Thursday, December 30, 2010

Bullet in the Hole Clubs: Pre-Order Horizon

And for the last of our December of Announcements, we're setting a date for Volume 3 Pre-Orders.

We'll be selling V3 Pre-Orders at Anthrocon 2011, from June 24-26, and opening them up online a week later for all to pre-purchase.

Although Volume 3 won't be completely finished at that time, it should be well on the way, close enough that we can set final pricing and order options, and give everyone time to place their order before Pre-Orders close.
And that's about the last of our news from where we're sitting, at the end of 2010. Thanks again to everyone who's been there, reading along with us up 'till now. I hope you had a joyful Allspirit's Eve, a Merry Christmas, and a happy Holiday Season. (Or whichever one of those will allow me to be cordial without stepping into an asinine culture war.)

Up until now we've been showing off our fabulous poker hand with four aces, one per week, but you really need a fifth card to make a full hand...
I guess we're not as good at this game as we thought.
Truth be told, we don't really know all that much about poker- but we are certainly in the business of having too much fun regardless of competence.

I think 2010 was a good year for Dreamkeepers - we completed the laboriously corrected 2nd editions of Volumes 1 & 2, finally set up affordable downloads for everyone, and completed the script & thumbnail layouts for all of Volume 3. We finished the final artwork on the next Chapter of the story, and as you've read this month, beefed up our staff and undertaken some exciting advertising endeavors.

I think 2011 is going to be a great year for Dreamkeepers. We'll be rolling faster than ever on Volume 3 production, probably completing the next two Chapters, opening Pre-Orders, and raising the funds for an unprecedented advertising run. We've got a lot of work ahead of us to pull it all off-

-I can hardly wait!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Santa: The Horror

You've probably learned by now that Santa Claus is fictional - a Coca-Cola guzzling advertising icon designed to sell seasonal crap to the masses.

If only. If only.

Santa Claus is all too real - it's a part of the conspiracy, you see. The truth is colder than you could guess.

Well bundle up ladies, gents, and kids. Have I got a holiday tale for you! Huddle close, get yourself next to the roaring fireplace, and keep a sidearm handy just in case something bursts out of it.

With a ravening eye so clever and quick, I knew in a moment it must be Saint Nick.

What is Christmastime about, really?

If thoughts of shepherds, wise men, and holy infants tender and mild came to mind, you could be forgiven. But late December was a celebrated season far before the time of Jesus - Christmas predates Christ by centuries, under other names, among other peoples...

You see, the planet's path through dark spaces brings it to a special position during that time of year - when the sun, the light, is at its weakest relative to our mortal vantage here on earth. Ancient peoples from the Gaelic traditions and before celebrated and feared this time above all others.

Winter's Solstice was the original reason for the season. Pagan religions revered it as the time of death, the time when restraints against the nether-realm were at their weakest. The spirits of the dead were thought to be unleashed at this time, to wander the earth seeking out the lights of the living. Considered dangerous, the ancients developed many tactics for warding off these nocturnal roamers - such as the constant clanging of bells and gongs, to frighten evil spirits away. Bells were associated with death in many ancient belief systems - in fact, the Celts believed that burying small, brass jingle bells near a corpse would result in it's unnatural resurrection.

I heard the bells on Christmas Day...

The powers of necromancers and witches were thought to be elevated during this time of darkness - and in that age, witches, fair folk, and other creatures were considered to be matters of fact, to be respected and sometimes feared.

But, as we know, the Solstice would not remain the province of paganism forever.

With the Dark Ages stretching onward, Christianity was aggressively spreading from it's fallen Roman epicenter throughout Gaul, Normandy, the black forests of Germania, and beyond. The Old Ways were consumed, in one manner or another, by the new chosen faith. Pagan beliefs and peoples were either tortured out of existence, or converted. Holy days and celebratory feasts were subverted and formed into new amalgams, neither Christian nor heathen, but a forced union of the two.

Around 300 AD, one agent of this spreading religious order is known to us today as Saint Nikolas, the Bishop of Myra, one of the cities of Lycia. The Bishop of Myra was widely recognized for his kindness and generosity, especially for his habit of 'secretly' bestowing gifts to others. Thus are we familiar with the Saint Nick of legend - leaving surprise gifts for children, coins in shoes, trinkets in stockings. However, to his contemporaries the Bishop was known for more than his generosity.

