June 30, 2012

Interview with: Jess Fink

Be Aware: This post contains images that are NSFW.

Comics: Chester 5000, We Can Fix It
Making Comics Since: 1997
Website: http://jessfink.com/Chester5000XYV/, http://jessfink.com/kwe/

What did you start out using when you first started drawing comics
I think I just used to draw on printer paper, that was the only ridiculously large supply of paper lying around. I started drawing in lined notebooks, stuff like that. in High school I would carry around a big binder with loose sheets of paper in it; I would draw comics on that, and then I would staple them together and make my friends read them.

Did you go to school for art?
Yeah, I went to School of Visual Arts

I didn't realize that. I also went to SVA.
You too?

I went for photography, but ended up hanging out with cartoonists a lot.
That's what I hated about that school, nobody from different majors really hung out much. I know people now who were in the animation program at the time I was in the cartooning program, and I'm like, "I guess we could have been friends in school, but we never met".

When did you graduate?

That was a ways before I went there anyway.
I had friends who were photography majors. I was amazed by how much money everything costs. It's a lot of money for equipment, and film, and processing.

Cartooning is great because the ceiling for really top notch tools is a lot lower than it is in other disciplines.
A lot of people swear by really really cheap tools– it's whatever you feel comfortable with.

What kind of tools did you try in the past did you just pick specific a set of tools and stick with them? things or did you go through a bunch of tools before you found what works for you?
When I was in school, most of our professors would tell us to use nibs, so I used a nib for a while.  I had Tom Hart, who was an awesome teacher. He really encouraged us to try different things before we settled on something. I used a brush for a while, and I did a lot of comics with a nib, but it got really frustrating, because I was always pressing too hard. I would fuck it up. I basically just wanted a pencil that would ink. I finally settled on felt tip, and then I started using microns, and I've just kept using those. Most people think microns are the crappiest things, they run out of ink really fast, and the tip gets destroyed, but they're the only thing I feel safe using.

You get a very consistent line with a felt tip.
When people use a brush they like that it's not consistent, they have a pencil drawing, and then they use the brush to transform it into something else. I can't do that, I like to have a lot of control over my lines.

Do you use microns of different sizes?
I mostly use a 03. I work really really small. Most of my pages are only six inches tall. I like to work really tiny. If I have to do a super tiny little background I'll use an 01, for regular panels I use an 03, and I use an 08 for the borders. I used to use a rapdiograph. I used to use copic multiliners because you can refill them, but the tip still wears out, so refilling them only gets you so far.

How many microns do you go through in the course of a comic?
Oh my god, so many.

Can you venture a guess?
Oh gosh, let me think. I think an .03 will last me 8 pages before it starts to die.

I have microns all over the place because they'll usually still have a little ink in them, but I can't use them for comics because the tip is busted.

Dead Microns
I wish there was something I felt better using because it's so wasteful. I have so many pens. I used to draw caricatures, so I have this giant stash of sharpies and prismacolor markers that I'll probably never use again.

What kind of paper do you use?
I used to be really bad and just do comics in my sketchbook. All the first pages of Chester 5000  were in my sketchbook. I have them in a portfolio now, and they're all cut out in odd shapes. I used to do everything in the easiest possible way. In the past few years I've been forcing myself to get more professional about it. Now I work on big sheets of watercolor paper. I don't use the expensive stuff, everyone loves Arches (watercolor Paper), and it is beautiful paper, but I don't like the away my ink wash works on it, so I use the cheaper Canson paper.

I wanted to talk to you about your ink wash, what's your technique?
I made this little set for myself. It's just five little canisters glued to a wooden board and they each have different levels of ink and water in them. It's like a gradient starting at the top with a skin tone level, down to a super-thick black at the end. So I can just pull from that and paint with it.

Do you have specific formulas for the ink wash or are you eyeballing it?
I just eyeball it, I have a giant bottle of ink and i use test papers. I use higgins ink, but I'm not too picky about it.

Then you do the color tint in Photoshop?
yeah, I work with the levels and then the hue saturation. I have a batch action I just drag onto new scans.

What about when you're coloring other illustrations? I noticed you have a couple of full color comics, and some of the prints that you're selling, is that all digital?
I do work digitally sometimes, I used to use flash all the time. A lot of my Threadless designs were in flash.
Cookie Loves Milk on Threadless

instead of Illustrator? To do vector graphics?
Yup, when I went to school they taught us how to use Illustrator. But I couldn't just draw with it, I had to make a shape– it was more like sculpting. I just wanted to use a pencil and draw, and I got that from Flash. I never learned how to animate it, but I used it all the time. I haven't worked in vector in a long time, so now I mostly use Photoshop at a really high resolution.

