Patreon revamping?

So. Nick and I are thinking about doing some changes to the Patreon campaign, and we’d love your input on it.

We’re thinking about adding a few payment tiers that tie in to the dual-sided nature of our current project:

  • two $1 tiers, one for people who think the VX10 chess club types are cool, one for people who think the hippie space dryad Mixolyne are cool – there might be some extra stuff released only to the appropriate tier at some point, but right now it’s just a fun way for you to get a little involved in the story
  • a $2 tier for people who prefer not to have an opinion on this – neutrality has its costs!
  • a similar trio of higher tiers – $5/$8? – where you can submit a character sheet that will go into a pool, which we will pull from whenever we need a minor/background character, either for one side or both. Roles like Redshirt #2, Background Diner #7, or Guard On Minor Planet With One Line. There’d be no guarantee of ever winning the pull though I think I’d want to weight it towards people who haven’t won it before.

They’d all stay as payment per-page, with the same ability to put in a monthly limit in case I suddenly start putting out lots more stuff.

Do these sound like fun ideas? Maybe like fun ideas at different prices? Everyone would still see the current mix of early pages, occasional WIPs, and whatever other little random thing I might feel like sharing about the process of my work; that’s never going to change.

We are also very open to suggestions. I’m not the only artist some of you are supporting – what are other artists doing that you wish I did? I’ve seen people doing regular times they’re open for chat, offering higher tiers with chances at commission slots, critique of patron’s artwork… anything else?

ALSO: we are thinking about doing some extra stories as short audio dramas. These would be written by Nick and put together by a few of our friends; I’d be involved in the plotting but would keep my main focus on drawing more pages of the comic. We see them as generally being short side stories rather than a place where Important Plot Events happen; they may add nuance and depth to things but the core story will always be in the form of the comic. Is this a thing y’all would be down with paying for alongside the comic pages?

(If those go over well I might fool around with turning them into little animatics. Maybe even recruit some folks to fully animate them, as baby steps towards the long-term dream of turning this into a crowd-funded cartoon series. Someday. Maybe. No promises.)

We’re also going to spend some time rewriting the basic “support my comics” pitch, show some more examples of the art, stuff like that. I haven’t really changed it since I first set it up back in 2014 and it’s just kinda time.

Anyway. Tier revamping, things you’ve liked other artists doing, maybe add short audio dramas into the mix. Whattya think?

(And as always, thanks a ton to those of you who’re supporting my weird-ass comics!)

hallowme

This morning, I wandered through the local instance of the pop-up Halloween store. It was a lot bigger than I expected, possibly due to using space that the former tenant (a third-party Apple retailer) was using for their repair offices. This may have been related to my decision to spend an hour doodling my fursona as a Sexy Witch tonight. With an angry green cat in her lap because that has basically been Nick’s fursona around the house lately. Mostly. Furries are weird, okay?

I also finished two pages of Parallax that had been in the works for a while, and posted them to Patreon today. Which is always a nice feeling: yay, I get paid a couple hundred bucks more at the end of the month! Onea these days I might even start paying most of my rent from comics again.

Tomorrow: haul stuff to the convention center, set up for Geek Girl Con, which is this weekend. And next weekend is gonna be PatreCon, thanks to them impulsively running a contest to choose a few creators to give a free ticket and hotel stay, and picking my half-assed, sassy entry as one of the winners. (“Maybe I’ll learn something that’ll let me triple my patronage; maybe I’ll hit it off with someone who’s better at promotion than I’ll ever be. Maybe I’ll just end up sharing a drink with some of my LA animation friends and get a gig that’ll pay well enough to let me extend my financial runway a couple more years.”) I still feel really weird about this and wonder if there were next to no entries (it only ran for a half a week, and they asked applicants to do Something Creative to say why they should be chosen to attend but didn’t mark uploading a video/image/etc as mandatory; I nearly abandoned the application when I got to that, but just rambled for a couple paragraphs of text instead), or if my crazy obsessive drawings actually stood out from the pack. Who knows. Either way I was able to persuade them to comp a conference ticket for Nick as well (what with him saying he’d like to try and take over some of the stuff that’s not drawing; we’re going to attend talks scheduled against each other and take notes), and paid for a couple of airplane rides with the Business Account. I’ve also contacted said Animation Friends about sharing lunch/a drink/etc.

Anyway. It’s getting to be about bedtime, I think.

the pink hoodie

Now and then, some artist finds a really hilariously impractical piece of clothing, and draws one of their characters wearing nothing but it. And sometimes the combination of clothing and drawing is strong enough to become A Thing that circulates around the Internet for a few days.

