Artist Outings

So a few years ago, I read “The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creative” by Julia Cameron.  It was one of the many books I have read and try to take bits and pieces of, to improve my art and creativity.

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One thing I have been focusing on more is the “artist outings”.  I am pretty lucky in that my work is located near many museums, and one of my favorites is The National Portrait Gallery.  It’s not located on the mall with the other museums, so it’s not as crowded as others.

I like to zip over there during my lunch, and walk around.  I will take in different parts, of the gallery, revisit some of my favorites, and look at the new additions.

I have also been to the National Gallery of Art a few times, but I don’t go as often as the Portrait Gallery.  Up next problem is a visit to the National History Museum, ton of cool things to look at there (and maybe find a story idea!).

I think it’s important to get out, in this case away from my desk, reports and spreadsheets, and look at art to recharge and spark your on creativity.

I am hoping to add some more places to my rotation, and get bold enough to maybe take a pad and pencil and sketch out some art, maybe from a statue, or a painting.

Seeing others make stuff, will only help you make your own stuff.

With this post, I am thinking that for the next couple of post I am going to keep pulling more helpful items from books to spark creativity.

Thanks for checking out the blog. Go out look at some art, then make some art!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The End of a Kickstarter, a moment to relax, then back to making comics!

So today is the first day in 31 days I don’t have to look at funding, or work to get funding for our kickstarter.  It’s a moment to relax, but not to stop, making comics for me never stops.

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I was able to hit my funding goal a day before the kickstarter closed.  And that was a relief, but more backers came in to push me a bit over my goal, the rush at the end was something I was counting on, but you worry, when will it come? will it be enough?  and what if people start cancelling pledges?  Thankfully it came and it was more then enough.

I still need to take a moment and think over a 150 people want to get a comic created by our team!

Running a kickstarter is a crazy time, you are consumed by it.  You worry, you overthink things, and I have to admit you take things personal at times.  You have high hopes, you launch backers come in, then things slow down the dreaded “dead zone”, you worry are people seeing this, is it going to make it.  It’s tough,  I need to make a plan deal with this next time, for my sanity and the sanity of those close to me.

This is my third kickstarter, and it was close to the same funding goal, I got a close to the same amount of backers as my second launch.  This seems like my range right now, but hopefully more time networking, sharing, get more work out there, will help me go for higher goals, but that is a scare idea.

But the work doesn’t end for us.  The team must keep working to finish the comic.  My next goal is to hit our deadline, because I have been late on my last two kickstarters.  I really want to meet this deadline (if not beat it by a few weeks). I think this is the next big step for me, to show how dedicated and serious about this I and the team is.

I am really kind of acting like the project manager now collecting files, getting people to complete their tasks. Not as fun as creating something, but part of making comics and I have learned a lot during the last two kickstarters.  Things like file sizes, edits, book design.  Hopefully all things that will continue to make me a better creator.  I think it is good to be well rounded and making these comics via kickstarters is a good way to figure out how to make a comic from beginning to end.

Thanks for checking out the blog.  Back next week with a post about working with the team, managing the team, and maybe a little about not getting feelings hurt, when making this comic.

Everyone go out there an make some comics/art/stuff.  Be creative!

 

 

 

 

The Last Few Crazy Days of Running a Kickstarter!

So I am in my last few days of my kickstarter, hang on one second I need to refresh my kickstarter page. (Joking)  I feel like I survived the dead zone in the middle, and things are picking up.  I am closing in on 75 percent funded and 130 backers.

last few days of kickstater post

And feeling pretty good, this comic is going to be made!

Running a kickstarter is mentally taxing, and I have to admit I overthought things and took things personal a few times.  But with a bit of reflection it is crazy to think that close to 130 people (and counting fingers crossed) are willing to support my comics.

So easier said then done, but try to relax during you kickstarter.

I have gotten a lot of support from friends, family and online comic creators.  Thanks so much!

Another cool thing about this kickstarter and my community building/networking is I had two comics pros back my kickstarter.  How crazy is that!

What is great about  indie comics community is backing, sharing and promoting each other.  Lots of shares on social media and interviews on my podcast “Constructing Comics“.  I enjoy hearing stories from other creators, and hopefully allowing their projects to reach even more people.

Check it out.  I have interviewed with  a wide variety of creators, friends, people in my online communities and Eisner Award Winners! (again crazy)

Thanks for checking out my blog.  Back next week with a post about the dealing with the end of a kickstarter, and hopefully my plans to get the books out to backers ASAP!

Keep making Comics!

 

 

 

 

Baltimore Comic Con Kickstarter Ups and Downs

Hey Everyone,

So last weekend was Baltimore Comic Con,  I think this is my 5th year, but this year was a step up in my networking, pitching, getting feedback (oh and buying a ton of cool artwork.)

