Thursday, December 24, 2015

Warm Memories

Merry Christmas everyone!

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Happy Halloween!

It's that day- time for tricks, treats, and all flavors of spooky.   If you haven't seen it yet, enjoy the Halloween Prelude Special:  http://www.dreamkeeperscomic.com/PreludeHalloween15.html


And the winners of the 10th anniversary Halloween Fanart contest have been announced!    http://www.dreamkeeperscomic.com/gallery_halloween.htm 

As always, there were so many fantastic entries that some deserving ones have gone without a prize.  But that's why every contestant wins a Trick-or-Treat sticker- so remember!   E-mail me ( Dreamkeeperscomic*at*gmail.com ) your address by November 15th so I can deliver your winnings.  Otherwise- the trick's on you.    MUAH HA HA HA HA HAAAA!

As for me- I'm signing Volume 4's today, prepping to mail out Kickstarter rewards- and aiming to watch some spooky movies while I do it.

Any suggestions?  What are your favorite Halloween movies and specials?  Let me know in the comments below, and everyone eat some candy and enjoy everything you shouldn't today.  8 ) 

Friday, October 30, 2015

Halloween 2015: Birds Brains



This year's Halloween Prelude special!   http://www.dreamkeeperscomic.com/PreludeHalloween15.html 


Dave: This Halloween Prelude is inspired by Hitchcock's 'The Birds,' Mace's well-meaning crimes in the previous arc, and studies demonstrating ravens can recognize faces well enough to hold cross-generational grudges. But what puts Mace in greater danger: Scraws, or the integrity of his reasoning processes?

Liz: I thought Whip would be more warey of the whole idea. Where have you gone, Whip of reason?

Dave: I think we're seeing the Whip of opportunism. It's not necessary to believe Mace to enjoy the Mace show.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Comic Feedback: Beyond the Western Deep


I had a chance to read Beyond the Western Deep recently, and wow.

It's fantastic!  I loved it.  It's rare to encounter an independent comic where all aspects are so well-tuned, and everything is being optimally delivered.

The story is excellently crafted so far.   The groundwork for the world is well laid, setting up the various factions, adding threads of tension throughout.

And the character introductions are excellent.  From Quinn to Hardin, it's engaging.  The narrative has the light, effortless feel that one sees in a gold medal gymnast performing at their peak.   I can only imagine a mountain of work behind the scenes.

The character reactions are organic, believable, endearing:  And yet not a line seems to be wasted, everything serves to construct personality and situation, with subtle (and overt) conflict keeping the reader totally engaged.

Quinn's relationship with his adversarial brother, details like the differing fighting styles unique to the species, the moral quandaries that will soon be facing the lead characters-

The narrative seems to be heading straight for complex gray areas, difficult struggles where the stakes are high- but there's no heavy-handed right and wrong.  This seems to be a story where we can understand where everyone is coming from, we relate to their needs, and yet their needs lead directly to bloodshed.

And the art taking us on this ride- lush!   The style is pitch perfect.  The characters are cartoony yet solid.

They emote magnificently, with a subtle range of emotion conveying exactly the right tone for their lines.

The style feels natural.  The shading on the figures isn't over-wrought, seems airy and minimal- yet everyone seems well grounded in their setting.  Subtle artistry accomplishes amazing results.  And the backgrounds themselves are welcoming.  Detailed without being cluttered, atmospheric without being distracting.

The overall result is just... powerfully appealing.

Reading this book for the first time felt like returning to something classic.

If you like the genre of tales like Redwall or Mouseguard, this is one you'll want to check out!

http://www.westerndeep.net/comic/comingsoon/

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Dreamkeepers informal licensing statement.

We've been receiving questions about what we'll permit in terms of reader-created Dreamkeepers content, particularly content that could be sold.

We've put a bit of thought into it, and here are some guidelines!  While formally we reserve all rights regarding Dreamkeepers, our informal stance on reader created content is outlined below.


*Non-commercial creations
If you're not making money from it, then have fun, and create whatever you want!  I'm not interested in cracking down on anyone for fanart, crossover fiction, motion comics, dubs, what have you.  Derivatives of our work, like memes and AMVs, are also totally fine.  Be considerate of spoilers if it's a new release, but that's about it.

*Commercial creations
Commercial means you're selling content, or earning money from it.   In my mind there are two basic categories of commercial work.   Hand-crafted art, like a clay sculpture, and manufactured art, like a thousand factory-produced figurines.

