It’s no secret that I love doing a big Halloween strip every year. This one was a lot of fun. I started it a bit early just so I could get in more details. And yes, there are Easter eggs. This preview has one of the more obvious eggs. A little nod to Guillermo Del Torro’s new film.
Forget, for a minute, all the hype. All the trash talking, all the money, the cars, the show. These days in MMA and boxing hype is what sells a fight. But it’s not what makes the fighter. Strip all that away and you’ll see what martial arts is all about.
Forget all the analysts. Well, almost all. Brendan Schaub is the only one who has looked at this fight through the prism of rationality since before the fight was real. For the most part, analysts have dug trenches around their prospective camps. Boxing on one side and MMA on the other.
This fight is about neither one. Any fight is, regardless of discipline or rule sets, only about the two combatants on that day, on that moment. That’s it. It’s not MMA versus Boxing. It’s Conor against Floyd.
Only by stripping away all the PR glitter will you then be able to see clearly the true lessons that fighting can teach you, regardless of the outcome. I’ve shared a great, short video that does just that. Yes, it’s a Conor video. Yes, I’m biased towards MMA and Irish fighters. But it illustrates a priceless lesson that can be applied to anything in life. Although fighting, especially MMA will tattoo it on your soul.
And my prediction for the fight of the century? Conor will knock him out in the second round. I won’t bore you with the details of that conclusion, instead check out the video and replace fighting with whatever it is you want to accomplish.
I’m still new to the t-shirt game and I’ve missed creating designs for a few holidays here and there but I certainly wasn’t going to miss out on Halloween. Here’s a few, some are Dog eat Doug inspired and some are for fun.
Same as the first shirt, but sans moon. I like them both. Maybe I should do one with Sophie carrying a bone? Not sure how I didn’t think of that before now.
Click here if you would like to see all the Dog eat Doug shirts available on Amazon. Hopefully soon they will add the ability to have a separate storefront. For now, I’m thrilled with the quality of the shirts and how easy it is for people to order them at Amazon. Only had on hiccup so far. If you do have any issues, or an idea you’d like to see on a t-shirt, drop me a line!
The trials and tribulations of writing a fantasy novel series.
So, ya, about that fantasy novel series. Where are they at and what’s happening? Are they ever going to come out? It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything about the novels, mainly because there wasn’t a terrible lot to post about. Thought I’d give a quick run down on their status. Good news and bad news. Bad news first? Good idea. Get it out of the way. Here we go.
The Bad News
I have no idea when “The Conjurers” book one will launch. From the get go, I had an ambitious idea of creating a hybrid fantasy novel that weaved prose in and out of the illustrations. Cool! Exciting! Never been done before! Yes, all very well and nifty, however, as is to be expected when doing things four miles away from the nearest box, you bumble your way along a foggy road that has never been mapped. The first tree in the road was attempting to write the prose and work out the illustrations at the same time. But when the prose changes, so do the illustrations and when the illustrations change the prose needs adjusting. Round and round it went for a bit. Finally a couple faint, swinging lights appeared in the fog.
The first was coming to terms with the fact that, on my inaugural outing writing a fantasy series, I wasn’t going to be able to pull off some the word C.G.I. where text blended into a sequential series of drawings and then seamlessly merged back into traditional prose. It was clunky and at times, too comic book-ish. Once I accepted that, there was another looming issue.
The original draft of book one was just over ninety-thousand words, and that was before adding in the pages and pages of illustrations. The book would’ve been more a piece of furniture than a fun read kids could tote around in their backpacks. Thankfully, a new creative director had just flown over on white, feathery wings to my publisher and she had the light bulb moment that pulled the whole project out of the muck. “Why not split book one into two books?”
And boom! Just like that, books one and two were written. Sort of. Now I could focus on polishing the text for book one and finalize the what and where of the illustrations. Right now, as I wait for notes on the final edits for book one, I am sharpening and molding book two (formerly the second half of book one) into it’s own complete story arc. The neat bit is that where book one was torn in half makes the series more of a cliff–hangar serial. That is to say, at the end of the new book one everyone dies. Just kidding.
The Good News
Onto the good news! Mainly, that book one is nearing completion and should have an official release date soon. The second breath of fresh air is that, because books two and three are more or less written, there won’t be any delays between releases. By the time book one thumps onto shelves, I should have book two wrapped and will be putting the finishing bits of spackle on book three.
In the meantime, I’ll be posting more often, given that I have a slightly sturdier grip on this eel like process. And that also means, as I promised myself, I’ll post a lot more sketches.
Officially out today! Notice anything different? I’ve gone back to what I call the “Garfield” sized books. Remember those collections? Apart from nostalgia, I went back to this format to help bring the costs a bit, which is a tall order when dealing with Amazon and Createspace.
