Monday, October 31, 2011

My Little Copper Road

The prep work is done for the next Copper Road comic, which I'm aiming to get out tomorrow! As you can see by this sketches, we're trick or treating... AS PONIES!

Hey, I can indulge a bit if I want to!

Here, the Great and Powerful Quincy returns. I have to decide when I put him in the strip whether I want the ears in or out of the hat. Trixie is ears-in, but that looks kinda weird here.

Good old Kaitlyn gets to be Applejack. That hat drove me nuts, and it drives me nuts still.

Yvettershy and Derpy Vincent may not make the comic, but I wanted to draw them anyway!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The new site is a go!

Today we are transitioning Precocious over to the new site. While this happens, expect a few errors to pop up here and there, so stay calm. Now, let's cover some of the big changes!

The big change here is in the archive organization. Gone is the number-based system and here is one that is date based. I admit it's not as easy to navigate as the number one, but it's much easier for me to update (and protect my future updates) on the back end, so you'll have to deal with it. I'm not happy that a lot of links to my comics are about to break, but that's a consequence of the transition.

This is still a work in progress. Many internal HTML pages aren't in place yet. Some of the missing ones (like the cast page) are coming back soon. Others, like much of the old extras section, are probably gone for good.

The first 100 comics have lost all their comments. That's my fault, due to me not knowing what I was doing early on. The rest of the comments should be in place.

I am sure there are plenty of little glitches lurking out there. If you find one, don't hesitate to click the feedback link in the top menu and let me know what's wrong. I'll also take suggestions if you have them!

Again, don't panic. Take a look around. Enjoy the new features. Test the story navigation! Use the new share buttons to spread the word! (Please?)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

What might have happened

When you write a story - especially a long on like the Birthday Bashing arc - some ideas change dramatically from inception to execution, and a good number of thoughts end up on the cutting room floor.

When writing the water balloon confrontation, I took it through many incarnations before it hit its final form. At one point Suzette was the betrayer. (Or, rather, suddenly a "conscientious objector.") At another, Dionne tried to betray so much she asked for her own balloon to soak Autumn with - which promptly got HER soaked by the males, who weren't buying it. (Autumn was saved!) Finally, I decided to let Autumn have it again - since that seems to be how all gender wars end up.

Because I'm trying to streamline things to finish up the story, I tend to cut a lot of the non-essential connective tissue. The above scene is one of the many possible transition strips between the betrayal and Autumn's soaking. It's not canon, just a possibility, but do note how in the strip before (strip #964) Dionne and Suzette are positioned behind the two males most likely to chicken out. So much could have happened!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The mission remains the commission

Here's a (quickly-drawn) new and improved pose for the Slick Kat commission. The request was crossed arms and I'm going to do my best to comply! I'll need to draw it larger to work out some of the details, but I like this direction. (These were done at the bottom of the page with the other sketches, so I could copy the markings.)

Bonus trivia time: My photo reference for the pose? Homer Simpson.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The mission is commission

Today I bring you two more commission pieces in progress.

The inks for the Quincy piece are done, and now the tough stuff begins. This is easily going to be my most challenging watercolor due to the tree, but I also must figure out how to properly render Quincy as being in the shade. I'm aiming to get to the coloring tomorrow, but don't hold me to it!

And here we have concept sketches for a commission of a reader's character, Slick Kat, done as a Precocious kid. I need to work on the markings a bit more before it's correct, but it's a start. The clothing and pose are not set either, although I do equate vest with "slick". This was just a first try.

I demand a lot from my readers

Look! It's the lost Yvette watercolor! The good lad who received her was kind enough to take the photo I forgot to take and send it to me... and it only cost him the price of a NEW CAMERA! (I appreciate the dedication, but that money could have been spent on ME instead!)

Anyway, if this is a trend, the next person I send a watercolor to has to buy one of those extremely sensitive $2000 large-format scanners to capture the essence of the piece. And then they should send me that scanner, because daddy wants.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Think Summer!

Here are some sketches for my latest commission: A Quincy painting inspired by the summer panel in this strip. I must say I'm surprised that Quincy has popped up again, but I'm happy he's getting attention.