Either way, we have two limitations:

1)  If you make less than $2,000 in gross sales during a year, then we're fine with it.  Anything more than that, and you'll need to contact us ( Dreamkeeperscomic*at*gmail.com ) so we can sign a full-blown legalese licensing agreement.  We'll ask for a percentage of the revenue which exceeds $2K.

2)  No producing / manufacturing copies of *our* content- because that directly competes with what we might be trying to sell.  But if it's your own art, something we're not producing anyways, go ahead.  Limitation #1 still applies.  

*Crowdfunding
We have to drop the hammer on crowdfunding.  If everyone launched campaigns for Dreamkeepers merchandise they wanted to make, there could be Dreamkeepers Kickstarters galore- and I would have no control over whether they delivered on their promises.  People could even use the name 'Dreamkeepers' to intentionally scam readers.   We have to preserve our crowdfunding reputation, so we have to say no to anyone that wants to engage in crowdfunding or fundraising for their own Dreamkeepers content.    I'm sorry, because we've had several requests pertaining to this already- but it's something that could very easily get out of hand.

*Logo
Logos fall in the same vein as Crowdfunding- it is, in the literal sense, our trademark.  If people want to use the Dreamkeepers logo on non-commercial fanart, I'm fine with it.  But when it comes to anything commercial, we would rather constrain use of our logo to stuff actually made by us.

One last note:  Especially on commercial work, please credit us and link to our website.  www.dreamkeeperscomic.com


And that's about it!  Rather general, but I wanted to at least get this out there.  If people want to get commissions of Dreamkeepers characters, make some DK themed merchandise to sell at a convention or something, make some custom DK t-shirts to share with their friends- I think that all sounds fun as hell, and in the end it helps make everything better for everyone.

Any questions, drop them in the comments on the DA post http://dreamkeepers.deviantart.com/journal/Dreamkeepers-informal-licensing-statement-565705011 and I'll get through in a few days to answer them.

Thank you to all the readers and artists who help make this such a vibrant, fun community!  We're grateful to all of you.

-Dave & Liz

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

HALLOWEEN CONTEST- official stuff!

It's Spooktober!

Time for cider, popcorn, screaming children, and the 10th annual Dreamkeepers Halloween Fanart contest!  The official rules are here:  http://www.dreamkeeperscomic.com/HalloweenRules.htm

The deadline for entries is 9AM Eastern time on Friday, October 30th.

Submit your piece to the DA group here:
http://dreamkeepers-fans.deviantart.com/gallery/56077863/2015-Halloween-Contest

This year features new competition categories- and the return of the Trick-or-Treat mystery sticker!  Every entrant (who e-mails their address to Dreamkeeperscomic*at*gmail.com before Nov. 15) will receive one in the mail.

There are already entries popping up in the gallery, so take a look- and keep an eye out for new arrivals!

This is going to be a fun one.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Webcomic Feedback: Sanity Circus

Sanity Circus, Issue #1:   I'm glad I have a copy of this!   Hell of a fun read. 

Page one starts with a fantastic hook, a high-profile assassination that sets the tone for the story.  In square one, we already know the stakes are high, and that something murderous is afoot.

The next page, we get into character- Attley!  And also establishing the ground rules for this fantastic world.

I love how it just jumps in.  There's not a five-page wall of text explaining all about how this is like our world only there's also magic and here's how it works and pay attention there will be a quiz later.

Not here- the action begins immediately.  The magic, demons, and mysteries enchant- being introduced early, we accept the premise, and are left with curiosity regarding the details.

So by the time the explanations arrive in the story- we care about it, as do the characters involved.

And such characters!

I like Attley.  Relatable, a little pugnacious, but still caring- that early scene with Victor was brilliant.  But, what IS Attley?  Why was she protected growing up?  

The action moves forward naturally, and yet there's this latticework of organic questions left in it's wake.  The pacing and narrative construction is sterling.

And ah yes, I was gushing about characters...  Unapologetically imaginative.   Fletch can shape-shift into a seagull, Posey is some wicked inhuman creature with a sense of humor and eyeball-morph ravens,  there's a musical-instrument swordsman, egads.     

And they're all drawn so beautifully.  I love the cartoony style, the spare well-constructed features, the fantastic emotional range it conveys.    Not to mention the excellent use of color.

