Episode Two, Part One.

While I could totally talk again about refinement and character design, and talk to you about designing all the different hairstyles that Frances will have over the course of FEELS (spoilers, she gets a haircut at some point), but I won’t. 
Because there is one thing that stands out in the history of FEELS (such as it is) that I haven’t talked about yet, and that’s the decision to make it a ‘webcomic.’ Because it was a decision. I didn’t wake up and say “oh, yeah, I’ll make a webcomic called FEELS and it will be about college.” I woke up and said “oh yeah, it would be funny if I made a McCay-esque newspaper strip called DOODZ about my friends and I’s adventures in college.” Somewhere, there are sketches for this rotting in a drawer.
No, FEELS was going to be a book, a proper book with pages. I was planning to have “Issue One” out for this years’ CAKE. I was ravaging myself trying to get it finished —it was still going to be a full color book. And then I thought— why? Why spend the time rushing to finish something that’s actually pretty good when I might sell only, what, ten copies tops? Give the rest away? Why should I rush to finish this and then spend over a hundred dollars printing a full-color book that I have no chance to recoup the costs on?
These are the questions that plague self-publishers every day. To be clear, it isn’t about the need to create. That’s always there, and that will happen no matter what. And it isn’t really about the money, either— life’s always a struggle in this business, no matter what. And that’s fine, that’s almost the point. 
But sometimes, you hit a point where it just doesn’t make sense anymore. This isn’t to say I’ll never self-publish a book again (I certainly will), or that FEELS will never be collected in a volume (though when, hopefully, is not up to me). I was working on FEELS, and feeling very deeply the sting of every time I’d plunked down a hundred to print my new exciting project, and watched as I sold three out of twenty five and gave half the rest away. Couple that with my self-irritating ability to begin giant series that I never finish (for whatever reason— there’s actually a second issue of “Next World Over” sitting on my desk right now that is pretty good, but for whatever reason I have no idea when you’ll ever see that), and you have a little bit of self-publishing exhaustion.
The real issue, though, is that with FEELS I honestly felt like I’d hit something I hadn’t quite before. I’d had previous projects that felt good at the time, or were very important to do. (Examples: I gave myself a huge project to work on right before I finished college. That book, which was going to be titled And The Birds Flew From The Trees, was hugely important to me— it taught me a lot about discipline, about storytelling, about work ethic, about drawing, but most importantly it made sure that I would continue to keep working after I didn’t have any “assignments” anymore. I’ve got to the place now where it’s okay that I don’t think I’ll ever finish it— that might not have ever been the point in the first place. In other projects, my hugely popular book “The Human Condition” was originally going to be many different things, before I realized what it really should be— a graphic novel history of the Women’s Lib and Gay Liberation Front in England in the early 70s. That’s a huge topic, and the reason I haven’t done more with it is because, frankly, I’m not ready to, and it’s a book that’s better than I am, and I have to work towards that. There are more books, more series, more everything, that haven’t even seen any sort of light of day. That’s fine. That’s how it works. It isn’t sad.)
FEELS seemed like the right project to do— the right mix of “I can do this” and “this will challenge me.” It seemed like the thing I wanted people to see the most. And people just weren’t going to see it if I made twenty five copies of it to basically hand out at one festival. I wanted more! (Ha ha ha.)
So I decided, basically, “Fuck It, I’ll Put It On The Internet.” I mean, it was more than that, I asked friends casually what they thought. They seemed convinced it wouldn’t be like “other webcomics.” Which is a good time to admit I know nothing about the “webcomic” scene— does Kate Beaton even count anymore? I don’t read them, I never really have, and I probably never will— though if you’d like to point me in the right direction of some good ones, sure.
But somehow, this seemed the right place for it (tumblr, too— the social aspect of the story seemed to fit the platform pretty well)— in part because of the triple joke of the title (the internet term “all the feels” is just one, the other just being, y’know, actual emotion. The third would be a spoiler), in part because I needed, really needed to be able to just say “here it is.”
This actually had ramifications for Episode One, since it was already drawn intended to be in book format. The at times idiosyncratic layout of FEELS actually came from the decision to split up characters’ viewpoints between posts, not because the book was laid out that way. Which meant that every post of Episode One was rearranged way late in the game. Which stuns me, since I think the layouts for the most part are great. 
Episode Two (and beyond) are conceived with the web in mind—which is the most exciting challenge to have! I’m not constrained by the page anymore! I mean, I am a little bit— I’m constrained by the screen. But working on Episode Two has been even more fun than One, mainly because I can let myself imagine so much more. FEELS’ budget is almost limitless, and that’s exciting. There are things I can do that I couldn’t before because of the “webcomic” format. These are things I am very excited about.
I have a complex relationship with the internet (don’t we all), that borders on seething hatred. But sometimes, it’s still okay. Great things can happen. The reaction to FEELS’ first episode has been really wonderful, and makes me completely confident in the decision to do it like this. Again, I thank you, and again, get ready—
