Tuesday, April 27, 2010

V3 Sneak Peek #12: Window, window, window, FAKE!

Returning to pencils, the first scene out the gate was quite the doozy - a big, sprawling establishing shot in the Calypsa district. Liz and I got a lot of inspiration for the buildings from our wanderings in downtown Pittsburgh - I’ve been using a lot of our photos, like the one below, for reference.

It’s actually the first time I’ve sketched the architecture in Calypsa, so I got to have a lot of fun. That fun soon transformed into lots and lots of painstaking perspective drawing. You have no idea how difficult it is to meticulously draw everything constructed in flawlessly perfect perspective -

- And neither do I! That drawing may have some perfection in there by accident, but none on purpose. Faking perspective is one of my mainstay artistic tricks. Sure it would be possible to make everything entirely accurate - but the next page calls. The book wants to be finished someday, so I can’t dither on one drawing forever. Just long enough to make it *look* like I dithered on it forever. It’s a definite asset to know the perspective tricks which make a scene look convincing. Don’t look for it any time soon, but I’m planning on using this very drawing in my next Youtube tutorial: How to Fake Perspective.

But first - more Volume 3 pages. Some nice, rolling hills. Nice, easy, non-geometric hills. What a relief. …It’s way easier to fake perspective when there isn’t any.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

4-20-2010 V3 Sneak Peek #11: Rolling

Purgatory is cleared - time to go to hell!

As the colors above hint, all distractions have been quietly assassinated, and Volume 3 production is once again our sole creative focus.

And boy, does it feel good! Within a week, I’ll have some new pencils to show in here - and after I get a scene or so sketched up, I can resume shading & complete the opening pages. Finally, some finished work will begin piling up.

It was a longer than expected road getting to this point, but there were a few artistic errands we wanted to run before settling permanently into book-mode. For instance, we’ve been wanting to make Dreamkeepers posters available for a long time now, so we went ahead and finished a nice pair for release this summer. They’ll be 11x17, and filled with sparkles:

Of course, the sparkles are not yet in evidence on the lineart above. But trust me, they’ll be there. We’ll post final art a bit closer to the printing date.

So in closing, thanks go everyone for being so patient with us while we’ve been working behind the scenes getting things set up! From here on out, the wait for Volume 3 will be spiced with behind-the-scenes art, as well as the knowledge that it actually is getting done. To signify our promise of more to come, enjoy below some of our meticulously drafted concept work created in the process of developing the book:

I’m not certain, but I *think* it’s Scinter and Igrath… Partying with the popper from the ‘Trouble’ game.

…I forget which scene this is for.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

In Your Facebook.

Dreamkeepers now has an official Facebook page! If you're a facebook user, look us up - and don't miss the Dreamkeepers Fan Group on facebook, either. We're aiming to link our twitter account to the facebook page, which would then drop up-to-date info conveniently into your lap. Hopefully, as our ability to keep up with all e-mails has been sadly reduced, this will be another way to help keep folks informed and up-to-date on what we're doing while helping us streamline our workflow.

As long as we don't stumble into Farmville, that is. Once that happens, everything that is good in the world vanishes like a mirage... Leaving only Cold, Dark, Farmlands. Tread carefully, o facebook users, lest you too be consumed by That Which Shall Not Be Gamed.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Movin' On: Forward - sideways - possibly around.

Earth Stoppingly Important Notice: The address for Dreamkeepers has changed. Anyone mailing us orders, correspondence, or FUNTREATS, please check the website for the updated address.

If you've mailed us anything within the past month, hang tight. It should automatically transfer to the new PO Box, it'll just take a little while for it to happen. In the meanwhile, thanks for your patience!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Talk < Walk

My reply lag with e-mails is getting worse and worse - this despite the fact that I've been spending more and more time trying to get caught up.

Every week I'll spend a full work day just replying to messages, sometimes two days. I did the research and found that weeks have only seven days - and after doing some calculations, realized that online upkeep is starting to take a huge bite out of our productivity. Especially after considering the weekly Prelude work, it just doesn't leave enough time to effectively focus on graphic novel production.

