The Gate at the End of the World (version 1)

kitlinqitinmap

I started working on The Gate at the End of the World in June 2016. What I wrote was a script that would eventually be adapted into a comic. This never happened. I ran out of steam toward the end of the story and concluded it fairly quickly, and only drew two maps, a few character designs, and one test page.

gatev1testpage

The story as supposed to be twenty chapters long, with four parts of five chapters each – each part would correspond to a season, starting in summer. Each chapter would be around 20 pages long, so the comic would be around 400 pages long. I also decided later on – after drawing the test page – that it would be easier to do everything in black and white.

But that doesn’t tell you anything about the story itself, does it? Let’s get to that. Here’s the summary:

Renyeten ton Haraz Fiunel travels from her hometown of Haraz all the way to the arctic country of Kitlin. 795 years ago, the majority of her ancestors, the Visanan, traveled through the Gate at the End of the World. They left behind a monument and fragments of their language and culture, both in stone and through stories told by the indigenous peoples of the arctic.

As there is no one who speaks Visanan in the arctic, Renyeten’s job is to act as a cultural and linguistic interpreter for a small group of people whose main job is to watch the Gate and keep track of everything that comes through it.

gatev1chars1

These two characters are Sajiiqitin Jukiikiuqanait (nicknamed Sajiiq) and Renyeten, who was primarily referred to as Ren. Sajiiq was an excitable Qitiniina botanist. She didn’t make it into the 2nd version of The Gate at the End of the World, but I did find a place for her in The Land of Two Moons as Sajikitin Jukikynai, a botany professor.

Ren became Ren Fennel in the 2nd version of The Gate at the End of the World and The Land of Two Moons.

gatev1chars2

Harnur Bardusukålur and Tjarå Mårsur. Harnur was a historian who studied folklore about the Gate. I ended up not really knowing what to do with him, and as a result, he doesn’t have an equivalent in version 2 of The Gate or The Land of Two Moons.

Tjåra was a doctor and one of the more level-headed residents of the area around The Gate. She became Tjära Kvennirna in the 2nd version of The Gate and Tjara Kyvenna in The Land of Two Moons. I’m not quite sure why she went through so many name changes.

gatev1chars3

Bríthan Tiskur and Håkiakyn Mårsursukålur (or Håki for short). Bríthan was a hunter/tracker and Håki was a doctor-in-training who was apprenticed to Tjarå. They got renamed to Brithan Thiosciáre and Häkirin Mäurkala in the 2nd version of The Gate at the End of the World, and those names stayed the same in The Land of Two Moons, aside from some accents. These two had the most consistent designs over all three stories.

There was another character, Gorten Jornå (who I never drew a reference for), who was the basis for Kallinu Jurne in version 2 of The Gate and The Land of Two Moons. They were the camp priest.

gatev1campmap

Here’s a map of the immediate area where the story took place. The Exclusion Zone was a roughly circular area around the Gate that fluctuated from time to time. Plant life inside the Exclusion Zone was strange. Occasionally, mutated animals came through the Gate, and it was the job of the people inside the camps to stop those animals from leaving the Exclusion Zone before they contaminated things or caused problems.

Also, the Exclusion Zone was the only place magic could be used. Bríthan was the only character in the main cast who regularly used magic, since he was the one who went into the Exclusion Zone the most, to hunt and track mutated animals.

I don’t think this is a bad premise. But, five years later, I think I have a good idea of why this story didn’t work out. There was simply too much going on: the Exclusion Zone threat and the Visanan stuff. I know stories with two plots running at the same time can work, but this was definitely not one of them. If I’d picked one to focus on, I think things would have turned out better.

In fact, I’d really like to use the Exclusion Zone idea in a future story. I’d have to make all new characters and probably create an entirely new setting, but it’s something that still manages to hold my interest after all these years. It still pops up into my head from time to time.

That’s it for version 1 of The Gate at the End of the World. Next week, I’ll be talking about version 2.

Mid-August Update

Hello! How long as it been since my last blog post?

Four months? Oh geez. I totally didn’t intend for that to happen.

I’ve been quite busy these past few months, mostly with scripting and drawing The Gate at the End of the World. I’m a little past halfway through writing the script, and I just finished drawing the 50th page yesterday.

Fifty pages! I drew 40 of those this year, and my original goal was to draw 50 during 2017. Drawing those last 10 pages to reach my goal will only take me until the end of October. Anything after that will be surpassing my original goal.

This is especially awesome since I thought I’d get sick of drawing comics and quit just a few months in. I’ve had a hard time committing to and finishing stories for the past few years.

