FAQ? How can you even have a FAQ with a readership which can be counted on one hand, probably by a PowerPuff Girl?
- I ask myself that a lot too.
You failed art class, didn't you?
- No, actually...
You took art class, didn't you?
- Next question.
No, honestly, you do know you aren't even consistant in a number of things?
- Yeh. I draw what I think about, and I'm only consistant in what I recognize at pencil-time I need to be consistant in. I suck at
faces musculature and many types of fabric, hopefully that will improve some with more experience drawing and examining others' work. Relative sizes I'll eventually pin down. I know in my head how big characters/scenery should be, I just need to pay more attention. SED is a hobby. I learn as I go. And for the permanent record, I have no clue what orifice the second to last panel of #4 came out of. I really don't think I want to.
When do you update?
other weekend at precisely when-I-have-time. Yes, while I originally ran the comic on a biweekly schedule, as of #45, SED should update once a week. Of course, as a concession to the doubling of my comic workload, I have reserved the right to drop updates on somewhat lesser grounds than before, but at the same time I know I can't afford to ignore the comic for too long or I'll never recover.
That said, new comics are posted manually on a have-time basis. They're usually up Saturday afternoon or Sunday afternoon. Infrequently I'll update on Friday if the weekend looks to be particularly busy. If you only want to show up when there's new content, check back on Mondays.
Why so sparse?
- I'm not inherently an artist, I don't have 1337 artistry skillz, and all too frequently I don't even have the time to make strips turn out as well as they could as-is. SED is purely a hobby at this point, and the rest of my website, which really should be more of a priority than SED given my interests, doesn't even get 2 updates a month most of the year. I want to try webcomicing, but I have to be realistic with myself. Also, I believe in making a substantive attempt at anything I make an attempt at to begin with. While I could probably crap out a three-panel black and white sketch&scan a couple times a week and tell the same story, it really wouldn't feel the same. Spending block hours sketching, inking, coloring, texting and shading, if only every
other week, really makes me involved with what I do, and as such more likely to put forth the extra effort to make what ends up on the page the best thing I could have put there at the time.
So you aren't actually an artist and you don't plan on updating often, so why do it at all?
- It sounded fun. It sounded like a challenge. As an electrical/computer engineer in a pretty tough program, it's also nice to let my right brain out for a walk every now and again, via music, writing or art. Squidi has a bit to say on the subject of pollution by webcomic, and having heard him out, I agree with a fair bit of what he says. I may not be 100% kosher by his standards, but I can justify my differences. I can honestly say I respect and appreciate artists and the work they put into their chosen art form, and I respect potential viewers enough to challenge myself to do things right if I do them at all. While I realize my limitations are rather severe, that in itself is part of the reason I'm making the attempt. Having succeeded at engineering, logic, and other forms of innovation, I want to see how well I can do at what I've previously deemed my less competent areas of creativity if I put forth equal or greater effort per time spent. So what if I'm jumping right in? If I don't motivate myself with at least a potential audience, I'll never actually make myself improve at all!
So that's it, then? You're an engineer, then *poof* you make a comic?
- I don't think it would be tremendously fair to say that. I did have to practice some technique, more importantly I had to plan and set goals for myself and the conditions/progress rate under which I would even attempt a comic, and perhaps most necessarily I had to be motivated. The spark came from within, but I wouldn't be here without great folks like Brian Clevinger and Caroline Curtis deigning to give tips and a dash of moral support to a single fan out of their thousands, Mookie, Dan and Aaron being such nice guys, inspirational in their words, artistry, and even plot, Garth and Larom for humoring me and letting me springboard off their forums/fanbase, and with all due respect, Mark Swallow for demonstrating that comics don't need to look like perfect, professional manga to be engaging and worthwhile. Thanks to you all, should any of you ever visit!
How long have you been around?
- I started SED in a wave of blinding masochism late in my sophomore year of college. That was... wow. Over a year and a half ago, as of this writing. So yeh- time-wise, SED's been up long enough that friends insist I can no longer put quotes around "webcomic" in my description of it. However, since for all of the first year and much of the second I only updated every other week, I still haven't broken the big one-zero-zero (not in base ten, at least), so I find it difficult to think of myself as established in webcomicry.
What 'tools' do you use, anyhow?
