Featured Artist Friday: Interview with FalconHyrste creator Melissa Capriglione

Falconhyrste is a young adult, coming-of-age story set in a world with magic, mystery, and a rainbow of characters. It’s also charming as heck.

Today I got one of the creators of the story, Melissa Capriglione, to answer some questions for me about the inspiration and process behind making this webcomic.

Not only is this a return of an old segment on my blog called Featured Artist Friday – it’s also the launch date of Falconhyrste on KickStarter! Let’s celebrate by taking a peek into Melissa’s creative process:

What inspired you to make this comic in particular?

Initially, I wanted to make a comic because I needed experience in making comics! I was in my sophomore year of college at the time and, wanting to be a comic artist when I graduated, I realized I had little to no experience at making comics. So I went with the most accessible option- a webcomic! Anyone can make one, and you can host it on a variety of platforms.

The story itself was inspired by love for everything supernatural, and I brought in a lot of inspiration from various anime and comics.

You make this comic with another artist. What prompted the collaboration?

In December of 2015, I went on social media and asked if anyone wanted to collaborate on a webcomic. Clara (now my co-author) responded out of the blue and then we began brainstorming the story and swapping sketches. Both of us were beginner comic artists and didn’t have set styles at the time, so it was tumultuous.

I wanted to collaborate on the comic because we planned for it to be a larger project and I couldn’t see myself taking it on my own. We also act as each other’s beta readers, so the collaboration helps us figure out the plot and make sure our writing sounds good. It also just helps to have an extra set of eyes around for general feedback!

How was the collaboration process when you started out? What kinks in the system have you had to work through?

It was pretty rough in the beginning! We had no idea how long it would take us to make a page, so we were scrambling to finish our first handful of pages. It took us about an entire two weeks to make just one page, but now it takes us about a day or two.

Since then, we learned a lot about formatting pages, setting them up so we’re not using 50 layers, and general streamlining of the process.

This comic has been online for 4 issues now. How long do you intend for Falconhyrste to last?

Since we’re printing issue four, we plan on printing issue five sometime mid 2019. The pages for issue five (and half of issue six) are all done and on the website (falconhyrste.com), so we hope to have those in physical form soon!

As for the story itself, we’ve been doing this for about three and a half years now, and we’re not even a third of the way through our story! But the reason why it took us all these years to do barely 200 pages was because of our busy schedules. We were both in school when we were beginning, so we had to skip a lot of updates and take mini hiatuses due to exams and work schedules.

But now I’m full-time freelance so I can dedicate more time to the story, and hopefully Falconhyrste won’t take another ten years to finish!

Do you consider yourself a plotter or a pantser? (A plotter outlines the story in advance, a pantser makes up the story as they go along. It’s ok if you’re somewhere in between!)

Definitely somewhere in between! The entire script is written out in its entirety, but it’s mostly still the first draft from early 2016, so it’s not that great! We’ve kept a few parts but we’ve added and edited stuff since then. We usually try to plan a chapter ahead, though.

Dang near everybody in this comic is somewhere in the LGBTQ+ rainbow – which I’m not complaining about! I also saw in your portfolio website that you call yourself a “queer artist.” Now, there are (I have discovered) LOTS of LGBTQ+ comics and creators out there. What is it about Falconhyrste that makes it special to you?

Both of us are LGBTQ+, so we wanted to make a story that included people like us, as well as many other people in the community. It’s important to have queer stories available to younger audiences (Falconhyrste is classified as young adult) so that it can be more normalized.

Falconhyrste is special, I think, in that we enjoy just having queer characters existing happily in a world without bigotry and adversity, and use magic! Lots more comics these days are going that route, and it’s certainly refreshing to see, and I’m glad to be a part of this movement.

To create my own stories from my perspective and make the queer comics world even more colorful is one of my goals.

Falconhyrste will be on KickStarter November 16 (that’s today)! Is this your first KickStarter campaign or have you run previous ones? If you’ve done it before, what have you learned from previous campaigns?