Nikolas of Myra was a worker of miracles, supernatural feats, and inexplicable displays that led him to be dubbed the "Wonderworker." If labeled a pagan sorcerer, such feats would have been attributed to Satanic influence, and resulted in a slow execution. But safe under his official robes, Nikolas was given awe and respect by the pious as he displayed his Wonders. His reputation was secure in his lifetime.

But life cannot go on forever. At least, not for all of us.

During 343 AD, the good Bishop knew he was approaching death, and none of his Wonders could save him. The core promise of Christianity is, of course, the everlasting immortality of one's soul in heaven. Immortality - to breathe and see and speak and laugh and eat forever - has been the coveted bauble at the heart of every selfish man since time before time. Which is why, even before Christ, there were a myriad of techniques, formulas, and incantations for grasping the eternal, denying the grave. Even after Christianity, a tainted believer, driven to desperation, would perchance consider cutting a bargain with the ungod, the repository of wickedness himself, the Devil.

Nikolas's unorthodox insurances are not detailed, but history relates his appeals to God for salvation upon death. And, in fact, history explicitly relates his success in this venture.

Saint Nikolas was visited by powerful beings, angels, who assured him that they would see his soul escorted through eternity after death. If they were truly angels, perchance they lied - because the death of Nikolas has no historic record.

To be certain, there was a funeral; A grand procession, attended by all, that wound through the streets of Myra in mournful honor of the 'Wonderworker'. There was even a tomb with, presumably, a body, laid to rest in a place of honor in the temple.

And that is when the strange goings-on began.

Something began to seep from the marble coffin. Something marvelous. At a loss to identify the otherworldly substance, later scholars dubbed it "mana". Although mortal knowledge could no more define its composition than it's source, one thing was known of this bizarre discharge: It had supernatural healing properties.

Saint Nikolas's tomb became a thriving pilgrimage destination, as hordes flocked to seek communion with the wondrous necrotic emulsions.

It is around this time that the legends surrounding "Saint Nick" began to take a darker turn.

Rather than sly winks and secret gifts, tales of terror in the night begin to spread throughout rural Europe. Tales of an invading creature that would desecrate homes, wrenching "naughty" children shrieking from their blankets to be stuffed into a rough sack and dragged into the freezing night - never to be seen again. The names of this dark fiend began to vary - Krampus, Ruebezahl, Hans Trapp, Black Peter, Knecht Ruppert... But, throughout legend, all were linked somehow to Saint Nick.

In some stories these creatures, portrayed with red lolling tognues and black horns, were Santa's associates. Sometimes they would make his decisions, sometimes they would be in charge of punishing wicked children while he rewarded the good, and in some legends, people whispered that Saint Nick and his demons were one and the same.

The official histories, under the oversight of the powerful Vatican, ensured that the angelic, gift giving, saintly Bishop Nikolas would be remembered for his piety and service to the church.

Tales of a supernatural abductor were the stuff of peasants. An enchanted child thief who knew no earthly boundaries, not barred shutters, not locked doors, who could penetrate through the cracks in the wall or down the chimney, about the eaves or within the chinks, such accounts were for the countrymen to be concerned with.

Other legends plagued the countrymen of Europe during these ages. Accounts of terror in the darkness, of corpses who had forgotten death, returning to wreak terror upon their loved ones under the cover of night, of shambling things which knew nothing of the sun. It was regular practice in those days predating embalming to take practical precautions against such reanimations - corpses were exhumed and bound, or decapitated, or dismembered and reburied, burned, stopped. In the dark ages, vampires were no fireside legends, they were an accepted and pervasive problem of daily life.

Today, as with other things, we know far better than our foolish predecessors.

And, of course, we know that Santa Claus is made up. Living - but fictional.

Santa Claus is not fictional, Santa Claus is a vampire!

The most successful vampire of all time - THINK ABOUT IT!

He's immortal, for one. He only comes in the dead of night.

Hellooo? Immortals that shun the sunlight? Shouldn't this be ringing some bells already?

He can levitate, move himself at will across the earth, is untouched by cold or high-altitude low-oxygen conditions. He makes his abode in a hidden Arctic fortress - a freezing, inhospitable environment which is plunged into perpetual twilight, without a glimpse of the sun, for half of the entire year. He can telepathically divine the actions and intent of any individual he sets his mind to.