Episode Two begins Monday, and it’s going to be amazing. While I could totally talk again about refinement and character design, and talk to you about designing all the different hairstyles that Frances will have over the course of FEELS (spoilers, she gets a haircut at some point), but I won’t. 
Because there is one thing that stands out in the history of FEELS (such as it is) that I haven’t talked about yet, and that’s the decision to make it a ‘webcomic.’ Because it was a decision. I didn’t wake up and say “oh, yeah, I’ll make a webcomic called FEELS and it will be about college.” I woke up and said “oh yeah, it would be funny if I made a McCay-esque newspaper strip called DOODZ about my friends and I’s adventures in college.” Somewhere, there are sketches for this rotting in a drawer.
No, FEELS was going to be a book, a proper book with pages. I was planning to have “Issue One” out for this years’ CAKE. I was ravaging myself trying to get it finished —it was still going to be a full color book. And then I thought— why? Why spend the time rushing to finish something that’s actually pretty good when I might sell only, what, ten copies tops? Give the rest away? Why should I rush to finish this and then spend over a hundred dollars printing a full-color book that I have no chance to recoup the costs on?
These are the questions that plague self-publishers every day. To be clear, it isn’t about the need to create. That’s always there, and that will happen no matter what. And it isn’t really about the money, either— life’s always a struggle in this business, no matter what. And that’s fine, that’s almost the point. 
But sometimes, you hit a point where it just doesn’t make sense anymore. This isn’t to say I’ll never self-publish a book again (I certainly will), or that FEELS will never be collected in a volume (though when, hopefully, is not up to me). I was working on FEELS, and feeling very deeply the sting of every time I’d plunked down a hundred to print my new exciting project, and watched as I sold three out of twenty five and gave half the rest away. Couple that with my self-irritating ability to begin giant series that I never finish (for whatever reason— there’s actually a second issue of “Next World Over” sitting on my desk right now that is pretty good, but for whatever reason I have no idea when you’ll ever see that), and you have a little bit of self-publishing exhaustion.
The real issue, though, is that with FEELS I honestly felt like I’d hit something I hadn’t quite before. I’d had previous projects that felt good at the time, or were very important to do. (Examples: I gave myself a huge project to work on right before I finished college. That book, which was going to be titled And The Birds Flew From The Trees, was hugely important to me— it taught me a lot about discipline, about storytelling, about work ethic, about drawing, but most importantly it made sure that I would continue to keep working after I didn’t have any “assignments” anymore. I’ve got to the place now where it’s okay that I don’t think I’ll ever finish it— that might not have ever been the point in the first place. In other projects, my hugely popular book “The Human Condition” was originally going to be many different things, before I realized what it really should be— a graphic novel history of the Women’s Lib and Gay Liberation Front in England in the early 70s. That’s a huge topic, and the reason I haven’t done more with it is because, frankly, I’m not ready to, and it’s a book that’s better than I am, and I have to work towards that. There are more books, more series, more everything, that haven’t even seen any sort of light of day. That’s fine. That’s how it works. It isn’t sad.)
FEELS seemed like the right project to do— the right mix of “I can do this” and “this will challenge me.” It seemed like the thing I wanted people to see the most. And people just weren’t going to see it if I made twenty five copies of it to basically hand out at one festival. I wanted more! (Ha ha ha.)
So I decided, basically, “Fuck It, I’ll Put It On The Internet.” I mean, it was more than that, I asked friends casually what they thought. They seemed convinced it wouldn’t be like “other webcomics.” Which is a good time to admit I know nothing about the “webcomic” scene— does Kate Beaton even count anymore? I don’t read them, I never really have, and I probably never will— though if you’d like to point me in the right direction of some good ones, sure.
But somehow, this seemed the right place for it (tumblr, too— the social aspect of the story seemed to fit the platform pretty well)— in part because of the triple joke of the title (the internet term “all the feels” is just one, the other just being, y’know, actual emotion. The third would be a spoiler), in part because I needed, really needed to be able to just say “here it is.”
This actually had ramifications for Episode One, since it was already drawn intended to be in book format. The at times idiosyncratic layout of FEELS actually came from the decision to split up characters’ viewpoints between posts, not because the book was laid out that way. Which meant that every post of Episode One was rearranged way late in the game. Which stuns me, since I think the layouts for the most part are great. 
Episode Two (and beyond) are conceived with the web in mind—which is the most exciting challenge to have! I’m not constrained by the page anymore! I mean, I am a little bit— I’m constrained by the screen. But working on Episode Two has been even more fun than One, mainly because I can let myself imagine so much more. FEELS’ budget is almost limitless, and that’s exciting. There are things I can do that I couldn’t before because of the “webcomic” format. These are things I am very excited about.
I have a complex relationship with the internet (don’t we all), that borders on seething hatred. But sometimes, it’s still okay. Great things can happen. The reaction to FEELS’ first episode has been really wonderful, and makes me completely confident in the decision to do it like this. Again, I thank you, and again, get ready—
Episode Two begins Monday, and it’s going to be amazing.