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The great Klaus Janson at the Visual Storytelling Panel

I was able to hand out two samples of ashcans of my two kickstarters, Digital Forever and Multi-Larceny.   One was to the a publisher, (fingers crossed) and one was to a comics pro that is going to look over and give me some feedback.  All pretty cool and exciting (not to mention never-racking)!

A was able to attend two panels, one on “breaking into comics” and one on “visual storytelling”.  This where great, tons of advice and motivation!

So a funny story, is the panel of visual storytelling had the great Klaus Janson on it.  The panel was run by Andy Schmidt of Comics Experience and I have taken a few classes with Andy, and one point he mentioned by me by name.  I think at this point Mr. Janson heard him, and most have made note of my name.  So the panel is over and I go down with a book for Mr. Janson to sign.

I am waiting for him to settle in and hand him my book.  He looks up at me and says “Oh hey Matt”. So now I am dumbfounded and I mutter back “Oh hi…. (and I am thinking what do I do)… Mr. Janson.”  I can’t call the man who inked (if not more) Dark Knight by his first name.

I told Andy later about this and we chuckled, I guess Andy has the same problem as I do, and he worked as his editor.

So of the great creators I meet were Greg Pak, Jamal Igle, Vito Delsante and Mike Perkins!  A great time.

I was able to buy some cool art, get books sign, and almost made it in to the Ringo Awards.  It was a great weekend and made me excited to make more comics.

So the Kickstarter, as of this post I just hit the 50 percent funding with about 12 days to go.  So it’s going to be close.  I need to hustle and push it here in this last couple of days.

If you want to check it out and share it that would be great.

The Reset 

Its a story of a world ending event, time travel, corporate espionage and revenge!

Thanks for checking out the blog!

Next post I will recap the last few manic days of the kickstarter.

Everyone go out and make some comics and art!

 

 

 

First Time Being a Guest on a Podcast!

So I was on the Spoiler Country Podcast, as an interviewee.  That was a first, we have over sixty episodes of the Constructing Comics Podcast, and I have either been the interviewer or co-hosting.  This was the first time being on the spot and having to keep the conversation flowing.  I was pretty nervous, I am nervous every time we start on our podcast, I worry I don’t have anything to say,  but once we get going it seems to get better.

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I really enjoyed this interview, and once we got going I felt great.  We talked making comics, finding a balance in creativity with working and family, and of course The Reset Kickstarter. 

In Kickstarter news we are into week two and things are going well.  I had a good day (really late afternoon) yesterday, so that was helpful.  Currently I am at 33% funded with over 60 backers, so I looks like I am on track (fingers crossed).

I am going Baltimore Comic Con tomorrow so I hope to maybe pass out some flyers to help the kickstarter.

I will be back next week with a blog about my experience at Baltimore Comic Con and my attempts to network/pitch.

Make Comics (and then get interviewed about making those comics!)

Thanks for checking out the blog.

 

 

The Ups and Downs of Running a Kickstarter

5 day’s ago I launched my 3rd Kickstarter for “The Reset”

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There is excitement of the launch and the joy of that notification you have a new backer.

But there is also the dread and panic when it seems to stall out.

I am going to be a little honest here in this post, I am over thinking things, 5 days in and closing in on 25 percent funding, pretty good,  but Kickstarter campaigns will mess with you.

Somethings I am trying to not get worked up about,

  • People I have back kickstarter for, that haven’t come on board mine yet.
  • People who click “no” to an online Facebook Event??? It’s online?? Maybe just a interested?
  • People who I reach out to cross promote that don’t seem in to it.  I am trying to help you as well?

I know this seems crazy and petty, and I am sorry, so I need to take some time to reframe some of these.

  • There is still 26 days for people to back
  • Maybe they don’t understand it’s online – The Facebook event
  • Maybe the people I reached out to cross promote are just as wrapped up in their kickstarters as I am.

Just typing that made me feel a little better.  Now back to refreshing my kickstarter every 30 seconds. Ha!

Oh what is that you want the link! Well here it is!

The Reset 

Thanks for checking out the blog, I will be back with a week two recap of the kickstarter!

Make comics, (and if you want to deal with the ups and downs of running a kickstarter) Launch those comics!

 

 

 

 

 

Writing Dialogue

My Comics Experience course on writing a one shot is nearly at it’s last session.  Our assignment is to add dialogue to our 20 page stories.  I have most of it done, but I few pages to go.  And I planing on doing a lot editing (another thing I need to improve on,  I love creating and working on a new idea, but going back and reworking an old story not my favorite).

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I am working improving my character development with my dialogue. I often only have one person speak in a panel and one balloon.  So with this script I am working in having it be more conversational.

