Sunday, August 30, 2009

Fan Expo Sketches

This was my first time having a table at a giant comic convention. I had done Supanova twice before, but it's really nothing compared to this. Wow. So many people. So many people who love comics, and so many more willing to give 'em a go.

I had a pretty measly stall between CK Russell's technicolor wonder of superheroey goodness, and Marc B's orgy of screen printed delicacies, with just my three books of the entire run of Celadore, a little postcard stand, poster and business cards (which didn't even have my email on them. Yep. I'm a genius.)

Friday was a slow start. Mostly because I was still trying to get pencilling done on Celadore and chat at the same time. But then Saturday came, and I started sketching random superheroes to try and grab a little more attention with some known properties, and before ya know it, I'm sketching for everybody. Sunday was such a steady stream, I didn't even eat. Food for the soul is what got me through that day.

The All New Batman & Robin

This guy was the first to snag a free sketch, by just noticing it and asking how much. I wasn't really serious about the sketches, so it went for free. Originally it was just Damian, but he wanted Batman too, so I did a 'mostly-cape' cheat's version. And didn't even get that right.

The Escapist

This guy (I forgot so many names, I'm sorry!) had a kick-ass collection of Escapist art from a LOT of cool people. I feel very proud to be part of this collection. It's truly a masterpiece gallery. I also LOVE the Escapist, so jumped at the chance to draw one up.

You Too Can Be Batgirl

Then I was visited by two lovely gals, Kristen and Jane, who had a stall down the way selling their wares. We did a sketch exchange and I did them as superheroes. Something I've always thought would be fun to do at cons if my confidence in drawing people as they look was any higher. Sadly, it's hit and miss, and I could probably just end up angering people.


Then they came back with with their booth buddy, Shane, (Kristen and Shane's stuff can be seen at and requested a Leeloo for their friend who couldn't make the con. I will draw any challenge given, so, after some early morning Sunday net research, there she came.


Late Saturday I started doing better sketches with a view to selling them for Sunday, so I did this Supergirl, brought it home, and promptly left it on the scanner. Oops.

"Happy birthday ... Mister President Luthor..."

Someone got this awesome Supergirl anyway (I love drawing Supergirl.)

Harley Quinn! - I also enjoy drawing Harley

Two young gals around 8 - 9 had sketch books (starting at an early age, good on ya, dad) and they got a Harley and a Jean Grey (which I forgot to take a pic of).

Kala, from Marc B's Mecha Libre

At the very end o Sunday, I did an interpretation of my neighbour Marc B's character from his Mecha-Libre, in exchange for a snap-dandy print that'll look great above my desk.

CK Russell getting some Spidey love

On the other side, CK snagged my Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane pic, as it sat there too long without any purchasing love.

The Postscript table

Down the end on the other side of our table 'island' were Graham, and his lovely fiancé Michelle, who I went with to the Diamond Industry night. (It's very surreal to be eating dinner at the table over from a bunch of very famous Star Trek actors.) That was a great night. Lots of stimulating conversation to be found. You can check out Graham's Postscript comic here. And join his facebook group if it tickles all the right spots. If you enjoyed Shrek, there's a strong chance you will enjoy Postscript, and Graham was a very nice, talented dude. I saw a lot of me at that age in him, so I have every confidence he'll get to where he's going.

The Proof gang were sitting not too far away from my table, so Sunday morning, I went and got my copy of number one signed, and went back at lunch with this little fan art piece. They loved it. It may end up in the back of the book, which would be neat. I love Proof.

By far though, my favourite piece for the day was this one, for Ty, who does the Batusi Blog.

Thanks to Darrell Ferguson for providing the Detective Comics issue for the reference. Though I have the issue, I didn't have it with me. Save!

Sketches I forgot to take a photo of - another Spidey sketch, Grizzly for a guy with a funky He-Man themed sketch book, a sketch of Eve and Sam for Danielle who was awesome enough to read my comic overnight and came back for a sketch (the world needs more Danielles!) and a few others I'm already forgetting (which is why I was taking photos!) including a Hulk for Darrell who was unlucky enough to be the first to ask for a sketch and thus, got my rusty warm up. Sorry Darrell. I feel I owe you something better.

Other highlights.

Meeting Andy B who does Bottle of Awesome at Zuda, and Raising Hell, who was polite enough to point out in the Webcomics 101 panel, by the Transmission-X crew, that I was in the audience and did Celadore, to which crickets chirping would have been welcome. :o| The panel was great though. Funny guys who kept each other in check from rambling too much. Glad I went.

Being interviewed by Clark Kent (who is really Jamie Aaron Kelley), from WGBS News - you can watch their newscasts on youtube - t'was a blast. These guys played the part real well. Just fantastic. He totally looked like Clark Kent, even with the mannerism of constantly pushing his glasses up. Perfect.

I was also interviewed by an absolute gentleman, Tim Ashdown. More news on that when it appears on the webs. He has a podcast, and good taste!

Also in our table island was Emily, who, as well as fighting the equality battle on both fronts (get it?), does the webcomic Tom Boy Tara, which I had seen online already, so it's always nice to put a face to the talent.

I met tons of other awesome people, including Anthony who had the most enthusiasm for my work I've ever seen outside, well, me... and also cries when watching the Iron Giant, so you know he knows his stuff. I also met Bruno who is starting up an interesting webcomic-slash-print on demand hub, the fabler, which I will keep my eye on, possibly use, and truly hope to see succeed in generating a viable business plan and some income at last for webcomickers.

