At first the art was averaging over half an hour per picture. This picture for example ended up taking over an hour. I'm happy with the result, but an hour is far too long when every story has over a hundred pictures!
By the end of story two (Gilgamesh) I'd got that down to fifteen minutes. Here's a typical 15 minute picture from near the beginning of The Time Machine:
I'm still not happy with that. I feel pressured for time, and the result is not great. it does the job but as an artist I could tear it apart. Here's the new, improved art style:
The people in the foreground still use the old style. but the hero in the back uses far fewer lines. This enabkles me to just focus on the parts that matter, finish a picture in ten minutes, and not feel rushed. And I can spend longer on each line, so the result should look more professional. Heres a fully "new style" picture:
I like that style. I just draw the parts that matter to the story, and enough extra lines so the reader isn't totally lost, and I'm done!!! Perfect. Of course, I can't change the art style half way through a story, so I added some more lines, like so:
This fits in better, but as you can see, the new lines do not add anything to the story. In fact, they more than double the time it takes to make the picture. Look at the adult's forward arm: in the simplified art I could be free. But when I added more detail it looked wrong, and I had to erase it and re-draw it. Also the body looks worse now: look at the top of the front leg! Urgh!
The beauty of the simpler art is that your mind will fill in the details in the right place, so I don't have to. Ten minute pictures are the way to go!
The first two stories took six days to write. Meaning six days if working on the game full time. But I have a day job so a six day story usually takes twelve days or more. That isn't acceptable. I have now got that time down to three days. My goal is to reduce that to two days (if I have to read a story for the first time) or even one (if I'm already familiar with the story).
Joined up stories
I now start on The Goddess of Atvatabar, the first story to join up with an existing story! Soon, when you explore the caves in Journey to the Center of the Earth you'll be able to go deeper, deeper, and come out on the other side! That is a big step to making this more interactive: making a joined up world!