On the plus side, the book already has fifteen reviews in the first day! A humongous thank you to my newsletter subscribers. I’m working on putting together another free book as a thank you. It may or may not be Dog eat Doug related.
I get a lot of questions about DeD volume 1 and when it might be re-released. Well, I can answer that now: soon. The lovely people at Andrews McMeel made it super easy for me to get the rights and the full color files so that I could publish it under my own banner. I’ll have more on that once I get the files and stitch together the ebook version. Might add in some extras. Who knows?
And lastly, a quick word on the Conjurers books. I have sent the final edits off to my publisher. Now we can start locking down the layout and the illustrations. That’s something I can grind through much faster. So expect to start seeing lots of bits and pieces as the book comes together.
It was a long, tough learning experience. Just to give you a rough idea, the first draft of book one was 90,000 words. Add to that the fact that I was doing something completely different with the illustrations, blending and weaving them in and out of the text. Well, myself and the genius team at Crown Books found a way through it. I think you’re going to enjoy the ride.
As I rummage through the archives for the next collection, I thought I’d pull a few oldies out and share them on the sight. These are strips that I forgot about completely. It’s like getting to read them for the first time. Sometimes they make me laugh. This one did, although the art is horrendous. Not sure if I was experimenting with new styles or hadn’t slept in three days.
So this obviously means I’m currently putting together volume 9, and I have made a few changes. First off, in order to reduce costs on the print versions, I’m going back to the smaller book size. Self-publishing image heavy books is a major hurdle. And printing them in color makes it similar to financing a Mars rover. Remember volume two? I picked that size because that was what Garfield collections looked like when I was a kid. I switched to the larger format just to deliver more comics in each book. The trade off, of course, was the price.
Once I have the title and cover done, I’ll post the new size here.
Let’s kick off these writing tips with a pop quiz. Aside from running out of coffee beans, what’s the number one crisis for writers and cartoonists? Organization. Now, if you’re one of the one percent of one percent creative types who doesn’t get distracted every five seconds, this little post won’t help you. Plus, the rest of us hate you.
I started using “to-do” lists years ago just to keep things prioritized. It helped immensely, until I kept losing the lists.
So I switched to digital solutions. There’s a lot of them and I’ve tried almost every one, from the “post-it” app to “Remember the Milk” (is that still around?). They worked, but w
ere sometimes clunky and crashy. Also, it was hard to lug around a tower unit so I wouldn’t forget something at the art supply store. Then a little while back, Google Keep showed up in the Play Store. Been using it ever since. And it does a heck of lot more than remind you how much you haven’t gotten done. Here’s a few:
1.Virtual Index Cards
Back in my cubicle days I would spend my lunches with a stack of index cards writing screenplays. You can do the same thing with Google Keep. I mapped out a picture book using one note per page. The apps smooth UI makes it super simple to rearrange cards. The one drawback is you won’t be able to work on multiple projects at one time. Best to outline one idea at a time.
Keep also has labels, which will allow you to group things by subject. Or organize a novel by acts and chapters. Again, best to keep it basic outline. Enough to give you a framework to start writing. As of now, Keep isn’t quite robust enough to handle a highly structured outline. You can transfer it into Scrivener (everybody uses Scrivener now, right?) and flesh it out.
2.Google Keep for Cartoonists
Yep, you can sketch notes in Keep too. I had been using the Samsung app that came with my phone, which was better in the drawing department, but Keep beats it in several other categories which I’ll mention later.
So anywhere, anytime you can scratch a comic idea into Keep, and you can even use a separate note for each panel. Quite handy when you’re waiting for your son to get out of school. It also has pinch and zoom to get in closer and add a bit more detail. The app needs a more work on its pen selection, but hey, we’re shooting for fast and furious and not a Mike Mignola watercolor.
3. Google Keep is seriously Portable
This is my favorite feature and the one that made me switch from my Samsung app. If you can get online you can get to your notes. Don’t have your phone? No prob, so long as you can borrow one or a laptop or a modified toaster, anything that can get online, you’ve got your Keep. I will say, it is much easier using it to storyboard on a laptop, simply because of the wider screen.
4. The Obvious Reason: Organize Your Day
This is of course is the main purpose behind Keep, and boy, howdy, it shines. I have one list for longterm items and another for the daily business that needs to get done. One thing I’ve had to be careful off is adding too many notes. Best to consolidate items whenever possible. And it’s super fun to check the little boxes everytime you complete a task.
When I was putting together my first Dog eat Doug collection and wishing InDesign was a real person I could punch in the face, I kept track of my process in Keep. That way, on later volumes, I had all the tricks for reducing PDF file sizes right at the tip of my mouse button.
Keep is handy for research and collecting photo reference. You can zip articles and such over to Keep right from your browser. I’m starting to do this more and more. Evernote has been my go to for collecting reference materials for many years but I find Keep’s clipping interface much less cumbersome, and I don’t have to dig around to find it later.