While I could totally talk again about refinement and character design, and talk to you about designing all the different hairstyles that Frances will have over the course of FEELS (spoilers, she gets a haircut at some point), but I won’t. 

Because there is one thing that stands out in the history of FEELS (such as it is) that I haven’t talked about yet, and that’s the decision to make it a ‘webcomic.’ Because it was a decision. I didn’t wake up and say “oh, yeah, I’ll make a webcomic called FEELS and it will be about college.” I woke up and said “oh yeah, it would be funny if I made a McCay-esque newspaper strip called DOODZ about my friends and I’s adventures in college.” Somewhere, there are sketches for this rotting in a drawer.

No, FEELS was going to be a book, a proper book with pages. I was planning to have “Issue One” out for this years’ CAKE. I was ravaging myself trying to get it finished —it was still going to be a full color book. And then I thought— why? Why spend the time rushing to finish something that’s actually pretty good when I might sell only, what, ten copies tops? Give the rest away? Why should I rush to finish this and then spend over a hundred dollars printing a full-color book that I have no chance to recoup the costs on?

These are the questions that plague self-publishers every day. To be clear, it isn’t about the need to create. That’s always there, and that will happen no matter what. And it isn’t really about the money, either— life’s always a struggle in this business, no matter what. And that’s fine, that’s almost the point. 

But sometimes, you hit a point where it just doesn’t make sense anymore. This isn’t to say I’ll never self-publish a book again (I certainly will), or that FEELS will never be collected in a volume (though when, hopefully, is not up to me). I was working on FEELS, and feeling very deeply the sting of every time I’d plunked down a hundred to print my new exciting project, and watched as I sold three out of twenty five and gave half the rest away. Couple that with my self-irritating ability to begin giant series that I never finish (for whatever reason— there’s actually a second issue of “Next World Over” sitting on my desk right now that is pretty good, but for whatever reason I have no idea when you’ll ever see that), and you have a little bit of self-publishing exhaustion.

The real issue, though, is that with FEELS I honestly felt like I’d hit something I hadn’t quite before. I’d had previous projects that felt good at the time, or were very important to do. (Examples: I gave myself a huge project to work on right before I finished college. That book, which was going to be titled And The Birds Flew From The Trees, was hugely important to me— it taught me a lot about discipline, about storytelling, about work ethic, about drawing, but most importantly it made sure that I would continue to keep working after I didn’t have any “assignments” anymore. I’ve got to the place now where it’s okay that I don’t think I’ll ever finish it— that might not have ever been the point in the first place. In other projects, my hugely popular book “The Human Condition” was originally going to be many different things, before I realized what it really should be— a graphic novel history of the Women’s Lib and Gay Liberation Front in England in the early 70s. That’s a huge topic, and the reason I haven’t done more with it is because, frankly, I’m not ready to, and it’s a book that’s better than I am, and I have to work towards that. There are more books, more series, more everything, that haven’t even seen any sort of light of day. That’s fine. That’s how it works. It isn’t sad.)

FEELS seemed like the right project to do— the right mix of “I can do this” and “this will challenge me.” It seemed like the thing I wanted people to see the most. And people just weren’t going to see it if I made twenty five copies of it to basically hand out at one festival. I wanted more! (Ha ha ha.)

