MONDAY AND FRIDAY BY JOE ENGLAND

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Tales of the Wooden Castle
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COMMENTS FROM THE AUTHOR

view Joe England's profile

18th Mar 2021, 6:54 PM

Joe England

Hi! Hello! I didn't mean to stay gone so long. Sorry about that. Happy Saint Pat-- oh. That was yesterday? Well. Then have a happy... day after... ah. Hey, just be happy.

Well, now we now what that last picture was foreshadowing. Doyenne always seemed to be one of our more popular fiends, and I'm glad to finally revisit her. It's always refreshing to return my pen to someone I haven't drawn in a long, long time, and it seems only right that she and Zandra should have found common ground over the years.

And, yes, this finally places something of a time frame on this era after Zebra Girl. We have rejoined Zandra after an interim of at least two centuries (probably closer to three). I'm anxious to hear your thoughts.

And speaking of time, ahh, this took so much of it, my computer keeps crashing, I'm STILL working on this interminable Omnibus, and I STILL don't know if Zandra's gown looks cool or ridiculous. Be kind, for Heaven's sake! It's a work in progress.

I tried doing some of the shading with Photoshop rather than with those Prismacolor markers. Can you tell? Does it sit right with you? I don't know if it saved any time, but it's sure less messy and costly. Though I guess when I finally get my new computer I'll have to start renting Photoshop, too! Ugh.

Anyway! I hope this finds you well. Remember, keep taking all precautions pertaining to the Coronavirus, which is still very much a concern for us all! Wear those masks, wash those hands, don't touch your face too much, and socially distance! And let's be good to each other. There's too much hurt right now, even without the disease.

So, I'll try not to be such a stranger. But for now I gotta get back to putting together our tax returns. They say March is like a lion, but to me it feels more like a wildebeest stampede. Take care, and thanks for being here, friend!

- Joe

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COMMENTS FROM THE AUDIENCE

19th Mar 2021, 4:44 AM

Cubist

Regarding Photoshop: There are alternatives to renting that software. One: If you look around, you may be able to find someone who's selling an older copy of Photoshop which doesn't demand you give Adobe a constant drip-feed of money. Two: Photoshop Elements, Adobe's "junior version" of the full program, which you can definitely make 1 (one) payment for and own outright. It doesn't include the complete Photoshop toolbox, but what it does provide you may suffice for your needs. Three: There are alternatives to Photoshop. On the commercial side of the fence, there's Affinity Photo and Corel Painter, among others. Four: Open source alternatives to Photoshop exist; GIMP and (I believe) Inkscape, and others.

Switching to some other app is always a fussy process. The other app will insist on doing things differently than what you're used to, and the adjustment period can be rocky. But if you'd rather own your tools than rent them, at least you know there are potentially viable alternatives out there.

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view Andrew_C's profile

19th Mar 2021, 6:26 AM

Andrew_C

Several webcomic artists I follow have switched to Clip Studio Paint (formerly called Manga Studio in the West). There's also Corel Painter and Affinity Photo. And on the free side Krita seems more suited to an artists needs than something like GIMP (although that's improved vastly).

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view Joe England's profile

21st Mar 2021, 1:00 AM

Joe England

Thanks for the advice, Cubist!

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view CyberSkull's profile

19th Mar 2021, 6:31 AM

CyberSkull

The shading looks good to me. I think it’s smoother?

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view Joe England's profile

21st Mar 2021, 1:03 AM

Joe England

I'm glad it's well received!

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view Andrew_C's profile

19th Mar 2021, 6:39 AM

Andrew_C

I like the prismacolor look in your art and you seem to have matched it well here, cant really tell whats prismacolor and what's photoshop.

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view Joe England's profile

21st Mar 2021, 1:01 AM

Joe England

The sky is still Prismacolor, and some of the background. And most of Sandra's hair!

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19th Mar 2021, 9:48 AM

Zikar

Hmmm... she doesn't deny that Betty is a slave...

Worrying thought processes or simply being kinky? Time will tell I suppose. ;)

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view Joe England's profile

21st Mar 2021, 1:02 AM

Joe England

Betty is both worrisome and kinky. But in this case the latter definitely outweighs the former.

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19th Mar 2021, 10:02 AM

Morfos

The gown looks cool, though I admit it took me some studying to figure out where Zandra left off and the gown began...though I suspect that's a feature. At first glance I'm afraid I thought she was wearing a grand bikini.