There isn't a whole lot of text in your comics so far.
yeah it's silent

Can you talk about that decision at all?
I really liked these books called Tijuana Bibles, they're just these really dirty comics people used to sell in the 20's,30's and 40's. It was illegal to sell porn, so people would just draw these dirty little comics and sell them from their coat pocket on the street. They're hilarious, sometimes it's a completely new character, new story, and sometimes it was Greta Garbo, or Betty Boop– just about anybody. I think there was a Mussolini one, a Babe Ruth one.

Are those mostly silent? the tijuana bibles?
They're not, but they're just tiny black and white cartoons, and I wanted to do something small and simple like that. Then later I got into silent films and other stuff from the 1920's, because the style of the Tijuana Bibles is very much from the 1920's. Then I started thinking about the 1800s and the industrial revolution, and maybe I could do something that felt like a silent film but was set back then.

In the your interview with Sequential Tart, Suzette called it "steamporn".

Was she the first person to use that, or was that something you self-identified?
Lots of people have called it steampunk porn, there's no "steam" in it, it's just a robot!

Do you thumbnail your work beforehand? or are you making things up as you go along?
For the first half of Chester I had and outline for the story, but as far as thumbnailing it and writing it, I just made it up as I went along. I knew that there were points I wanted to hit– a point A, and a point B, and an ending. Now I'm trying to be more efficient and adult in my process, so I've started writing outlines for everything, and thumbnailing in advance.

You've worked on a couple of other comics recently?
Yeah, I used to do dirty comics for Fantagraphics anthologies. I started doing some autobiographical stuff, I did a piece for The Smut Peddler recently. I also have another book coming out from top shelf, that I did a while ago.

You're talking about We Can Fix It?
That should be out next year.

Pencils, Inks, and color
How is it as a cartoonist living in Troy?
It's really cheap! It's super cheap to live here and it's really cute. I really love Troy because it's so Victorian.

I was surprised by how nice the architecture was when I went there.
I used to live on Long Island, and when I moved out here, I didn't realize that everything on Long Island is fairly new, like people started living there in the 1930's. There are no Victorian buildings, they just didn't exist.

What ended up bringing you to Troy?
My boyfriend came up here, and I pretty much realized that there was no way for me to have any kind of life on Long Island because it's so expensive. There are a lot of art people in Troy, and we have a nice art center. There's also a comics collective that my friend, TJ Kirsch, started up. He goes to the local conventions, which are usually just dudes with cardboard boxes full of comics.

That's kind of how Albuqeurque has been for the last ten years, the comics scene there is just starting to get off the ground.
I think it's hard to get comics people together. Because there are so many forms of art where it's easy to congregate around it, like dance troupes, or people who make sculptures out of Bicycles– there are a lot of those in Troy. Cartoonists are all going to be in rooms by themselves, drawing.

I've always gotten the sense that there is a lot of community in cartooning, it's just online, of it meets twice a year at conventions.
Yeah exactly. I have friends here who do comics, but it always feels like there's more of a community online. It's a solitary art form. I love having an online community, especially since I work from home.

What do you do as a day job?
I just do this, I quit my job at a video game company 2 1/2 years ago. I've just been freelancing since then, I sell a lot of jewelry and t-shirt designs.

I am always excited when I hear people can make a living doing what they love.
But I wouldn't have health insurance if it wasn't for my boyfriend.

Does he make comics?
He works at a video game company, but he also makes a comic called Rutabaga, you should check it out.

How did you get the show at the museum of sex?
The curator, cartoonist Craig Yoe, contacted me about it, so then I got in touch with the museum.

It was a group show with other erotic cartoon artists?
I probably would have crapped my pants if I'd thought about it too hard because there was a Tom of Finland across from my drawing. There was old playboy stuff, Tijuana Bibles, some Anime but not a ton, and then they had more modern stuff. It was an awesome show.

How did you end up getting Chester 5000 published?
I had printed copies of We Can Fix It and the Chester book, to sell at SPX one year. Top Shelf has always been my favorite publisher. I've read Blankets, and Goodbye Chunky Rice is one of my favorite comics of all time. I just loved everything they were putting out, but I never really thought about Chester for them because it's like, "it's dirty, who's going to publish this"? Lee Walton (of Top Shelf) had read my work before, then Chris Staros (who runs the company came by my table), and I gave him copies of both books. A week later he called me and wanted to publish them. They're really nice people. And surprisingly, they like porn.