So I decided, basically, “Fuck It, I’ll Put It On The Internet.” I mean, it was more than that, I asked friends casually what they thought. They seemed convinced it wouldn’t be like “other webcomics.” Which is a good time to admit I know nothing about the “webcomic” scene— does Kate Beaton even count anymore? I don’t read them, I never really have, and I probably never will— though if you’d like to point me in the right direction of some good ones, sure.

But somehow, this seemed the right place for it (tumblr, too— the social aspect of the story seemed to fit the platform pretty well)— in part because of the triple joke of the title (the internet term “all the feels” is just one, the other just being, y’know, actual emotion. The third would be a spoiler), in part because I needed, really needed to be able to just say “here it is.”

This actually had ramifications for Episode One, since it was already drawn intended to be in book format. The at times idiosyncratic layout of FEELS actually came from the decision to split up characters’ viewpoints between posts, not because the book was laid out that way. Which meant that every post of Episode One was rearranged way late in the game. Which stuns me, since I think the layouts for the most part are great. 

Episode Two (and beyond) are conceived with the web in mind—which is the most exciting challenge to have! I’m not constrained by the page anymore! I mean, I am a little bit— I’m constrained by the screen. But working on Episode Two has been even more fun than One, mainly because I can let myself imagine so much more. FEELS’ budget is almost limitless, and that’s exciting. There are things I can do that I couldn’t before because of the “webcomic” format. These are things I am very excited about.

I have a complex relationship with the internet (don’t we all), that borders on seething hatred. But sometimes, it’s still okay. Great things can happen. The reaction to FEELS’ first episode has been really wonderful, and makes me completely confident in the decision to do it like this. Again, I thank you, and again, get ready—

Episode Two begins Monday, and it’s going to be amazing.

Like I keep saying, FEELS is modeled after television.
If you ask the general critical community, the current debate is either that we are in a Golden Age of Television, or that the Golden Age of Television has just ended. Whatever the truth, the reality is that of all the shows that people generally hail when speaking of this Golden Age (Sopranos, Mad Men, Breaking Bad, etc), only one remains, and only for a half season (good luck, Peggy!). But wherever we are now, the fact remains that a hell of a lot of people watched at least one, if not all of those shows, and that a hell of a lot of them might get into writing. And when they do, maybe they’ll get into television. And when they get into television, they’ll probably be thinking of what shows inspired them.
So yeah, in a few years, television will be exciting again. If there’s a problem with it now, it’s most likely because of the peers of those who ushered in the Golden Age trying to rekindle the spark of creation, and missing it. It’s up to the next generation to take all of the lessons learned and meld them into something new that seems like it grew out of what came before.
All of which is to say, I enjoy television. I enjoy it in a way that I make it relate to my own creative life. I don’t write television shows, I make comics. It is interesting that I don’t look to comics for narrative inspiration (for the most part). Instead, I look to television. I’m modeling FEELS off of television because I think it’s the best way to achieve the kind of sprawling narrative I’m looking for. It’s a good way to divide the story, and to tell it over time.
But by saying “I’m modeling it after television,” and referencing “The Golden Age of Television,” I’m cueing the audience (and myself, really) to know that it’s okay to pay attention to FEELS. To pay attention to the background, to try to feel out who these characters are, how they’d act, what their actions mean.
I mean, sure, these are early days yet, but I just want to be clear where I’m going. Or maybe I just want this to be in a public place so I can’t hide, or dial back. Not that i’m worried about FEELS being good— but some days I allow myself to realize that FEELS could be great. And so I’m allowing myself to study the things I think are great, and own up to those influences, make public the bar I’m setting for myself.
This not to say that Sean is going to start murdering students and the rest of the show will be a mystery to figure it out, or Cliff is going to …I don’t know. FEELS is only operatic in the sense that everyone’s inner monologues are operas— I mean, c’mon, they’re all 18 (well, mostly).

