Colouring Tests: Fabled Kingdom Chapter 2

After my colouring tests for Chapter 1, I’ve now moved onto the colouring test for Chapter 2 for “Fabled Kingdom”. This is different to Chapter 1, because these are all scenes set at night, which means that the colours would all be darker and duller. I had to use the same palette as Chapter 1, because I don’t want the colours to look different chapter-by-chapter, and the end result is that the colours turned out somewhat dull.

I’m not quite happy with these colours, but I realise that if I were to use the same palette, this sort of thing is unavoidable. That said, I’m currently moving onto my next project, which uses the same palette from a totally different drawing style, so I may put this down for now, while I do my next work.

Digital Watercolour – Chinese Opera Singer

This was a gift, done in digital watercolour in Clip Studio Paint. I like the brushes in CSP, but unfortunately, even now, I can’t really get used to the way that you need to press down hard on the drawing tablet to get the watercolour function to behave the way it’s supposed to. Believe it or not, it tires out my hand, and I much prefer just using the airbrush function in Photoshop CS to colour.

This was also the first colour picture I’ve done that I inked digitally. It was a disaster – I hate digital inking and it seems that nothing has changed. It’s much faster to ink by hand, so that’s what I’ll continue to do. I inked it based off the sketch below.

New Art Style & Character Designs

As you may all know, I’ve been working on doing colour art, and as such, has been shaping my artstyle to suit a more simple, streamlined way of colouring.

This has been an interest process – the colour tests for Chapter 1 of “Fabled Kingdom” may have turned out looking lovely, but that kind of colouring just took too long. The colouring style matched the linework, so if I need a simpler style of colouring, I need a simpler style of linework.

So, here are my first attempts – it’s a pretty established style already, since it seemed to have grown fully-formed from my head due to the number of other artistic influences I’ve had over the years. It leaves the “manga” look somewhat, but not by actually as much as it seems. The character on the left looks Disney-influenced, while the character on the right is influenced by lesser-seen but distinctive anime styles like “Kill la Kill” and “Gurren Lagaan“. The one in the middle is a mix of both.

Also, I’m grappling with the RGB vs CMYK issue. I can’t seem to grasp how different RGB vs CMYK is when it comes to how it looks on a screen, and how it looks on print. This is something I need to investigate more, but I have another project apart from the one above which I’m working on, so I’ll be doing that too.

Here’s a colour test attempt for Simon, the character on the right.

Celebrating a 20 year reunion

My old high school reunion happened the other day, with the class of ’97 from Meriden celebrating at a local cafe. As a gift to a bunch of 20-year old friendships, I decided to draw a reunion picture of everyone, using a style I haven’t tried before. It’s a soft watercolour look, which is a first for me – most of my other work has very strong colours. This went for deliberately soft and feminine.

This is a cute, super cartoony style which I thought my friends would like, which they did. I used some tools I haven’t before, namely a Uniball-eye pen from Mitsubishi (ultra-micro). This claims to be a waterproof and fade proof pen, and I used it probably because I was hoping to use watercolours for this picture.

I ended up doing digital water colour, using warm colours like yellow and pink. This was done in Clip Studio Paint with its watercolour function, only the second time I’ve done it (I normally use the airbrush function of Photoshop CS2). The results were nice, which was unexpected – I’ve not done any soft watercolour I’ve liked before, but I think I’m starting to get the hang of this colouring thing. I also worked from very loose sketches – as seen below.

