Charlie, The Fashion Icon

This here is Charlie, from my three-part comic series The Charlie & Clow adventures.

Recently I flipped though a LOT of old sketchbooks (the oldest one dated back to 2011 during my junior year of college). And I saw Charlie pop up quite a bit in those old books.

Her story changed, but one thing stayed constant: her goth-punk aesthetic.

I originally created her to be one of the starring members of a punk rock band. Over time, she became more of an interesting main character than the one I originally wrote. So I rewrote the story to make her be the focus.

Through the rewrites, though, she always stayed a punk/goth girl.

Part of it is because of her personality.

But also I really like drawing punk and goth fashion.

So who knows? You may see more of Charlie being a fashion model on Instagram.

In the meantime, this original sketch IS available as a hi-resolution download for Ko-Fi backers and Patreon patrons. The sketch itself will be listed for sale on Storenvy soon. If you want to know when it drops, get on that email newsletter. It’s the best place to find new shop listings.

ALSO! I will be at the New Dimension Comics in Saint Clairsville, OH on March 7. It’s Free Graphic Novel Day! To celebrate, I will have free grab bags, as well as some original sketches marked down for sale.

(All proceeds from the sale of the original art pieces will go towards helping with the cost of moving. Because I will be moving to a new apartment May 1 this year).

Thank you for reading!

You. Are. Awesome.

P.S. I’m not joking – watch my Instagram for future pics of Charlie being a fashionista.

Things I (Re)Learned in Promoting My KickStarter Campaign

By the way, The Legend of Jamie Roberts, Chapter 2’s KickStarter IS STILL GOING. You have until 11:59 pm EST on Feb 21 to back this project.

Not gonna lie – I’ve had 11 successful KickStarter campaigns. Once you’ve had so much success, you fall into a rhythm.

But I HAVE had one KickStarter campaign fail. I learned a lot from that failure, which makes it true that you learn more from your failures than your successes. Because when you’re successful, you develop a groove.

The thing about grooves, though, is that it’s easy to get comfortable inside of those grooves. It’s like when you walk in circles in the dirt – after a while, there’s an obvious path of where you’ve tread.

And if you want to grow, you have to take a step outside of that dirt circle.

I’ve re-learned a few things in promoting the KickStarter for The Legend of Jamie Roberts, Chapter 2 (which is STILL GOING until Feb 21 at 11:59 pm EST). Here’s what I’ve re-learned:

Make Use of Empty Space on Your Blog Sites

Ever since the demise of Project Wonderful, I’ve written off the power of ad spots on blog sites and webcomic sites. It’s easy to write it off, since it can be difficult to make money from posting ads in this era of ad-blockers.

Yet the original reason these became ads were to signal-boost SOMETHING. Someone wanted their product known, so they made a promotional image and paid someone to post it.

Well, I don’t (yet) have a network of peeps to reach out to and ask about posting an ad on their site and paying them for it.

But I DO have sites of my own. Sites for Johnson & Sir, Charlie & Clow, The Legend of Jamie Roberts, and THIS site. AND I have space on these sites that isn’t used yet.

So I made a button to promote the KickStarter, posted it on the sites, and VOILA – insta-ad. I’m still getting traffic on these sites, so the ad spots are seen by the peeps who go to these sites.

Reach Out to Folks Who Are Adjacent To What You Do

I have to thank Jamie (no relation to Jamie Roberts) for this one. I had almost written off this particular tactic.

The Legend of Jamie Roberts is about a genderqueer pirate. So Jamie (no relation) suggested I reach out to LGBTQ centers, and ask for their help promoting this KickStarter campaign. He sent me a list of LGBTQ centers in Ohio (which you can find here). This resource includes contact information for these sites.

I also had a flier for another LGBTQ center, from when I went to Flaming River Con. (One of the few positive things to come out of that show). So I reached out to this center, as well.

All told, I reached out to 5 or so of these centers, and only heard back from 1: the center whom I had a flier for. I think it helped that the contact spoke with me at the show, so they had a face to connect to the email.

So while perhaps blind contacting doesn’t work – what DOES help is keeping your rolodex of peeps you meet at comicons, festivals, and other shows. Reach out to those who are adjacent to what you do and ask if they can help signal-boost you.

Don’t Underestimate the Power of Fliers

I made a flier for my local comic shop to promote my KickStarter campaign. Then I sent it shortly after launch. I asked if they could print up copies and set them with their other fliers, and make a social media post, as well. And they agreed to help (I’m very fortunate that the folks at my local comic shop are cool dudes).

I DID notice that a few days after I did that, the number of backers and money raised went up a good 20-25%. Pretty dang good!

So don’t underestimate the power of fliers. Share them with comic shops. They’re usually more than happy to help indie comic creators succeed. If not? Find someone else who’d be happy to share your flier.

Those are what I’ve re-learned in promoting a KickStarter campaign into success. Next time I’ll make a post about how to run a successful campaign. I just realized I don’t have a post about that (yet).

Thank you for reading!

You. Are. Awesome.

The Witch and the Demon: A Sketch

The Witch and the Demon has been sitting in the sketchbook, the short story file, and my brain parts for the better part of two years now.

The above sketch came first…I think.

Then I wrote the short story. And…ok, to be blunt, it’s pornographic.

There’s a part of me that would love to adapt this into a wordless comic one-shot. But there’s also the logical part of me that says that 99% of printers out there would not print porn comics.

The paradox of America: American comic printers will happily run a comic with a dude getting his dick ripped off by possessed animals, but they WON’T run a comic with someone getting head.

