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This crime story follows Dust Bunny and his partner, Mite, as they investigate a number of murders in Basement City.
This crime story follows Dust Bunny and his partner, Mite, as they investigate a number of murders in Basement City.
This crime story follows Dust Bunny and his partner, Mite, as they investigate a number of murders in Basement City.
156 backers pledged $7,240 to help bring this project to life.

Getting my fix...

Growth as an artist is a wonderful feeling.

From time to time, you'll have that 'eureka' moment right in the middle of your process, acknowledging to yourself that you just learned something new - whether it be a coloring technique, or just the way you decide to hold the pencil. But for me, more often than not, I find that my journey is lived in hindsight. I rarely know what I've achieved until I go back and look at where I might have missed the mark the first time. That's what creative development is all about. And it's what this post is all about.

Above is a snippet from page 15 of Dust Bunny. Incidentally, this is also Mite's very first appearance in the book. When I first illustrated this panel, I was happy with it. Excited, even. But as nearly 80 pages have come and gone, I've found myself becoming more and more invested in these characters. Subsequently, I've become more intimate and familiar with how they work, both physically and emotionally. And though the script was done before a single stroke was made, each character has found an individual voice throughout the evolution of this book - void of any script. And it's amazing to watch.

Just in this one panel, so many things have grown from first run to revision: the perspective on the goggles, a cleaner skull structure, better black placement, a tighter pose. Even Mite's "burst" that you'll often see him contained within has become cleaner. He just seems to better encompass my original vision for the character at this point.

As rewarding as this small change is to me, the challenge is to keep myself from going into a complete overhaul with my first 30 pages. This panel was a glaring exception in my mind. And there are a handful more that I plan on revising. But I have to be very selective. Part of the joy of this book is witnessing its inception, its vitae, and ultimately its end. It's the terminal nature of the whole thing that makes it so precious to be a part of. I want the life of this book to be real; imperfect. I want to look at page 1 and then at page 101, and see a clear advancement in my craftsmanship. As it has already proven to be, I want this to be a visual diary of my growth as an artisan. White-out and spilled ink have little to nothing to do with the oversights of story telling, or graphical aesthetics. And as Dust Bunny has gone completely digital at this point, I'm realizing that more and more.

I hope you're all enjoying watching this baby brave the world as much as I'm enjoying holding its hand while it does so. This has been an incredibly satiating experience for me so far, through both the first-run successes, as well as the lip-biting frustrations. I'm eager to see what this child of mine decides to be when it grows up. And I'm glad it has such a great starter family to encourage and nurture it through its growth. You all have been amazing platforms of inspiration throughout this whole process, and I can't thank you enough.

After all, it takes a village...


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    1. Brett Brooks 2-time creator on December 13, 2011

      Thoughts are always welcome, guys! I appreciate the input. Mite's the most challenging character of the myriad, because of those exact limitations - trying to walk the line of 'real anatomy' and 'appropriate exaggeration' for the sake of building the character. You never see Mite's mouth in this story. The way you see him deliver his line in this panel is the way he delivers all of his lines, allowing his body shape, leg placement, and (yes) brow line to do the rest of the communicating. And more often than not, his word bubbles are stemming from nothing more than a speck on the page. So, trying to invent a personality from, quite literally, almost nothing has been a really satisfying element.

      I love Mite, but as you've both shown, he does present certain nuances that the rest of the cast simply does not. But it's seeing your reactions that make this such a fun ride. Thanks again for the comments! It's awesome to see that there is this kind of investment in these characters!

    2. Late on December 13, 2011

      I can see how losing the brows would be a good thing. If he can pull off making Mite a believable character using only "realistic" anatomy (ie a hard insect head that can't move like skin) and not relying on crutches of human expression it will be much more of an accomplishment. I for one love the new Mite, particularly the greater values distribution and how the background places more focus on Mite more while the flakes of white it the background still make it "dirty." Keep up the good work!

    3. jason s lambracht on December 10, 2011

      I agree, it looks much cleaner and yet more vibrant at the same time. It looks great! Why did you lose the brows though? You do such a wonderful job on Dust Bunny's brows (using them to show emotion) it seems that that would spill over into all of your characters. I understand that mite is more of your straight shooter, nerdy, less emotional character, but it seems to me keeping them a part of him can let you use them to show emotion every once in awhile. I could be way off base here though...just tell me to shut up and draw my own comic :)