How did you start promoting your webcomic? Did conventions play a big part in that?
Not really, it's really just word of mouth. I took out ads through Project Wonderful too. It was created by Ryan North (of Dinosaur Comics), was basically thinking about regular people who want to take out ads of have ads on their comics. You can use Project Wonderful to place ads on different sites. Most webcomics I read now have Project Wonderful ads on their site. It's a pretty good way to get awareness out for your comic.

June 23, 2012

Good advice, part 2

I'm having technical difficulties this week which prevent me from bringing you your regularly scheduled content. I've got a great interview with Jess Fink, creator of the sexy (and NSFW) webcomic, Chester 5000, coming up shortly, but in the meantime, enjoy some more words of wisdom plucked from previous interviews!

Matt Haley:
Create your own comics and put them on the web, instead of trying to get a paying gig right out of art school, there aren't any, and you'll get a lot more notice for your creations than drawing someone else's characters. Draw every day, even when you're sick or you have homework. Get kicked out of class for drawing comics. learn to like staying inside. Stay away from caffeine, drink green tea instead. Exercise. Invest in gold.

Ryan Dunlavey:
Always look for new drawing tools that make things easier or faster or better looking than what you’re already doing. Use a Wacom tablet if you’re going to make art on the computer, even just coloring.

Adrain Tomine:
I know a lot of artists who use tools that I can’t stand and achieve beautiful results, so I guess it’s good to just try a lot of things. I used to think that if I “solved” the mystery of what were the “correct” tools, I’d suddenly be drawing like a pro, and that obviously wasn’t the case. I also think it’s good to not be stingy when it comes to art supplies. I used to try to save money by using cheap paper, for example, and any monetary savings were far surpassed by wasted time, frustration, etc...

Hope Larson:
Never throw anything away. Tools that used to drive you crazy may prove ideal later on!

Grant Reynolds:
When you're just getting started it's more important to make as much work as possible than to worry about whether that work is good or not. What I mean is, all the stuff like style and storytelling will figure itself out in time. The more you just do it, the more quickly and easier it will come. Experience, more than anything else, is going to make you better -- not what pens or paper or other materials you're using. And when you're finished with it don't put it in your desk, put it out. It's important to get feedback, and to see your comic as a finished product. Put it somewhere like Quimby's Comics to sell. It'll make you feel good, y'know.

Don't go out and buy a $20 brush when you don't know what a $2 brush is like. Buy the cheap stuff and upgrade when you've gotten better with them. Then when you get a better brush, you'll know what the difference is & won't kill some expensive stuff with your crappy beginnings & lack of care.
Give yourself a nice setup to work in. It makes it much easier to stay at your desk when you have a place for your tea, an audiobook loaded up on your stereo, and a stack of bristol right next to you. Also it gives you fewer excuses to get up.
Listen to audiobooks, especially long books that would otherwise take you a while to read. Music is too easy to get up from, but good stories are harder to take a break from.
Set a realistic schedule & stick to it, but don't let yourself get burnt out. Take breaks when you need to, but don't get lazy.
Be a shameless self promoter.

Kevin Colden:
Forget everything you've read here and find your own damn tools. That's half the fun!

June 16, 2012

Writing for Comics: An interview with MK Reed

How did you first get interested in writing comics?
I first got into comics by doing stuff for the daily paper at college. Some of the comics in the paper were great, Nicholas Gurewitch, who does the Perry Bible Fellowship, was running his comics in the paper at that time, but there was also a lot of stuff that wasn't so great. I looked at it and thought "I could definitely do that".

Was it gag strips?
Gags, slice of life, serialized stories, there was a crazy range of work. It was like webcomics, only on paper.

And after that, you spent a couple years drawing and self publishing your own work?
Cross Country is the only comic I self published as an actual book. There were also a lot of mini comics, and two longer stories before that that I'm not completely embarrassed to show people now, years later.

How did you transition from writing and drawing to writing comics for other people?
In 2007, after I had started work on Cross Country. My friend and writing partner, Greg Means, wanted a longer story that he could serialize in his magazine, Papercutter. Greg and I threw around a bunch of ideas I was working on at the time, but Americus was kind of a shoe-in from the beginning, since Greg is a librarian, and the story deals with books. It's very library centric. But he knew my time was tied up with working on Cross Country, so he suggested getting another artist involved.  Greg knew Jonathan Hill from around Portland, and when I saw his work I thought, "he's amazing, and we have to get him".

