Archive for the ‘Blog’ Category

Hello World!

Thursday, December 4th, 2008

Ok, so the first few comics are online, with a bunch more to come. I’ve got a decent buffer of older strips at the moment, and I’ll probably be jumping a bit back and forth between these and some newer ones occasionally. Luckily there’s no continuity between strips to speak of, so I can easily skip the most embarrasing early strips, and rather save them for a rainy day.

Currently the posting schedule is a new comic every monday, wednesday and friday, and it will stay that way for at least another couple months. So stick around, or click that ‘subscribe’ button for an RSS feed. At the moment the site is very bare-bones and work-in-progress, but things will definitely be improved upon. As for the comic itself, as we reach the newer ones the art will also improve. The jokes, on the other hand, will not. Enjoy!

Woops…

Wednesday, December 10th, 2008

…so apparently I managed to mess up posting todays comic, that is, I must’ve forgotten  to upload it to the server in the first place. Oh well, I’ll fix it as soon as I get home from work. In the meantime, and I plan for this to be a regular feature of this blog, I’d like to recommend other comics on the web for your reading enjoyment.

First off is Simulated Comic Product by Kevin Forbes, which oftentimes features sad robots, scientific themes and/or obscure references. Either way it goes, it’s always brilliant and hilarious. Read it!

Edit: Oh, and I forgot to mention that this SCP strip actually has a single line of Norwegian dialogue provided by yours truly!

Comic Recommendation Time!

Tuesday, December 16th, 2008

You should all read Pictures for Sad Children by John Campbell, but honestly I’m not entirely sure why. That is, I laugh out loud at pretty much every strip, but still being unable to pinpoint exactly why it works. It could be the completely deadpan deliveries of the dry jokes, coupled with the ultra-minimalistic art that bring so much to the humour despite being extremely simple. I absolutely adore the ambiguity of the expressions, rendered in the most basic way with only dots for eyes and lines for arms, but still they communicate just enough of the essentials to make it fantastically hilarious — when it by all accounts really shouldn’t.

Also, who wouldn’t want to parade around in a shirt sporting a drawing of the Eiffel Tower and the word “Paris”, laughing quietly to themselves as everyone else probably are missing the fine print of “Just another bullshit town” below.

Season Greetings

Monday, December 22nd, 2008

While other webcartoonists might take the holidays off, with no new strips postings for the next few weeks, here at Optipess Studios I strive to keep you entertained completely as scheduled! Actually, that’s partly a lie: I’m probably going to take a few days off as well, but luckily for you readers I still got a bunch of older strips ready for your enjoyment, posted as regular every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

But yeah, either way which holiday you may or may not be celebrating; Hannukah, Christmas or Festivus, I hope you’re having a nice few days where you’re at, whereever that is, reading this through a bunch of wires over the true season miracle which is the internet.

Miserable New Year!

Tuesday, January 6th, 2009

Apparently, how you enter a new year will indicate how the rest of it turns out, according to some people. Well, I hope that’s not the case for me because I’d then be wading in snot, slime and phlegm for yet another 12 months. Yeah, I’m sick, which means I’ve been catching up on daytime TV inbetween having strange feverish dreams. So I unfortunately haven’t done any drawing over the holidays, but luckily for you I’ve still got a steady stream of older strips scheduled for posting — none of which should be contagious.

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Saturday, January 17th, 2009

I’m finally starting to shake this nasty cold, so the other day when bored (in between watching daytime-TV and playing video games) I mustered up enough energy to set up a quick and simple advertising campaign for this site through Project Wonderful, spending a few bucks in the process. One of my swanky ads can currently be seen at Kristofer Straubs excellent chainsawsuit, as well as Truck Bearing Kibble — but they might drop off at any minute if someone bids more money for the adspaces. If the actual ad is any tempting to click on I don’t really know, at least it was amusing to me at 4am while embalmed in Kleenex and high on a mix of painkillers, Coke (not cocaine) and coughdrops.

