How to Kick Ass at Kickstarter (Video)

Last month I had the good fortune to return to The Animation Workshop in Denmark to teach a week-long course in their Graphic Storytelling department. You might remember the talk I gave two years ago, The View from Aloft, where I distilled my foundational philosophy about social media, online communities, and gratitude economies. This presentation follows up on that framework by talking specifically about crowdfunding and Kickstarter. Thanks to the school’s exceptional video rental equipment there’s now a very nice recording up on YouTube:

I get a lot of questions from folks looking to learn more about this weird practice. It can be the most soul-crushing, time-consuming, heart-tormenting process, but also an incredible jolt of energy, affirmation, and community involvement. Between the generous souls who support me monthly on Patreon and the people who launch individual projects of mine via Kickstarter there’s no doubt that my career would look very different without crowdfunding.

Everything that’s made my campaigns work feels like it’s come from watching my friends get smarter and better every time they launch a project, so it’s great to have this recording to pay it forward to more people. I hope some of you find it useful if you ever launch your own projects (and I hope you do).

Good luck out there!

Announcing: 100 Demon Dialogues

Hi friends,

Big, big news today! My latest project, 100 Demon Dialogues, is now live on Kickstarter!

For the past three months, as part of the 100 Day Project, I’ve been illustrating a daily dialogue with the little voice in my head who tells me I’m no good. (You might recognize him from my Inktober drawing challenges from the last couple years.)

I just drew the 100th entry this morning and I’ve been so overwhelmed by the response to the project. Hearing from people who see themselves reflected in these drawings makes my heart swell. I’ve also heard from a lot of people who want to own these comics for themselves! So here’s what we’re gonna do about that:

  1. The Books!
    • Today’s Kickstarter launch will fund both softcover and hardcover editions of the book. I am very excited about the whole thing. Here are some of the special features I’m aiming for: 
  2. The Plushies!
    • The Kickstarter will also be funding a run of PLUSH DEMONS to keep you company as you do battle with your own voices of anxiety and self-doubt. This little fella will measure about 15″ from tip to tail, and can easily sit up on any surface you care to place him on. (If you’d like to read all about what it takes to produce a plush toy from start to finish, I just did an in-depth blog post about it over on Tumblr.) Here’s a look at the prototype:
  3. The Print Shop!
    • Lots of folks asked for prints of particular demons, but since producing, stocking, and shipping 100 different print types is a massive headache for a long creator like myself, I’ve partnered with the fine folks at Buyolympia to provide archival-quality prints of any demon your heart desires. The store is almost ready, and I’ll be sure to link to it here on the blog once it’s up.

So there we go! You can read all the entries in the series here on the site, head to the campaign page to preorder books and plushies, or buy prints (very soon, I promise) from Buyolympia!

Thanks, as ever, to my amazing supporters on Patreon, who gave me the stability to devote so much time to the this project over the last three months. Y’all are the best.

LET’S GO MAKE SOME COOL SHIT.

Baggywrinkles Now LIVE on Kickstarter!

The day is finally here, friends! Baggywrinkles: A Lubber’s Guide to Life at Sea just launched on Kickstarter and it’s time to get this sucker made. If you’re already on board and you wanna get straight to the business, here’s the page!

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Wait, what’s a Baggywrinkle?

A Baggywrinkle is furry, cylindrical device used for preventing chafing between a ship’s sails and the surrounding lines. It’s one of the most distinctive features of a ship’s rigging, made all the more ludicrous by the fact that you spend a LOT of time explaining what it is to visitors—a hard sell when it’s got such a weird name.

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But it’s also the namesake of my educational, autobiographical series about the time I’ve spent sailing on 18th-century tall ships!

So, you’re making a book?

THAT’S RIGHT. Baggywrinkles has been running in little micro-installments for five years now. With 90 pages of content under my belt I’ve finally got enough material to bind everything together into a really handsome 6″x9″ softcover collection.

