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#73

#73

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Digital Adhesive

Monet moves to Arlington Virginia from her small-town home. Richter is a CIA employee and all-around good uncle. Tegan is bubbly, simple, and friendly. These, and many others, are part of the web that is Digital Adhesive.

New comics every Monday and Friday!


news

Ok, so.

I'm sure some of you have noticed a lack of updates over the past week. I cut myself a little slack after I drove from D.C. to Maine and took a few days off, what with the holidays and all, but the more I thought about it the more I came to the conclusion that it might be time to move on from Digital Adhesive, at least for awhile.

See, I started DA back when I had no idea what I was doing as either a comic writer or comic artist. Now I have an inkling. DA has served as a learning tool from the ground up, and you can see changes in the way it's been drawn and structured from strip to strip - some for the better (gradual improvement in anatomy, better use of colors and inks), and some for the worse (canned black and white backgrounds). Fortunately I've ditched what didn't work and tried to stick with what did. I think the graph curves nicely overall.

The artist friends I've made on Something Awful, and especially through the #Dancecommander SynIRC channel have been instrumental in pretty much any progress I've made, and I'm eternally grateful to them all.

But this is also a good news post! The main reason I'm hanging up DA is I think I'm ready for something a little more challenging. I've spent the past week working on some concept art for a new strip I'm working on which will be a challenge in many respects. First off, I'm going to take a crack at the black and white medium. I used to think that B&W was easier than color. It's not. There's a whole new skill set to learn!

Secondly, the strip is going to be a medieval fantasy story. I've never drawn castles, armor, horses, or knights swinging swords at each other, so this will be a total lean-as-you-go experience. I have some plot ideas that I'm happy with, and I'm looking forward to the freedom that such a story will allow me. Unlike DA, I won't be constrained by "reality" as a setting.

I hope you've enjoyed the misadventures of Monet, Tegan, Richter, et al., and someday they may return. To be frank, Digital Adhesive was a pretty lousy strip all things considered, but I'll always love it because it was how I learned; how I got to where I am now. And that said, I'm only just beginning - I'm still a pretty mediocre artist at best, but the difference is now I *KNOW* that I can make a comic strip, whereas before I had my doubts.

I hope you're all enjoying the holiday season as much as I am, and I hope you enjoy my new strip when it releases, most likely in the middle of January.

Be good.


-Alex Stevens

Posted by DigitalAdhesive @ 26 Dec 2011 05:33 pm
Comments (1)

Quick (non)-Update

Hey everyone - I just moved, and drove about 12 hours in the process - so I'm going to give myself the day off. There'll be a new strip on Monday as per usual. I apologize for not having a buffer or replacement art; it's a lesson for the future. Hope you're all well.

Posted by DigitalAdhesive @ 15 Dec 2011 11:55 pm
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Time, she do fly.

It's been several weeks, check that, months, since my last news update. I think I've touched on this before, but I don't think that my readers want to hear me talk x amount of times per week unless I really have something to say. I know of some webcomics where the authors feel it's mandatory to inject a few paragraphs at the least after they post each comic. Hell, maybe they know what they're doing.

I just wanted to bring you all up to speed on a few things happening in my life. Looks like I'll be moving away from D.C. and heading back to Maine. I just haven't been able to find any work out here beyond a fry cook. I've tried temp agencies, government agencies, and asking random people on the street, but the stink of the matter is we're in a recession (soon to be a depression), there are hiring freezes all across my field of study, and it costs more than twice as much to live out here than back in my hometown of Portland Maine.

So is Mona leaving D.C. too when she runs out of money? Will she try and sell perfume at an upscale clothing store - you know - maybe the kind of place Tegan would go to buy some new shoes? Will she sleep in her car? Become a stripper? Who's to say!

I should be back in Portland by December 15th, give or take a day, so things will be a little hectic for me in the meantime. Fortunately that shouldn't affect the release of my comics, and if, god forbid, I have to skip a day as I get resettled, I'll be sure to let you know.

Hope you're all doing well - I hope you continue to enjoy my comic, and I hope you're all good to each other.

Posted by DigitalAdhesive @ 14 Nov 2011 12:43 am
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September Update

Hard to believe that October is almost here! The past six weeks have just flown by, and I've been lax in my news updates. Of course, I only like posting when I have something to say, and today I do.

First off, my friends/editors from Something Awful went through my archives and did a livestreamed video roast of Digital Adhesive, and it was fantastic. I didn't watch the stream live because I wanted them to feel free to be themselves without worrying about hurting my feelings, and... boy howdy, they were themselves alright! They even did me the courtesy of a 20 minute after-stream interview which I have the video for as well. You should check out the recordings!

