Three Tips For Making Webcomics When You’ve Got Less Time

Well, at the time of writing, I’m busy preparing this year’s Christmas webcomic mini series (which will start appearing here in about 4-5 days time). But, since I also seem to have got back into reading regularly and writing book reviews (and don’t want to fall out of the habit again), I’ve got slightly less time to make each webcomic update.

As such, I thought that I’d offer a few tips for making webcomic updates when you’ve got less time. Most of these are things that I’ve mentioned before, but they’re probably worth mentioning again.

1) Planning: As counter-intuitive as it might sound, setting some time aside beforehand to plan your next few webcomic updates will actually save you time in the long run.

Your plans don’t have to be ultra-complex. For example, here’s the plan for the first comic in my Christmas mini series. It was scribbled in a different notebook with a cheaper pen, and the art planning is kept to a bare minimum (because planning the dialogue and structure matters a lot more than planning the art):

This is the plan for the first comic update in my Christmas mini series. As you can see, the focus is on planning the dialogue and structure, rather than the art.

But, why does taking a bit of time to plan the next few comics save you time? Simple. When you get round to actually making the comic, you can just make the comic. Because you’ve planned everything out in advance, you won’t get slowed down by writer’s block when you’re actually making the comics.

2) Adjustments: Simply put, there are a lot of ways to save time that won’t affect the quality of your comic too much. For example, you can tweak the production or release schedule slightly (I mean, when I’m preparing comics, I usually prepare two per day. This time, I’m only making one per day).

Likewise, you can alter the length of each comic update slightly to save time (this is why, last year, I went back to making 4-5 panel comic updates after making 6-8 panel updates for a while). Plus, don’t feel too bad about adjusting your release schedule if you have to. As long as you are still following some kind of update schedule (and your audience know what it is), then your audience is likely to excuse any changes you have to make in order to keep making comics.

Or you can take the approach that I do, which is simply to release daily comics for a limited time (usually about 6-8 days per month, although this will probably drop to four days per month for future comics), and then do non-comic stuff (in my case, daily art – which is usually quicker/easier to make than comics are) during the rest of the time. This way, you get the advantage of a daily schedule, but it isn’t something that takes up a part of your day every day.

3) The art: I’ve said this many times before and it’s worth repeating again. The art is the least important part of a webcomic update. If you don’t believe me, then just look at a popular webcomic called “XKCD“, which uses stick figure art. This is a webcomic that is popular because of the writing and humour, rather than the art.

So, if you have to rush or downgrade any part of your webcomic in order to save time, then you should do this with the art. It sounds counter-intuitive, but the writing, characters, humour etc.. in your webcomic matter more than the art does. Not only that, if you’ve been making webcomics for a while, then even a slightly “rushed” or “downgraded” version of your art will still look better than (or as good as) the art in your older comics because you’ve had more practice.

Don’t believe me? Here’s a panel from the first slightly “rushed” comic update for my upcoming Christmas mini series:

The full comic update will be posted here on the 19th December.

And here’s a “good” webcomic update that I made in 2015/16 (from this mini series) . As you can see, the modern “rushed” art compares fairly well to it:

“Damania Redux – Cyberpunk” By C. A. Brown

So, yes, if you have to save time, then rush the art rather than the writing/planning. Likewise, if you’ve been making webcomics for a while, then even your current rushed art will probably look better than your “good” older webcomic art. So, don’t feel too bad about it. The important thing is to actually make comic updates.

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Anyway, I hope that this was useful 🙂

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One Benefit Of Creative Limitations

Well, I thought that I’d talk about one interesting benefit of creative limitations. Whether these are self-imposed limitations, external limitations or a mixture of the two – one interesting thing about creative limitations is that they can help you to become more efficient at creating things.

At first, a limitation can be a puzzle-like challenge but, after a while, you’ll solve the puzzle and you will probably become more efficient at writing, creating art etc… as a result.

For example, here’s a preview of one of my upcoming digitally-edited paintings:

This is a reduced-size preview. The full-size painting will be posted here on the 17th August.

For at least a year before I made this painting, I’ve been using a pre-defined limited palette of watercolour pencils (eg: yellow, red, blue, light green, purple and grey/black pencils) for the non-digital component of my paintings.

Although it took me a little while to get used to this palette, I’d already had a bit of a headstart since I’d experimented with monochrome art occasionally since late 2014 or so.