There are oversea printers – even one or two in Canada that could do this – but I want to be positive before I move forward with it.

The other issue with doing an x-rated comic is: there are a LOT – and I mean A LOT – of readers who think my work is all kid-friendly because of the art style I draw in.

On the one hand, I get it. It’s cutesy.

On the other hand, the subject matter is not child-friendly most of the time.

Case in point: Thoughtful Dinosaur.

Anytime this book is spotted on my table at shows, parents think it’s a book aimed at kids.

It’s not – it’s the story of a college student learning how to adult. While there’s no sex or cursing in it, it does tackle ideas that kids won’t understand, like existential dread and the meaning of life.

And I have to explain this more often than you’d think.

So because of all of those factors, The Witch and the Demon have been sitting in the rafters. And odds are high they will continue to sit there indefinitely.

We’ll see what the future holds for these two though. Auxaton as a story concept sat on the sidelines and was briefly abandoned… until I revived it for NaNoWriMo two years ago.

Who knows what will happen for the witch and her demon?

Thank you for reading.

You. Are. Awesome.

Why Freelancers Should Have AT LEAST One Day Off Per Week

sleeping dragon sketch for blog post about why freelancers need one day off a week

I’m inspired to write this as part of my Freelance Lifestyle blog series for one big reason: because I think all freelancers should have at LEAST one day off per week.

The inspiration came after I watched a video from The Personal Philosophy Project about freelancing. I liked her other videos, but I wanted to see if there was something new in her approach to freelancing that I hadn’t thought of.

Unfortunately, in her video, she says, “freelancers never have a day off.”

NOT. TRUE. AT ALL.

Freelancers ABSOLUTELY need days off. The difference is that freelancers have to plan for them.

I have always made it a personal point to keep one day off per week. Even if I had to take a part-time job working retail or (most recently) at a gas station, I made it clear from the start with people that I keep ONE day of the week off. No exceptions.

(Part of the reason I left the gas station was because they were beginning to break that. They kept trying to call me in to work on my ONE DAY OFF. I repeatedly had to tell them no.)

I’m so dedicated to keeping one day of the week absolutely work-free because of one super simple reason:

To avoid burnout.

When I had the “freelancers work 24/7!” mentality, I burned out frequently. I had high anxiety and nearly had panic attacks. I would be irritable with everyone around me, client, friend, or otherwise.

It’s not the best way for you to shine.

Also, working 24/7/365 is the best way to make your home an absolute mess that you never clean. Working constantly is also a good way to never cook for yourself, or make time for your friends or pets or family.

You. Need. A Day Off.

What day of the week should you keep off? That depends on the work that you do.

My recommendation is to find the slowest day of the week in your work schedule, and make that your day off.

For me, for the longest time, that was Sundays. But now that I’m back to freelancing full-time (and a surprising amount of work is only available on the weekends), I’m considering changing it to Wednesdays.

But whether it’s Sunday or Wednesday, I fully plan on keeping a day off.

Because dammit, I need a rest and a recharge.

In this way, we are like phones: if you keep your phone running 24/7, it WILL overheat, slow down, glitch, and run out of battery FAST.

Same goes for you.

So I urge you, if you truly want to embrace the freelance lifestyle: Give yourself one day out of the week to just shut off and recharge. You’ll thank yourself for it later. I promise.

Thank you for reading.

You. Are. Awesome.

Ollie the Half-Orc Druid

ollie the half orc druid dungeons and dragons 5th edition character sketch

Ollie (short for Olive) is a half-orc druid I’m currently playing in my D&D 5E group.

And BOY is she a lot of fun to play as.

(Everything she says in the sketches above are things I’ve said in character as her. Like I said, she’s fun).

The thing about Ollie is: she’s wise…but she’s not smart. Her wisdom HAS to be high to be effective as a druid, and it IS high. Currently her wisdom score is at a 16.

Her intelligence is 8.

For the uninitiated, if your skill score is below 10, that means that when you roll a dice to determine how successful you are, you have to subtract a number from what you rolled. If your skill score is ABOVE 10, you add a number to what you rolled.

So any intelligence-based check Ollie makes, I have to subtract 1 from what I roll. Any wisdom-based checks I make, I get to add 3 to what I roll.

This not only makes the mechanics of the game more interesting… this also means more fun in my roleplay.

Imagine this scenario: you’re in the woods, and you see a pack of wild dogs running off a cliff. Only, there’s something magical happening: the dogs are floating down, their paws still kicking in the air, and then they touch the ground below, unharmed.

What does Ollie do?

She runs to the top of the cliff and runs off the edge to see if this is an area-of-effect spell.

(I learned the hard way: no. It is NOT an area spell. The dogs were just magical).

But this is the kind of personality Ollie is: she learns from experience, not from books. In fact, if anything, classes put her to sleep.

She is also charismatic as heck. Her Charisma score is at a 16. So that means she’s REALLY good at making friends with people. Her typical greeting anytime she enters a room is, “MY DUDE!”

She calls bullshit when she sees it (hence the “passive aggressive” quote above). And she’s handy to have around to diffuse a tense situation.

More often than not, though, if something gets too tense, and she thinks people are going to make a fatal, terrible decision, she will physically pick them up and carry them out of the room.

(Hey, she’s still a half-orc. Half-orcs are strong, yo).

I hope you enjoyed Ollie as much as I enjoyed sharing her with you. I hope to draw more of her soon!

Thank you for reading.

You. Are. Awesome.