I’m funding this book on Kickstarter because it allows for some really thrilling opportunities to do this collection right. You can check out the campaign page for full details, but the most important thing I want to tell you about is that if we exceed our funding goal of 15k by just $5,000 I’m going to hire Joey Weiser and Michele Chidester to render the entire collection IN COLOR.

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I cannot express with words how excited I am about this possibility. LOOK AT THESE LOVELY COLORS! THE BOOK WOULD BE SO AMAZING! I mean, it’s gonna be great either way, but I’m really gunning for color.

So go check out the page and take a look through all the rewards. There’s lots to enjoy—prints, original art, special PDF bundles, and more. And thank you for being such stalwart readers and supporters. You all mean the world to me.

FOR BAGGYWRINKLES. FOR GLORY.

T-1 Week to the Baggywrinkles Kickstarter!

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Ahoy, friends! I am so, so excited to announce that Baggywrinkles: A Lubber’s Guide to Life at Sea will be hitting Kickstarter July 20th.

What is Baggywrinkles, you ask? Why, it’s my educational, autobiographical comic series about living aboard an 18th century tall ship! You can read the first five issues online for free, and check out new content from the series every week on Patreon. I’ve been working on these short stories intermittently since 2010, and I’m finally ready to bring the whole bundle together under one cover.

So next Monday (July 20th) I’m launching a campaign to fund the printing of a 100-page, 6×9″ softcover collection featuring Issues 1-5, the never-before-seen-in-print Issue 6 (all about the history of scurvy), and a host of other exclusive goodies. Take a look at the finished cover design!

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I’ve been hard at work with a team of stellar professionals to make this collection something you’ll all be proud to own—we’re talking French Flaps, patterned endpapers, high-quality matte paper stock, and deliciously thick covers.

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So pattern. Very endpaper. Such nautical.

I’ve also got some really neat extra rewards. Like remember this giant guide to sailors’ tattoos I drew for the Vancouver Maritime Museum?

Photo by Erika Moen
Photo by Erika Moen

Well, I’m gonna turn it into a super fancy two-color, limited edition letterpress print in collaboration with the fine folks at Twin Ravens Press in Eugene, OR! And there’s more extra rewards to come.

This post is your official warning to watch this space (or follow me on Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, and Instagram) for the campaign launch next week, and to keep your eyes peeled because I’ve got a very special stretch goal that I’ll be announcing once the book goes live.

I can’t wait to share more with you—stay tuned!

New Recordings: Crowdfunding & All-Ages Comics!

Hey blog friends. Just wanted to check in and let you know I’ve released two new panel recordings on my SoundCloud page!

The Modern Realities of Fundraising for Artists ran at Linework NW here in Portland this month. Tristan J. Tarwater led a great discussion on modern techniques for funding creative projects and careers through the Internet, including Kickstarter, Patreon, taxes, generosity, and many things in-between. The panelists included me (True Believer), Hazel Newlevant (Chainmail Bikini), Taneka Stotts (Beyond), and Kory Bing (Skin Deep, Borogrove).

All-Ages Comics Aren’t Limiting ran at Emerald City Comicon back in March under moderator Rachel Edidin. The panelists—myself, Jen Van Meter, Janelle Asselin, Adam P. Knave, and Sarah Gaydos—discussed the elements of great all-ages comics, where to draw the line with content, and recommendations of favorite titles.

Thanks to my generous supporters on Patreon for covering the hosting fees for these recordings!

Linework NW This Sunday

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Hey Portland! I’m making a hometown appearance at Linework NW this weekend. This fantastic indie comics and illustration festival boasts a unique format with two completely different sets of exhibitors Saturday and Sunday. This means you can only find me there on Sunday (at Table 24B), but should totally show up both days to take full advantage of the talent on offer. Did I mention it’s stone cold free to attend? You heard it here first. Or maybe you didn’t. Either way I’d love to see you on the floor.

The skinny:

Linework NW – 4/18/2015 + 4/19/2015

Location: Norse Hall111 NE 11th Ave, Portland, OR 97232

Date: Saturday, April 18, 2015 & Sunday, April 19, 2015

Time: 12:00pm – 8:00pm

And here’s a handy map! See Table 24B? Right in the middle there. Aw yeah.

