This is inhumanely late but here we go.
115 pages are ready to print. I just finished and scanned a 17 page story. I have approximately 30-35 pages left to complete before I send the book off to a handful of advance readers for feedback and potential changes.
I have three stories left to complete: THE SMOKE RUNNER, THE OIL and A BRIEF HISTORY OF CLOUDS. I expect at least one of those to be 100% done by the end of September, with the other two to follow soon after.
I will be painting the final cover this month as well, after a lot of feedback and experimentation.
Here are a few more pages to look at.
It's still February! Technically!
Progress goes well. This month saw the completion of one of the longer stories in the book, the 18-page "The Cloud Eater." I don't want to spoil anything about it because it's a favorite, but here's a page for you to puzzle over:
Got some pretty amazing news this month, also. Faultine, the Pushcart Prize-winning literary journal of the University of California Irvine (which has published authors like Richard Ford and Geoffrey Wolff), will be publishing comics for the first time in their 2014 issue. The comics? An excerpt from Cloud Stories. So that's really, really gratifying and flattering to me. The issue comes out in early June.
The rest of the book is going well. Moving on from "The Cloud Eater," I'm still knocking pages out for "Smoke Runner" and filling gaps for some other short stories.
Finally, I've been grinding away on some cover designs, and here are five comps (ie NOT FINAL ART, just quick sketches for layout). I'd love to hear feedback on them, either in the comments or on Twitter.
Thanks for your patience! More updates soon.
I promised an update every month and by God I'm going to deliver it. Pretty solid month of work, all things considered (especially since the kids were out of school for two weeks). A bunch more Smoke Runner pages done, and the lion's share of another of the book's longer stories is pencilled and inked. Here are a few more pages to look at.
Well, hell. As you can probably infer from the lack of updates here, things have gone A Little Off Course.
The original plan was to draw the majority of the book over the summer, but once June came I had a shocking realization: my kids aren't in school during the summer and I have to take care of them. So that kind of put the kibosh on that.
The other shocking realization I had was that diabetes costs a hell of a lot of money. So I've had to take on extra work to handle the family's increased expenses. Extra work = less cartooning time.
In addition, the book went through some changes. One of the longer stories in the book, The Smoke Runner, I had originally pegged at around 30 pages. Then I did the breakdowns for it and realized that there's absolutely no way in Hell it would come in under 50. You can read the first five pages below.
Here's an update on the book's progress. 91 pages are completely print-ready, with an additional 80 or so to complete. I am back working at full speed, a half a page to 3/4 of a page a day. It feels good and the work looks good.
I've also been completing the postcard drawings for backers. 100 of them are done. Here's a photo of some of them.
Here's the first five pages of The Smoke Runner. Please do nag me on Twitter or through Kickstarter or by email or however you want to inquire as to my progress.