Monday, July 30, 2012

Lots of news!

Ok, folks, I'm going to cover a lot in today's news post. I figure it's better to put it all together than spread a bunch of things out over separate posts. (I can only have four current items on the home page, and it's rare that anyone is even reading this, much less scrolling down to see more.) So let's go!

GUEST STRIPS! - I am still looking for contributions from those who are artistically inclined! If you think you can pull one off, shoot me an email and let me know! The reason I'm looking for these is because I have a big move coming up in a couple weeks, and it'll take me a while to settle in. I'd like a week to catch my breath.

Commissions! - Since I haven't had many bites this time, I'm going to shut down the studio early. I could use the space for packing. You can still commission me, but there's no longer a promise of a week turnaround. You might have to wait until September for delivery now. In related news, my attempts to figure out livestreaming has been pushed back to September due to the pressures with moving.

CONVENTIONS! - I'll be at FA: United in Whippany, NJ the weekend of August 17-19. Come see me! I'll also be wandering around Intervention in DC in September 21-23, and I'd love to do a reader meet up there!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

And the badge too!

Here's the second Haven commission. It's like the original sketch, just cleaner. I did this during the Olympic opening ceremony, which made things more surreal because I kept looking down and missing things.

*color the badge*

Oh, kids jumping on beds.

*color the badge*

Now there's a 100-foot tall Voldemort!

*color the badge*

Suddenly, Mary Poppins! Thousands of them!

Ok, sure. Whatever. All in all, it was a nice cultural moment. Too bad it was mostly ruined by NBC. Seriously, NBC, this is why people joke about you being the sixth best of the big four networks.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Moving into darkness

Here's an update from my watercolor adventures. Hoooo, how did I forget what happens when you try to depict a night scene with a naturally light medium? Layers and layers and layers and layers of paint later, here is where we stand:

This is the current stage of work. Everything is presumably working OK, but the light level is for a "Hollywood night" scene. We're getting to a scary point of the darkening: When do I cross the line that divides "suitably dark" and "loss of detail dark"? I mean, this is a big bright full moon night no matter what, simply because it'd be a silhouette against a night sky otherwise - but how bright am I making this moon? (The stars in the sky will be added using colored pencil or gouache, if you were wondering.)

Basically, I'm hoping this post is a normal process post and not a "where things went wrong" milestone.

EDIT: I sucked it up and pressed forward. Here is a piece I'm pretty happy with:

I color corrected this one to match the actual piece on my Photoshopping monitor, but I know from checking this blog out on my Macbook that screen brightness counts - especially in a piece that's reliant on brightness. Newer screens are probably showing this as lighter than it actually is, but I hope it's close enough for you all to get a sense of the level of light I aimed for.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

More Haven sketches

And here's the second Haven project I mentioned in the last post. This one is a watercolor of him casually looking up into the stars, hands in pockets.

This was the initial sketch.The goal here was to see how much of the figure is needed for the composition to work, and how I should treat the background.  The closer I can pull in on the guy means the more defined I can make him, but the scene has to make sense.  For this, I populated a night scene with a nearby tree, and a treeline (and maybe mountains) in the back to contrast with the starry night sky.

Here's another take, with the full body. I gave the character the full Precocious treatment in this one, as I struggled to get a nice balance with the eyes and muzzle. With the feet showing, I didn't need the tree to help locate him, so it's a simple treeline behind him.

More sketches of the head stargazing, with me messing with various things.

This piece can still go in many directions. Aside from choosing the proper zoom, pose, angle and rendering style - there's a question of color.  I've got to figure out how his colors work in the dark - or if a monochromatic approach with various shades of blue would be more interesting.  I've never done a night scene in watercolor, so this should be interesting.

Back to badges

I have a bedroom of junk to begin sorting this evening, but I wanted to do some commission work before the sun set. This is the first of two Haven commissions - a con badge.  Here you have me playing with both colors and poses. Just because I colored the big one doesn't mean that's the final pose. Heck, it doesn't even mean those are the final colors. Obviously, the final will much cleaner.

More sketches of this guy will come later - when exactly depends on how much sorting I get done before I quit in frustration.

The Dynamite Jester - painted

Here's the result of my first watercoloring attempt in... man, a long time. It's neat to get back into that habit. Painting was pretty uneventful for this one. The only hiccup was my inability to make a super vibrant magenta with the basic set of watercolors I have. The photo was taken with my iPhone, because I didn't trust the scanner to catch all the lights properly.

