#1113 "Reintroductions"

May 21st, 2013, 7:49 am

Average Rating: 5.00

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Reply TheCatMolloy, May 21st, 2013, 10:55 am

On writer's block. Sorry for the delay, folks.

I'm going through one of those crises of identity that I'm not sure writers are supposed to write about with regard to their own work: "Is This Any Good?"

Which, of course, I can't be the judge of.

Reviews are mixed, there's a brilliant and supportive following who love it, and a separate following who hate it. It does well in the charts when it's updating, and some of my friends in real life still read it on a regular basis. It's the very definition of a cult comic, and I'm usually very happy about that.

Anyway: writer's block.

So I sit down at my desk to draw a couple of weeks ago, and I have a lot of trouble with the pencils. I ink up a panel, realise it looks like crap, and have to throw the whole page away and start over because pen-and-ink doesn't have an 'undo' function. I go through this process a couple of times before coming up with a finished inked page that I'm pretty happy with. Then I decide to try colouring it with watercolours and make it look like crap.

At which point I scanned it in, redid the inking in Illustrator, switched the panels around, and found myself completely unable to insert dialogue.

Anyway, I think I've figured out the root of the problem: Neko the Kitty has been succeeding a bit lately, coming up in the polls, and I started thinking about the comic in terms of 'success'.

Inevitably, the metric became money, and I started to think about the comic in terms of 'work'.

Neko's not a big earner. There have been a couple of big pay days from Google Ads, but it's more like having decent luck with scratchcards than receiving a steady paycheck. It never really bothered me until it started bothering me.

The fact is I don't think I can do this indefinitely if it's 'work'. The whole reason I started doing comics in the first place was because it's fun, and putting pressure on it to pay out makes it less fun. I'm going to stick with the 'scratchcards' metaphor for that.

Anyway, I think that's what's got me stuck. That little part of my brain that tells me to stop buying scratchcards has turned its attention on Neko.

This is ongoing, so updates may be sporadic for a while. Paige and I are also moving apartment, and I've started a diploma course, so there's lots going on.

Anyway, I think I'm going to stop checking the stats for a while just update whenever the comic gets done. Do it *strictly* for fun without worrying about deadlines or audience figures.

Thanks for your patience, whatever comes next is probably going to be a bit weird, so I hope you enjoy it.

Reply Advertisement, June 17th, 2019, 3:56 am

Reply TheCatMolloy, May 23rd, 2013, 10:45 am

As the Chaos Portal collapses, it creates a small localised shockwave.
I don't know.

The event lasts approximately 0.3 seconds, and Keno's the only one that really enjoys it.

User's Comments:

Reply Amiguruthi (Guest), May 21st, 2013, 11:03 am

That sounds like logic to me. Hope everything on the diploma course and the move goes well for you - your fans will be here successful money maker or penniless hobby anyway :)

Reply Connors, May 21st, 2013, 11:59 am

Art Block I like it when a webcomic has interesting posts to go with it like today...

I think you're great with explanations and this idea of art becoming work sounds very familiar to me. In fact it reminded me of the reason I don't follow my pageviews on deviantArt - It was so I don't fall into the same trap where I post art just because I'm looking for more views or watchers or favorites. I've had a bit of art block myself recently. So... thanks for that reminder.

PS: Today's whitespace Neko is great. :3

Reply Connors, May 21st, 2013, 12:03 pm

One more thing Why can't you try and judge for yourself if you think your art is any good? I think you've had enough experience to allow some of that.

Reply TheCatMolloy, May 21st, 2013, 2:44 pm

There's a balance between pride and humility which I've never been able to get quite right. I try to avoid the issue :P

Reply crash motha f-ing bandicoot (Guest), May 21st, 2013, 2:59 pm

aww The only webcomic I actually like right now is gonna die :(

Reply Kitty Face Studios, May 21st, 2013, 3:31 pm

I've been reading Neko for years, and I still love it. Yeah, it's definitely a cult comic, but the good side of that is that no matter what, you at least have a handful of die hard fans, which in my book is way better than having a ton of fair weather fans.