Every now and then I end up drawing one of my characters in one of them.

The item in question is a short pink hoodie, with a huge half-circle cut out of the front. Kind of a bolero hoodie. It could probably look pretty good if it was accessorizing the right outfit, really; I feel that matching the claw polish to the hoodie went a long way to making it look less terrible. As did being a tease who’s deliberately not using it as an excuse for full frontal nudity.

string art in Illustrator

Another one of those “I answered this on /r/AdobeIllustrator and thought it would make a good technique post” things.

How to make a cute little string-art effect.

1. Draw some lines
2. Use the Blend tool to click on the end of the first line furthest away from the next one
3. Repeat until you run out of lines
4. object>blend>blend options to bring up the number of steps
5. to fix that one line you clicked wrong on, select it and do object>path>reverse path direction.

If you wanted it to really look like the nail-and-string-on-a-board kits I remember doing in the seventies, you could maybe add a highlight and a shadow by putting extra strokes on the whole blend:

Adding nails is left as an exercise for the reader.

Suggestions: dotted lines, custom arrowhead, custom art brush with a nail at one end and the “stretch between guides” scaling option in its settings, a custom art brush that’s *just* a nail plus some blank space and the “stretch between guides” scaling option applied to the whole blend as a new path atop the appearance stack shown here – maybe with a low level of effect>distort & transform>roughen applied to mimic the look of nails hammered in unevenly?

slick

late night self-indulgent doodling whilst listening to spooky ambient country music. i tried a variant with machine-stippled highlights and shading for a ‘scaly’ look but it was too noisy, so you’ll never see it.

click thumbnail for the full nsfw image.

reflections upon a messy desk

I had not really thought about what would be at the bottom of the pile of assorted paper stuff I should Really Get Around To Dealing With Soon that has taken over the left third of my desk. But it does not surprise me at all that at its bottom, I find letters expressing their condolences for the recent death of my mother. Which was in 2015. I’ve been kinda useless ever since, in a lot of ways. The comedy option winning the Presidency of the US on top of all that hasn’t helped matters either.

Right now my apartment is a mess. I still haven’t really cleaned the kitchen up from when they opened it all up to replace a pipe in the wall and deprive me of the garbage disposal. There’s a pile of Nick’s books in the middle of the studio, next to the pile of stuff accumulating around the chair that needs to have its new legs put on by someone competent to drill big serious holes through wood. Laundry perpetually gets put off until it’s at a crisis point. I used to have an aspect of myself I called “Miss Fussyspider”, who wants everything to be neat and tidy and is quite willing to stonedly put in the constant low-level amount of work needed to keep things that way, and I haven’t really let her run ever since all these things started piling up. Because at the bottom of that pile there is some stuff that needs doing but is very emotionally painful to deal with.

I kinda feel like moving is going to be helpful in this. I’ll have to look at every single thing in this apartment and decide if it is something I want to bother hauling across the country. I’m sure I’ll accumulate more stuff but at least it’s a time to pare it down to what I really need to keep myself healthy and amused.

At least the pile of paper is neater now, and I’ve wiped about three years of ash off the corner of the desk the bong lives on.

The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide To Cartoon Adaptations

This morning I got stoned and decided that a galaxy-pattern catsuit under the bathrobe I still hadn’t bothered changing out of was a really good fashion choice for the morning. Then Nick said I looked like a far-future Arthur Dent who has truly become a hoopy frood who knows where his towel is. Because really, what is a bathrobe but a towel you can wear? He had it with him all along.

When he’s not travelling, that spacesuit is always with him. It probably converts into a useful backpack or something. Because after what he’s survived, there is no way Arthur would want to let that thing out of his possession. Ever.

 

In the shower I thought about this drawing as a pitch for a H2G2 cartoon adaptation.

 

* The spacesuit has invisibility capabilities; when Arthur’s not using it for that he has it just display whatever random imagery/video we feel like genlocking in there.

* The spacesuit can recycle his fluids into a substance almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea.

* Perhaps it is the latest model of the Guide? Compacts into an easy-to-carry box of roughly Gameboy size when not in use. It does NOT have a Genuine People Personality. Nobody wants that when they’re floating alone in the void of space.

