Wtf Bryan get serious there is shit to do man.

Okay, so here we are. No more art pieces or filler comics, now we resume. Allow me to explain a few things about Art Update 2.0.

Biggest change is that everything is being drawn with good ol’ pencil and paper. This does allow me to get a little more detailed with each character. I can construct the more complicated drawings with just basic shapes, something that could be done drawing straight from photoshop, but for me personally, the process is easier this way. While I’ve gotten tremendously better at drawing things in photoshop since I started this thing, I think there’s something special about looking down directly at the pencil as its draws the image, and that’s going to help me out a lot. It takes a little extra time, but it’s much easier.

The shading has a much softer brush, so it looks a little more realistic. Certain things are having textures applied to them to give a little more pop, such as walls, clothes, hair. Speaking of hair, I’m avoiding allowing too many straight surfaces in characters hair, unless their hair is meant to be seen as short such as Tony’s.

For years, most my characters possessed the same body structure, with only things such as their hair and maybe clothes to specify something such as gender. Now characters have much more personalized body types. Alberto, being on his senior year, appears a little older. Ashlee actually is taller than everyone. Jacob’s built a lot more like a varsity football lineman. Not all characters have these changes, Austin and Bryan for example aren’t much different than before, though they may look a little taller, but that’s because I feel like characters who are in high school shouldn’t look like 5th graders.

Panels! Panels panels panels. As an avid comic reader, I can tell that when it comes to telling a good story, panels can really hit it home. So we’ll see a lot more panel customization in the story arcs. It will really come in handy with action sequences.

And finally, the biggest change I think I’ve decided to make with Art Update 2.0 is not in the visual aesthetics, but in the art of storytelling. I’ve been doing a lot of soul searching here recently, thinking about my comic and why I do it. When I started this comic, I had a very mixed degree of goals in mind to accomplish with it. At the time, the comics I read were mostly stuff like CAD, Penny Arcade, basically gamer comics about video games. So I felt like I modeled myself as a cartoonist after them. The biggest goal I had was to eventually make a comic I thought would be worthy of submitting to 343 Industries to be shared in their Weekend Webcomic feature.

But I also wanted to tell stories. I wanted to tell stupid stories about idiots who are anything but heroes saving the world but no one cares cause they’re just high schoolers and all high schoolers should care about is playing video games and getting a date to winter formal and being popular.

In three years, I’ve done just that. I’ve switched back and forth between taking a crack at the newest set of video game releases and telling stories about life in this small town high school. Not more than 10 comics into the series, and it was the 343 Industries community manager at the time who contacted ME to have one of my comics shared, and my friendship with her from that point saw several more shared with the Halo fandom.

Now I’m not saying I’m going to stop doing the gaming comics. I mean, how could I? Being a gamer is a part of my soul. But, I think I want to take Austin’s Inferno in a direction that focuses way more on the characters and their activities. The reason for this is the gaming comics tend to only focus on Austin and Bryan. I’ve got an entire high school full of characters, only a fraction of which have even been seen at this point. I want to utilize them.

As well, I have many story arcs and mysteries and adventures planned. And I don’t like getting too distracted from them. It could take years to get to the most exciting arcs. Since starting this comic, I’ve gotten into web-comics like Questionable Content, Dumbing of Age, and even Homestuck, which really inspire me with how they go about telling their stories. I find them inspiring me creatively more so than the previously mentioned comics do.

So like I said, the gaming comics won’t stop. If I know I’ve got a good one, I’ll write it. There will be longer story arcs, so I feel like gaming themed intermissions are okay. And I actually have a different project in the works right now that will supplement the gamer side of me (well, at least the part that is a raging Halo nerd). But I guess I’ll delve more into that when I feel the time is right.

So, appropriately to my new story driven direction, I’ve started Art Update 2.0 with a story arc. And I hope anyone who reads it enjoys what I do as much as I enjoy doing it.