Monochrome art is a bit of a challenge, since it forces you to look at the picture as a whole and to not only get a good balance of dark, light and shaded areas – but also to make sure that no two dark, light or shaded areas are next to each other (so that everything stands out more).

“Aberystwyth – Haunted Hill” By C. A. Brown [2015]

“Berlin Noir” By C. A. Brown [2014]

Once you’ve learnt these principles through practice, failure and observing how things like manga etc.. use monochrome art – then using a limited palette is a lot easier. But, one of the interesting things about making monochrome art for a while and then switching back to colour art is that suddenly the process of choosing colours seems complicated and/or time-consuming.

Once you’ve got used to it, having a limited range of colours (even just black & white) available means that you devote all of the time and energy you’d usually spend choosing colours to working out where to place those colours. In other words, you’ll have more time and energy available to work out how to use colour in an interesting and visually-appealing way. So, your creative process is more efficient as a result.

Likewise, the painting I showed you at the beginning of the article had something of a time limit too. One of the things about making daily art is that you obviously can’t spend weeks or months on a single picture. In fact, you might only have a couple of hours at most. But, having this time limit can force you to be creative in all sorts of subtle ways.

For example, to save time, I have a standard size for most of my paintings (18x 18cm, with 1.5cm black “letterboxing” bars at the top and bottom). This is a size that I developed through several years of trial and error, since it is the best balance between making a painting that is large enough to be detailed – but small enough to make quickly. Plus, not having to worry about choosing a size or format for my paintings means that I can devote more time to actually drawing and painting.

The 1.5cm black “letterboxing” bars at the top and bottom of each painting were originally a stylistic thing (since it makes my paintings look like a frame from a film) but I also realised that they saved time too(since I only had to fill a 15×18 cm area with art).

Plus, the black “letterboxing” bars also helped to add more visual contrast to my art too – by making any colours in the art seem bolder by comparison. Again, this limitation has made my art more efficient because…

…It also helps me to follow my “ at least 30-50% of the total surface area of each painting must be covered with black paint” rule too.

Again, following this rule was a little bit of a challenge at first. But, once I got used to it, it allowed me to create visually striking pictures relatively easily and to still make art when I was rushed/uninspired (by increasing the amount of darkness). Plus, if I want a challenge, I can try to apply the rule to paintings of non-gloomy locations too:

“Death Takes A Holiday” By C. A. Brown

In addition to all of this, the painting near the beginning of this article is part of a series of paintings set in abandoned shopping centres. Although finding inspiring ideas for art series can be a bit of a challenge, I’ve often found that the limitation of a themed series actually makes me feel more inspired.

Why? Because I already know what type of painting I have to make, which makes me feel more confident. The only challenge is working out how to do something new and different with a pre-chosen theme. But, since I know what the theme is, then I can devote more time thinking about how to do interesting things with it.

A good example of this was the “gothic Aberystywyth” art series I posted here in June. Although I only posted one painting per day, I was often actually making two of them every day. Since I usually have a rule about only making one painting per day, then the fact that I was feeling inspired enough to break this rule really surprised me. And it all happened because I limited what I could paint:

“Aberystwyth – Halloween ’08” By C. A. Brown

“Aberystwyth – Arts Centre” By C. A. Brown

For example, I made these two paintings on the same day. Both of them were highly-inspired paintings that were really fun to make. Even though I was very tired when I made the second one, I worked around that limitation through clever use of lighting and colours.

I knew how to do this because I’ve used similar techniques before when I’d been feeling uninspired, rushed and/or tired. Like in this digital piece I made when I was feeling uninspired and had also been dealing with computer problems (seriously, the picture below was a quick 15 minute remake of a better picture that I’d lost because of a mild computer crash halfway through making it):

“Shrouded In Static” By C. A. Brown

So, in conclusion, limitations can be either a frustrating challenge or an exciting puzzle at first. But, once you’ve worked out how to get around them, then this will improve your art in general and make it slightly more efficient too.

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Anyway, I hope that this was useful 🙂

How To Find Shortcuts For Image Editing – A Ramble

Well, I thought that I’d talk briefly about digital image editing today since the art in the webcomic mini series I’m making at the time of writing seems to be more digital than traditional (it’s still a mixture of the two though, but it’s like 70% digital). This has been a trend with a lot of my art (and webcomics) recently, and one of the reasons for this is that it’s easier to find efficient shortcuts when using digital tools.

