Featured Artist Friday: Interview with FalconHyrste creator Melissa Capriglione

Falconhyrste is a young adult, coming-of-age story set in a world with magic, mystery, and a rainbow of characters. It’s also charming as heck.

Today I got one of the creators of the story, Melissa Capriglione, to answer some questions for me about the inspiration and process behind making this webcomic.

Not only is this a return of an old segment on my blog called Featured Artist Friday – it’s also the launch date of Falconhyrste on KickStarter! Let’s celebrate by taking a peek into Melissa’s creative process:

What inspired you to make this comic in particular?

Initially, I wanted to make a comic because I needed experience in making comics! I was in my sophomore year of college at the time and, wanting to be a comic artist when I graduated, I realized I had little to no experience at making comics. So I went with the most accessible option- a webcomic! Anyone can make one, and you can host it on a variety of platforms.

The story itself was inspired by love for everything supernatural, and I brought in a lot of inspiration from various anime and comics.

You make this comic with another artist. What prompted the collaboration?

In December of 2015, I went on social media and asked if anyone wanted to collaborate on a webcomic. Clara (now my co-author) responded out of the blue and then we began brainstorming the story and swapping sketches. Both of us were beginner comic artists and didn’t have set styles at the time, so it was tumultuous.

I wanted to collaborate on the comic because we planned for it to be a larger project and I couldn’t see myself taking it on my own. We also act as each other’s beta readers, so the collaboration helps us figure out the plot and make sure our writing sounds good. It also just helps to have an extra set of eyes around for general feedback!

How was the collaboration process when you started out? What kinks in the system have you had to work through?

It was pretty rough in the beginning! We had no idea how long it would take us to make a page, so we were scrambling to finish our first handful of pages. It took us about an entire two weeks to make just one page, but now it takes us about a day or two.

Since then, we learned a lot about formatting pages, setting them up so we’re not using 50 layers, and general streamlining of the process.

This comic has been online for 4 issues now. How long do you intend for Falconhyrste to last?

Since we’re printing issue four, we plan on printing issue five sometime mid 2019. The pages for issue five (and half of issue six) are all done and on the website (falconhyrste.com), so we hope to have those in physical form soon!

As for the story itself, we’ve been doing this for about three and a half years now, and we’re not even a third of the way through our story! But the reason why it took us all these years to do barely 200 pages was because of our busy schedules. We were both in school when we were beginning, so we had to skip a lot of updates and take mini hiatuses due to exams and work schedules.

But now I’m full-time freelance so I can dedicate more time to the story, and hopefully Falconhyrste won’t take another ten years to finish!

Do you consider yourself a plotter or a pantser? (A plotter outlines the story in advance, a pantser makes up the story as they go along. It’s ok if you’re somewhere in between!)

Definitely somewhere in between! The entire script is written out in its entirety, but it’s mostly still the first draft from early 2016, so it’s not that great! We’ve kept a few parts but we’ve added and edited stuff since then. We usually try to plan a chapter ahead, though.

Dang near everybody in this comic is somewhere in the LGBTQ+ rainbow – which I’m not complaining about! I also saw in your portfolio website that you call yourself a “queer artist.” Now, there are (I have discovered) LOTS of LGBTQ+ comics and creators out there. What is it about Falconhyrste that makes it special to you?

Both of us are LGBTQ+, so we wanted to make a story that included people like us, as well as many other people in the community. It’s important to have queer stories available to younger audiences (Falconhyrste is classified as young adult) so that it can be more normalized.

Falconhyrste is special, I think, in that we enjoy just having queer characters existing happily in a world without bigotry and adversity, and use magic! Lots more comics these days are going that route, and it’s certainly refreshing to see, and I’m glad to be a part of this movement.

To create my own stories from my perspective and make the queer comics world even more colorful is one of my goals.

Falconhyrste will be on KickStarter November 16 (that’s today)! Is this your first KickStarter campaign or have you run previous ones? If you’ve done it before, what have you learned from previous campaigns?

This is our first Kickstarter, yes!

Before this, we did a pre-order for issues one through three, and the response to it was far greater than expected, so managing all of that by hand was kind of overwhelming. I figured Kickstarter would be our next best bet because it’ll be easier to manage rewards and stretch goals, as well as communicate with our supporters on a better level.

Obvious question: What tools do you use to make your comic? Is it purely digital?

Yes, 100% digital! I use a Wacom Cintiq 24HD with Photoshop CC, and Clara uses a Wacom Intuos with Clip Studio Paint.

Falconhyrste is a coming of age story if I’ve ever seen one. Are there other coming-of-age stories you want to write, or do you think your next story idea will be in a different kind of genre?

I think coming-of-age stories are my main focus. Growing up, I didn’t have a lot of stories I could relate to and ended up being uninterested and bored by most stories. Nowadays it’s so inspiring to see comics reaching a much wider variety of audiences than they did just ten years ago!

Lots of comics makers (and aspiring comics makers and other artists) read my blog. Is there anything you would like to say to them?

Start where you can!

If you have a story that you just need to create, don’t wait until you’re “good enough” to create it. You’ll get better through the process. It takes time, practice, and effort, but it will all pay off eventually.

Thanks Melissa!

You can find Falconhyrste at falconhyrste.com.

Be sure to follow Melissa on Twitter at @mcapriglioneart and co-creator Clara at @tenhousandbeez.