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view Joe England's profile

21st Mar 2021, 1:10 AM

Joe England

Hmm. Cool, cool. Your honest impressions are always welcome here!

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19th Mar 2021, 1:08 PM

EcchiKitty

I could tell the art had changed a little, but that's pretty normal after a bit of a break. -What- had changed I couldn't tell, and even pointed out will have to take your word that's what's different.
So if shading in Photoshop is easier for you, stick with it. Still makes for great images.

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view Joe England's profile

21st Mar 2021, 1:04 AM

Joe England

Nice to know the difference isn't jarring! It's mostly the clothing and skin tones that were done in the 'Shop.

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20th Mar 2021, 8:35 AM

kasunshine

Yeah Clip Studio is REALLY good. They added the ability to use photoshop brushes in there and there's a ton of great free textured brushes too.

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view Joe England's profile

21st Mar 2021, 1:05 AM

Joe England

Yes, I've been hearing a lot of recommendations for that program!

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20th Mar 2021, 1:09 PM

BattyBams

Oh, I love when there is a new page! Are the wolves Wally and Crystal's descendants? I'm glad Doyenne is less wretched.

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view Joe England's profile

21st Mar 2021, 1:06 AM

Joe England

Yes, some of them are indeed Wally and Crystal's descendants. And we're all glad Doyenne's in a better place! She's got a lot to make up for.

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20th Mar 2021, 11:35 PM

Anotherspec

Artwork looks great as always. I'm also reminded of your penchant for detail.
Unless I'm mistaken, Doyenne is still missing an ear after all that time.

now that's keeping up the continuity!

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view Joe England's profile

21st Mar 2021, 1:09 AM

Joe England

Ooh, I was hoping someone would mention that! Thank you.

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21st Mar 2021, 12:53 AM

Joko

This stuff is exactly why I love this series so much.

Also, I'm gonna go ahead and pile on and swap Photoshop for Clip Studio Paint. Been using it for years myself.

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view Joe England's profile

21st Mar 2021, 1:08 AM

Joe England

Thanks, Joko! And that definitely sounds like the favored program. So long as it still has a font function and similar selection tools, it might be just the ticket.

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21st Mar 2021, 10:37 AM

Tib

I've followed the strip for years, it's so good to see new content :) I think the time jump is a solid mechanism to use; especially for characters who are beyond traditional mortal limits. With regard to Zandra's gown, based on panel 7 (pulled back shot) it's a neat design but seems a bit self-contradictory. IE the bottom is very sleek and fitting and the top is the opposite - not just having shape but seeming a little bulbous. I get a sense of being styled after teeth/claws or something on top but with just the solid coloring and no detail work it is an odd contrast to the rest of it. Also, the material that flows around her legs (and it looks like around her midriff) being striped when she herself is striped feels odd. It's not an uncommon thing in human fashion to have nude-colored or mesh/see-through panels on a gown, but the stripe pattern doesn't seem to match the rest of her fairly jaggy coloration. So it presents a sense of being 'bare' but is very much not the style you might expect to see in those places. I'm honestly not sure what I'd recommend instead, only perhaps to suggest either adding detail to the top that explains the rounded/pointy shape a little better or smooth things down just a little to perhaps make it seem more scaly?

Clothing is difficult, you're doing great so far :) keep it coming! I have missed seeing updates to the strip

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view Joe England's profile

21st Mar 2021, 1:14 PM

Joe England

Thanks very much for the input, Tib!

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21st Mar 2021, 6:43 PM

ttaxus

Aha, so that's why you were playing coy on the previous comment section! You cagey bastard. (I was right too, it *is* an interesting conversation.)

The shading seems fine to me, I'm not sure I would have noticed if you hadn't mentioned it. I think I see it most around Zandra's dress and hair, but it all still looks good, it's not jarring or anything.

Also, Zandra, you have a type, and it's powerful ageless women with slight murderous tendencies.

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view Joe England's profile

22nd Mar 2021, 11:14 PM

Joe England

I think you may be right!

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25th Mar 2021, 10:49 AM

Chaotik74

Zhandra, Doyenne, and Betty playing naked Twister.

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25th Mar 2021, 11:03 AM

Chaotik74

with Demon Crystal thrown in! wheee!

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view Joe England's profile

10th Apr 2021, 8:04 PM

Joe England

Don't tempt me, you fiend.

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3rd Apr 2021, 9:25 AM

Vero

It's always nice to go "Hrrmmm. I wonder if Zebra Girl updated? Oh! It has!"

