2022 in Review

It’s the end of yet another year, so as usual, it’s a good time to look back on everything that happened in 2022! I want to sincerely thank all of our supporters – whether you’re a member of the Chio Club, or just a regular reader of our comics, it means a lot. Delade and I couldn’t do what we do without you all. 

So… let’s get into it!

A challenger approaches (it’s 2022, that was the challenger)

2022 presented a lot of challenges and difficulties for us. I spent a lot of the year assisting a family member with an ongoing medical issue – running with them to appointments and so on – which sapped a lot of my time and energy. Still, I did my best to keep up with pages until I just couldn’t. In February I injured the thumb on my drawing hand, and it’s been a persistent issue ever since. This has taken quite some time to deal with properly, but recently I’ve been able to buy a splint that allows me to work carefully, without further injuring myself. I’ve got some specialist appointments lined up for the very end of the year, and I’m looking forward to hopefully getting some answers and squaring away this particular problem so I can get back to normal comic updates. 

Life in general has been pretty challenging as well. We were illegally evicted from our apartment in 2021 (which is an entire terrifying story all on its own) and while we’re in a safe and relatively stable place now, it’s going to take time to get back to a true state of “normal.” That said, I want to express how much the Chio Club supporters really helped keep Follower and our other projects online this year, as well as helped keep us fed on a few occasions. I can’t truly convey how grateful we are for this. It’s been a rough year, and that’s something that has really helped.

On to more positive news!

Becoming a Brave Chio

This year, I wanted to try and do more to cultivate the reader community around Follower. I’ve been in an introverted shell for a while, and it seemed like a good time to try and break out of it a little bit. I put some work into improving the Radio Chio Discord, and have seen a little bit of success. This is obviously something that is going to be an ongoing process, but if you’re a reader of our comics and want a friendly place to hang out online, you should come join us! I’d like to try and come up with more community events for 2023, but I definitely appreciate any input from folks in the community. Anyone can join us on Discord, but there is an extra channel just for Chio Club members, too!

One of the other things I’ve been trying out this year is doing more streaming, both of comic and art work as well as games. It’s been an interesting experiment! I was able to make the requirements to be a Twitch Affiliate, which means I can actually get paid when folks drop in to watch streams, and is another means to help keep our comics going. I’ve had to slow down a little bit in the past couple of months due to my hand injury, but I’m trying to fit in what I can!

You can join me on Twitch to hang out while I draw or play a game, and if you follow me there, you can get notifications for when I go live. If you just hang out while I’m on, I do get paid via ads that are shown during the stream, so it’s also an easy way to help support my comics. You can also subscribe to my channel to get fancy badges and Chio emotes!

Along with streaming, I’ve been experimenting with creating more video content this year for various formats. I put some more effort into making short Follower-related videos for Tiktok, and was pleasantly surprised by the response! I somehow posted one of the most-viewed things I’ve ever made on the internet when Dia’s story went kind of micro-viral, so that was pretty exciting.

In addition, I’ve been adding more content to our YouTube page, including previous stream archives, comic art time lapses, and more. I have more ideas about making some more “how to” style videos and some story time type chatty videos, but those will likely be coming in the new year. These are things I can probably produce pretty quickly while I’m making other things, since that’s what they’re about, so I hope you’ll look forward to that! You can find us on YouTube here. 

Social media has seemed pretty tumultuous in the past few months, so I’m doing a few things with our content to help smooth that out. First of all, most of our major content will originate here on Radiochio.com (or on its own comic site, like follower.messenger-comic.com) first, and will trickle down to other platforms afterward. So if you follow us on social sites for updates, you probably won’t notice a big difference, but it’ll be helpful if or when any particular social platform drops off the face of the planet. You know, apropos of nothing. 

Additionally, I’m combining our monthly newsletter with the monthly update post I put out for Chio Club members on Patreon and Ko-Fi. It’ll be free to view here, there, or in your email. This is mostly because a lot of content got duplicated between these two, and it makes more sense to keep it together. Plus, this means that you can also follow us on Patreon or Ko-Fi for free to continue to get news and updates. Regular Chio Club content will remain a paid reward for subscribers, though. 

Join the Chio Club:

Last thing on this topic: I made a handy links page that points to every place you can find us online. I’ve been experimenting more with alternative social platforms, and it’s been kind of refreshing. Check it out and see what you might have missed!