But, how do you find them? Well, it’s mostly a combination of repetition and curiosity. The more often you do one type of thing, the more motivated you will be to find shortcuts for it.

For example, one of the three programs I’m using to edit my comic is version 2.6 of a free open-source graphics program called “GIMP“. I’m mostly using this program to add sky textures to the backgrounds of panels – like this one:

The full comic update will be posted here on the 23rd July.

The basic mechanism for doing this is something that I’ve learnt before. You start by selecting the blank background area with the “fuzzy select tool” (the icon looks like a torch or a magic wand). Although you don’t have to select the area, it’ll come in very handy later.

Once you’ve done this, select “fill” and then choose “pattern fill” from the menu at the bottom of the toolbar and then choose the “sky” texture from the options. Then fill the area that you’ve selected earlier. However, there is a slight problem with just doing this – see if you can spot it:

Well, THIS doesn’t look quite right!

Yes, the default sky texture is too dark. Since the area had been selected before we filled it, getting the sky texture right is just a simple matter of adjusting the brightness/contrast levels (in the “colours” menu at the top of the screen) until the selected area looks right. I found that a brightness of +20 and a contrast of +50 seemed to work fairly well.

But, of course, manually moving the sliders or typing in numbers every time I needed to do this gets tiring very quickly.

Doing this manually for every “piece” of the background can get tiring….

After doing this a few times, I noticed that the brightness and contrast sliders would increase in increments of 10 if you clicked on the right-hand edge of each slider. So, for a while, I fell into a routine of doing this. I’d click on the brightness slider twice and then click on the contrast slider five times. This sped things up a bit, but it still seemed at least mildly laborious and time-consuming.

But, a day or so later, I noticed the “Presets” option at the top of the dialogue box. And, after clicking on the drop-down menu, I noticed that it saved the brightness/contrast settings that you’ve used in the past. So, instead of clicking seven times, I only had to click on one thing:

Now THIS is a time-saver! And, yes, I tend to make comics (and write articles) ridiculously far in advance.

This is just one small example. But, if you have to do the same thing with an image editing program on a regular basis, then you’re going to find shortcuts after a while. Sometimes these will be the product of curiosity and sometimes they will be something so obvious that you’re surprised that you didn’t notice it before. But, if you do the same thing regularly, then you’re going to start finding shortcuts (or, sometimes, the shortcuts end up finding you).

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Anyway, I hope that this was useful 🙂

Two Basic Tips To Avoid Making “Bloated” Creative Works

Although this is an article about making art, making comics and writing fiction, I’m going to have to start by talking about computer games briefly. As usual, there’s a (vaguely) good reason for this that I hope becomes obvious later.

The day before I wrote this article, I ended up buying a modern re-release of a classic computer game (Quake), since it contained a couple of extra level packs that I didn’t own. But, I was genuinely shocked at how much larger the system requirements and file sizes were when compared to the original mid-1990s version of “Quake”. Although there are probably good reasons for this, when compared to the lean system requirements and file size of the original game, the modern re-release just seemed bloated.

This then made me think about how to avoid the same type of problem when it comes to making things like art, comics and writing. So, here are two basic tips:

1) File formats: One way to save memory, reduce loading times etc.. is simply to do some research into file formats. When saving digital copies of your work, choose the file format that works best for the practical purposes that you want to use it for.

For example, if you’re an artist or a photographer, then saving your images in a file format that includes less compression is probably only useful if you plan to make professional prints of them, or use them in professional settings. Likewise, if you’re making digital art, then keeping a higher-quality copy (since you don’t have a physical original) can also be very useful too.

But, if you’re just posting them on your website, posting them on social media, attaching them to an e-mail etc… then making a copy of the images that uses a more compressed file format (such as “.jpg”) will probably be much better. Yes, there will be a very slight loss in image quality (which will probably only be noticeable if you look very closely at the image), but the smaller file sizes are much more suitable for these practical purposes.

Likewise, some image editing programs – such as an open-source one called “GIMP” – even let you control the level of image compression when you save a file as a “.jpg”. But, MAKE A BACKUP COPY before you start experimenting with things like this. I cannot emphasise this enough!

These are the JPEG compression options in “GIMP 2.6” that appear when you save a file as a “.jpg”. You can change the level of compression by moving the “quality” slider.

As for writing – when writing drafts of these daily articles, I always save them as “.rtf” files. Since they don’t really include any seriously fancy formatting, this simpler file format keeps the file sizes a bit smaller and also means that, if I ever decide to use a different text editor, then all of my drafts will be compatible with it (since “.rtf” seems to be compatible with almost everything – unlike, say, formats like “.docx”).