So since my last update post about The Gate, some things have changed. I’ve changed my posting schedule to one day per week (Tuesday) because:

  1. I’m working five days a week now
  2. My hands and arms were constantly in pain, and I didn’t want to develop tendinitis or worsen my existing carpal tunnel
  3. My buffer ran out

This means it’ll take twice as long to finish drawing the comic, but I’m feeling much better, mentally and physically. Perhaps when I’m in a better situation I can go back to two pages per week, but I don’t see that happening for a while.

So that’s where I am with what I’m currently working on. What about everyone else? How are your projects going?

Camp NaNoWriMo

Happy April, folks!

I decided like a week ago that I was going to participate in Camp NaNoWriMo in April. I seriously didn’t even know it was coming up, but then I got an email or something and thought, “That could be a good idea!”

So I decided to continue working on the script of The Gate at the End of the World, in the hopes that I might finish it. That seemed like a good idea at the time. But now I’m working three days a week and taking a class on the other two, so now I have a lot less time than I thought I would.

So, I’m going to attempt Camp NaNoWriMo, even though it’s the last thing on my priority list. Even if I don’t reach my goal (20,000 words), I ought to get a good amount of the script completed.

Is anyone else doing Camp NaNo? If so, what’s your project?

After one month of posting The Gate…

It’s been exactly a month since my last post! Happy March, everyone.

And during that month, I’ve posted 13 pages of The Gate at the End of the World. How many pages have I completed drawing?

Well…two.

And how many did I managed to draw during all of January? Eight.

I had a schedule of drawing two pages per week that I wanted to stick to, and for the most part, I did. Then things started to get derailed in mid-February, when I realized I had to make some 3D reference models in order to draw future pages. I finished them about a week ago, and promptly started work on the new pages, which I am still not done with.

I really did not expect that some pages would take so much longer than others and completely derail my entire schedule for weeks. Weeks!

In better news, my artwork has been improving! I didn’t expect it to happen so quickly. Drawing is becoming much easier, and it takes a lot less time than it used to.

Now on to some future things.

If you’ve seen the progress bar on the sidebar to the right, you can see that the script is projected to end up at around 330 pages. At 2 pages per week, I could draw 104 pages in a year, and it’d take around 3 years to draw and post the whole thing online.

There are several reasons I’m drawing & posting two pages per week. One is that I’m actually drawing spreads instead of individual pages. The other is that I’m scripting on weekdays and only drawing on Fridays and weekends – each page takes around 5-6 hours and I need quite a few breaks to prevent hand cramps & random aches and pains.

But I’ve been thinking about what’s going to happen once I finish scripting (which I honestly don’t even need to think about, since that’s not going to happen for months, but whatever). Since I won’t need the time during the week to script, should I draw even more pages and switch to a 3 day per week updating schedule? If I get to the point where I have a gigantic buffer will I end up doing updates every weekday?  Will I end up being done in two years instead of three?

Who knows!

The Gate at the End of the World: Now online!

Happy February everyone!

I’ve made a few posts mentioning The Gate at the End of the World before, and I’m now happy to say I’ve started posting the first pages online! The entire prologue (5 pages) is up on both Smackjeeves and Tapastic.

Now, in my opinion, I’m not that great of an artist. I basically can’t draw anything that isn’t people just standing around. I wanted to wait until my art skills improved more before I started a comic, but…that’s not going to happen. Sometime last year, I realized that if I kept putting off drawing a comic, I’d never actually improve at drawing comics. Or anything.

So that’s why I’m drawing a comic: to improve my art skills. If I force myself to draw things I don’t normally draw, I’ll end up improving and getting better at drawing new things. I’ve already been experimenting with things from page-to-page, so there isn’t as much of a consistency as I’d like there to be. But hey, I can always go back and redraw things in the end if I’m not happy with them, right?

Well, as long as I don’t get stuck in this endless cycle of redrawing, I suppose it’s okay…

So, now let’s talk about what the comic is actually about.

For as long as anyone can remember, gates to “hell” have always been around, and they disappear and pop up randomly. In the present day, there is only one Hellgate left – the titular Gate at the End of the World. It’s located in a remote part of the southernmost country of the world, Päitlu. Since things occasionally come through the Gate and into the living world, it has to be guarded nonstop.

There are other important things, like most of the country being contaminated with magic and priests having to clean it up. Also, there are spirits, ghosts, and demons.

I don’t want to go into too much detail, since lots of things are spoilers and will be revealed in time. It’s not as serious as it might seem, though.

As for an update schedule: updates will be on Tuesdays and Thursdays, starting on the 7th of February.