Thanks to Luke, Cherie, Jos, Cassie, Jeff, Liz, Raygan, Corey, Matt, Mark and 'Zadie Bigbody (trollop warrior deluxe) for sending me questions.
Q: Why are Riley and Alex best friends? Normally athletic sporty types and brainy nerdy types are mortal enemies.
A: Alex was born in this neighborhood; Riley moved here when she was 7. Alex, being the outgoing little freak she is, was the first kid to greet her. The only other kids in the neighborhood are Tristan (who stealthfully moved here during the summer), two high school boys, who will be frat boys when they go to college, and an elementary school girl who's the "girliest girl in the world" according to Alex.
Q: Why is Tristan so angry at the world?
A: The world sucks.
Q: Do any of the girls have boyfriends? If they're too young for that, any crushes?
A: No boys or crushes yet. They're just now reaching the age where stuff like that matters, however. We'll see what happens when stuff calms down a little. ^_^
Q: Will Alex wind up with any allies? As in, are any more magical girls going to show up or is it just her?
A: As far as I know, it's all just her. Nothing else is planned as far as I've planned.
Q: Just how did you get the idea to do this comic, anyway? Not just in general, but the whole "super-magical-girl" type thing.
A: It sorta came in stages. After watching copious amounts of Card Captor Sakura, I realized magical girls rule. The image of a perky little girl with magical powers popped into my head one day, so I drew her. Then, the idea of a friend who had an affinity for machines happened. I drew her. Everyone was too happy, so I threw in Tris. At this point, I had no idea what to do with this concept, I just had a cast and a general plot. Then, spurred on by starting to read Megatokyo and other Web comic strips, I went in that direction.
Q: What did you base the girls' personalities on? Are they each some aspect of yourself? Are they loosely based on people you've known?
A: Every character I've ever created is a piece of me, just exaggerated. Some more than others, obviously.
Q: Do you have the whole plot for your comic worked out ahead of time or do you just sort of wing it?
A: Currently, I have scripts written for up through June. The general, vague plot I have planned out for the entire series. Yes, there will be an absolute end, unfortunately. It just won't happen for another few years.
Q: How long does an average comic take you to draw?
A: I usually predraw an entire month's worth of strips over the course of a couple weeks, leaving me plenty of time for work on other Moxie things, Rebus, and other random stuff. That way, I can also avoid the "Dead Piro Day" syndrome.
Q: Why do all the girls have what common wisdom would dictate are boys' names?
A: Alex is short for Alexandria. According to my baby-name book, Riley is 83%-17% boy-girl, and Tristan 84%-16%. Alex means "defender of mankind" and Tristan means "sadness." Actually, all three names had been filed in the databanks of my heads for some time, 'cause they're cool names. Besides, names that can be girl and boy names are nifty. ^_^
Q: (Translated from trollish) Where do you get these ideas, and how can we get more?
A: Many of my ideas sorta happen. "I Eat People" came to me in the shower while talking to myself with a strange accent. Maybe that's too much info. Hrm. You can always find all my crap at venisproductions.com.
Q: How did you decide on the comic's format? Why do you store your comic as four separate gifs? Why do you use such a small font?
A: I can answer all these questions at once. One of my reasonings for doing a regularly updated comic was that I hoped to make it available as an AvantGo module so people could view it on their PDAs. The largest image you can have on a Palm without scrolling is 140x140 pixels. And, despite the few color ones that exist, most content for Palms are black and white. The font was chosen because it was small and clean, and I tend to be wordy with my comics, but wanted to see my artwork, too. Unfortunately, it's something like $10,000 a year to do an AvantGo module (gotta make money somehow, I guess), so I nixed that. And I'm lazy, so I kept everything as I had originally designed. Besides, it does save on bandwidth.
Q: What programs/tools/processes do you use?
A: A few people asked this. I draw everything by hand using a colored pencil (to plot general shapes and stuff) and a ball-point pen (it's all very low-tech), and scan it all in. I use Adobe Photoshop to remove the colored pencil, and brighten/contrast the ink to make it look good, then shade everything in. Since the version of Photoshop I'm using is old, I use Macromedia Fireworks to reduce to 16 colors (small files goooood!), and plop the frames into HTML with Macromedia Dreamweaver.
Q: What kind of Mac(s) do you have? How long have you used Macs?
A: I'm a Mac Addict. Once upon a time, I had an Apple II, until we replaced it with a Commodore 128. My first Mac was a 7100 I got when I went to college. It's currently sitting broken on my living room floor. Next I got an 8600 my Senior year. It's currently running my MIDI stuff and my scanner (an old Apple Color OneScanner!). Right now, I'm using mostly my G4 (Graphite) which is, oddly enough, sitting on my coffee table. LCD screens rule. Especially big ones.
Q: Why this type of comic? Why the web? Why now?
A: I want to. It's cheap. Better now than never.
Q: When is the fanart section going to get put in?
A: When more people send me fanart!!! Thank you, Matt for sending me yours, and oddly enough asking this question.
Q: (edited to avoid potential embarrassment) Are you single?
A: Yep, but only because I'm shy and hairy.
Q: Will you marry me?
A: If I love you, sure. ^_^
Q: What did you go to college for? (if you went or are going) and what do you do now?
A: I went to Syracuse University for a BFA majoring in Computer Graphics. It was a pretty kick-ass program, if you're looking. I learning everything computer art, 2D and 3D. 'Course my two profs don't teach there anymore, so I don't know if the program still kicks. One, I think, is retired, and the other now teaches at Bowling Green State University, which has a pretty kickin' Computer Graphics Department, too. Right now, I'm the Art Guy at a start-up in Cincinnati, Ohio. Yes, THE Art Guy. Ah, the wonders of start-up companies...