The difficult fact that I'm facing up to is that I need to drastically cut down on my e-mail load... Difficult, because to date I've placed a lot of value on remaining available to our readers. Personally replying to questions, feedback, and encouragement has been a gratifying experience. Additionally, I feel like I kind of owe readers an attentive response... After all, they give us and our work attention, the least I can do is reciprocate.

That's why I have such mixed feelings about beginning to reduce my level of contact. But when it finally boils down, I think our readership as a whole wants to read new Dreamkeepers comics more than anything else. Corresponding with readers has been a pleasurable facet of our endeavor - but, readers of what? I don't want to transform into an online Social Sally, basking in attention for past accomplishments while Dreamkeepers languishes in limbo. And as our fan base slowly grows, that is becoming an ever greater possibility.

At the end of the day, I have to do what it takes to keep our focus on moving the story forward.

Now, I'm not saying don't ever contact us - we love hearing from you guys! We enjoy reading your letters, your ideas, your questions, and your fabulously restorative encouragement. I just want everyone to understand what's going on when it takes me ages to reply to you. I'm not squatting in some imaginary ivory tower, feeling too superior to mingle: We just have a lotta story to tell, and it’s not drawing itself.

E-mails relating to purchases are a little different, of course - I can’t well run a business by ignoring requests and questions about transactions. But when it comes to other correspondence, it’s likely to be on the back burner for awhile.

The upside is that, for those interested in how we’re doing, I should actually have more time to keep you posted via twitter, facebook(soon) and this blog. So albeit a bit less personal, updates on Dreamkeepers and ourselves should be more frequent and easier to come by.
And the biggest upside, of course, is that we will be busy effectively creating Dreamkeepers books.

That’s what I’m here to do.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Upgrade - Download

At long last, digital book sales are now live on the website.

Much to my surprise, people are actually buying them.

Admittedly, I wasn't really anticipating that phenomenon. I maintain this irrational concept that every person alive is equally as stingy as me. This theory is fortunately false, or the consumer-driven economy of the entire Western world would careen into ruin as citizens ubiquitously re-used their paper lunch bags and watched their movies for free on stop-motion library DVD's. Thankfully for global financial markets, most folks have looser spending standards than me. However, on the downside, Justin Bieber does have a career.

My main reason to get digital book sales finished was just that - to get them finished, clearing the way for important things like a haircut. But this whole 'people buy it' thing is a really awesome side effect. If more side effects were this serendipitous, I would dub myself 'King of Newly Advertised Pharmaceuticals.'

Although low, It seems the $2.00 download price struck a chord. I had a few reasons for pricing it so low - for one, some comics are available in stores for around $3.00. Who wants a download when a real, physical comic is going to be cheaper? And let’s not forget piracy - when people really want something, they can usually find it for free somewhere online. So my price has to compete with ’free’. The downside to piracy is, of course, that it can be a pain in the ass hunting & scrounging around obscure sites hoping for a virus-free legitimate download. I figured $2.00 would be low enough that a lot of folks would decide to skip the risk and just buy it. And lastly, if we could publish through traditional distribution outlets, $2.00 is roughly the amount of creator royalties we’d receive.

I’m thrilled there’s a market for digital DK books. It’ll be far easier growing our readership now. New browsers with a passing interest in the story are far more likely to part with $2.00 than $20.00. Twenty dollars for an online purchase is a decision- but two bucks... Hell, why not?

Addiction, that’s why. WELCOME TO OUR WORLD! MUAH HA HA! I hope you like SPARKLES!

Now to get some more books rolling... There are still a few tidbits to knock out before getting into full Volume 3 production: Taxes remain, the DK Facebook isn’t quite set yet, we’re making some posters that we’ve been meaning to get done for some time, and we’re smack-dab in the middle of a chaotic week bracketed by two back-to-back conventions - Anime Punch and Furry Connection North. So there’s some short term, necessary distractions here... But it’s good to know that in the meanwhile, in stock or out, new readers can discover the graphic novel story.