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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
The above picture is a sketch from my 2015 sketchbook, developing a concept in The Legend of Jamie Roberts: the Chimes of Dogona at the Temple of A Thousand Souls. I’d like to redraw these chimes with some more detail, but as mentioned, this was a sketch just to get the initial idea.
The chimes are based on a real location in Casey, IL, which is a small town home to a lot of world’s largests: world’s largest wind chimes, knitting needles, golf tee, etc. I think the people are trying to set a world record for home to the most “world’s largest” objects.
…I should do sketches like this more often – broad, fast marker strokes are a thing I miss, especially considering how detailed my comics have become recently.
Making progress on ALL THE THINGS. Trading cards are now all finished, and now I’m working on commissions. Once they’re finished, I’ll share some of them in a blog post (if I get the ok from the commissioners, of course). The button printer is taking a while, but I don’t blame him – he’s printing 600 buttons for me.
I’m getting ready for Not At Con Day, happening July 22 at New Dimension Comics in Saint Clairsville, OH. Expect new 11 x 17 inch prints from me, as well as some new zines. I’ll be showing off a new table set-up, too! Which reminds me…
Expect a blog post about artist alley table layouts soon – I’ve been taking pictures at every show and tooling around with what works and what’s getting improved. So the blog post will share various layouts, what I’ve learned, and what changes can be implemented at future shows.
I’m also trying to get a Clip Studio Paint/Manga Studio tutorial typed up.
There are other things happening right now, but I only share those other things with newsletter subscribers. If you’re not already getting the newsletter, here’s your chance to do so.