Everyone who has been following this comic all along has watched us go through a lot of tough times. This, unfortunately, is another one. Xin is departing as Erfworld's primary illustrator after the current books have wrapped up. I asked her to put it in her own words, and here's what she wrote.
You might have noticed the pages have been severely off schedule for the last few months. It is entirely my fault, and I regret to say that this is a problem that is unlikely to have a solution on my end. The truth is, Erfworld is a challenging comic to illustrate, with many panels per page that need to be filled with armies of detailed characters on lush backgrounds. I’ve given my all to live up to its needs, and give you the best comic I can, but recent events have shown me that I may never really be able to give Erfworld what it needs.
The reason, of course, is the situation with my family. Not too long ago, I used to rely on their strength as I tried to fulfill my dreams as an illustrator. However, after my mother’s death in late 2011, that situation changed. As time passes, it is surprising to find out just how much my mother did for all of us on a constant basis. She really can’t be replaced, both in a professional sense and in a day to day sense. In trying to fill the gaps I’ve found many things that need my constant attention to keep them from falling apart. Now, it’s my family that needs to rely on me.
Originally I hoped I would be able to take care of both my family and Erfworld at once, but it has proven to be beyond my abilities and energy. And, it’s getting harder to keep up – recently my responsibilities in the family business have increased, leaving me a few days less each week to spend on anything else. Since my parents' generosity was the only that made working on Erfworld possible for me, I couldn't refuse.
I will no longer be able to continue illustrating Erfworld after this book. There's so much wonderful story that Rob needs to tell, but I keep holding everything up. It's extremely unfair to all of you who have waited so patiently for every page for me to hold the comic back. (Not to mention all the things I promised to place in the toolbox and never fulfilled...) That is why, after the continual delays, I thought it would be best to get someone professional that can dedicate their time to getting updates out on time and allow me to focus my energy on my family who need me.
I will be eternally grateful for all the love and encouragement that you have given me despite the inconsistency the past three years. I hope you guys will give the new illustrator, whoever they may be, as much support as you gave me.
To be clear, I will finish all the pages for Book 2. I will try to get as close to a page a week as I can, but if the past few months are any indication the chances of that happening are not good. You will have to suffer through with me a bit longer...
I've known this was coming since last October or so, but I didn't feel the time was right to make an announcement about it until we found the right artist to carry the series forward. After vetting about a dozen candidates, I believe that we do, but I'll make more posts about that in a little while.
For now, please join me in expressing huge gratitude for everything Xin has brought to this comic. I'm going to miss working with her, but she'll stick around in certain capacities. She's working with the new illustrator, she'll be doing Erfworld (and other) commissioned art, and she'll still be someone I can talk to when I need to work out the tangles in the story.
Thank you, Xin. You have brought amazing new dimensions to Erfworld. Your command of characters and settings, of the emotional undertones inherent in facial expressions and body language, and your extraordinary attention to detail has raised the comic to its highest heights. And you've been the best sounding board for story that I have ever had, on any writing project. It's been an amazing 3 1/2 years, and I wish you and your family all the peace and happiness in the world.