Dragons, Adventures in Moving, and Other News

Hoo boy, there’s a lot going on, so let’s do this in parts.

THE KICKSTARTER

We made it to our goal! We even raised enough to unlock the Baby Dragon Sticker Sheet for all backers who pledge to get physical copies of the book (or higher rewards).

The next stretch goal is $670 – at this level, backers who get physical rewards will also get a KickStarter-exclusive miniprint of Queen Norsa, the Albino Dragon Queen from The Legend of Jamie Roberts.

CONVENTIONS AND APPEARANCES

My next convention appearance isn’t until December 1, for Genghis Con. Unless there are other shows you’re aware of, and want me to showcase at, that is. Hit me up if that’s the case.

THE LEGEND OF JAMIE ROBERTS

Ok, there are some weeks where The Legend of Jamie Roberts updates as normal, on Wednesdays. And then there are some weeks it updates on Thursday.

Well, this upcoming week, a new Jamie Roberts page may get pushed to Thursday, November 14. It depends on what can get done this weekend, in between events.

WHEELING SLEEP-OUT

The Wheeling Sleep-Out is one of those events I’m doing this weekend. It’s part fundraiser for our local homeless shelter (Youth Services Systems), and part competition to see who can build the most creative cardboard construction.

Here’s some pictures from when my friend Mel and I went last year.

We built a cardboard replica of the Guggenheim museum. This year, we’re going to try and build an art deco movie theater out of cardboard.

Once these constructions get built, the builders then have the option to sleep in them overnight – which is what Mel and I are doing. We’re doing it, so our local homeless youth don’t have to.

If you like, you can donate to Youth Services Systems through our team page. Every dollar raised goes back to the organization. But there IS a trophy for the group who raises the most funding for YSS. (But seriously, no pressure if you can’t donate.)

ADVENTURES IN MOVING

I hate apartment-hunting. It feels like every time I get a decent lead, there’s something wrong. Either it’s too expensive. Or it doesn’t allow cats. Or it’s in a shady-ass neighborhood.

At least I have a potential roommate. He wants to move out of his dinky Pennsylvania hometown. We’ve tabled together at conventions for two years now, so we know each other well enough that we could make decent roommates together.

Now it’s just a matter of finding a place.

I can’t really stay local to where I am (which is the Wheeling, WV area). Rent prices are more expensive here than they are in Columbus, OH or even in Pittsburgh, PA.

Yep. West Virginia is more expensive to rent in than two major cities. Let that sink in.

The oil and gas industries are absolute bitches and I despise them both.

NANOWRIMO

Also I’m participating in NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month. It’s a writing challenge to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. Because Inktober isn’t enough and I’m always up for a creative challenge.

The novel I’m writing is called “The Prince of Shadows.” It’s about a prince from a dark realm falling in love with a Valkyrie – as told through the point of view of the Prince’s best friend.

When I first started the challenge, I wasn’t sure why the story demanded that particular perspective. Now, on day 7, things are falling into place and making more sense. I’m eager to see where this goes!

GIGS

I made a new page on the website to highlight other services I can offer as a freelancer (besides making comics and art).

These are services like ghost writing, basic website design, and other services I’ve honed thanks to running my own business for the last 7 years.

I’m looking to offer more services to get some extra income in. That way, if/when I have to leave my little hometown, I can have some kind of income to replace the gas station gig I currently have.

AND THAT’S IT!

Thank you for reading!

You. Are. Awesome.

NOW ON KICKSTARTER: The Legend of Jamie Roberts, Chapter 1

HOLY BANANA PANTS, it’s finally here – The Legend of Jamie Roberts, Chapter 1 is now on KickStarter, looking for funding to get to print!

Patreon support has helped make the production of each individual page possible. But KickStarter will help cover the gap to get this first issue to print.

The book will include a never-before-published short comic about Captain O’Malley (just how DID she lose her arm?). Plus there will be behind-the-scenes sketches showing how pages for the comic are made.

Among the rewards available for backers, there’s commissions, WANTED poster-style mini-prints, and even a new 11 x 17 inch print!

So if you can back this KickStarter campaign, please do so BEFORE JUNE 20.

Broke? Share this campaign with your friends. Every share helps.

Want to back the campaign, but don’t see a reward you like? Hit me up via email at kelci(at)kelcidcrawford.com and I’ll work with you.

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

You. Are. Awesome.

What’s Going On? An Update About The Legend and the Patreon Pledge Drive

For the sake of full transparency, I want to keep y’all in the loop. Considering that I missed the update for The Legend of Jamie Roberts on April 17, you should know what’s going on.

