Still feel like I’m playing catch up after the trip to NY last month, closed out the first leg of the Dream Life tour.
I had some slow weeks after recovering from a pretty intense cold I picked up on the road. We were having a heatwave too, that didn’t help. And here in Montreal a lot of people went on the traditional summer “workers vacation” so not much was getting done outside my studio.
I just heard back from Lounak earlier today that the first batch of books I left with them–that were waiting on a passport renewal. and then the drivers vacation–will now head out this Wednesday! Yay. Was getting worried there.
Good news. Going to want to see the invoice from them for this batch, but this means the next batch should head out soon as well. I have classes to teach mid week, but probably next monday i’ll plan to make a run up to Lounak.
Though it would be nice to sell more books to help wrap up the last bit of shipping! unfortunately due to NY having been a bust when it came to sales at the shows – both cons there in June were super DEAD I found. Sold about 3 copies of Dream Life between them along with a few other bits and bobs. Most the other folks I talked to at both had the same story too pretty much. Bombs.
I ended up coming away $200 in the hole rather than with the average $500 profit that had come from many of the other shows/weekends on the tour. New York, Ottawa, and the second weekend in Toronto were all poor sales wise, but with NY being the worst especially, when you factored in the much more expensive tables and travel! I still came out in the black for the other two duds with just a few books sold, but not NY.
That was not good for the budget. It could have been worse — I was able to sell two thirds of the books I had on me to local retailers for decent wholesale rates sunday and monday before coming back. Covered most the losses and bumped the store listings for Dream life nicely in the process too! So I was happy about that. But fiscally it hurt my plan a bit. The shipping budget it just about $400 now, so coming out of NY -$200, not cool.
Covering the latest short fall will be doable, it’s not huge. As it turned out last week I learned I’d be covering for my friend and co-teacher at Syn Studio, Kelly Tindall. Doing a semester of his comics class as well as my regular semester of Dynamic Drawing.
The hours for that, selling some more books locally, and some freelance work in the works, i’ll be able to work it all out. But yeah, selling a LOT more books would be great for that and, just, in general.
It was over all good on the road, but online there’s been little pick up. I’d like to do more to get things going. Been writing retailers, have a few orders in the works. Also have some requests for books in town too at shops. Also been entertaining finding a way to set up in downtown Cafe’s, to sell the book during festival season?
I’m offering a summer reading sale right now, for the US editions. Need to get the word out more in general though!
[reminder kickstarter backers are getting signed first Launch Editions, printed on premium paper in Montreal. The books sold now from my site are the US editions, POD copies printed on good but coarser paper in the US, from CreateSpace.]
I’ve been reluctant to ask before everyone got their copy, but I’d really appreciate any help you can give me spreading the word about the sale, [ 0 shipping for physical copies and 10% off digital ] and generally sharing stuff about the book. To that end….
In other related news I had a chance finally to do some over due web work.
Also tell your favorite comic book or book retailer about it too! I can supply books to most places on the glob via the CreateSpace system!
Also the book is on Amazon, ComiXology, & Goodreads. If you can rate it there as well it would be a HUGE help boosting it’s visibility! Please help me pop it up the ranks?
And lastly, do you do a podcast or write for blogs? Chat me up about appearing on your show or check out the Footnotes section of Spilt Ink, and then write me some interesting questions? Some past interviews and reviews for my books can be found here on thepress page.
Ok, that’s the big ask for today.
Be my Street Team?
Thanks a lot!
I couldn’t have done this without you all!
With books coming in the spring and everything, I’m going to try to get back into posting here more regularly. Maybe even like this, transitioning a lot of my activity from social networks blogging to here about all and sundry that interests or provokes me.
It seemed almost like a message when I saw this “How Much Time Have You Wasted on Facebook?” app from TIME.com. I plugged in an estimate of my daily average here out of curiosity, it took a while to do its thing. lol. I use it to promote my work often so not “wasted” I feel, but the app says 108 DAYS, 7 HOURS, & 33 MINUTES Since Sep 15, 2011. And I’ve posted 10,865 things to my feed in that time? Does that include my other four fan pages there ? Rough estimates that makes about 10 to 11 posts a day av. Sounds about right anyway.
I’ve been reluctant in the past to post “off topic” on my own site so much, keeping it mostly about work. But I think I’ll try diversifying things now. So here’s some stuff that I’ve noticed or had thoughts about in the last two days, and some work.
While I’m to my knowledge Ashkenazim on both sides of my family, and considered a full blooded Jew under Jewish law. I am also an atheist who was raised outside of the temple entirely. Never had any indoctrination at all.
I’ve always felt an outsider everywhere, and it started in part from realizing when I was a kid that Jewish tradition suggested that my being raised like that meant that to some, I’m a gôy. In the original Hebrew it means a Jew ignorant of the Jewish religion, as well as a non-Jew. So potentially that’s me.To some orthodox minds anyway. I would point out I’m not ignorant, having read about my heritage and been present some family events of a religious nature and enjoyed them for their social merits.
