More Website Disaster Cleanup Accomplished!
Yep! This week’s Process Blog is more about having gotten a bit more of the disaster clean up done on this website. But before I get to that I’m sure you’ll want to know where I’m at with Aedre’s Firefly.
Though I spent the last week honing my skills with the dip nib pen, and more colouring with watercolour, I also worked some more on the re-boot of Aedre’s Firefly Book I, and on getting a bit further on the first AF e-book.
Clarifying Aedre’s Firefly, graphic novel reasons for reboot
I’m not sure if I made it clear in previous posts, but I’m redoing all the previous art to bring some consistency to the work that I produced while flailing around in the deep end of this process with no clue about how to swim in this strange and wonderful medium. The reboot came about due to this website crashing and burning due to an undocumented update of the WordPress theme I was using at the time as a comic content delivery system. Some of you already know that story. Since the developer when informed was unrepentant, I moved over to using the Inkblot theme with the Webcomic plug-in, both created by Michael Sisk (@mgsisk on Twitter), who seemed to have a lot more integrity about his software, as well as conducting himself more respectfully on social media. Chella Morgan, my sister graphic-novelist friend from Twitter (@TDUGN, see R. Sidebar for links), who also happens to be an amazing web-developer, took pity on me and pulled what she could out of the wreckage and put it on Webcomic life support. Between us we’ve been whittling away at the damage for a couple of years now in our spare (hahahaha!) time.
How the whole thing started
When I started the Eccentric Orbits website, it was to be a showcase for my rather eclectic collection of my art, short stories, and music. I knew nothing about Word Press. I knew nothing about Photoshop. I had an idea of publishing a short story about a little boy and a firefly. I blundered about changing the main character’s gender, and then their age, and the way the character(s) looked, the linework, the style, the colour palette changing the shape and size of the panels until I finally settled on the three-to-four panel strip. I knew nothing about publishing on a website. (My previous site had been a straight html site I made years ago, dedicated to a genetic simulation game called Creatures, for which I had created downloadable game objects and art.) I didn’t even know where the story was going at first. It was a great adventure for me to just plunge in and see where it would all lead…
Where it ended up
Where did it lead? It lead to a lot of intense learning, to making wonderful creator friends, to finally figuring out what the big story was that I wanted to tell in Aedre’s Firefly, and finally to a consistent process through which Aedre’s Firefly graphic novel can be created. And here and now to the foundations of the reboot.
1. Consistent process
2. Consistent art
3. Regular updates
4. Fixing the website
Fixing the Website, yeah. The Boss Battle.
Updated Word Press
Here’s what happens when I go looking to fix some aspect of the site. It might be a broken link, or a missing image, or the image is there but the post isn’t. Or the comic blog for a post isn’t showing up because the colour of the text is the same as that of the background. And there are numerous strange “previous” and “next” links all over the site that are somehow connected to the “show a random comic” function which in my opinion has no place in site that presents a graphic novel. So get rid of that, right? Um… how? Where is it located in a place I can change it? Not in the graphical WYSIWYG customise Appearance sidebar. Nothing recognisable in any of the files available for the editor. I really didn’t know what I was looking for. I only knew what I wanted it to do. *sigh*
A few days ago I saw that Mr. Sisk had prepared an new update of the Inkblot/Webcomic theme, and my stomach went immediately into a knot. I had updated WordPress a few weeks earlier with fingers appropriately crossed to ward off any strange daemons. That update went well I thought, then realised that the WYSIWYG editor was no longer showing me it’s usual fare. It took me a few days to get up the courage. I backed up the site AND I exported it. When It comes to websites, I’m a belt and suspenders AND safety-pins kind of person!
Headbanging and Help
Yesterday I spent almost two hours of head-banging digging through php and css files to try and find a way to get the menu bar with it’s drop-down lists to float centred on the page. Never did find it. But when I asked on Twitter if anyone knew how I could do it, my friend Chella responded with the code for it. When I asked her where does the code go? She replied that she would make me a new Child Theme. Luckily I had learned in the past what that was and once she convinced me that it wouldn’t be too burdensome, I agreed to her proposal. Then somehow that too hit a glitch and she’s working on it in her SpareTime(tm).
WordPress, if you are listening, please allow the ability to edit our Child themes in the WP editor?
The origin of the Boss Battle image
Then I was joking about it on Twitter with master comic creator Mark Stokes of Zombie Boy Comic fame. and he said “I see you holding a chair and a whip with your roaring theme on the other side, Jande.”
To which I replied something about octopus arms and lobster claws, and voila!
Somehow we managed to get Michael Sisk (@mgsisk) involved in the conversation. I think we scared him making him think it was his code that broke my site. BI told him au contraire, his code (with Chella’s help) saved my site from oblivion. So it was a lot of fun! I’ve missed the Twitter banter since I moved over to g+.
It’s nice to be back on Twitter chatting with my old friends and colleagues. <3
That’s it for today. On Friday I’ll have more discussion about Patreon. Do you have one? Do you consider it to be successful”? What do you do to increase the number of Patrons there? Is the work you put into it worth it? Questions all we graphic novelists, webcomic creators, would like to know the answers to. Drop by on Friday and let us know your opinion. And check out the previous two Friday discussions about Patreon.
Thanks for reading, and commenting, Take Care of yourselves and keep creating!