Its been far too long since I’ve gotten a chance to add anything up here. Hopefully soon I’ll have some new portfolio stuff to show, but for now I’d like to share a mini comic I did last year that I somehow never uploaded. So here it is, The Ice Hole. Enjoy!
And now with things finally settling down I have been able to put the PDF together, mail that off to all of the wonderful Kickstarter backers and upload it to the shop here. Muskoka is 24+ pages of comic horror and will be pay-what-you-want so you won’t have to worry about breaking the bank if you missed the campaign. If you are looking for a preview I have also added some sample pages from Muskoka to my Sequentials page.
I’ve said it many times, that I am not a digital artist by any stretch, so even with the majority of Muskoka having been drawn by hand with ink on paper it was quite the experiment colouring it in the style that I did. I’m calling this, “spot colouring”. The goal behind this was to not just shade the panels with the digital colour, but to enhance them. If that makes sense. Typically I used the two tones of green to create either better definition in the scene, or illustrate things without hard lines like hairs, backgrounds, and sometimes shadows. You can see that in the panel excerpt to the right. I think in many ways this has worked successfully, especially in illustrating the changing time of day. I’ll probably be revisiting this style sometime in the near future.
So far Muskoka is also my best selling comic. With 50+ copies reserved during the funding period, plus the 30 that were sold at it’s release and the large number that I managed to sell at the Calgary Expo I don’t think I’ll have physical copies left that much longer. That means that where it took me a whole year to sell 100 copies of the Man Outside The Window, Muskoka has just about sold 200 copies in less than a month. WoW! That really is a testimate to all of the amazing comic fans, and the community that happens to have stumbled upon my little slice of life. I can make this things, but without somebody to read them what would be the point?
Than you again everyone who has made Muskoka so successful. I hope those who have a copy and have read it enjoyed it or maybe found some sort of meaning in it. Remember to support your local artists. Because of your effort, things like this are possible.
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Somehow this ended up being my first post of the year. Typically I might think this irresponsible of me, but in this case I have been very busy. As many of you probably know, my latest comic Muskoka has been funding on Kickstarter with great success. At 5:00PM MST yesterday the campaign completed having raised a grand total of $1822.00 with 68 backers. To put this in perspective, that was 260% of my original goal of $700.00! WOW! If you wanted to see what that was all about the campaign is certainly still viewable and can be found here.
What this means:
I had originally intended for this to simply be a 24 page story. Since destroying all of my expectations and reaching the initial goal on the third day of funding, Muskoka is now becoming a much larger event including special guest artists and a second printing with a Kickstarter Edition variant cover. This has been a huge learning experience for me, and though now I know how I probably should have handled the campaign for the better, I think it came out pretty okay for a guy who’s just making this up as he goes. I have to thank everyone who jumped on board and gobbled up the pledge levels I offered and I want to especially thank those of you who love my work enough to want to have custom pieces commissioned for yourselves. With my current financial state, and the state of the economy, I certainly couldn’t have done this without all 68 of you lovely backers. Thank you.
And speaking of special guest artist’s, here are the four amazing individuals who offered up their talents for the cause at hand.
Nick Johnson – The handsome man of Wolf Hands and so many other radical comics. Nick was such a gentleman that he even thanked me for the opportunity to make this lovely piece. According to him, his sketchbook is full of bloated, ugly people anyway so this specific project was a joy! You can also find more of his work at his home base here.
Elaine M. Will – The oh-so-wondrously-stupendous Elaine is an inspiration to me with everything she does. I like to tell people that the works that she does are the type I would love to be able to make myself. Her comics and art can be found here.
Chris Peterson – The rising star, or Karate Kid, of comics as of late. Chris has worked on too many comics to list, with his latest being the recently announced Broken World at Boom Studios. It is an absolute wonder to have him aboard my little book. You can find more of him at his own website here.