Also I am working on subtext, trying to get the characters to say things, not directly but to imply what they are thinking/feeling, or to influences other characters in the story.

Writing dialogue in comics is difficult in part, in that people in comics don’t talk like people do in the real world, but you want it to sound as close to the way people talk in the real world.

So my story should be done soon.  I will have to think about what I want to do next.  Do I have enough to publish it/crowdfund it?

Thanks for checking out the blog.

I will be back next week with a blog about my news project going to Kickstarter “The Reset” I am going to talk about the ups and downs of that crazy time period when running a kickstarter!

 

 

 

 

Using Different Panels for Contrast

Continuing my class with Comics Experience we had a more of an art focused session, as a writing course you might feel that this was a bit strange.  But it was two fold, one to allow us as writers a better understanding of the terms, so we can communicate what we hope to tell with our scripts, as they are turned into art on the page, and to get us in the habit of thinking about what types of panel we might want to use.

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Here is a great example inset panels here from Hawkeye by Matt Fraction and David Aja 

I tend to be a sparse writer when it comes to panel actions/descriptions.  I put the charters in the room, with a small about of detail about the environment, and have them talk to each other. Once in a while I do have a camera angle in mind and I will suggest it.  But for the most part I am please and very lucky that the artist I work with get what I am try to say with my scripts. And I think it makes them feel more involved in the creative process.

One thing, that I got is a developing desire to use (and maybe too much) is inset panels.  Inset panels are smaller panels set inside a larger panels.  I like them because they can be used for very quick beats and move the action a bit without taking up major real estate on your comics page.

Another thing I am working on is contrast in shots: Wide Shots, Medium Shots and Close Ups.  I think it is good to move the “camera” so that it’s not always the same angle or distance.  It adds to the illusion of movement on the comics page.

Also I am now trying to call out the major panel of each page, the one I want the main focus on, or to have the readers eye rest one.

Hopefully these new tools (or a greater understanding of panels) will help me increase my skills as a writer.

Thanks for checking out the blog.

Back next week with writing dialogue.

Go out and make some comics, with contrast in the panels!

Subtext

I tend to be a concept type of creator.  On that’s a cool idea, or concept I could make a comic about that.  But I have realized that I need to get better a character development.  I  am mid way through my Comics Experience class on “Writing the perfect one shot”.

Sub Text

We are to write a complete story in 20 pages.  So far we have created a one page synopsis, character bio’s,  one complete scene (with dialogue), and a complete outline.  This week we are fill in the rest of the script out with panel descriptions/actions.

My complete scene was the first two pages, and I really wanted to work on subtext.  I have a story about an older astronaut.  He is greeted by a younger fan who calls him “sir” to which my astronaut charter says “please stop with that sir stuff, you are making me feel old”. Part of my character bio for the astronaut is that he misses the limelight and the attention he got when he was on the space shuttle.  My hope was to imply this with a bit of subtext in the dialogue.

Also I have added descriptions in the panels like slumped shoulders and looking down to show a character is depressed, that same character posture changes when things appear to change for the better for him.  I hope that adds to the subtext/character development.  I want the reader to feel the way that character does at that moment in the story.  Got to keep working on this and finding different ways to build the story just beyond this cool concept.

Thanks for checking out the blog.

Go out and make some comics, with subtext in time.

I will be back with a blog about contrast in panels to aid story telling.

 

 

 

Hot Seats

So I am 3 month’s into my 6 month Mastermind with the great folks at Comixlaunch.  And I have been on two hot seats.

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I am not normally a guy who likes to be in the spotlight.  I am kind of an introverted.  But these hot seats are forcing me to be in that spotlight.

My first hot seat was on staying productive through the day.  I am big on goals and planning, but I am finding my will power is greater in the mornings.  By mid-afternoon it’s close to gone and by evening, forget it, it’s is gone! My big take aways from this is I have to accept this or shift my focus to other things.  Maybe reading or watching Netflix is ok, plus I can think of it as “research”.  Hey I am working here, binge watching this show!

My second was on the comparison trap I had fallen into.  I have try to model a possible career in comics, after two guys, I felt I had a lot in common with we are about the same age and backgrounds. But on the flip side these two guys are now pretty successful in comics, me still working my way (if not struggling)  It was good discussion, and it made me feel that I might be closer than I thought.

I came out of this hot seat with some solid advice and plans for a pitch I am working on.

Thanks for checking out the blog, If you can find a mastermind or a group to talk things out I strongly suggest it.

I will be back with a post about learning more about storytelling, a lot of this is coming from my class with Comics Experience “Writing the Perfect One-shot” thinks like logic, subtext, and pacing.

Go out and make comics!