Page 15

posted 17th Jun 2018, 12:00 AM

Page 15
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view Gillian Renk's profile

17th Jun 2018, 12:00 AM

Gillian Renk

Alright. This is sort of a long time coming, but I gotta be straight with you guys because you’ve stuck with me for the longest time with Aether.

I’m so burnt out on Aether. I’ve been doing it for 4 and a half years now and while I’m extremely proud of what we’ve done, I’m just not in the same place I was when I started. When I started the comic I didn’t have anything else going on--I had no job, I was floundering to find myself artistically, and I was fresh and excited to work on an original story. But stuff has changed! Between new art interests, new jobs, some health issues, and just…life happening, I just don’t have the same passion I did when I started. I find myself wishing I had more free time to pursue my other interests in addition to doing other kinds of art, instead of having to pick one or the other (or neither). I feel guilty when I do other kinds of work, and that’s...well, it’s sort of miserable! I still love the story, but trying to get myself to draw pages feels like wading through molasses. And I know Will’s having trouble with scripts too.

I absolutely wanted to finish the comic--we’re in the final chapter, and there are probably 60-70 pages left to go. But that’s 30 weeks of comics for me--30 weeks of dragging my feet and making pages that aren’t up to my standards because my heart isn’t in it. Maybe that sounds silly or selfish, but I simply don’t want to make sub-par work just to finish the story, and that’s on top of being burnt out. Hell, we’re having a hard time even thinking of the right way to show the ending.

BUT, I also really don’t want to leave it hanging here. This is, possibly, the worst place to stop the story, and these characters do still mean something to me, even if I’m exhausted with the comic itself. And I know (because I know myself very well) that if I stop now with the intent to come back later, I never will. So here’s what I’m going to do, and I hope everyone is okay with it.

I’m going to create a series of a few illustrations to show how the story wraps up, and I’m going to write a bit of an epilogue to explain some loose ends. If anyone has any questions, I’m happy to answer those too. I don’t realistically know how many people would be, like, heartbroken if they didn’t see an ending to the story, but I feel bad stopping here, both for myself and for any readers who do care. I know it’s not the whole comic I promised, but I hope you understand why I’m doing this, and I hope it’s a good compromise.

I’m gonna try to make the illustrations nice to make up for...the whole situation, I guess, so I’m not sure when I’ll have them done, but rest assured I’ll finish them. I want to send off this project somehow--it’s the largest one I’ve ever done, at over 500 pages of comic, and I’ve learned a lot from doing it. I owe it and you readers that much. Whether you’ve been here from the beginning or just started reading recently, I’m so grateful that you’ve read and (hopefully!) enjoyed Aether. Thanks, as always, for sticking with me.

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user comments

17th Jun 2018, 6:13 AM

Cellar

Ehm, er, ah, hum. Lemme say something. First, the obligatory but all the same heartfelt: Hey, I like the comic, art, story, and everything. You did done good.

In fact you did done something I never could. I can write (opinion pieces, not fiction for some reason), but I really don't have the patience to draw. But I can and do admire it in others.

So, dealing with burn-out isn't easy. (I got burnt out on a job and basically never recovered. So I do know first-hand that being burnt-out is not a good place to be.) So it's a good thing you're noticing something's gotta change. Kudos for that.

At the same time, this is a big project, you're (relatively) nearly done, and now you're changing the format. As a freeloading reader I have nothing to demand so I won't even try, and I'll be happy with illustrated or even non-illustrated text just to see how the rest of the story unfolds. Like a junkie I'll take any story closure I can get. So, no pressure on that part. I do have some reservations on the "nearly there, didn't quite finish the thing right so had to make tracks" part. If you're certain that's not gonna bug you later on, this is a fine solution.

Otherwise, well, free time you just gotta make. There's so much you can jiggle and juggle, it's not funny. Even something dumb like "do two pages one week, work only on other art projects the other" might be enough to keep the burn at bay. Think of twenty different options, nail'em to the wall, and stare at them for a bit. If that's not enough, think of twenty more. Eventually pick one that works for you.

And if you manage that, why, if you're hard-up for a job at some point again, you could even pack up the thing and kickstart it into a (few) book(s) or something. Is that a useful carrot for you? If not, what would be?

Any road, it's your decision and if your mind's already made up, please do ignore my inept attempt to help. Except for the compliments. You get those in any case.

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view Gillian Renk's profile

17th Jun 2018, 6:00 PM

Gillian Renk

Thanks for the message and the kind words! I said it on the other page where I post Aether, but for now I'm content with this decision! It's been a huge weight off my shoulders to decide to do it this way, and I'm glad for that. It's always possible I'll come back some years down the road, but I think if I did then it would be to redo the whole comic! I've learned a lot about storytelling and writing, and I think it could be fun to take a crack at tightening the story and doing it over again with improved skills. But that's a long ways off, if it happens. :)

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view bgb16999's profile

19th Jun 2018, 5:28 PM

bgb16999

Wow, there's another place you've been posting Aether? I hadn't even realized that. Often when I follow a comic that is posted on multiple websites, I will stop by all of them to see the different comments.

A quick Google search shows that Aether is also on Tapas. Is there anywhere else (aside from CF and Tapas) that you've been posting it?

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17th Jun 2018, 6:40 AM

Guest

Thanks for all of the beautiful art!

