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Re: Ask me something

PostPosted: Sun Sep 27, 2009 2:06 am
by KAM
I just noticed Out There is over a 1000 strips, but when did it pass that mark?

I ask because I sometimes post things at TV Tropes & realized that your comic qualifies for the Webcomics Long Runners page.

Re: Ask me something

PostPosted: Fri Oct 02, 2009 2:02 pm
by rcmonroe
Out There's 1000th strip appeared on August 20, 2009.

Re: Ask me something

PostPosted: Sat Oct 03, 2009 3:03 am
by KAM
Thanks!

And congratulations!

Apple App Question

PostPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2010 2:26 am
by Halgarr
Do the Out There e-books from the Iphone/Ipod app store have the bonus material from your paper books?

Re: Ask me something

PostPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2010 5:56 am
by rcmonroe
Nope. Only the books have the extra material.

Re: Ask me something

PostPosted: Wed Jan 05, 2011 8:50 pm
by Gehrheim
I've been thinking recently about trying to get into drawing again...a few of my drawings in the past have come out not horrible, so I have the assumption that with practice I could actually draw somewhat good.

Any advice about what techniques (perspective, proportions, shading, heavy drinking, etc.) would be best to work on first? Any suggestions for good exercises to work on skillz with? I've thought about getting one of those manga drawing books to start just to get proportions down, but I think if I got stuck at the anime-style and could never progress beyond it to my own (non-anime) style I'd shoot myself.

Re: Ask me something

PostPosted: Fri Jan 07, 2011 11:05 am
by rcmonroe
I would suggest Cartooning the Head and Figure by Jack Hamm (It's old but good) rather than some consarned manga book which may inadvertently lock you into a style. In truth, though, it takes years to develop an individual style, and even once you've developed it, it'll keep changing anyway. Forget about trying to develop a style (for now) and just start drawing things that interest you.

For starters I would just draw whatever you like to draw and not worry too much about working on things like perspective and shading, unless those come naturally to you. Once you've mastered a few simple tricks then you can start incorporating more complicated techniques into your work.

On the other hand, I'm far from being the best person to ask. My game still has a lot of holes in it.

Re: Ask me something

PostPosted: Fri Jan 07, 2011 9:52 pm
by Gehrheim
I've heard about Jack Hamm's books before, I'll have to check that out...thanks for the suggestion!

I'm pretty sure the best person to ask is far too busy to talk to me anyways, so I'm quite content asking your advice. ;)

Re: Ask me something

PostPosted: Sat Jan 08, 2011 10:45 am
by rcmonroe
Drawing the Head and Figure is good too… wish I could find my copy. Actually I'd recommend getting that one first.

Re: Ask me something

PostPosted: Thu Jan 20, 2011 5:58 am
by SAGG
Hey, RC, did you know about this review of OT, and if you did, what did you think about it?

http://mwhf.comicgenesis.com/review_outthere.html

I'm not quite sure, but I think the reviewer likes it--? :-? He sure thinks you hate fun, for some reason... :lol:

Re: Ask me something

PostPosted: Thu Jan 20, 2011 5:14 pm
by rcmonroe
SAGG wrote:Hey, RC, did you know about this review of OT, and if you did, what did you think about it?

http://mwhf.comicgenesis.com/review_outthere.html

I'm not quite sure, but I think the reviewer likes it--? :-? He sure thinks you hate fun, for some reason... :lol:


It's an old review, from the first year of the strip. I've had a link to it on my "Links & Stuff" page the whole time.

What did I think of the review? I thought it was great, of course.

Oh, and the reviewer doesn't think I hate fun. "The Man Who Hates Fun" is the name of his comic strip. The new URL is here.

Re: Ask me something

PostPosted: Thu Jan 20, 2011 7:32 pm
by SAGG
rcmonroe wrote:
SAGG wrote:Hey, RC, did you know about this review of OT, and if you did, what did you think about it?

http://mwhf.comicgenesis.com/review_outthere.html

I'm not quite sure, but I think the reviewer likes it--? :-? He sure thinks you hate fun, for some reason... :lol:


It's an old review, from the first year of the strip. I've had a link to it on my "Links & Stuff" page the whole time.

What did I think of the review? I thought it was great, of course.

Oh, and the reviewer doesn't think I hate fun. "The Man Who Hates Fun" is the name of his comic strip. The new URL is here.


Heh. I should've known. :lol:

Re: Ask me something

PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2011 1:59 pm
by SAGG
RC, do you compare your earlier OT work with what you do now, and say, "Why did I do that?!" or "What was I thinking?!"? :D Would there be anything you'd do differently in OT if you could go back in time?

