Here’s my latest comic:

I’ve started work on automated publishing. Typically, publishing is this seven or so step process like so:

  1. Make thumbnail picture.
  2. Update manifest with the new panels.
  3. Copy the panels and thumbnail to staging.
  4. Copy the manifest to staging.
  5. Check that staging is okay.
  6. Update blog.
  7. Run Jekyll on blog.
  8. Copy blog and links to staging.
  9. Check blog on staging.
  10. Copy images to production.
  11. Copy manifest to production.
  12. Copy blog to production.
  13. Invalidate Cloudfront cache.
  14. Check that production looks okay.

These steps are a couple of minutes a piece, but it’s still getting old. My automation does steps 2, 10 and 11 on its own and frees me to do 1, 4 and 8 whenever I want instead of Sunday night.

I’m hoping that most of these steps will run on a cron job, so the entries will go up at 10pm CST Sunday, even if I’m in Northumberland or dead.

I’m also thinking of using my freedom to do the comic in bigger chunks. Right now, I sketch, ink, shade, background and bubble in batches of 4-7. I’m thinking of doing bigger batches. I found it was faster to do a week step-by-step rather than finishing each panel before doing the next. Maybe it’ll be more true if I take on four weeks at once, though I wouldn’t look forward to a week of solid inking.

I wasn’t going to do Automation yet. I’m working on a seventh draft for a novel, the Sultan’s Child, and I’d told myself it’d take precedence over any comic work beyond drawing panels. Publishing was taking too much time, though, so I had to tackle it.