Nov 13 2015

Art, Comics, and Why There’s Been Precious Little of Either From Me Lately

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Long title is long.

Anyway! So what’s the deal with me? Issue four of Rough Housing was due to be up and running by now, and people are waiting on commissions and and and…

Yes. All of that is true. Guilty, nolo contendere.

There are a few explanations for this. First and foremost, Mrs. Gneech’s job evaporated, and while we’ve been living on savings, those were rapidly evaporating too, which led me to return to the world of being a barista to pay the bills. That was a pretty punishing job when I was 30. Now I am 46, and it’s devastating. Even on part-time hours I tend to spend my time at home flopped into a chair just trying to recover, and for me art is a thing that requires a certain amount of energy investment.

Second, I wrote a novel when nobody was looking! I’ve recently completed the second draft and will begin shopping it around to agents and/or publishers in December. I’m very pleased with it and I hope it will be the launch of a new career for me. But it also pretty much ate August, September, and much of October whole.

Finally, there are real art block issues I have been contending with.

Now You’re Just a Genre That I Used to Love

The furry art scene was very different when I got into it. Yes, the whole “clean vs. naughty” thing was raging on then, but there was also a lot of vitality and invention going on. “Kids’ WB” was in full force and people were drawing inspiration from things like PokΓ©mon, Road Rovers, and Animaniacs as well as beautifully rendered animated films like The Lion King and Beauty and the Beast. Furry, like webcomics, was in a growth period, with something new and never-seen-before popping up all the time.

The genre has cooled a bit, since then. I don’t want to imply that there’s no innovation going on, because there always is– but there is a sort of standard “furry art” that is just sort of there. I recently went to my FurAffinity account after my extended writing absence and had 1,500 art pieces waiting for me by artists I follow… of which maybe 6-8 caught my attention. The rest were pretty much the same “fursona standing in a pose” portrait or “YCH orgy” thing that has been filling my watch list for the past five years.

No slices of life. No funny takes on the oddities of animal behavior. Not even so much as a “skunk stinking up the room” joke. Maybe there’s something fun and interesting going on somewhere that I haven’t seen, but right now at least it feels like the furry world is in a rut. Which in turn makes it hard to find inspiration to create new, fun, and interesting stuff. Quite the Catch-22.

The Comic I Created Wasn’t the Comic I Wanted

On a more specific note, Rough Housing was half-baked on launch. I think there’s a lot of good in it, and I intend to salvage it. But on some level I think I was still trying to create the “Verity and Tanya” story without having to reconcile the baroque steampunk look it should have with my sloppy, toony art style. But the whole thing was forced and, as I say, incompletely developed.

I’m working on fixing that now. The series is undergoing, as they say on TV, “a soft reboot.” I’ve completely thrown away my existing script for issue four and I’m rewriting it from the ground up, as well as trying to re-evaluate just what it is I want from the series and how to achieve it. I wanted a vehicle for drawing fun scenes of characters romping around on the beach or engaging in silly shenanigans, and I think there’s still plenty of room for that, but as I was writing it I was trying to shoehorn a lot of shipping things into it that really don’t belong there, or at least were not growing organically from the story, because they belonged in the “Verity and Tanya” book instead.

Hopefully, writing that book will get some of that junk out of my system and I can let Rough Housing become its own thing now. When issue four will actually come out, I’m not sure, that’s entirely dependent on the job situation and how tied up I get in publishing the novel. But it’s not just sitting there ignored!

It’s still going to be called “Buff Housing” though. I can’t let a gag like that escape. πŸ˜‰

-The Gneech

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Nov 05 2015

In Which I Draw a Comic Not My Own

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Yesterday, I finished the second draft of my Sky Pirates novel and sent it off to the beta readers, which gave me a nice feeling of achievement. At ~80,900 words, it’s almost exactly the length I intended when outlining, even if that may end up being too short for some publishers.

Today, the first comic by me to see the air in a while went up, a guest comic for Matt Youngmark’s Conspiracy Friends! which is a fun romp through life as presented by the tabloids, I highly recommend it!

Meanwhile, In Hasbro's Hidden Lair...
Meanwhile, In Hasbro’s Hidden Lair…

Speaking of comics, I think I figured out what was going wrong with issue four of Rough Housing– to wit, the part of me that wanted to be writing the Sky Pirates book was starting to shoehorn stuff from it into Rough Housing instead because that’s what I was working on.

So, having written the Sky Pirates book, maybe now I can relax a bit and let Rough Housing be its own thing. There’s a longer, more detailed explanation of what’s been going on with that, with my art generally, and with furry art in particular, which I still intend to write up at some point, but not just yet. Too many topics spoil the post!

-The Gneech

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Oct 02 2015

What’s Going On Here?

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(Modified from a post on my Patreon page.)

As you’ve probably noticed, there hasn’t been much art activity here for a bit, so I think you’re due for an update.