New Copper Road! 7/25/12

This is one is about a mental battle many of us face daily - and one I lose far too often. I think there's less of a statement here than a simple thought progression of a guy who settled on the easy path again. *shrug*

Vote to see it!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The dynamite jester

Here's a sketch for my first commission of the current push. (Note: Plenty of slots are still open, if you're interested!)

Today it's Tiffany, dressed as a jester, juggling dynamite. While the sketch uses colored pencil, the final product will be a watercolor. (I want to take a moment now and high-five myself because I eyeballed this sketch perfectly - the scan is exactly the right proportions for the final piece.) While I used teal and magenta for this sketch, the colors are subject to change. Other sketches used red/blue and green/purple, but I wasn't thrilled with the figure in them enough to bother scanning them in. The layout I've pictured here doesn't have to be a final, but it's closer to it than the other sketches. One last note on the color: The change to watercolors will also cause some variance in whatever colors are selected, but I'll do my best to keep it close.

Edit: Played around with the colors a bit to show another option, just 'cause.

Another edit: The sketch was approves and here's the inked version. Once I get the OK on it, painting shall begin!

Monday, July 23, 2012

SpiderForest Comic of the Week!

Hey, you! Scroll down and read all the news posts! I'm looking for guest strips, taking commissions, moving and hitting up some conventions. You need to know this stuff!

And now, the main event...

This week's comic is the beautiful Between Places! The first thing that attracted me to the comic was the wonderful painterly approach she took in crafting each page. It's unique and it's very effective in telling the story, which is a complex, surreal musing on worlds created by dreamers.

You can start with the story I linked to above, or set about tackling the archive from the beginning! Cheat sheets are also available for keeping track of the twists and turns the story takes, if you want to catch up quick and start with more recent chapters.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Guest Strips and Commissions!

Now that I have your attention... more news!

As mentioned in the other important post (scroll down), I've got a lot on my plate. I'm going to fulfill my promises (the commissions) but I also would like some wiggle room in case of moving craziness (the guest strips).

Guest Strips:

In mid-August, I'm moving from Georgia to Virginia, then heading off to FA: United immediately afterward. After that, expect a crash in productivity as I unwind and figure out how my studio setup will work in a new location. It's better to be safe than sorry here, so I'm asking for guest strips to cover the potential lull. Besides, guest strips are fun! They're a great way to share readers with other cartoonists and I adore the ego boost. (It's a labor of love to come up with a proper guest strip using someone else's characters!)

If you're a cartoonist or aspiring cartoonist, I would be honored to show off your work! My preference is definitely for guest comics, but if you want to contribute guest art, I'll still be happy. (The art will likely be used as a vote incentive instead of a regular update.) I'm looking for seven guest strips, to cover the week starting August 27th.

Interested? Drop me an email to let me know and give me some mental security! If I fail to get enough guest strips (I'm not *that* popular yet) then I'll either hold on to the ones I get for a later date or use them as vote incentives.


I said on DA/FA that I'd be opening up for 'em, and so I shall. Even with the busy schedule, I want to do this because I enjoy it and I haven't had a chance to break in most of my new markers yet! Plus, a little extra spending money with a big move coming up is rather helpful.

Look over my FurAffinity account, since it's more up to date, for several commission examples. I'll have about 10 slots that can be for just about anything - from $10 artist trading cards to $15 badges to $35 full-page commissions, done in marker, colored pencil or watercolor. Each purchase also comes with your choice of a Precocious magnet! More details will soon be found on my FA page and DeviantArt page. The slight increase in pricing reflects the realization that "shipping included" got kinda brutal during the May promotion, when I upgraded my packing method. As always, email me if you're interested, and I'll give you a quote for your idea!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

New Copper Road! 7/18/12

Today's comic is a chilling story based a horrifying real-life experience. No amount of scrubbing will ever get me clean. Vote to see the comic! (Vote every single day!)

In moving news, I've been building up my Precocious buffer. I should be able to continue uninterrupted, even with all the craziness, but I haven't ruled out taking a week off at the end of August and running guest art/strips - if only to catch my breath after a wild summer. (Most wildness has been good, at least!) A final decision, along with a post about me opening up commissions, will be posted by the weekend.

Monday, July 16, 2012

SpiderForest Comic of the Week

First off, a reminder that I post front page items for Precocious at least twice a week. If you're not checking often, be sure to scroll down and catch up.