Reply TheCatMolloy, May 21st, 2013, 4:19 pm

Oh don't get me wrong, the fans are awesome, and it's brilliant having a cult following! Most of my friends don't have cult followings.

It just doesn't pay the bills, and that's something I've got to either let go of or be dragged by.

It's also quite possibly a depression thing. Neko's my go-to activity when I want to do something, anhedonia's probably unavoidable in that kind of situation.

Anyway, there's probably going to be more weird artsy stuff with watercolours and poems and the like until my brain gets back to wanting to make regular comics again.

Reply VictorB, May 21st, 2013, 5:11 pm

I might not be the best example, but.... One time, in an art course I was taking, I had a really hard time to draw. I was focusing on all the details so much that my teacher made this an assignment:
Draw the fractious version of what you are trying to do. If you are drawing hands too big, draw them huge, if you are trying to get male anatomy good, draw a female, if one is happy and dancing, draw them evil and...doing evil stuff.
The point of the exercise was not only to stop obsessing over the details, which I believe is a cause of your writer's block, but also to explore the fantastic world of the weird, to refresh our trains of thought which sometimes come up with a whole new direction we would never have thought of.

Why don't you give it a try? For yourself, draw a sketch of the next comic you want but in a way you know will fail. Make it hilarious to yourself and absurd as you want it to be. Then when you go to draw the real comic, your brain will have relaxed and would see value in your work, rather than striving to outdo a masterpiece.....

At least that's what worked for me.

Reply VictorB, May 21st, 2013, 5:20 pm

to add to what I said when I was a kid, writing stories for my friends, I used this absurd writing style to get a fresh take on the matter. I would experiment with things (to be relatable) like if Neko saved Murphy's life while Keno was trapped in the Chaos Dimention by Edgar, Poe's evil twin who was created while Poe helped his witch to create the other twin. Then I would bring it back in an instant, by revealing it to be a dream sequance. I noticed that the story changed from there as to my usual story, but in an accepted way. Might be something to think about

Reply GabrielsThoughts, May 22nd, 2013, 1:43 am

I resigned myself to the philosophy, that it doesn't matter how good my creation is someone isn't going to like it.

So, basically I don't care about other's opinons. I still hold to the the philosophy that people improve on their own and the most "competent criticism," not complaint, can provide is a direction to focus on.

Reply auntmousie, May 22nd, 2013, 1:49 am

On Writer's Block Mark Twain once observed that the best way to make someone stop doing something is to pay them to do it. He said it somewhat more eloquently, but the point was that as soon as we get paid for doing something, we start counting how much it pays - whereas, so long as we're doing it for free, we never count the cost.

I worked as a salaried writer for a video game company after college (lo those many days ago); I remember dealing with writer's block, and ultimately coming to the conclusion that I couldn't afford to let it stop me.

I see that there's a host of suggestions above, so I'll offer another one: don't spend time doubting yourself, ESPECIALLY if you're worried about how little money you get. No one is paying you to doubt yourself. The stuff you were doing for free was what got you the fans you have; more of the same is exactly what we're looking for.

Reply Hurricane Ivan (Guest), May 22nd, 2013, 10:01 am

With regards to the last thing you said, That's fine, wierd is good.

Reply GabrielsThoughts, May 22nd, 2013, 1:35 pm


There are card games to help one overcome writers block now. They work like the dolphin set up they demonstrated in Southpark.

However, more to the point, how does one get a job writing for a video game company?

Reply auntmousie, May 22nd, 2013, 6:10 pm

@Gabriel Blind luck. I was fresh out of college, and fresh off a rejection from law school - so I was sending the best resumes I could muster to every company I could find within driving distance. One of them happened to be the (now defunct) Alameda campus of Microprose, and they just happened to be looking for an extra writer.

Reply GabrielsThoughts, May 23rd, 2013, 8:30 am

Thank you.