The top image is the earliest outline I have for FEELS. I’m letting it up there because it’s so early it doesn’t really count as spoilers. This is how I do my writing— outlines upon outlines upon outlines, fractal outlines of plot ideas —leading to something like the second image, an idea for (yet again) refinement.  Like I keep saying, FEELS is modeled after television.
If you ask the general critical community, the current debate is either that we are in a Golden Age of Television, or that the Golden Age of Television has just ended. Whatever the truth, the reality is that of all the shows that people generally hail when speaking of this Golden Age (Sopranos, Mad Men, Breaking Bad, etc), only one remains, and only for a half season (good luck, Peggy!). But wherever we are now, the fact remains that a hell of a lot of people watched at least one, if not all of those shows, and that a hell of a lot of them might get into writing. And when they do, maybe they’ll get into television. And when they get into television, they’ll probably be thinking of what shows inspired them.
So yeah, in a few years, television will be exciting again. If there’s a problem with it now, it’s most likely because of the peers of those who ushered in the Golden Age trying to rekindle the spark of creation, and missing it. It’s up to the next generation to take all of the lessons learned and meld them into something new that seems like it grew out of what came before.
All of which is to say, I enjoy television. I enjoy it in a way that I make it relate to my own creative life. I don’t write television shows, I make comics. It is interesting that I don’t look to comics for narrative inspiration (for the most part). Instead, I look to television. I’m modeling FEELS off of television because I think it’s the best way to achieve the kind of sprawling narrative I’m looking for. It’s a good way to divide the story, and to tell it over time.
But by saying “I’m modeling it after television,” and referencing “The Golden Age of Television,” I’m cueing the audience (and myself, really) to know that it’s okay to pay attention to FEELS. To pay attention to the background, to try to feel out who these characters are, how they’d act, what their actions mean.
I mean, sure, these are early days yet, but I just want to be clear where I’m going. Or maybe I just want this to be in a public place so I can’t hide, or dial back. Not that i’m worried about FEELS being good— but some days I allow myself to realize that FEELS could be great. And so I’m allowing myself to study the things I think are great, and own up to those influences, make public the bar I’m setting for myself.
This not to say that Sean is going to start murdering students and the rest of the show will be a mystery to figure it out, or Cliff is going to …I don’t know. FEELS is only operatic in the sense that everyone’s inner monologues are operas— I mean, c’mon, they’re all 18 (well, mostly).

The top image is the earliest outline I have for FEELS. I’m letting it up there because it’s so early it doesn’t really count as spoilers. This is how I do my writing— outlines upon outlines upon outlines, fractal outlines of plot ideas —leading to something like the second image, an idea for (yet again) refinement. 

Like I keep saying, FEELS is modeled after television.

If you ask the general critical community, the current debate is either that we are in a Golden Age of Television, or that the Golden Age of Television has just ended. Whatever the truth, the reality is that of all the shows that people generally hail when speaking of this Golden Age (Sopranos, Mad Men, Breaking Bad, etc), only one remains, and only for a half season (good luck, Peggy!). But wherever we are now, the fact remains that a hell of a lot of people watched at least one, if not all of those shows, and that a hell of a lot of them might get into writing. And when they do, maybe they’ll get into television. And when they get into television, they’ll probably be thinking of what shows inspired them.

So yeah, in a few years, television will be exciting again. If there’s a problem with it now, it’s most likely because of the peers of those who ushered in the Golden Age trying to rekindle the spark of creation, and missing it. It’s up to the next generation to take all of the lessons learned and meld them into something new that seems like it grew out of what came before.

All of which is to say, I enjoy television. I enjoy it in a way that I make it relate to my own creative life. I don’t write television shows, I make comics. It is interesting that I don’t look to comics for narrative inspiration (for the most part). Instead, I look to television. I’m modeling FEELS off of television because I think it’s the best way to achieve the kind of sprawling narrative I’m looking for. It’s a good way to divide the story, and to tell it over time.

But by saying “I’m modeling it after television,” and referencing “The Golden Age of Television,” I’m cueing the audience (and myself, really) to know that it’s okay to pay attention to FEELS. To pay attention to the background, to try to feel out who these characters are, how they’d act, what their actions mean.

I mean, sure, these are early days yet, but I just want to be clear where I’m going. Or maybe I just want this to be in a public place so I can’t hide, or dial back. Not that i’m worried about FEELS being good— but some days I allow myself to realize that FEELS could be great. And so I’m allowing myself to study the things think are great, and own up to those influences, make public the bar I’m setting for myself.

This not to say that Sean is going to start murdering students and the rest of the show will be a mystery to figure it out, or Cliff is going to …I don’t know. FEELS is only operatic in the sense that everyone’s inner monologues are operas— I mean, c’mon, they’re all 18 (well, mostly).

The top image is the earliest outline I have for FEELS. I’m letting it up there because it’s so early it doesn’t really count as spoilers. This is how I do my writing— outlines upon outlines upon outlines, fractal outlines of plot ideas —leading to something like the second image, an idea for (yet again) refinement. 

