So right this second I’m constructively procrastinating a bit before starting in on the last 6 pages of Dream Life. Check out some glimpses of that on Instagram here. The FB page could use more likes too. The last six are a final, all new scene I decided to add after a proofing of the book. And then it’s actually done. O_o
Looking ahead there’s going to be a lot I have to do still!
I start a new session of my Dynamic Drawing class as well, teaching once a week. Looking forward to it but an added challenge. Meanwhile I’ve got some back mater to curate and write for the backers edition for the indiegogo drive. Cover for that is already mostly done, and the template for the Launch edition. I’ve also got Revolver vol 3 completed, it’s going through final proofing and edits. I think I may rewrite the forward once again. But a lot of stuff is getting, done. It’s a nice big pile. Scary too sometimes.
The plan is to have them all printed and present at TCAF. A launch proper for Dream Life my latest graphic novel, along with a full suite of self published Salgood Sam, with Revolverone to three. Financing all that, definitely a challenge on the current income. Scratch that, probably not on.
I’m thinking I’m going to try the killer app that is a kickstarter style drive as pre-sale and focus point of a big promotional effort to get word out about the books. Have some number crunching to do and a lot of planning. Some quality time with a calendar too. Probably have to do it in two months time latest! So while getting the packaging wrapped up and teaching! Hah. Ok, this will be fun. Hey anyone tells you self publishing is no trouble…punch them.
No not really, i’m not into violence. But kinda…
So no call to action for that just yet, but expect one. In the mean time, I would like to encourage to you pick up the first two Revolvers. And now to show off a little of the art from both Dream Life, and Revolver Three. Please share this with people, help raise the flag?
Dream Life has been a really,
really long running labour of love.
The story of five friends. Dreams, drugs, & denial all failing to weather the arc of life unscathed. Each coming to terms with lives peter panned, and in danger of going off the rails.
It’s received some recognition as a web comic, and support from both grants and crowdfunding! Damn I feel like I really milked a luck goat on this one. It is in fact, not even the whole book I had in mind. So I really hope people like it, so I can make the second half, or two-thirds almost I suspect! That would be wonderful.
The Launch edition will be a 161 pages of story, B&W, 8″x10″ trade paperback. My longest work to date, and most significant solo effort. Not necessarily important to anyone else but me, but I’m pretty pleased with that. :)
This spread comes from a scene in the later half I really like. It’s a work of contemporary fiction, with healthy doses of magic realism, & influenced by cinematic neorealism. There’s a Pulp Fiction inspired subplot, and several interwoven storylines. I hope it to be an engrossing and lush reading experience.
I’m so glad I drew Rob Ford into this shot a year ago or so, very fitting.
So far Revolver has been a critical success, but slow seller, in part because there is only one me and I still have to spend most of my time drawing. Not to beat a dead horse but that’s something you could help with big time! Find me on twitter here, and RT about the books!
Revolver Three is going to be an exciting one for me, as it contains two all new stories, drawn mostly in just the last half a year.
I’m starting a new series of short works to collect, caled A Bastard’s Tale. Here on the left is a page from that. They run together but are meant to work as short stories too. Tailored to the anthology series format. It’s a memoir, about my father Lionel, and growing up in a counter culture.
My first attempt at something this intensely personal, and frankly scares the shit out of me eh? Hah. But I feel like having thought about it for a long time, I’ve finally found a way into how I would enjoy sharing some aspects of that story. I was thinking of it at first as JUST a book just about Lionel, my father. But I realized in the end my way into that story was via my POV, so that would be an honest way to do it and it provided me with a good starting point finally. Often a big hurdle, that first step. A Bastard’s Tale is going to be fun as I have a more open pallet in terms boundaries on my drawing styles and techniques.
The bulk of the third vol of Revolver will be given over to something else, completely different…
Dracula Son of the Dragon
In early 2013 Mark Sable and I had a successful Kickstarter to finance the production of the artwork for a new story, Dracula Son of the Dragon. A 60+ page novella, first in a series of 4, that i’m serializing in B&W in Revolver in quarters as I complete it. Part historical fiction, part horror fantasy, chronicling Vlad the Impaler’s transformation into the vampire Dracula.
Revolver Vol Three marks the launch of the series with the first installment. Backers for the Dracula Kickstarter are digital subscribers for the most part, who get an early bird link for their digital subscriptions. So i’m really keen for them to all get their first look at what their support helped get done. That’s 300+ subscribers already! The final colour printed collection of Dracula Son of the Dragon is going to be late, but at least it will appear in some form at TCAF 2014 in Revolver three!
While the two projects are very different, there is also an interesting synergy between the these installments of both, featuring a young boys relationship with his father. Unplanned but cool. There’s also an assortment of pin ups and comic jams again, I really tried to curate an enjoyable reading experience. I want Revolver to be the best of me. Something I can hold up with unqualified pride of craft.
