Friday, June 13, 2014

Busy, busy, busy!

The past weeks I've been swamped with a huge inking assignment; unfortunately, I've had to put STP aside in the meantime. Although I haven't had much free time, things are still happening behind the scenes.

We have a colorist working on completing our second Lil' Ninja story. Joe Badon is coloring a fresh page of a Jo Nemo story that was drawn years ago; I'll be revisiting the colored pages I posted here a couple years ago, and combining them with Joe's story to release a first issue. Looking over my work, I've decided to tweak it and rely a lot less on captions. Visual cues will now tell the story, which will help its appeal to much younger readers.

Finally, I've found a talented character designer to flesh out my Grandma Vs concept. Jean is knocking the assignment out of the park, I really dig his bande dessine vibe on my characters. With luck, I'll start seriously working on the debut issue of that title as well. Oh, and I want to repitch Slam McCracken on Kickstarter asap.

Not enough hours in a day!


Friday, April 25, 2014

Keep on keepin' on

The jury is still out on our new colorist. Although inexperienced in colors, we're extremely curious how he'll approach the pages. Thinking outside of the box is one of the hallmarks of Sore Thumb Press, so my hopes are high.

I'm approached an artist to try a page of Grammy Vs, but haven't heard back as of yet. That concept has a lot of potential, and the right art will make it sing. Finding talent is a challenge, but perseverance (or luck) will win out.

I often see work that's incredibly polished; folk spend enormous amounts of time filling panels with meticulous detail, and/or inking every single miniscule line flawlessly. One of the things that I adore about comics is how forgiving the medium is. As a matter of fact, loose lines that properly tell the story are much more effective than lusciously rendered pages that feel 'lifeless'. I've always believed Less is More, and comics can become victims of over-think, like a lot of media.

I've decided to spend free time outside of my 'day job' to tinker with STP projects. I have a feeling once the ball starts rolling, the momentum will be difficult to halt!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Changes

We've been anxious to get things moving forward. 

Dustin, our previous colorist, seems unavailable, so we've sought new talent. We've contacted a potential replacement (more details next week) and have high hopes to finally complete our first Lil' Ninja book. Creative team changes can be a challenge, but it's awesome when a nice fit comes along.

We continue to feel that having finished books will jumpstart us in sales, and getting STP off the ground.

I'm also reworking Slam McCracken as a comic strip pdf; I think the format works extremely well, and I'll probably retry Kickstarter to gather funds for that concept. At the same time, I'd like to get moving on other concepts (not enough hours in a day!).

The name of the game is being focused, and finding the steps to get things done!

Friday, April 4, 2014

The past couple weeks have been continued fun. I've reformatted Slam McCracken as a strip, and really like the results. It ties in with my great love for classic comic strips like Calvin and Hobbes, and I discovered that syndicated strips were collected in 40s comic books as loose anthologies. I now realize that having the right concept presented in the right format is key, although nothing stops us from expanding to other media once one takes off.

My wonderful partner continues to move forward on Lil' Ninja. At the same time, we're dusting off The Temp, but with an entirely new spin. Once again, I'm excited by the potential of the concept, it fits in with our goal of producing comics that aren't easily pigeon-holed. Later, I'm working on character designs for the next Lil' Ninja book, and we should have Dustin finishing colors on the Victoria tale asap.

 Busy indeed!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Animation gets it right

Like a lot of folk, I've been binging on Netflix (thanks to my lovely wife); in particular, I've  been watching a couple cartoons: Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes and Batman Brave and the Bold. I find both showcase the coolness of their comic book roots, but in a format that is more appealing than its source material.

Animation demands consistency. Characters always look on model, and stories tend to be self-contained (the Avengers is an exception with subplots spread throughout a season, but the effect isn't as confusing as a typical modern comic book). On account of time limits, plots must be concise and to the point, as well as breezy and entertaining. Characters are distilled to easy-to-understand versions, with dialogue serving to move the story forward while defining said characters.

