Treading Ground

Thanks for visiting. Take a look around!

Hello, Nick Wright here. Treading Ground was my first webcomic, and it’s still a favorite of many. The archive stands here for your reading enjoyment, but if you’d like to see what I’m up to these days, you can see my work on That SciFi Guy and The Idle State.

Thanks for stopping by!

January 5, 2012 | 21 Comments
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Con Update!

Convention Time!Kami-Con – Tuscaloosa, AL – February 3rd-5th

Woot! First official convention appearance!

Leo Thompson (That SciFi Guy) and Nick Wright will be official guests at the convention, meaning you can expect panels! We don’t know the exact details yet, but it’s a sure bet we’ll be talking about both That SciFi Guy and The Idle State, and the Treading Ground fans among you may even get to hear some authentic tales of the real-life inspirations behind those characters (yes, there was a real Purvous.)

And if we’re not enough to lure you down to Bama, Doug Walker (aka Nostalgia Critic) will be there with us!

January 25, 2012 | No Comments

Go Read The Idle State!

Hey guys, Treading Ground may have concluded, but my new webcomic The Idle State is now up and running! Go check it out!

The Treading Ground site will remain open indefinitely for your archive reading pleasure, and news about the upcoming book and other Treading Ground-related projects will continue to be posted here, but the real action is over at Idle.

July 18, 2011 | 43 Comments

Back To The Future (NSFW-ish)


Click to embiggen!

As you can tell from the Drunken Aya Timeline above, she’s been with me a LONG time. The leftmost image was composed before I had done any real artwork on the computer, which is obvious from the rough colored pencil work. We then progress through several other variably crappy iterations of her until her most recent appearance in Treading Ground.

I’ve drawn her a lot, and in a few cases I’ve even reattempted the same poses once I learned how to draw them less shittily:

Yikes.

Her terrible tolerance for alcohol came about as a result of Art By Accident. When I first flexed my feeble skills at composing drawrings, I didn’t yet have a feel for expressions and composition. I showed the sketch of the first picture to my buddy Jack, and he told me she looked like she was drunk. I initially balked of course – Aya wasn’t that type of girl! But when I looked back at it, that was all I could see. Instead of ripping up the paper in frustration, I decided to run with it, and it became her cross to bear.

Aya also features in some early, terrible comics I drew.

This guy has the looks of Les, the role of Alex and the personality of Steve.

In those same old comics, you could also see a prototype of Trevor, who is actually the brown-haired guy you see in the 2002 pic in the timeline, conveniently comparable to his more recent look on the far right.

It wasn’t until 2010 that I really figured out who he was. *cough* a douchebag *cough*

So, has Aya overcome her unfortunate weakness, or is she just going to get into more trouble in the city? There’s only one way to find out, and it starts Monday. See you there!

July 15, 2011 | 43 Comments

What I Learned From Purvous


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He’s easily one of the most popular characters in the comic, but along with Rose, he’s also one that gave me the most headache.

The first thing you should know about Purvous is that he is a real guy. Well, not quite. Purvous is based almost entirely on a bagger named Ervin that I worked with when I was Bookkeeper and Customer Service Manager at my own Food “Baron”. Almost every single one of Purvous’s lines in the main comic are taken from things Ervin has actually said. The refurbished comic you see above is an exchange I directly witnessed, and yes, he even said “AH WANNA MAKE A BABY.”

As a writer, you’re often tempted to take people you know in real life and put them directly into your work. This is almost never a good idea. You’ll either want to do things with that character that might create a conflict with the actual person, or like me, you may fall into the trap of presenting a character without the proper fictional context. You know the character because you’ve practically lifted him out of real life, but your readers don’t quite get the same connection. They don’t get the disclaimer.

You had to be there.
This is a comic I pulled out of the archive a while back. On its own it’s needlessly offensive. The cliche “you had to be there” certainly rings true here.

With Purvous, things were complicated not only by the typical factors but also by the fact that, let’s face it, he’s mentally challenged. That’s a concept most writers are uncomfortable with, and for good reason. You don’t want to seem like you’re making fun of retarded people for cheap laughs. In TG’s case, it’s Purvous getting the laugh on everyone around him. He may say crazy things that make you laugh, but nobody’s making fun of him. And the readers have really responded to him.

Still I worried about making the wrong impression every time I wrote Purvous into a strip, and certainly that’s what some who came to the site looking for something to pick at have taken away. But TG is a reality-based comic, and people like Purvous are part of reality. They make life a little less drab and boring.

Ervin himself is an amazing guy, and working with him was a blast. He is a completely unfiltered individual, and he knows how awesome he is. I think I did a not-entirely-horrible job representing elements of him here, and the dedicated Purvous fans would seem to agree.

But ultimately, Purvous isn’t really my character. He’s Ervin’s, and I was just borrowing him.

July 12, 2011 | 46 Comments

Extra Comic!

Insurance
Click to embiggen!

This week as we await the premiere of The Idle State, I’ll be posting extra Treading Ground material that either didn’t quite make it in to the main comic or otherwise provides some additional perspective. I have posts lined up for Monday, Wednesday and Friday for sure. Today’s post is an extra comic!

Way back in the day when I first got into webcomics I would take other people’s existing comics and rewrite them, changing the words and the expressions to match my new words. I referred to it as “strip hacking,” though when I do it with my own work it’s probably more accurately referred to as “refurbishing.” Expert TG readers will recognize the art from an earlier storyline, but the words are all new. I’ve seen whole comics made that way, so I figured it was worth a shot.

This script is one I wrote quite some time ago, but since TG has been so heavily storyline driven for the past year or so, I never did get another chance to put in some more one-off Nate and Steve roommate banter.

Enjoy! Wednesday’s post is all about Purvous.

July 11, 2011 | 32 Comments