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About Nearing Acheron

A Brief History

Nearing Acheron started years back. The first of my drawings identifiable as a Nearing Acheron strip came from my junior year of high school. I remember it vividly; it was on a paper towel. And - at least in theory - it is still in my possession. I'll post it if I ever find it.

My freshman year of college, though, was where the comic really started. In my Research Methods in Psychology class, I met Elizabeth Crutchfield, and the two of us covered page after page in illustrated dialogue. The trend continued for the rest of the year (If asked, Lizzy will tell you that this is why I failed Math 21C. This is not entirely true.) until by the end of it I had a stack of papers over an inch thick, bound in the flayed remains of chemistry lab manuals.

During my junior year, the comic started running in the UC Davis paper, The California Aggie. Suddenly, it needed a name. I don't remember exactly where the inspiration came from, but once I'd thought of Nearing Acheron, I knew I could stop thinking. The Acheron is one of the five rivers of Hades; some myths have the boatman Charon ferrying souls over this river rather than the more traditional Styx. Thus the comic's full name roughly translates to Close to Hell.

Nearing Acheron continued to run in the Aggie until my graduation in 2009. It was a bizarre feeling, after two years under deadline, to not have to do any more comics. It was almost a relief. But the relief wore off quickly; within weeks, I'd realized how much I really enjoyed doing the comic, and inspiration was flowing freer than ever.

So now, there's a website. Enjoy!

Creating a Comic

The creation process is pretty simple. I print out a 6 1/8" × 2 1/4" template in light cyan, divided into cels as needed, and then draw directly on it with black ink. When I'm done, I scan it. Borders and caption boxes are added via Photoshop.

My pen of choice is the 0.3mm Copic Multiliner SP, though I've used STAEDTLER's triplus fineliner with good results in the past.

Web Graphics

All the non-comic graphics are products of Photoshop. The splotchy grey pattern is made with a low-opacity black brush on a white background followed by the cutout filter. The text is my handwriting, in Sharpie, under a watercolor filter. The red stains are courtesy of whoever who posted a set of paint splatters to Flickr, wondering how graphic artists would use them; unfortunately, I've been unable to find them again to let their creator know.

The Icon

After myriad failed attempts at making icons featuring initials and/or bacteriophages, I gave up and took a new route. The final icon features the Chinese character for river - tribute to the little-known River Acheron - in red on a cloudy grey background. I'm very pleased with it.

Technical Stuff

Domain registration is provided by the excellent gandi.net; I now do my own web hosting through Amazon AWS.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
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