The main tweaks that are going into transitioning that panel to a watercolor composition are changing the tree into a weeping willow so the leaves can reach into the frame and figuring out the position of Quincy's legs. The original pose is in the sketch on the left, with an alternative on the right. I've had fun drawing the spread leg pose recently, and I think it could work here if I figure out what to do with his tail, as it wants to occupy the same space. The final consideration is how close I pull in on Quincy. This will be settled at the ink stage, I guess. I'd love to go to the edge of the paper, but that seriously causes problems for anyone who'd want to frame the art.

I'm glad I got another commission! I was worrying my opportunities had already dried up.


Friday, October 21, 2011

Heeeeeerrrreeee's Quincy!

And the first batch of watercolors is complete. I'm ready for a second batch now!

The reason you only see Quincy and not Yvette is because I totally forgot to take pictures of them before shipping. Yvette was already gone by the time I realized it, but Quincy was still sitting around in an envelope. I ripped it open, snapped a photo and taped it back up again! Hooray for absent-minded artists!

(Oh, and I saw your request, Slick Kat, and gave you a reply. )

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Time for more watercolors!

The inks are done for the latest two watercolor projects. These are the last in my queue, so someone please commission a new one and fix that!

On each project, I was given two "I trust you"s when I submitted the sketches... so you guys are now at my mercy! I made some command decisions on my own and now you're stuck with 'em! (I hope you like it.)

The actual watercoloring should happen tonight, meaning all watercolors should ship out tomorrow. Hooray!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Ask the characters!

For the vote incentives for the last week of October, I am going to do an "ask the characters" series of comics - and I'd like your help! Send me your questions for any or all of the characters and I'll do my best to turn them into comics like the one above!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

More commission sketches

Here's some sketch work for Yvette and Quincy commissions. Wouldn't you like to see me sketching ideas for a commission of YOURS?

For Yvette, the challenge was to draw her in queen mode, ready to smack someone with the scepter, such as in strip #482. (With the tiara from #488). I haven't done much with poses yet, with my focus going towards potential outfits. Her royal look was never shown in the comic, and I'm not sure how far to go with it. Perhaps more playing around is needed.

The Quincy commission was simple to make a Quincy watercolor, so the goal is to make it as Quincy a watercolor as a Quincy watercolor can be! I can't video game him beyond a DS, because where would the cords go? I can't really put him in a cape due to that dang tail getting on the way. (I had to droop it and make a sad Quincy.) Is a magic want enough for wizard roleplay without a cape? *shrug* we'll see.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Tiff and cookies for all!

Forgot to post the third watercolor commission earlier, but here it is now!

I'm working on another Yvette now, and I'd love to have another project after that. Care to help me out?

Friday, October 14, 2011

You want these!

Behold: Two finished watercolor commissions for the commissionathon! Don't you want one of your own? You totally do. And I want you to want one too!

Because I really need your money.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Now the hard part!

Here are two more inks that need some watercoloring! That brings the total to three, and that means it's time to break out the paints. These are going to be tough experiments, but it'll be fun to see how they come out!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Flower Power!

A new commission appears! This request is for Suzette going full flower child, as hinted at with her makeover in the current arc. I was tempted to sit her down and make her strum a guitar, but doing so would cover up the tie-dye shirt, and I really want a chance to watercolor that thing!
And I haven't forgotten the other commission! Here's the final inked version. Watercoloring begins... well, I dunno when. I may do it tonight. I may do it Thursday. Wednesday is a comic work day, so probably not then.

Either way, THESE TWO COMMISSIONS DESPERATELY NEED BUDDIES! Guys, I am never going to be able to pay my bills unless you start demanding watercolors!

Evil girl scout fun!

And here's the "final" sketch for the chosen subject of commission #1. If approved, I'll ink it, erase the pencil and get with the watercolors. This is going to be a challenge because of all the details, but commission #1 deserves the best!

Also, since I'm working on these things, I need to finalize that bonus gocco print that goes with every order. At the moment, I believe I'm going to reuse my favorite sketch from the donation drive (I was given permission by its owner, Darc of Code Name: Hunter). Assuming I stick with the design below, that means I need to find a way to gain access to a photocopier, as my printmaking process needs the carbon that comes in the toner. Challenges!

Monday, October 10, 2011

More evil scouting!

