106 posts tagged dresden codak
The main cast of my Dark Science series! I thought I’d put a little thing together for new readers.
- Kimiko Serena Ross - Autodidactic inventor. Holding a dishonorary degree in science, Kim Ross has, by age 22, created many wonderful abominations, but the most notable are her elaborate prostheses she now requires to live (having been blown up by time-colonists in a previous tale). She’s currently looking for a new career in the magnificent (and horrendously bureaucratic) city of Nephilopolis.
- Vonnie Awning - Analytical clerk for the Department of Taste, Vonnie knows every facet of Nephilopolis’s bureaucracy. Terribly fashionable. Terribly obsessed with social networking.
- Kaito Kusanagi - Kimiko’s estranged father and legendary architect of Nephilopolis. World renowned as the greatest roboticist in history, his designs were so sophisticated that no one else knows how to effectively reproduce them. Since his death, he’s been elevated to a near-saintly status in Nephilopolis, much to the displeasure of Kim.
- Balthazar Bogan - Lecturer and last remnant of the Anthropology Department in Nephilopolis. His loyalties are convoluted at best.
- Alisa Caspar - Award-winning author and certified celebrity. Caspar has some connection to Kim’s father, Kaito, but much remains unclear.
- Mathias Melchior - Agent of the Department of Opposition, which regulates all menace within the city. Has his hands in many plots. Also unreasonably tall.
- Amon Harthrow - Head of the Department of Congruity, which regulates all order and civility in Nephilopolis. He is not fond of mezzodes (cyborgs) in the city.
- Thomas Caspar - Alisa Caspar’s son and head of the Department of Secrets. Knows more about Kim than he rightfully should.
- Asmodea Harthrow - Amon’s daughter and head of the Department of Distraction, offering new and exciting ways to never address one’s own existential dread.
- The Dark Scientists - Shadowy figures in the underbelly of the city, the Dark Scientists oppose to the bureaucratic scientific establishment above. Recently they’ve taken an interest in Kim, who has been exhibiting peculiar traits. Their exact number is uncertain.
Some warmup sketches from the last couple days!
Fair enough. I assume you mean when I started Dresden Codak? I’ll break down the honest-to-goodness process of the early comics:
- Draw comics in mechanical pencil on the back of my statistics homework (never turned in) and then ink on top of that with a micron pen.
- Sneak into the Honors College study room (from which I was expelled for poor grades) and use their scanner.
- Use a mouse and a bootleg copy of Photoshop 7 to color the pages.
- Upload it to my site, which at the time was flat HTML that I’d written from scratch.
And that’s it!
reblogging this for the reminder that grades and a college degree are by no means the be-all end-all of life.
There’s some truth to this. I’d like to share some further biographical information:
I’m a college dropout. In 2006 I left school after a little over four years because I kept changing majors (physics, anthropology, computer science, then art) and it had reached a point where it was difficult for me to afford to keep going to school (I was paying my own way with various jobs).
The reason I had kept changing majors was because I was terrified that I’d picked the “wrong” career, with most of those academic decisions based around what careers seemed prestigious. I wanted to be an engineer because I liked the idea of being an engineer, then a programmer because I liked the idea of being a programmer, but I was never happy doing any of these things, and it showed. I’d always been groomed to be a good student, and for most of my career I was good at doing what I was told.
I’d always been creative, doing little projects on the side. I wrote a sci-fi novel when I was 19 (never shared it), some poems in physics class, and even some fake news stories about Popeye before I was kicked off the university paper. I also made films with friends for many years. I was told these were “good hobbies,” that once I became a respected and financially stable engineer/programmer/scientist, that I could then do what made me happy on the side. A nervous breakdown during my college career, however, made it clear that “waiting to be happy” was a psychologically unstable strategy. I couldn’t wait for someone else to grant me permission to do what I wanted with my life.
So, in 2005, during a statistics class that I would eventually fail, I started drawing Dresden Codak. I hadn’t seriously drawn in many years, but it’s something you don’t totally lose. They were pretty bad drawings, but I didn’t care. I enjoyed it and decided that doing what I really liked to do now was better than hoping I could do it later. I wasn’t looking for a career at the time, I just realized how much I loved making comics and knew that I should do whatever I could to keep making them. It took about a year for me to decided that being a cartoonist was what I really wanted. I changed my major to art briefly, but eventually accepted that paying for a degree wasn’t something that was going to help me at that point.
After that, in 2006, I took a chance and dropped out. I worked an office job full time during the day while drawing Dresden Codak full time at night. I slept about 3 hours a night, but it didn’t matter. I was doing what I wanted, and it kept me going. Then, toward the end of 2007 I found out, through Topatoco, that I had enough readers to justify selling some merchandise. To my genuine surprise, as soon as we put the store up, I was making more money than my office job (which I promptly quit). From there I packed up, moved out of Alabama and never looked back.
Dresden Codak has been my full-time job ever since. It’s let me travel the country and meet amazing people while making a pretty comfortable living, but most importantly I get to do what I enjoy more than anything else. Ever since, I make all of my life decisions based on maximizing what I really want to do, and so far it’s served me well.
Don’t interpret this as an anti-education/college story or anything like that. I just think often we expect success if we do X, Y and Z, when in reality such a thing can’t be reliably handed to you by an authority. Start doing what you want to do now, because life’s far too short to wait around to be happy.
What do you use to make your comics?
- Cintiq 24HD table/monitor - the greatest invention devised by humans.
- Adobe Photoshop CS4 - I don’t need to upgrade it for what I do.
- Razer Nostromo Keypad - Ergonomic replacement for a regular keyboard. The programmable keys and small size make it indispensable for me.
And that’s it!
Hey Toronto! I’ll be at TCAF this weekend, ready to meet you fine folks once again. I’ve got lots of Dresden Codak goodies this year, and I’ll also be doing plenty of dinosaur and Zelda sketches for your troubles.
Hope to see you there!
Kim’s prostheses are definitely more advanced since Hob, but she hasn’t outright replaced anything since then (as is suggested by this page of Dark Science).
The interface between her limbs and nervous system has definitely become more extensive though. As you point out, Kim has many more subcutaneous wires than she had earlier.
Why exactly? This will soon be explored in Dark Science!
Cyborg study warmup sketches!
Today’s warmup sketches!
Today’s warmup sketches starring Kim, Vonnie and a Utahraptor.
Today’s warmup sketches