What’s Next for Fantasyville?

To say this year took me by surprise is an understatement.

My original plans – “just keep doing what I’ve been doing, but go to 10 conventions/shows, not 14” – HAD to shift hard to the left.

As it turned out, though, canceling convention season meant I could work on the following things:

NeverEnding

I started working with these folks back in February this year. In that 10-month window of time, we’ve run a successful KickStarter, started production on a new app, and got some buzz going with Satine Phoenix, the Sirens, and a LOT of tabletop gaming companies. INCLUDING some folks connected to the Hugo Awards (but I can’t give more details). Like, holy dang.

I’m still working with the crew as the Creative Director, leading the art team while we make art for the app. It’s my first time being in charge of other artists. I’m still getting the hang of it.

Livestreams

In lieu of conventions, I ran livestreams. For a while, I did them every Saturday, until I burned out on the schedule. I stopped for a bit to reassess.

It all started with live-draws, where I streamed myself drawing new stuff in Clip Studio Paint. But the most watched streams have been the most recent ones I’ve done: with guests, talking about some business aspects of comics. Things like how to run a successful KickStarter campaign, and converting KickStarter backers into long-time patrons.

The Switch from Patreon to Ko-Fi

I dragged my feet on this decision for a while, until I couldn’t anymore. Patreon just kept on dropping pledges from patrons – often, from the high-tier patrons. And this had been a problem for OVER A YEAR. A problem where, each month, I had to reach out to patrons individually to ask them to check their information. (I had originally reached out in group messages, but a previous patron stopped pledging because they saw this as “public shaming.”)

And then, in the last month, every time I made a new post, the website would just…shut off. My internet connection worked. I could save a DRAFT of a post. But when I hit “publish,” the Patreon site would just…stop.

In short, Patreon as a system has bugs that aren’t being meaningfully addressed, and it’s aggravating myself and other people.

I made the switch to Ko-Fi recently. While it lacks some things (like scheduling posts ahead of time), it has other things Patreon does NOT have. Like more consistent payment processing. And the ability to leave a tip just once.

What’s Next, Though?

I want to continue growing the audience I have on Ko-Fi. It’s a platform with a lot of promise and I want to help it grow. A lot like what I’m doing with NeverEnding, actually.

I also want to keep going with YouTube. Livestreams, yes. But I’m THINKING about dipping my toes back in to making proper, edited videos…I just don’t like editing because I don’t have the right tools for it. So an upgrade to better video editing software is on the table.

Another thing on the table? Better audio recording set-ups. I wrapped up doing vocal tracks for a friend’s punk song and it made me realize…I miss doing audio work.

Other than that? The Legend of Jamie Roberts will keep going. CB and I are remaking some early pages of Tiny Unicorn. We’re also doing more with Tiny Unicorn (and Mr. Dino & Friends) in the near future. BreeBree Bootique is a new project I’m doing with chubby cat art (now on Instagram and RedBubble).

AND…

Keep an eye out for two new book projects that Fantasyville Productions will be releasing in the next few months. One’s a prose anthology, the other is a comics anthology.

I’ll write about those two books in the next update.

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

You. Are. Awesome.

Halloween Ko-Fi Talk

I hope you can join me today from 1 pm to 3 pm EST on YouTube! I’m hosting a Ko-Fi talk with my writing friend Melanie and my comic buddy Ben Wright-Heuman.

What will we talk about in the livestream? Anything and everything from National Novel Writing Month to my recent switch to Ko-Fi!

That’s right – I switched away from Patreon, and went to Ko-Fi instead.

Why? Here’s the thing: I’ve been on Patreon since 2014, and Patreon support has helped fund over half of my comics. But they’ve been rolling out new features WITHOUT fixing the errors they have in their system. Like dropping pledges without warning to the patron OR the creator.

So I’m switching to Ko-Fi for a smoother, less glitchy experience.

Also, Ko-Fi has features that Patreon does not. Things like:

  • the ability to buy a coffee for your favorite creator,
  • giving JUST ONCE. (A monthly subscription is optional).
  • a shop feature!
  • a feature that lets you place a commission request from me!

(Seriously, how has Patreon not implemented those features?)

If you have any questions or concerns, this livestream is the best time to ask. So again, I’ll be streaming TODAY from 1 pm to 3 (ish) pm EST. Ask your questions over on YouTube.