...He knows when you've been sleeping, he knows when you're awake, he knows if you've been bad or good, so dear god this fucker is creepy!

He can enter any home by supernatural means - so long as he has an invitation.

Can you think of any homes Santa Claus might be welcome in? How about ALL OF THEM?!

If you were a vampire who needed an invitation to penetrate the domiciles of the living, what would be the holy grail achievement of your existence? The ultimate ruse?

The good, long-dead but not-really sorcerous Saint Nikolas is the first vampire in history to master the benefits of branding and good public relations.

The beard hides the fangs! The red clothes mask the blood! Have you heard of those vampires that glitter? Does Christmas feature glittery TINSEL?! And Santa's fat because he GORGES ON VICTIMS AT WILL!

Milk and cookies? Don't be naive!

I'm not saying that Santa sucks blood at every home he visits - or even that he only visits on Christmas night. (That is merely when his powers are at their peak.) But how many people go missing without explanation from their homes every year? How many victims left an open invitation to that fat bastard, only to be surprised in their covers one night by a Jolly Old Elf?

The fiction is self sustaining at this point - but I suspect in the early years of his "rebranding", Saint Nikolas actually did continue his habit of "secretly" giving gifts. Capturing children to manufacture his toys, he would then deliver them to good girls and boys on Christmas night - reinforcing the legend of Good Old Saint Nick just enough that the belief would grow.

Rewarding a handful of unharmed believers so untold masses would open themselves up to his ravages.

As for the abducted "Elves" enslaved to make his next round of toys, I sadly suspect that they are exhausted and consumed within the year - refrigerator snacks used up just in time for the next Christmas harvest.

So, ladies and gentlemen, girls and boys, have a happy holiday season. But if you want to survive it, I'd highly recommend you revoke any invites to that Dark Elf.

Stay together. Stay indoors. Keep a warm fire going, have some Christmas cookies to fortify your spirits, and some hollow-point .40 calibers to fortify your position.

You’d better watch out. You’d better not cry. You’d better reload, I’ve told you why.

A 700 year old sorcerous Lycian vampire bishop is coming to town.

Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Bullet in the Hole Spades: Making a Scene!

The first chapter of Volume 3 is done!

About DAMN time, if you ask me. Cri-mi-nelly! And other words I never say! We released Volume 2 in early 2008, and here in late 2010, we're just finishing the next chapter. A previous blog showcases our 'Box 'o Excuses', so there's no need to recite it once more.

Even so, you guys have been fantastically, divinely patient with us regarding Volume 3. Regardless of how long our production has stretched, we've received overwhelming support and encouragement from so many kind people - thank you, everyone. If it's any consolation, the next two chapters will NOT take as long as the first one did.

But I think you deserve more than consolation. I think you deserve a gift - TA DAA!

We're posting the first scene of Chapter 7 online, for free - right now!
There's no worry over spoilers, since it's the very first scene of the book. You've waited long enough that you deserve at least a few pages of appreciation! Download scene 1 of Chapter 7 for free: We hope you enjoy the preview!

Additionally, I do like tossing out some evidence that, yes, we have been working on another book over here, and finishing actual pages of tangible story. Volume 3 is not an elaborate hoax, we've got like 40 pages of this stuff, with more in the works.

But I'll tell you what is a hoax. A terrifying, bloody deception.

Santa Claus.

If you want the horrific truth, I'll give it to you - right here, on Christmas. In the meanwhile, stay away from that old fucker, for your own safety. Consider yourself warned!

If, on the other hand, you just want Dreamkeepers news, then hop on by next week - we'll have our last 'Bullet in the Hole' announcement!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Bullet in the Hole Diamonds: Animatic Action

...Wouldn't it be awesome if, theoretically, you were quietly browsing online one day, and then WHAMMO! Sparkly, fully-animated Dreamkeepers action flew out of nowhere to kick you in the ass?

And wouldn't it be crazy, suppositionally, if that cartoon collision happened in a big, high-profile mainstream website - the type of site where no independent comic, let alone a furry anything, has ever before ventured?

And wouldn't it be spiffy if none of this was hypothetical?

Liz & I have plans in motion to produce a 15-second, fully animated Dreamkeepers commercial slated to air on this summer - for starters. Using our publishing revenues and some planned 2011 fundraisers, we've budgeted $10,000 to unleash an unprecedented independent ad campaign. It's our intent to spread this promo to the ends of the earth, and take a big step towards bringing Dreamkeepers- and the entire genre of furry art & comics - closer to the mainstream recognition it merits.
But I'm staying pretty composed about the whole thing. Serene. Unflappable. Mr. Cool, that's me.

