Sunday, August 30, 2015

Extra background info and story tidbits!

The post below on the main Precocious page has lots of neat info about the origins of the Weekend of Bernie's story, and how the Curtailed crossover managed to work its way into it, but there are more little snippets of background info to share. Rather than make a big, bloated news page, I'm putting a link right here to go read more tidbits!

That linked post will be updated when I think of new stories to share. Maybe they're interesting, maybe they're not, but it's a view into how these things come together. It's a story that was brewing in the back of my head for years and years, and between the two posts you get a look at all the neat flavors it's picked up from the experiences I've had since its inception!

MORE STORY TIDBITS!

Rather than make the initial reference post for my Weekend and Bernie's inspirations any longer, I'm splitting off my extra commentary and tidbits to this post! This is the kind of stuff I'd be blogging about should I ever set up a Patreon.*  The base-level supporters would get blogs of background info and special tidbits and secrets, and I really hate that I'm too sick to set it up, much less supply extras, because this story is PERFECT for it. I have so many more tidbits to share than will even appear here.

-General note for newer readers, it's either time to do a big archive dive (which is fun!) or hope other readers will provide links to all the callbacks to prior Precocious stories in the comments section for each comic. (There are so many!) Anyway, newer readers probably aren't reading news posts, so heroic vets should be linking directly to the this and the other explanation post whenever needed. (While I would love a reference section on each comic to make things easier to track, if only for tagging characters and locations, you'd be surprised at how non-free a free-for-you website is on *my* end.)

AND NOW ONTO EXTRA NOTES!

-Since Fox and Seley's original cameo came during the Fall Festival, and it helped spark a friendship with people far FAR above me on the coolness scale, I continued with those good vibes. The two visited the kids' bar to start, so now the kids visit THEIR bar. This was my favorite option for their return, after they let me make their cheap-ripoff copies Precociousverse people, but there were two other possibilities: One in a twist ending to a story that I won't specify here, and one in the story that I probably would have run if I decided to save Weekend of Bernie's for next year. I didn't want to launch into a grand story if my health was super shaky, so I ended up holding off for four weeks before taking the plunge. (Which means September has been sacrificed on the "Still Summer" altar AGAIN. Sorry, Autumn and Max, yet another chance at a dual birthday story is lost.)

-Technically, there's a third story that could have had the return of Seley and Fox, in that their pub was originally going to be introduced in a bonus story for book four's Kickstarter backers, just like the story "Gus" was for book three. (In a very vague way, this story could be a sequel to "Gus.") I ended up being too sick this year to produce book four, much less ANY of the bonus stories I'd planned, but I'm keeping it on my to-do list for when I *can* launch a Kickstarter. (For those who missed "Gus," either wait a few years for it to make it to print, or hope I finally get enough energy to launch that Patreon with a PDF of bonus, non-website content as a backer incentive.) I was also briefly tempted to do the bar discovery story as a Precocious arc, since we were doing Anthrocon together and it'd be good timing - but I knew I wasn't prepared to launch it when I'd need to.

-This bar requires more than two employees, so I offered my colorist, Jason McDonald, a chance to design a character. He wanted one based on his old family dog, Bruno, so Bruno is running around doing the heavy lifting whenever Seley or Fox get distracted. You should assume other staff members are there too. I mean, we KNOW there's a kitchen staff for nacho-making! I'm not giving away cameos willy nilly for this one, so a lot of locals and staff will remain unseen unless I feel like rewarding a specific person. Remember: This story was written for generic bar people at first, then adapted when the Curtailed crew allowed me to use them. I got to expand on the roles and wallow around in fun cross-comic joy because of it. (Not the most professional thing, really, but it's SO MUCH FUN and lets readers of each comic potentially find a new comic to read and love!)

-Just like my "Last Supper Table" joke (side note: If you followed my Twitter ramblings a while back, you'd know that's my take on the 1970's game of Happiness - one I played a LOT as a child), you have to concede a bit of leeway when it comes to fitting the important characters in panel. The bar may be Saturday-evening busy, but it's hard to show conversations between two characters of disparate heights behind a bar that is also blocked by people. So I thank all those attending The Winchester during the night of this story for standing just off frame, or far enough back they can blend into the background.