Scott Ford – The generous and all too humble Scott Ford was nothing short of a genius in what he came up with for Muskoka. Scott has his own indie book called Romulus and Remus which is awesome. “Nuff” said! Of course he is also available via the interwebs at this link here.
Also, there were a few interviews I did promoting Muskoka and even a little bit of my last comic The Man Outside The Window. These were so much fun to do! You can find those here:
Now that the campaign is over with I’m just finishing off the last few pages of Muskoka and then it’ll be off to the printers before the end of the month. The first printed copies should be available for sale at the Calgary Expo. I’m so excited to be sharing this with you all. I just can’t wait!
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Well finally my newest comic The Man Outside The Window is out and ready to be picked up. You can actually find that at the link below!
If you are interested there are also a few preview pages I added in my Sequential gallery for your viewing pleasure. I have some local shops looking for print issues and I will definitely be looking into that for the future as well. I’ve always been more of the paperback kind of guy. Print just looks so good!
This was my longest comic to date and finishing it really tested my metal. More then anything though the hand painted panels proved to be a bit more rigorous then I had thought they might be. To say I am plum tuckered out would be accurate. It won’t be a while until I do another one like this so enjoy!
I honestly believe that this is my best work yet, but I”ll let you decide. If you enjoy The Man Outside The Window, or honestly feel like it could use some more work please leave a comment and tell me so. I’m selling the comic for only a buck, just so I can recoup some of my costs, but it is really a pay what you want kind of deal and you are more then welcome to drop a few toonies in the jar if you would like to see even more comics in the future.
I’m going to be working on some other comics in the next few days here, after a much deserved rest that is. I’ll try to keep up with posts and such and keep you all in the loop as to whats going on. As you may have noticed there were a few conventions I visited in the last few months that I haven’t had a chance to comment on, but I have loads of pictures and some stories to tell regarding those too.
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As an early glimpse at my upcoming comic The Man Outside The Window I would like to share with you the process I go through while writing comics. I don’t want to give you the idea that this is the only way, or even the right way, as god knows every writer has their own processes and techniques for creating their masterpieces, but this has what has worked for me based on my experiences as both a comic writer and artist.
There is a lot of feeling and consideration that goes into any successful piece of writing. I rarely go into actually typing out any of my stories without having pondered the idea for quite some time before hand. Typically, an idea will ruminate within my mind for months before anything hits the page. This is partly due to the mundane nature of my day job, but even whilst taking a trip to the grocery store I find myself wondering about certain scenarios, the characters therein, and reasons for such an occurrence to be happening. To be honest, I have a really hard time starting if I haven’t already nailed down every plot hole I can conceive for fear I’ll commit myself to a plot line that’s too weak. In my case this often works out positively as by the time I have one story ready to be typed up, I’m already considering the next. Sometimes this will result in multiple ideas being linked together, and sometimes it means that a relatively simple concept will have an alternate, or sub-plot going on at the same time because both ideas are just that compatible. All in all, day-dreaming is encouraged.
Whilst writing, the tenancy is to try and make your first draft as perfect as you can. This means your sweating all that small stuff right off the bat. If you are some kind of physicist or doctor I would encourage such a habit, but as a writer these tenancies act kind of like potholes or speed bumps in the road. Every time you stop to consider your grammar or punctuation you are killing the creative atmosphere and slowing you down. These are imperfections that you can smooth out later. Let the love flow freely from your fingertips. It may be crude and it may turn out to be a complete and utterly meaningless mess, but your best work will spawn from the unadulterated mindset you’ll be in when you aren’t hindered by writing rule. This may have been the best piece of advice I ever received from my very competent and genuinely talented friend Caanan Grall. Unfortunately, I am the worst at actually following through with this and eventually find myself stopped and correcting my last few paragraphs of dialogue written only moments ago. Currently I’m employing a combined technique where I write as much as I can and then take a break and go back and correct what I wrote. It gives me a quick chance to recharge, and saves me some editing later. Granted it takes me a lot longer to finish anything as I usually scroll back to the very top and re-edit everything I’ve done multiple times in a single sitting, but the final result is usually as smooth and shiny as a river rock set in a rock tumbler. The Man Outside The Window was originally written in a single line of text and then formatted afterwords. As anal as I am, it has gone through countless revisions since.
