Sunday, November 16, 2014

Book 4 is inching closer...

OK, it's been ages since I posted and time somehow got away from me. Apologies!

During August and September I did the Boston and Baltimore Comic Cons, both very fun shows with tons of cool fans and guests! I tried and tried to get into the New York convention, but was shot down on the waiting list up until the day before. Just not well known enough to win a table. Oh well.

Farlaine is chugging along on Book 4 still. It's a longer book than any of the others and things are sadly slower working around the day job. I hope to be finished in early 2015, at which time I'll solicit it through Diamond - so probably April-June for a release date?

Sorry for the wait, but I'm trying to do the story right, around a job distracting me.

I also find I go through surges. I'll create 5 pages of layouts and prelims one weekend, and then ink through all of them in a week and a half, feeling full-time productive.

Then I'll fall out of the groove, things don't line up the same, and suddenly it's a month later and I've only gotten 2 pages done when i expected to have 6.

I'm not a machine. I can't just sit down and work for an hour and pick it up later. Sometimes I can, but not as a habit.

The point with all these excuses being to explain why Book 4 isn't out yet. I'm still working on it:)

I had hoped to solicit it in December for an April release but didn't have a cover done, which is needed, so I'm trucking along on the interiors while keeping ideas going for covers. Then hopefully one of these days I'll fit that in. Once the cover is done and colored I'll solicit the book.

On the positive side of things, this was one of the bigger humps. Books 4-5 were the unknowns...the ones that needed to be built out more...whereas Books 6-7 were mostly in place, the rough concepts already hashed out.

So one of the tough ones is almost done!

Monday, August 18, 2014


The first trade paperback of Farlaine the Goblin, Books 1-3 hits comic shop shelves in 2 weeks and just popped up for pre-order on Amazon for $10!

So if you're an Amazon Prime couch buyer you no longer have an excuse not to pick up the book!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Boston Comic Con 2014 Awesomeness

This past weekend was the Boston Comic Con, an amazing independent convention that's grown by leaps and bounds, year after year. It moved to the Seaport Convention Center in 2013 and has been even more awesome since! It's like 50% Artist Alley and full of amazing artists. It's insane!

Farlaine the Goblin was set up there this past weekend in D231, an amazing corner spot right on the food court. Great location, lots of traffic. Rumors circulated Saturday at 3PM that a line was still wrapping the building and people were being told if they left they couldn't come back in. Busy!

How busy? What kind of busy? Selling busy! People all over were selling out of books. Everyone was having their best show of the year, if not ever. It was kinda surreal.

My first show was Boston 2013. This was my fifth show and the first repeat.

The best show I've had yet was NY in 2013 when I sold 144 books over 4 days. I only had 2 of the 3 books in print, so numbers would certainly have been higher had The Racelands arrived on time.

I next hit C2E2 2014 and sold a solid 129 over 3 days, the first show with all 3 books. That was a pretty big show, 60,000+. Don't know what the attendance for Boston was just yet, but I imagine not that high.

In Boston I sold 123 over 3 days, with 54 being the first book, compared to 36 and 33 for books 2 and 3. This actually outsold books 1 and 2 over C2E2, but fell behind on book 3. Surprising and awesome!

So the points in all of this are really to illustrate that Boston has a pretty great convention these days, and more and more people are finding Farlaine and coming back:)

Thursday, July 17, 2014

"The real money is in trades..."

The one thing you often hear from lots of working comic artists is that they make their real money from the trade paperbacks, and that they couldn't survive living just off the income from a monthly floppy comic.

And I imagine for most of these guys that are successful and have a following and an audience, that's entirely true. Especially if they're with a publisher like Image or Dark Horse or IDW and are likely selling thousands of books at release and a steady pulse in the hundreds or thousands per month the rest of the year.

For me, I was on the fence about even doing a trade. It's a 7 book series. Do you really need to collect it in smaller chunks as well? It makes complete sense to me as 7 small books and then 1 collected version.

But no, a variety of people kept telling me that I should do a trade, people love trades, it's more exposure while waiting for the next book, etc, etc. So I finally caved. It was good to have more avenues to read the series. Get more people invested and interested.