So, do some research into file formats and choose one that works well for the practical purposes you’ll be using it for.

2) Planning and limitations: One of the best ways to stop art and comic from gobbling up too much time and effort when you are actually making them is simply to either plan it in advance or set yourself some limitations when you are actually making it.

For example, when I’m making my daily paintings, I almost always make sure that the paintings are the same size (18 x 18 cm, if anyone is curious). This small size means that, regardless of how detailed my art happens to be on a particular day, it’ll only take me 1-3 hours to fill an area of that size with art.

Likewise, when I’m making webcomics, I almost always try to plan them out in advance. I also usually set myself an informal limit for how long each comic will be (eg: most of my current webcomic mini series tend to be six comic updates in length). This stops my comic projects turning into bloated, unfocused open-ended things. The additional planning also allows me to refine the dialogue, panel layouts etc.. at an early stage, whilst also ensuring that I won’t be troubled by writer’s block when I’m actually making the comics too.

With prose fiction, the best way to reduce bloatedness is – of course- editing your fiction after you’ve written it. But, setting yourself an informal word limit or making some basic plans when you’re writing short stories etc.. can sometimes be a good way to keep the narrative focused in your first drafts.

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Anyway, I hope that this was useful 🙂

Artistic Sophistication Isn’t Everything – A Ramble

For today, I thought that I’d talk about artistic sophistication (eg: realism, detail etc…) and why it isn’t the be-all-and-end-all of being an artist. But, first, I thought that I’d illustrate what I’m talking about with a technology-based metaphor. If you aren’t interested in this, then skip the next two paragraphs.

A couple of days before writing this article, I ended up watching some Youtube videos about the history of handheld video game consoles, which contained an interesting fact (that anyone who grew up in the 1990s will know already). The Nintendo Game Boy vastly outsold the Sega Game Gear. If you had a handheld console in 1990s Britian, it was almost certainly a Game Boy. Yet, the Game Boy was considerably less sophisticated than the Game Gear.

The Game Gear had all sorts of impressive features like a full-colour screen, a cool-looking ergonomic design etc.. and the original Game Boy was a grey brick with a puke green low-resolution monochrome screen. Yet, the Game Boy was king. Why? It was cheaper, it was there first, it was incredibly reliable, the batteries lasted for ages and it was probably easier for companies to program games for it.

So, what does any of this have to do with art?

Well, everything.

For starters, one way to build an audience for your art is to produce it regularly and post it online regularly. Making art on a regular basis usually means that your art will be less detailed than it might be if you, say, spend several days or weeks on a single painting. For example, here’s a preview of one of the digitally-edited paintings for next month’s daily art posts:

This is a reduced-size preview, the full-size painting will be posted here on the 20th May.

It certainly isn’t my best or most inspired painting, but it isn’t my worst either. Yes, the background looks undetailed and it isn’t as good as paintings that I’ve made on more inspired days – like this one:

“Backstreets” By C. A. Brown

But, this doesn’t matter because it’s a daily painting. If I have a mediocre day, then there’s a chance that the next day’s painting will be better. Likewise, making art every day means that you have to learn how to get over feeling uninspired as quickly as possible (which increases your artistic confidence). It means that you have to learn how to make interesting-looking art efficiently. It also means that your audience has a good reason to look at your site or blog on a regular basis too.

A good example of this sort of thing can be seen in regularly-updated webcomics and syndicated newspaper cartoons. Most of the time, these cartoons don’t include hyper-detailed art. Compared to the comic books and graphic novels you might see in a bookshop, they look incredibly primitive. Yet, they have a much larger audience for the simple reason that they can be made quickly, published very regularly and read quickly.

Moving on to another subject, the “sophistication isn’t everything” rule also applies to the art supplies that you use. If you buy expensive art supplies, then you’re probably going to be more hesitant about using them (which means that you’ll practice and experiment less). If you buy expensive art supplies, then you’ll probably have less of them. If you buy expensive art supplies, then you might set yourself up for disappointment by forgetting that practice and skill are the really important factors behind making good art.

This even applies to digital tools too. For example, the program that I use for a fair amount of my image editing is an old one from 1999 called “JASC Paint Shop Pro 6”. Many of the useful features in this program can also be found in a free open-source program called “GIMP” (GNU Image Manipulation Program). These programs are easier to learn and use for the simple reason that they contain fewer ultra-complex features. This means that it’s easier to feel confident when using them, and it means that doing what you want to do with them is often a lot quicker too.