If it’s not addressed in the livestream, I’ll write up a post to go in more depth about the switch. In the meantime, there are more details about rewards and what I’m trying to fund over on Ko-Fi.

Hope you can join us! Thank you for your support.

You. Are. Awesome.

Claire and Tracy – A Sketch

claire and tracy work in progress art sketch

Today’s Throwback Thursday features Claire and Tracy.

These two starred in a story called Traveler’s Road. Unfortunately, the project has been shelved, and probably indefinitely, by the looks of it.

Why? Well, no matter how many chapter I wrote for the thing, they never came out right. So, the project is shelved.

Still, some good art came from it. Like this piece.

And now this is available as a hi-res download on Patreon and Ko-Fi.

This will likely be the last hi-res download on Ko-Fi, because it will be for written works only moving forward.

Ko-Fi and Patreon: How Am I Using BOTH?

tiny painting of princess rosetta with art tools framing the photo

As far as platforms go, Ko-Fi and Patreon have similar goals: make it easy for fans to support creatives. I get the impression that some folks use one but not the other. I DARE to use both. So how do I do it?

Well, let’s cover the similarities and differences first:

Ko-Fi (I think it’s pronounced ‘coffee,’ and you’ll see why) is a platform that lets you donate the price equivalent of a cup of coffee (get it?) to your favorite creative person. By giving, you support the creative, AND you get access to some supporter-exclusive posts.

Patreon lets fans subscribe to their favorite creatives by pledging a specific amount of money, to give either each month, or for each project. You get rewards in exchange for how much you give. The more you give, the more rewards you get.

Ko-Fi also has an option to let folks subscribe to their favorite creatives with a monthly donation, but this option is only available if the creative pays for a Ko-Fi Gold plan. Otherwise, it’s just one-time donations.

Patreon grandfathered me into a particular package deal, because I had been on the platform for so long.

As of this writing, Patreon has 3 plans, depending on how big your team is. If it’s just you, you get a simple button and you don’t break down your rewards like tiers (like KickStarter does). If you’re a handful of people, but not a huge team, you can get on the Founder Level, which is what I have. This allows patrons to select their level of patronage from the options you provide just like you would with KickStarter. Patreon also has a level above Founder, but that’s intended for creative teams that are 10+ people, or folks who run a business with subscription boxes that ship.

In the indie comics verse, I’ve seen some folks use one platform, but not the other. More often, I see both. I decided to be kooky and use both platforms, as well.

So how am I using them?

Admittedly, I sought out using Ko-Fi to fund a side project. Then the side-project fell through. So then I thought, “Maybe I’ll offer this as an alternative to Patreon! I’ve seen some people’s eyes roll at the mention of Patreon. Maybe they just need an option that’s different.”

But after having received a few donations through Ko-Fi, and after having been on Patreon for many years, I’ve discovered this in my experience:

The support I get from Patreon is for my art. The gifts I’ve received from Ko-Fi come with notes thanking me for my blog.

So – I’ve decided that Patreon will fund my art…and Ko-Fi will fund my writing.

Yes, I DO write. I’ve done the National Novel Writing Month Challenge two years in a row, and I’m hoping that this year will be my third.

And obviously I write blog posts. And, curiously, I’ve had patrons on Patreon ask me to make poetry for them.

So that’s the plan moving forward!

If you would like to support the art-side, check out Patreon. Heads up – I will be revamping the reward tiers and promotional art soon.

If you would like to support the blog, check out the Ko-Fi. I have new rewards available that are writing-specific. You can give once OR give monthly (I opted for the Ko-Fi Gold).

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

You. Are. Awesome.

Sailor Mercury: A Sketch

sailor mercury fanart sketch made with brush pen and copic marker

I didn’t grow up watching Sailor Moon – unlike apparently 99% of other Millenials. I knew it existed, but I didn’t watch it regularly.

But when I DID watch it, I watched it for Sailor Mercury.

Mostly I watched for her because Mercury (the planet) rules Virgo, and that happens to be my astrological sign.

But also she’s smart. I REALLY liked smart girls in my cartoons who were also cute as heck. Surprisingly, not many girls on TV at the time were smart AND cute. You were one or the other. But Sailor Mercury dared to be BOTH.

So yeah. I drew her.

She’s available as a hi-res download now, too, on Ko-Fi and Patreon for just $1.

The original sketch will be listed on Storenvy soon.

Thank you for reading!

You. Are. Awesome.