I promised in the post below I'd be back soon with the Tiffany sketches, and here they are! This time I had a one track mind with the evil scout idea. Tiffany seems the type to get a bunch of cookie boxes to deliver, round the corner, sit down and promptly eat everything. (Then nap?)

The sketches are a bit rushed this time, but I think you can get the ideas behind them. The closest to the idea I had in mind is the bottom sketch. If it's selected, the final probably won't have the text, but I thought it was funny enough to include here.

Between Tiffany and Suzette, I'm not sure what I prefer. I like both concepts, so I'm going to let my patron choose his favorite and move on from there!

Let's get to work!

I gotta admit, I'm a bit surprised at how big a dud this commissionathon has been so far. I knew it would be a tough sell for my friends, even though they are INCREDIBLE artists - but I kinda figured I'd get more than ONE request on the first day. Oh well! That means it's time to spoil my one patron rotten! I'm sure tomorrow will be better.

This request was to create a composition of a Precocious girl as an evil girl scout. I've narrowed the candidates down to Suzette and Tiffany, and you can see my Suzette sketches here. (I'll work on Tiffany and make a separate post for those sketches in an hour or two.) The first sketch I did was of Suzette earning her "knot tying" badge, via noose. Maybe that's too dark? The next idea was a protest, with her burning the (vastly overrated) girl scout cookies. I couldn't figure out how to make it a horizontal composition, due to my inability to properly draw girls in skirts sitting down, so I moved on. The last two ideas kept the cookies, but turned Suzette into a threatening seller.

So that's sketches for evil scout #1. Stay tuned for evil scout #2!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Finding a print subject

Here are the first sketches done for the commissionathon bonus gocco print. I'm not sure any of these are that good, but my favorite is sweet Jacob.

These prints are going to be simple black and white things, as that's the limitations of the gocco press. (Technically, the line art can be any color, but I'm assuming black will be used.) I suppose I could draw a big complex scene and shrink it down for the print, but that carries some risks to it - and it's hardly in the simple spirit of Precocious! But, hey, I'm open to any ideas. I want these prints to be enticing enough that you guys commission me AND my pals!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

It's commissionathon time!

So... as you might guess, that image above is not mine. It belongs to one of my friends, who is joining me on this current fundraising experiment. See, this time it's just not me looking for some commission. There are three of us, here for all you drawing needs.

There's a decent amount of Precocious readers who qualify as liking furry art, so we decided to team up and offer our services. Unlike me, they have TALENT, so they can draw most anything you ask them do, anthro or good old-fashion humans or animals.

For me... you know what I do. I draw Precocious-y stuff, and that's it. What I'm offering for this run are half-page watercolor pieces, featuring one character (mine or yours) and maybe one prop for $25 each. (Look down the blog for the Dionne/Jacob pieces for an example.) Normally I'd charge more, but since these are experiments so I can get better at the whole watercolor thing, you get a discount.

My friends are MUCH more versatile, and able to offer a great variety of tasks. You can get a sense of the work one offers from the piece above. (Which I should mention is from a few years back, so she's even better now!) The other draws ridiculously cute chibi art! I'll have a sample of her work up shortly. Their prices will range from $15 sketches to $50 full-color single character pieces done in a variety of methods. (Extra charges apply for extras, such as more than one character and backgrounds, of course.)

All artwork, no matter who does it, will be accompanied by a special limited-edition Precocious gocco print. This way you get something Precocious-y AND get superior artwork of your favorite character!

This is kinda an emergency fundraiser thing, as we're all in need at the moment. This post is a feeler to see if anyone out there is willing to work with the three of us. When the commissionathon officially launches, I'll put it out where people can actually see it. If you're reading this now and want to give my friends and me a shot, please reply here or drop me an email at

Edit: And just so you guys know. We don't do anything porny. Don't even try to ask.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The long-term commission

As I'm gearing up to start a commissionathon in the coming weeks, my thoughts turn to the one outstanding commission I have left - a no-deadline project for Codefox. It's had to sit on the back burner for far too long while I got my stuff together with school and the book and general craziness - and, to be honest, it's going to have to mostly sit while a bunch of small commissions go in front of it again - but I want to start making some progress with the sketches. (It's going to take a LOT of sketches to get things together.