Also should mention the “reminders” feature, which is exactly what it sounds like. You can have notes pop up on your phone and laptop to remind you about an upcoming conference call or to take a shower every six days.
5. Best for Last: Dictation
Writers and Cartoonists know that ideas are fleeting. You bite into a doughnut and suddenly you see before you, from start to finish, the greatest sci-fi, noir, who-dunnit story of all time. Two bites later and it’s gone. Forever. Or is it?
“Okay, Google,” I said, showering my Samsung Galaxy with crumbs. “Take a note.”
Those few words are all you need to save the most awesomest idea ever without touching a button, which means you can have a doughnut in both hands. Sure, you could waste this power on making grocery lists and such, but that would be like SpiderMan using his powers only for spackling rusted bathtubs.
That’s the tip of the iceberg. I didn’t even mention the collaboration feature, as I haven’t tried it out yet. All in all, Google Keep is like having a tiny forest sprite as an assistant. Except less sparkly. Give it a try, if you haven’t already, and let me know if you have even better uses for it than I could come up with.
Happy Halloween! Thought I’d reformat Sunday’s comic to make it easier to read. I think you can tell I based the art on my favorite movie of all time, “Pan’s Labyrinth”. Well, it’s tied with “The Nightmare before Christmas” but obviously it’s impossible to compare the two.
Also, thought I’d share a link to a lovely bit of Halloween history, courtesy of History.com. The Irish roots of the holiday are almost as fun as free candy. Part of me wishes we kept some of those old traditions:
And of course, it’s the only time of year when it’s socially acceptable to share my deep love of vintage Halloween photos. If you’ve never ventured down that rabbit hole, I highly recommend taking a stroll down the path of the creepiest, most unsettling images you’ll ever see. I’ll leave you with one of my favorites:
Have fun tonight and stay safe.
It’s here! The sixth collection of “Dog eat Doug” strips. Again, I can’t thank everyone enough for supporting my self-publishing endeavor. I do have to ask for one quick favor: I need your reviews! It would appear, and thankfully so, that in this world of SEO, spambots and automated everything, word of mouth still caries the most weight.
So if you’ve picked up any of my family and kid friendly collections, I would be eternally grateful if you took a minute and gave them a rating on Amazon. Even say a few words. Thanks!
Also wanted to thank Amazon user TSOJ for their flattering review of the new collection:
Brian has one of the best contemporary children’s cartoon strips on the market. You want Tim Burton? You want Clive Barker? You want a funny smell coming from a diaper? (well, maybe not that last one) You want cute babies and puppies living in a household that occasionally gets visited by sweet, huggable demon cats? Then you want Dog Eat Doug 6 (you probably want all of the previous 5 books, too). But, ya, get this book.
Not sure who you are, but thank you. Especially love how you snuck Clive Barker in there.
This Inktober sketch is based on a Victorian dress. Some sort of winged beastie is morphing out of it. I might explore this idea with future doodles. I only used a Uni .38 pen on this, then did a few ink washes over the page. Inktober is a great opportunity to experiment with different styles. In future scribbles, I’ll work on combining the ballpoints and the brushes.
Its that time of year again. Time to put aside twenty minutes a day and whip up something with pen and ink. I’ll post my Inktober doodles here as well as on social media. It really is a great excercise to refresh the creative engine.
As you can see, im going with a Victorian theme this year. I might not make everyday, but really speed is the key, so I should come up with at least a scribble.
Yep. Volume six is almost patched together. That means there’ll be some giveaways and deals on the past editions coming up. I’ll announce everything in the newsletter first. So if you haven’t signed up yet, drop your email in the hat and grab the free ebook while you’re at it.
There will be some Conjurers news in a bit too, as I’m in the process of finalizing the copy and laying out the first the novel. That will hopefully include a final, set in stone publication date. Stay tuned!
Another quick post about the free ebook. Hopefully everyone on the email list got the link to their free copy. I’m new to setting up this type of thing, so if you find any wrinkles, let me know. If you’re reading this and aren’t on the list and want the book, just sign up in the right side bar. Or, wait for the nifty, quasi-annoying pop up box.
If you enjoyed the ebook, please help spread the word. It’s not like you’re asking someone to sign up for a super-spammy email. I rarely send them out. When I do, it’s to announce new books, deals on current books or cool free stuff.
Speaking of which, there will be a volume two of “A Darker Shade of Plaid”. Free, of course, to everyone on the mailing list. It’ll take me a bit to collect the poems, shine ’em up a bit and pop on some scratchy doodles.
As always, feel free to let me know what you thought about the book, or any of the other books, or the strip, or the webcomic, or your thoughts on mice traveling to Mars. Drop me a line on social media or leave a comment here at the ol’ homestead.