And so, the refinement continues!
Here we have kind of a funny thing, as I figure out what the character’s names are going to be after the script’s finished. Fun fact— I actually had to white out Nick’s original name on a couple of pages (and left his family’s last name blank, since I had no idea what I wanted to do for it). Also fun is the notion of me naming “Sean” “Ian.” I think it was the best idea for me to remove a character with my “real” name attached to it. (If you don’t know, I’m not going to tell you who “I” am. That’s not the point). I don’t want FEELS to be a game of “who the author is,” mainly because FEELS is written very very purposefully as an ensemble piece. It isn’t the vision of one character. It’s a story about a ton of characters.
Anyways, most of the designs on this page are for Lizzy, a character who will be introduced in Episode Two. Which reminds me— someone did ask a question about FEELS, and I’m going to answer it! (Thanks, Aly!)

“Will there be more main characters (beyond the 6 we see now) introduced into the cast in future episodes?”

The answer, of course, is absolutely! FEELS is going to unveil more and more characters as Season One moves along. Episode Two introduces, what, four new characters? Not all of these characters will be “leads” at first, and will show up and disappear as time runs on.
That’s how life works, right? The people you think will be around forever gradually disappear with minimal fanfare, and supporting characters become your best friends. So yes, FEELS is about that, and FEELS will deal with that, and while I will spoil that every main character introduced in Episode One will play a role throughout the entire series, some of the characters introduced in Episode Two will as well. It’s going to be a web, it’s going to be large, it’s going to be fun. I hope!
I guess this is as good a time as any to discuss what the eventual game plan of FEELS will be. While I’m certainly thinking of it in “Seasons,” comprised of an amount of Episodes that is yet to be determined, the amount of Seasons I will do is up in the air. 
But don’t be discouraged by this! I have a definite end point in plan for Season One, and it’s deeply satisfying to me in a narrative sense. If I decide that it’s satisfying on a deeper level, that FEELS first endpoint is as good as I think it is, I may not decide to do a Season Two. At the very least, the time between Seasons will be significant.
But if I feel like the stories that I can tell in Season Two are even better than the ones I’m going to tell in Season One, then yes, I will continue. Having a story that takes place during college makes it pretty easy to make endpoints, since y’know, college is pretty well separated by years (this is Harry Potter for REAL PEOPLE, MAAAAN j/k).
I’m hemming and hawing, I guess. But what I really want to say is that I am putting a lot of love and time into FEELS, and I’m proud of what I’ve already done and I’m excited about what’s to come. If I ever feel that enthusiasm wane, then FEELS will end.
But that won’t happen in Season One. It’s going to go to some wonderful (/awful) places. I can’t wait to show them to you.
I’m putting a lot of time and love into FEELS, and I think it shows, and I think Episode Two will be great! And so, the refinement continues!
Here we have kind of a funny thing, as I figure out what the character’s names are going to be after the script’s finished. Fun fact— I actually had to white out Nick’s original name on a couple of pages (and left his family’s last name blank, since I had no idea what I wanted to do for it). Also fun is the notion of me naming “Sean” “Ian.” I think it was the best idea for me to remove a character with my “real” name attached to it. (If you don’t know, I’m not going to tell you who “I” am. That’s not the point). I don’t want FEELS to be a game of “who the author is,” mainly because FEELS is written very very purposefully as an ensemble piece. It isn’t the vision of one character. It’s a story about a ton of characters.
Anyways, most of the designs on this page are for Lizzy, a character who will be introduced in Episode Two. Which reminds me— someone did ask a question about FEELS, and I’m going to answer it! (Thanks, Aly!)

“Will there be more main characters (beyond the 6 we see now) introduced into the cast in future episodes?”

The answer, of course, is absolutely! FEELS is going to unveil more and more characters as Season One moves along. Episode Two introduces, what, four new characters? Not all of these characters will be “leads” at first, and will show up and disappear as time runs on.
That’s how life works, right? The people you think will be around forever gradually disappear with minimal fanfare, and supporting characters become your best friends. So yes, FEELS is about that, and FEELS will deal with that, and while I will spoil that every main character introduced in Episode One will play a role throughout the entire series, some of the characters introduced in Episode Two will as well. It’s going to be a web, it’s going to be large, it’s going to be fun. I hope!
I guess this is as good a time as any to discuss what the eventual game plan of FEELS will be. While I’m certainly thinking of it in “Seasons,” comprised of an amount of Episodes that is yet to be determined, the amount of Seasons I will do is up in the air. 
But don’t be discouraged by this! I have a definite end point in plan for Season One, and it’s deeply satisfying to me in a narrative sense. If I decide that it’s satisfying on a deeper level, that FEELS first endpoint is as good as I think it is, I may not decide to do a Season Two. At the very least, the time between Seasons will be significant.
But if I feel like the stories that I can tell in Season Two are even better than the ones I’m going to tell in Season One, then yes, I will continue. Having a story that takes place during college makes it pretty easy to make endpoints, since y’know, college is pretty well separated by years (this is Harry Potter for REAL PEOPLE, MAAAAN j/k).
I’m hemming and hawing, I guess. But what I really want to say is that I am putting a lot of love and time into FEELS, and I’m proud of what I’ve already done and I’m excited about what’s to come. If I ever feel that enthusiasm wane, then FEELS will end.
But that won’t happen in Season One. It’s going to go to some wonderful (/awful) places. I can’t wait to show them to you.
I’m putting a lot of time and love into FEELS, and I think it shows, and I think Episode Two will be great!

