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Under the Influence

Under the Influence published on No Comments on Under the Influence

First thing’s first, I need to deal with fanart. D: Although I am not terrible about getting my fanart put in its proper gallery, I am terrible about making mention of it! I have received a couple of things recently and totally neglected to mention them. I am the worst. D:

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The first is by Arby, who draws Grayling! She is an awesome artist and if you haven’t, you should check out her comic. The second is by Pomp, who draws Lunavis, which is also great. (It’s also technically a crossover featuring Thadius from Chu’s comic Slightly Damned! I’m just promoting everyone today aren’t I.) Thanks, guys!

Secondly, there’s a new vote incentive at TWC! And if you haven’t noticed, I scripted a fancy button in the right sidebar that shows you a preview of whatever the current incentive is and tells you what rank Messenger’s at presently. 😀 Your votes are always much appreciated. ♥

Hope everyone had a fantastic weekend, although if you’re American or Canadian, I hope you had an especially nice Fourth of July or Canada Day, respectively. I spent my own Canada Day (although I’m American) attending an outdoor concert in my area by Our Lady Peace, one of my favorite bands.

I’ve loved their music since I was in high school, so it was pretty nostalgic for me, but it also got me thinking about the influence of music on the comic. A lot of the story is indirectly inspired by some of my favorite songs, and I listen to tons of music while I’m working on the comic, so upon a reader suggestion (thanks, Ita!) I’ve compiled a list of “related songs,” so now there’s a page for that.

I sort of feel like I ought to explain what I mean by “related,” though.

I pretty much hate it when I see people slap a label like “theme song” on music that inspires their character or story. So what, you picked one song that is thematically similar to your story, or descriptive of one facet of one particular character? It just doesn’t make sense to me. I don’t see the music that inspires me as a “theme song,” but rather as background flavor. Music doesn’t dictate the story to me, but it does fill in elements like the time of day, the smell or temperature of the room or setting, or maybe the weather, for example. It helps me to complete the illustration in my head so I can more effectively put the story together in comic form.

Back when I first wrote Messenger, I was listening through a lot of different CD’s, including Naveed by Our Lady Peace, Sheryl Crow’s self-titled album, a mix CD a friend made me from a bunch of video game soundtracks including Metal Gear Solid, and assorted Metallica. While none of these songs really have anything to do with the story going on in Messenger, they do illustrate parts of it for me.

These days, I have the story pretty much written and I know where I’m planning to go with it, so music doesn’t have the same kind of influence on what I do. That’s not to say it isn’t still an inspirational factor, but it’s pretty much all there already. At this point, it’s sort of like adding extra layers to what I’ve got. Part of a scene might have been originally influenced by Neon Crossing, but now that I’m actually putting it down on paper, I might be listening to 10 Ghosts II and that becomes part of it as well.

In short, it’s hard for me to explain exactly how music is part of my process, other than I don’t see it as “X song summarizes Y character.” I find the idea of music inspiring people pretty interesting, though, and I love finding out what various artists I like listen to. Sometimes you can see a connection between that and what they create, and that adds an interesting layer to things.

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