* Every episode starts cold with Arthur in some tranquil setting (possibly wherever he finished last episode), when suddenly, disaster strikes and he is, once again, floating in the cold void of space. He sighs, dons the spacesuit, and begins reciting something similar to the Litany Against Fear centered around the words “Don’t Panic”. Cue “Journey of the Sorcerer” or some imitation thereof, opening titles are a montage of bits introducing Arthur and the main characters of this episode with Arthur still floating in space waiting for the Thumb to say something’s in range. As the opening titles come to a close, there’s something detected; Arthur turns on the Thumb capability of his suit via a closeup on his hand making a hitch-hiking gesture. Music climaxes, smash cut to episode title as the music fades, then we rudely drop Arthur into the middle of whatever mess we’ve thought up for him to muddle his way out of this time.

 

“You’ve essentially just reinvented Doctor Who”, said Nick when I pitched these ideas to him. Arguably yes, though I feel there’s a big difference: the Doctor is good at solving huge problems like “an entire universe has been converted into Daleks, who are now invading this universe with the aim of turning it into even more Daleks” while Arthur is good at averting problems well before they get to that point, or just not being where they are when they happen. His primary skills are being that super chill surfer dude who is really, really good at staying calm in the face of crisis and helping other people de-escalate. He does not necessarily solve the problem he’s dropped into in every episode; sometimes he just ends up running.

Also another way this is different from Doctor Who is that the Doctor is not costumed so as to look like she’s naked under her bathrobe. Arthur is. Because nobody really takes you seriously as a threat when you look like you’re naked under your bathrobe.

preparing for eye pain

I just spent two hours making this happen in Illustrator.

It’s the safe version of this. If you click on this image, or on any of the other ones in this post, you’ll see a higher-res copy. I am not sure I recommend doing this.

I can now use these flat-color Graphic Styles to draw a whole bunch of assorted shapes in something akin to three-point perspective. Which would involve following this grid that I built in Illustrator before building the previous two images.

And hell, let me try a quick test drawing. Just some basic shapes following these perspective guidelines.

Alt-drag twelve swatches around and…

Yep. This is gonna work. I’ve got a lot of drawing to do, and this won’t work for every single part of the image – but I should be able to lay down a lot of it pretty quickly like this. I’ll end up with tons of hatching that precisely lines up with the perspective I’ve drawn the shapes in. I had to do some funky stuff to set all of this up and part of me thinks I should write it up, but I also spent two hours in front of the computer and think I need to run around some.

Illustrator has a three-point perspective ruler mode. I’m really not sure I’m going to bother with it; I feel like the time I’d spend figuring out how it works is going to be really close to the amount of time I’d spend just doing it the “hard” way. I learnt how to do hardcore perspective years ago, and I’ve forgotten most of it, but I think I remember enough to fake this. Should be fun!

an epiphany

So the other day I was reading this article about a town in Iowa full of dairy farms and its inherent contradiction of going all out for Trump despite completely depending on immigrant labor. And during the night, something hit me, and I felt like the world turned inside out for me: All these “illegal immigrants” that rural white folks get so riled up over are the indigenous people of North America, pushed out by multiple waves of European colonists. When they come back they get to work at the shittiest jobs for slave labor rates, with the threat of deportation hanging over them should anyone speak up; it’s the people who just walked on in and waved guns around who’re the real illegal immigrants here, using the classic deflection technique of calling the other side what you are.

It’s, like, sure, I’ve had all the pieces to this realization, but it never really all came together until late one night when I was in my late forties and I kinda feel incredibly stupid and part of an utterly horrible system that I’m powerless to change and I kinda wonder if the world would be better off if the Black Death had wiped out 90% of Europe.

(I wonder if part of why it took so long to put this together was spending the first twenty five years of my life in a city that has deep scars around the history of slavery, and had gotten rid of not only its original locals, but pretty much all evidence that they even ever existed aside from place names and a weird Mardi Gras tradition. There were some “Hispanic” people around town, living the same middle-class life I was except for sometimes speaking Spanish to their parents, and that was just kind of… normal.)

There is a very high probability that I will choose to do absolutely nothing about this realization beyond what vague leftist waffling I already am, and that kind of horrifies me too. Just another day in the United States of Omelas, a place powered entirely by continual misery and suffering that I can currently afford to look away from.

Anyway. Hi, I’m a honky from the Gulf South and I just now realized wwhat Middle Americans and rural Westerers are really talking about when they talk about “illegal Mexican immigrants” and holy crap the entire history of the European expansion into this continent sure is a massive five hundred year old tornado of misery and pain isn’t it. I guess I never noticed that because I was a bit distracted by the massive four hundred and something year old hurricane of misery and pain started by the Triangle Trade that I grew up in. I am sure there would still be pain and suffering in the world if not for rich white people, but goddamn there we sure have caused a lot of it in the name of profit.

I wonder how stupid and naive this post makes me sound.