- My favorite .5mm mechanical pencil, 2 pigmentliner drawing pens (0.3 and 0.1) I picked up at the campus art store because they looked about the right size, my wonderful if woefully overworked G4 TiBook, a HP scanjet 4400c flatbed scanner, and Photoshop (which I hope to use more effectively as time goes on). I picked up a secondhand WACOM tabled dirt cheap about half a year into the comic, and scrounged a larger if ancient ADB tablet not long after, but it will take practice time I don't have at the moment to learn to use a tablet effectively enough to sketch directly into Photoshop (although I do use it more and more for texturing and hilights). Yep. Sean != artist.
- I'm pretty sure this particular school server doesn't do dynamic content, I've never worked with PHP/SQL/XML and I'd rather use a system I know all the ins and outs of for debugging purposes, and as I've alluded to, I'm not nearly serious enough about the comic yet to do everything more professionally.
www.andrew.jackson.boringshit.edu/morestuff/nowayinhellIcanrememberthis.com? Why not just Keenspot?
- Patience, young grasshopper. I need to know I'm in this for the long haul before I go to a better server, even a better free server. I've had my share of disappointments when promising Keenspot comics failed within 10 strips due to internal conflicts, lack of material, etc. I'd rather not bum advertising off them, then crash and burn. I'll change servers when I graduate, when/if I get too many strips to reasonably keep on my own or when I get popular enough to have bandwidth issues, probably not before.
Part of me also just wants to stay independent. I'm a little paranoid about signing away any rights to my work, even just marketing and merchandising, in the unlikely event that it becomes worth something. And for me, one hit from someone who's here because they like the content is more valuable than 10 here because they followed the noob artist link of the day or because they're starting a comic themselves and want to feel vindicated. So even when I do change servers, I'm more likely to go for a generic self-registered URL than any comic conglomerate server.
- NEW AS OF 10/1/06: In fact, I HAVE changed servers. The wonderful people of g33xnexus.com offered me hosting in the summer of '06, and all arrangements have since been made. If you're still reading this from the andrew.cmu.edu host, try heading on over to http://www.g33xnexus.com/diodes. The comic will probably continue to update both places until I graduate and lose the CMU account, but the g33xnexus site is poised to become the official location of SED and get all the shiny new featury things which may or may not be in the pipeline.
- Laa-la-laaa-la-laaaa! I can't heeear youuuu! Really, let's just forget about that, now shall we? For the ~2 of you who ever actually saw it, let alone knew of it before this question, I have learned. Note how SED is not simply thrown up (yes, those words work) at arbitrary times and in straight pencil as a sub-page in my gaming site. That is very much intentional. Perhaps if SED is around in another year and still going somewhere, I'll do a few bonus/filler strips with commentary and previously unposted concept sketches from SYSTEM, but in all reality they'd add so little to SED that it probably wouldn't be worth the effort of figuring out what text/captions were supposed to go in the few strips I still have buried in my sketchbook :P (I write SED's text by hand in the page margins where there's room, or edit it out of the panels when that's the only place I can fit it, but I guess I thought I'd just remember what was going on in SYSTEM between when I pencilled and when I overlayed the final typed text...)
What's with [plot/visual element X]?
- If you can't wait for it to be explained in the comic, I may have dropped a hint on the cast & background page. You could also just e-mail me about it. Many things do have their reasons, and there are probably all manner of minor things I could explain offhand, but if I don't give a direct answer, please don't badger me. There are some things best exposed dramatically in narrative.
Wait, what just happened between strips X and Y?
- Reviewing my own archive, I have realized that there are uncomfortably arbitrary gaps of comic-time between strips. This may or may not change in the future. The bottom line is that updates are relatively sparse, so I want each update to contain an event worth recounting. Interesting things don't happen every minute of every day, so strips don't always occur back-to-back. If an amount of time appears to have passed between two strips, take it as just that- an amount of time, the precise duration of which is largely unimportant if not specified, during which nothing of note occurred.
Can I give you money?
- I don't think I'm supposed to do actual profitable business out of any school-related system/location. I would, however, accept donations, most likely via PayPal, but I'll work that out when I need to.
Your FAQ doesn't come close to doing justice to the number of things I'm confused about.
- That's not precisely a question, but if you can be more specific there's always my e-mail.
How do I contact you, anyway?
- If you can make reasonably polite questions/commentary, do so in the message field of your favorite electronic mail client having first filled the destination line with, in order, 'spkelly' the internet standard shift-2 symbol for 'at', 'andrew', a period, 'cmu', another period, and finally 'edu'. Putting something in the subject line to let me know it's comic-related will also help since I don't get much comic mail and have been known to delete messages with strange subjects from unknown senders.