There reason there hasn’t been much to see here in the way of comics and such is that I’ve spent the past few months writing a novel instead. Getting Rough Housing up and running has been a much more arduous process than I thought it would be, and while it has had some success, it doesn’t seem to be making the kind of impact I’d hoped it would. So, while I’m not ready to just can the project, I am looking for other things I can do that will get more bang for the buck, so to speak, and writing is one of those. The fact that I wrote a 70,000 word first draft in a month and a half probably gives you an idea of how much more facile I am with writing than with comics, even though I love them both.

In the meantime, there has been another wrinkle, which is that the company where Mrs. Gneech worked for the past 20 years is rapidly shutting down, taking her job with it. We have some savings to live on, but they will rapidly get burned up, so starting some time next week I will be returning to the life of a barista in order to bring in reliable income, at least until Mrs. Gneech finds herself something new. That will probably put the kibosh on putting out comics reliably any time soon in any case, as it takes me so long to draw them.

What does that mean for my Patreon? Honestly, I’m not entirely sure. One thing I will definitely start doing is posting story previews, character sketches, sample chapters and other such things there. That said, I know it may not be what you signed on for, so while I’d hate to see anyone go, I won’t take it personally if folks reduce or discontinue their patronage.

But for those who are staying (Thank you! ^.^) I’m very open to suggestions as to what you’d like to see! I’m going to retool the whole Goals and Pledge Rewards structure, and I was thinking of shifting from the “per month” model to a “per creation” model as well, but I’d love to hear what you have to say on the topic.

So let me know! And seriously, thank you everyone for the support you’ve provided over the years and into the future. It means a lot to me!

-John “The Gneech” Robey

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Jul 27 2015

Monster Monday: My Little Monster Studies

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Okay, okay, it’s not a monster writeup. But it has a monster in it, and it’s Monday. So deal with it!

My Little Monster Studies: Displacer Beast by the-gneech on DeviantArt

Commission for Miertam, possibly the start of a new series, of Twilight learning all about monsters… the hard way. This episode’s entry is that adorable little six-legged tentacular light-warping critter, the displacer beast. Fluttershy, of course, thinks it’s adorable… and clearly Twilight is speechless with admiration!

Such a weird-honkin’ monster and one of my favorites, even if I rarely actually use them. πŸ˜€ Inspired originally by “Voyage of the Space Beagle” by A. E. van Vogt if my memory serves correctly, modified slightly and now immortalized by Dungeons and Dragons. Aside from its devious nature, the displacer beast has a permanent illusion of being some distance from its actual body. I never really thought that would actually be that confusing until I started drawing this, but now I can totally see it.

On an artistic note, for this pic I decided to do a piece that used the pony character models but drawn in my own style rather than trying to simply mimic the MLPFIM style. Whattya think?

-The Gneech

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Jun 23 2015

Come Find Me at AnthroCon!

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Gneech and SirFox at table N14

AC 2015 is just a few weeks away! As usual, I’ll be sharing a table with my old pal Sirfox. And, as usual, I’ll be doing clean, family-friendly fare, and he’ll be smutting it up. πŸ˜‰

As always, I’ll be doing badges, sketchbooks, and so forth, as well as premiering issue three of “Suburban Jungle: Rough Housing.” So come on over! Buy my stuff, I’ll be your friend!

-The Gneech

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Jun 01 2015

Art Schedule for the Upcoming Months

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First of all, hello and welcome to everyone coming to see me after picking up my card at Furthe’More! I hope you’ll find lots of stuff here you like. ^.^ Posts have been a little sporadic since March, due to the whole selling-my-house-and-moving thing, but that’s all cleared up now and the production machine is moving again. πŸ˜‰ As I owe some of you commissions, and others of you may simply be curious as to what I’ve got in the pipeline, this is one of my periodic “state of the Gneech” posts to let you know what’s going on.

My first priority is to get Issue Three of Suburban Jungle: Rough Housing finished as quickly as possible, in the hopes that I can have it on hand for AnthroCon, which is only a month away! (Eep!) Everything else I’ve got going on is officially on hold until I get that squared away. If I’m lucky, that will be done by the end of next week… if I’m unlucky, it will take pretty much the rest of June and no issue three at the con, which will make me go all sadface.

Once issue three is done, either way, I will be emptying out my digital commission queue. This is what I have listed in my notes, so if I’m missing something of yours, please remind me!

  • KarmaKat’s Watering Hole series (4 of 4)
  • Conqure commission
  • Miertam Twilight/Fluttershy monster studies commission
  • MaxGoof commission

Assuming the SJ work gets done on time, these should be finished by the end of June and/or AC. Finally, once those are done, I’m going to turn all of my attention to Dungeons and Denizens and get that finished off while I work on the script for the fourth issue of SJ. That will probably take most of July and/or August.

So, that’s my summer spoken for. πŸ˜‰ If you want to squeeze a commission in there, they are technically still open, but your best bet to get art from me in the near future is to get me to do it for you at AnthroCon. As you may have read in my LiveJournal, badges and sketchbooks at Furthe’More were almost nonexistent for whatever reason, which is not a happy way to spend a convention for an artist! Especially when most of the other dealers were booked solid. Don’t you love me any more? *sniffle* Aw well, hopefully AnthroCon will be better!

Anyway! Time for me to get to work. Catcha later!

-The Gneech

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