When I was in college, I always had painting classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Two-and-a-half hours of painting or critique. It sounds kind of stupid to say, but I’ve never learned so much about who I am, what I like, and what I am capable of under pressure than I have while painting for those classes. When painting, you have to make decisions with every single brush stroke. Painting is a series of tough choices that result in an image. If you make the thousands of right choices, you might end up with a great painting. Or not. It’s incredibly frustrating, but equally rewarding, like most things worth doing. Get together with a group of painters in a setting like a class with a really hard-to-please teacher, and you’ll all feel like you’re old war buddies by the time the class is over.

Painting and drawing are completely different things. I’ve always been more of a draftsman than a painter, and it shows in my work, just as it showed in my paintings. A good painter can ignore almost all fundamental rules of drawing and produce a fantastic painting that doesn’t make the viewer obsess about its horribly unconvincing perspective. Renaissance painter Andrea Mantegna is proof. That’s not me, though. I’ve always made drawings masquerading as paintings. I lean on line, structure, and space to make an image, not light and color.

Renee’s a painter. She thinks in forms and values. It’s obvious from how she draws (which she also does really well). We went to different colleges, but we painted together a few times when we both had assignments due. We’d paint for hours early into the morning. I’d end up with a series of horrible choices staring back at me from the makeshift easel that I’d made out of a chair, and she’d have a painting. That’s why I asked her to color ALPHA FLAG for me (well, and because we’re both unemployed). I had some incredibly vague notions about how I wanted the colors to work, but I knew she could make them into something cohesive.

So here it is. ALPHA FLAG. Starting today, and every following Thursday until I finish the story there’ll be a new page. The Thursday release schedule is my nod to my college painting classes. This one’s for you, class bro *fist bump*. As far as releases go, ALPHA FLAG will be broken up into chapters running about 12 or so pages apiece. Those will be collected into pay-what-you-want CBRs/PDFs (do you have a preference?) at the conclusion of the chapter, and then two chapters will be collected into issues. If there’s adequate demand, I’d like these to be print issues, but we’ll see. A lot of this depends on what you want, so let me know.

I’ve been working on it as a project for about a year now, and I’ve really enjoyed it so far. Even better, I finally get to share it as a real series with all y’alls! I really hope you like it, and I’ll be proud if even one person makes it part of their Thursday routine. If you do like, I double-hope that you’ll share it with your friends. Let me know what you think of it, too, via the comments, or by email. This is the internet, after all.