Patrons on Patreon already know the gist, but I don’t think I went into detail about it. And I may have mentioned this a few times here on the site, but…

In short, I got a side hustle working at a gas station in my town.

Back in September of 2018, I left the comic shop I was working at, due to some drama I will NOT get into here. For the next two months after that, I kept to making Validation, doing Patreon work, selling at conventions, getting consignment earnings, and freelance gigs.

With those income streams, I was able to pay for rent, groceries, and everything else I needed to live. However, it was not paying off my student loans at the clip I wanted, and my savings goals were suffering.

So I bucked it up and applied for part-time work at the local gas station. They needed someone to come in from 2 pm to 10 pm, which works for me, since I do my best creative work in the mornings. It also paid $9.50 an hour for the first 6 months of the job, and it’s set to jump up to $10 an hour after that period. Plus I could earn quarterly bonuses if the store kept up the friendliness and cleanliness ratings. And after working there for one year, I could open a 401K and get stock in the company – even as a part-time worker. That’s, frankly, unheard of around these parts.

That said, comics are still my full-time endeavor. I’m sticking to the gas station as a part-time side hustle to pay off the student loans faster, and save back a little bit for my savings goals… including a new laptop and tablet set-up. My current laptop is close to 8 years old and Clip Studio Paint tends to crash at least once a week on this thing.

Now, I wanted to talk about this because in May, there’s plans to run a Patreon Pledge Drive.

“But wait,” you might be saying. “Why have a Patreon Pledge Drive when you can keep working at the gas station part-time and use that money for your stuff?”

The gas station gig is to pay off debt and save back for some savings goals. That’s it.

Patreon earnings right now cover groceries, my phone bill, and one or two business expenses. And everything else I need gets supplemented by freelance gigs.

And I’m sticking to comics as a full-time job because IT’S WHAT I WANT TO DO.

My goal is to increase Patreon from its current $215/month rate to $500/month.

By doing that, Patreon can cover the groceries and phone bill, yes. AND it would cover rent, gas to conventions, website hosting, domain registrations, and art supplies needed for making the comics actually happen. By doing that, I would be less reliant on freelance gigs.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve liked (most of) the clients I’ve worked with. But freelance earnings are REALLY inconsistent from month to month. If Patreon earnings can go up, I can curb the need to do freelance work to bridge the gaps.

Also, fewer freelance gigs means more consistent comic updates. Because that way, I’m not trying to split my attention and time between the gas station, Patreon, and however many clients I’m working with on freelance projects.

So be prepared for the Patreon Pledge Drive to happen throughout May. The Pledge Drive will include:

  • Increasing email newsletter updates from once-a-week to twice-a-week,
  • New posts on the blog talking about what’s on my Patreon page,
  • Fliers to pass out at conventions about the Patreon page,
  • And lots more!

I’ll do my best to keep the Pledge Drive entertaining and not annoying. But bear with me for the next month.

That’s all for now. Thank you for your patience and support.

You. Are. Awesome.

This Shading Hack Saved Me A Lot of Headaches

Here’s part of page 9 of my webcomic The Legend of Jamie Roberts.

Ever since I switched from PhotoShop to Clip Studio Paint, I have LOVED how much easier Clip Studio Paint is to use.

That said, on occasion it can be a bit of a headache. One specific way it can bother me is when I’m adding shading to a comic page.

See, I cheat a lot – I’ll trace a shape over where I want my shadows to be, and then I use my Bucket tool to fill in the blanks. When I do this I often have the bucket tool set to “Refer to other layers.”

Why? Because my line work is on a separate layer from my shades. I don’t do all of my art on the same layer, you fiend.

That said, sometimes CSP will have a brain-fart, especially if the shade color is very close to a color I’m painting over. So instead of only filling in where I want, sometimes CSP will be like, “color THE WHOLE THING? OK!”

But I figured out a way around this. And it’s made producing comics WAY easier.

The secret?

Well, I need to show how I do a comic page first.

I have the following layers to work with: the base drawing. The Edits (where I clean up lines and smudges). Colors. Shades. Letters.

The secret is: I turn the Color Layer off.

It’s super easy: just click the little eyeball on that layer and boom – it turns off.

This has made shading A LOT easier. My Bucket tool no longer tries to fill in a space that’s the same/similar color to the shade color.

Also – it has made looking at what I’m shading WAY easier.

I tend to include a lot of dark colors in my pages. That makes shading a thing pretty tricky to the naked eye. So turning the Color layer off has made it far easier to judge how far shadows need to go.

Another plus is if I wanted to make a black and white version of a color comic, this cheat makes it easy.

I hope this helps you in your creative process.

Thanks 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.