And so, the refinement continues!

Here we have kind of a funny thing, as I figure out what the character’s names are going to be after the script’s finished. Fun fact— I actually had to white out Nick’s original name on a couple of pages (and left his family’s last name blank, since I had no idea what I wanted to do for it). Also fun is the notion of me naming “Sean” “Ian.” I think it was the best idea for me to remove a character with my “real” name attached to it. (If you don’t know, I’m not going to tell you who “I” am. That’s not the point). I don’t want FEELS to be a game of “who the author is,” mainly because FEELS is written very very purposefully as an ensemble piece. It isn’t the vision of one character. It’s a story about a ton of characters.

Anyways, most of the designs on this page are for Lizzy, a character who will be introduced in Episode Two. Which reminds me— someone did ask a question about FEELS, and I’m going to answer it! (Thanks, Aly!)

Will there be more main characters (beyond the 6 we see now) introduced into the cast in future episodes?”

The answer, of course, is absolutely! FEELS is going to unveil more and more characters as Season One moves along. Episode Two introduces, what, four new characters? Not all of these characters will be “leads” at first, and will show up and disappear as time runs on.

That’s how life works, right? The people you think will be around forever gradually disappear with minimal fanfare, and supporting characters become your best friends. So yes, FEELS is about that, and FEELS will deal with that, and while I will spoil that every main character introduced in Episode One will play a role throughout the entire series, some of the characters introduced in Episode Two will as well. It’s going to be a web, it’s going to be large, it’s going to be fun. I hope!

I guess this is as good a time as any to discuss what the eventual game plan of FEELS will be. While I’m certainly thinking of it in “Seasons,” comprised of an amount of Episodes that is yet to be determined, the amount of Seasons I will do is up in the air. 

But don’t be discouraged by this! I have a definite end point in plan for Season One, and it’s deeply satisfying to me in a narrative sense. If I decide that it’s satisfying on a deeper level, that FEELS first endpoint is as good as I think it is, I may not decide to do a Season Two. At the very least, the time between Seasons will be significant.

But if I feel like the stories that I can tell in Season Two are even better than the ones I’m going to tell in Season One, then yes, I will continue. Having a story that takes place during college makes it pretty easy to make endpoints, since y’know, college is pretty well separated by years (this is Harry Potter for REAL PEOPLE, MAAAAN j/k).

I’m hemming and hawing, I guess. But what I really want to say is that I am putting a lot of love and time into FEELS, and I’m proud of what I’ve already done and I’m excited about what’s to come. If I ever feel that enthusiasm wane, then FEELS will end.

But that won’t happen in Season One. It’s going to go to some wonderful (/awful) places. I can’t wait to show them to you.

I’m putting a lot of time and love into FEELS, and I think it shows, and I think Episode Two will be great!

And here we see the refinement of the elements. As I continued to sketch out designs for characters, I found myself becoming more drawn to more “cartoonish” elements. This is building on what I was talking about last time, in which I was trying to move away from the tendency to make characters overly “realistic.” 

So here I learn some key tenets of character design— that you don’t have to overdo it, mainly. You need some key features— maybe the shape of the jaw, a hairdo, a certain hair style, a nose shape. FEELS is perhaps easier due to the fact that it’s in color, which is a certainly easy way to differentiate characters. But it’s here that little things work their way into the characters— France’s hair clip and scarf. Violet’s nose ring and bangs. Sean’s giant hair.

You can see that I have arrows pointing to two designs. At the time of this page, that seemed the best direction to go. But beneath those two designs are two more that are much closer to how the characters end up looking.