This week's featured comic is LaSalle's Legacy, a story about a ship that is stocked by a bunch of youths! (I object that the guy in his mid-30's is the token old codger.) It's got lots of sailing flair and style. Aside from making me feel really, REALLY old, it's got a neat story too.

I'll let the creator sum if up for you: "In the world of the Twelve Seas, the secrets of necromancy have been lost to the Old World for decades. When a young man discovers that his father's old nemesis, who is now a zombie, is out to kill him, he sets out to learn more about this forbidden art. Along the way, he discovers he isn't the only one curious about the secrets and becomes engulfed in a battle for power."

Finally, a reminder that it's application season for SpiderForest! Do you have a webcomic you think would fit well in the collective? Go fill out an application! Only a week left to get your name in the mix!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

New Copper Road! 7/12/12

Ha, only when I uploaded this thumbnail did I realize I skipped the contrast step after scanning the comic in. Oh well. Anyway, new Copper Road time! Everyone celebrate by eating cookies!

Some days, writing seems like the hardest thing to do in the world. Some days, nutty marketers do half the job for you. When I found those cookies in a friend's house, I made sure to take pics of the labels and mock them later. The prophecy has now been fulfilled. Vote to see it!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

State of the Chrispy Address

Here's an overview of what to expect from me and Precocious over the next few months, plus some reminders of other fun things.  Don't be lazy! Read this stuff!

First off: The book! As the release date nears, the order form will be closed down for a small stretch while the final shipping prep begins.  It looks like we may be able to get the books in (and thus ship them out) earlier, so that's a plus.  If you're not planning on buying one from me at a convention, grab a copy now while you can! Artist editions won't be shipping until around August 20, as those require me to draw in them and I won't have access to the books until the weekend of FA:U.

Next, if you've been following me on DeviantArt, FurAffinity or Twitter, you know I've been stressing about the future. That's because I'll be moving from Savannah back to Virginia next month. I knew it was coming, but I didn't really expect it to be so soon - and plans had to be rearranged. (I'll really miss Savannah. I love the people here, my apartment was in the best spot and it was so darn inviting and pretty!) The pressure of the move and the con in the same week will be taxing, but I'm hoping to be able to keep Precocious going without missing a beat.  (I may put out a call for guest strips later, just to be safe, so if you're a cartoonist or aspiring cartoonist, start thinking of ideas.)

Here's a rundown of my future conventions:

August 17-19: FA:United, Whippany, NJ
- This is a smaller con, and I'd love to have some of you guys around to keep me company. I'll have a lot of free time here, as I'm rotating at the table with the Code Name: Hunter team, so maybe a Precocious reader meeting and meal time can happen? If anyone's up for that, email me and let me know.

September 21-23: Intervention, Rockville, MD
- Unless a grand miracle happens, I won't have a table. I'll just be wandering around, totally lost because I have no idea how to handle a con as an attendee. Come be my guide! (If you want to find me, look for Mark, of Autumn Lake or Dave from Slightly Off-Topic. I'll be the one following them around and crying for attention.)

November 16-18: Midwest Furfest, Chicago, IL
- We'll be back to the big RCSI double table setup that looked so spiffy at Anthrocon here. It's a bigger con than the ones above, so I have big expectations for this sucker. This one should be a blast, so get your reservations in now!

Con-going readers, do you have any suggestions for my next year's con schedule?  As I'm moving 10 hours away, I'm on the fence about returning to FWA, potentially replacing it with the new Baltimore-based Fur the 'More. Since Massachusetts-based  RCSI Publishing won't always travel around to host me, I'll look into invitations from fellow cartoonists/artists who'd like to split hotel and table space at some of these. I don't care what type of con it is, as long as I can make back my investment without scarring my soul forever.

And now, for those who can't or won't brave the scariness to say hello at cons, you can still have Chrispy interaction!  I'm always happy to answer questions over on my Formspring account. I spend a lot of time on Twitter, putting on my grand neurotic show. You can also interact with other readers on the Facebook group. Come late August or early September, I also plan to venture into streaming.  You can come watch me draw a commission or a Copper Road or whatever and do some chatting with me and other readers! I love reader interaction! Your good will fuels me!

If you want to brighten my day, I obsessively check the Precocious TV Tropes page, so every time it's updated I cheer - especially if you also update the trope's main page with a Precocious mention as well!