As much as I enjoy power-blasting hot air regarding our hopes and plans, 'what-ifs' are never quite as fun as 'lookit this'. So check out our progress so far! (Note - There's no need to worry about spoilers in the animated scenes, as they're intended to be teaser images for new readers. So if there is anything that's new or suggestive, bear in mind that it's not a major story twist or anything, you are safe.)

But, regarding the animatic above - a bit of background before I dash off.
We were fortunate to meet voice actor Philip Sacramento at a previous convention. Contacting him again recently, he was available to create the spectacular voice-over work you just heard. This guy is absolutely stellar - he even went so far as to give us more than one version of his lines!

It was hell trying to choose which take to use in the commercial - but a good kind of hell. If you really want some fun, check out the amazing range on his site's vocal reel, I'd highly recommend him for anyone seeking some voice talent.

The background music I made myself, cobbling together royalty-fee samples and foggy memories of childhood piano lessons. Audio isn't my forte' but with some tweaking I think we've got a perfectly serviceable soundtrack coming together for the promo. Plus the composer was willing to work for coffee and peanuts, which is pretty awesome.

Most of the work, of course, will be in creating the actual animation - even 15 seconds of good stuff is a monumental task. Which is another salient reason we made the decision to add some freelancers to the team recently. That way we have some extra production-power in churning out animation frames, plus the ability to keep Volume 3 progress rolling forward unchecked.

And speaking of Volume 3, we've got some fun in store for you, right here next week...

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Bullet in the Hole Hearts: Colorful Staff

It's time for our first Bullet in the Hole announcement - by the by, the name is derived from a poker term, where aces are present in a person's hand. There are four aces in a deck, four blogs to post, & four weeks left to post them. Why are we using poker terms for our announcements? Because it's Christmastime, that's why! I dunno, just roll with it.

Revealing the first card in our deck of surprises, Dreamkeepers has expanded its staff!

Rest assured this change isn't going to change much. Up 'til now, the whole show has been put on by one dynamically unpaid duo: Dave and Liz, cartoon junkies extraordinaire. But for the first time ever, we've expanded Vivid to bring in a few cohorts as freelance assistants on the project. Hopefully, we'll be able to do more damage that way.

Ha! No, not damage, art. I sometimes confuse the two. As for what exactly this will mean for Dreamkeepers, you may have some questions - watch, as I pretend I know what they are, and proceed to answer them!
That's pretty much it. Volume 3 is huge, and we're still finishing off the first of three chapters. ...Which is running to about 43 pages. Any normal DK book, that'd be about the halfway point. But V3 is looking to exceed 130 pages - it's a freakin' shark attack!
As far as creators go, Dave & Liz tend towards extreme self-reliance. We built our own book series, our own company to publish it, and our own website & webcomic to promote it. We weave our own clothing from the grass of the field and hunt & kill our own frozen waffles. We don' need no high-falutin' help from NOBAWDY!
Well, maybe we do. In fact, we'd had plans in years past about, in a far-off someday, hiring some help for the project. But 'someday' has come upon us far faster than we'd ever expected. With the huge, supportive, and eager response from readers for the next book, we finally realized that it's time to take care of business.
This book needs to get done, and especially with our to-be-announced excitement next week, it's time we loosened up a bit and accepted some help.
As my spectacularly rendered flow-chart illustrates, the story and finished art are still Dave & Liz territory, so the look and feel of Dreamkeepers isn't going to be warped or changed at all. But blocking in the flat colors is extremely time consuming - the most laborious part of producing the art, in fact. And that is where our intrepid freelancers will be zooming to the rescue, to act as our new color department!

They'll get single pages with swatch sheets that look a little something like this: (Liz blocks in the characters, so she can catch & correct my consistency bloopers.)
We'll nix the word balloon text on outgoing pages, to reduce risk of spoiler leaks because blowing the story is the sole province of Liz and I. We may get pages back that look a little something like this:
At which point we'll flip some final color choices about:

-and then Dave shades in the fun stuff.

Admittedly, the color department doesn't have the most glamour-drenched job in the world, but that's why we're compensating them - whether it be with money, sparkly pebbles, or bits of ribbon remains to be seen. Depends on what I can get away with. (We'll pay with money - I was a starving artist too long to turn around & not pay others for their work.)