Another thing (perhaps the most obvious) that separates the characters is the coloring of their speech bubbles. This is one of those other ideas that I’ve had for a really long time. FEELS seemed like a good opportunity to do that, simply because it was a project with more main characters than I’d ever attempted before.

Doing something “creative” with the speech bubbles is something I’ve been interested forever, with my first long form comic projects both employing strange tactics (a project called Youth which had speech bubbles that would extend into the void of the gutter, which begat And The Birds Flew From The Trees, which used the same gimmick).

FEELS uses these hyper colorful speech bubbles not only to differentiate between characters, but also because of the eventual goal of approach to FEELS— just being hyper colorful in general. Of course, the way I have ended up coloring FEELS has changed from hyper color into sort of a “exaggerated insanity.” Or at least it seems that way to me. The Sears Tower (forever not Willis) in the first panel of FEELS doesn’t really look like the real colors— nor do the colors of the dorm hallways or dorm rooms. They’re off in this strange way, but even then it makes a certain sense, whether narratively or aesthetically. Aesthetically, it makes for a strange but uniform world. Narratively, all the characters are freshly deposited in a brand new world to them. For them, everything is new, even the colors. Eventually, the world will makes sense to them, as the color choice will make sense to the reader (if it doesn’t already— I’m certainly used to my choices).

I could go into another rabbit hole about “narrative,” but you know what? I think that’s best saved for NEXT TIME…

FEELS is an idea I’ve been kicking around probably since I was actually living in the time it takes place in.

Of course, at the time, I would never have done it— when I was at college, comics weren’t as accepted as they are now (even today, it’s still a struggle for some comics teachers). But still, the need to document was always strong in me. 

The thing is, at the time, I was documenting the “wrong” things. But that’s how life works— the things you remember as “history” aren’t the moments you were concerning yourself with when they happened. FEELS takes place at a time when people are either trying to completely cut themselves off from high school, or struggling to define themselves in its absence. What’s funny is that I was certainly in the latter camp, despite considering high school to be “an awful experience.” (Funny because A) duh, it’s high school, it’s always bad and B) it was not that bad.)

So the story I’m going to tell with FEELS isn’t the one I was documenting. That story, of course (is it of course? now it is—) is the story of people becoming best friends. People discarding the pieces of themselves that they didn’t like, and finding the people who did the same.

Sure, that’s something that happens all the time, throughout everyone’s life. But it’s where I am right now. It’s what I want to tell. I find myself recounting stories like these often enough, I might as well do something with them.

And that’s key— I’m doing something with them. I’m not just telling them. To tell it “exactly how it happened” would be nice, but it would be boring, it would be unnecessary, it wouldn’t actually be a good story. FEELS is here so I can tell a good story.

It’s a challenge to myself.

The above page is some of the earliest character sketches from FEELS. Episode One was scripted before I had done any design work. I thought that it would just “flow” or whatever, but it really didn’t. I always have a tendency to over-work characters. My hand is oddly given to try to make things “more realistic,” which I often find is poison. The above page is rough (and it’s supposed to be), but even then, there’s a path to be seen.

Thanks once again for reading FEELS! If you haven’t read all of Episode One yet, remember that you can do so quite easily HERE. And so…

Welcome to the first Commercial Break!

FEELS is modeled (somewhat explicitly, I imagine) on television. This is something I will explain far more in detail over the next month or so before Episode Two “airs.” This post is designed to explain what exactly will happen between episodes of FEELS.

What will happen are these Commercial Breaks, where I will go into things like process, inspiration, tidbits of how I make FEELS. Why I called it FEELS. What I listen to when I make FEELS. What I think FEELS is about. What I hope is interesting about FEELS.

It’s going to be a lot of sketchbook work, and hopefully I’ll be answering some questions that you all have posed (HINT HINT ASK PLZ).

To start, here is a sketchbook page of a potential future FEELS comic (so, maybe spoilers, I guess?) The first and most important thing I want to nail home is that FEELS is not a memoir. It is drawn heavily from things that happened—and the above comic is based on an actual conversation— but if you see FEELS and ask me “is that me?” the answer is “no.” In any case, in the above comic, Nick gets embarrassed by Frances. There is also an unrelated drawing of a hand. It’s a sketchbook, deal with it.

This is just a little introduction to the Break. I will delve deeper into process on Thursday. Don’t forget to tell everyone ever about FEELS! I would really appreciate it!

Episode One, Part Thirty.

Fin.

(Questions?)

Episode One, Part Twenty Nine.

Episode One, Part Twenty Eight.