Credit where it’s due, he did a pretty good job of patching up those holes – the stitch-work is amazing!

So, welcome back to the now-back-to-regular-schedule Average Joe! Thanks for your patience over the last few weeks where we’ve only been updating once a week; the time has allowed me to get a little ahead on a buffer and that should hopefully mean we don’t miss out on any updates for the next few months at least :-)

In other news, I’ve really made a commitment to try and streamline my comic-making process this coming year. Until now, I’ve kind of been un-innovative when it comes to making the strip – I’m not exactly a photoshop whiz and the systems and habits I’d got into were allowing me to produce the comic on a regular schedule…but the trap there lay in the sheer amount of time I was sinking into producing each update by using these slow systems. To give a rough idea of how long things were taking – over 2013 I was averaging about 6-7 hours per strip (extrapolate that across the number of hours left in the evening after day job and chores, and you’ll get an idea of how much time that was taking up throughout the week). Now, when you’re only producing simple line art like mine, with flat colours, with only four panels…that’s a bit excessive. With a child in the house to look after now (and, you know – spend some time with!) something had to change: as I’ve been working on my buffer over these past few weeks I’ve been trying out some new techniques of drawing and colouring the strip, with some fantastic results! Even the most simple things that everyone else already does (like using the paintbucket tool to colour instead of the brush tool) have radically cut the time it takes to make the strip, which in turn will allow me to spend more of my drawing time improving my style and skill drawing the characters and their surrounds…so it should be an exciting year ahead!

If you’re a creator as well, why not share some of the tips and tricks you’ve learned while making your own work in the comments, or over at the Average Joe Facebook Page? (only those that you don’t mind sharing, of course!) It’s funny how some of the most basic ideas (*ahem* paintbucket *ahem*) can slip one’s notice; I bet I wouldn’t be the only one who could stand to learn something from wiser heads :-D

And so, without any further ado, it’s time to leave you guys for another week – the glow of my computer monitor is beginning to fry my brain (we’re in the middle of a heatwave here in Victoria; it was 45 Celsius yesterday [113 Fahrenheit] and 35 today [95], with predictions of going back to 40 tomorrow [104], so every bit of heat-generating equipment in a house with no air conditioning is torture right now) and I *really* need my beauty sleep! Hope you’ve enjoyed today’s comic, and I look forward to seeing you all back here on Sunday!

Terence MacManus