Reasons - I haz them! I know there's a flood of readers out there who would be more than willing to help us out of the goodness of their hearts. However, we have enough trouble staying organized amongst ourselves as it is, so keeping our team small and cohesive is the way to go right now. It's not our intent to be exclusionary, but there's only so many people we can effectively work with at any given time. If we ever publicly open applications for freelancers, we'll be sure to announce it here first and foremost.

I haven't actually asked yet if anyone prefers anonymity or not - once we actually start working with our new allies, I'll know whom I'm permitted to assign blame to. For now they shall simply be known as "The Association of Seven." Are there seven of them? No. But it's got a nice ring to it.

One might also wonder, why are we starting to pay freelancers if we haven't actually started paying ourselves yet? Simple. That way, we can build up the funds to more effectively promote Dreamkeepers, and do spectacularly fun things -

Such as the thing which we will be announcing next week.

...Since adding staff is such a new and different step for us, we are anticipating more questions on the subject. In a vain attempt to fend off the inevitable, we present for your perusal:

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

"Feel the Illinoise!”

Strangers in fedoras, anime-character identity crossovers, very confused marketing executives, and somebody threw a tank. I’m speaking, of course, about the recently concluded Midwest Furfest convention in Chicago!

We had a blast, and got out alive - the primary hallmarks of a successful convention. I must add, it’s always fun when a non-furry, 'Business Leaders Roundtable’ or something is meeting in the same hotel and weekend as a furry con. Executives in suits just wander shell-shocked around the lobby, looking for all the world like they accidentally woke up in Dr. Seuss Hell.
Interestingly, they often seem to pick Liz out of the crowd to demand an explanation from. Bouncing around, she looks too fun not be involved somehow, yet she’s tiny and blonde and therefore safe to speak to. So far as anyone knows.

The convention was a blast - we saw old friends, and had the opportunity to meet for the first time (in person) some of the folks from our forum. Oddly enough, there seemed to be a tendency for everyone to be wearing fedoras - which I wholeheartedly approve of. We wound up having a little fedora flotilla around our table - even one total stranger was pulled in by it’s dark, rakish gravity.

Apparently, Liz & I also made quite the impression on another con-goer, with the fursona 'Steven' who declared unwaveringly that he recognizes us - as characters from the anime series ‘Baccano!’. Evidently my choice of wardrobe and Liz's pantomimes were enough to give us away. After acquiescing to a photo-op, curiosity over our animated doppelgangers motivated us to look it up:
I think Liz matches all too well, which is consistent with her animated cinematic track record:

But clearly, my double is missing the crucial glasses, and I need to cultivate some sideburns to keep up. But on the plus side, Isaac and Miria rob places dressed in outrageous costumes - which is, of course, the Way It Should Be Done. I don’t countenance boring criminals. Although I’ve found a subtle crime is impossible in costume - the time I went shopping in Michaels dressed as a WWII soldier, I was lavished with attentive customer service. Too bad for them I was just browsin’ for Krauts.

Cartoonish antics aside, most of the convention was spent with my nose to the grindstone, sketching out... cartoon characters & commissions. (Currently available only at conventions.)

Even my pencil commissions are getting increasingly elaborate and fun, and we’re getting more and more requests for them at conventions.

The result, which we were forced to face this con, is that I’m getting severely overbooked - pun, INTENDED! HA ha! I’m the only one laughing...

The easy solution, of course, would be to start saying ‘no’ to people. I tried that, but it turns out my heart has all the toughness of a delightful custard. One hopeful set of eyes, and kaPOW! My willpower disintegrates faster than an executive’s grasp of reality at a furry con.

As a result, we’ve got to integrate some price hikes and a first-come first-serve slot system for the next round of conventions. This should provide the structure and firmness which my spine currently lacks - I’ll post up the details when we get closer to our next convention.

And in closing (You’re still reading? Wow! I could just write anything in here and you’d seriously read it for this long? Well- Ahem; Dear, dear, dearest internet-Diary, let me count the ways...)