How did it get picked up by First Second?
I knew a few of the people at First Second from the NY comics scene, so I went by their booth at the New York Comic Con, and when I told them I was a writer, they said I should send them something. I submitted the first four chapters of Americus, which had already been drawn, and they were very interested in it from the start.

How do you write your scripts?

I always spend a lot of time working out details before I sit down and do any writing. I start out with a general outline, that includes in all the moments that are important to the story, so I can figure out roughly how long it's going to be. Then I break that outline down into chapters, and the chapters down into pages.
I write everything in Google docs. When I'm working with collaborators, it's easier to have the project online, so that I can be certain everyone has the most recent version. Each script contains dialogue, directions for the acting, and panel descriptions. When I started out with Johnathan I would give him basic page layouts and thumbnails as well, but then he'd come back with something that looked so much better than what I'd come up with, and eventually I just let him work it out on his own.

What's different about the way you work when you're writing without a collaborator?
Mainly? It takes me way longer. The nice thing about working with a writing partner is that you have someone to be accountable to, someone to make sure you finish things on time.

Do you miss working on your own comics?

I'm still working on my own side projects. I'm serializing About a Bull, which is set in Ireland. It's going to be really long and it's taking me forever, but it fills my need to draw, and to work on something that's all my own. I have other small projects as well, but I tend to put them on the back burner whenever someone wants to collaborate.

Do you read a lot of prose books, or mostly comics?
I draw inspiration from other comics, but books and movies too. It's helpful to see stories told in different forms, to see different ways of handling common scenarios. Exposing yourself to a broad range of influences is really helpful during the idea phase. But it's really about letting yourself be bored.

How so?
I spend a lot of time in front of books or screens, and on the subway I'll listen to podcasts.  But it's helpful to spend some quite time just thinking about the story. I get a lot of writing done in the shower, It's where all my problems get solved. I can't tell you how many things have clicked together when I stopped paying attention, when I was looking out the window on train rides or car rides. Just being able to let your mind water is an extremely good way to let things come together.

What happens when the artist when they're doing something in a way that wasn't what you envisioned?

I've been pretty lucky in the artists I've worked with, we've been able to talk about things pretty openly. When the drawings aren't right sometimes it's just because I left out some basic information in the script. By the end of Americus, I had a better sense of what I needed to write for Johnathan, so there were fewer corrections.

Can you tell me anything about your upcoming book?

The working tittle is The Cute Girl Network. It's about a girl whose friends are trying to convince her to break up with her boyfriend, who's kind of a dumbass.

And you and Greg are working on that together?
Yes, we finished writing it two years ago, and we've worked on a couple of projects since then. We've finished a second book that Matt Wiegle is drawing. I'm also working with Farel Dalrymple redoing one of my older stories, once he finishes his current project.

How did First Second end up picking up TCGN?

When we were working on Americus they seemed open to doing other projects, and when I sent them the script they really liked it. I've been lucky in that sense.

Any other advice for people who are interested in writing for comics?
Go be social and meet people at conventions. These people will give you feedback, and help build your network. All the opportunities I've gotten have just been from getting to know people in the indie comics scene over the course of several years.

Do you think it's as easy to break into the scene now as it was ten years ago when you were just starting out?

It's easier to break in, but harder to get attention. The scene was much smaller in 2004 than it is now, and there's a new class graduating from SVA every year full of all these amazingly talented kids. When the internet was a smaller place it was easier to get noticed in the webcomics world. But even now, sometimes you just need the right person to mention your blog to their 50,00 followers.

And there are more people reading comics right now.

It's a real Renaissance in comics right now. There's just so much good stuff out there.

June 9, 2012

Interview with: Joe Flood

Comics: Don't Eat The Electric Sheep, Hellcity, Orcs, The Cute Girl Network (upcoming)
Making Comics Since: 1999
Website: www.kneedeeppress.com

How did you start working on comics?
I went to SVA intending to study painting, but when I got there, I found myself really inspired by the the members of Meathaus, Farel Darymple in particular. They were upperclassmen at the time, and self publishing work that was really different from anything I'd seen before. At the time, I knew nothing about independent publishing, and it was great to see these guys releasing their own work. When I graduated in 2002 I took a full-time job at an art supply store and saved up so I could self-publish my first series, Don't Eat The Electric Sheep. I worked on that for about five years until I switched to longer stories.