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view Gillian Renk's profile

17th Jun 2018, 5:58 PM

Gillian Renk

Thank YOU for being here to enjoy it!

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view pkrankow's profile

17th Jun 2018, 6:47 AM

pkrankow

This is supposed to be fun.

Yes, I have loved tbe story and art so far.

Thank you.

end of message
view Gillian Renk's profile

17th Jun 2018, 5:58 PM

Gillian Renk

I'm glad to hear it. Thank you. <3

end of message
view Big Nemo's profile

17th Jun 2018, 1:56 PM

Big Nemo

Life happens, choices must be made. Been there, seen that - and I am not an artist, even.

Thank you for sharing your work with us. I like both the writing and the artwork very much.

I have been reading web comics for many years. (Now this is starting to sound like Rutger Hauer's monologue at the end of "Blade Runner"...) I have seen promising comics sizzle and fade into nothingness - sometimes after years, sometimes after months or even weeks, without a iota from the artist. Were they abducted by aliens? I guess I will never know...

So thank you for sharing your thoughts and your decisions with us. And thank you, when you will be able to provide some amount of closure to a very good story.

One last thing:

If you were to create something new, that you would like to share, please remember to post a notice here. We will come.

end of message
view Gillian Renk's profile

17th Jun 2018, 5:57 PM

Gillian Renk

Thank you for the kind words! It really means a lot to me. <3

Absolutely! I'll post a few things about where I'll be after the comic wraps when I post the last illustration--I'm still working on lots of illustrations and side comics that have fewer deadlines. :)

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17th Jun 2018, 8:11 PM

ajl9324

thank you for this story. It is really good. I hope to see more of your work in the future

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17th Jun 2018, 8:28 PM

MarkLinimon

Hmm, I don't know, I don't think this is all of that bad of a place to stop.

You've brought your characters full circle, back home, after a voyage of discovery. Is there one more huge fight ahead? Sure, but isn't it always?

Also, I have never felt the story needed to be tightened up. It was the right pacing for me.

As to burnout, I can tell you that you don't want to live in it perpetually. At some point your body won't tolerate it. (I have very low thryoid function as a result.)

Take care and let us know what you decide to do next.

end of message

18th Jun 2018, 3:53 AM

Rita Rita

Thank you for preparing the wrap-up for us! I hope you'll find the inspiration and motivation for new projects, and I'll be looking forward to seeing them if you can share. Your artwork is great! I've been reading webcomics for 10+ years, but Aether was the first that convinced me to overcome my shyness and post comments to.

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18th Jun 2018, 5:45 PM

Gerald Ney

Enjoyed the comic, especially the growth of the main character over time.

Unfortunately, as noted by others above, burnout happens, writer's block comes or real life intervenes. If you check out "Beyond the Tree" which site is still up, Nhani came to a screeching halt in March 2012, and all the offered encouragement and comfort offered couldn't help her pick up the pieces.

As an amateur poet, I've had writer's block for periods of up to a year, and you wonder if the well has gone permanently dry.

Wish you all the best in whatever you do in the future.

Wish

end of message
view kyrtuck's profile

19th Jun 2018, 8:19 AM

kyrtuck

Hey, keep at it! It will turn out, especially if this is almost over.

On my comic, I've got so many ideas and plans I haven't even touched yet, and I don't have half the following you do.

end of message
view bgb16999's profile

19th Jun 2018, 5:25 PM

bgb16999

Like probably everyone who is reading this comment, I really enjoy the story and characters of Aether. I haven't been following it all that long (I caught up in the middle of chapter six), but I've gotten a lot of enjoyment out of your comic in the last year. And, I would be somewhat disappointed if I never got to see how the story ends.

However, I also don't really want to see anything other than your best. If you think you would not be creating your best work by completing the comic in comic form, and that you'd do better with text, then I'd prefer to see the text version that you think is better.

Moreover, if you aren't enjoying drawing the comic, then it won't be as good. I want to read the story that you enjoy creating, because I know I'll probably enjoy reading it more if you enjoy making it. So keep going, and finish the story in whatever way you think is best. I know I'll be sticking around until the very end.

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3rd Jul 2018, 6:55 PM

MooseImperium

This is an incredible webcomic. I only found out about it two pages ago, but I've read it twice since then. It's going right up there on my list of recommendations along with Darken, Widdershins, and Order of the Stick.

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3rd Jul 2018, 6:55 PM

MooseImperium

This is an incredible webcomic. I only found out about it two pages ago, but I've read it twice since then. It's going right up there on my list of recommendations along with Darken, Widdershins, and Order of the Stick.

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22nd Oct 2018, 3:02 PM

BiZaRe Pistachio

It's been a while since you posted your first comment mentioning wrapping this up. I hope that is still the plan? I quite enjoyed this story and continue to wonder what they would do to defeat someone with that much raw power.

Apart from the wrapping up, i just really wanted to mention the way you do clothing. I really really like it. It's unique and looks practical, and when it's in color it matches their environment and purpose. Also character designs are pretty awesome too, they are interesting to look at, feel grounded.
The magic system feels well developed, it doesn't just feel like it was just 'what if we had this' sort of situation. They seem to me to have limits that make sense.
Anyway
I hope to see this concluded someday still. Good luck in whatever it is you're doing, and good luck wrapping this up - if you still intend on doing so.

-Brenna

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