Or not. In closing, we're home - and we've got some fun in store for you. A lot of fun. We've got a salvo of mind-exploding Dreamkeepers announcements which, if unleashed in one blog, might just be too much fun for any one reader to withstand. Heck, we've been having enough trouble ourselves, just containing our enthusiasm - our tendency is to play things close to the chest until they transition from a 'what if' to a certainty... And a whole pile of fun has just made the transition. So to protect us all from enthusiasm overload, we'll be releasing the news in bite-size chunks all month - during our December news marathon, Bullets in the Hole. Right here, every Thursday, we'll be slapping down glittering, untold Dreamkeepers news - see you next week!

Meanwhile, we have much to do - to observe, enjoy our newly designated, self indulgent webcam:

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Sneak Peek #18: Thumbnails of Disorder

As the annual Halloween contest builds, Volume 3 has been continuing it's inexorable march towards completion behind the scenes.

Having finished all our special seasonal art for the year, (I can't WAIT to show this year's Halloween Prelude!) can you guess what specifically I've been working on lately? If you can, good for you, no need to read further. Congratulations for being on top of things.

If you're still reading this, then you don't know. Excellent - I LOVE delivering a good surprise! Sit down avid reader, quell your anticipation - and prepare for the veil of mystery to be torn asunder!

While Chapter 7 color blocking continues thanks to the ever-brilliant Liz, I've been doing thumbnail layouts for the Chapter 8 pages. That way we can keep our production groove continuous - no hurdles will be in the way of gliding right into Ch. 8 page pencils.

Thumbnailing is one of those tasks which always takes longer than I expect... There's just so much that hinges on them. The script is one thing, but the layout determines how the scene is expressed, where the characters are in relation to everything, the narrative pacing, the camera angles - in short, most of the actual directing (to shamelessly plunder terminology from film) happens during the thumbnail stage. Every subsequent drawing relies on the thumbnail for it's foundation. There’s always the temptation to simplify things and draw the thumbs from an orbital view, thus nixing a lot of drawing work - but Google Earth probably won’t let us user their images in our books.
I'm about halfway through the thumbnails for Chapter 8 right now - which is shaping up to be a 40 page chapter. Yikes. Volume 3 is going to be a book-and-a-half.

An odd production quirk for V3 - these are actually the last thumbnails I'll be doing for the entire book. The Chapter 9 thumbnails are already done, finished back in January. During the winter, while getting Volume 1 and 2 revised for download sales, we were also writing the final scripts for Volume 3. Chapter 8 needed another draft though, and actually wound up being revised until February. So when I jumped into thumbnails that winter, I went for Chapter 9 first - and now here we are!
You may notice the labeling system on these thumbnails - by Chapter, page, and panel. This helps us keep organized when we’re revising the scenes and sketching out alternatives and improvements - if we didn’t improve our rough drafts (which these are), our work would be on the fast-track to mediocrity.

I know it has to be frustrating waiting on this behemoth of a book, but take heart. The script is written in stone, the thumbnails are 84% done, and that should really help us keep the art in production at a nice steady pace until the end. Even so, thank you again to everyone for being so patient.

Actually, as a show of gratitude (And to demonstrate that, yes, we're getting this book done) we have a surprise coming around December. Will it be Santa, gift wrapped and delivered to your door? Nope. Because I don't mess around with Santa. Never. Santa is NOT welcome in my abode. I'll explain why, in detail, closer to the "Yule-tide," whatever that is. In the meanwhile, don't trust Santa.

And let's end things on that note.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Droppin' Beats, Bustin' Typos

Ahem... Quick confession: Elementary school failed on me. You know spelling, like, with words? I tend to balls that up quite frequently. Like on a recent Prelude:
Where I misspelled "relevance" as "relevence".

Little did I know the impending consequences - for then, a most rhymalicious e-mail appeared in my inbox:

Awwww shit son, Typo Busta T's in the house! You ready to get philological up in this piece?

Then drop the beat!

Yo I'm the man himself, Typo Busta T,
The mac daddy of lexicography!
Hired gun of the proofreadin' bourgeoisie,
Bustin' typos and rhymes with equal frequency.

First my '64 Pinto comes from out of the sky -
You ain't the only one with a whip that can fly!
Then I land and crush typos like the witch of the east,
Turning the Typo Demon into a neutered beast.

As my ride lifts off from panel two you'll see
A chalk outline where "relevence" used to be.
I stole an A from panel nine so you can fix that shit
And now it's time for me to make like Wisp and split.

Correctly-spelled word to your mother! I'm out!



PS: I apologize for nothing.