So, yes, sophistication isn’t everything. If anything, too much sophistication and complexity can actually be a hinderance.

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Anyway, I hope that this was useful 🙂

Simplicity, Efficiency And Creativity – A Ramble

2016 Artwork Simplicity and efficiency article sketch

Although this is an article about creating art, comics, fiction etc… I’m going to have to start by talking about old computer games for three paragraphs. As usual, there’s (sort of) a reason for this that I hope becomes obvious later.

The day before I wrote this article, I started playing a set of new fan-made levels (called “Death Wish”) for an old computer game called “Blood“. Although I’ll probably post a review of these levels when I’ve played more of them, I had a rather strange experience when installing the levels.

Many old games by certain developers have had their underlying source code released to the public, so that people can create free programs that allow them to run on modern computers. One of these games is ID Software’s “Doom”/ “Doom II”, which now has a plethora of programs (called “source ports”) that both enhance the game and allow it to run on 2000s and 2010s-era computers. These source ports also make installing and playing fan-made levels for “Doom”, “Doom II” etc.. really easy too.

But, even though other games with similar underlying code to “Blood” (eg: “Build Engine” games like “Duke Nukem 3D”) have had source ports released, the exact source code for “Blood” was never released, which made installing the fan made levels about ten times more difficult than it should be. It took a lot of online research, experimentation and trial and error to get this set of levels to run properly.

This, naturally, made me wonder if my experience with installing these computer game levels could teach us anything about creating art, comics etc… I’ll start by looking at it from the side of the person who creates these things and then I’ll look at it from the audience’s side.

If you create art, make comics or write fiction regularly, then you probably have your own set of routines that you follow. Your art style probably follows certain “rules”, you probably make preliminary pencil sketches in a particular way, your story or comic planning is usually done in a particular format etc…

Most of the time, these ‘routines’ and ‘rules’ evolve of their own accord because they make the process of writing, making art etc.. easier and quicker. They might also evolve because they allow you to produce better things with less effort. But, if you do anything creative regularly, you will probably find that you’ll fall into a routine and, gradually, your routine will make things easier for you.

Despite what people might say, these routines are a good thing- provided that you’re willing to let them evolve over time. To give you an example, the current standard size for most of my digtally-edited paintings is about 18×18 cm these days, with 1.5 cm black borders at the top and the bottom of each picture. Like this:

"Duty Free 1996" By C. A. Brown

“Duty Free 1996” By C. A. Brown

The borders help me to make a “landscape” picture in a square-like area (which displays at a larger size when the image size is automatically-adjusted on websites), they give the painting a “cinematic” look and they also give the impression that I’ve made a larger painting than I actually have (which saves time, since I only have to fill an 18 x 15 cm area with detailed artwork).

But, when I started making art regularly in 2012, my pictures didn’t use this format. In fact, it wasn’t until early this year that I eventually settled on this particular format. If I’d have stuck rigidly with my original format, rather than letting it evolve, all my pictures would still be small rectangular Tarot-card sized things. My current format may well end up changing again in the future, but it’s a good illustration of the fact that you should let your routines and ‘rules’ evolve over time.

This evolutionary procress can also be seen in the computer game “source ports” that I mentioned earlier. Because the people developing these programs are making them non-commercially, they will only usually alter or change the program when there is a good practical reason for doing so (eg: allowing higher screen resolutions, making fan-made levels easier to load, allowing modern control schemes to be used etc…).

As such, a newer version of a ‘Doom II’ source port like “ZDoom” is considerably more user-friendly and efficient than one from 10-15 years ago. This is a great example of creative evolution in action.

From the audience’s perspective, stories, comics and artwork that are “easily accessible” are generally a lot more enjoyable. If you can just jump right into a novel or a comic, then it’s a lot more fun and a lot more inviting. However, if you have to read several other things first, or study a particular type of art first etc… then this can be very off-putting to many people.

This is one reason why webcomics, graphic novels and manga are often a lot more popular than traditional American superhero comics. With many webcomics, you can just start reading them from any point in the comic’s run. Many graphic novels are also self-contained things that tell a single story. Likewise, with the relatively few manga paperbacks I’ve read, each book in a series is clearly numbered, so you know where to start and where to finish.

