunch of random panels, in no particular order. My mom's artwork will also be debuting in this zine, which I'm very excited for!

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Last week I also did work on some other comics for medical education purposes. Drawing in this kind of squashed style makes it more challenging to stay consistent with proportions, so I find that it takes a lot longer to ink; likely because I'm redrawing/deviating from my sketches a more. These were inked in Adobe Animate because they'll be coloured/animated for the web.

A bunch of random panels, in no particular order (again)

A bunch of random panels, in no particular order

Today I worked on my thumbnails for the 2018 Love Love Hill anthology. The theme is something along the lines of "cooking and crying" and I'm really hitting the CRYING part hard! I have so many pages of crying, haha!

These are the thumbnails in my sketchbook for the first 6 pages. The whole story is ~12 pages!

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These are the digital sketches of the same thumbnails

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It's always funny to see where I deviated. This time they're pretty similar!

I feel more at ease now that I actually have a story and sketches to go with it. The story will feature some familiar(?) faces if you read my other anthology comics.

I can't remember if I actually talked about this here or not, but I changed my home computer desk to be a stand desk by propping my monitor on top of books (sketchy) and my keyboard/tablet/mouse on top of a bed tray that stands on my original desk. The actual heights are all still a couple inches off to be ergonomic, but I have to say, my wrist numbness has decreased drastically! I suppose the pain is now felt in my feet...

Today's music post: Hopopono by GoGo Penguin!

I occassionally participate in an improv comic where I'm assigned to draw 1 page based on 1 other page (that either comes before or after my assigned page), so it's always pretty interesting to see what you have to work with!

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The page I was given starred Neil DeGrasse Tyson, so here he is. hanging out with a good lamb named Yarnball (my creation). Also check out David Goodsell's paintings if you're not familiar with them.

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I wonder if this turned into rabbit x human doujinshi? I felt sad drawing sad rabbit clutching teddy bear plush!!!!!!!!

I actually haven't seen the full books with my page(s) inserted into them, but they're always fun to draw because it makes me draw/explore things I would normally never draw on my own.

Today's music post: PrimeTime (Janelle Monae feat. Miguel). I once attempted to karaoke of this and it was an epic failure. I got to see her live as a part of the PanAm games in Toronto. Janelle Monae is so talented cool amazing fashionable ETC. ETC. I wish I could be more like her!