It's a comfort knowing I've got such colorfully competent individuals backing me up - the e-mail and it's magical correctives were bestowed upon me by Taylor, who has thrown us a spelling life preserver now and then in our journey. Thanks Taylor, for making our life both more grammatically correct and fun. Well, I've got work to do - back to making misspelled comics!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Halloween - Jinkies!

Our 2010 Dreamkeepers Halloween illustration! For any who have been waiting, this officially kicks off the 5th annual Dreamkeepers Halloween Fanart contest.

The credit for the idea of a Scooby Doo parody goes entirely to Liz. As soon as we made the connections, this illustration became inevitable; things just matched up too eerily well, from the scruffy Mace to his unintelligible, ravenous sidekick.
It was a ton of fun loading every cliché imaginable onto the monster in the background. As lame as it sounds, once I finished this pic I found myself wishing it was a DVD that I could then play… Also, it made me lust after a Dreamkeepers candy bar. Why? That’s a mystery I can’t solve.

But the Mystery of the Swamp Monster Ghost Pirate etc. etc. is solved, on our Halloween Rules page - because no Scooby adventure is complete until the mask comes off.

Contestants and browsers alike are welcome to attend! The gallery of entries will be unveiled October 31st, Halloween. Until then, feel free to browse through illustrations from years past:

Well, I hope everyone’s in the mood for some cold-blooded October fun, because it’s on the way! In other news, we also have graphic novels back in stock on the site for any who have been waiting - I would advise making any Christmas gift purchases early to ensure we don’t run out again.

Monday, September 13, 2010

V3 Sneak Peek #17: Graphite Milestone

All the pencils for Chapter 7 are finished! Weighing in at 43 pages, it's our heftiest stretch of story to date. Why 43? Because the significance of 42 was too intimidating.

It's a fantastic relief to finally hit a major milestone on the production of this book - it's been long overdue. It's 2010, after all. Volume 2 released in 2008. Why in the hell did it take us this long just to draw the 1st chapter of the next book?
Well, for those of you who don't obsessively read and memorize my every keystroke in this blog, let me refer you to our 'Box 'o Excuses'. For those interested more in results than excuses, feel free to skip past it, we've got some pretty pictures up.

And, voila! I hope you enjoyed the excuses. None of those will be bogging us down now - we're not getting married again for awhile, commissions are of course closed, the website and the second edition downloads are done and staying put, and plus it's more fun to draw than continue fabricating excuses.

So without further ado, here are some samples from Chapter 7!

You may notice that some of these are still lineart, and some are in various stages of coloring. That's thanks to Liz, who has been hard at work blocking in colors the entire time I've been penciling. With such a strong head start on the colors, we're hoping to completely finish Chapter 7 in time for Midwest Furfest this November. It's something to shoot for, anyways.

Currently, I'm getting some Dreamkeepers Halloween art ready for the coming season, as I work on Chapter 8 page thumbnails and gear up for Chapter 7 final shading.

Well, that's it for now! Thanks again to everyone for being patient with us while we've been laying the foundation for global cartoon conquest.

Things to look forward to: A finished Chapter 7 this fall, and of course coming up very soon we'll be posting prizes and rules for the 5th annual Dreamkeepers Halloween Fanart Contest!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Comparing Contest Conclusion!

The Page Comparing Contest is officially concluded!

Thank you very much to everyone for participating - we received way more entries than I expected! I was expecting maybe ten, and over sixty flooded in! There were a lot of people who put a lot of very careful scrutiny and consideration into their entries - but in the end, of the handful of entries that covered every change, only one was the fastest, and Ian will be getting the free-books prize.

However, we received so much great effort and involvement that I can’t bear to send everyone away empty-handed after playing. Even though we’re out of books, Liz pointed out the obvious: We’re not out of book downloads. So everyone who participated will be getting an e-mail soon, with links to a free Volume 1 & 2 download! 8 D

Thanks again to everyone for playing, we hope you had fun! For posterity, here is the list of changes that we were looking for in the entries. And I hope, after going through this list, everyone can appreciate the grinding pains that we went through improving the second edition‘s continuity. And that Whip now has ears.

Entire Page: Color is a bit more saturated, so font and word bubbles are a bit thicker.