Today's comic books are quite the opposite; plots drag on sluggishly, and individual issues act as story 'beats', part of a massive 'epic' (while ultimately could have been told better with less issues). Characters spend pages chatting, with witty, precious, hard-boiled dialogue that rarely advances the plot. I understand that by forcing readers to buy a series of issues in order to get the whole story the Big Two are trying to prop up stumbling sales. It does seem crass to me, and I miss the days when a typical issue had stories with a definite end (although sub-plots percolating behind the main tale were effectively left to be resolved at a future date).

I also wish comic books featured clearly defined, heroic characters who look roughly the same from issue to issue, like their animated counter-parts. On any given run, art teams constantly redesign characters (usually for no good reason, and mostly straying too far from clean, iconic designs) and writers peel back 'layers' in their characters with 'never-before-revealed' past events, leading to complex 'motivations'. The result is an inaccessible, pretentious mess, with new readers the casualty.

I realize that comic books are a fluid and creative field, unlike animation which requires tight 'regulation' to achieve the final product. Still, I can only observe that I have a lot more enjoyment watching a typical episode of the above mentioned series than trying to wade thru any recent comic book. Hopefully, comics will learn from their mistakes before the medium is damaged beyond repair.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Numbers

Our recent failure with Kickstarter gives us much to consider. There are flaws with the site as a fund-raising tool, but perhaps it could be helpful as a promotional source. We'll mull how best to use the site and return with solid strategy.

The factor that was most troubling was the tiny number of pledges (20 something). In order to succeed, our publishing endeavor would need a solid group of core readers; I'd always envisioned 1000 as a good place to start. Considering the wealth of folk out there who read comics and/or graphic novels (including our target demographic of young readers), that number should be easily attainable.

The challenge is to find these readers. With clever promotion and a gradual grassroots build up of a fan base/readership, I can see us achieving those numbers, and hopefully a lot more.

Kickstarter was a good experience so far. I'd assumed it would facilitate our dream, but the truth is hard work and perseverence are what's required.

And we've got that in spades, True Believers! (sorry Stan!)

Friday, February 28, 2014

Almost over

We're winding down to the end of our campaign, and it doesn't look good for success. Folk would argue that I haven't harassed every single person I could have, nor taken advantage of services for promotion; my answer would be that for the amount Kickstarter takes from each successful project, it doesn't make much sense to do all the work myself.

In the end, I was curious about it, and am glad to have tried it. Like everything, the system has its flaws and it's difficult for a small fish to compete against whales.  Regardless, I don't regret our efforts, and look forward to Plan B (which we're still mulling).

I never assumed self-publishing would be easy, and nothing good is ever achieved without sweat!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Finding an audience

Kickstarter continues to be a humbling experience. I honestly thought that the all-ages appeal of Lil' Ninja would easily attract pledges, but there isn't much interest thus far in our 'baby'. 

It seems I misjudged KS on several levels: with a limited pool of members, there are so many comics fighting for attention that mine has gotten lost. At the same time, harassing folk to pledge is unpleasant for all involved, and usually results in indifference.Thousands have been exposed to the link to my project, with no results. It's rather frustrating, but strangely enough, only strengthens my resolve.

How do I explain this paradox? I'm too old to give up quite so easily on my self-publishing goals; also, my ego has been worn over the decades to withstand a lot worse than this! I'm using Kickstarter as a learning experience, I've been given much to consider.

In the end, my challenge is to find an audience. I need to have the folk who'd be genuinely interested in supporting Lil' Ninja aware of her existence; this seems incredibly daunting, but I've always felt that a grassroots approach (word-of-mouth) coupled with a great product will ultimately find success. It's just a question of time and determination.

There are still days left, and we'll see how things turn out.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Rollercoaster!

It's been a busy week, with downs and ups.

Working on our Lil' Ninja pitch made me realize that funding for Slam was trickling in at a glacial pace. Compared to other projects, it didn't look good about reaching our goals within the time allotted, so I decided (after a lot of soul searching) to pull the plug.

A depressing decision indeed, and yet with a positive upside.

It's clear to me that my cross-hatched graphic novel featuring an egg detective is a hard sell, compared to generic super-hero fare. In order to find an audience, I'd need longer exposure, and a much smaller (and attainable) monetary goal; rather than shooting for a 100 page book, I may reformat the concept as a daily strip, eventually to be collected. As a huge fan of Calvin and Hobbes, the idea is certainly appealing, and I'm looking forward to this phoenix rising from the ashes of my Kickstarter defeat.

