11 years of drowtales… Very few webcomic last that long. I remember 2001 when i begun college and drowtales at the same time. It was a very different internet; there were no social network, no smart phone, no youtube, or for that matter, internet streaming at all. Did i say terrible web designs? oh yes that there were plenty, just check Drowtales on the internet way back machine and you’ll know what i mean. Pink and black for the win! And the art… there is a reason why it’s gone from the site. I need to protect those precious eyeballs of yours from the horror that was neon colored misshapen muppets with smiley riddled narration box! For mankind sake, it is all sealed in pandora box. As 2001 came to an end, so did my College and so did come the realization that i had to find a way to live with school debts, as does so many young adults out there. I had to find a job, something that took a while to do. When i finally did find one, i faced a hard decision, one i still remember vividly. I could continue with Drowtales, take a risk, or i could go with the job, which was to work as a programmer in someone’s basement. I do not regret my decision, sure i’ve had hard times , long hours, endless works but it’s worth it in the end. From just me in my mother’s basement to a 30 people team spread across the world, these 11 years sure saw a lot of thing happens. The high days of oekakis , with dozens pictures every day on Drowtales alone. The hosting community on my first dedicated server. Artists applying to draw daydream and side stories. Starting a company. Meeting Kite for the first time. Working with partner whose full time work is to help drowtales continues. Book printing and distribution. Doing Moonless age remakes…those damn remakes. Experimenting with interactivity through Mel knighthood, relic hunter, path to power, even demonic courtship which i bet most people don’t even know exist. Making games, audiobooks, animations, music and podcast! From advertising through guest pages , top site and banner exchange to the modern google adwords and projectwonderful. Going as guests to conventions and speaking in front of crowds that had no idea who we are…
It’s a long career, yet it is a path that feel so short in my memory for i do not see the end of the path. We’ve had our up and down. Right now i believe we are in one of those down, and it’s all about climbing back the slope by trying new things.
Speaking of new thing!
Since February i’ve been working on 3 stories while producing Moonless age. 11 years is a lot of time on one project, enough to cause mild insanity(!?). I need to do something new to keep writing and drawing fresh. To improve in both. Once all 3 stories prototype are complete, they will go online for you to judge and vote on which you think has the most potential. The most popular story will then be serialized. The first is Mistfolk(Previously known as Hermunbé since 2010).A short low fantasy story from two “human” point of view, set in the lands of halmes and hermionnes. A bloody affair of clashing visions on what it means to be free in a land of mists, where the mystical is at the corner of the eye of the mortals that live there. Hazy shoudred visions hidden by mist, but visions that gaze back upon the watcher. I’ve done all the pages up to flat colors with text but the coloring by Starlitdragon is not complete yet.
The second is We are ferals, a light spirited comedic project about the cat-like specy of Drowtales that I’ve begun work on in the summer of 2009. I had plenty of concept art , a chapter written, 2 pages… and then nothing. Work pressure and lack of belief in the project made me push it aside. Now, it is back to life with a new artistic direction. You can view the story prototype below, colored by Mellamo. The third is Mythes (yes with a E, i told you about the insanity), a high fantasy story that i would not dare to draw myself beyond making the drafts of the pages. Instead Donny of daydream fame take the lead in this one. Individual stand alone stories set in a norse mythology setting. Each tale about a different topic that eventually cross paths. Einherjars, Aesirs, valkyries, Helians, this kind of stuff. Moonless age sometime refer to norse mythology concepts but to the Lath and Ssus of the underworld, it’s all legends and tales of far away lands. Legends have roots, a source, and this serie of Mythes is all about them. Donny will need one more month to complete the prototype with the quality it’s deserve.
This said, check out the prototype of We are Ferals! : (Edit: Readers with small monitor, you can use the direct links underneath to view the pages)
Direct links for small monitor: page 1, page 2, page 3, page 4, page 5, page 6
All 3 stories are drawn horizontally, a concept that i’ve been wanting to explore for a long time. You can view the concepts of the ferals in the news’s “we are ferals” category. My deviantart gallery has a dedicated section. Kite’s gallery also have concepts, but scattered.
On the topic of Moonless age.
Since January i’ve published my concerns about the state of the studio quite openly. There is a way to cut down the cost and the workload while providing a daily, 7 pages a week update rate which would speed up the story flow. This solution is to allow other artists to take over some story arcs. We’ve done it for chapter 19, though the reception was negative due to it’s lack of colors. This part is easily rectified. Yes those artists are learning the craft, but then so do i, every artists is on his/her own path to improvement. I believe that if our readers give the new artists the chance to try, they will be rewarded in the end. Zeerose already proven that she can steadily provide updates while maintaining a cheerful interaction with the community. Leopardwerecat is a yearly contributor to our contests where she twice became runner up, she is an active member of the community and her coloring skill is greatly improving. Instead of having them do side story, they could help push the main story forward. They’d help to bring back much faster Kiel, Chiri, Vaelia and other important characters that our readers love. With months ahead, they’d each produce entire an chapter of their own, which in turn, allow me to write more stories and ensure i’m not burnt out with all the project necessary to bring back the studio back to it’s feet.
In the end, it is your choice to say wheter you wish to give this a try or if you’d lose interest in a Moonless age done by multiple teams.
The poll was clear that there is an interest in a new archive specialized in serving half of the Drowtales readership. A daydream archive by women for women. Mellamo and Zeerose guide this project which is completely out of my hands. For now the extra archive will serve to publish the pages they produce on a weekly basis. After a few months of trial, if this is successful we will make a new archive slot for it or redesign the extra archive accordingly. This will increase the amount of updates Daydream receive as the extra archive was only a monthly update. When you read this, the first page of ladydream should already be online for both members and non members. Though only members may vote on what story is to be produced. The writer will be vigilant so that the male majority do not skew the stories back to a male-centric kind of fanservice. Member or not, you can view the story selection! If the concept is not popular, we’ll put back the usual wallpapers or bring back the “Ask Kiel a question” concept.
Spring 2012 art contest participant (Click for larger view):
The wiki got completely remastered by Soilborn and Embair. Check it out for it is very different from it’s previous state. timeline, story lines, all clans, characters, redesign structure. And the wiki team invite you to contribute through the world setting forum.
The first path to power noble family concept with a the new interface by Starlitdragon. I do not have a date for this to be completed as the template just got done. The community gave 200$ so far to see the downgrade become reality , though we need more, i wish to confirm a coder before taking any more commissions to fund the project. I’d like to see Valts put the new design if he has the time, if not a contractor will be pulled in. Anything that is broken will be taken out. Everything that can easily be fixed will remain, except the clan’s inventory which by request of the GM will be removed. Perhaps after it is done, we’ll e be back to a PTP1 level of interactivity, but then, perhaps it is for the best. Readers will be allowed to register for free as Colonists to participate in the game. Only clan members can lobby the queen and have a character design however.
The second family artwork is right below. Yes the central characters get covered, sorry, we’ll work around this for future families and we’ll make sure the family artwork are fully visible on PTP for those who wish to browse through them.
That’s it! Onward to the 12th year!