Did you know much about indie comics before you came to SVA?
Before? No. My inspiration was all coming from comics like Calvin and Hobbes and the Far Side, Sunday comics page stuff.

No superhero comics at all?
No not really. I had a cousin who read Spawn and The maxx, but I never owned any of the books. I never went to comic stores.

I always kind of took you for an action-indie guy because of the way you draw. The storytelling reminded me so much of stuff like the Ninja Turtles.
I liked the cartoon version of the TMNT, but didn't read the comics until later. I worked at the SVA library, and pretty much read everything in their graphic novel collection. That's when I first saw Tank Girl. The stuff I did with Cricket and Frankie in the sewer came out of a mash-up between Tank Girl and Ninja Turtles.

Tell me about your process, how do you thumbnail?
I thumbnail the whole book in advance, on a templates that I create and print myself. I generally keep a 1/4" margin between the panel border and the cut edge of the page, and I like to take that into consideration when I'm thumbnailing. I do all my work on cheap copy paper, in two page spreads. I work at actual size, so if the final book is 6"x9", the paper I'm thumbnailing on is 12"x9". My thumbs are pretty detailed; my goal is the make my thumbnails so tight you could read them almost as easily as the finished book. Once I'm done, I scan the thumbnails and add text and sound effects in photoshop, then email them to my editor and publisher for revisions.

How about pencils?
I work at a larger scale when I'm penciling and inking. I use 15"x20" 2 ply plate Bristol board, the smoothest I can find. I plot out the drawings from the thumbnails almost exactly, two to a page, just like they'll be in the final book. Working this way eliminates surprises. I know that every page turn will be exactly the way I want it to be for the reader.
I use a 7mm HB lead in an Alvin mechanical drafting pencil. I like the 7mm lead because it's nice in-between size, not too think or too thin, and I only use Alvins, because they're indestructible. It's the only type of drafting pencil I've ever owned that's never broken on me. They're made in Germany, and mostly metal. I've stepped on them and had them come out fine. Mechanical pencils are more efficient because you don't have to stop and sharpen them. I like working with wood pencils, but I tend to press to hard with them, which makes it difficult to erase the pencils later. I like the line quality in pencil drawings a lot, but when I'm working, I'm careful not to to fall in love with my pencils, because they're meant to be temporary. Destined to be inked over and erased.

Inks and brushes?
I only use Dr Martens high black star hi carb ink. The high carbon content means it really sticks to the paper when I'm erasing my pencils. Other inks I've used in the past would fade, so that I'd have to go over all the fine lines again. I use Raphael size 1 Kolinsky Sable brushes, which are pretty small, so sometimes I'll use a #2 for larger areas. I also use Tashikawa Spoon Nibs and Crow Quill nibs. It depends on the project. Over the years I've found myself using the brush more and more.

That seems to be an overall trend in comics now.
Well, everyone loves the brush. It's very much in vogue thanks to guys like Paul Pope, Dean Haspiel, trying to bring back that old-school  Jack Kirby style. Craig Thompson too, and Charles Burns, you're seeing brush work everywhere. Primarily, I use Photoshop and a Wacom tablet for coloring. Sometimes is use water color, or, very rarely, gouache. But for the books I'm doing not, at First Second, I work with a professional colorist.

And lettering?
I use a Blambot font called Lint McCreed. They have a ton of free fonts, but I paid for this one, because it looks most like my own handwriting. The $20 fee covers anything I self publish, or publish through an indie publisher. I use the same font at first second, but McMillan, the parent company, pays the additional licensing fee.

Your process is so involved, what's your time frame like?
It takes about 2-3 months to thumbnail a 150-175 page book, the pencils I do 2-3 pages a day, because that's when I'm really going in and using reference and making sure to get the details right. That part takes about 6 months. Then the inks are done in around 4.

I wanted to talk to you a bit about working with a publisher. You started out writing your own works and self-publishing, do you miss it at all?

The self publishing or the writing?
Both, because I can never finish anything. There's something really great about being handed a story with a beginning, middle and end. weather it's a prose piece or a screenplay, or a comic book script broken down into pages and panels. There's no guesswork. No wondering where the story is going to end. If I have to write something I'll start drawing it as well, I'll jump the gun and draw before I've finished the writing.

You never wrote a script out in advance?
Never. I don't like to type and my handwriting is atrocious.