What you see here will bear no resemblance to the final piece, except for the dress. I had a moment of horror earlier when I realized I had saved a LINK to the suggested dress for her and not the actual picture. LINKS CAN CHANGE! Fortunately, the image was still there (I assume it to be the same one as requested) and it has since been saved. This is my first attempt at drawing it. The rest of the foxy lady? I was too lazy to go back to the emails and find his requests and physical descriptions, so I just drew a lass! Don't worry, when I get more pro I will be a good artist and follow his wishes. For now, I'm just playing around with the dress because I avoided doing something stupid in losing it.

Sorry about the bad scan. I had it on the wrong setting, and didn't feel it was worth redoing. Yeah, lazy night. Hey, I just did a 12-hour comicthon, with (if I can do it) a 12-hour coloringathon coming up tomorrow. And I did work all morning on the website! I DESERVE LAZY NIGHT!

The swatch project!

As the few souls that have tried to color Precocious strips know, I'm an idiot. The swatches I've used for the last FOREVER have been in jpeg format, also known as "let's scramble color just because!" files. This is why characters sometimes subtly shift in color. (That, and I'm really lazy about checking my work.)

But this can change! In doing my book work, I discovered a treasure trove of old hi-res files I though I had lost. Among them... THE ORIGINAL SWATCHES! Download it here. (TIFF format.)

The problem now... this file was made in 2009! I have likely updated some colors since then! Off the top of my head, Deirdre got lighter in the most recent strip she appeared in, and Yvette got darker in her most recent appearances. (The first was on purpose. The second was an accident, but I like it.) Oh yeah, and Tiff's hair became more vibrant when I realized the old color was too close to the yellow of Autumn's house. Those changes are NOT in the new swatch file... yet.

There are other colors missing too, like typical clothing colors for adults, house colors and the CURRENT house interior colors. I think all houses by Bud's got tweaked over time. The task that stands in front of us, fellow colorists, is to update the damn swatches! Do I use the same color for all sidewalks/grass/trees/skies? Find and add it! (Or choose one to be the new standard.) There are dozens of numbered spots on the swatch file that need some colors thrown in!

Yes, I know I'm talking about this as a "we" thing, but we all know it's actually a "me" thing. I need to be more attentive when coloring and update the swatches as I go. I need to hunt down my changes and make sure they're in there. I need to eventually redo the whole thing for more clarity. Problem is, that's all I can do for a long time, as I'm going to be super busy.* Swatch upkeep will have to go on the "when I get to it" list.

But, hey, at least you colorists out there have a better file to work with now! (And I can provide other formats if needed. Just email me.)

*Here's the estimated busy schedule, for the curious:

This week:
1. Get all book files to the publisher.
2. Try to get myself back up to a week ahead in final strips, so I can do this next week stuff...

Next week:
1. Open up for commissions. (If you want one, be sure to set aside $25 for that.)
2. Begin writing commentary for the book.
3. Finish the Birthday Bashing outline, so I can start planning strip 1000.

Whenever I get time:
1. Work on the bonus story for the book.
2. Do the swatches thing.
3. Finish the 24-hour comic day work.
4. Set up for the last week of October incentives.
5. Start some art auctions, assuming the other auction isn't happening.
6. That thing I was just thinking of that went out of my head.

And, of course, keep Precocious (and Copper Road, after October ends) going the whole time. So. Yeah. Busy.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

24 hour comics day: SEMI-SUCCESS!

I am 12 hours into 24-hour comic day, and, shockingly, I FINISHED 12 COMICS! And they don't even suck! Sure, they may not be as substantial as a regular Precocious update, but they are sweet and tasty bites, like comic candy! I can't wait to let you eat them up!

So the plan to make this project into a daily vote incentive is a GO! The first page is up now, so go vote for me to see it! I'm so excited for this! I met my goal! I WAS IN THE ZONE!

Oh, and did I mention... I GOT RETWEETED BY SCOTT MCCLOUD! He is a cartooning god and *the* 24-hour comic day guy! This was the greatest experiment, guys. What a great day.

I know I didn't do the full 24-hour task, but with my finger and obligations, it would have been foolish to go that far. I may still do a few more tonight if I'm up to it, but for now I will bask in my semi-success.