In the past and often today, many Jews like to think of themselves as above or immune to racism. But that’s hardly the case. No one is. And a lot of traditional doctrine, like that bit I just mentioned, always rubbed me the wrong way for its intrinsic race based nationalism. To my mind racism=nationalism=racism and I loath both, you know? And I see both as artifacts of culture, not real in any material way other than the way we deal with the idea of them.
A Israeli friend of mine recently lamented that if we were in 1800’s France, he would be supporting Herzl and I’d be opposing the movement. It’s possible, assuming I had the same philosophical leanings. I can understand the Jewish quest for homeland at that time. But If my mind was the same as today, I’d reject his racially driven world view. Though at that time it was pretty much most of the worlds world view. But If I had my modern mind, I’d be fighting the illusion of Race at home in Europe, rather than promoting a colonial idea that what involve the displacement of another ethnic group in order to make us feel safer–but in the end putting us in greater peril I think.
I have been wondering about the details of his side of this story. I was around for the news when it first came around and recalled it being much less cut and dry than the recent tweets and backlash made it seem. Glad someone kept their notes. I’m well convinced Woody is a hard person to deal with or be involved with. No strike that, is really quite ethically compromised given who Soon Yi was when he started his affair. But It’s always felt a bit fishy the way Mia Farrow handled all that as well. Since posting this Dylan has now had her say, and i’m inclined to support her as a victim. But there is also the problematic nature of memory and vague nature of a lot of the incidents he’s accused of. But I don’t think she’s lying. In any case, bloody messy business.
Check out this clip here of him doing some of his magic. This is really deeply zoomed in. Crazy details. It’s been ages since i tried Scratch-board techniques. Not since high school i think. Sam Agro said “Like a creepy Franklin Booth“. Agreed. gorgeous!
Scientists watch glowing molecules form memories in real-time!
Along with commenting on that posting, it inspired me to post about the breakthrough in active brain imaging along with this thought: For those that wish to promote the idea that our inner thoughts have a real impact in the outer world around us. I use inner and outer here pointedly. Because really, that’s a false dichotomy propagated by the way we perceive thoughts vs the physical. Good old Descartian dualism that seeks to elevate humanity and life by saying there is something other, special, about us that definitely separates us from the rest of the stuff and beasts and holds the promise of immortality for many.
Well, here’s my thoughts. Our thoughts have influence on the physical world in two ways. One*, when they lead to actions. Ok, obvious maybe but worth pointing out. Most of the time, even if you are unaware of how, this is what is going on. Two**, they are in fact properties of the physical world–of your neurons. They were never separate from the physical world in the first place. If you thought so, you were misled, like most of us at one time or another. To that end, look at this…and think about how as you do, it’s happening in your own skull as you form a memory of it.
** Having a thought causes other neurons to respond and all kinds of interesting brain chemistry to happen. They are not nonphysical things. Imagining them as something that happens in another place/space/without forms, this is a popular but unfounded idea. * A lot of the new age meme about the impact of our thoughts attributes the consequences of subtle behavioral interactions and body language to the supernatural. It is unlikely that you never show any of your negative or positive feeling on your face, stance, or the way you interact with others. Depending on how observant and sensitive people are to that they might know you feel in general terms good or bad about them, or they may just have a gut feeling about it. But one way or another most of the time they will pick up on something even if only subconsciously. So, intentional or not, a lot of your thoughts lead to actions, including pointed inaction and intentions even unconscious ones. And all that has an impact.
Well written. Resonates with my own thoughts witnessing how age anxieties mess with the minds of most women I’ve known. It gets to guys too but not nearly as intensely. Also this struck me due to the fact I once witnessed a few older female comic creators whose work I admired, go from trying to armor themselves over their mixed feelings of being seen as elder ladies, not getting noticed as much, and being catty about Molly who one of them had sat next to at a show. She did not approve of the 20 something Molly’s penchant for corsets and bustiers.
Personally I’ve always been of the mind to, and encouraged my partners to try to age gracefully. Fit as we can manage, into whatever decrepitude inevitable entropy has in store. My hair has several silver strands now. I like them. They have been earned.
Speaking of HBO crime stories, I have been most impressed by True Detective. Very tightly written so far. And the cast is killing it. More please.
Ok, lets get into the work….
Dream Life pencils | I like making unexpected places pretty.
Right now I’m “penciling” my the final few pages for Dream Life book one. It was supposed to be done a year ago, but last Feb I had some test and found out I’m Diabetic. At the time i said little, I was not sure what it would mean or how it would impact anything other than my penchant for surgery coffee and energy drinks was going to have to come to an end. It runs in the family, so not a total shock. It had me worried for a bit but I responded to meds well, and between diet and an increasing amount of exercise I’ve been doing really well with controlling my levels.
At the time though, I was about to enter crunch time on Dream Life and I realized something I was trying as a short cut for doing the tones wasn’t cutting it and I’d have to do some of them over – and that there were things I wanted to fix with the story that I’d only just noticed in the last round of edits. I only had under 20 pages of 160 left to work on, many mostly done even. But in the time left, and with the news about my health, a hard bird to make it for TCAF 2013 was out. Not unless I wanted to risk some serious health problems. At 42 [now 43] and having dodged a bullet with cancer, I’m not screwing around with that for anything. So I put off Dream Life of a bit while I got other commitments done, and got healthier. And this month I’m wrapping up that last bit of the book finally. I have to say, I do like me some delayed gratification.
