27th of June 2007 the first page of Wurr was uploaded online. Today, five years later, what had originally been planned as a mere three page short story with the option of branching out aimlessly has turned into an actual story with a driving plot with 147 pages already existing and two books even printed (English version is under working). Half a decade already. Wow.
Happy half-decade birthday, comic!
Man, it's been a long way. And even more still lies ahead, let's see if I can wrap it up before hitting the full decade mark.
Since it's kind of a special occasion, I thought it might be fun to look back to how it became what it is today.
I had wanted to make a comic of my own for something like ten years before Wurr even started, and I had had several started projects in the likes of "this is the greatest idea I've ever had in my life! I must make a comic right now", none of which ever got past their third page. It's funny, before Wurr I always advertised and talked about my comics and their characters to everyone, telling what this and that character is like and what happens to them and what their world is like and they never got anywhere, and then when I eventually started Wurr I hadn't even mentioned it to anyone, had kept the characters secret and it was a lot simpler anyway to most of the older ones. And this is the one that almost has 150 pages.
Wurr started pretty spur of the moment, actually. I got the idea of the first three pages (which originally was the whole comic), and it wasn't even week or two untill I had the first pages and was already planning for the future.
Here's the first even character sketches made when the comic was still just being planned:
Oh, gee, some of them really changed between the planning and the final comic. Morri was pretty much the same as he ended up being, except for the name. He was originally an RP character (which is why he was better established in my head than the rest) which also explains the stupid naming. Back when RPing him, I wasn't aware that Morrigan was a real mythological thing, and a godDESS even. His name got cut half the second I found out. (Kids, don't copy cool sounding names without doing research first.) He was also a lot smaller, just a bit bigger than the others. Iralbe's original concept was hyperactive, and his name was Lukarion (mind you, this was before the fourth gen of Pokémon), a name which got recycled to pre-Azrabak before getting scrapped entirely. In the very first design, which unfortunately remains undocumented, Iacar and Hafmar were the same character. The let's call it "Iamar" was brown like how Hafmar ended up being, but he had short red mane on the top of his neck, and he was a no brain all muscle sort of angry guy who wasn't a leader. In their halfway form after being separated to their own characters, you can still see marks of design tests. Iacar was originally having one small extra leg and Hafmar was supposed to have spikes. And get this, Surama was originally supposed to be quiet
, mysterious woman
. You can all laugh now. I know I do!
Crippled isn't in there since I gave up after not being able to got him look right for a long while.
Here, have their first ever group picture:
Man, Morri looks... small.
That first sketch paper is by the way where the name of the comic is originally from. When I had the first ever page ready and was all eagerly uploading it to DA, I realised that I had never figured out a name for the comic. All deviations need their title, so I spent a good while in panic trying to figure out a good name (I even considered "Children of the Night". Really!) untill I noticed the sketch lying on the computer table and picked the scribble on the top left corner and typed it in (with one less R). And the rest is history...
Here are by the way some old silouette tests to check if I could tell the characters apart from shape alone:
Before starting to draw the comic, I made a little character refs for all the main six plus the original forms of Azrabak and Niavel.
Well, except that Surama needed two. Her original design was so bad that I didn't want to keep it so I redesigned her. Her original form was this:
Design wise, I think the dogs are actually more fun to look back to. Since they weren't part of the comic from the start, they've had plenty of time to reshape themselves during the years.
I remember how he used to be this young, nice dog, the young humble hero type and all around good boy. Imagine the most uncreative protagonist possible, but without any angst (or any other personality for that matter). Ant the most boring character ever. He was originally supposed to be just a good neighborhood boy who got bullied by evil criminals when the hounds rescued him, and he was pretty much nothing but a device to explain the comic's world to.
Glad that didn't stuck! The moment I got the idea of making him a merchant suddenly made him, well, him. Here's the oldest drawing I could find of him as Azrabak instead of the nicekid:
And while we're at it, here's couple of character sheets of him:
I love how he manages to look rattier every time I drew him. (The one on the right seems to have been drawn in Liminka school of arts. The Mini-Rika
is pretty good hint that there has been another comic artist at loose around when it was drawn.)
I think that design wise the biggest headache of all was Niavel. She was actually straight recycled from an old failure of a comic, which ended up biting me back eventually.
In the old bad comic the character she was based on was called Nidefel.
