Folklore Thursday: Mushroom

Blame me for the titles. John writes a tweet, I supply a title, it was ever thus (in er.. the five weeks we’ve been doing this).

Fairy Rings are circles of mushrooms often seen in fields and woodlands across Europe. They mark the meeting, and dancing, places of the Fae. If a human steps into one, they may glimpse the Little People. But bewitchment, ill fortune, and even death may follow. #folklorethursday

John Reppion via Twitter

I’ll be honest, I consider this one a failure on my part. (It’s neither modesty, nor fishing for praise, just honest assessment). I wanted it to work so badly. I’ve done some nice watercolour stuff in the past, but never a full strip. I thought if I can quickly pencil it and then water colour over it, it should be nice.

It wasn’t. It was.. at best.. a good start.

Compounding this, sadly, was the fairly barely adequate nature of my scanner. It’s important to know and understand the limits of the tools you use, and my faithful Brother DCP6690 has served me well for over a decade, scanning pencils and inks at A3 size, and printing pencils as bluelines on heavy bristol board (sometimes it spews that out and just refuses to play ball, but that’s ok – it owes me nothing). Unfortunately it’s bloody awful for colour. Scanning colour is a serious art in itself. Even if your scanner scans a true and accurate reflection of the art (which is unlikely as the scanner’s light casts a sickly blue light, which is why blue line printing can be easily dismissed by the scanner – it’s practically invisible in the bluewhite light. ) then you’re faced with whether your computer monitor is set up in a way that can accurately show you those colours on screen. Plus the art software (in this case clip studio) may decide to preview it for print and give it a slightly different hue. It’s all a nightmare.

Part of the remit though, is to do these things quickly, so I don’t really have the luxury of going back and reworking (though in this case, I DID) or fiddling with colours when scanned and I wrestled with it, and I thought – better to put out a heroic failure, than to cowardly revert to type and do it again in b&w with digital colours (also I was too lazy)

And one thing I learned while acting is… nobody knows about mistakes until you tell them. So ignore everything I’ve said here and assume this strip is exactly what I meant it to be.

(No pencils on this one, as it was pencilled and coloured in one go)

Mum

I wrote and drew this comic strip in October last year. It tumbled out of me too quickly. It deals with losing a parent, and it seems to have moved a number of people who read it when it was on twitter (and my blog previously, though my blog has since been wiped and reset)

And so, here it is, I hope you like it.

Channel Hex: Planet of the Blind

Reminder: this isn’t the final work, the final work will be an entirely different story. This is just me trying to figure out some stuff about logos/layouts/page sizes/etc.

Anyway, last time on Channel Hex, I’d planned on a commando digest size and now I’m skewing more towards a slightly larger italian digets sized – art would still be A4, but those books tend more towards 4-5 panels per page rather than 2 (ultimately it may be between 3-4) so I drew a page of the imaginary story (aren’t they all) of Planet of the Blind, and dumped some logos on there. Thanks to my pal, Jim Lavery – who put up with me doggedly asking him to help me design a logo even though I’d clearly had exactly what I wanted in mind already – who suggested a font choice that works great. So I mocked up a single page of the comic, and here it is:

There’s a little too many logos on that page, I don’t think the smaller hex-tentacle logo works at all, and maybe, on that first page i don’t need the logos at all (though the temptation to use the hexagram as a 2000ad style credits in the strip is almost overpowering.)

I’ve a colourist friend has promised to colour up the cover, so once that’s done I’ll repost it with logos/etc.

I’m keeping the actual story under wraps – it’s a corker, and exactly the sort of thing I’d enjoy, fingers crossed when the kickstarter happens (and I’m working at timing now, a tricker thing that you’d think) then you’ll hear all about it on my mailing list at Channel Hex.

Tiers of a Starblazer

So been thinking some more on the idea of a digest style comic on kickstarter and what sort of tiers I could do, and again, very open to ideas/thoughts on this. It’s not the sort of thing I want to leap in to without thinking about a great deal first.

There’s a lot to be said for the idea of one single price for one single product (Keep it Simple, Stupid) but then there’s a few fun things you can do on a kickstarter, so here’s some notions – not final ideas, not final prices, just … starting points…

There’s (obviously) a digital comic tier – £1 – a pdf download.
At some point, any comic like this I’d want to look at getting on comixology, but probably for something like £2.50

A Softback Print comic – I’d like to charge £5-£10 for a softback. Not sure how practical that is, but it’s something I’d be comfortable paying for a comic.

A Hardback Print comic – probably around £10-£15

A Portfolio edition – hardback plus a set of prints, from some other industry pros (maybe?)- in a nice little envelope? £ 35 – 50 – 100? (Depending on who I get to rope in and whether I want to make this really limited?)

Broadly speaking I think you’d divide original art into three levels: full page (A), title character page (B), other page (C)

Original Art – one hardback plus a page of C art – £35

Original Art – one hardback plus a page of B art – £50

Original Art – one hardback plus a page of A art – £100

(Again, KISS though – maybe just one Original Art tier at £50 to cover any random page?)

And I think that’s it. All copies signed, obviously. I’ve seen other artists offer sketches or other things to be done, but I think that really skews the amount of work required -and I’d like the book completed before kickstarting (so the idea of adding people if they pay to be in it is a bit .. not for me) I’d like to do the book and then fund the printing and and creation of it. What I don’t want to do is become obliged to do more work (I mean, there will be more work – signing them all and sorting them and posting…)

Another thing I think you need to consider with kickstarter are stretch goals – but I’ll think about that another day…