One of the bits of new work I’m doing is a scene I’ve had in mind a long time. It’s a long scene that exploits place and a lot of public art to tell a story about a person. Posted to the right here is a page from a scene of PJ walking through the city having just arrived, reconnecting with the town and internally resolving some heavy stuff from earlier in the book. On the left is the bottom later page from the end of the same sequence. I’m working in red felt tip pen here. For pencils I use many different things, whatever my mood calls for. Sometimes it’s even pencil!
This panel background, the one with the trees painted upside down on the overpass structure, is from photo reference I took of public art on the Gardiner Expressway in about 2008 or so. Rodney Graham‘s Tree Portraits wrapped around the pillars beneath the Gardiner Expressway, creating an inverted forest within a concrete jungle. . The last location in this scene is set in a nearby space inspired from some other public art too. Found near the Toronto Music Garden, in the Spadina Quay Wetlands. I changed it to suit the story with PJ, from what looks like a small factory building to a house.
A lot of Dream Life is set is a semi fictional version of Toronto. In that I am basing it on real places but take liberties liberally to suit my storytelling desires. As I was walking the route from my script for this scene, taking location shots for reference. Passing through his inverted forest seemed perfect. it echoes the earlier scene that happens in a forest under trees, and just generally evokes a lot of appropriate things about PJ in this moment. Been looking forward to drawing it since I was there taking the ref shot in 2008. Originally had planed to used it much later in the story. Part that would not fit in this first book. But after realizing I was going to have to break the story up to get it done and publish it, I felt PJ’s narrative was weak as is. So I found a way to bring this forward, and in a way make it far better and more meaningful as well, I hope.
The sudden passing of a kind stranger.
I was going to leave it at that for this post. Plenty NO? And I felt unsure if this was something I had any business posting about here. But then looking over the post not mentioning this in my journal entry from the last two days seemed far to conspicuous.
See the thing is I didn’t really know Debra. From the sounds of it I wish I’d known her better. Only met her a few times in her capacity as a volunteer at events and at Kevin’s shop once I think, or maybe twice. Through the years I’ve gotten to know Kevin Boyd well professionally but didn’t have much knowledge of his personal life. I only recently learned of Debra after he opened his comic shop I think. And probably a lot of what I did know of her came from Facebook. So far I had learned she was involved along with some other mutual friends in Toronto’s comics scene, as a lawyer, volunteer, and shutter bug. And one of the core founders of a regular saturday night ladies night at the lounge. Always active it seems, she posted a reminder for their gathering saturday, and then took a nap and never woke up.
It was almost totally random seeming. Young and very vial person many people I know knew suddenly was no longer there. Word today was SUDEP, Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy. I’m informed by Kevin that no one really knows what it is, what happens. Just that it does. 50.000 times a year on average! I had no idea.
As the publisher for Sequential I posted her death notice for our site and asked a friend of hers, Rachel Richey who recently joined the team to pen a personal remembrance we’ll be putting up in a day or so. The shock-wave of regret and condolences after Kevin posted of her death on Facebook January 26th has been a little epic. The impact of her enthusiasm disposition and volunteering extended well outside of the Toronto Comics scene, online and via all those who had met her at events.
Reading some of my other friends and Kevin’s laments of her sudden passing, It’s certainly made me ponder mortality and life more than a few times over the last two days, and think I missed something not having spent more time around her.
An official final posting was put up on her profile, it read…
Debra Jane Shelly, aged 39 (April 23, 1974-January 25, 2014)
Our precious Debra passed peacefully in her sleep on Saturday afternoon from an epileptic seizure. Debbie will be forever remembered as a genuine and kind soul with unparalleled wit and a spectacular smile. She was the adored daughter of Scott and Susan Shelly of Oakville, ON. Debra was the loving partner of Kevin A. Boyd. She was the world’s most cherished older sister to Karrie Shelly Singer (Dave), Cristie Shelly Schultz (Mark) and Greg Shelly (Laura Waters). Debbie was a doting aunt to Caleb, Noah, Liam, Ana, Sidney, Kaitlyn, Michael and Lauren. We will miss her dearly….
[redacted ceremony info as i don't think it's really for the public as much]
Debbie was a ray of light in all of our lives- please feel free to come dressed in your most cheerful colors in tribute to our sunny girl. In lieu of flowers, donations are appreciated to Epilepsy Toronto in Debbie’s honor here.
Very soon i’ll be announcing
a kickstarter campaign for an upcoming project!
One of the fun aspects of it for me will be designing the hand made limited editions of the books, working with a couple of local artisan binders, Soundless Soliloquy and No Bar Code Press.
So far the broad strokes of the packaging are roughed out. Dimensions page count and cover materials. But I still have a lot of the details to handle.
