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.

How Did the Patreon Pledge Drive Do?

patreon pledge drive patreon screencap

Last week I ran a pledge drive for Patreon.

If you don’t know what Patreon is, that’s ok: Patreon is an online subscription service that lets you support your favorite artists, often for as little as $1 a month.

To clarify: I have a Patreon page for the comics I write and illustrate under the Fantasyville Productions label. These comics include, but are not limited to:

  • Thoughtful Dinosaur
  • The Case of the Wendigo
  • and the upcoming The Legend of Jamie Roberts.

There’s a separate Patreon page for Validation and its related stories (including Mr. Dino & Friends, Roxie Comics, and Tiny Unicorn). That’s because the Validation comics are a collaborative effort with Christian Beranek and myself.

Funding for my Fantasyville Productions comics does not go to Validation, and Validation funding does not go to Fantasyville Productions comics.

I ran the Patreon pledge drive for my page (not Validation’s) because the comic shop I currently work at has cut my hours severely. Like, now I only work there 5 hours a week.

So I ran the Patreon pledge drive to see if a) I could get new patrons to b) help cover the lost income due to my hours getting cut.

The goal was to jump from $180 a month to $250 a month. My goal for the end of the year is to make $500 a month on Patreon alone, so to get to $250 by the half-year point would have gotten me closer to this goal.

By the end of the week, we went from $170 a month to $201 a month.

It didn’t make my goal, but it’s still not bad at all, especially for only having a pledge drive that lasted a week.

What surprised me more was the current patrons I had who increased their pledges – often by an extra $3 a month! That’s amazing!

We also got a new patron on board, which is marvelous, and so immensely helpful.

And so, with the combination of the new patron plus the increased pledges from current ones, we reached one of the Patreon goals listed on the page: at $200/month, I’m now going to draw a patron-exclusive The Case of the Wendigo desktop wallpaper!

Honestly, it’s just amazing that folks who love my comics were willing and able to chip in and help during this tough time. This will help make production of The Legend of Jamie Roberts go just that little bit smoother.

If you would like to pledge support, and help bring The Legend of Jamie Roberts to life, please check out my Patreon page. You can adjust or cancel your pledge at any time.

Even if you pledge $1 a month, you get to see behind-the-scenes development of the comics I do.

For example, here’s a post about Jamie and their two best friends; here’s another post about the dragon Norsa; and here’s a post about two gods in the Jamie Roberts universe, The Voice and The Messenger. These three posts were made free during the pledge drive, to give a taste of what rewards patrons can get for pledging support.

If you’re broke, that’s totally ok, because Patreon is optional. If you would rather make a one-time donation, there’s a Paypal donate button on the side of this website, or you can purchase a convention goody from my online store.

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

You. Are. Awesome.

Fantasyville Productions, Conventions, and Sassy Teapots

Grrrrrrrl.

Boy has there been a lot happening!

PART A – FANTASYVILLE PRODUCTIONS

Fantasyville Productions is something I’ve talked about with patrons on Patreon but I don’t think I’ve discussed it here. Basically it’s this: I wanted to file Fantasyville Productions, LLC into existence because my business has grown enough that I need to separate my personal and business information and finances. Plus, my goal is to grow Fantasyville Productions, LLC into a viable small-press publisher and distributor. I admit, it’s mostly because I DON’T want to deal with Diamond. I have no positive experiences with them so far, at least on the retail-end. I don’t think Fantasyville Productions would get so big that it would compete with Diamond, but I’m not ruling the possibility out either. I have accepted that the world is weird.

So – I filed Fantasyville Productions, LLC into existence earlier this month. Today I FINALLY got my EIN, which will help me set up a separate checking account for the business. #adulting.

This might sound boring to you, but I’m genuinely excited that Fantasyville Productions, LLC is now a thing!

PART 2 – CONVENTIONS

Currently I’m gearing up for Classic Plastics Toy and Comic Expo in Parkersburg, WV. If you’re going, I have a freebie for you (more info in this link). Things are printed and ready to go, and I have an artist buddy I’m crashing with for the weekend. Thank you, Kampie, for being so awesome! The plan is to go down Friday night, that way I don’t have to get up at the butt-crack of dawn Saturday for set-up.

While this is going on, I’m doing what I can to get ready for Awesome Con in Washington, DC at the end of March/beginning of April. I’ve never been to this show but I know it’s huge. Like, possibly bigger than Phoenix Comic Con huge. I haven’t been to a show this big (as a seller) in five years. And I’m terrified that I won’t be able to have enough for the show! But I can’t really order excess stock on books until after Classic Plastics. May grace give me patience.

There’s a couple of other shows between the two that I MIGHT go to, but the appearances will be related to the comic shop I work with now, not to sell my work. I’m already booked for Rathacon, 3 Rivers Comic Con, and Parkersburg Pop Con, though. Working to get back into more of the shows that I went to last year.

PART WHAT – MONSTER MADNESS

You know how March is typically March Madness for basketball? Well, I’m doing Monster Madness and drawing monsters. This’ll be like what I did for Witches: The Sketchbook – drawing a new sketch every day as an art challenge, and posting those sketches on my Facebook and Tumblr pages. Then I’ll be compiling them into a book.

Also…(I can’t believe I’m writing this) I might finally buckle down and get an Instagram. I’m still on the fence about it, so leave your most convincing arguments about whether I should join or not in the comments below. If I join, some of the first sketches will be Monster Madness-related.

PART THING – THE LEGEND OF JAMIE ROBERTS

The Legend of Jamie Roberts WILL be happening. The goal is to get the story’s script complete this summer, and then start drawing pages in the fall and winter.

Why the wait? Well, The KickStarter campaign for The Case of the Wendigo raised enough money to make the comic short story Dance Around the Maypole. So that story will take priority. That and, well, the script for The Legend of Jamie Roberts is still being worked on. It’s in the final draft phase! But still.

OK THAT’S IT FOR NOW.

I may be able to squeeze a video update after this blog post. Don’t hold your breath.

Thank you for reading, and for your support! Hope to see you at Classic Plastics this weekend.

You. Are. Awesome.

P.S. That sassy teapot was found at some mall in Phoenix, AZ back in 2013/2014. You’re welcome.