Reply Agen (Guest), May 24th, 2013, 6:17 am

ntKGar, does Poe have the ability of possing people or other critters?. He should take control of Murphy :)

Reply TheCatMolloy, May 24th, 2013, 8:52 am

@Agen: If he does, he hasn't used it in the comic yet :)

Poe's demonstrated powers include: creating Chaos Portals (fast travel), floating, shooting lightning bolts from his eyes, locating family members by blood magic, summoning an ethereal floating hand with an established carrying capacity of about 15-20lbs, and a 'glammer' spell which basically just gets people high.

Reply GabrielsThoughts, May 24th, 2013, 11:27 am

You forgot the ability to transmute into smoke in order to avoid the deadly effects of death...

Reply VictorB, May 24th, 2013, 11:43 pm

And using said smoke power to create the illusion that he is a huge cat.

Reply Imrainhead (Guest), May 26th, 2013, 12:33 am

Just think Take a page from the mind of your creation and just don't give a crap. Enjoy doing what you do simply because you enjoy it. I'm sure if Neko had a corporeal form he'd promptly say an eloquent juxtaposition on how you sicken him while simultaneously rubbing against your ankles. Why? Cause he's a cat and doesn't give a fuck :)

Reply CypherDragon (Guest), May 26th, 2013, 10:02 am

I've been a reader for about a year now, and just now posting (guess I'm a victim of the "lurk moar newb" mindset of much of the younger net) - I personally _like_ the randomness and weird that come with Neko. It's one of the endearing qualities that landed it on my permanent "must-read" list and also to turn off AdBlock so you reap at least a little revenue from my eyeballs (I even click the occasional interesting ad, and vote every visit).

The only thing I'll ask is please keep updating the site - even if it's something completely unrelated to Neko...I've seen too many of my favorite webcomics go on extended hiatuses and never return. It would be a sad day indeed if I have to move my Neko bookmark to the "Never Updates" folder.

Hope you get over the slump; I don't have any suggestions I can offer since I'm not an artist, but I do know how frustrating it can be to sit down to do something and come up with a big blank.

Reply Seeen, May 27th, 2013, 3:14 am

You know, we've seen Poe... But would there be any possibility of revisiting the rest of the family? I mean, Poe's become sort of a regular, but the others don't necessarily HAVE to be.

Reply Agen (Guest), May 27th, 2013, 5:58 am

@ Seeen, heh the last part of your post seems a touch confusing, Did you mean to say that it'd be nice if Poe weren't so focused on & have ther other felines like Maisey have more appearances?

Reply magic_beefy, May 27th, 2013, 8:35 am

Rest of the Family @ Seeen, I do know from previous comments from Gar that Aya is coming back for some comics, but the Gar is still trying to get with the other artists that adopted his kittens for their (now on permanent hiatus/dead) web-comics but is having trouble getting with them
So there is a chance they'll all come back but it could be a while

Personally, I can't wait to see Aya again since I started reading her comic after she was adopted but lost track of it when I moved and was so bummed when I found out it had ended

Reply Seeen (Guest), May 27th, 2013, 11:25 am

(Can't log in; mobile phone)

No, I don't mean any changes to Poe should be made. He's a primary character now. I mean that the rest of the family would be nice to see even if they weren't primary characters, maybe having a short arc of adventu- er... ADVENCHA here and there.

Reply Akoya (Guest), May 27th, 2013, 1:59 pm

Well, if you don't know how to move forward, take a look backwards. Neko has other children that haven't been seen in awhile besides just Keno and Poe. You could even fill in some of the gaps from that coma thing. Options always exist. Just need to write them out and hit one with a dart.

Reply TheCatMolloy, May 27th, 2013, 5:07 pm

It's not that I've run out of ideas, just that I'm tired of *having* to do the comic three times a week.

This gig doesn't pay well enough to be work, but it's too much fun to quit. Neko the Kitty's going to keep updating, I'm just not going to pretend like I'm a professional cartoonist any more.

I do this for fun and because it makes people happy, but don't hold any genuine expectation of it ever offering more material rewards than that. To be honest, that bums me out more than a little, but it's just a little disheartening and not enough to put me off making comics (just enough to get me out of the chair when my back starts giving out).

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