This is our first Kickstarter, yes!

Before this, we did a pre-order for issues one through three, and the response to it was far greater than expected, so managing all of that by hand was kind of overwhelming. I figured Kickstarter would be our next best bet because it’ll be easier to manage rewards and stretch goals, as well as communicate with our supporters on a better level.

Obvious question: What tools do you use to make your comic? Is it purely digital?

Yes, 100% digital! I use a Wacom Cintiq 24HD with Photoshop CC, and Clara uses a Wacom Intuos with Clip Studio Paint.

Falconhyrste is a coming of age story if I’ve ever seen one. Are there other coming-of-age stories you want to write, or do you think your next story idea will be in a different kind of genre?

I think coming-of-age stories are my main focus. Growing up, I didn’t have a lot of stories I could relate to and ended up being uninterested and bored by most stories. Nowadays it’s so inspiring to see comics reaching a much wider variety of audiences than they did just ten years ago!

Lots of comics makers (and aspiring comics makers and other artists) read my blog. Is there anything you would like to say to them?

Start where you can!

If you have a story that you just need to create, don’t wait until you’re “good enough” to create it. You’ll get better through the process. It takes time, practice, and effort, but it will all pay off eventually.

Thanks Melissa!

You can find Falconhyrste at falconhyrste.com.

Be sure to follow Melissa on Twitter at @mcapriglioneart and co-creator Clara at @tenhousandbeez.

Be sure to pledge on KickStarter to claim issue #4 of Falconhyrste (as well as other rewards).

Thank you for reading!

You. Are. Awesome.

Gods & Spirits: RE-LAUNCHED

On Monday, the initial campaign run for Gods & Spirits: A Sketchbook on KickStarter did NOT meet the goal.

And I know why.

I set the asking goal too high, and I incorporated rewards that should not have been part of the initial asking goal.

So I went back, made some tweaks, and re-launched Gods & Spirits on KickStarter, to take advantage of the demand for the book that WAS STILL THERE.

And within 2 days, WE MADE OUR INITIAL GOAL!

So now Gods & Spirits: A Sketchbook WILL be going to print once the campaign wraps up.

Now the next goal is to raise extra funding to get stickers printed.

There are 3 designs available, plus new reward tiers that include stickers as part of the package.

If you haven’t pledged to the KickStarter yet, I hope you take the time to check out the rewards and claim the one you like.

Thank you if you pledged to this campaign (again) – your support for this project is MARVELOUS!

Broke? Share this campaign with your friends and family searching for unique gift ideas!

That’s all for now. Thank you for your support!

You. Are. Awesome.

Gods & Spirits: A Sketchbook, Now on KickStarter

Gods & Spirits was the theme I did for this year’s Inktober – the artist challenge to make a new ink drawing every day during the month of October.

Last year I had done Inktober, themed with Witches. Once I was done I gathered the sketches into a book (Witches: The Sketchbook), put it up on KickStarter, and it got funded.

This year, after I wrapped up the sketches…

(The above is just a sampling of the sketches done during this year’s Inktober)

…I thought, “Hey! Let’s put THESE sketches into a book, as well.”

And that’s why Gods & Spirits: A Sketchbook is on KickStarter, looking for support.

This will be a SHORT campaign – it ends on November 12th.

However, there are Early Bird Special rewards that are only available until the end of TODAY, November 7. Here’s a link to the campaign to check out the early bird rewards.

I realized upon launching this that I may have put the asking goal too high, especially for a 7-day KickStarter campaign.

I DO hope we make it to the goal! But if we don’t, expect a few modifications to the campaign to lower the asking goal and a relaunch of the campaign shortly after.

Still, I DO hope you back this campaign, because if we make our goal by November 12th, the sooner this book and the rewards can be done for the holidays!

