Hey, everybody, we're ready to get this roller coaster running again!

 

This is our first page with Lillian on inks and colors. If you're as impressed as I am with how beautifully she has stepped into the role, please welcome her to the team and let her hear about it!

 

As I mentioned in prior news posts, we're going to need to slacken the pace of updates from about 100 a year to about 80. There were a number of different ways I thought about doing that, but I settled on this approach: Update schedule will still be Tuesdays and Fridays, but expect us to miss about two updates a month, without announcements.

 

I'm going to keep an eye on everybody's pace and productivity as we go (especially mine), and I'm going to call a skip when I think it will be most beneficial to our process. That will not mean we don't have a buffer. It will just mean we're aiming to keep the buffer we have, and (by not overloading anyone) keep the team sane and happy. (Or at least as sane as we can be.) 

 

If I manage to find time to do backer stories, those will happen on Sundays. "On time updates" will still have to happen by midnight on the Tuesday or the Friday to count, but skips are skips and they just don't count as update days.

 

I realize this will result in some days being a disappointment, but if we do skips on an "as needed" basis instead of scheduled, then there's the possibility that we'll find we're comfortable doing more than 80 in a year. Maybe a month will go by with no skips, which would never happen if we said "every other Friday is a miss" or something. Bottom line is, I think this will work out better and result in more total updates.

 

Thanks as always for your kind support and patience. I really needed the break. Now please fasten your safety belts and keep your hands inside the car while the ride is moving, because heeeeere we go!

Comments

    • Jamus

      Squee!

      And I'm just going to say, I think this is the best the art's ever looked.

      • Dusso

        Best start of the day since July laughing

        • Evelinda

          Thrilled that you're back, and glad you got what you needed from the break. New page looks wonderful, welcome aboard Lillian! Can't wait for the next one.

          • Nickol Cadwell

            Glad to see you guys back! Art looks amazing.

             

            Also, http://i.imgur.com/2bnDCQh.gif

            • DeanXeL

              I've been checking every day since the announcement of the hiatus. So glad you guys are back!

              • Knott

                Welcome back to the front of the stage, and congrats on the strong start!

                • kaylasdad99

                  I'm delighted to see y'all back, and with such a beautiful (and eautifully executed) update! A question, if I'm not being too impertinent. In the blog post announcing the hiatus, there's mention of the fact that it really feels like we're in Book 4 by now. Have you decided on a title, and will re-pagination likely occur within the next few updates, or is the plan to take care of that AFTER the entire story arc is in the archives?

                  • Eight_Quarter_Bit

                    Woohoo! Erfworld's back, baby!

                    It looks gorgeous! Glad you guys had a chance to take a breather. And please, never feel like you're disappointing this fan if you have to take a break, big or small, frequently or infrequently. A happy team working at a sustainable pace is far preferable to a ragged team and a few more updates a year.

                    • silveus

                      A planned system that calls for unannounced breaks strikes me as one of the worst ways to handle things.

                       

                      You are doing two updates a week for a total of 8 a month, but are planning on potentially missing two of them. 6 updates a month is perfectly fine, but the unannounced breaks means there is a potential that at any time, there is a 25% chance I'll be disappointed when there is no update. It also means I'll keep coming back to the site all day on those days checking and refreshing my disappointment.

                       

                      It seems you want the versatility of taking a  break when you need it, and this also gives you the option of not taking any breaks if that turns out to be the case, but you also mentioned you keep a buffer of pages. if you are working on say, Sunday, and think to yourself, "we are too burnt out, I want to call a break," Do so, but use the buffer one for the Tuesday release, and then add a comment afterwards, "We're on break, don't expect a page on Friday." That seems like the easiest option.

                       

                      The other option I'd suggest is to just plan for 6 updates a month...

                      week 1, Tuesday and Friday

                      week 2, Tuesday

                      week 3, Tuesday and Friday

                      week 4, Friday.

                       

                      Or however, but then mentioned that there is a good chance that there will be up to two "extra" pages each month.