I don’t believe there is any industry standard or set style for writing your comic scripts as the many I have seen have been as varied as the writers who have crafted them. It comes down to personal preference really. Each writer will have his own flair and their isn’t any that is particularly wrong, though it could be argued that some are more effective. As a general rule, it is preferred that your script be laid out in pages at the very least and each page should be outlined accordingly, even if only by a brief statement. Typically, this is how I format my scripts:
Description of panel
There has been much discussion on what the expectations of a writer are when turning out his script. How much detail should he be expected to include before he starts infringing on the creativity of the artist and becomes insulting? How little should he include and how much should he just leave up to the discretion of the artist? Having seen both sides of the discussion I have concluded thus: A more detailed script is easier to illustrate as the artist doesn’t need to ponder the scene as thoroughly and can work through panels without much thought on his end. Its like a builder following a blueprint. A less detailed script is more fun to illustrate as the overall look of the comic is left up to the artist and he is free to depict it in whatever manner he chooses. Alternately, writers who are not, or never were, artists may not be able to conceive scenes in the same manner as an artist would, creating an interesting collaborative experience. Again, I find a combination of both detailed, and un-detailed scripts to be the best solution. The writer should be the captain of the ship, steering the artist across the treacherous ocean of narrative and plot, but he should be able to notice when the waves become too rough and he needs all hands on deck. As a writer, lay out the story and detail those scenes that you have a more concrete image of in your mind, but don’t be afraid to hand the reins over when you can’t quite picture what it is you are trying to say. Typically the artist will have a creative solution in his own mind and would love the chance to do his own thing with it. A comic, after all, is just one giant collaboration that will only be successful when both parties can contribute and should take advantage of each other’s strengths and compensate for each other’s weaknesses.
To give you a better idea of what I’m talking about, here is an example of a script translated into pictures for my upcoming comic The Man Outside The Window. Note where as the writer I detailed the core subject and purpose of my paneling and as an illustrator I sometimes took creative license in an effort to better depict what the writer had written.
As both writer and artist on this comic the two positions work fairly seamlessly, but as I change hats I often come across phrases that don’t translate as well from words to pictures. Be careful when using metaphors or rather airy expressions to try and explain the scenes. These can be more difficult to interpret visually and leave the artist scratching his head wondering how he should incorporate them in his drawings. Sometimes it’s better to just use examples, or even include a doodle or two. Whatever gets the point across and the artist can understand. This kind of understanding usually stems from solid communication between the creative team. As a writer, try to work as closely with the artist as possible, it’ll make both of your lives easier.
A personal preferance is to leave the general layout of the page to the artist’s discretion. In my opinion, unless a very specific layout is absolutely necissary to achieve a specific goal, the writer may be over stepping his bounds by telling his artist where the panels go, though I have no quarrel with suggestions. But that could be just me.
A well crafted script should read like a story on its own. It should be able to inspire imagery, not just assume that what is on the page will eventually be crafted into the semblance of something more beautiful. After all, a comics writer is no less of a writer then one who writes novels or poetry.
I don’t try to give the impression that I know what I am doing, but I enjoy being able to share what has been working for me in hopes that I may help someone else. Please help me in fostering a community of shared artistic experience and if you enjoyes this leave a comment telling me what you think. Also look forward to more The Man Outside The Window previews coming in the near future.
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As mentioned in an earlier post I will be releasing my newest comic The Man Outside The Window in May. To try and raise awareness, and to test the waters in advertising, I have taken up the opportunity to have a half page ad published in the upcoming IDW series Starmage. You can see that ad below. This will be appearing in Starmage Issue #3 which is also due out in May, though my comic’s release will probably come first.