So if you happened to click on one of those ads, even if it was completely by accident, I welcome thee! I guess there are a few comics here for you to take a gander at, as well as an RSS feed in case you want to be completely up-to-date and get new comics in your preferred feed reader mere seconds after they’re posted. So yeah, click on stuff – and tell a friend to do the same!

Also, more on a downbeat note, speaking of ad banners — there’s a fair chance those pesky things will appear here on this site as well eventually, so don’t get too accustomed to the current ad-less look. Unfortunately I also plan to include mostly Japanese seizure-inducing ads who will instantly burn into your retina and continuously replay at night when you’re sleeping. Oh well.

Webcomics Weekly

Sunday, February 1st, 2009

So I’ll admit it took me far too long to buy into that whole “podcast” thing. I probably knew they existed, but for some reason it didn’t occur to me that I could find something of interest amongst all those random shows, most of which probably were of rather amateur quality. So it wasn’t until I got my first iPod over a year ago that I bothered to look into the phenomenon, quickly ending up with a bunch of gaming-, music- and comics-related podcasts through the then newly installed iTunes. Most of the ones I subscribe to, while they’re excellent shows, I usually have no rush to listen to the new episodes, and I can even skip an episode or two without feeling I’m missing out.

But there’s one show in particular that makes me jump for joy every time a new episode is released, and probably drop everything else to check it out immediately. The show in question, as you might’ve guessed from the headline, is Webcomics Weekly (which, incidentally, is NOT posted weekly – more like Webcomics Monthly), where the four excellent webcomics creators Dave Kellett (Sheldon), Kris Straub (Starslip, Fchords, chainsawsuit), Brad Guigar (Evil Inc, Courting Disaster, Phables) and Scott Kurtz (PvP Online, Ding!) talk shop and share general tips and tricks of the webcomicing and cartooning trade. Also, the crew are also responsible for the Webcomics.com site, as well as teaming up for the brilliant How to Make Webcomics book — which inspired me to make this website in the first place!

But best of all, not only is the show very informative, but these guys are absolutely hilarious and obviously just having a blast recording these things. While a typical one hour show might tackle a couple listener questions, the conversation is also very likely to go on some completely unrelated tangent and into highly amusing ratholes, which of course makes it all the more entertaining. So yeah, a new episode was released yesterday, where they have Jim Demonakos of Emerald City ComicCon on as a special guest, and even if one can’t relate all that much to American comic convention talk, it was another stellar episode well worth checking out.

In fact, I’d recommend the show to comic readers as well as creators, I can guarantee that you’ll be literally rolling on the floor laughing within minutes even if you don’t necessarily follow every aspect of every subject. (I certainly don’t!). One of my definite favourite episodes, and one of the first I checked out, is the one called “Where Ideas Come From” (#13), where the guys dwell into brainstorming and writing techniques, something I’d wager pretty much everyone regardless of their profession or hobby could find useful. Oh, and it also helps that the episode is just about the funniest of them all. Enjoy!

Optipess News Bulletin

Monday, February 23rd, 2009

So this past week has been quite the eventful one for optipess.com, as I’ve been getting literally thousands upon thousands of new visitors. Most of them have been from StumbleUpon.com, so huge thanks goes out to whoever gave my stuff thumbs up there. The sudden growth took me completely by surprise, but it has certainly been exciting to glance over the server stats of the past few days.

Things are kind of settling down at the moment, but if you’re reading this it probably means you decided to stick around, which in turn definitely means you’re pretty awesome. Thanks for converting from visitor to reader!

Also, in other site news, I’ve gone ahead and upped the size of all the comics from 2009 so far with a few pixels. Maybe not that noticeable on the later ones that were pretty big anyway, but now they’re nevertheless all at the maximum size this site template allows. I’ll get around to resize the 2008 strips as well, but it will probably take a little while longer since my folder structure of original strips on my computer is a complete and utter mess.