Before anyone pesters me, I do know some parts of the site need updating. The cast page needs an overhaul, and the linking page needs maintenance - both of which involve creating new graphics.  That stuff takes a lot of time, and you see all that writing above this paragraph? That indicates I don't have much of it free. I'm not planning to start work on this stuff until at least September, and it'll take time to pull it all together.  Please bear with me until I can get to it.

If you read this far, you are a true hero.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

SpiderForest Comic of the Week!

Updating this a bit early, because it's a special one and I have other SpiderForest news too!

First off, it's admissions season at SpiderForest.  If you have a webcomic and you'd like to be part of a great collective, take some time and fill out an application.  SpiderForest offers many good things to accepted entries. Members have the option of free hosting and tech help in upgrading their content management system. (Good for young comics just learning the ropes.)  It also has a helpful community that's there with help and advice!

And now the main event! This week's featured comic is The Cyantian Chronicles! Actually, it's more of a collection of comics, which are set in the same vast universe. The above link takes you to just one branch of the story, Darius. If you look around the site, you will find archive after archive that peek into the lives of different characters at different points of one big timeline. Cool, huh?

I've been following this series for a decade now. When I first stumbled upon it, I was amazed to see the entire universe at work. Many creators build worlds in their heads, but Tiff Ross actually managed to get hers out there so others could enjoy her grand creation. She's one of the hardest working cartoonists too, as she juggles multiple active comics at once, rotating between the stories now and then. Seeing someone who was able to pull off so much was inspiring to someone who was still only dreaming of one day launching his own comic, with it's own insane universe. Precocious' world isn't nearly as vast as the Cyantian one, but this was a huge inspiration for me to develop and follow the lives of so many characters.

Because there is so much, it can be a little intimidating for one who wants to start reading. Complicating that, the network is being overhauled at the moment, so navigation can be somewhat tricky. You can start with the recent Darius arc, or go back further and read Akaelae, which is a good introduction for the central group. If you want to go back to the earliest comics, check out Campus Safari.

(If you want to show Tiff some love, she's currently running a Kickstarter project featuring charms from Alien Dice.)

Friday, July 6, 2012

New Copper Road - 7/6/12

Haha, three Copper Roads in six days! Don't get used to that. The next one isn't scheduled to show up for a week, and then we're back to the weekly/whenever I can think of a gag updating. But, hey, this was has been sitting around for two months, waiting for its time to shine! *snicker*

Vote to see it!

Monday, July 2, 2012

ANOTHER Copper Road + Tech issues

Why another Copper Road so soon? Read on...

(UPDATE: I guess it was just a glitch? The comment section finally appeared at midnight, when the next strip appeared. Ok, whatever. Now you guys can go back and share all those comments that would have been so good yesterday and are now useless today. Darn it.)

Obviously, something has gone wrong with the comments for today's comic. I don't know why it's not showing up, while all other comments pages are active. Tech guy doesn't know. IntenseDebate is being more helpful than usual in this regard by CLOSING THEIR HELP FORM. I won't even be able to submit a report for a few more hours, and once I do it'll probably be a while before I hear back from them. And, since it's tech support for a free service, I'm not holding my breath. Their utter incompetence with past issues is mind blowing. (I know I should be polite, and I have been with them, but after what I went through with the last help ticket...)

Man, why did this have to happen during a storyline where half the joke was the reaction in the comments section? I am so upset!

Anyway, I decided to test to see if another new comic would also have the missing comments issue, so I threw the new Copper Road into the archive. That page has a comments section, so maybe this was some stupid random glitch.

With that Copper Road archived, I had to quickly draw up a new one, so I did! Vote to see it! Why, yes, you can say it was inspired by events of the last 10 hours.

I don't know what's going to happen with comments yet. There's a chance I may be abandoning IntenseDebate after this, although it would require tech guy to figure out a code that lets the old comments stick around. There's a chance it was a random glitch and things will click back into working order at midnight. There's even a chance IntenseDebate support will come through for me! You know, once they allow me to contact them. I want to give them their say in this matter, but sheesh.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

New Copper Road! 7/1/12

It's a new month, and the rankings have been reset! That means every vote is super important, so let's ring in July with a new Copper Road! Ever wonder what makes Swedish Fish so delicious? Wonder no longer. Vote to see the new comic!

Yeah, I cheated a bit on this one, but I think I earned that after drawing all those optional panels in the previous Copper Road update.

Oh, hey, notice that link there? I've uploaded all of last month's Copper Roads to the archive. You can now go catch up, re-read them and comment to your heart's delight!