Thursday, August 21, 2014

V4 Sneak Peek #8- Pencils DONE!

Good morning, sir!

Or madam.  As you prefer.

I have an update- the reports are true.  Volume 4 pencils are done!  Every story page in the book is penciled, and merely awaits color, your eminence.

Chapter  10 is blocked, and nearly all of Chapter 11.  Chapter 12 is in the works.  So I ought to be able to bulldoze in and start shading up a storm.  I'm hoping I can KO about a Chapter's worth of shading every month.

To hit that stride, I'll have to take a break here and build a Prelude pad, KO a few commissions, try to get caught up on e-mails and... egads, when is the last time I replied to someone in the art accounts?

Bad, bad David.

I'm being stingy with samples from Volume 4 here because I want to avoid spoilers.  But have some random art advice:

One of our freelancers was interested in how to draw fabric- what makes it look natural, that sort of thing.  I doodled this up.   The most helpful analogy we discovered was to think of fabric not as a disconnected thing- but as another organic part of your character.  Like a second layer of skin.  That helps make the placement of folds and creases a little more intuitive, when your mind is seeing it as one whole.
As an aside, I'd encourage creators to use a range of fabrics with their characters.  Thin wispy drapery, thick plush folds, crinkly crisp uniforms, wet clingy cloth, dry, tight, baggy...  What would your cast be wearing and why?  Taking some time to think it through adds a pleasing, tactile dimension to your art.  At a subconscious level, the reader will not only see how your art looks, but understand how it would feel- and that adds a lot.

And this wouldn't be a Sneak Peek without at least some Volume 4 art- so here are a few glimpses that fall more into the 'teaser' category:

First, the official title of Volume 4- Descent to the Archives.

Kalei will be in it- and you'll find out a little more about what the hell might have happened with her and Jeneviv.

Vi is going to be in it and we are giving her a gun.  I'll let you do the math.

Randy has an epiphany and / or explosive flatulence.

Tinsel finds a shirt- and wears it.

I cannot overstate how excited I am with the way Volume 4 is shaping up.  I feel like Volumes 1-3 laid the groundwork, and the story is really launching forward with this edition.  We've been trailing breadcrumbs throughout- but this book drops some bread slices.

I can hardly wait to finish it and show you.

In the meanwhile- you may have heard that Volume 3 is updating for free on the DK site.  We're hoping to build up as many readers as we can for the V4 Kickstarter- thank you to everyone who has helped spread the word.  If you know anyone who would enjoy our work, please point them our way.

Thanks again to everyone for your generosity and goodwill- we've got some fun things in the works!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Parable of the Lantern

In the course of studying story and its component parts- character, thematic armature, bright colors- I found myself quite unexpectedly developing parables. Parables exist solely to convey a theme or moral truth- plot, setting, everything else is minimized so it doesn't distract from the point of the story. Characters exist only to the degree they're needed to dramatize the theme. Some schools of thought hold that this is the ultimate embodiment of story, it's highest and purest form. If you grant that stories exist only to convey thematic truth, then they'd be right. I tend to think otherwise, but exploring this model still proved enlightening. And productive- I wound up discovering a few parables of my own. And that's really how it felt with these- not like writing, but like finding. Once discovered, it seemed only appropriate to transcribe them- and why not, share them. So here's my first- the Parable of the Lantern.

Parable of the Lantern

There were once two men seeking wisdom under the tutelage of an ancient master.  He  brought them into a dark room.  In the center were two metal lamps, each containing a flickering flame.

"Grip your lamp by the base, endure the heat, and gaze into the flame," instructed the master.  "If your faith wavers and you look away, or your strength fails and you let go, even for an instant, you will be lost.  You will never be wise.  But gaze at the flame and, if you prevail, you will know truth."

And the master left them.

The two men gripped their lamps, and gazed into the light.   Soon the lamps grew hot from the fire within, and began to burn their hands.

One man let go and stood up.  "Aha!" cried the faithful man, as he continued to grip his lantern.  "You have shown yourself too weak to become wise."

"Who is wise, the one who holds fire, or the one who lets go?"

The faithless man's eyes adjusted to the dark, and he saw that he was in a library, filled with books.  He took his lantern by the handle, and began reading them by it's light.  "There are books here!" he said.

The kneeling man became furious.  "You have damned yourself to ignorance, don't tempt me to join you!  I hold the truth in my hands.  I find myself growing wiser already- a feeling you will never comprehend."

The standing man read all that he could, and then went into the next room.  There waited the master.

"Master, why did you tell us to be blinded by the lanterns when truth was elsewhere?"

The Master looked at his pupil.  "Because, wise as I am, I know that if I tell a man the truth, all he may do is believe it.  And truth lies not in believing, but in seeking."

"But Master, he is harming himself by gripping the lamp."

"A true believer is willing to inflict great harm- our friend, at least, will harm only himself, until he finds his common sense."

So go and seek the truth;  And do so first by releasing belief.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Overview and Interview

Big news:  Volume 4 pencils are DONE!

That means it's time to catch up a bit.  I have a big sack of stuff to share, so I think it's best to split them into several posts over the next couple of weeks.  Better than one unwieldy Frankenpost.

So what's wandering your way?

A tempting Volume 4 Sneak Peek (of course.)  With a couple of art tips wedged in there.

Shout out to one of the zaniest, funnest, most dynamic comics I've ever come across.

VANISHED!  The story of Graphicly and why DK e-books are scarce at present.

Realm- the unseen concept that gave birth to Dreamkeepers.

And what's the story with Story?
I've found myself giving advice on the topic lately, and there seem to be a range of misconceptions floating around out there- some of them harmful to aspiring creators.  While I don't have the time currently to draft a treatise, I plan to start sharing a stray thought or two- and figured I'd begin by posting some parables that I wrote in the course of my studies.  
But I did save one bona-fide piece of news just for this post.  Dreamkeepers was featured in an interview by TGT Media- check it out here!

Where else would you like to see Dreamkeepers pop up?  What magazines, sites, podcasts, youtubers do you listen to?   Let us know in the comments below, and let them know that we exist!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Volume 3 Free!

Updating every Monday Wednesday and Friday, Volume 3 is coming free to the Dreamkeepers website!

Why now?  Because Volume 4 pencils are scooting right along.  By the time V3 is fully posted, or before, we ought to be hosting an epic V4 Kickstarter.

That Kickstarter will determine if we can continue full speed on V5- as well as opening the door to other awesome, vivid possibilities.  But it will only be big if a lot of people already want Volume 4.

To that effect, we're promoting the V3 site release as much as we can- please help us out!  More readers will mean more supporters come Kickstarter time- and successful Kickstarters mean Dreamkeepers and Vivid have the fuel to grow and accomplish more.

We're entering an exciting time- when entertainment isn't just handed down to us from on high.  Now we, the audience, choose for ourselves what merits recognition.  I believe that together, we can build a series that has the same cultural footprint as something from a major studio.  And I want Vivid to bring other creators to light and give them the same opportunity.  I want the future of entertainment to be a meritocracy, where readers and creators are the ones who determine what flourishes.  

If you know anyone that might enjoy our work, please point them over to the free updates:

Thank you to everyone who has helped spread the word over the years, we couldn't have come this far without you!