Furthermore, and I really added this silently a few days ago, but you can now follow me on Twitter, where I’ll probably be bitching and moaning about some current unfortunate event, or just talk about comics related stuff in general. I was planning to make a Facebook group as well eventually, but awesome reader James B. beat me to it. So yeah, click here to join the Optipess Facebook group! It’s pretty bare-bones at the moment, but I’ll look into expanding it with more content soon. Oh, and if you’re one of those people with hundreds of friends on Facebook, be sure to bug them all with annoying invites!

Finally, last but not least, I noticed that my strip The Microwaveman has been chosen as the webcomicz.com “Strip of the Week” by webmaster Cristopher Schultz. Very cool — thanks alot, Chris!

Posting Schedule Changes

Monday, March 2nd, 2009

Alright, so last week I mentioned that I’d be changing the posting schedule of new comics. Basically this means that from this week on I’m cutting back to two comics per week, posted on mondays and fridays. There are a few reasons for this, but obviously the biggest one is, as each newer strip gets more and more stupidly ambitious, finding time to produce three of these per week is unfortunately not quite doable for me at the moment.

And, as I’ve also mentioned in passing before, my strip is in print as well here in Norway in the Kollektivet Magazine, where the newest strips will appear first and with an exclusivity period of about a month. Now, I don’t HAVE to wait to post these strips, but after all it is a paying gig, and I feel it should take precedence. It’s a little bit frustrating though, as I’ve got plenty of both new and older strips laying around that will have to wait at least a few weeks before I post them. I also have some really old strips that quite frankly are somewhat embarrassing, which means I’d rather not be posting them at all, but we’ll see.

Of course, it sucks to doing this right now as I’ve been getting an upswing in traffic these past couple weeks, but as the understanding and awesome reader you probably are, I’m sure you’ll agree that focusing on quality over quantity definitely is the wisest choice.

Svartpest T-shirt Artwork

Wednesday, March 4th, 2009

Since I won’t be posting comics on Wednesdays from now on, at least for a while (see the previous entry), I figured I should blog more in general, and/or occasionally dig up some other artwork I’ve done. First out is a t-shirt design I did for my friend [real name withheld!] aka Condatis and his metal band Svartpest. Now, I wouldn’t know the first thing about designing one of those “traditional” metal logos, so we decided to take the image in a slightly different direction — and admittedly it is kinda tongue-in-cheek from our end, but I still think it ended up being pretty cool.

Also, as I’m not particularly well versed in various metal subgenres (the metal I usually listen to is more of the drawn-out, sludgy and droney kind), I’ll let Condatis do the proper introduction of the band, with the artwork I did following below:

Svartpest! From Fosnavaag, Norway, this band has been headbanging since 1999 and despite sore necks still do so. Raw, cold and brutal metal only the Norwegian Vikings have the knowhow to make and perform! Svartpest made their grim debut with the album “Ved Den Drabelige Inngang Til Helvete”, released on Baphomet / Red Stream in 2003. Svartpest departed however with Baphomet just when the new album “Mjödfest” was about to be released, due to “technical problems”. Featuring Freadiablo (Necrophagia, Gorelord, Grimfist) on guitar and bass, Condatis aka Likskrik (Fuck Frikyrkja, Dominate, Regin) on vocals, and Fug (Necrophagia, Trønderswingers) on drums. Svartpest is now looking for a new label, so if anyone out there likes (or hates just enough) to sign us, feel free to contact the band!

Svartpest

An amusing bit of trivia: The idea for this comic was conceived while making this image (when my mind wandered off to think of rats and mice in general). And yeah, new comic will be posted on Friday!

Comic Recommendation: A Lesson is Learned…

Wednesday, March 18th, 2009

But the Damage is Irreversible (shortened to AiLBtDiI from now on) by artist David Hellman and writer Dale Beran feels somewhat like a forgotten secret among webcomics these days, but still, it’s one of my definite favorites, featuring exquisite art and fantastic writing. It has sadly been on hiatus for the past few years, with no signs of it returning any time soon, but the archive is full of brilliant gems that encourages frequent re-reading anyway. Actually, AiLBtDiI is one the comics I go to whenever I feel my own creative inspiration dwindling, as the comic is wonderfully imaginative, often thought-provoking and even strangely moving at times, and succeeds in sparking the readers imagination in ways comics rarely do. The random stories being told ranges from completely bizarre tangents, to heartfelt profound realism all the while being, more often than not, hilariously funny.