1st Panel: Ceiling planks face different direction then before.
Krin’s eyes are now orange.
Outside planks are seen to the far right, between the wall gaps.
Door handle and hinges are on opposite side of the door.
Randy now has a stripe on his shoulder.
Food on the far left table is now colored green.
Krin’s face has yellow eyebrows/dots colored.
Spoons have been added to all tables.
Randy’s hooves are colored.
Gorse has an eyebrow.
Randy’s pants have pocket details.
Food is colored green at Gorse, Randy, and Krin’s back table.

Second Panel: Paige has a spoon now.

Third Panel: Paige has a pocket added.
Whip’s ears and fur tuff have been added.
Spoons have been added for the characters.

Fourth Panel: Extra space in Paige’s dialogue before “I”.
Paige has a pocket, with lines moving pocket over.

Sixth Panel: Mace’s dialogue is moved to include a space.

Seventh Panel: Paige’s dialogue has capital I and extra space before I, and capital I in connecting word balloon.
Whip has added lines and color to his chest tuff.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Compare Contest Page

Annd, the contest is on! Once again, just list the differences between the original and new versions of this page. The rules and stuff are listed in our older blog post:
Once again, contest entries must be e-mailed to us:
DeviantArt, FA notes, Twitter messages, or replies to this blog can't be counted, as it's easier for us to keep track of everything in one e-mail.

We'll announce the winner in another blog tomorrow evening - in the meantime, thanks for playing, and I hope everyone has fun!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Compare Contest

Riddled with minor errors, the old Dreamkeepers books have been cleaned and polished for their brand new second-edition release. But now for the challenge: can you tell the difference?

If you've got an eye for detail, then you could win some second edition copies!

Right here in our blog, we'll be posting up an image of a graphic novel page - the 'before' version, and the 2nd edition 'after' version. The moment we post them up, the race is on. Compare the pages to find the differences - the first person to e-mail us with a list that details every change will be the winner!

The winner will receive a free physical copy of Volume 1 and Volume 2, the 2nd editions.

The pages will be hosted August 25th, Wednesday night, at roughly midnight Eastern Standard Time. Once you finish your list, e-mail it to us here: with 'Compare Contest' as the subject line. Bear in mind, the first list we receive won't necessarily be the winner - only the first completely correct list which specifies every change. Be sure to get detailed with your description. Saying "Narp changed clothes" is vague and may not be enough. Saying "In panel 2, Narp's shirt now has three buttons instead of two, and his pants now have a seam line" is specific and points out the exact changes and their location on the page. Hopefully this contest will illustrate to first-edition book owners what kinds of fixes we made, and whether or not they personally will feel the need to own the second edition.
Well, that's it! Once we receive the winning entry, we'll post it up for all to see and the contest will be over. See you here this Wednesday night!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Sneak Peek #15: Carsplosions and Shinies

Sorry for the delay since our last 'Behind the Scenes' - yes, we're still alive. Rumors of our death, and of Prelude postings being performed by automated Cartoon Drones (TM), have been highly exaggerated. (Although if you know where I can find any of those Drones, drop me a line.)

Things in life, like cars, and friends, have been exploding lately, and that can be distracting. Not the cool ball-o-flame movie explosions, but the "Oh, this car isn't moving anymore" kind. Well, it was inevitable - we'd just put the finishing touches on our custom duct-tape decals.

The style was such an affront to all that is holy and good that I suppose divine vengeance was unavoidable. Oh - the extra panel of buttons on the dashboard were, of course, birdcalls. To think they didn't come standard. We had to install the mini disco-light too. Here's one final salute to our little car, on which someone wrote in majestically irremovable material "Your Car Is Win!," and which improbably got us to and from many a convention. Here's to you, car.

But on to more mobile things! Despite our lack of postings, we've still been moving forward on V3 work - in fact, if we're not posting, it usually means we're that much more absorbed in our coloring. Pages and scenes are continuing to come together:

The lighting setup in our nightclub scene has been especially challenging and fun! It's always a good day when I'm debating how many laser-effects to include in an image. Though there are still some tweaks to make, the strip club scene is nearly complete.

Now that conventions are cleared out and real-life imploding fun-time is over, I'm hoping to really move on the remaining pencils in Chapter 7. If I work fast enough, maybe I could have all the pages drawn sometime in September. That might be a bit ambitious, but we'll see! Updates should be happening a little more on schedule here in the meantime.

Dammit Indi, have some patience! We're only human - okay, fine. Have some "moar" - a random square of snakes. That's what pushiness gets you - this. You're welcome.