Re: Ask me something

PostPosted: Mon Jul 11, 2011 3:23 pm
by rcmonroe
It's not so much "why did I do that", because I generally know why I did that; it's more "I wish I had thought that through a little more so I could have done it better." There are a bunch of things I would change now if I were to start over again but ultimately they're all pretty minor and would have little effect on where the story is now.

I'll give you a few examples:

1) I don't like how John and Miriam met. It seems phoney or forced to me now. Instead of her impulsively stopping to pick him up for no real reason, I should have had them meet in a diner or something. Originally I though it would show Miriam's impulsive and flirty nature to have her stop to pick up a stranger but I could have shown the same attributes by having her initiate a conversation with a stranger at a diner. That would have rang a little more true, I think.

2) I wouldn't have made John quite so mysterious. When I created the character I was of two minds which way I was going to take him—and instead of making up my mind before the strip got going I decided I'd sort of let him go and allow him to tell me who he was. This took much longer than I had anticipated, so the mystery aspect kinda got out of hand, becoming something a lot of people focused on, when that really wasn't my intent. I trust by now that most readers have figured out that John isn't hiding a past full of dramatic intrigue; he's just not talking about it much, because there's not much to it, and because he prefers to direct the spotlight away from himself.

3) I would have made it a lot clearer, a lot earlier, that Miriam isn't 100% straight. From the beginning I thought of her as mainly attracted to men but occasionally attracted to women—so whatever category that puts her in, you tell me (I hate labels). The thing is, I didn't know when I started out how specific I was going to get about sex and sexuality; at the beginning I was planning on submitting the strip for syndication and even if that failed (which it did) I was still committed to keeping the strip somewhat family-friendly. So I thought I'd be mostly dancing around the issue, and therefore the details of the characters' respective sexualities could be left to the imagination. I've found it increasingly difficult to leave the sexuality out of it; this is, after all, a comic strip that mostly focuses on relationships and while I never go into graphic detail I have nonetheless found it necessary to at least expose who's attracted to whom. Anyway, if I knew at the start how much I was going to focus on Miriam's various loves and lusts, I'd have made it clearer that they were not going to be exclusively male.

And of course, I wish the earlier strips were drawn better, but I would have had to draw the strip everyday for five years before putting it online to get to where I am now. And five years from now I'm sure I'll look back at my 2011 strips and say, "what was I thinking?"

Re: Ask me something

PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2011 1:23 am
by furrykef
Funny, RC, I don't see a problem with any of those three things. :lol:

1) Miriam might not pick up a random stranger on the road today, but I think that just means her personality has evolved. I don't always behave the same as I would a few years ago either.
2) I dunno, I like the ambiguity about whether John's hiding something or not. I've never thought it's something like a criminal past or anything, but I like there being more room for interpretation than "it is utterly boring". ;) Note that I'm not necessarily expecting it to be fulfilled (cf. The Noodle Incident in Calvin & Hobbes, etc.).
3) Actually, Miriam and Sherry have never struck me as 100% straight. :lol:

Re: Ask me something

PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2011 8:53 am
by rcmonroe
Yeah, none of them are huge glaring issues, just little things I think I could have done better.

I think the "picking up" of John bugs me the most. Miriam is impetuous and, at times, fairly reckless, but insisting a suspicious-looking character get into her car in the middle of nowhere now strikes me as almost suicidal. I kind of wonder what I was thinking at the time.

Re: Ask me something

PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2011 3:09 pm
by evilhare
Ok, I'll bite... what kind of paper and ink do you use, or are you one of those all-digital comic creators?

Re: Ask me something

PostPosted: Wed Jul 13, 2011 4:10 pm
by rcmonroe
As far as my strips go, I only use the computer for the text and the panel borders, and once in a great while, for cleaning up artwork (i.e., fixing mistakes). I do use the computer for any color work I might do.

I use smooth Bristol paper. I pencil everything with a 4H pencil; that's a hard lead that makes a very light line; I've found that at the settings I use my scanner doesn't pick it up at all, so there's no need for me to erase. Bit of a time saver there.

Most of the linework is done with a Kuretake brush pen; I don't know what kind of ink it is, the ink comes in little cartridges that you plug into the pen. The large black areas (Ari's or Sherry's hair, for instance) I fill in with a larger brush, using Rapidograph India Ink (which isn't actually India Ink, but they call it that anyway). The thin lines, like the shading lines or the lines in Miriam's hair are done with a Faber-Castel Pitt "M" pen. The "M" presumably stands for "medium"; it looks to me like it's somewhere between a 1 point and 2 point line.