I also have to come up with the packaging of Dream Life backers of my indiegogo campaign will get to very soon. That one is a trade paperback but I want to make it something visually fun and special. Pretty much have it done in my head but there are always things that come up in execution.
All this came to mind when some friends posted the following set of playful book designs on FB.
More about packaging than binding mind you, they are each a kind of absurdist literal take on the stories they wrap. The oldest is a very rare asbestos bound first edition of Stephen King’s Firestarter. Published by Phantasia Press in 1980 it originally sold for $300 each. 25 of 26 copies exist, with one ironically being lost in a fire. Recently one went on the market for $18,000! It’s quite handsome, and probably safe but still i’d probably keep it bagged just to be sure.
You can still make them out, so the cover is practical as well. Making it function in a commercial context and I suspect will lead browsers even take closer notice in the effort to make out what it says. Not just being an illustration of the subject the story it contains, as a curiosity I think it’s the kind of functional design that scares the money often, but like a whisper entices you to lean in closer for a better look. Congratulations to David for being able to get that one through. It’s the kind of design that you would probably not want on a new book trying to make a mark. But for a classic like 1984, having this version is worth the bragging points probably of getting a new copy.
And the perfect book end to the asbestos bound King book, is this copy of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, with striking paper along its spine and its own match! Kind of asking for it but all the same, witty. From what I can tell this one is just a concept design done by Elizabeth Perez for The Austin Creative Department. But I bet it would sell as a limited run collector’s edition if they took it to market.
All three are fun incarnations of the same kind of design principles. The sort I had planned to apply to the next book. Dracula: son of the dragon.
Thanks to Zack Smith, Vinnie Bartilucci & Hans Curtis for posting these on FB and making me aware of them.
Hah, that would be just my luck, as i’m finally getting half a hang of promoting myself publishing ventures at something approaching the pace it seems to take to get anyone to take your seriously online or noticed in the torrents of updates, the game would go and change from under my feet.
Being buddhistly inclined I liked a lot of what he had to say about applying mindfulness to your work in the digital sphere. I do try to do just that as much as my mind will allow. Also think I spotted some impracticalities too. Share Jim’s concern about the narrowing of focus and echo chamber effect [something he mentioned in passing in the interview].
Over time I do think they count more. But when you’re still one of many, and growing numbers of creators trying to raise awareness of our work, and have as eclectic a reader base it seems I have, I’m not sure how much liberty I have to choose to overly narrow band broadcast. I feel like on the edges of your media domain you need to have fairly fast moving streams to match the pace of the rest of the web, to draw in readers to your core presentation. I don’t post on the blog here rapidly. No way I could keep up with a even once daily rate that Warren thinks of as a lower gear, while maintaining a good level of quality of content, and keep on top of my artwork. Beyond the usual challenges of content creation being dyslexic makes the process of writing and proofing laborious.
But Facebook, mypages, and twitter, G+ to a degree too, I can post small bits of thought or just promote other people’s stuff – something I agree with Dean Haspiel about being a important and valuable role to play, not just as being a community builder but also being someone anyone cares to pay attention too as well. Rather than someone who only talks about themselves?
I suspect some aspects of the slow web Warren and Jeffrey talk about is in part the privileged cruising gear of those who’ve established themselves. For those that describes It makes a lot of sense to economize your efforts.
At this point I follow the feed-back, post more where I find I get responses and less where I don’t.
Never was all in for twitter, it’s always been a semi-automated branch of my blogs. Don’t have a phone attached to my hip so it was never practical for me and too much of a distraction from the drawing table.
For the moment I get far more attention to my work on Facebook than anywhere else. My computer is seldom far from me so when I brake to pace around, grab a coffee, or set up a show to half watch, I often check in and poke around, like or share something, post a bit of work i’m in the midst of.
I tried promoting a couple of posts on Facebook recently connected with RevolveЯ. They got a lot more views but I remain unconvinced if it helped all that much. I did notice that you have to watch it with that, need to look closely at how the options are laid out for you when you set up a promoted post. Seems like a default was to keep promoting and charging after the budget I had set was spent. Not sure what to make of that but I was not pleased to find I was getting charged again without first being asked. As is too often the case it feels like communicating is not FBs strong suit. Incidentally it’s been amusing to watch as twice as many people who’ve added me as a contact in the past 6 months, did so in the last week on Flickr post instagram TOS fiasco. All good, welcome to all. I was never on instagram so works for me.
Speaking of attention…
Having a hard time getting some key comics news sites to pick up my press for RevolveЯ. Others have, but a few of the key players are being tough nuts to crack. Another round of press needs to be done, hoping I can get more traction in the new year. Wondering if I rubbed some the wrong way along the line or something? For sure not really being part of the convention circuit has not helped. Last show I did was TCAF, and that just as a civilian. Ran into one former editor I once worked with who now blogs, it was kind of awkward, as is to happen at these hectic things, but has not replied to an email since?
