This is it. We’re in the final hours for The Stars of Fantasyville on KickStarter.
The Stars of Fantasyville: A Sketchbook collects all of my Inktober sketches from last month, and puts them in one book. The theme? The stars of comics, roleplaying games, and other stories from Fantasyville Productions. Or at least…a sampling of characters.
I want to inspire folks with these character designs. As an artist and storyteller, I know how influential art books can be to the creative process. Heck, these characters came to be because I flipped through other art books and went, “AHA! I like this and that,” and “What if…” My hope is that this book can do the same thing for anyone who needs that creative light bulb to ping on.
At the very least, my hope is that these characters get you excited for the stories they feature in. Because some of these stories are out, and more are coming out very soon!
In fact, if we reach $900 in funding before midnight tomorrow, every backer will get The Uthers Detective Notebook PDF. It collects concept art, sketches, AND scripts for an upcoming graphic novel, The Uthers (the story of a half human, half-Uther detective tasked with finding a teenage wunderkind and the cyborg she built).
We’re already on our way to $800 in funding! If we reach that before midnight tomorrow, then backers with physical rewards will get a SLAY pin, and all backers get The Legend of Jamie Roberts Captain’s Log PDF, full of concept art, outline notes, and other behind-the-scenes goods!
Again – less than 36 hours, yo. The campaign ends AT 11:59 PM EST TOMORROW (Nov 19).
Today at 2 pm EST, I’m chatting in today’s live stream with Ben Wright-Heuman and Ian Klesch. We’re discussing their new short story, Gnome Man’s Land, made for What the Gnomes Know: A Comics Anthology.
What the Gnomes Know is currently on KickStarter! Be sure to back the campaign if you want to get a copy of this book’s first printing.
This anthology collects a variety of gnome-themed short comics, all drawn by up-and-coming indie cartoonists, comic artists, and writers.
Plus, not only am I interviewing creators – I edited the anthology! So it was my job to look at submissions and give feedback to make each story shine. (If you’re looking for a comics editor, here are more details on what I do).
So be sure to tune in today on my YouTube or Twitch channels. 2 pm EST. We’ll also have a Q&A section at the end if you want to ask Ben and Ian questions live.
That’s all for now. Thank you for reading and watching!
My new art book, The Stars of Fantasyville: A Sketchbook, is on KickStarter now – until November 18!
WHAT IS STARS OF FANTASYVILLE: A SKETCHBOOK?
Let’s answer your question with another question: do you know about Inktober?
Inktober is the artists’ challenge to draw in ink every day in October. It’s an art challenge I have done every year since 2017. And when I do, I often collect the Inktober sketches of that year and gather them into a new book!
In the past, I’ve drawn Witches, Gods & Spirits, Dragons, and even a webcomic called PuzzleSpell.
For Inktober this year, I drew the characters that feature in my comics, roleplaying games, novels, and other stories! Every sketch is drawn with Copic markers, Zebra brush pens, and Strathmore paper, and adjusted for printing in Clip Studio Paint. I have gathered all the sketches from Inktober this year and put them into Stars of Fantasyville: A Sketchbook.
To make this book happen, I’m asking for $700 by November 18. As of this post, we’ve raised $485, and we have 8 days left.
What will that money be used for? Well, I broke it down in this pie chart I drew:
Why do I want to print 100 copies?
Ok. I mentioned this in my post about Aistear Con 3, but I’ll state it here, as well: books are my best category when I go to conventions. So to prepare for conventions next year, I would LOVE it if I had as many copies as possible in my inventory. Nothing sucks worse than getting ready for a show and realizing, “Oh dang, I forgot to re-order books and now I only have 2 copies of this title left.”
What Can You Get for Backing This Campaign?
I kept the rewards list simple: digital and physical copies of The Stars of Fantasyville: A Sketchbook, and PDF copies of all the Inktober sketchbooks of years past.
Because here’s the secret: I have a LOT of add-ons you can include with your rewards!
Add-on options include (but are not limited to)…
If you’re able, back this KickStarter BEFORE NOVEMBER 18, yo.
If you’re broke, share this post! Every share helps.
Aistear Con 3 happened October 21 through 23, 2022. And for me, I succeeded (in more ways than one!)
Where Was the Show?