I love that kids, 10 and under it seems, were attracted to my comic a lot, with their parents trying to tug at their shirt collars, while they stood there transfixed, unmovable. For the mum who had the little girl with the awesome taste in comics (The Courageous Princess), if my recommendations got lost in the insanity of the day and you somehow find yourself here, they were Akiko, and the Elsewhere Chronicles. Good stuff. I didn't mention Bone, but does anyone need to these days? ;o)

Anyway, you're all bored of me now, right? Thanks again to everyone who took the time to stop and chat, request sketches, took postcards, business cards and generally made my day. Speaking of postcards. Anyone know good places to stock the 4,800 out of 5,000 I have left? ;o)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Well, look what just arrived in time for Fan Expo.

A big ol' box of postcards!


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A blight on the landscape

Who might these lads and lasses be?

Find out in Celadore Chapter 3.
Just two weeks to go!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Sam Little does Big Celadore Fan Art

Sam Little, one of the brains behind Zuda's Hammer, and his very own Untrue Tales sent me some fan art! Nice!

Sam looks like he's straight out of a Bill Plympton toon. Love it. :o)

Click the image for bigger love!

Friday, August 07, 2009

Rants in my pants!

I get a little depressed when I keep reading the same arguments again and again about webcomics, and Zuda, making money, rights issues, blah blah blah.

And it's HILARIOUS to me that webcomickers are coming out to complain about how to make webcomics more economically viable, and what's going to be a good model, because they all shot themselves in the foot. The internet came along, and everyone jumped in, deciding to sidestep the syndicates and go straight for that pie themselves, and now it's all over their faces.

I wanted to do comics since I was 5 years old. Since I read my first batch of Peanuts books back to front every day for a year.

As I got older, I worked on my strips, sending away my first solid strip attempt when I was 18, but it turns out I was too late. The syndicates were falling away already. Some had stopped taking submissions entirely, some were in the early stages of disappearing for good, and some sought new strips purely by headhunting off the internet. My dream was crumbling before me, and all I could ask is 'Why?'

Because people were putting comics on the internet FOR FREE.

Surely, anyone can see the inherent problem with that? How is anyone going to place a value on your work, when you can't be bothered placing one yourself.

Now, subscriptions don't work, paying to read won't work, etc. because the precedent was set. Readers now could read comics without paying 50 cents for a paper. And the comickers could now get readers without having 50 percent of their revenue taken away from them by the 'evil syndicates'. Um, what revenue? No one is paying you! Money is now completely out of the equation when it comes to reading comic strips. And now you want it? I really wish someone had have thought of that to begin with.

Sure, the standard contract from a syndicate was pretty terrible, 50 percent of the take, the option to have someone else take over your strip should you burn out, etc. There were even editorial mandates to contend with, some so constricting it destroyed some great strips. But they could go out and get your strip in to 100 papers within a week. They had access to overseas markets. They did a LOT of good stuff for that share of the take. I have a degree in advertising/marketing and I could never hope to do anything like that.

The system was in place, and the system worked, but everyone decided to go out and destroy it.

I know papers all seem to be in trouble now, but the syndicate death toll rang LONG ago.

Well, so there I was. 18, with a head full of dreams and ideas, but no real avenue to send my strips, and no desire to completely devalue my work by giving it away for free. I gave up, I retreated to the 'real world', went and got myself an advertising degree, floundered in crappy jobs, all the while scribbling comic strips mainly for my own enjoyment and growth.

There are people out there who are having fun, posting their comics on the net, working full time jobs and producing in their own time, and that's great, but if you want to make a living out of it, why would you ever give your work away for FREE? That's just bad business. When I go down to the art supply store, they certainly don't give their pens and paper to me for free.

Then Zuda came along.

Zuda, who were willing to PAY me for my work? Hot damn. And I get to keep my copyright? HOT DAMN. They'll take care of all the web stuff? And the advertising, and the promotion? HOT DAMN. I could at least handle that part of it myself, of course, but hell, all that advertising degree gave me was a strong desire to never work in advertising.

Thank god for Zuda! No more call centre jobs for me, no more soulless storyboard work. Just working on my comics, and spending my money. Zuda haven't taken any of it from me yet. Shock! People are reading and discovering my comics every day, when they used to sit in my drawer amusing no-one but me. Horror! I am telling my story the way I want to. The editors haven't changed any of my story, if anything, input from Kwanza has improved my stories. Omigod, Zuda is the devil!

Grow up.

You all want to be some kind of modern day Rockefeller with your comics, desperate to cling to any potential money should it (ever) come along, but you're giving your comics away for free! Your ONE asset!

Life is short. Let someone do the work you don't want to do, so you can produce the best and most art you can. Computers and web design mystifies me and I can market my comic if I really want to, (but I don't have to). All I have to do is work on my comics, make my deadlines (easy when you're enjoying yourself) and have steak for dinner.

So Zuda have a share in my property should it ever expand beyond its comic roots, if it's ever a movie or a cartoon, DC gets more of the pie, so what. I still get some, which is more than none. You want to hold on to the rights of something that no-one's reading, or have a share in the rights of something that IS out there? The odds of my 'property' ever becoming something else are still pretty slight, but they were non-existent before. Why? Because I don't want to make myself hoarse selling fish at the market, I just want to supply the fish. People like the fish, they WANT the fish. They don't like the guy yelling at them.

You can hate Zuda if you want. If you're some kind of 'cool' anti-establishment robot that likes to hate things just 'cos it's interesting to say at parties, whatever. You can see Zuda as a necessary evil, just like the syndicates were, in delivering the 'fish' we really want.

As a fish supplier, I'm just glad someone's moving them for me so they don't stink out my fridge.

You can try and do it all yourself in the hopes of success so you can retire early, buy a big house, fancy car, ivory toilet roll holders, congratulations. Here's your Greed Award. Or you can let someone else HELP you, share your success, and still live pretty well anyway, practically stress free. As Linus would say, from those Peanuts books I read all those years ago, and continue to do so, 'In 500 hundred years, who'll know the difference?'