Thursday, July 28, 2005

Wizard World

Sorry I haven’t updated the Blog lately. I’ve completed page one and most of page 2. I’ve also completed a second set (the bridge of a pirate ship) for the chapter (even though I originally thought I’d only need one set).

Although he’s only a minor character, I introduce the Captain of the ship that brought Alexander and company to Revenna (and which takes them to see the Glitter Fields). The captain is an Akiak, a feline race. Although I didn’t originally plan it, I’ve stumbled into some dialogue about the racial prejudices within the Imperium and especially the naval officer corp. Since most officers are from aristocratic families and most aristocrats are Human, most officers are therefore human. That makes it difficult for another race to reach higher ranks in the navy (or other parts of the military for that matter). Again, I didn’t plan on having that in the chapter, but it gives some added flavor to the Imperium “environment” so to speak.

My wife and I will be going to Wizard World here in Chicago in August. It’s a comics convention and will have people like Frank Miller (Sin City, Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, etc.). It’s the first comics convention I’ve ever been to, so it should be “interesting.” I have ordered one of my Imperium Chronicles Tshirts that I will wear there, perhaps giving some very primitive advertising. I got the first sample of the tshirts this week. The quality is good, although of course it’s still just a tshirt. I ordered one of the mouse pads next, which I hope is even better.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Chronicles in Print!

Through, I got my first copy of Alexander the Prince: Part One in bound form. It really looks quite good, although I think the pages are a little dark. However, I’m happy with it and others seem to think it looks good too. Meanwhile, I’ve also uploaded different images to another site called, which allows me to sell merchandise like T-shirts, mugs, etc. I’m not sure anyone will buy this stuff, but it would help me earn some extra money and help pay for the comic’s operating expenses.

Although I took a couple of days off working on the comic, I got back to it last night. I started building the only set that I’ll be using for the whole chapter. Basically, chapter 6 takes place on the bridge of a spaceship as Alexander and Co. look at the glitter fields. The fields, by the way, are an area in space where asteroids had impacted, forming a cluster of brightly lit particles (like metal confetti or chaff). If everything goes as planned, there should be significant action in this chapter, including fighting on the bridge itself, and out in space between ships. It will also be somewhat violent in that at least one of the crew will be killed by blaster fire.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Chapter 5 Now Online!

Chapter 5 is now online for your entertainment. I’m gratified that I was able to publish it on time, unlike chapter 4 which was a week late. I also updated the Characters page with a description of Isabella Montros (the Empress) and Lady Sophia (Lady in Waiting for Princess Katherine). Last but not least, I’ve also drastically simplified the main logo for the site. As my wife mentioned, the old logo looked a bit “old fashioned” while the new one looks more modern. It actually grew from my work on the cover of the print version of the comic that I’ve been putting together. I’ve always been drawn toward a simplified look for websites, so it came naturally. On the other hand, my total lack of talent when it comes to regular graphic arts and web design kind of forced me to do things this way.

By the way, although it probably won’t interest too many of my readers, I have decided to take my work on the original Imperium online game and convert it into a pen-and-paper role-playing game. Previously, I had worked on the comic each night and then played an online game of some sort. However, I’ve grown tired of playing so I decided to use that time to convert my old design document into a PnP RPG. I only mention this so nobody thinks I’m taking away time I’d otherwise be working on the comic. Anyway, when I’m done with the new game, I’ll sell it through, just like the print version of the comic.

Monday, July 11, 2005 - Self-publishing Site

There’s a great website called for self-publishing, whether books, ebooks, CDs, etc. I’ve wanted to publish the comic in hard copy form, but haven’t known of a low-cost way of doing so until I heard about this site. I also didn’t think I could use the images from the website due to the resolution (which would’ve meant redoing all the post work for each page). I had done the resolution at 72 dpi/ppi, which is fine for viewing on the computer screen, but too low to be viable in print form (at least at the image size similar to the one on the site). However, after doing additional research, I found a way to resample the photoshop images, thus increasing the resolution and keeping the size. Anyway, using my new knowledge, I converted the images and put them into print form using the lulu website. After I finished, I ordered a copy for myself so I can confirm whether it’s presentable or not. If it is, I’ll put it out there for sale (either as a download or a bound copy).

Of course, I was also working on the current chapter of the comic this weekend. This was an exercise in frustration, however. Nevertheless, I completed the renders and most of the post work for page 8. I’ve also removed some of the models from the set (those characters left the room basically), so I think the remaining pages should take less time (or at least less frustration). Since I had scheduled the publishing of chapter 5 for this coming weekend, I have several more pages to complete in a short amount of time. However, if need be, I’ll simply postpone publication for a few days into next week. I don’t think that it will be more than that.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005


It’s déjà vu all over again: I spent 3 hours last night on a single panel for page 7. As I mentioned, I was concerned that the volume of stuff in the ballroom scene would choke my system and I was right. Eventually, I just took out as many of the models as I could stand, and then re-rendered the same scene three separate times. This is basically what I did in chapter one, but for some reason I couldn’t fit as many models per render this time. Anyway, I will try the post work for the panel tonight. Also, I’ve been shopping around for new RAM for my computer today, which I will try to order within the next day or two. Currently, I only have 512 Megs, which obviously hasn’t been enough, so I will double that number to over a Gig. It should cost me in the neighborhood of $120 for the RAM, if I install it myself. Although I’ve spent plenty of money for models and sets, etc., this will be the first time that I buy actual hardware directly due to my work on the comic.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Isabella & Her Ballroom

I spent most of the weekend doing the setup for the remainder of chapter 5. This included the model for Empress Isabella Montros, the mother of Alexander, Richard, and Katherine. Basically, I took the model for Kate and then aged her face and body (making some other changes as well, including adding quite a few pounds to the body). I then created some additional models such as Isabella’s courtiers, and downloaded the Ballroom set where the rest of chapter 5 will take place.

Speaking of the Ballroom, although it wasn’t hard getting the set ready, it will clearly be difficult to get the renders done due to its size and the number of models populating it. As was the case for chapter 1, I will try to mitigate this problem by removing some of the models that are not in a particular shot. However, this only solves some of the issue. Yesterday, actually, the big frustration was getting the lighting the way I wanted it. I spend at least two hours trying to get one render done, but failed miserably. Finally, I got the lighting right, but by that time I had run out of time for the day. Tonight, I hope I can finally get page 7 started.

Btw, over the weekend, I also figured out how many more chapters there will be: a total of 13. Assuming each chapter takes 5-6 weeks, that means I won’t be done with Alexander the Prince until early 2006.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Money Shot

I’ve completed page 5 and finished the renders for page 6. As I’ve mentioned, the chapter is basically split into two parts, and page 6 is the last page for the first part. It ends, in fact, with a kiss between Alexander and Lady Sophia. Although their relationship has supposedly ended, apparently there’s still some “heat” between them. Speaking of which, I had some trouble getting the “money shot” of the two of them kissing. I had to do at least 3 renders before I felt I had a shot I could actually use. It’s still not perfect, but it’s adequate I think.

Earlier in the week I was working on getting a guest book onto the website, but I’ve had some technical problems. I first went through three different guest books until I decided to use one in particular. However, being only self taught, it’s taking me some time to set the guest book up properly. If I can’t, I’ll just forget about it, but I’d really like to learn more about the people who visit my site. I’m curious about my audience and why they come to read my work. It’s just another example of my narcissism I guess.