Also, if you want more of David Hellmans art, and let’s face it – why wouldn’t you, check out the fantastic downloadable Xbox360 (and soon PC) game Braid, featuring gorgeous art by Hellman. His watercolor backgrounds and fluid style really suits the gameplay of the time-manipulating platformer which received a ton of great reviews when it was released last year. But still, as great as the gameplay is, I feel it wouldn’t be half as successful if it wasn’t for the art, not to mention the fantastic implementation of the music as well. And in some way the game feels like a continuation of Hellman and Berans webcomic, as the premise and atmosphere of the game in some odd ways wouldn’t feel out of place as an installment of ALiLBtDiI.

So yeah, that’s two recommendations I guess, and both the webcomic and the game are literally jaw-droppingly good. No seriously, I can guarantee you will be picking up the pieces of your jaw at least at one point when reading the comic or when figuring out the puzzles of the game. Enjoy!

Flushed Again

Wednesday, March 25th, 2009

As I cleverly teased along with the most recent strip, I apparently had found some “hidden” goodies in the Photoshop file while preparing it for upload. Quite frankly I had completely forgotten about this since this strip is a few months old, but evidently I decided to redo the last panel for some reason. This happens to me sometimes; I almost finish a comic, zoom out a bit in Photoshop, and suddenly it’s apparent that an alternate take would work better. Very frustrating of course, but it’s all for the best – if I can muster up the willpower to do the necessary changes, that is.

Anyway, here’s the first version of the last panel, which works OK as well I guess, but I felt a lot of the elements didn’t quite work. (Note that the coloring isn’t completely finished, and that I with this version probably meant to remove the “Yaaayy!” speech balloon from the third panel.)

First Flush Alternate Ending

So, is it better/worse, or just equally as unfunny? Let me know what you think.

The very first Optipess strip

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

As you may or may not have noticed before, I’ve threatened on a couple occasions to post older and more embarrassing comics from my “archives”, i.e. various sketchbooks I have laying around. Now, none are quite as old and quite as embarrassing as the one below, which is none other than the very first Optipess strip, scrambled together with hackneyed means (well, pencil & paper) moments after the thought “Huh, maybe I should try to make a webcomic” went through my mind. For your reading convenience, below the image I’ve transcribed the admittedly unintelligible and poorly constructed sentences in each panel.

Panel 1: "I've gotten a new weekend job." "As a Head Procrastinator." Panel 2: "The pay is lousy." Panel 3: "But the hours are great."

Panel 1: "I've gotten a new weekend job." "As a Head Procrastinator." Panel 2: "The pay is lousy." Panel 3: "But the hours are great."

Also, below the sketch are “revisions” of the character design I made immediately after completing the strip. Apparently I figured a more rounded look was an improvement, and that it probably better reflected my own appearance. Which also means, yes, that guy is supposed to look like me.

Luckily I have only a couple more of these strips (which may or may not end up being posted sometime as well), as I was pretty soon to start using proper tools like uh, actual pens at first, and eventually Photoshop and Wacom Tablets. Actually the strip above probably only predates “Amazing Superpowers” by a couple weeks, and personally I’m rather proud of how (hopefully) the art has improved somewhat in the 2,5 years since then.

Making of “Hello World!”

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009

Behold! It’s a “making of”-video depicting the delicate process of creating an Optipess strip, presented in time-lapse-o-vision over 13 glorious minutes!

GASP… at the overly ludicrus attention to unessential detail!
MARVEL… at the razor-sharp accuracy and blazing speed of the inking process!
SHUDDER… at the obvious frustration with the third panel, culminating in offensive swearwords!
ROCK OUT… to the tones of Icelandic post-rockers For a Minor Reflection!
LAUGH… at the realization that this entire process in real time is something like 10-12 hours total!