Initially I’ll have The Man Outside The Window available here for you to buy digitally for only $1.00, but I’ll also be moving it to other platforms such as Kindle, Comixology, and Kobo to broaden my audience. Being my first time publishing digitally I’m not too sure on the time frame for those, but I’ll try to keep a running journal and let you know how that goes.
For more information about IDW’s Starmage you can find their official site here: http://starmagecomic.com/
As the release date for The Man Outside The Window approaches I’ll be uploading more previews and information regarding the comic itself including process pages, script excerpts, and panels.
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If you haven’t got your copy yet, don’t forget that both Femdom Kingdom Robot and Octopus’ Garden comics are still available. These are two fabulous short stories that I managed to have published last year in a couple anthologies.
Femdom Robot Kingdom is the story of a girl and her creation bent on bringing justice to an unfair world. You can find Femdom Robot Kingdom in LadyQuest Volume 3: FutureBitch available HERE.
Octopus’ Garden is a kids thriller based (loosely) off the Beatles tune by the same name. It features fish, Cthulu, and the murky deep. It can be found as a part of Fearsome Fables Volume II, a charity anthology with all proceeds going towards Free The Children, available at the Rock, Paper, Cynic store HERE.
Also, keep your eyes open for a new comic I’ll be self publishing here called The Man Outside The Window due for release in May! More word on that to come.
Here’s what else I’ve been up to:
Well, this concludes the migration progress for Without A Title. You are now seeing what will be my home base for the foreseeable future. If you think the new look is particularly terrible just drop me a line and tell me so. I’ll try to take it constructively.
You might like to check out my last post too:
After a long and very hard year of trial and error, strife and pride, and a tremendous amount of fun, I have to say that although I wouldn’t yet consider myself a success I am a much more learned individual than I was this time 2013. I started last year with a “get to work,” mindset; I had to make something happen for myself. Though I blundered (sometimes terribly), I did manage to accomplish a lot. This year I had a comic printed, two short stories published, sold my merch to folk across the country, met international new friends and cohorts, attended four different conventions as an artist, and a more personal note, got engaged. For a guy who’s never really made anything for himself, who has never travelled all that far from his front door, and who has absolutely no idea what the heck he is doing, I don’t think thats all to bad for a first kick at the can.
This year my new year’s resolution is to do more. Work harder and build upon what I’ve accomplished last year. I’ll be attending more conventions, and turning out more comic pages and prints. In turn, I want to share what I’ve learnt throughout my travels. There are important individuals who have made my journey possible in different respects, but the wisdom that they have shared has been by far the most rewarding benifactor. So consider this the beginner’s beginners guide to the comic book biz, a comic how to, though I’m sure the general lessons can be applied to pretty much any goal you are striving towards. For easy reference, here are my five key points to getting started.
- Make Comics – I say this to remind you that the majority of the populace are people that tell themselves, “I can do that.” You currently fall into that category. Why is there garbage being sold on comic stands now a days? It’s because the people who have what it takes to make good stuff, aren’t. Instead of giving in to laziness or trepidation, which are the most likely culprits, put the pedal to the metal and do something. Anything! Seriously, sit yourself down with a pencil in hand and start drawing, or, get that keyboard out and get typing. If you are concerned that you don’t have what it takes, you probably don’t, which is okay. This leads me to my next point.
- Make Mistakes – When I set out in early January of 2013 I was so discontent with my place in life that I knew I had to start turning it around, but in doing so I became so enamored with the idea of making comics that I disregarded obvious faults in my work and ended up turning out some serious crap. The first four comics I wrote and illustrated in 2013 I can honestly say I am not proud of. Worst yet, I wanted to have a comic book to sell at my first convention and so I had them printed in a short anthology-esque collection. In a couple weeks, when two thousand books showed up on my doorstep, I realized that perhaps I had been a little over zealous in my ordering. To add insult to injury, not only was I unhappy with the comics themselves, but in my rush to get the things printed I had overlooked multiple spelling mistakes and other grammatical errors including forgetting to capitalize my own name on the opening page. I’m young, and stupid, and incredibly stubborn, and the lessons I learned from this very expensive blunder I might not have learned any other way. I picked up a thing or two about working with printers, getting quotes and working out prices, industry standards and expectations. Most importantly though, it was the kick in the pants I needed to come to terms with my next point.
