I’m planning on editing the character models a bit to improve their accuracy and ease of drawing.
They were designed on Adobe Illustrator when I had little understanding of anatomy, clothing and hair, which knowledge, while imperfect, is much improved. Even these recent designs did little to correct the issues at large. Some of the colors are outdated, I can never settle on how to draw Bits hair, etc etc. I think I might spend a further day or so trying to refine and alter the characters. It’s a bit alarming that I can draw Terezi and all the characters’ future versions better than their current ones. Expect some concept art in the coming days. How significant these reworks will be, I’m not sure, but they could be quite profound.
Thank goodness that this is just the Beta version.
Also of note, I am working on building a debate/philosophy blog. It’s still under construction because it is a fairly significant undertaking, what I have in mind. I’ll show you guys it once I get it into a coherent and quality state.
In consideration of the upcoming elections, I figured I’d compose a little advice about being an informed voter among all this political rhetoric. The teams behind presidential candidates are factual contortionists- no one comes close to their ability to alter data and reality to whatever they want to depict.
Polls mean nothing-Categorically nothing. Shockingly nothing. The more you know about statistics, the more you realize this is true. They are so easy to skew, it doesn’t matter who’s ahead by 5 points or 14. Looking at what I just said, I didn’t even specify if they were percentage points or some other arbitrary scale, and that’s a huge difference. For example, there was a robotic poll that, when received by an answering machine, would record that the recipient favored Obama. The questions are almost always pointed and unrealistic. The closest thing to an accurate poll is available only to the candidates and their campaigns, as all others are skewed. So, when people argue about who’s ahead and who isn’t, remember that it doesn’t matter.
Quotes are questionable- First, watch out for ellipses (…). They may be innocently reducing the length of a sentence for practicality’s sake, but they often are used to remove a phrase that clarifies or reveals the real intent. This allows people to blow things out of proportions or villainize a fairly simple idea. Find the original quote in a whole and verifiable state. I’ve heard it claimed but highly doubt that there is anywhere in the Republican platform that says in “no uncertain terms” that they discourage rational thought. Try to determine the context and intent of the quote and judge off of that, not anyone’s interpretation (that’s heresy).
Use diverse sources- Don’t stick to one source or one side of the aisle. You’ll find that any one source will be biased and lead to an incomplete view of the issue. CNN, MSNBC, FOX, all are incredibly biased. While some sources are (much) better than others, like the Wall Street Journal and NPR, it’s also a good idea to employ international and intercultural media. For example, Romney and Obama were recently interviewed on Univision, the primary Hispanic media channel in the US. The host asked far more important and interesting questions than just about any domestic reporter I’ve seen. Sources like BBC, Univision, etc provide new perspectives that you don’t get in the US, but remember that they are often biased themselves.
Be familiar with the actual policy- Remember the birth certificate issue with Obama 4 years ago? That’s entirely not the point. It had little to do about whether Obama should be elected, but it kept some Conservatives rabid. Once the certificate was released, it was shown that all their raving had been in vain. It is almost certainly the same with Romney’s tax records. In the end, these issues that come to the forefront are incredibly trivial and have little bearing on how the candidate would serve as president, which is what the whole thing is about. Read the actual platforms to get a more substantial concept of the policy and decide on that.
Vote for who you want- Don’t join the bandwagon. Don’t vote who you think will win, or who the polls favor, or any of that. Vote who you think would be the best president. Don’t vote against Romney because he is a Republican, or has become rich, or Mormon (especially since Mormons are awesome; if you have problems with it, shoot me an ask, and I’ll try to help with the issue). Don’t vote against Obama because he’s liberal, or African American, or incumbent. Vote for real, non-bigoted, non-prejudiced reasons.
These are all things that an informed voter needs. It all comes down to intellectual independence, to be free of prejudice, bias, or ignorance. Unfortunately, these things are what most campaigns want from their voters, so it’s a hard fight, but in the end, it is worth it.
This is the biggest comic panel in the world and one of the best things XKCD has ever pulled. XKCD is much of my inspiration, and it’s only fair if I advertise one of the most mind blowing issues it’s ever produced!
Each day your news feeds, your dashboards, your phones, and your readers overflow with unfounded opinions, random images captioned anti-this or anti-that, facts that aren’t facts, ideas that aren’t ideas, and, of course, claims that have no backing…
Same idea as what I just posted; debate outside of debate tournaments is almost dead. I highly advise reading the full version.
For anyone, like myself who is learning the storytelling and artistic medium, you may be interested.