Manga paperbacks also always include a clear instruction page for how to read comics that have a Japanese-style layout. This is usually placed in the part of the book that new readers will instinctively look at first (eg: the front of the book), which helps to reduce confusion for new readers.

However, one thing that has always seemed a bit off-putting about superhero comics is the fact that you apparently have to have memorised a lot of history, characters and/or “mythology” in order to enjoy a particular comic. Likewise, many superhero comics are often sequels to other comics which can, in turn, be sequels to even older comics. Given that some of the major superhero franchises began decades ago, getting into superhero comics obviously isn’t really practical, cheap or easy for most new readers. No wonder their readership is declining!

Another good example is Lee Child’s series of “Jack Reacher” novels. Although there must be over twenty of these novels, one of the reasons why they have such a huge readership is because each novel can be read on it’s own. In other words, they’re written in a way that doesn’t require you to read them in order (even if one novel might take place after the events of another novel). This allows new readers to jump in at any point in the series, without having to worry about finding the previous novels first.

So, whenever you’re creating something, simplicity and efficiency are two words that you should always think about. Not only should your creative works be as efficient to make as possible, but they should also be as simple as possible for your audience to get into.

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Anyway, I hope that this was useful 🙂

Two Tips For When You Need To Focus On A New Creative Project (But You’ve Already Got Several Others Too)

2016 Artwork How To Handle A New Project article sketch

Yes, I know that I’m breaking my “don’t blog about blogging” rule for at least the twenty-seventh time, but – as always- I have a good reason for doing so. Today, I’ll be looking at what to do if you start working on a new creative project, when you’re already creating and posting things online on a regular basis.

I’ve dealt with this subject a few times, like during the five days that I spent writing an interactive horror/comedy story called “Acolyte!” in late September/ early October and I thought that I could offer two useful tips.

1) Efficiency: Back when I was writing “Acolyte!”, I didn’t have as much time or energy to spare for my usual daily articles and art posts. But, although I had a fairly large buffer of both articles and paintings, I didn’t really want to let this dwindle too much. So, instead, I worked out ways to spend less time and energy making art and writing articles.

This is why, for example, some of my articles from earlier this month (yes, my article buffer is several months long) feature recycled title art. Believe it or not, creating and editing the little title graphics at the top of each of these posts can sometimes take up to half of the time it takes me to write a blog post. So, I was able to save time during those five days by just re-editing some of my existing title graphics using MS Paint.

Likewise, many of the articles that I wrote during those five days were either fairly short or they were fairly rambling. I’ll talk more about how I wrote those articles later, but they were articles that were easier and/or quicker to write than most of my articles are.

As for my daily art posts, I’d fortunately started a series of minimalist limited palette paintings (which were posted here in January) before I’d started writing “Acolyte!”. As such, it was fairly easy for me to continue making these paintings, albeit with less background detail, when I was writing “Acolyte!”.

I guess that what I’m trying to say here is that, you need to find ways to spend a minimal amount of time and effort on your pre-existing projects whilst still working on your main project. If you can come up with ways to create filler content, then this can also be useful too.

Although this might seem like a lot of extra effort, it’ll help stop you losing momentum on your pre-existing projects. This means that, once you’ve finished your new project, you can get straight back to working on your old projects again with a minimum of disruption.

2) Similarity: Back when I was writing “Acolyte!”, almost all of the blog articles that I wrote were about interactive fiction. Likewise, most of the art that I made during this time was related to the horror genre too.

Why did I do this? Well, it was both to allow me to write articles and make art quickly, but also to prevent me from losing focus on the horror/comedy interactive story that I was writing at the time.

Since I was devoting a lot of my mental energy to writing interactive fiction and coming up with horror-based ideas, making sure that all of my other projects (eg: these articles and my daily art posts) were as closely related to these topics as possible helped me out a lot.

Since I didn’t have to think about any other topics, I could switch between writing daily blog posts, making art and working on “Acolyte!” fairly quickly. The lessons that I’d learnt from writing interactive fiction earlier that day could easily be turned into blog articles and, since I was already daydreaming a lot about the horror genre, it wasn’t too difficult to come up with ideas for horror-themed paintings.

So, if you’re working on a new project then, if possible, try to make your pre-existing projects as similar to it as you can get away with. Not only will this make you more inspired, but it’ll mean that you’ll be able to jump between projects a lot more quickly too.

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Anyway, I hope that this was useful 🙂