The most interesting piece of releasing a trade is that Diamond views it differently. People can reorder trades and they can be available for reorder for as long as there are a certain threshold of orders. They can even be resolicited later when the next issues come out.

Much different from the one time hit of a monthly comic!

So anyways, I decided to do it.

Originally, I wanted to do a hard cover. Diamond encouraged a paperback. I decided to do both.

I spent months finding a new printer. My current one couldn't make larger books and I wanted this book to be two inches wider in each direction to really get the art bigger. Make it something different.

When I finally found a printer, I found out that printing what I wanted cost lots and lots of money.


So without sure-fire sales and a guarantee that those books would sell, it was a bit too crazy to print two versions right now, especially for only 3 books. For the complete story? Yes, totally makes sense! Store em in a garage for life. But a collection of just 3 books? Meh.

So I cut back. And back. And back.

What I ended up at was basically a larger size version of the original books, about an inch in each direction and 3 times as thick. It's got a much nicer binding this time around so it should last some wear and tear.

It's got all 3 books, The Tinklands, The Saltlands, and The Racelands, plus the early adventure The Tinderlands, as well as a couple of pages of the forthcoming Twistlands, and some pinups and other fun goodies.

I tried to price it fairly at $13, a discount from buying all 3 on their own. Diamond pays me 40% of that. $5.20/book. That's all I get of the $13.

To print the book costs between $2-4/book depending on quantity. For quantity to matter, you're probably up to $7-10k.

Originally I hoped it would sell well through Diamond, 400-500+ copies, in which case I could print 2500 books. That would cover the hopeful reorders in the months to come, plus books for conventions, stores, etc.

Sadly, orders came in far lower...around 200. Not spectacular. So the idea of printing 2500 books seems a bit daunting, with there being a fairly large chance of there being boxes of books littering every home I own for the rest of my life...

So I chopped it again to 1500 books.

It looks like they're going to cost me ~$3.75/book. Plus shipping. Which is about $0.50-75/book depending on destination.

So let's say a total of $4.25.

Profit of $0.95/book.

Woohoo! Sweet life!!

OK, and yes, one could argue that I'm selling the book too cheap. But the point is not to make a profit. The point is to find and build an audience.

I view now as the long tail when hopefully I can slowly find readers and spread, so that by the time books 6-7 come out, people will really be looking forward to them.

The trade is posted online in plenty of places that sell comics like and such, or could be found or ordered through your local comic shop! Once I have copies in hand I'll be selling them through as well!

I'll also be at the Boston Comic Con in early August and the Baltimore Comic Con in September. I should have copies of the trade by Baltimore.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

The inching along life of doing comics on the side...

As June approaches it seemed I was overdue for a quick posting!

First thing to mention is that the first trade paperback of Farlaine the Goblin is being solicited in Previews this month(June)!

You can ask your local comic book shop to order you a copy, or order it online through a place like Mid Town Comics:

It costs $13, runs more than 130-140 pages, and will collect Books 1-3 as well as the short story The Tinderlands(first time in print!)

For those who love big long strings of numbers, the ISBN is: 978-0-9890058-3-8

I highly encourage everyone to order vast quantities of this book and give them out to friends, family, the postman, random people on the streets, or even talking dolphins, should you know of any(you may need to flip the pages for them if they don't have opposable flippers).

So that's really the only exciting bit of 'news' to mention.

Otherwise things are progressing along slowly but surely on Book 4: The Twistlands. This issue is looking to be a bit longer than the others, currently in the 35-40+ page range. Here's a sneak peak of some of the new critters that appear - Twistcatchers!

Unfortunately, this also means it will take that much longer for it to reach the stands. The first 3 books I did without juggling a day job, but since comics don't really pay anything, I am now back to working with a commute and all that, fitting Farlaine in on nights and weekends. So I'm diligently producing pages, just not at the speed I'd prefer.

This does lead to an interesting question on releasing the books though - originally I had planned to complete books 4-5 and release them in subsequent months, but if I take that route it will likely mean an even longer delay before anyone sees any new content. So I might consider releasing them as they're completed, meaning 1 book every 8-12 months. But I'm not giddy about that prospect either.

So we'll see...for now, onward with Book 4!

Friday, April 18, 2014

C2E2 next week! Then Free Comic Book Day the following week!