I included an informal query about the digital subscription when we started collecting info from backers, and so far i’m very pleased with the number of thumbs up! So thanks for that, and your amazing support!
So that’s what’s up with my comics and stuff! A lot eh? Tell me about it. And tell your friends too OK?
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.
I don’t get asked to do it as often as i like,
so i’m going to talk about book design a bit now and then…
Don’t get me wrong,
I like both of these.
Was going to post about Anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis on my personal Facebook profile this morning, a fascinating and scary recently diagnosed illness. But then noticed this looking up details and thought it a good opportunity to mention something i’ve observed before.
This is a great example of a lack of innovation in book design, and as a designer the value adopting habits to help both your work, and the items you are designing stand out.
One was just released November 13, 2012. One published in 2010. It seems to me a basic best practice would be to research the tittle, and see if something like it exists already, and not repeat any design notes if one does, if you can help it. Make sure one book is distinct from the other with a similar tittle? So, no red band with B&W images for Susannah should have been a no brainer…ahem. Sorry.
I suspect that didn’t happen here. Not identical of course, but so close. A bit too close branding wise and so easy to avoid with a simple google search on the part of whomever was putting the packaging together for Susannah Cahalan’s book.
Given the older book also owns the URL one would likely look up for promoting Susannah’s new book, it’s hard to imagine you would not have seen this coming either, as a publisher or author or someone on the decision making chain. So I have to wonder if it was a case of just not caring. Or maybe they did, and decided to try to get a lift from people looking for a popular self help book? I don’t know but it gives me an excuse to mention; you get a commission to do a cover? Search the title and subject and be aware of what has gone before.
Something to think about the next time you’re asked to work on a job.
Ok, with that, i did just listen to Susannah talk about her ordeal, and it’s fascinating stuff, possibly the origins of many cases believed to have been possession in the past. Listen to her talk about it here and try not to get paranoid the next time your hand feels numb.
Just because a thing has not been explained, does not mean it never will be. As a skeptic that was one of the things I came away thinking about after listening to this. A newly named disease humans have probably suffered from since there were humans, and before most likely. Anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis. In the past too many were probably diagnosed as mad, or possessed. 80+% of known cases have been women, and before 2002 no one new about it at all.
As some will know aside from being a cartoonist and intermittent blogger at sequential, for the last little while I’ve been editor @ http://carte-blanche.org, of graphic fiction [comics and other visual narratives, but basically comics].
Since I joined the magazine there has been talk of doing an print edition of some kind. We’ll here it is, least our first foray into it. We’re using HP’s print on demand service to publish our first hard edition, carte blanche 14: Obsessions.
I’ve used the service a couple of times now, it’s really good, commercial quality printing on good paper, I kind of wanted to do perfect bound but we wanted to make it cheep. 12.99.
I’ve ended up all over this thing, in a good way I hope. The theme-one of several suggested–the first thing out of my head and seemed to end up resonating the most with Ed in chief Maria Turner and the rest of my fellow editors. Not to take credit for it but then it became a bit of a obsession/preoccupation of my own as I took on the job of designing the magazine.
I enjoy this kind of work in general but it’s rare to have so much, i think quality material to work with. When i sat down with the full contents to read through them in full before starting the layouts, I was pretty blown away with it all. In part to satisfy my notions for the magazine & in part in response to reading the stories, I did 9 new illustrations for the issue to accompany the design. They join a short comics story A Sunrise by Daniel Ha. Pieces, another comic, by Ainsley Olsen. Paired by photographer Aurora Ira. Cover art and design elements by Billy Mavreas. And writing by Jaclyn Watterson, Clint Walker, Kathleen Winter, AC Fraser, Donna Caruso, Cynthia Dockrell, Janet Smith, Kathy Page, Rusty Morrison, Julie Mahfood, Lesley Pasquin, Priscila Uppal, Michelle Barker, Gillian Sze, Pablo Strauss Translating Raymond Bock. John Taylor Translating José-Flore Tappy. And a Q&A with Kathleen Winter! 12.99 + shipping, comes with a free digital edition, which if you like you can buy for $5 on it’s own.
Press release from: carte blanche firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: carte blanche introduces new formats
A look at what’s happening at carte blanche.
You asked for it and now we’ve delivered. carte blanche is very excited to announce the launch of our print-on-demand and digital magazine!
Purchase a digital copy and enjoy our Fall Issue (#14) on the reader of your choice, or get a print copy mailed directly to you and peruse it at your leisure.
Available via MagCloud: (When you buy the print magazine, you’ll also receive a digital copy free.)
As a special bonus, you get beautiful illustrations by our graphic fiction editor Salgood Sam, and unique cover art by Montreal artist Billy Mavreas in addition to all of the wonderful stories, poems and essays from Issue 14.