Sanity Circus is something special.  You can read it free online right here:  http://www.ssp-comics.com/comics/sancirc/
And the author also has a twitter account:  https://twitter.com/sancirc

Enjoy!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Webcomic Feedback: Our World

Some creators have been kind enough to send me samples of their work this summer- so it's time to share feedback!   First up, it's Our World by Kuurion and Captain Video.

http://ourworld.katbox.net/
https://twitter.com/Kuurion

After reading the first comic, I like the cast- excellent variety with the characters, it creates some great interpersonal dynamics.  Jill is the most relatable, struggling to cope with the onslaught that is Alex.  Although I think one of my favorite pairings is Alex alongside Art- their personalities seem delightfully incompatible, I love how flustered he gets.

The comic seems to be a classic slice-of-life setup- but I like the hint at the beginning that there's more to the situation, especially with that strange cuneiform tattoo...  And it culminates at the end of the first issue with a mysterious outburst of power.  The supernatural mystery element adds a fascinating layer to the mix.

And the slice-of-life portion seems to be working well too- there's the underlying problem of how Jill is going to deal with her suddenly-worse roommate situation, and the banter throughout works nicely.  Plenty of quirky additions like the Death Couch keep things amusing.

Two things stand out to me as working especially well in the art:

One is the cinematography.  By this I mean perspective, backgrounds, panel compositions, camera angles- there's a really solid variety.  Close-ups, mid shots, establishing shots- different perspectives- and good perspective drawing adds a nice tangible heft to the backgrounds.  

The other really strong aspect of the art is the expressiveness- they do a great job acting with these characters.  I never have to wonder what somebody is feeling- there's an excellent range of emoting, and it's not confined to facial expressions.  They bring in body language to great effect, and the result is that the emotions translate clearly from character to reader.  

All in all, it was a good read- thank you again to Kuurion sharing it with me.  8 )

Feel free to give the comic a read yourself if you like, it's online for free:

http://ourworld.katbox.net/

Thursday, September 10, 2015

10th Anniversary Halloween Fanart Contest

Halloween is coming- and with it the ten-year anniversary of the Dreamkeepers Fanart Contest!

To celebrate, we're pulling out all the stops, bringing back the hand-crafted bead prizes- and adding two shiny new contest categories:

Sexiest Art, and Writing.

This in addition to the longstanding categories:

Best Art
Best Costume
Best Comic
Funniest
Creepiest
Dimensional / sculpted

Notes on the new categories- Writing includes literature like text-based short stories and poems.  Judging will be based on the first 3,000 words only.  You're welcome to write more- but we may not have time to read it.

Aside from word count, what's our judging criteria for writing?  Don't know, we're just winging it.  Bear in mind I may not be a very good judge, every year deserving entries go without prizes.  So entrants, beware- FUN is the only guarantee that awaits ye!

Regarding sexiest- Liz geared up to make the hand-crafted bead prizes for the year, spotted some dynamite pink-glitter paint, and that was the end of that.

Besides, sexy art is fun.  But considering the contest is for the general public, we would ask that all entries be SFW.  (Safe For Work- abstaining from graphic nudity and stuff.  Except for Whip.  He's always nude and nobody ever calls him on it.)  People are welcome to create more potent fare if they like, but please keep it in venues where the unsuspecting won't be surprised by it.

That's about it!  We'll have concrete deadlines and prize announcements as Halloween draws closer.  It's going to be a fun year!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Sunday, August 16, 2015

UBERQUEST KICKSTARTER

We've reached a milestone.  To date Vivid has published only our work, Dreamkeepers.  But now our first new title has arrived.  If you like color, humor, and high-octane fantasy, strap yourself in.

Introducing Uberquest!   Stretch goals have just been posted on their Kickstarter:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/839048152/uberquest-volume-1-journey-into-evyr

This is the first crowdfunding campaign by Skidd and Phuufy, and their first book release together.

As artists, it would have been easier for them to kick back and focus on commissions, the most direct route to getting paid.  But instead they decided to take a risk, push themselves into new territory, reach higher.  They pursued that imaginative spark, and after pages upon pages of art, we all have a chance to turn it into something magical-

A book.

I love books, and I love it when talented artists choose to make them.  Independent content lives on the support of people who care about it.

https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/30078-uberquest-kickstarter-mayhem?locale=en

That's a link to our Thunderclap.  It doesn't cost anyone anything- just sends out a scheduled announcement with anyone who joins in the campaign.   Please join us on this quest, and let's launch a new, vibrant series together!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Uberquest Kickstarter Coming!