Comic Con-versation 2017

Hi all! Sydney Library Comics Festival “Comic Con-versation” will be from the 10th-15th July this year, and I will be doing a number of events with libraries across Sydney (and selling my books as well)! This year, 20 libraries will be involved, and here is a list of all the activities I’ll be doing next week:

  • Whitlam Library (Cabramatta): Tue 11th July @ 1-4pm – Comics Lab! Me drawing comics in public!
  • Liverpool Library: Tue 11th July @ 6 – 7:30pm – The Continental Divide Panel: Visual Storytelling from Around the World – Learn the differences between European, Asian (Manga) and US comics!
  • Burwood Library: Thu 13th July @ 10-1pm – Comics Lab! Me drawing comics in public!
  • Chatswood Library: Fri 14th July @ 12-4pm – Artists Alley & Comics Lab! Me drawing comics in public! Also, there’s an exhibition at Chatswood that features some of my work!
  • Ashfield Library: Sat 15th July @ 12-5pm – Artists Alley! Come along!
  • Ashfield Library: Sat 15th July @ 12:30-1:30pm Comics and Creativity – What is creativity is? Why comics? A panel discussion moderated by moi!

Listing Graphic Novels with Library Suppliers

This year I’ve also produced a “book list” for Australian libraries who want to buy Australian graphic novels for their collections. These graphic novels are listed with Australian library suppliers James Bennett and Australian Library Service (ALS), and I have provided instructions for how to do it below:

The 2017 booklist is below. Download it in pdf format here.

 

Why List with Library Suppliers?

Libraries often want to order the books of local creators, especially if they’re doing a workshop or talk with the library. A library can buy directly from a creator, but books are not allowed on the library shelves unless they’ve been catalogued, and libraries don’t do their own cataloguing – library suppliers do. If a library buys a book from a creator, they will have to send it out especially for cataloguing, which will cost extra time and money. For that reason, libraries nearly always prefer to order from library suppliers.

Requirements for Listing with Library Suppliers

You can list as many books as you have available and are able to provide as your own distributor. That said, if you already have a distributor for your book, you won’t need to list with library suppliers. Your books:

  • Must have a valid ISBN. ISSNs won’t cut it – those are for periodicals, not books
  • Must be a properly-bound book (ie. perfect bound, no spiral spine binding)
  • There is a preference for standard trade sizes

Listing with James Bennett

http://www.bennett.com.au/publisher-services/faqs-for-small-and-independent-publishers/
James Bennett is one of the largest library suppliers on the east coast of Australia, and the link above tells you how small press should list their books with them. Read up on it, download the form, fill it in and send it to the email address. Please make sure to mention that it’s an Australian graphic novel. (Note: If the book is more than 1 year old, then make sure to let them know that it doesn’t need to be in their “New Titles” database, just in their regular one.)

Listing with ALS

https://www.alslib.com.au/authors/
Here’s the link to the ALS website that allows authors to list their books. Please make sure to mention that it’s a graphic novel by using that email address to let them know that you’ve listed a book that is an Australian graphic novel.

How to Price Your Books

Ideally, your books will be not much more than $30 for children’s fiction, and not much more than $60 for adult fiction. You will be required to provide to all library suppliers at 45% discount off the retail price, PLUS free shipping. Regardless of what your book’s normal retail price is, it’s recommended you list it at a point where you can at least break even.

  • Example: Fabled Kingdom” v1 is normally $20 when I sell it, but it’s listed at $30 with library suppliers. When they place an order with me, I bill them at a 45% discount + free shipping, meaning that I charge $16.50 for book (with free shipping). “Fabled Kingdom” v1 costs $7 to print and $8 to ship, so I make $1.50 off that sale).

If you don’t list your book at 45% discount with free shipping, the extra cost will be pushed onto the libraries, and they will be less inclined to order your books. Please remember that libraries have limited funding.

Sales Cannot be Guaranteed

Unfortunately, listing your books do not guarantee any library sales. What it does do is make it easy and cheap for a library to order directly from library suppliers (assuming they use said library suppliers). Books come to the library catalogued and shelf-ready, which makes it immediately ready to be shelved and read.

To get library sales, you still have to market to libraries yourself. If libraries don’t know about your books, they can’t order it in. One of the best ways to get libraries to order your book in is to do workshops or talks for them – comic workshops are extremely popular with kids during the school holidays.