An exciting couple of weeks! 
C2E2 is coming up NEXT WEEK, April 25-27, in Chicago!

Farlaine the Goblin will be set up in Artist Alley at table V-9.

I'll have copies of Books 1-3, stuffed Farlaines, and prints!

You can see it on a map here:

Then, the following week May 3rd is Free Comic Book Day! If you're in the Massachusetts area, swing by New England Comics who should have signed copies at all stores!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Quick howdy!

First off, this is about a month out from C2E2, the Comic Con in Chicago happening April 25-27.  I'll be there for the first time, set up in Artist's Alley. I'll have copies of all 3 books and some prints and stuffed Farlaines!

Second, Studio Farlaine is excited to announce that we're going to be taking part in Free Comic Book Day on May 3rd! New England Comics, great bastion of Massachusetts comic-dom, will be the exclusive chain to get your Free Comic Book Day Edition of Book 3: The Racelands!

There will be 200 copies signed and numbered books and spread amongst the stores. 30 of the books have little doodles in them.

Here's a quick shot of my current workstation. To put it's location in context - this is midway down the living room wall in a 1BR. If this were a normal tenant, a family would be sitting on the couch here.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Book 4 - The Drawing Begins

And so I begin...

It's been a while since I drew an issue of Farlaine.

The last page of book 3 was drawn around August/September 2012. Since then I've drawn the covers and published the book, but no other sequential pages.

Now I'm trying to do it with a full time day job and a 2 hour commute.

To say it's slow would be fair.

But after a few months hammering on the script, I finally started drawing again a week or two ago. I'm up to about page 3. About.

It's interesting having to re-learn all the tricks and approaches I'd used back then and haven't touched since. I forgot how I worked towards the end, doing lots of sketches on other paper first to establish poses and compose shots. The first page of book 4 I wasn't happy with, but next page I like. So I wouldn't be surprised if it was a dozen pages before I'd gotten back to form and remember all the other things I'm forgetting.

I'm also jumping around trying different inks and paper to start off with. I had some frustrations last time with different kinds. I'd tried Strathmore pads and Blue Line sheets and even some random pieces I found buried away. None of them were great. All had issues. I am trying some of the Eon boards now, and will try single sheet strathmore at different plys. Maybe I'll find something I like.

Inkwise I ended up using Speedball towards the end of book 3 and generally liked it, although for me it dried out and didn't rejuvenate well at one point, so the last cover I did involved lots of nib cleaning. I just bought two new kinds to try, a Japanese sumi ink, and a bottle of Perle Noire. Maybe one will be cooler.

The fourth issue is looking to be a bit longer than the others, currently around 40. We'll see how it goes. Could shorten or lengthen as I go!

Here are a few of the early prelim pieces and sketches I'm using to build up a panel.

OK, now back to work...

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Back to the writing board...

Haven't posted anything on here in a while and figured I should:)

Book 3, The Racelands came out in December and since then I've been back to working on writing Book 4 and getting back in the groove after spending the last year dealing with the publishing side of the comic world.

For anyone who wasn't clear, this is not a monthly title released by a huge conglomerate:) It's a one man show by someone juggling a day job.

The first 3 books were written and drawn in 2012 and then released in 2013.

So now it's 2014 and I'm back in the saddle. Once I finish writing Book 4 I'll have to draw it, and then the same with Book 5.

My current plan is to release both books a month or two apart like I did with the first 3, and once those are out I'll then go back to Books 6-7. Sort of like releasing the series in 3 acts.

My current hope is to have Books 4-5 on shelves for the fall of 2014, but I'm more interested in putting together the best book I can and not just hitting an arbitrary deadline. So we'll see how things go:) For now the focus is on writing a good Book 4!

I'm also trying to plan a few convention appearances this year. The current plan is: 

C2E2 (Chicago)
- April 25-27, 2014
Boston Comic Con
- August 8-10, 2014
Baltimore Comic Con
- September 5-7, 2014

Both San Diego and New York you have to apply for, and realistically I'll be rejected by both, but I still applied anyway. So I'd say it's a slim chance at both of those, but if I get in I'm going:)

San Diego Comic Con (if accepted)
 - July 24-27, 2014

New York Comic Con (if accepted) 
- October 9-12, 2014