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You can check out the exhibitor lineups for both days of Linework NW right here. I’ll also be speaking on a panel called The Modern Reality of Fundraising for Artists at 4:30pm on Sunday with Hazel Newlevant, Kory Bing, and Taneka Stotts, moderated by Tristan Tarwater. Check out the full listing of panels for more exciting discussion topics.

Hope to see you there!

The Cartozia Tales Kickstarter is LIVE

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You’ve heard me shouting about it for months and end, and now the day is finally here! The Cartozia Kickstarter Campaign has launched with an incredible outpouring of support from fans all over the world. I’m so excited to share it with you.

In case you’ve missed it the last fifteen times I’ve gushed about Cartozia on the web, it’s an all-ages fantasy series set in a shared world and brought to life by a core team of eight indie cartoonists. With the guidance of our fearless editor Isaac Cates, we’ve published the first two issues on our own dime, and now we’re aiming to fund an entire year’s worth of 40-page issues. It’s an audacious campaign, but I have faith that we’re going to knock it out of the park.

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From story to story and issue to issue, we swap characters and locations via a game of chance, building on one another’s ideas to create a dynamic narrative landscape. Two guest stars per issue help keep things fresh, and we’ve got some incredible names on the project (James Kochalka! Brittney Sabo! Evan Dahm! Eleanor Davis! Dylan Horrocks!).

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I’m fairly certain this type of storytelling has never been done before on such a scale, and the results so far have been fantastic — immersive and playful for kids, engaging and complex for adults. We’re making Cartozia Tales because we think the world needs more comics that will attract young readers and let them celebrate adventure, curiosity, exploration, and fun, but we can’t make it happen without your help.

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If you want to dive in and make this thing happen, here are some ideas to get you started:

1. Pledge to the campaign.

2. Spread the link (especially to parents and teachers!).

3. Find us on Twitter @Cartozia and get in touch.

4. Reblog this post on Tumblr.

5. Learn more about the world, our contributors, and our methods on the homepage.

6. Invite your friends to the campaign event on Facebook!

I’ll be posting more news as I get it, but right now the biggest goal is setting this campaign off to a roaring start. I can’t wait to see where it goes. As an added incentive, here’s a full gallery of all the ridiculous dances I was giving away earlier this week to celebrate early subscribers to the series:

 

Waterlogged: Tales from the Seventh Sea

Really exciting news this week: Waterlogged, the 200-page anthology of nautical comics I contributed to last year, is finally going to print!

tumblr_mkt367Jxoi1qkwt8jo1_500If you read this blog, I assume you share some of my enthusiasm for all things oceanic, so this is probably the collection for you. The stories cover everything from pirates and sailors to nautical mythology enthusiasts, plus the book itself promises to be gorgeous — I mean, just look at that cover illustration by Laura Bifano.

If you want a taste of the goods, you can read “Navy Ink”, the story I contributed in collaboration with Shannon Campbell, right here on my site. Just click the image below!

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I was also thrilled when Cloudscape, the organization behind the anthology, asked me to do some chapter heading illustrations in the style of old tattoos. Here’s a selection:

They’ve launched an IndieGoGo campaign (with a super delightful video, I might add) and are hoping to have copies out by July. Unfortunately this means that I won’t have the book at my table for most conventions this season, but the sooner the campaign reaches its goal, the faster things will happen. To that end, check it out! Throw in some cash! Get amazing comics in return!

Relevant to that: if you’re interested in receiving a SUPER AFFORDABLE custom avatar commission from me, check out the Siren’s Avatar tier, where you can request a portrait commission from an artist of your choice. I’ve only made myself available for five slots, so hop on it if you’re interested. Other reward tiers include e-books, signed editions of the anthology, exclusive prints, and a jumbo pack of comics from all 30 contributors.

Phew, so that’s the biggest news this week. More to come soon!