Easter Eggs: "Yale" in panel 3. Jump Square Comics logo. Guest starring Singapore Airlines, the number one airline for people fleeing the US for Japan!
Fun Facts: If this comic feels familiar that's cuz it is...suck it, jack kelly.
...But wait! There's more! As a final experiment in my internal conflict over how to proceed (traditionally or digitally), I did this comic to completion both with traditional and digital inks. Above is total digitality, but what follows is the finished tradinked version that I capped with digital colors and finishes, and just after that is the raw tradinks. I was expecting it to come out much worse, but it's looking pretty okay...
Baa: I have been doing a lot of traditional inking recently at school, and am almost positive that's the best way to improve my draftsmanship, as opposed to just focusing on the digital process, which takes longer since I have an Intuos which takes more effort to match long strokes and complicated linework. Yes, pure digital stuff can look really nice, but that's if you have a Cintiq to draw with on top of many hours logged at the drawing board; I only have an Intuos4 and just a handful of years of heavy drawing.
So with that in mind, to get my 10,000 Hours, I'm going to ink traditionally and just use the tablet for coloring and finishing but not for penciling or inking, ultimately as per the sage-like advice I received from the great Kazu Kibuishi at Comic-Con '10. So this "new" era of comics'll sorta be like college again, where I did almost everything traditionally and just used Photoshop to clean up the scan (except now I can add Intuos-powered colors, text, and effects, as opposed to mousing my digital bits on a Yale computer cluster's iMac). So even if I'm only here in Japan for just a few years, I should be able to make great progress, as I was able to improve quite dramatically after only about two years doing college comics and illustrations (example: my second piece vs. my 250th+ or so).
But this is where it always starts, of course, with paper and pencil. I'm not good enough to go completely digital, I haven't earned it yet. I still have a ton of fundamentals to get down. Plus, as I look at Japanese manga companies' websites' recruitment pages, I believe they just want traditional guys for assistants. So if my destiny leads me to become someone's assistant, I need to be able to throw down traditionally first and foremost. Digital is the calculator you get to use in high school math class after proving you can do long division by hand in elementary school.
So school's in session. Again.