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Treading Ground

Thanks for visiting. Take a look around!

Hello, Nick Wright here. Treading Ground has concluded – for now. The archive stands here for your reading enjoyment, but if you’d like to see what I’m up to these days, you can visit me here:

Mastodon – Trying this as my main social media for now
Twitter – I’m still sort of active here until it inevitably goes splat
DeviantArt – I’ve been on here forever, so I guess I may as well stay??
Pixiv – I mostly just post fanart here, anything else seems to flop

I’ve also been doing some videos – 

The Idle State – My attempt at a John Oliver-style show. I got one episode in and realized I needed to focus on comics again! I’ll pick it up again eventually.
Trash Panda Vegan – I did a cooking show! If you’re tired of paying $12 a carton for eggs, come check out my tofu scramble recipe.
That SciFi Guy – Yes, we are still doing this!

Thanks for stopping by!

January 5, 2012 | 36 Comments

Site Update – Color Comics, Better Jokes, and More

I've been there ever since.It’s not exactly an announcement that will uncurl your pubics, but there’s new stuff afoot!

For the past several months I have been working on improvements to the comic and the site with the goal of making it look better and read better.

Colors – When I originally started TG, I went with grayscale for a lot of it. I eventually figured out that was just as time-consuming, but had the side effect of not being as nice to look at. Now every comic in the archive is now in comparatively glorious full color!

Horizontal Formatting – Every comic in the archive is also now in horizontal comic strip format! Okay, this part probably doesn’t make that much of a difference to you other than a smoother reading experience, but if I ever want to publish a book it’ll be pretty important.

Dialogue Improvements – Many of these are minor – a better joke here and clearer wording there, but I’ve also done a little playing with time scales. The essential story elements are the same, but I’ve made the series less convoluted and problematic overall.

New “Out Of Character” Section – To be honest, there was a lot in the main Archive that didn’t need to be there. The old “Friday Extra” comics have been moved here, along with one-off gags featuring dated movie references, and an early storyline I was never happy with.

Guest Section Update – The Guest Art section was a bit of a chore to read through, so I’ve repackaged it as a set that you can navigate just like the main Archive.

Consider this new version the TG Director’s Cut. With these updates, I really feel like the comic is the strongest it has ever been. Give it another read-through and enjoy!

June 5, 2017 | 20 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:


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 | 44 Comments

What I Learned From Purvous

Click to embiggen!

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. I learned a lot from the mistakes I made posting stupid shit out of context.

With Purvous, things were complicated not only by the typical factors but also by the fact that, let’s face it, he’s living with a disability. 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 people for cheap laughs. In TG’s case, it’s Purvous getting the laugh on everyone around him. He may say wacky 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 | 39 Comments

Extra Comic!

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

When one door closes…

This will be the last week of Treading Ground.

To say it’s been a while would be an understatement. While most of you have only been with me for the last year or so, I originally started this comic on Keenspace way back in 2003. It wasn’t until February of 2010 that I was able to give it the attention it deserved, though, and since then the comic has been going strong, gaining steam and attracting a readership that has been both numerous and vocal.

But this story was never intended to be something that would run forever. I’ve always had a beginning, middle and end in mind, and on Friday we’ll see that end come to fruition.

This story may be coming to a close, but that doesn’t mean I’m done making comics, or even that this is the last you’ll see of these characters. On Friday after the final Treading Ground comic, I’ll announce the first details about my next webcomic project, including where you can find it and when it will premiere. I’m working hard to get that project off the ground as soon as possible so no one is kept waiting too long!

I want to thank everyone who has been with me as we followed the lives of Nate, Rose, and the rest of the cast. There is much more to come, and I hope you’ll continue to join me for it.

July 4, 2011 | 156 Comments