Be nice to go to more shows and have more fluid relations with the comics diaspora at large, have a chance to build solid friendships in person. But my lack of funds aside, when am I supposed to make time for that and still draw my books, and do all the other shit we have to do ourselves these days eh? Would love to, but we have to have a successful book first. For that we need the book we have to get coverage so people know it’s there to order or buy. A dog and tail game.
Best is if the word gets out more virally, and becomes something the diaspora can’t ignore. If you’re reading this, do us a favor and check out the book if you have not already, mention it to a few someones, share it blog it and if you’d like to review it contact me about that, be glad to oblige. I have lots of visitors and followers these days but outside a core group not enough sharing what they find to get that fantastic fractal spreading pattern going yet. Needs more cowbell!
On the other hand and not to seem to only gripe, I have had some nice windfalls!
Making it a more entertaining experience than planned I got nailed by the flu about 6 hours before the interview, vomiting all over the place very suddenly and sending my poor Ange into a cleaning frenzy. Managed to clear out the pipes and get it together to do it all over the phone, thanks to some nice editing, I even sound totally coherent.
So that’s me for the year probably. Couple more retailers on board and some new distribution channels about to come online for RevolveЯ. I’m running behind on RevolveЯ Two right now due to last minute editorial decisions on my part, and the feeling like the slow moving soft launch is progressing well, but has not reached the sweet spot for the next Minimum Effective Dose. The next book dropping and it’s associated press releases, to help crank the series forward. Taking the time to color a story and add another to make it all that much cooler, less ignorable, and put it out in January instead of this month as I had planned originally.
Keep your eyes open for a kickstarter project from me and Mark Sable too in the new year.
As work on Dream Life book one gets done i’ll be jumping directly onto a story we have planned.
Wrestling with the layouts now of act 3. And some work on Vlad as well. Going to try to get out and walk every day, then sit and treat myself to something hot and sketch page layouts. Plan for the week . [23-27/01/12]
Been mulling over plans with Bryan and folks about what to do for Sequential’s 10th anniversary, problem for me is I’ll have less time than usual this year to give over to producing the magazine. Need to find a designer[s] and funding solutions if Sequential Pulp is going to happen or be a part of the festivities. Anyone interested in participating should drop me a line. I’ll be posting a more formal note about this on the site later in the week.
Ok, so this is a blatant bribe, I’ve been behind on posting new work the last two weeks, been busy preparing for TCAF and getting Sequential’s special coverage material together, and absorbing some huge good news i’ll mention in a few lines.
To make it up to you, i’m posting this story, a nice colour 5 pager that i think has some rousing sociopolitical tones. If you poke around you’ll find a link to the song it’s based on too.
Holly crap. But that could all be vapor if people don’t get out and vote.
If you enjoy the art I share with you then know this, I’ve directly benefited from arts council suport, once in the past, and big news, i just got accepted for a new grant last month. Which means i’ll be able to keep working on Dream Life without interruption, and in my spare time do some more comics for RevolveЯ too!
This is the kind of funding to give you the kind of art Harper and Co would not think is worthy of support probably, if given a free hand he’d have cut far more.
So keep democracy, and the arts, vibrant in Canada. Take some friends out for breakfast or lunch today, and stop at the polls. Make sure to scoop up the lazy ones with you, all they need is two bits of ID. And don’t forget, a strategic vote could be for NDP!
Canadians go VOTE today! Give Harper a swift kick if not the full boot!
Word’s out so i can squeak now, Dream Life is amongst the web comics nominated this year for the joe shuster awards!
Got some tough competition, but makes it all the more of a complement. The awards will be given this year at a public ceremony in Calgary, Alberta on the evening of Saturday, June 18th, 2011 at the Calgary Comic & Entertainment Expo which takes place June 17-19, 2011. Haven’t worked out if i can make it to the event, will be looking into it over the next while. Be nice, got a lot i’d like to do this summer, going to have to find someway to pay for it all. Here bellow is the Outstanding Web Comics Creator list of nominees, quite a few friends in there. Also my friend Kalman got a nod for his lovely cover work, and gentlemen Jeff Lemire who’s been getting a lot of good heat of late, got a few more nominations in a few categories to put under his belt. Check out the full list on the JSA site ici.
Outstanding Web Comics Creator(s) /Créateur(s) Exceptionnel de Bandes Dessinées Web
Been working though the last week of my holidays, but took the night off drawing and trying to fix a wonky wacom driver, and went to the ol’ Casa del Popolo [my first sign painting gig 8 years ago] with Ange. Watched Glass Passenger, who were foot lifting and fun.
But the night was taken by The Unsettlers [seen above in their 'cabaret' configuration] who stomped us late into the night. My second time catching the band, if they play in your neck of the woods be sure to grab someone and go see them raise the dead.
OK, so it was a pretty fun weekend though i got nailed by the flue after all that.
Fist i want to say thanks to Nadia Moss for the loan of her wheels when i thought i’d left my stove on – it was all good in the end and i was able to grab my forgotten lunch too. Nice ride as well. Wish i’d had the presence of mind in all the chaos to go by her table when i was shooting clips, she was presenting some nice prints. Check out her stuff on flickr and this strange little video she did with Automatic Vaudeville.