;) It's always good to see your work Joe. Now, how about some Broadshoulder Adventures?

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view Joe England's profile

10th Apr 2021, 8:04 PM

Joe England

I won't rule anything out, Vero!

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5th Apr 2021, 5:13 AM

Valentine

Regarding the gown, I think it’s generally a good match for Zandra’s current situation, but I have some thoughts about the structure of the upper part. The impression I have is that the upper bodice and sleeves are supposed to be styled after Zandra’s hair. The appearance is straightforward, but I’m focused here on the consistency. As I recall, demon hair is supposed to hold its shape against perturbation, but it’s supposed to be recognizably hairlike (as opposed to quills, feathers, or other stiff structures). This consistency could translate easily to the fabric of the gown (and it seems to on page 822) if not for a structural issue: it’s both off-the-shoulder and backless, meaning that the gown would need a solid structure like a corset to stay in place. Or magic, which isn’t implausible here, but I think it’s more thematically appropriate (a present from Crystal, a relatively fantastic design that's still grounded) that it would be able to be worn without it. Alternately, the sleeves connecting to the bodice would provide the needed support without requiring a solid structure. This is how the dream-sequence dress was structured back in 485, and it’s how I read the real dress back in its initial appearance in 807. Given Zandra’s comment about having the gown altered, there shouldn’t be continuity problems if you want to change the design (again). Changes in the gown might be representative of changes in Zandra herself to point out differences in different time periods.

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view Joe England's profile

5th Apr 2021, 9:42 PM

Joe England

Thank you very much for your input, Valentine!

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10th Apr 2021, 3:19 PM

Gaisa

Very well done Joe, I also like how you hid Doyene's lack of a left ear until the penultimate window. Sneaky

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view Joe England's profile

10th Apr 2021, 8:03 PM

Joe England

Gracias Gaisa, I love it when people notice the details!

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29th May 2021, 2:20 AM

K

I had hoped that, over time, you'd go back on the decision to force heteronormity onto Crystal the way you did, but now that's not possible and no, making Zan a mad-lesbian/bisexual having orgies with other hot demons/monsters, doesn't make up for that.

It really hurts because that's why I got into this comic all those years ago and why I kept checking in. I'm done doing that now. Thanks for the queer-baiting.

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view Joe England's profile

29th May 2021, 4:49 PM

Joe England

I'm truly sorry if I disappointed you, K. I didn't mean to ever enforce notions of heteronormity. That wasn't the point, I swear. And if I need to explain my intent then I've failed as a writer, but I'll try.

In the end, their relationship was not complicated by gender, but by the dynamic between two personality types. Zandra pushed Crystal towards someone else because she thought it was what she needed, that she couldn't grow as a person while she was at the side of someone she worshiped. And I always wanted for there to be doubt over whether it was truly the right thing to do. They could have been very happy together, and their separation was a tragedy. But tragedy can emphasize love, and that's the kind of story I wanted to tell. A missed opportunity.

This wasn't a decision on my part to force something on anyone. On the contrary, past a certain point a writer has to follow the story, and this was where the story led me. And I know that sounds cheap, like a cop-out platitude, but I mean it. The resolution unfolded naturally in my imagination, and I couldn't make it fold in a different direction. To do so would have been a forced decision.

I love these characters too, K. I never meant to use them as "bait", or to exploit them in any cynical fashion. I still don't, in spite of any lascivious themes in the comic. And I definitely never meant to elevate heteronormity over any other kind of relationship.

Zebra Girl is a love story between two women. It's not fully realized, and that makes it tragic. Maybe my perspective doesn't help to validate anything, maybe my attempts at justification fall short, but I hope you can believe me when I say I'm sincere, and that I truly apologize for hurting you. All I've ever wanted was to bring people satisfaction, and if I caused you pain instead then I deeply regret it, and ask for your forgiveness.

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15th Jul 2021, 8:30 PM

Guest

So, basically, you're having a strop because your ship didn't sail. Ho hum!

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view Joe England's profile

18th Jul 2021, 4:16 PM

Joe England

I disagree with K's assessment, but I can't blame people for their feelings. I think I know what it's like to take a work of fiction seriously on a personal level, and I appreciate that K had that kind of investment in my work. I can try to convince them that I had pure intentions, but it's still up to them whether or not they like it. In any case, we should try not to dismiss their feelings out of hand.

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