-I mentioned the name of the bar was Fox's idea. It's a Shaun of the Dead reference, and continues a taunting cameo tradition of troublesome names. You see, I live in a city called... Winchester! I also really try not to play up any animal stuff for this comic. They're just humans in cute veneer, and should be treated as humans. The closest I get to using animal terms is when I say "tail" because I don't want to write "ass" in the comic - which is also something humans say a bunch. So now I have a fox character named Fox, because that's his ACTUAL name. And let's not forget the good old Ginger brigade, stolen from/inspired by Ginger's Bread.  What's the character's last name? Paulsen. C'MON, YOU GUYS.

(more to come!)

*Please, no "Why don't you just [do something that requires a massive time, energy and/or monetary investment]?" comments. It may sound like common sense not to be so rude, but this is the internet. People with no common sense never stop assaulting creators with their oblivious words, and far too many clever supportive people are too shy to speak up - or get driven away by the oblivious blatherers. Boo. Let's have a revolution of rational kindness, entertaining enthusiasm and sincerity!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Hey, I know you! (Story inspirations!)

Click the pic to revisit the Precocious/Curtailed crossover!

(UPDATE: Since this post is already too long, I added even MORE backstory and random tidbits to a second post. Click here to go read it!)

I like to make summers in Precocious a little bit epic. Figuring this is when people either take breaks from their computers, or have the time to invest more online reading effort, I use it as an opportunity to write longer stories with lots of callbacks and continuity nods. If you're not paying attention, or paying EXTRA attention to details from the archvies, you'll find a big, rich story waiting for you to consume all at once. I see it as a reward for long-term, dedicated readers, and indulgent fun for me! (I have enough long-term readers that I'm confident any needed callback/reference link will end up in the comments section eventually.)

Aunt Bernie's visit was a story I deliberately sat on for YEARS, until the timing was right AND I had the full story set in my mind. (Take a look at Uncle Mike's mis-remembered names of Sky's twins, from nearly four and a half years ago.) Every so often during these years, I'd get a Bernie idea and add it to my notes. As that foundation built up, so did inspirations. In this post, I'm covering the two big ones: Miri and the pub!

Two years ago, I walked into the Small Press Expo and met Kat Feete, fellow SpiderForest member and creator of Sunset Grill. (Comic not for kiddies.) I also got to meet her lovely family, including her IMPOSSIBLY CUTE daughter.  I told Kat about a character I was working on for a future story, who was so cute she drove Autumn mad, and Kat began to share stories of how her Kidlet was able to melt hearts and do "this can't be real" adorable things. At the next SPX, she had even more tales to share! Both the links above were directly adapted from real-life stories told to me by Kat. Now that the story has finally been unleashed, coming with Bernie was a cute little girl named Miriam, whose look is a direct Precocizing of the almighty Kidlet. You can find several more stories I want to steal on her Kidlet Roundup.

I had a problem with Bernie's story, that caused it to sit half-finished for so long. I was missing an element to make it worthy of the wait, and, since I intend to let Precocious go as long as I have stories to tell, I felt no pressure to rush it out before it was ready. Near the end of last year, I finally hit upon The Plan. Slowly but surely, Act II began to come together in my notes - and Act II eventually required a visit to a bar.

With me being an unlovable and broken shut-in, I only know two people who are socially adept enough to visit bars, and they happen to be the creators of a certain amazing comic! I'd written Mandy long ago about adopting Seley and Fox as expanded-universe characters in Precocious - Meaning, they're not *actually* the characters from their comic, but strong inspirations for Precociousverse evil twins who take the roles of what would have otherwise gone to one-off random characters. When I finally got to meet them in-person (naturally, at a bar!) I gave them the overview of the bar section from the Bernie story, allowing them to take those roles if they approved. (Makes sense, as The two visited the kids' bar when they appeared in the Fall Festival arc, so now the kids visit THEIR bar.) They gave me tips of what their bar would look like (the name was Fox's idea) and I tried to match things up where the story (and my crummy bar-drawing ability) allowed. I'm not sure how Nerd Night-y they'd actually go, but it's an important element for a side story that will likely be a stretch goal incentive for the next book preorder. Perhaps Precociousverse duplicate Fox and Seley are a little bit lamer than their source comic, counterparts, but, well, that's really a given - seeing as *I'm* writing for them instead of Fox: The Worlds Most Interesting Man.)