It's official- Vivid is publishing our first new series. 


https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/839048152/1582409793?token=2c13b690  


The Uberquest Kickstarter goes live on Saturday- check out the campaign preview here!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Update #18: Status Report

Hello everyone!  I've been bustling behind the scenes, and wanted to drop an update to keep everyone in the loop regarding What the Hell Has Dave Been Up To Is He In The Neighbor's Garden Again.

Of course, no.  I want nothing to do with a garden devoid of cookies.  Plus Liz won't let me in there.

Anthrocon was earlier this month- wow!  Spectacular weekend, thank you to everyone we got to meet- and condolences to readers who couldn't make it this year, our thoughts were with you.  A bit.

Thanks to a quick print run from http://ka-blam.com/main/ and permission from the Kickstarter backers, ( https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2083757038/dreamkeepers-volume-4-descent-to-the-archives/posts/1278987 ) we had a preliminary batch of Volume 4 at Anthrocon!

I was so busy selling books, I didn't have the time to sit down and finish my pencil commissions.  It took a few days of nonstop drawing at home to get them done.

With Anthrocon officially completed, I have a pile of e-mails and customer service waiting for attention.  I haven't addressed it yet, because the Kickstarter funds cleared- meaning the only thing holding up the offset printing of Kickstarted merchandise was me.

I decided to get everything printing first, and then tackle the inbox.

The past week I've been illustrating the new tidbits for the Volume 1 Backer's Edition- and now it's done!  After wrangling files, assigning color profiles, and catching default image compression settings, everything was dolled up in CMYK for a big offset print run.

And now the ball is rolling.

Volume 4, Prelude Collection 1, and the Volume 1 Backer's Edition are with the printer, we're just waiting on proofs.  I would guess two weeks for proofing, and perhaps another three or four to have the books manufactured and shipped to us, then our mailing campaign begins.
Between now and then- I have a few weeks of calm.

I have plans for those weeks.

First off, a Prelude update is coming this Friday- which needs to be drawn and colored.  Then I want to sit down and restore a buffer, so Prelude can be removed from the 'causes deadlines' shelf.

Then, of course, I'll be getting on customer service e-mails, Kickstarter backer messages, regular e-mails unrelated to purchases, heck probably even trying to get caught up on art account and social media messages.

FYI- If I'm ever unresponsive online, it's not deliberate.  There's just a lot to stay on top of, and if I spent all my time staying caught up, drawing would never happen.

After Prelude and customer service, I can finally jump into my longstanding commission que and get caught up to present- I'd like to nail ten or more in the next month.    I also need to tackle Vivid accounting for the 2015 second quarter, pay our freelancers for that time period, put together the video update featuring the V4 freelancers and their work, post a new writing tutorial video on youtube, (finally!) get Volumes 1-3 back in stock on Amazon, create an illustration for the upcoming Uberquest book release, do some cover art for a novel featuring medieval vampires for funzies, upgrade the computer hard drive before Volume 4 kills it, write out feedback for some books and comics that were sent to us, update the VividPub.com website, update the Dreamkeepers website and refresh myself on PHP so I can finally fix the Prelude archives,  finish the final edits on the QuickXyk novella I've been writing for Xyk to go with his commission series, finalize the next round of tweaks for the overall Dreamkeepers storyline, get rolling on the Volume 5 script, and if time, add to the Mace run cycle- need improved jump animation, I'd like to add a duck /roll / ledge pullup animation- what I really need to do is finish the spreadsheet and prioritize which animation sets are really critical for testing purposes.

So- plenty to play with.

Sorry for the rambling text-only post.  Pictures will accompany the next update!  We've been working on the resin figurines, casting up a storm, and painting 'em up- that will make for something fun to show, as well as the boxed merchandise coming in.

Thank you to everyone for making Dreamkeepers such a vibrant project!  

More color on the way.  

Monday, June 29, 2015

Between the Pages: All Geared Up for Anthrocon

So I mentioned acquiring three plastic horses a while ago.
  They rode around in cars -
...and did other stuff.  I guess.  Or something.
And I finished one, but then declared that I was going to be too busy to work on them for a while.  Something about important something somethings.  I was wrong.  
This is the journey of the second horse, the little pinto, with the pretty saddle.
Nothing against pintos, but he had a special purpose waiting for him.
He received a new gray coat and sat in the corner waiting for his time.
With that same party wallpaper.
His brother became an Egyptian God.
The other horse was painted blue.  Reasons are still unknown.