Rewards for this campaign include commissions – HOLY BANANA PANTS there are so many commission slots available!

There’s also copies of the book, prints, and something new I haven’t offered before…STICKERS.

These will be printed through StickerMule and measure roughly 4 inches each, so be sure to make some space on your sticker surface of choice.

If you can give to this campaign, PLEASE do!

If you’re broke, share this campaign with your friends. Every share helps.

Thank you for your support, however you give it!

You. Are. Awesome.

Big Changes Are A-Coming

Holy banana pants, I have so many announcements! So let’s break it up into parts.

SLEEP-OUT

This Friday I will be with Mel, co-founder of our local LGBT advocacy group, Beyond the Rainbow, to participate in the Wheeling Sleep-Out.

The Wheeling Sleep-Out is a charity event where groups of people compete to build the best cardboard fort, and then they must spend the night in the cardboard forts. The event is to raise money for Youth Services Systems, a Wheeling, WV-based non-profit working to end homelessness in the community.

Here’s where you can donate! Be sure to use this link, because teams who raise the most money get recognition.

PITTSBURGH WITCHES BALL

Literally the day after the Wheeling Sleep-Out, I’ll be at the Pittsburgh Witches Ball to sell my wares. Find the ball at the American Serbian Club.

Unlike most events, the Witches Ball runs from 5 pm until 10 pm. I hope you can make it – I won’t hold it against you if you’re only there for a short time.

Also, one of my pieces will be available at auction. Wink wink.

ONLINE STORE

Storenvy, the platform I used for my online shop, is going to get re-purposed. Because I’m moving all my comics, prints, and other convention products to my own little store!

The new store is still a work in progress, but you can find it at shop.kelcidcrawford.com. Some of my patrons from Patreon have tested it and it’s working well.

So the comics and art are moving to shop.kelcidcrawford.com, which means Storenvy is getting retooled – it will now be home to handmade crafts and one-off products, like the paper bead bracelets, handmade journals, and (coming soon) watercolor greeting cards.

KICKSTARTER

Now that the Validation’s Final Push campaign has wrapped up, it’s time for a new campaign.

This time, we’re looking to get Gods & Spirits: A Sketchbook to print! This book collects all the sketches done during Inktober this year, PLUS includes new illustrations and never-before-seen sketches.

Expect it to launch this coming Monday, November 5 – email newsletter peeps and patrons on Patreon will be the first ones to hear the news. So sign up for one or the other to jump on those early-bird tiers (because there will be at least one early-bird reward level) (Also Patreon peeps get bonus goodies).

COMMISSIONS

Well, I’m now making comics full-time – I WAS working at my local comic shop. NOT ANYMORE. (Long story.)

So now I have time to make commissions. These will make great gifts for the holidays (hint hint, wink wink). Rates start at $20 for a black-and-white character sketch, and varies from there.

Here’s a link to the full listing.

BLOG POSTS

Expect Review Day Tuesdays and Featured Artist Fridays to come back soon…

THAT’S IT.

Thank you for reading!

You. Are. Awesome.

The Legend of Jamie Roberts’ Newest Print

Awwww yeah! This print got finished not too long ago to showcase my new upcoming webcomic, The Legend of Jamie Roberts. (Coming online mid- to late-November.)

Illustrated here, from foreground to background, is Jamie Roberts, Ragun Ranki (pronounced Rah-Goon Ra-N-key), and the dragon shape of Ragun Basho (pronounced Rah-Goon Bah-show).

This took a little while to illustrate, especially with the waves of The Way in the background. The Way is the spirit world, where souls rest after death and before birth, and where Ranki was banished after The War of the Leaders 500 years before the start of the Legend.

Here’s some clips of the progress of the piece:

The colors of the background and Ranki were done in Clip Studio Paint to save me some marker ink.

This image will do double-duty as both a print and as the cover art for Chapter 1’s online serialization.

That’s all for now. Thank you for reading!

You. Are. Awesome.