As i mentioned in my fist post when I was stuck on the stage I had horrid sales. Managed to move to a great spot on the main floor day 2 and it made a hell of a difference! Easily three times as many copies of Dream Life sold along with several other books I brought. That helped a lot but the slow day one – normally i do better day one and a little less day two – means over all this was not really a very profitable expozine for me – covered my expenses but it could have been better had i gotten there early day one.
That sucked and so did getting sick. Gave me time to edit the video i took though. Sorry for the crappy sound, mostly could not be helped, cheep camera. Will upgrade some time when i have the spare cash.
So i shot a two part tour of event, talked to a lot of people, and below the clips here i’m posting links to as many as i can manage.
The next time you feel like it’s all just a big mess, and we’re doomed. Take a good look up on a clear dark country night, take it in. Then take a look around you silly monkey, at the tools our minds have given us, and do something with them.
I just rediscovered Charles Burchfield. He was the subject of the latest James Kalm report, and a retrospective at the WHITNEY in NY…
He’s a really interesting painter, i like his use of almost symbolic forms to represent movement, sounds, and the unseen. But looking around i was also really taken with his depiction of urbanism. And he took his time. I appreciate that.
Got in late/early today, sitting here as the sun comes up outside – travel always messes my sleep routine all up.
TCAF 2010 – big, lots and lots of books and i hardly got to see any of them, that’s a little disappointing.
I was solo this year, so maned the table most of the time. Had thought i’d try to find time to got walkabout and make trades with the new Dream Life book, but never got it together to do it. Mostly due probably to being a bit frazzled from all the preparations getting ready this year.
Sequential Pulp 2 was a hit, though if we keep it up i’m going to have to double the run next time. I was down to just a 100 copies of the 500 run by day two, and those last ones went pretty fast, leaving me short of comps for some of the contributors. Will have to print up a handful for them to mail off! Nothing for it but to add a few more ads and expand the run some.
Did my bit it seems in making the case for Canadian cultural protectionism with Dustin Harbin, hah! Great post there by him. More good round up posts collected by Bryan on Sequential here too.
James and Walter I’ve known for a while, and Abby too, met her years ago in NY, after a comic jam she led me to one of the best little pastry shops in Manhattan while telling my girlfriend at the time how to make home made pepper spray.
Was the first time meeting Jim and Dave. Later at the final wrap party Jim and i geaked out on Noir films and comics stuff to the point of driving Cecil Castellucci away :P :) And yes Jim, feel free to write with odd questions about tools and stuff. :)
Also had the pleasure of a long chin wag with Chris Pitzer, something about the southern pace makes for a relaxing conversation. Just the thing when your so run down you feel like a noodle.
Also spent a long time catching up with big Tom Fowler, met Kwanza from DC and gained a little insight into the possible fate of a project i submitted to them just before things changed there [there is indeed hope i think] – he seems like a cool guy too. Talked tons as always with the TX guys, spent a lot of my spare time with Kalman, Torie, Eric, and Andrew Wheeler, who I’ve met a few times now, and ended our night out Monday with an excellent impromptu reading of one of my fathers bit’s of prose over dinner clip. He plans to do podcast novels some time, i look forward to it.
Was able to pass several hero’s copies of my new book, including Evan Dorkin and Jim Woodring, both of whom traded me back something of theirs in return.
Spent a dinner with Dave Howard, Ed Brisson, Shannon Gerard, and other Toronto friends [sorry, blanking on who else was there - there were several of you!]. Despite my faulty neurons, that was a nice wind down before the Awards.
After the Doug Wrights, I found myself invited along by Tania Gallant, and joining Jim Woodring and James Strumm for supper, along with Seth and Bryan, Dan Clowes and Peggy Burns. When not just being a Fly on the wall, spent much of the night again talking Nior films, prosses, and metaphysics with James and Jim. Really interesting evening.
To top it off, had a nice short catch up talks on the TCAF floor over the table with Don McKellar, who i met at the first Wright Awards. And Ron Mann who i think i had not talked to since he made Dream Towner, and used some of my fathers photos for the film. Both are quite pleasant guys, nice to see them wandering around diggin’ on comics.
There’s more to mention but i really can’t keep track of it all, a bit amazed just to see all that written down now. What a weekend.
Also met with a possible client while in town, gig is not for sure yet but sounds pretty cool, video related stuff. hope it pans out. And there’s other news, but that i’ll save for next month!
And, i sold a good number of books. Not crazy, but i’m in the black. Really really good show. kind of amazing really in terms of time spent with other creators. Wish i could do this sort of thing all the time. TCAF is kind of like Burning man. I went to that in 1999, and as i walked around the desert i thought it would be totality impractical, but i wish life could be like this every day.
Along the way i heard Frank Frazetta passed away, great talent lost there. But if nothing else TCAF illustrates just how healthy the medium is these days. As Seth said in his awards speech, it was not that long ago that people were sure comics were going to die. Hah! no chance dude.
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On Facebook i just had a interaction typical of many online about, and over the IPad. Funny that i’d have an opinion about an IPad given i don’t even use a mac. But I do.