When you're working on someone else's story, is there a particular format you like best?
They all have their benefits; prose stories have more great descriptive language, which gives me some context and an idea of what the writer was thinking. You have a lot of freedom with a movie script because the rythm of it translates well into page turns, reveals, etc… Working with a comic script is great because so much of the work has been done for you, but it's also a little confining. As a comic artist you are set designer, costumer, makeup, set design, cinematographer. You're in charge of continuity. When you work from a comic script that's already broken down into panels, part of that directorial role has been shifted to someone else.

Thanks for sharing Joe!

Cheat Sheet:
Thumbs: Pencil on printer paper with pre-printed digital margins.
Pencils: 7mm HB lead in an Alvin mechanical drafting pencil. 2 ply plate bristol.
Lettering: Lint McCreed Font by Blambot
Inks: Raphael size 1 Kolinsky Sable. Will use #2 for larger areas. Tashikawa Spoon Nibs and Crow Quill nibs. Dr martens high black star hi carb ink.
Color: Photoshop and Wacom tablet. Sometimes water color, gouache very rarely

June 2, 2012

Interview with: Koren Shadmi

Comics: In the Flesh, The Abaddon
Making comics since year of: 1990
Art education/schools attended: School of Visual Arts

What did you first use when you were making comics?
I grew up in Israel, where I worked with cartoonist Uri Fink. He was a mentor to me, and so I  just used whatever he used at the time - which was Alvin pens for inking, they were pretty awful in retrospect None of it was archival so all of the drawings I have from those days have faded to a gray-brown color. We colored everything with pantone markers. 
While serving at the army I started making comics for myself rather than for clients -  and for that I switched to inking with nibs and an inkwell. I switched to brushes when I came to the US and started studying at SVA. Now I use Rosemary Kolinsky's brushes; they've held up really well for me, and I like them far better than the Windsor and Newton 7 series. There wasn't much of a comics community in Israel when I was first learning to draw. I took classes in Israel, but mostly learned from working with Uri, so when I came to the New York I was introduced to a bunch of new ways to work. 

Was there a big difference in what supplies were available when you were working in Israel? Is the selection any better now? Or do you bring supplies with you when  you travel?
All the stuff that's available here is available there,  and if it wants you could mail order it or now get it from the internet. It's a matter of knowing what to use that makes the difference. when i travel I usually just take my wacom and ink digitally, since I don't want to carry a jug of ink in the suitcase.

How do you ink your comics now?
I actually don't ink most of my work these days. I use a 0.9 2b lead, the thickest you can get– so the line gets soft, and a bit messy. I end up doing a lot of clean-up afterwards on the computer but I like the look of it. I found that something was lost when I went over the pencils with ink. I preferred the delicate quality of pencil line. This style has worked particularly well for The Abbadon because it has an almost ghostly quality. Nothing looks too permanent. For a long time inking was a product of necessity. In the 30's and 40's, when printing presses were really bad, you needed these thick black lines so that people could see what is going on and the reproduction would be clear. The techniques used to print comics now are much more sophisticated, so I don't think inking is always a must.

And so many people are viewing comics online on high resolution monitors. 
That too. 

What about thumbnails?
My thumbnails are very loose, and I only make them for next 3-4 pages. And once I've drawn the thumbnails I have to use them right away, because an sometimes even an hour later I don't know what I'm looking at. There will be a circle in a square and that's it. Sometimes I just draw it in as I go, and don't thumbnail at all. 

Did you script out the whole story in Advance?
I started with an idea of the plot, a rough script. Working with a project that wasn't completely scripted out in advance means that there have been a lot of small changes over the course of the story. I've been working on it for two years so I've had time to really think about it. 
It's such a huge project that I've also had to find ways to keep it interesting for me– there are a lot more naked ladies in part two. I think that's part of why so many people get into comics by drawing superheros, it's fun to draw muscular men and sexy women. But the art is definitely in service to the story in The Abbadon. I recently drew 12 pages of dialogue because that was what was necessary to advance the plot. so the story is still more important than 'drawing something fun'. 

Are there any concessions you make to the webcomic format? Anything you change to make it read better from week to week?
Not really. It's not a gag comic, there aren't a lot of little endings. It's a difficult comic to break down, but it's more important to me that the read well when it's all finished. There's an almost entirely black page in part one because it was necessary for the pacing. Sometimes people get angry about stuff like that in the comments.

How about the color?  

use watercolor textures in photoshop. Used two color palettes to differentiate between the flashbacks and the main story. I hand-color a lot of my illustrations with water color paints, but for The Abbadon I've needed to streamline the process and maintain a consistent palette, so I use the same background texture for each page - and do a lot of the additional coloring a top of it in Photoshop.