Hello everyone! How are you? This is the 25th weekly summary of the year.
This weekly summary edition will be a wordy one. *clicking knuckles*
Blooming Chimes announcement
There's an announcement I'm going to make for Blooming Chimes.
tl;dr I decided to release Blooming Chimes from jam's crunch.
I won't be releasing Chapter 01 of Blooming Chimes chasing Otome/Josei Jam's deadline. I'll be releasing Blooming Chimes in its entirety (4 chapters overall + extras) as originally planned instead. Yay!
My work flow and speed would still exactly be the same as is: I'll work on it (almost) daily! I just no longer have the rush to finish it by the end of this month.
Instead of having a mindset of releasing a demo with lots of corner cutting, now I'll go all in for everything I visualise, doing things as much as I can with my efforts. It's both exciting and scary.
I noted down on the points that I think contributed to my decision, as follow:
1) Scoping problem
The main problem I know I'm having is that I didn't define my scope well. My visions for Blooming Chimes is a little bit too grand for the two-month production period – even for chapter 1. As Blooming Chimes is an adaptation from my comic To:You, I wanted to keep many elements from its origin, the comic panels and everything.
Facial expressions are my focus and they're very tricky to make as I need to be in the correct mood to draw them as how I want them to be. As a result, this takes so much time in production.
I tried to go into narration writing to ease my workload in drawing. After a few attempts, I realised that I'm just really bad in writing narratives. My narrations are very awkward and cringey to read, just like how a four year old narrate what's happening at school on that day. Wait, let me rephrase that: a four year old would narrate better than me, I think.
I'll blame my brain that refuses to narrate, it keeps on visualising. Alright, you win, brain. Let's keep drawing... but I'm not going to overwork myself, so we'll take this slowly.
2) Lack of experiences for the scopes I stubbornly kept
Alright, I wanted to keep this style. Yeah, it's slower. Now: I could just keep working on it, yes? Yeah... At a snail pace. I've only started my VN dev "career shift" full-time a few months ago so I'm baby. >.<
I didn't know python, so everything is very new to me. There's something new to learn every day, while it's all fun and frustrating at the same time, it takes lots of my time, right? With that, the development gets considerably slower.
3) The size of Blooming Chimes
Originally, I wrote Blooming Chimes with the mindset of a short-length VN. A tiny, relaxing break from Illa Café so I'll return to it with experiences. I was very wrong.
Blooming Chimes is massive: the world building, the little things I'd like to show with the character developments, the lovely scenes, the experiences – it got so big and I didn't understand why! I started writing Blooming Chimes with a light mindset, one week later I had 37k+ words already, before editing. Haiya!
A little bit overview of the plot (very light spoiler):
On its entirety, the 4 chapters span around 10 months of time. The budding romance starts poking in chapter 2, some kind of competitions appear in chapter 3 and a conclusion is slightly made in chapter 4.
Releasing only chapter 1 which mostly consists of introduction could create the confusion reactions, I'd imagine something like "there's nothing romance/otome in this??", or something like "nothing happens and that's it??" – makes me a bit sad. I promise, they get lovely towards the end – but it takes time. It's what people call slow-burn I think.
Also, I went through the scripts again and the feel is just right if I'm to release the entire 4 chapters at once. I initially compromised and decided that I'll just focus on chapter 1 for jam's sake, but in the end I decide that Blooming Chimes' universe has grown massively that its scope no longer fits the jam period (with the length and how it's written).
4) Changes in my main working tool & my slow adaptation towards it
Last week I got myself a new drawing tablet as my current one shows sign of aging/dying. I got a different one which model and size are the closest to my previous one to shorten my adaptation time. Even so, it's still very different and it honestly frustrated me a little bit that I couldn't be comfortable with it right away.
Until now (around a week of daily usage) I'm still trying to get my art style back. The good news is: it starts to get better now. I've still yet reach the ultimate comfort equivalent to my previous tablet, but I want to think I'm going closer there.
(Extras) Concept doodle peeks!
I'll share the doodle tests that I did in order to restore my art style so I can continue drawing for Blooming Chimes:
Literally the first thing I doodled with the new tablet. I couldn't draw circles in full in this attempt as I'm still clueless about how much pressure I need to make.
I liked what I doodled, though. It's just so them. This scene doesn't exist in the first 4 chapters though – probably future chapters? 5? 6? It's still in concepts.
The second doodle I made. After around half an hour of scribbling spirals for me to get used to the tablet (and to loosen up the spring in the pen a little bit, hopefully...) it started to get more comfortable to draw full figures. The circles were still not full, but I told my wrist: get used to the new pen already! XD I want to continue Blooming Chimes ahhh.
This scene exists in chapter 2!
Most of my art are done in straightforward lines, so that's my main goal. In this doodle, I started to have that (see the straight lines vs lots of build-up lines in the first two doodles?) in this doodle and I think I'm getting ahold of it. I think I'm getting their faces back as well, they start to be recogniseable. I think, I can continue working on them after a week-ish trying to get used to it!
This scene doesn't exist; but it's a good spoiler-free summary! Perhaps it can be a concept for a promotional graphic!
In the end, it's all good!
The knowledge persists – and I'm extremely happy with how much I've gone through in the past few weeks. I'll be cheering for all the jam participants and indulging myself in some of the entries instead!
I won't guarantee to work on it solely all the time as I originally plan to go back to Illa Café in July, but perhaps I'll just continue working on Blooming Chimes, at least for the first original 4 chapters! I love them so much that I ensure I 'watch' the scenes all the time in my head.
If you're sad or disappointed, don't be please! I think it will give a much better experience for Blooming Chimes instead. It's not a very long VN to begin with, so chopping it smaller would be sadder in my opinion.
Are you still here? Thank you very much! Here's one more small doodle I did today:
I think I get their shapes as I envisioned again! Yay!
One last doodle:
It's a scene from chapter 2.
I may polish these doodles and they will become CGs!
Blooming Chimes progress
- I did a very interesting paneling in post 1780! I originally drew my sprites at huge size and finally I'm able to make use of its original size here!
- Post 1781 was the day where I worked on background painting! It was a bit lengthy, but fun.
- Post 1782, 1783, 1784 and 1785 were tardy because I had other works lining up, so the progress on these days are slow. The change of my working tool also affected this.
It's a slower week in terms of production but at the same time there are lots of things I finished and earned. It's still a good one nevertheless!
- New drawing tablet update: the adapting process is slow, but it's going fine! I never like drawing gloves but I started using it to prevent staining the shiny new screen with my hand.
- I'm freeing some space in my laptop to get ready to download and experience many Otome Jam entries! ✨
- It's been some days with no brain break on my side, I didn't really listen to anything this week!
Thank you for everyone who's joining me here this week! I hope your weekend will be lovely. Take care!