Once Slam was out of the picture, I was able to replace it with Lil' Ninja, which I believe has much more market appeal and a smaller dollar goal. Later, I'll ask folk to check out the new pitch, and have high hopes that the first issue of our pint-sized heroine will be completed.

All in all, I'm discovering the ins and outs of crowd-funding; it's not what I (naively) expected, but the reality is that I either adapt or find alternatives. The learning process has been a roller-coaster, but well worth the experience.

Onwards!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Kickstarter: week one!

My Kickstarter experience has been pretty great, so far. I'd been intimidated to actually launch my project, but the process was relatively straight-forward. It's a thrill when new backers pop up, although the raising-money aspect has been slower than expected.

Considering this is my first experience with crowd-funding, I'm sure to learn a lot; even if we don't meet our goal, my hopes are to establish a list of interested potential buyers of our wares. At the same time, just getting one concept 'out there' is a cool feeling.

My next step is promotion; I have a list of sites to approach, and will do so as the deadline gradually rears its head.

Mulling the success or failure of this pitch only strengthens my resolve; no matter what, I will find a way to get my concepts moving forward, I have that much faith in them. The key is finding our market, which is the biggest challenge at this point.

Friday, January 31, 2014

January goal accomplished; next stop, Kickstarter!

The last week has been quite productive. With the assistance of my lovely partner (as well as Sarah, my computer-literate daughter), we have completed two video 'trailers' that will be used in our Kickstarter project pitches.

I should be listing one (hopefully both) later today. This blog will be updated with links.

In case there are new folk to this blog, please feel free to look thru the archives; I'd discussed my concepts in detail over the years, as well as including lots of artwork and interesting stuff.

Onwards!

 

Friday, January 24, 2014

Lil' Ninja jumping forward (literally!)

Things are indeed moving forward.

Last week, I knocked out a snipet of animation with Lil' Ninja (the new name for our Ninja Baby concept). It felt good to flex some old creative muscles, and the results were quite fun. With luck, we'll finish her Kickstarter video this weekend.

At the same time, I'll be working on the Slam McCracken video later today. I have a solid vision of what I hope to accomplish, looking forward to the finished work.

I've really enjoyed focusing more on my many concepts; my partner and I just can't shake the feeling that big things are in store in 2014!

video

 

Friday, January 17, 2014

A slowly rolling snowball....

My first Friday focused on STP was a good one; I worked out a quick storyboard for my Slam McCracken Kickstarter pitch video, sketched out a quick animation which will be part of my Ninja Baby pitch video, and went thru all of my concepts with fine tooth comb.

To that end, I've decided which were more developed than others; it's tricky, I'm fond of all of my 'babies', but have to admit some are less 'half-baked' than others. What excites me is eventually having different creative folk help flesh some of these out; fresh perspectives can only improve what I've already come up with.

It's tough sometimes to maintain my enthusiasm. When weary physically, a future in self-publishing seems quite the impossible task. These moments always pass, and I know in my heart (as constantly mentioned to my lovely partner) that success will come!

Hopefully, I'll have videos and pitches ready by the end of January (fingers crossed).


Friday, January 10, 2014

Ring in 2014!!!

And a New Year is upon us!

December has been particularly hectic with artwork commissions and the like; it's been impossible finding time to focus on Sore Thumb Press, but I've resolve to commit Fridays solely to STP from now on to get things moving.

I figure that having a day where I'm not distracted with other work will allow me to devote the proper energy to my concepts. Step one is keeping this blog fresh, after that, the sky's the limit for what I hope to achieve every week.

My wife suggested I pick Slam McCracken for a Kickstarter pitch, and I tend to agree; at the same time, pitching Ninja Baby simultaneously should work just fine, since the concepts are wildly different. To that end, I'm planning my Slam video today, looking thru some old artwork, and creating a rough storyboard.

I'm pretty excited about 2014; it seems my passion and drive keeps growing, and I figure success is inevitable! 

Pictured: a Joe Nemo cover/pin-up I aim to have colored in the near future.