Be sure to pledge on KickStarter to claim issue #4 of Falconhyrste (as well as other rewards).

Thank you 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.

Validation’s Final Push on KickStarter

Those of you who are on my email newsletter, as well as on Facebook and Tumblr, know that Validation’s Final Push launched June 1st.

This KickStarter campaign launched to get funding to help Christian and me make the final pages of the webcomic Validation.

Let me make one thing clear: yes, we have a Patreon page. But keep this in mind:

Christian has been paying me out of her own pocket to make comics every week for the last 5 years. The Patreon has helped give Christian a small writing stipend, but it’s not enough to cover the full cost of this comic (from paying me, to web hosting, etc.).

So, we started the KickStarter campaign to get us over the edge.

And over the edge we went!

Because holy dang, our initial asking goal was $500 and you met that goal within 2 HOURS of launch!

We made our first stretch goal of $1000 before the weekend started! As I’m writing this, we’re right on the cusp of making the $1500 stretch goal!

I think it helps that the rewards are fun. At least two of them include getting drawn in one of the final pages of Validation!

Another thing is that some of the prints available have been out of print. One of these prints is “In Her Wildest Dreams.”

This baby has been out of print for quite some time. But now it’s available for KickStarter backers as a reward.

If you’re interested in helping this KickStarter camaign, there’s still time to pledge. Who knows? Maybe you’ll be the one who helps us reach that next stretch goal!

If you’re broke, please share this campaign with your friends. Every share helps more than you know.

The campaign ends MONDAY, JUNE 11.

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

You. Are. Awesome.

YWCA Mini-Con 2018: The Best MiniCon (So Far)

ywca minicon artist alley table 2018

Saturday, May 26 was the second annual YWCA Mini-Con in Wheeling WV. And there were a couple of things I forgot from last year:

a) just like last year, this fell on the same day as a marathon happening in downtown. So my usual route to get to the YWCA was closed off. Oops.

b) there was AC, but the room we were set up to sell our wares in was large and didn’t circulate the air.

c) I had wall space!

I took full advantage of that wall space to hang up my clearance prints. I sold way more comics than prints, BUT I did sell two clearance prints. THAT helped.

In fact, a lot of my clearance stuff got sold out at this show. Thank you, peeps who bought those! You helped clear the way for new art and comics in the future.

If you’re interested in any clearance or limited edition things, here’s a link to my Storenvy shop. There’s TWO “Jamie and the Dragon” miniprints left! And FOUR “Faerie Queen” left!

faerie queen limited edition print

Back to the show, it was great to be there once more. Seeing all my repeat fans, getting to know peeps better, chatting with the pagans in attendance (Wheeling has a surprisingly large pagan contingent in the city). It was all fun!

By the end of the day, it was the most profitable one-day show I had done thus far. In fact, I made more than I made at last year’s show! I think the clearance items helped. So did having two new books and some new zines.

10/10. Would do again.

(Also there was pizza given to vendors. My “Smile! Pizza Loves You” shirt I wore that day was prophetic!)

And now, I’m going to rest before I restock and prep for the next show. I am, as the French would say, le pooped.

My next show is not until June 8 through 10, at Put-N-Play at Put-N-Bay. I have never been to this con. I’m only going because my buddy and Dance Around the Maypole collaborator Chloe talked me into it. Wish me luck!

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

You. Are. Awesome.

P.S. River City Comic Con got cancelled. The organizer has fallen into ill health. Be sure to wish him well on the River City Facebook Page!

Witches: The Sketchbook Looking for KickStarter Funding

“Hold on a second,” you might be thinking. “You just had a KickStarter campaign, and you’re running another one so soon?”

Yes – the previous KickStarter was to get funding for Validation buttons, to have something for sale at conventions. That KickStarter ran in June for a week and raised just a little over $800 (holy banana pants!). Since that campaign was so short, the rewards were not super hard to fulfill. In fact, all the rewards for the backers are taken care of for that campaign.

I like to make sure loose ends are tied up before moving to the next KickStarter, thank you.

So, with previous campaigns taken care of, I’ve launched a new one: Witches: The Sketchbook is looking for $500 to get its first print-run going.

Witches: The Sketchbook is a compilation of sketches I made during Inktober, featuring nothing but witches. Why? Well, in promotional posts on KickStarter I say “because I love witches” and leave it at that. But there’s a little more to it than that.

The reason I drew witches is not just out of a fascination for them, but because as a Pagan person, I like seeing witches of all stripes and backgrounds. There’s not much representation of witches, Wiccas, neo-pagans, or the other branches of Paganism in art unless they’re super-sexy or the Macbeth variety of wrinkled cautionary witches.

I wanted to see something different – witches rooted in the old Gaelic traditions, witches of African descent, witches that could spring from old lore, modern-day witches, and witches of other backgrounds. And my method is usually, “Huh. I can’t seem to find anything like that. Time to draw it myself!”

There was also the desire to have a book of character designs and concept art, because I love those types of books and wanted to make one of my own. And a book of witch concepts is a good place to start, I think.

The KickStarter is still running – in fact, it has 11 days left in the campaign and ends on November 21st. Check it out and see what you would like. (Also there’s a ton of original sketches left to claim and they’re priced reasonably well, so be sure to get those before they run out).

If you can pledge, that’s fantastic! If you’re broke, please share the link with your friends. Every bit helps.

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

You. Are. Awesome.