Hey Grovers! Just a reminder that you can support this comic in many ways. First, you can become a patron of Willow’s Grove via Patreon. I made this preview video of my producing a strip, which, as a patron of this comic, you can watch the whole thing.
And lastly, I have four novels available for purchase over at Willow’s Grove Press
Your contributions help keep Willow’s Grove going by helping me maintain hosting, keep the studio open, pay for internet, electricity, and perhaps a pizza or two every now and then. To those who have contributed in the past, I humbly thank you for your support. Help, if you can, to keep Willow’s Grove free of charge for all to read. Your contributions will go towards keeping me in a position to continue to bring my madness to you and, perhaps, if I’m lucky, make you smile and, for a moment, forget the troubles surrounding us.
Howdy Grovers! So, here we are, nearly in July already…half of the year almost gone! GASP! Where does it go and why is it in such a hurry?
I thought I’d give you an update as to the state of technology here at Grover Central. For those who have been following me on Facebook, you already know the fits my nine year old workhorse has been giving me lately and how long it takes to actually produce one comic (3 hours! For a simple little comic). Either the computer was going to explode or I was…and I would have much rather it been the computer. 😛
I have a Macbook Air, but the screen is only 13 inches, smaller than the 17 inches of the old workhorse, and not good to work for long periods of time (these old eyeballs can’t take it as I rapidly approach level 50). I was fretting on what to do: was I going to take pictures of the pencils and upload them with my phone? Was I going to have to stop producing WG?
Thankfully, due to a very generous donation in the tip jar (thank you so much, BH!), I was able to pick up a cheap 27″ monitor to hook up to the Macbook. While it isn’t the most ideal setup, it will at least allow me to continue creating WG in the short term. However, this setup does have its drawbacks as well. For one, there is the overheating issue of the Macbook hooked up to the 27″ monitor. With the lid closed, it heats up quickly and starts to slow down (not to mention shortening the lifespan of the internal components), so I have to shut it down for a bit to let it cool off. Secondly, the ergonomics of the setup is not the best. Wires everywhere and every so often, I have to plug the Macbook in to charge, and that adds an extra cable to the spaghetti. Fortunately, I had an old monitor stand in the computer graveyard that is my garage (nearly 30 years in the IT field accumulates LOTS of old equipment) so I can tuck the Macbook underneath, but it adds an extra strain on the old neck bone due to the viewing angle. Not a deal breaker, but again, this is a short term solution.
The long term solution, at one time, involved a 27″ iMac, but dang, that sucker is expensive ($1799.99 for the base model)! Fortunately, with the addition of a 27″ monitor (Again, thank you so much, BH!), I don’t need to go for the iMac and now have my eye set on a mid-range Mac Mini ($699.99) to become my new workhorse. Why Mac? Everyone has their preferences on platforms and OS, and after working on the Macbook that I picked up back in 2014 (I have an client that I do website work for as well as IT support who uses a Mac and needed to have a machine that was portable and also uses the Mac OS to troubleshoot any issues they have), I have grown to prefer this over the Windows OS (Windows 8 was bearable, but Windows 10 is a nightmare in how they have taken away ease of support as well as the default settings of giving all your info to Microsoft by default) and so I decided to migrate away to Mac OS as my everyday workhorse. True, you pay more for it, but the reliability of the components and ease of working on it end up, at least in my experience, being a benefit. There have been so many Windows machines that I have had to fix components on, so much so, that I ended up paying the same, if not more, than a Mac. So, I am setting my goal on earning enough $ to eventually get the Mac Mini.
So, TLDR; Thanks to a very generous donation, the old workhorse has been put out to pasture and I have hooked a 27″ monitor to my 2013 Macbook Air as a short term solution to continue producing WG. Now, I can also start adding content to my Patreon, which I have been putting off due to the old machine giving me too many fits to think about creating other art. I plan on putting up Patreon-only Wallpapers and pin-ups of all the main characters (if you’re already a patron of me over there, drop me a comment on what goodies you would like to see or be able to download for your Patreon dollars).
Enjoy your summer (in the Northern Hemisphere…if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere, enjoy your winter), have a safe 4th of July Holiday (if you’re in the USA) and please, take care of yourselves, Grovers! Peace!
Creating Willow’s Grove, the Comic, has become a chore. Now, before you Grovers panic, let me clarify that first sentence. While I have plenty of story left (even when I run into a minor writer’s block, I still find stories to pull out of the tank), but bringing those stories to you is what has become the chore. See, I use a Dell 17″ Studio laptop that I purchased brand new way back in 2007. It is now starting to show its age and I am afraid it is rapidly approaching its end of life stage. What once took only a half hour to produce, now takes upwards to three hours. Between the “not responding” and the lag, not to mention the length of time to boot up in the first place and the launch Photoshop CS3, it sucks the joy of creating directly through my eyeballs.
Now, I had acquired a newer laptop a year or so ago, through a business deal, but as I was setting it up to create on, it had a few important hardware pieces fail, one right after the other, and now sits in my equipment graveyard. So, back to the old workhorse it was, and the long, dragged out process of scanning, inking, coloring, letter, etc. Eventually, it will die, it is no longer a question of “if” but of “when”. It’s going to happen. And when it does, so goes my ability to bring WG to you.
Why am I writing this? I don’t know if many of you Grovers have noticed it, but the quality of the comic is suffering as I cannot sit for hours it now takes to produce one comic. I’ve cut a lot of corners in production, to the point where I look at the finished product and shake my head in sorrow. I thought I owed it to you, my readers, an explanation as to why. If you haven’t noticed, just ignore all that you have read in this last paragraph. If you have, however, I apologize and am trying to find a way to buy a new workhorse. It isn’t easy because, although, like a lot of cartoonists, other commitments get in the way and take money out of the pot that was being saved for the new piece of tech. If only cartoonists were paid like sports stars or politicians…hey! I can dream!
Anyway, Grover, onward and upwards, in the never ending struggle to make ends meet so I can bring you WG for free (don’t worry. I’m not planning on having this comic sit behind a paywall anytime soon…but…heh), from my eyeballs to yours.