- Never Be Content – This also equates to, don’t be lazy. Just because something is hard, don’t shirk the work. Draw those backgrounds. Proofread, edit and re-edit your work. If you aren’t completely happy with a panel or an expression, you can’t just shrug it off and move on. That’s where substandard work comes from. Not everything you make is going to be great and nobody is expecting perfection, but you have to at least try to fix your mistakes instead of just accepting them. Not only will this help you learn and grow, it forces you to develop your skills especially in those areas you most struggle with. For me, this means that I set goals even if sometimes they aren’t realistic. It gives me something to strive towards and the drive to do it. It means I’ll stress, and seriously sweat the small stuff, but when I am done I can look back on something that I’m proud of, not just another regret. This might be a point you will most struggle with, I know I do.
- Be Different – Back in November I had the chance to meet Neal Adams at the Central Canada Comic Con in Winnipeg and had a lovely little chat with him. Though I doubt he will ever remember my name, he said something that really resonated with me. Upon asking him if he had looked around the rest of artist’s alley he promptly told me, “I tried, but I couldn’t get past everyone else copying my work.” At first I thought he was just being a grumpy old man, but the more I pondered his words the deeper the meaning behind them became. I too am guilty of hawking fan art in the form of prints at these conventions. Honestly, it has paid my way to every one of these events. That being said, fan art is not what I do. I will sell you a Batman if you would like to purchase one from me, but even then it certainly won’t be the same Batman you could buy from anyone else. I make mention of this because 1.) The old men and women at Marvel and DC want you to know that reproducing copyrighted characters is not okay, and 2.) You will do better business when customers are walking down an endless aisle full of the exact same thing and spot yours standing out amongst them. This goes for writing too. Develop a style. Your work is your signature and if someone remembers you, that could be a sale or commission in the future. Besides, the comic book industry has plenty of room for you to draw something other than superheroes for a change.
- Make Friends – I wouldn’t be in the position I am right now without having met some of the wonderful folk that I have over the past year. I owe one of my publishing credits to a buddy. In the near future I’ll probably be printing my work at a new place because of some advice I got from a new friend. I’m adding a few new conventions to my roster this year because I was made aware of them by another new friend. In the future I hope to collaborate with some of the talented individuals I have come into contact with and hopefully learn more by doing so. Truthfully, it’s been the advice and support from the people I have met along the way that have allowed me to do what I have done. You can’t underestimate the value that having a large network can afford you. It’s been said, “It’s not what you know, but who you know,” and I don’t think that could ring any more true. We are not competing in this industry; There is plenty of room for us to all enjoy this journey together.
I’ve done a couple interviews at a few shows now (geek culture stuff and podcasts) and I’m always asked, “What is the number one piece of advice I could give?”. I’m just starting out, so you can judge for yourself if this seems like a passable response. You need to fully commit. It can’t, and won’t, happen if this is just a casual couple-hours-a-week thing for you. It needs to be late nights and a seriously neglected social life. You need to make the sacrifice and show some fortitude before anyone will take you serious. You need to do your time in the trenches before you can start enjoying the fruits of your labor. No pain no gain, right?
In conclusion, art is hard. I’ve never believed in luck and I think that’s served me well thus far. I’m making my own luck and if that equates to some sort of success in the future then you can credit this post and maybe pass it along to someone who needs a little encouragement. Of course, if you happened to have enjoyed this or think that I deserve some critisism shoot me an email or comment here.
Thanks for your time guys and have a happy new year!
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