On to comic news!

Comic news (the good stuff)

The biggest comic news we have for 2022: Follower won DrunkDuck’s 2022 Best Anthropomorphic Comic! This was a total surprise, and we’re really honored to have been recognized! Thank you so much to folks who nominated or voted for us. 

Follower became available on Globalcomix, a relatively new comics site that’s really great for both creators and readers. Currently, most of the comic is available to read for free there, just as it is on the main site, and 3 issues with bonus content are available for purchase. More content will be coming in 2023, and the existing issues will get updated art, since that’s an ongoing project.

Throughout the year, I’ve been working on retouching and resizing older Follower pages so I can do two things: publish Volume One of Follower, and release our newly redesigned website to the public. Chio Club members can currently check out an early version of the site, but it won’t be complete without the retouched pages. The edits for Volume One primarily depend on making art fixes to chapters one and two, and text updates to the rest of the comic for readability and consistency. This has been a slower progress than I hoped due to my hand injury, but I’m getting there!

Follower remains on a hiatus for now. I’m hoping to get a small buffer of about 5 pages (or more) ready to go before I start updating normally again. Chio Club members have been getting early looks at new pages as I’ve been working through them.

Messenger has been more neglected than I’ve hoped for this year. I have a stack of half-finished pages waiting to be finished. I am not sure where this will fit into the schedule, but I’m really, really hoping to get to them in 2023. I’m as frustrated as anyone by how long it’s taken to get these updates made, but life has been wild, as you’ve seen.

Thank you for reading

So that’s where things stand around here. Again, I want to express how thankful we are for all our readers and supporters. We really wouldn’t be able to keep up a lot of what we do without you all. You keep us going, sometimes literally, and it means the world to both of us. 

Here’s to a better, brighter, and stronger 2023!

Chio Club: Follower pages 8.10–11 inks (plus video!)

Two new Follower page previews are up, plus an additional timelapse video!

Check out this content by joining the Chio Club through Patreon or Ko-fi for as little as $1 a month! You’ll get early looks at new content and you’ll help support the continued creation of the comic!

How I Color Comics

I made a video about how I color comics! Someone asked about this a while ago, and while I lost the original question, I did take the time to record some clips while I worked on the latest Follower page.

Here’s the transcript of this video:

Hey, I’m Bug and I’ve been making webcomics since 2004! Let me share my knowledge with you!

When I’m coloring a comic, my goal is to work as quickly and efficiently as possible, so I’ve found a lot of useful tricks to speed up the process. This is a basic version of how I color.

I color in Clip Studio Paint, but most of these tricks will work in any drawing software. 

First, I take my lineart and set it as a reference layer using the little lighthouse button in the layers panel. That means I can color under it, and the fill bucket will act like the lines are on the same layer. 

Under the fill bucket’s tool properties window, make sure that “refer multiple” is also checked and set to the lighthouse icon. Play around with the other settings to get a fill style that you like, but here’s what my settings look like.

Now I can use the custom color palette I made for my comic and quickly zip around to fill everything in the panel. Flat colors: done!

Next, I make a new layer above my flat colors. Set this to multiply. Click the icon on the far left of the layers tab that looks like two squares. This will make the multiply layer “clip” to the layer below, so you can only paint where there’s already color. 

This is going to be my shading layer. It’s kind of cheating, but I usually pick a shadow color that’s opposite my light color on the color wheel. If that doesn’t look right, I cheat some more and pick something that looks “right.” I use the lasso tool to quickly fill big sections of shadow. The lasso works in combination with the ink layer, so it won’t fill past the lines! Then I use a pen to color in smaller detailed areas of shadow.

Next, make a new layer the same way you made the multiply layer, but instead set the blending mode to overlay, screen, or glow dodge, depending on the effect you want. Pick the color of your light and paint in your highlights.

You can keep adding more layers this way to refine your highlights and shadows, but that’s the simplest version of what I do!

Inktober 2019!

Inktober is an annual hashtag drawing event that takes place across social media, and is usually about finishing a drawing for every day in October. There is some debate about rules and what materials to use, but the general idea is to have fun and make a lot of stuff. We’re partway into October and I’m definitely not on track to finish a drawing for every day, but here’s what I’ve got so far!

I’ve been posting my drawings to Twitter and Instagram, and I’m hoping to get back on the wagon this week and finish a couple more.