Archive for November, 2012

Autumn Children (Take 1) – Pages 36-37

Sunday, November 25th, 2012

With this, Autumn Children reaches the page count of Fairy Ring and is now 72% complete. (There are four acts, three of which are 16 pages long and one of which is only 2 pages long, for a total of 50 pages.)

Now that the end is in sight, there are some things that are still bothering me about Autumn Children, but I’ve overcommitted too far to fix those problems.

Art-wise, the problem is consistency. Shizuha’s house, as seen in the background of Act 1 and 2, changes every time it appears (a result of using different references each time). Shizuha herself goes from being taller than Lunasa in the beginning of Act 1, but once she meets Lunasa, she suddenly becomes shorter. It becomes obvious now with the reappearance of the boy from Act 1 who gave Shizuha a leaf.

Story-wise, the first problem is an identity crisis. What is the singular message of the story? I eventually settled on “You’re stronger than you realize”, which is fortunately supported by the events of the story. But the problem was that I decided on the message only after Act 2 was complete. It was competing with other messages such as “Gods and people need each other” and “A demon is just a god that has lost his/her love for people”. Dialogue and events meant to support those other messages remain in the script, keeping it from being as focused as it could be.

The other story problem comes from requiring the audience to believe that Shizuha had such a crushing lack of self-confidence that she couldn’t see that she could make herself useful even without her powers.

As you will see, Shizuha does have some talent. But how has nobody else realized it and encouraged her to use it more? Did she think herself so weak that she avoided contact with people?

And how has Minoriko, or any of the other gods, not done anything to solve (or even notice) the problems Shizuha is having? Was Shizuha content with her limited role in the past, and only started being bothered by it when the demon started tormenting her?

Illustration: Mutsuki, who ships Reimu x Minoriko, which as far as I can tell is even more crack than Lunasa x Shizuha.

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Autumn Children (Take 1) – Pages 33-35

Thursday, November 22nd, 2012

I was going to hold off on posting last week’s update until Sunday, but I decided to do something for Thanksgiving.

I’m thankful for many things, but today I will focus on one person who I have yet to properly thank.

Albert T. McNea (1940-2005) was an Irish-American industrial design illustrator. He was a senior designer for the Ford Motor Company for 30 years, and when he moved to the west coast he worked for Boeing and Walter Dorwin Teague. As you might expect from his work experience, his skill at drawing vehicles, whether cars, planes, or boats, was unmatched. Unfortunately, very little of his work can be found online. I wouldn’t have known of his legendary skill if he hadn’t been my illustration professor at the Art Institute of Seattle.

Professor McNea’s job was mostly about vehicles, but he drew all sorts of other things in his own time. As a member of the Puget Sound Group of Northwest Painters, he would also do landscapes and seascapes. He also did a little cartooning, and admired two comic strips above all others: Winsor McCay’s Little Nemo in Slumberland and Bill Watterson’s Calvin and Hobbes.

I sometimes talk about how my work derives from the work of Japanese moe-specialists such as Kito. But I owe just as much to Professor McNea – probably more, since he actually gave me feedback, showed me how to correct my mistakes, and pushed me to keep improving. My style looks more like Kito’s than Professor McNea’s, but if you look carefully, you can see the influence of the old Irishman in my work: vehicles, natural landscapes, cartoons of heavy black lines. I’m obviously not as good as Professor McNea (or Kito, for that matter), but to become great, you have to strive to emulate the best.

Professor McNea was the first Irishman I met in my life. While he didn’t introduce me to Irish food or music, I don’t think I would have gravitated toward them if he hadn’t given me a positive impression of being Irish. It is said that the Irish are fighters, and Professor McNea approached his work and his students with great energy and passion, even late in his life. As he liked to say, “There’s snow on the peak, but there’s fire in the furnace”.

The “Irishness” of Lunasa in Autumn Children, as well as what Shizuha learns she can do to help the people of Gensokyo throughout the year (as you will see in the December updates), are inspired by Professor Albert T. McNea.

Thanks for everything, Professor.

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Page 35


Sunday, November 18th, 2012

Illustration: Rebecca

I messed up Page 34 and had to start over. There will be no Autumn Children update this week.

The Thanksgiving holiday should give me time to catch up, and there should be a four-page update on Nov. 25.

If there’s anyone actually still reading Autumn Children, please accept my apologies for the delay.

Autumn Children (Take 1) – Pages 31-32

Sunday, November 11th, 2012

Feeling a little sick. No fancy information for you today.

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Page 32


Autumn Children (Take 1) – Pages 29-30

Sunday, November 4th, 2012

The end of Act 2 is coming next week. Normally the deciding blow of a battle should get more space than it did, but expanding Parsee’s speech earlier in the act made it necessary to cut a page from the battle. I decided to save time and stay within the “16 pages per act” page limit rather than go over. Besides, the important revelation (that needs the space more) comes after the battle, not during it.

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