Sunday, August 9, 2015

No news, so look at this kitten!

Since I'm still fighting the health stuff, my life is mostly about keeping pace and ensuring Precocious updates every day. (Thanks so much to Jason McDonald for helping with coloring to give me some pressure relief! I'm chipping away at the few remaining bits of owed work I took on before I kerploded thanks to him.) Very little time/energy is left to do much else, and that "else" is currently a massive house set-up maintenance project... and this surprise visitor. (You can click on most pics for larger versions.)


This cat is 50% tail. Photos can't do it justice.

The Paulsen family is full of super softies. If we see a kitten without a home we will try to help them. For example: One time I walked into my boss' office (back when I was doing website maintenance) and told him, "My mother saw a kitten behind Taco Bell. I have to go." He knew better than to try and stop me. (That's when we got Jerkcat, by the way.) When I pulled up to the new house late one night and saw a mother cat with kittens, no way I couldn't start feeding them and try to make their lives better.


I was feeding the strays, and then one walked inside! (Why wait for me to toss food when he could simply go up to the dish holding the chicken?) As you can see in those eyes above, both of us were very surprised and confused at this development.


He (well, we think it's a he) is starting to adjust to this fostering situation. Currently at kitty bi-polar state, starting half our interactions with a hiss/cry before conceding, "OK, I really want to be petted."


Giant ears. Big paws. Tail a mile long. Very lanky. Totally looks like a long coat coming in. This cat will grow up to be giant and MAJESTIC. (This photo courtesy of my mother.)


At peace (for now). He'll soon meet my other kitties, and then we'll see what happens.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Anthrocon This Weekend!

(Thanks to Mandy of Curtailed for the graphic!)

Oh yeah, I should probably put up a news post about it, huh? I will be Anthrocon this weekend, in Pittsburgh, and I'm looking forward to saying hi to a whole bunch of you! You'll find me at table L01, in the back. Look for the Precocious banner and the Precocious/Copper road sign/beach towel on the front of the table. Mat from Badly Drawn Kitties (comic not for kiddies) is back as my super assistant, and this year I've brought in the big guns for backup should I die of excitement, with Mandy of Curtailed joining us too!  It'll be a blast, as I'm also between other awesome friends, the heroic Bill Holbrook and the charming Marjorie Rishel. (That's right, for one weekend the world gets to revolve around me!)



While me being constantly near death since last August means no Precocious book 4 debut, I'll have the other three books - and you can get them sketched in and signed!  I'll be offering badge commissions and will be doing Copic marker half-page commissions too! I did a test run of those at Fur The More, and they were fun! (No, they won't be as cheap this time. That was for the trial.) Small sketch cards are also available from all three of us at the table!  Just a reminder: I *only* take commissions at cons now, and due to SPX focusing on publishing, this is probably your last chance to get some Chrispy art drawn for you this year!

There will be a selection of new and old buttons from all three comics, and various other Precocious goodies, like the poster and window clings, will be for sale. Oh, and WE WORK FOR TIPS!  My base prices are set relatively low for my level of experience, but if you want to show some love you will be rewarded with some party popper fun, or a special treat!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Guitars and Microphones!



Yes, no one wants to hear anyone else's music - especially young'uns whose grandparents are younger than this artist - but *I* have the power here and you must suffer through it! (Or just not click. The story would read the same if I made up fictional song lyrics.) Anyway, if you'd like to sing along with the kids (and Ivy) with the main song from the current story, and the embedded video above doesn't work (news posts on the Precocious front page are mirrored from Blogger, so who knows how it'll go), here is a link to the music video for Kate Pierson's Guitars and Microphones. (Does it count as another B-52's reference for this comic if it's a band member's solo album?)