And our exclusive audio content is still online at www.carte-blanche.org. Let us know what you think!
$12.99 us + postage for print, $5 for digital only.
carte blanche Issue 14: Obsessions
The Montreal-based literary magazine of poetry, graphic fiction, creative nonfiction, photography, literary translation, fiction, and interviews. This is a pilot project of our first print/digital version of the magazine. It features cover art by Billy Mavreas and original illustrations by Salgood Sam.
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.
How ya been? I’ve been busy, doing shows like TCAF always take it out of me.
Takes a while to get back into the routine and catch up. I warmed up by rebuilding my home web page here, like the new look. Really converted to WP in a big way [have five sites working on the platform now] and i’m loving the themes from graphpaperpress.com [this is one with a few small mods and so is this and this]. I’ve installed wpStoreCart, working on building one now, wondering what kind of things to sell? Would love to have some feed back from you all. I’ve got posters and some books to start, anyone interested in that? What other sort of things would you be interested in?
The newest edition of Carte Blanche is up – I’m the graphic fiction editor there. For lucky #13 we are happy to present a special feature on CRISIS. There’s a lot of great stuff in the issue, including two excellent graphic fictions stories by some heavy hitters.
And from James Romberger, of ‘Seven Miles A Second’, ’2020 Visions’,
‘Bronx Kill’, and ‘Aaron and Ahmed’, we are very proud to present
a 16 page short story, called ‘Raymond’.
We had many other excellent submissions we couldn’t accept,
but i’m pleased to present a few of them on Sequential HEREinstead!
That’s two pages of my own comics and 5 other short stories!
PS: My editor In chief says we’ve not gotten enough feed back from the comics crowd yet so if you check out the site, take a second to tell carte blanche what you think about about it by filling out their short readers’ survey.
SA: Do you think the future of comics lies in digital media? SS: I don’t think it’s the whole future, but I do think it’s a big part of it. The internet proper is a great entry point for new talent to stretch their legs, get feed back, and learn if they care to. And for more experienced creators it’s a good place to prove something publishers are normally wary of taking a risk on, like unconventional and maybe demanding approaches to pacing and plot. And building an initial interest in a project.
Also, I’ve solely promoted my work online as a comic artist and illustrator, since 1998 or so. And I’d say about 80% of my income has come from inquiries via that.
Then with the new incoming ‘App’ market we have something that may well offer a viable alternative to periodicals, and the problems of overhead and distribution the direct market is struggling with. It’s got a built in monetary stream so that solves that issue, and the new tablets, e-readers and net-books offer an increasingly comfortable reading form factor. Too early to say anything definitive about it but it’s looking pretty viable. Any problems with it I see are more questions of execution and problem solving, than innate obstacles. —>
And as editor at carte blanche I have a shop talk blog post today, catching non-comics readers up with the evolution of the medium over the last 10 years, and adressing the nomenclature of comics, sequential art, graphic novels and graphic fiction.
What I still think of as comics has been going through a time of great change and growth.
When I decided to dedicate most of my time to making them in high school, it was in part because I was being kicked out, and comics were something you didn’t need a degree in. In truth, there were no degrees to be had in comics. If you wanted to learn more about the medium, you studied art, writing, and film, and extrapolated from these different media. If you achieved a professional level of skill there was little worry about competition; I landed my first paying jobs at Marvel after just one serious attempt to get work in the early 1990s.
While I was developing my own skills out on the edges of the scene in the late 1980s, the then lone journal of comics, inventively titled The Comics Journal, called for our bastard medium to be taken seriously by critics, and urged creators to take what they did seriously in order to bring the standards of their work up to where they might merit that attention. —>
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.
So that was pretty fun, the 2009 Montreal Comic Con was a small fan con, with a proportionately large artist alley [to dealers room]. really good crowd Saturday, Sunday i got there late but the crowd was tepid in comparison too. About a quarter maybe to Saturday’s turnout. All in all though good time. Sold lots day one, just enough day two to make showing up worth it. Made a video of the mania on day one….
Also someone at the con told me they knew it was my birthday this past week becuse they saw this, thanks Tom!
I spent some time watching Darwin work on commissions, he’s got a really bloody-minded efficient system for rendering.
I’ve done that general kind of thing before but 10 years ago set off to amuse myself doing more personal work, it’s both enticing and daunting t think about getting back into such a regime. But if i want to get things done faster….
been thinking about what to do for $ now that the illustration market is so dead, working some kind of WFH gig is on the table, talking with some of my friends on the inside it seems tempting and really – after part time dish washing for the last 6 months i’m about ready to do anything just to get back to being paid to draw full time.
Dream Life is still going to happen, but i need something stable to back up things. Always did want to draw Rocket Raccoon, maybe that idea for a one off i joked about is worth following up and pitching…
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