So pardon this wordy ramble.
I’m optimistic. Not converted per say, but i recognize the Ipad’s significance. There’s no denying it presents a viable way out for big segments of the print media. Not to be what they were maybe, but to be something? As a comic artist looking to improve the way i can get my work out there, i see a lot of potential in these things. And from the list of things not allowed…
…well unless i want to make porn i don’t see that affecting me too badly. I don’t really care to make porn no.
I can see how it chafes if you do, but we’re not talking about the entire digital market here. More like one outlet store chain? And I doubt the device is perfect at all. For a breakdown of the IPads flaws far more informed than i could offer, i like the thoroughness of Cory’s at boingboing – and he links to some others worth looking at as well.
Many users are going to love it just the same – but if you’re root, a creator or maker, you’re going to want more. I do.
Those with the spare $ for a IPad as a casual device will get one anyway – heck the thing can last 10+ hours on a charge and do VIOP, kicks my old N800 all to hell and that was pretty nice. If i have the spare change in the future i’m there. But it’s not going to work for everyone all the time. And i don’t think that’s their idea. That might be what YOU wanted, but not Steve. Xeni Jardin’s first blush reaction to it shows how something like this was always a great idea with a waiting and ready market. It’s clear this thing is a Win for them, and i think for me too as a comic artist and illustrator. And I think it’s going to be a perfect brick for wedging the door open on digital media devices with the same kind of practical form factor.
A market leader, a trend setter, but the long run owner of the game?
Someone finally getting the hardware this right though, is going to make the future brighter for this kind of machine. And that’s going to make any free market or speech concerns mute as more and more of these devices come into play. Eventually someone has always matched a mac with an open platform if not in market shares. It’s only a mater of time.
If you really want to push the issue of market or speech, then do it in the community and the court, and even use the device to make a statement. But don’t expect a device and it’s support infrastructure to be the root of liberalizing culture. People do that, not machines. If i draw an X rated comic in print today, i have to deal with the same things app makers are, in brick and mortar retailers all the time. And customs! I don’t hear extreme examples in the stories about Apple’s shop and if that’s all i had to contend with, i think it’s quite possible to manage a new booming market for magazines and comics there. Not saying don’t critique Steve, he does read Penthouse it seems. But lets keep it in perspective?
I don’t want shops to stop being able to have a say about what they sell on their own shelves for the sake of free speech, be they made of mater or pixels. That’s just trading intolerances.
Not even a question of capitalism to me. The change that means anything, is that of the cultural standards that inform the consumers who influence retailers.
The best way there is not in their face, but through the back door, via content they will listen to.
So i think the IStore is overblown as a censorship threat – They just reflect the middle moral ground of the american market – There lays the problem, not at apple.
And really I don’t expect to see vibrators and blow up dolls at Toys’R’us either. Or less extreme – a larger mens section in a women’s clothing store. Not going to happen is it? It’s not practical.
Apple may be chasing the largest market there is, but it’s not the whole market is it? And so? Just leaves what, 90% of what dominates the internet open to being exploited still? This is bad how? For who? And that i can go somewhere digitally and not have to wade through stuff like this? I like brick in mortar shops like that i have to say. Bit less crass is not always so bad you know. Not my favorite part of the internet exactly. Not the worst, but hey.
Hardware wise, i think the Ipad is a case of low hanging fruit, and they were able to pick it first with the usual apple flair. The touch screen tech and limitations in thinking regarding interface were holding tablets back the last 10 years – geeks loved keyboards, Gates only just flipped on the question – but since before Star Trek sleek slate computers have always been a dream desire. And because of that this has been one of the more thoroughly explored format ideas. We’ve had our model T and a few more since. The larger hybrid tablet laptops and IPhone have both explored the possibilities here more than tentatively. So while the reality of it may be a little mind blowing, it’s not quite something all together new.
The control Apple exerts over it is pretty fragile too. More of an evelitonay influence than a regime. The Iphone OS being the system means not just a built in sweet of apps from the smaller cousins ready to go out of the gates.
More than a few companies are cracking the technical problems of battery life, leaner OS’s, and touch based interfaces with different approaches. Others with less interest in tightly controlling content, or even having a ‘store’ will be the rest of the market in the long run – Apple itself is bound to come up with a souped up pad running OS X, the HP Slate specs and price point almost guaranties it. Why leave that part of their less casual market completely unexplored?
The IPad looks to me like a fantastic dynamic proof of concept you can own today – sounds like a sales pitch don’t it?
But i have to roll my eye’s when the drama gets overplayed. Some rather intense arguing going on about it from what I’ve seen. From the Coming of the Tablet to dark talk of Fascism and Monopoly, like they have already cornered and own the market or something? The market is still just being invented here – I think they are still just one player with fairly modest goals in terms of what they want this device and it’s a 1.0 for them.
It’s a cheep stripped down version of what’s to come, that has a pretty secure income stream built in – and that IS something people have been wanting. It looks like it does what it said it would do really really well. Most people will be able to afford to take one for granted.