The making of an Optipess comic strip from Kristian Nygård on Vimeo.

Please share this video with your artist friends so they can learn how to NOT make a comic strip!

Happy Birthday to Me!

Tuesday, July 7th, 2009

Indeed, guys — it’s my birthday today! Just a heads up, though; you do not have to shower me with gifts and elaborate surprise parties. No, really, please don’t! But if you insist on giving me a present, spreading the word about my comics would actually be the best one I could ever wish for. So could you, as my awesome reader, share Optipess with at least one person in your life, a life-long friend or life-long enemy, who has never seen or heard of the strip before? I would appreciate that immensely!

Maybe you know someone who loves dogs, cats, chickens, birds or zombies? Or perhaps they’re in love, or falling out of it? Either way, with this plan in motion every person on this planet should know about Optipess within the day!

Comic Recommendation Roundup

Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

Looks like I’ve been neglecting this blog for a while, so I’ve decided to step it up a bit from now on. I will indeed “get my blog on” or “blog it up”, if you will. First out is a roundup of all the new (well, new to me) webcomics I’ve added to my RSS reader lately. They’re all pretty awesome and well worth checking out.

The Bad Chemicals by a guy named Brent and his bulldog Junior is a dark and hilarious depiction of life in America, complete with pretty colors and huge triangular noses. Much like the equally excellent Pictures for Sad Children, The Bad Chemicals also features somewhat simplistic drawings that in the end adds to the humor, making it all the more funnier. Especially the consistently sad eyes all the characters are sporting make every twisted scenario even more tangible, heartwrenching and hilarious.

Haiku Comics by brothers Nathan and Robert Olsen does not only exactly what the title promises, fusing haikus and comics together, but also features aliens, a lot of vampires, and literally a ton of zombies of every variety — even zombie babies. I’m loving the half-tone look of the art by Nathan which works wonderfully coupled together with the words by Robert, succeeding in elevating Haiku Comics to something truly unique and refreshing in the webcomics scene.

Sin Titulo by Cameron Stewart is the only long-form comic of this roundup, coming across like a combination of the intriguing storytelling technique of LOST, and the surreal and twisted reality of a David Lynch movie. Stewart teases the readers excellently with every new page, always keeping them guessing where the story may turn. Actually, the week-long (and lately even longer) wait between each installment may become too much for most, though. Here’s hoping the entire story, once completed, will be compiled in a book available for purchase – so that Sin Titulo can be called a “page-turner” both figuratively and literally.

Space Avalanche hails from Ireland, where creator Eoin Ryan presents his hilarious random mashup jokes, ranging from this classic setup with a brilliant twist to numerous Star Trek strips that will have both fans and non-fans alike in stitches. The pop-culture references are frequent, but rarely too obscure, giving the comic a vibe similar to both The Perry Bible Fellowship and Truck Bearing Kibble. Highly recommended!

One Hundred Optipess Comics; A Retrospective

Sunday, October 18th, 2009

Indeed! The other day I posted the 100th Optipess comic, so I figured a retrospective look back on these first one hundred comic strips would be in order, complete with obscure trivia and insightful statistics. But actually, first off, Friday’s comic is not really the 100th comic I made – that honor goes to the page-sized sad tale of Duck Hunt, posted as the 83rd comic. This means I still have quite a few older “unpublished” Optipess comics lying around, but chances are these won’t be seeing the light of day, at least not posted as regular strips. Anyway, here are some tidbits of random information and useless trivia about Optipess’ humble beginnings, presented in a handy bullet-point list:

  • The first 15 Optipess comics were made within a few weeks of spring 2007 to meet the deadline to a comic strip contest run by Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet. Of these, only five have been posted on this site; Amazing Superpowers, Bomb Threats, An Epiphany, Stopwatch and The End.
  • Optipess did not win the aforementioned contest or anything, but I was quite pleased to rank in the top 25. As a result of this a select few of my early strips were even featured in an art gallery exhibition during the summer of 2007.
  • 44% of these first 100 strips featured someone dying. This proves that death is quite hilarious in most cases.
  • 48% were pantomime, i.e. without speech bubbles. This is interesting to me since my very first strips were very focused on having text-boxes accompanying each panel. Eventually it dawned on me that a “show, don’t tell” approach would be a better way to go.
  • 14% are without the glasses guy, whose character design more or less is based on me. Actually, Optipess was first intended to be a personal journal comic of some sort, but I decided against it when I realized that truly interesting events in my life are very few and far between.
  • There are actually 102 strips posted on this site. The odd ones out are the very first Optipess comic and the excellent guest strip by reader Mico.
  • 15% are in an “alternate style”, where I basically tried to experiment in other styles than the usual cartoony look. I can’t tell if these attempts were successful, but at least they were fun to do.
  • Only 6 strips were sketched and inked with traditional media, the rest are completely digital. All strips were colored digitally, except one.
  • According to Google Analytics, Optipess.com has been visited 266 253 times since December 1st 2008, ranking up 774 680 page views — which probably are the same numbers Penny Arcade get in one day.
  • The top 3 most viewed strips are Jason, Friend of the Butterflies, Support Groups and The Microwaveman.
  • Top 3 referrers to Optipess.com have been StumbleUpon, Reddit and IsItFunnyToday.
  • Weirdest search terms leading traffic to my site are probably “Ape Escape porn comics”, “one leg pelvic thrust” or “zlorx”.
  • Most site visitors are not surprisingly from the United States, with Canada and United Kingdom trailing behind. Norway is in 5th. At the bottom of the list we have less awesome countries such as Vanuatu, Burkina Faso, Libya, Gabon and Kazakhstan.

Ok, that’s it. Thanks for reading these first 100 comics, and hopefully you’ll stick around for a hundred more!

25 Expressions of Optipess

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

So instead of a new comic this past Monday, I figured I should post a finished version of the “25 Expressions Challenge”. If you’re following me on Twitter, you might have seen a work-in-progress version a few months back, but today I decided to ink and color it for your viewing pleasure. But what is it, I hear you ask? Well, basically it’s an exercise for comic creators in conveying facial expressions of their characters. I basically only have one character anyway, the nerdy glasses-wearing guy, so I quickly gave it a shot. Behold:

25 Expressions

Hopefully most of these get the intended emotion across, and if they don’t – my excuse is that I pretty much had to look up a few of these words in a dictionary. Either way, a fun wholesome game for the entire family can be played if you cover the words below each image and try to guess the correct description based on the drawing. So gather your parents and grandparents for some festive fun cramped together on the couch! Once completed, you can go right back into your regular Christmas schedule of fighting and screaming. Oh, and if you’re a comic creator yourself, or even if you’re not, an empty template to doodle on is located here.

Also, with some luck there should be a new comic strip later this week, but unfortunately I seem to have caught some sort of nasty cold. Basically I feel most like the expression in the lower right corner at the moment (lower left corner is how I’d like to feel), so I guess we’ll have to see if I feel up to some drawing later.

National Sick Day

Monday, February 1st, 2010

Well, I just had to blog about this: Apparently today, the first Monday in February, is in fact “National Sick Day” – the one day per year when the most employees call in sick for no good reason. Now, I had no knowledge of this day when I made today’s comic, so this definitely chalks up as a really weird coincidence! You can read more about the phenomenon here.

And to make matters even more uncanny, I seriously contemplated calling in sick to work today – as I felt pretty awful – but decided against it when I realized that I always do. Well, I guess that’s not really uncanny, just… sad.

Anyway, I hope you found this amusing as well, whether you’re at work or at home wrapped under a blanket watching Oprah reruns.

Delayed Monday Strip

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

Ouch, looks like today’s comic strip will be delayed a little while as I pretty much spent all day yesterday in bed groaning with headaches and/or sleeping instead of drawing. Hopefully it will only be a few hours late, however that’s now dependable on whether or not I manage to stay awake for more than 15 minutes. Stay tuned!

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