It took place in the same place it had in previous years – at Aistear Brewery in Bowling Green, OH. Friday is usually the most relaxed day because that’s the day the vendors set up. The show is small, too – there were 7 or 8 vendors there, including myself. All of us were local and didn’t pay for a table spot. We were, however, invited by the folks at Aistear – so it wasn’t just “show up and set up.” You had to know the peeps running the joint.
What Was the Show?
Aistear Con 3 was small, local, and indie. I mean, it’s run by an indie brewing company, and the vendors are all set up in the back of the house. The crowd we got was small – but everyone who showed up spent money on local indie creators.
How Was It?
By the end of all three days, I was VERY CLOSE to having a $500 sales weekend. For some that may not sound really high (like, when I worked drawing caricatures at Cedar Point, I could make that kind of money in one day). But considering how relaxed the show was, the sales I got pleased me.
It also helped that I sold out of
five sticker designs,
ALL of my pins,
The remainder I had of Kay the Valkyrie prints,
The last of my dragon Baby paintings,
and 2 out of 3 original white-on-black ink drawings
My goal for the show had been to sell out all of my stickers, paintings, white-on-black drawings, and prints. So it made me happy to accomplish a lot of what I set out to do.
Also! My buddy Sean made an appearance on Saturday, which helped us sell more copies of his book!
For folks who don’t know – my buddy Sean and I worked together last year to get his book, Danse Macabre and Other Works, to print. He wrote it, I did the cover art and some editing, and my writer/editor friend Melanie Doan edited the stuff I didn’t. It took us a while to find a distributor we liked (that was NOT Amazon). Eventually, we chose Draft2Digital because it had the most reach compared to other indie book printers.
At Aistear Con 3, we had some copies of his book available to sell and sign. Sean is a regular at Aistear, so the other regulars had been absolutely surprised that Sean wrote a book. By the end of the day we sold 5 copies and he got some good tips out of it.
What Did I Take Away From This Show?
I mean, I’ll give some quick shout-outs to other vendors I got things from at the show. Dragon’s Book Hoard has delightful soy candles, and Peace, Love, Pride made my FAVORITE necklace and bracelet so far. I did not get things from the other vendors, but I’ll mention here that The Crafty Carpenter, Ignition Studios, Rich Bloom, the 3D RPG-mini printer, and the tarot card reader were delightful neighbors. 10/10, would join them again in an artist alley.
That said, what did I take away from this show as a person who sells art?
Well, this show confirmed a trend I have noticed in my sales this year. That trend is: of my best-selling categories, original art takes a larger slot of sales than I anticipated.
For context, I use Square to run my register and track sales. I have my stock split into these categories: Books, Stickers, Art, Prints (for anything 8.5×11 inches or larger), Mini-Prints (any prints smaller than 8.5×11 inches), and Misc.
(A little off-topic, but I’m overdue to reorganize this stuff. Misc encompasses pins, keychains, greeting cards, grab bags, and a lot of other things. The pins and keychains need to spin off into their own category.)
Last year, I took a look at my sales and realized two things.
Books were my top-selling category by a WIDE margin. This was wild because, at the time, books had the slimmest profit margins. This year I raised prices to fix that, as well as cover increased printing costs.
Last year, I carried Zines and minicomics. But they didn’t even appear in my top 5 best-selling categories.
Because of point 2, I took all of my remaining zine stock to Free Comic Book Day and gave them away for free. That actually did WONDERS for sales, because that day I made $500 in one afternoon.
This year, books are still my top-selling category. The margin is even WIDER this time. But the second best-selling category? Stickers.
Even more surprising for me – original art may move around in its position in the Top 5, but it’s still consistently in the Top 5 best-selling stuff. So clearly, I gotta make more original art for sale.
I’m surprised by this. In the convention circuit, artists make a BIG DEAL out of selling prints. (For good reason – profit margins on prints are HUGE). But in my experience, people don’t buy prints because they just don’t have the wall space to hang new work.
I took a lot of other insights from this show. But I don’t want this post to get super long, so we’ll talk about that in another post.
Aistear Con 3 was a relaxed but successful show this year! I took a lot of good insights from how the show went, and I can’t wait to implement the stuff I’ve learned.
Also! The guy who runs Ignition Studios (Alexander) inspired me to revisit how I run commission offerings. So keep an eye out for new changes on that front! I hope that once I’m done, it’ll be more enjoyable to buy commissions from me.