Part 1: http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/17384194
Part 2: http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/17385446
Interview: http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/17385739

Just a warning - at roughly the two minute mark in the interview my microphone commits suicide and it sounds horrible. You might want to adjust your volume accordingly. I return a minute or so later with a different mic.

Octatonic, one of the great people from SA wrote a song in tribute to Tegan's old hair - the "hairboner" or "haracite" or whatever you want to call it. The song is aptly titled "Pompadour Goes to Heaven." It's quite moving: http://tindeck.com/listen/pwqa

And last but certainly not least, my good friend Obfuscobble has continued to help me improve my artwork and I wanted to post a link to his Tumblr site - it's worth a look - he's an amazing artist: http://obfuscobble.tumblr.com/

That should do it for now; take care!

Posted by DigitalAdhesive @ 30 Sep 2011 04:54 am
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Another Set of Eyes

See, there's a reason everyone should have an editor. I'm fortunate enough to have a cabal of friends that I usually show each strip to before I publish it just in case they see some kind of mistake I made that somehow escaped my notice. After all, when you've been working with the same piece of art for hours, you view it differently than someone that's seeing it for the very first time, and you can often become oblivious to some pretty glaring mistakes. For example, can you tell me why I ended up rejecting the original line art to this strip at the 11th hour? Thanks be to all my friends from Something Awful.

imagebam.com

Posted by DigitalAdhesive @ 22 Aug 2011 08:12 am
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Slight Delay

I sent a tweet out about this, but for those who haven't subscribed to me, Friday's comic, if you haven't already guessed it, is going to be slightly delayed. I was on the road for 16 hours yesterday, and even though I make my comics in advance, there were a few changes I needed to make at the last moment, and, well, chalk it up to poor planning. It'll post Saturday.

Thanks for your understanding.

Posted by DigitalAdhesive @ 05 Aug 2011 09:11 pm
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Fan Art!

Fan Art!

I’m fortunate enough to have fallen in with a group of very talented artists. The best thing about these guys is when I show them my work, they will actually, gasp, tell me what’s wrong with it! There’s no backslapping, feel-good, atta’boy echo chamber here, and it’s invaluable, because fresh eyes, especially the eyes of experts, can spot things in your own work that you just miss because you’ve become so used to what you’ve been drawing for the past several hours.

I’ve gotten a lot of flack from them about Teegan’s hairstyle. Her ‘do is an artifact of when my style was a bastardized hybrid of cartoon meets manga. Since strip one, the ratio of cartoon to manga has been changing at an increasing pace. Yet, Teegan’s bangs remain cartoony – that is to say, they look like they’re held up with industrial solvent.

I’ve messed around with some concept art to try and redesign her hair, but the other day a friend of mine sent me a piece of fan art that just blew me away, and I’m going to have to shamelessly rip it off to the best of my ability:



That’s what four years at a sequential art school will get you! For the rest of us, we just have to fake it!

Posted by DigitalAdhesive @ 15 Jul 2011 03:33 am
Comments (1)

On Character Voices

I think I'm a pretty good writer.

There's an inherent danger in that kind of statement. When you think you've got something figured out, you become blinded to your own shortcomings in that area. Sure, you may objectively be better suited to a particular creative aspect than others, but when you start thinking you're the bomb, you stop trying to improve yourself, and can wind up in a place you didn't intend to go.

Take character voices for example. One way to spot a bad web comic is when none of the characters truly have their own "voice." A good test is by taking all the word bubbles on a page and swapping them randomly between characters. If you can't tell the difference in who's saying what, those characters probably need some reworking - something to make them unique - some actual *personality* of their own.

I don't think I'm that bad; I like to imagine that I could tell the difference between something Richter would say as opposed to Monet nine times out of ten, but such carelessness can extend even to basic character design. For example, take Tegan.

When I look back on her as she appeared in the first few strips, I'm actually quite surprised by what I see. She's... well, your stereotypical dumb blonde; an archetype I thought I'd be above creating. Fortunately she's evolved out of that on her own by now (you can't tell because as of this date I've written eight strips that haven't posted yet). Not satisfied with a complete two-dimensional caricature of a character (say that five times fast) she's become a little deeper, a little more introspective, and a little more of a real person instead of a one-note joke.

But the fact of the matter is I originally created her as a one-note joke without intending to. That's sloppy writing. When it comes to anything creative, especially when it uses multiple forms of media like comics (writing + art), there's a lot that can go wrong. The more moving parts in a machine, the easier it is for it to break. This extends to all forms of creative pursuit, from comics and writing to music and film. It's easy to get trapped in your own style.

Like everything else in life, I think the trick is to always be truly, deeply aware of what you're doing in the moment.

For now, it's back to the drawing board.

Posted by DigitalAdhesive @ 10 Jul 2011 12:03 pm
Comments (1)

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