People rarely talk about their experiences while learning something new, as opposed to experiences before and after. Here are a few of the big things I’ve learned writing this webcomic:
-Find a style- Do some free drawing. Find out what you are good at. When you figure this out, what shapes, strokes, shading, and tone you prefer, find a way to combine them to form different and new objects. This also applies to writing. While mood can change with the story, the style and presentation should be as consistent as possible. I violate this, largely because I view Provenance as this learning process, not the end result. For example, I am good at plentiful but short strokes, so high detail and textured objects are good for me, but I am poor at large objects, so I need to figure out how to break objects down.
-Fame is a byproduct- I haven’t been terribly concerned about this area, but it’s true. You do not get fame for virtue of desire. Aiming for fame is misguided in that you are going for something that can only be achieved indirectly. Fame is a result of quality, in work and relations. Be nice to your followers, do as good a job as you can, and find something unique, a niche, to fill. Learning and making a quality product should be the goal, and if you’re successful, fame will naturally come, not any other way.
-Love your work- Don’t do anything that will upset this. If you’re feeling down, try changing the subject matter, do something new. Distance yourself from the source of your frustration.
-Keep reasonable goals- Don’t force yourself to do more than you’re ready. For myself, running this blog as a daily affair has been a huge struggle, and there have been times when I wanted to break that commitment. But I kept to it, if for no other reason than increasing my devotion. I’ve been able to manage it, but not everyone can or should. Myself, I often wonder if I would be able to produce
-Practice- You don’t need to keep a daily posting schedule, but you should keep up daily practice. Find out what works best for you; keep a journal, doodle, presketch, or plan. The more practice the better.
-Learn from other sources- Read books on writing or drawing well. Watch livestreams. Analyze artists you admire’s art, to figure out how they do it. Don’t give up everything that makes your art yours, and make sure what advice or techniques you find are good, but utilize the mass amount of information around you, because a lot of people have figured out a lot of interesting things.
-Be patient- Becoming a good artist, writer, or just about anything else, is not an overnight affair. Just keep working, learning, and practicing. Explore new things. Rejoice in milestones, but move past failures. In other words, just keep going.
Learning an art is not an easy task, but it is an essential one. I conclude with the words of Kirk Vonnegut:
“Go into the arts. I’m not kidding. The arts are not a way to make a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possible can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something.”
I updated my blog description to better reflect the current state of the blog.
"A blog detailing the adventures of a scattered crew in the land of Provenance.
The main characters are Bits, Widgets, Veil, Vigil, the Lich, and Peponi. While primarily a story blog, I am receptive to asks whenever I get them. I also work in references and my followers whenever I can.
The blog updates daily, though it’s not always Provenance. Everything should be SFW, though a possibility of darker events does exist.”
I should note that I consider the current version of Provenance to be an experiment. It’s kind of like a first draft. I have big plans for it, but I must first stabilize my writing and art styles. And, as a first draft, it’s quite likely there will be some discrepancies, random design changes, etc.
In the end, I want Provenance to be something of the same quality as, say, Homestuck. It’s own site, consistently good art, interesting story, and so on. But that’s later, this is the testing ground.
So, if things seem a bit choppy, or there’s a need for improvement, it’s probably because it’s unstable in design. However, if there’s any significant problem, please inform me.
Addition: Eventually, there will be a beautiful and clean version of Provenance, all the way back to Veil’s arc. It will be a glorious day.
Some people, like myself, aren’t terribly fond of the prolific nature of profanity.
It’s not necessarily because we can’t tolerate it… it’s just that we’d rather not have to. It’s especially inconvenient when you consider, say, Homestuck, which is a fantastic piece of work, but it is incredibly profane.
How does one go about solving it? My personal bypass is a simple usage of a text replacement mod, specifically, Ponify. Specifically created to convert the language of the Internet to the language of the bronies, it has a few traits that make it ideal for this purpose. First, it is entirely customizable; you can remove or add any replacement pair in seconds. Second, it allows you to put notifications so you can tell if something has been changed, to avoid fluency issues.
It has a few advantages over a straight censorship program, largely because you control it. You can utilize your creativity to make profane texts more interesting than the original.
A few examples: Consarnit. The brony’s definition of plot (it even makes sense in all its variations). Slag. Rust and Ruination. Random stuff like that, it’s just more interesting to have outdated or bizarre phrases scattered throughout.
And, if you’re a writer, it helps you test the viability of alternate world profanity, because swearing is much better in books when it’s logical, but some quirk of their world, not ours, like “Storm you!” from the Way of Kings, or “Blood and ashes!” from the Wheel of Time.
That is all. A fun tweak to improve internet enjoyment.