And I use white-out. Lot and lots of white-out. Because I make lots and lots of mistakes.

Re: Ask me something

PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2011 8:33 am
by LadyGrinningSoul
Okay, I'll bite.

Was Ari initially brought into the strip with the idea that she would awaken Miriam's sapphic side? And was Ari always intended to be bisexual, or was she originally a Lesbian (as she stated) and you just changed your mind? If so, what made you change your mind?

Re: Ask me something

PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2011 10:18 am
by rcmonroe
Ari just happened. During the long arc when Miriam and Sherry were on their trip, I decided I needed to have at least one or two short arcs with John manning the bar. He had to have someone to talk to, so in popped Ari. I had no concept of who she was, what she was going to be, or how I was going to use her; I just started writing. I made her a Lesbian in order to fulfill a single punchline (http://outthere.keenspot.com/d/20070915.html). I wasn't even sure she was going to be a recurring character. But I liked her, so she kept showing up, and she gradually became someone who was less sure of her sexual orientation than originally indicated. Why this happened, I don't know. Often the characters will grow and change for reasons I'm not completely aware of.

Since I had no real plans for her when I introduced her, I would have to say "no" as to whether she was created to give Miriam someone to be interested in.

Re: Ask me something

PostPosted: Tue Dec 06, 2011 4:48 pm
by LadyGrinningSoul
When you're plotting the strip, do you ever take into account what we readers are saying in here? Do we ever give you ideas? Have we ever made you change your mind about something? Have you ever had an overwhelmingly negative reaction to anything you've done?

Re: Ask me something

PostPosted: Wed Dec 07, 2011 12:33 am
by rcmonroe
LadyGrinningSoul wrote:When you're plotting the strip, do you ever take into account what we readers are saying in here?


With one exception (explained below), no.

Do we ever give you ideas? Have we ever made you change your mind about something?


Miriam's Internet pal Greg was originally intended to be a one-shot character. People seemed to like him, and I came up with the idea of them carrying on an online friendship. I don't know that I did it to appease the readers or if they just got me to thinking about whether he could be useful as a character. I would say that without the positive response to him he probably would have gone away and stayed away.

Have you ever had an overwhelmingly negative reaction to anything you've done?


One time I changed the color scheme of the website and the negative response was almost universal. I changed it to something else after a month or two. Ironically, I changed it back a few years later and nobody said a thing! In fact, the present orange and black is what got everybody riled up way back when.

When Sherry bleached her hair (actually, when Miriam bleached Sherry's hair), most of the feedback was negative. I had planned all along to have the female characters change hairstyles and possibly hair color from time to time, so the negative response had nothing to do with why Sherry eventually went back to dark hair. She may go back to blonde again some day.

You have to realize, the readership of this strip is in the thousands. The participation in this forum, for whatever reason, is about three or four at any given time. While I appreciate the feedback (I really do!), I can't take anything anyone says in here as representative of the readership as a whole. I get a lot more feedback from e-mails than from this forum (and I don't get tons and tons of e-mails, either, but I get more of them than I do forum posts).

Re: Ask me something

PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2012 5:55 am
by SAGG
RC, what do you think was the riskiest storyline you've done so far in OT, and why? :evilgrin:

Re: Ask me something

PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2012 9:03 am
by rcmonroe
SAGG wrote:RC, what do you think was the riskiest storyline you've done so far in OT, and why? :evilgrin:


I don't think anything I've done in Out There has been risky. I'm in a time and place where the risks have all long ago been taken and the taboos have all long ago been shattered; I have the luxury of just tipping my hat to the Lenny Bruces and R. Crumbs who have gone before me, and get on with just telling my story. In this day and age, anyone who thinks he's being shocking or edgy or irreverent is probably fooling himself; it's all been done, nothing shocks anymore. With no envelope left to push, I'm just doing my thing, confident that no controversy is likely to arise from it.

I do censor myself… but that's by choice. I want Out There to have wide appeal and while everybody's seen comics and other forms of art or entertainment which are chock full of profanity, nudity, and sex, there are people who are turned off by it, who will immediately write you off if you cross their "bad taste" line. They're in the minority, certainly, but they're there. I prefer not to exclude them from my audience; since I have the ability to tell my story without offending them, I do—and my message therefore reaches a larger audience than it otherwise would.

Re: Ask me something

PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2012 1:42 pm
by jimk
Hello RC,

I am a huge daily fan of OT.

Given the growth in your drawing style since you began Out There, what would the very first strip look like if you redrew it today?