I stayed true to the concept of this story, by the way, and I listed to the album over and over, THEN this song over and over and over and over. And then I couldn't find a lyrics sheet for the song, so I listened over and over AGAIN to try and make it out. I doubt I got it totally right, so my apologies to Kate!

I also stayed true to the concept of something else, but you'll have to wait for that comic to go live before you know what I mean! (Hint: The comic's title is "Bring Your Arms" - though it's not about that specific song.)

And while I'm doing a news post, here's a health update: I got botox injections to help muscles spasms in my face that were causing migraines, but it didn't go well and has so far been ineffective. I have dozens of emails to write and respond to from the past three weeks, as well as a personal goal of getting at least ONE Copper Road done in June, but right now it's all I can do to keep updating on time. And that's really annoying, because it could mean reshuffling my planned Summer story order.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Autumn's Adventures + Store is back up!

In the previous post, I said I'd fix the store once I remembered my password. I did, so the merchandise and art card sections are live again, PLUS I added a pile of book twos for a clearance sale, as I unearthed an extra box of them from a previous printing during my move! If you don't mind a handful of typos (which were corrected in later printings), get them cheap - signed and sketched too!

I missed this while was all exploding-headed and traveling, but the Precocious/Ginger's Bread "exchange program" has a new entry! Head over to Ginger's Bread to see that comic! (Warning: Some curse words.) And, yes, I made fun of Carl, the creator, for not including The Desk gifted to Ms. Monster by the Precociousverse's take on Ginger. (FYI: There's no actual canon connection between the two comics - treat the character "swap" as more like a crazy coincidence. It's just two cartoonists taking a joke TOO FAR and loving it!)


For those who are playing Pokemon Rumble on the 3DS, Carl also created a Gingerverse Autumn Mii and decided to have some fun with her! It was enough to get ME to play the game, but I just started last night and don't know what I'm doing yet. Do you play? Are we friend code buddies yet?  If not, find my codes on my Tumblr page, and send me YOUR friend code in an ask. (Nudge me if I don't add you within a day or two. Sometimes Tumblr doesn't give me new ask notifications.)


Oh, and Carl shared the scanny thing for the Gingerverse Autumn Mii. Once I figure out how to use it, I will steal her for my own 3DS fun!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Convention Time/Timing (UPDATED! I DID IT!)



6/1 Update: SUCCESS! 

Despite missing nearly a full day of the con, everyone there was incredibly nice and no one screamed at me openly for being the Marketplace's "That Guy." This ended up being my highest-earning DC-area con yet, and I credit the positivity and proactive nature of the Fur The More staff for creating a strong and supportive environment. People were nice even though I stayed at my table to catch up and didn't socialize as much as I should have.

Also throwing huge praises to Mandy and Fox for letting me abuse their time for a late lunch. It was surreal and exhilarating to live inside their comic, Curtailed, for a couple hours. (Those two are so perfect they create comic-worthy moments every few seconds - and I TOTALLY STOLE SOME OF THEM FOR THIS SUMMER'S UPCOMING STORYLINE.)

I also got to draw for middle schoolers today, which is always a huge boost. The next generation is dangerously smart and talented and inspiring - and I was faced with the idea of destroying them out of fear, or encouraging them in hopes they won't turn me into Soylent Green when they get into power. Here's hoping those quick portraits and fox drawings keep me alive one day!

Four days of heavy talking and no sleep are having predictable results on my condition currently, as my facial muscles are super "hungover," but I got extreme enjoyment out of that time! (I get my treatment Thursday. It it helps, maybe I'll be slightly less drama for everyone next time around.) No Copper Road update is happening until I get back under control - so maybe next Monday? I have no Precocious buffer left, so that's my current comic priority.

I need to turn some items back on in the Precocious store, but my password expired and I can't remember which of the dozen or so options I was using. Maybe I'll find the post-it note with it around here later...


Friday, May 1, 2015

Copper Road + Bribed for Bonuses! (UPDATED)


As you'll learn more about below, I didn't realize it was the end of the month. Whoooops. I didn't have anything finished or timely in my Copper Road file, so I had to turn to my eyes to this dumb universe around us. Fortunately, I had a physical therapy appointment soon after. While that tweet didn't turn into full prophecy, I got a comic from the experience! (I did not handle adversity like Shii Ann, which is why we need Shii Ann. A comic of me NOT doing something stupid isn't very entertaining.) Vote here to see the new Copper Road! (Also, part of the first of the month update is that the previous month's Copper Roads are added to the online archive.)