                      • Enalias

                        silveus said

                        if you are working on say, Sunday, and think to yourself, "we are too burnt out, I want to call a break," Do so, but use the buffer one for the Tuesday release, and then add a comment afterwards, "We're on break, don't expect a page on Friday." That seems like the easiest option.

                        This seems right.

                        • Neko

                          Welcome back!  I once again have a reason to live on Tues and Friday.  laughing

                          Lillan - YOUR COLORING IS AMAZING!  Thanks for being part of the Erf family.  Rob - I'm so glad you feel better rested.  Exhaustion and burnout is a Real Thing, and I don't want you to feel like you're in that place.  

                          • NotGac

                            While I don't necessarily object to the schedule shift, I am reminded of the advice my father once gave me, "it's easier to stick to a plan 100% than 99%." Perhaps skipping every other Friday and using any surprise spare time for backer stories would be easier on you?

                             

                            Aside from all that, Lillian's coloring is FANTASTIC! The clothes actually look like they're made of cloth!

                            • WooSai

                              I'm loving the art.  Lillian is a great addition to the team!

                              • artrexdenthur

                                Super excited to see the story continuing again!

                                I'll also quickly echo the sentiment that, while you all probably know best what will work most smoothly for you, I feel like a slower rate with occasional extra pages would be more fun than a fast rate with unpredictable planned off days. The difference is not great, however, and of course both are infinitely better than anyone getting burnt out. Here's to both your sanity and success!

                                • Windscion

                                  Damn it looks good. And I am happy to see you have a plan for retaining your sanity.

                                  • niklinna

                                    Dang that's some gorgeous art. Welcome Lillian and welcome back Rob & Xin! So happy my favorite webcomic is online again.

                                    • HarroldSaxon

                                      Welcome back!

                                      I've seen a wed comic use a similar skip idea before. The only thing I'd ask for is a "please stand by" message on skip days, so we know its a skip. :)

                                      • Ozamataz Buckshank

                                        Not sure how I feel about there being no announcements on skip days. Couldn't you at least post a picture of Rob, Xin, and Lillian choking down on comic pages, with the caption, "It's our cheat day!"?

                                        • Kelibath

                                          silveus' suggestion is a good one. If you have a buffer, but know you'll need to skip a Tuesday (for example), give people notice on the Tuesday and skip Friday's update instead. One update's notice should be enough for most people. 

                                          Addendum; there are 9 updates on average in most months, not 8. Months are more than 28 days long, February excluded; there's on average an extra third of a week in each, so 2 in 3 months have 9 update days - which might make skip-days easier to handle. 

                                          • YRM DM

                                            The new artwork is beautiful and pretty consistent with what it was before...  which is nice because it was so jarring for the first half of the book when Xin took the art back over... it went from being art that I'd say was "passable and ok" to "beautiful".   So if you're re-reading this book, it's quite jarring when the art style changes from the first portion to the second portion.

                                            Great job to the new art team.  Xin, as always, is amazing.

                                            Lillian, I really appreciate that you have the talent to match the coloring style, which was really good, rather than insist on changing it to something different for the sake of change.   It takes a lot of skill and a good eye to match a client's brand or match another art style so well, and, you need to be a team player to do that.

                                            Bravo.

                                             

                                            (that said, I'm glad that the much lower quality style in the first third of the book wasn't matched when Xin took back over the first time...  it wasn't terrible, just definitely not as good...  this stuff isn't totally subjective opinion either... there are quite a lot of things that Xin and Jillian do, choices that are made, that make the panels more dynamic and engaging...  compare the "action" of Stanley's fight in the first third of the book to the fights in the last half of the book...  it's like John Taffer's Bar Rescue... there might be more than one correct way to redesign the structures, but, it's a general rule that they always look better after the show finishes than before...  there isn't an art professor on earth who would give a lower grade to Xin's pages than the first half of the book)

                                             

                                             

                                            • boredgods

                                              Excellent.

                                              The new update system seems designed to be flexible, and to accommodate the needs of the creative team rather than the demands of the fans. 

                                              This is EXACTLY as it should be, and will result in a healthier long-term outlook.  Looking forward to seeing the new content!

                                              • Archena Nighthawk

                                                Woohoo!!!!! Glad you're back! The art is great!