Until finally...

The pinto became a very tan fjord horse.  

This is what a horse party looks like.

But instead of covering up the old spring holes in his sides, 
someone thought it was a good idea to cut additional giant holes in him.
Maybe there was a reason for these holes....
....or somebody was trying to be funny.  Painting the inside green.  
The whole thing looked like an accident.  
What a waste of a perfectly good horse.
But eventually...

 (Ignore the gray one in the background.  He's still working things out.)
Looking a little different didn't seem so different.
He was taken outside and sprayed glossy, like a real carousel horse.
The little formerly pinto was dressed in his new 'steampunk' attire and golden gears.
And with a new solar-panel stand, LED lights and wires,
the little pinto had a new purpose in life.
To be seen in person, in Pittsburgh, at the Anthrocon 2015 Art Show.  Day and night.


Hope to see you there!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

THE FINAL DAYS

The Dreamkeepers Volume 4 Kickstarter is in its final days:  https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2083757038/dreamkeepers-volume-4-descent-to-the-archives

This campaign has blown away my expectations.  Currently among the top 10 most popular Comics projects, https://www.kickstarter.com/discover/categories/comics?sort=popularity Volume 4 is already among the top 100 most-funded Comic Kickstarters of all time.

Lost in fire, the Prelude Hardcovers have been resurrected- them, and much more, are available now in the stretch goals.

It's even possible we may hit the next goal- the Backer's Edition of Volume 1, manufactured with price parameters that will let us take aim at retailers.  

The next few days will tell the tale.  Thank you to everyone for pushing our work to such heights- if you know anyone that wants to be a part of this, let them know before the campaign ends! 

Monday, June 8, 2015

Between the Pages: American Pharaoh - Trot Like An Egyptian

Actually, the real winner's name is spelled 'oah', but that's a horse of a different color.
Like a brown, not a black with white.  But anyway.

When you’re standing outside with a spray can and a little girl’s voice yells out “Daddy I want to sit on that!” You’re doing something right.


Pharaoh's been done for a while, I've been procrastinating on posting any photos because I was hoping to finish the other two (now three) horses at the same time.

You see.....
I acquired three plastic horses back around March-ish, and the plan was to finish all three before posting this blog.  Show all three at the same time.


This is what I started with.  Pharaoh is the one in brown.  And they needed cleaning.


We call this a rodeo in a garage.  They were repainted, white, gray, and black.  Then given a ride.

This is horses in a car.
HOWEVER.

I’m going to be very busy for a while with painting and casting figurines for the kickstarter.  And with the Triple Crown Winner of 2015 currently in the news, it’s time to drag my personal Egyptian horse out of the stable.  

Here's the starting base coat, this horse is the best sculpted of the three.

My beginning concept was Alexander the Great’s horse, Bucephalus who was a very famous black horse.  I went so far as to order coins with Alexander's face on them to cover the rodeo spots.

The wallpaper tells you this is a pony party.
But Alexander the Great was busy having an Empire and spending quality time in Egypt.  And I was inspired by the colors of the black and white porcelain horses that occupied Japan used to make.
The only answer was to grab a lamp and 'Walk Like An Egyptian'.
Because my base literally quotes the song.  One word per side.  Now I'm fluent in little bird pictures.

The first step is to collect the horse and chosen lamp, then the odds and ends that inspire the horse and have potential colors.  Not all of them work out, like the fan, for example.  Some of these are thrift store, most were Ebay.  Needing a metallic gold color, most of Pharaoh's accessories were bought not sculpted like other horses.  I tried some sculpting on Pharaoh to hide his rodeo ancestry, but temperature changes affected some of his decorations and had to be stripped and repainted.  Occasionally I'll pick up a sculpted horse shoe off the carpet.
Adding the accessories is the very last part of a carousel lamp horse.  
Drilling, painting, finishes come first.  
I allowed some of the original color to come through on this one.


You can see some patchwork on the upper left.
Switched the Alex coins for something more suitable.
Outside for quick touch-ups.



Some patchwork is still evident above.


The entire point of a carousel horse is to put them in places you wouldn't expect.


Confusing little kids in parking lots since 1984.

Now he lights up an entire room.  I mentioned painting figurines for the kickstarter, and those will take 1st priority.  That said...there's a fourth horse...and these are solar powered.