But i’d put money on Cory being right. That the real fun is going to be the open format versions of what follows. Where we will really see what tablets can do. Simply because that is where the experimentation is naturally going to be.
That the IPad is such a ‘perfect’ performing little bastard will make the game all the more fun. Like the left needed Bush, geeks need IBM and Apple’s to retaliate and one-up against. Working so well, the first thing hardcore users will see are all the things it might do, once cracked. :)
Apple will likely continue to be good at offering luxury goods to people who don’t really care much about or want to know how it operates unless that = simply. I’m not being condescending, many believe in and pursue push button convenience and the freedom to conform. I don’t think it’s that they are incapable of more. No. Being lazy is a state of mind, not of nature. I’ve been lazy and so have you. Question is just how lazy and when. And then Apple has you covered in the modernist clean inoffensive style of the minimal. The slickest of cutting edge recycled electronic goods. For now, for that game – they are the Kings of it – all hail apple.
Whatever, I converted to a home built PC in the 90’s and never looked back yet. :P
But as a content provider, when it comes to a broadly commercially viable comics market, taking root ‘online’ POST collector era that will support a salary? In a post pirate bay world? it’s a good platform to start with i’m going to bet.
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Dream life continues afoot. Or no, it’s in the air. well, whatever, :)
There was a rewarding surge in traffic when the latest page dropped. Need to get the last few dream sequence pages uploaded tonight. I posted a clip of script that was cut out along with page 16 today.
Just completed a total renovation and conversion of Sequential to a word press site. Came out well i think. Lot of new functions possible now, Bryan Dave and I have been throwing round a lot of ideas. Need to catch up with TCAF things but so far everything seems to be coming together.
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So I just want to say, when we depicted the end times in Therefore Repent, i didn’t mean to say i belive in it! Nooooo, not even a little. We were taking the piss. But these crazy guys!! Fuck!!! Holy crap, you can’t write it this bad. Check out the patch. Man.
But they could not outrun Rachel Maddow. Nice. If there were a god that would mean he watches her.
Good old Michigan. Don’t you guys play in our rain dear games. Not unless you got some antlers.
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Well, that’s cute, but quite true i think. I’m getting old but this is not how i remember it. They used photos of cow brains alright, thought that was really cool! But i doubt it was smeared on the Multiplane camera directly. :P hah!
I was around as a little kid at the time at Nelvana, 8 or 9 years old. 10 or 11 maybe by the time that part was being shot. Watching that film get worked on was the highlight of several summers – my mother was on the crew and we didn’t have daycare. Remember the crew working on that part in particular, it made an impression.
The demon was drawn on black paper with red and white pastel, or something like. Lot of smudging was involved. Crazy hard work for the artist. I recall they were copying from pencil drawings done by the animators who had worked out the mechanics of it traditionally on a light table. Think it might have been the first time i saw someone make tracing paper by rubbing something [chalk in this case i think] on the back of a page and re-tracing the lines of the drawing. Only way they could get the animation onto the black paper.
But it didn’t look intense enough when they were done that. I recall the big debate in the paint department about what to do after the first rushes came in. People who worked on it still talk about that part of the production wide eyed about all the work that went into it. So, that’s when the guts came into it.
The pastel art was shot on to full size transparencies, the blacks blacked out solid leaving the demon translucent on the films/cells. Making an overlay layer.
The photos of guts n’ brains was shot in a bucket as i recall, poked and slouched to make it undulate. That footage was turned into large stills and were under the cell art, lit from below on the Multiplane. It was footage of moving guts, so they would have to change the photo of the guts for each new frame shot, far more often than the animated demon’s cells had to be changed, making it slow going.
Have a clear memory of the camera guy showing me what he was doing at the time and making eyes about all the work involved with perverse pride. Pretty awesome stuff.
But they loved that machine, maybe something happen when i was not around and i never heard about it. But I kind of suspect they could just shot the bucket of stuff with a regular camera, be a heck of a lot easier, and doubt they’d have gotten that gunk on the machine, it was huge and expensive.
…I’ve seen run true in my own lifetime, is that humans are boom and bust creatures, with a well documented tendency to ignore folly and run after the endless return. Not a revelation. Not everyone all the time or anything, but yeah, as a general thing just about all of us some of the time.
There’s a real strong, but kind of late push towards electric renewables these days. But sadly we’re far from braking point with Gass just yet. Got some more rev to grind out of those hot old hot rods.
There’s also a kind of particular level of crazy fascination that we often associate with greed for things like gold, that inevitably heralds the bust of these booms. And that’s what i thought when i saw this.
Put this up on Flickr a few days ago, it’s open to the changes different venues and opportunities will provide but I’m kind of hopping i can do it just B&W like this. I really love working in this style, and i think this one would suite it well. Can’t say too much yet but this is something I’m collaborating with Mark Sable, my co-hort on Upside Down for Comic Book Tattoo.
More to come soon. Juggling doing some pages for a pitch [as seen here] and inking two Dream Life pages, shooting for 5 in all by the end of the week. So far looking good.