That thing on the right by the way used to be the best thing I could ever draw once. Her personality traits were "female" and "love interest". No seriously, she was kind and gentle, and... ...nice? You've all seen those kind of female characters, their only function is to be girls and nothing else. And when I imported her into Wurr, I naturally updated the looks to my then current skill level.
Her scars, originally from the Big Bad of the old comic (to gain sympathy points, nothing else really) were now a punishment, marking her as a hellhound helper for life. They were scrapped later, though. ("Wait, these are dogs, why would they scar anyone's face when there are other more obvious parts of body to mark?")
As time went by and Wurr eventually got a plot and was going forwards nicely, this character (now renamed Niavel) got developed a lot. He wasn't only in to be FEMALE anymore, and she was rounding up to be an actual character. Also the world of Wurr got changed too. From a world with actual magic around, it got closer to earth, and one thing to change was that dogs (and wolves by extension) came to have real life colors and markings. Which old Nidefel here didn't have.
She went through LOTS
designs, none of which felt like her.
Then one day I was drawing with my brainstorm buddy
(we often draw our comics together. By the way, her comic can be found HERE
. It's awesome.) and I complained her about how the character's design refused to work, and after talking about it we eventually figured out that the thing keeping me from finding the design was because of Nidefel. Niavel's character was built around Nidefel, and when I tried to change the design, my brain fought back since I was effectively changing the older character. The two had effectively became their own personalities and characters, but my brain was locked on the old design.
I got rid of the old character by effectively killing the design. With my teeth. It was therapeutic.
Here's the un-cropped version of the scan above:
Yes, those are my teethmarks. I kept the pieces.
And now that I had the old design out of the way, I immediately doodled what ended up being the final design of Niavel. Unfortunately I didn't scan it right away back then, and it got smudged, but I still scanned it. Smudged or not, it's the Win of Niavel.
Also here are some other older character designs for the comic:
The first sketches of Soo.
And the original design of Iralbe the elder. (Still kind of pretty, but dang that design is way too complex for the comic.)
The story itself got redesigned couple of times. In the beginning it was just the first three pages, but it exploded from there pretty soon. At first I didn't really have a plan or anything. All I knew of the story was that the main pack was getting out of the Crater (which I thought I could do within the first ten pages. Yyeeeeaaaaahhhhhh.....), that they were going to pick up the dog and the Crippled-napping. And a mixed bunch of stuff that I could maybe like to see in the comic somewhere. But no story, and no ending. Heck, I even thought that I could just make things up while I was at it and just follow their lives and stuff. But then I got to talk with my old 3D teacher, who asked me how long I was planning to be doing the comic. In the first year of Wurr I had managed to draw 25 pages, mostly thanks to the Niftynose-episode, but during the second year I only drew seven. Seven pages. In a whole, entire year. And looking back, there was more than three months with no update more than once. How would I ever get anything told with seven pages per YEAR?
That was pretty good wake up call. That summer I visited my brainstorm buddy for the first time, and the entire week-isk or something I was there we spent brainstorming our comics, and after I left, Wurr had its first ever script. It was really vague and scribbly, but it was a story. It had an ending. I finally had a goal! And most importantly, I knew what to do next.
Since then I've been able to keep up a pace of page per week (or page per two weeks if I've got into a tight spot). I knew what I was doing, and what I was aiming at, and it's been awesome.
Wurr now has a script version 2, since the old paper got too messy, and it probably needs redrawing again (my "script" is random words and scribbles connected together with arrows showing what happens in which order. The arrows are everywhere).
By the way, here are some scrapped pages:
Alternate upper halves of page 22
here was already inked when I decided it sucked and redrew the whole thing.
I have quite a few scrapped pages saved in the dusty files on my shelf. Yeah, my sketches don't always survive the sketch round.
Now, wasn't that a huge monologue, eh? Let's bring other voices here too!
You know, I really, really love fan art. It's amazingly awesome to know that people like my comic and I love seeing how other people draw my characters. So here's a little hall of fame of all the wonderful gifts the comic has got!
Honestly, they spent an entire week to draw a Wurr fan art. That's amazing!
And holy rat, just look at this one!
And eeeeee, I have this one!
An actual sculpture! And Scizofox was even amazing enough to send it to me personally.
Here's a photo of him hanging on my subwoofer with the current Gang.
Thank yous so much for these great times with the comic everyone! You are amazing. Let's see how many more years it takes to tell the rest of it.