Now, let's talk about color and illness and how those are tied together. The Ivy relapse story had to be initially posted with only background coloring, as my continuing health issues hit new heights in annoyance the past few weeks. I can draw comics, but computer stuff like coloring and lettering really hurts.

UPDATE: Jason of http://www.indeliblebluepen.com/ has stepped in to color some comics for us! He colored half of Sunday's update, and is saving my butt for at least a few updates next week. Yay!

ANOTHER UPDATE: All of Ivy's Relapse story is now colored and updated! Commenter DRB also stepped in to help pick up some slack, and I took care of the rest. Go back and reread it all to make sure I colored the right files and didn't lose a fixed typo or updated text or anything.

Back to the original post:

Anyway because of THAT headsplosion stuff, I've been focusing on drawing comics and not spending time at the computer. I thought I had my story finished, and then I found myself jotting down TWO silly bonus ending comic ideas. (Not canon - especially the first one - but fun as bonuses.) With my other option being painful coloring, I felt it a better use of my time to draw those bonuses. Hey, I can use one for a bonus inventive if I - WHEN DID IT BECOME MAY?!? I need a new Copper Road!

All of that combined is how I ended up with three bonus incentives for one day. SO LET'S HOLD THE BONUS ENDINGS HOSTAGE! If you can unlock the extras, I will edit them into Sunday's comic. If not, you won't see them until they appear in a book. (Can you unlock them before the page goes live?)

UPDATE: Yes, you can! I am super impressed! I'm leaving a;; the initial info in this post, because lord knows I always have more medical bills, but you have met your goals so yay you!

Once again, I will reward you with extras for donations and store sales that help me pay for my ever-growing pile of medical bills. You can donate via the PayPal donation button on this page, or you can buy stuff from the Precocious store! (Did you see that artist editions are available again?) Both PayPal and the store should have a section where you can write a note to me, so mention this is for the bonus comics.

I'll keep the goals low again:  $75 in donations/sales unlocks one. $150 unlocks both. $200 gets them both fully-colored. If you need context, I have medications (yes, plural) that cost more than $200. It may only be making a small dent financially, but it means a heck of a lot for peace of mind to know people out there are rooting for me. There's hope I'll get a procedure that will make things so much better, but it could be weeks or months away. I will need some audience love to push me forward until I can walk stable on my own again.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

New Copper Road + Story Notes


Quick programming note first, because 90% of you will tune out after/during this paragraph because you are MONSTERS. While working in my scripting files, I had two stories that were proving difficult to trim down so they'd fit into a week-long block. Rather than overwork myself with extra double-sized comics and deleting more scenes than I'd like, I did the math and realized if they were both overgrown *together* I could neatly fit them into three weeks and the scheduling would still be nice and neat. So nobody panic when a new story starts mid-week. I know some of you are delicate flowers, but it'll all be OK. (When combined, the stories totaled 20 days, so I had to add back in a silly extra gag I'd written. If there's one comic during this stretch you don't like as much as the others, assume that one was it.)

And NOW we're onto a spring-ish Copper Road! Vote here to see the latest comic! This is another one of those "It'd be a journal comic if I were any good at drawing a cartoon version of me" entries. Granted, most Copper Roads are rooted in life observation, so nothing new there. I went out to fill the bird feeder, and realized something was missing. So there's my proof of climate change! And Kaitlyn isn't joking. I used the timestamp on a photo I took last year:



Jerky aside: I saw a heat map going around showing that the eastern US is the only landmass on the planet that didn't get scorched in 2014 - and cold makes my health condition worse. I can only conclude all of humanity's ecological crimes were done with specific malice towards me. "Sir, all that smoke in the air from the factory can't be good." "Oh, lad, it isn't. But in 150 years this guy named Chrispy will be around - AND I WANT HIM TO SUFFER!"