Blogs:

All over the place.
by Draginbeard 4th Aug 2013, 2:28 PM
Draginbeard

Howdy folks,

Well I finally went and saw Pacific Rim yesterday and I have to say it was better than I was expecting. I knew better than to walk in thinking it would be much more than an Ultra Man meets Godzilla kind of movie, but even with this kind of expectation, I got more than I hoped for. Sure it had its clunky, over the top characters and story elements, and even with the clear tactical flaws my poor judge of tactics could point out, I thought it was pretty entertaining. I don't know if I would watch it a second time, but I have to say I was glad to see it on the big screen.

On to the subject of my own project, I spent the last couple of weeks working on the comic and getting myself on a few lists. I now have the comic mirrored on Tapastic, added on to The Webcomic List, and Top Webcomics. I don't know if I will do a second mirror site, but I did create a Reddit account and listed it there. I think I picked up some traffic, although not a huge spike.

I got to thinking about the story I was putting out, and I see some things I can do better. The pacing is off, and with the pages being released weekly, I can see why it could be hard to follow. Unfortunately, there isn't much I can do about the updating. For the time being, I am going to keep to a weekly schedule. What I am looking at is how to better structure what I'm doing. I think I need to cut back on the over the top silly, as its starting to get in the way of what I'm trying to do.

Art wise, I think I have hit a bit of a plateau. I don't think it's bad, but it's also not getting any better. I'm doing a lot more in Photoshop than I was, which is cool and all, but it's still taking me a long time to finish a page. I would like to change that and again I am looking at taking a Photoshop class at the community college this winter to see if I can't bolster my skills.

In other news I will be moving out of this tiny apartment and taking up residence in a large backroom at a friend's house. This will allow me to trim up some of my bills, so I can start putting something more into the comic for advertising, and maybe help me get into print. The only draw-back is my cat, Mina. My friend is a dog person and finds cats dirty and annoying. I'm hoping having one in the house will change his mind, if not, I might have to find another place to live very shortly. I love my cat, she may be a little pain in the butt from time to time, but she and I are the next best thing to family, and I am going to keep her for as long as humanly possible.

This week I am looking at finishing pages 4 and 5, and starting the inks for page 6. I also have a side project I want to work on for a friend, I haven't really done anything with it, but I have some ideas I want to kick around and I need to fit that in this week.

Also, and while I am behind by several seasons (I would be caught up, but the DVDs the BBC puts out are kind of pricey right now), I found out that Peter Capaldi is going to be the 12th Doctor in the Doctor Who series. Honestly I have only see a little of his work. I know that he played a W.H.O Doctor in World War Z (how is that for foreshadowing?), and only vaguely recall his part in Dangerous Liaisons (one of my most favorite movies). Above all else, I hope he intends to stick around for a while. I mean this is pretty much the last regeneration, and while I'm sure getting at thirteenth or higher is well within the realm of possibilities, having the character running around knowing this is it, has a certain quality that I think can be put to excellent use.

Other that the above, I think this wraps up things for this week in sports. I hope everyone had a great weekend, and I will see you all next update!

Gavin - 08/04/2013

Dressing up the webpage
by Draginbeard 20th Jul 2013, 3:58 PM
Draginbeard

Howdy folks,

Well, the website is getting some work done. I have a friend, LooeyQ of 'Mad Dog' fame (http://maddog.thecomicseries.com/) coming in to spruce up the place. I did some buttons, background and banner art, and gave him an idea of the page layout I liked, and he is going to go in and do the HTML scripting for me. This will be the first evolution from the simple layout I started with just over a year ago, so I think this counts as an anniversary present!

In other news, I finished the final page to chapter two, it's in the buffer now and I am hard at work on chapter three. Jolly gets free of the cave and makes his way home, but on the way he discovers some things that makes this the scariest homecoming of all time.

I hope you guys stick around and see all the crazy I am dumping on our poor Dwarfs path, as we begin Chapter 3 - No place like home. Look for the new story arc to begin this September.

That's about all I have for this week, I plan on catching a couple movies - Pacific Rim, for sure, and maybe something else. I will let you guys know how that went.

Have a great weekend and a fun week.

See you next update

Gavin - 7/20/2013

Darkness on the brain
by Draginbeard 6th Jul 2013, 10:00 AM
Draginbeard

Howdy folks,

So for the last week or so, I've been bombarded with comic story twists and turns, and trying to sift through them to see what I like. I had a firm ending in my head when I started the comic, but now I'm looking at things from a different angle. Why? Well, because I intend to add in a brand new villain into the mix.

This is not going to be the big bad, or even someone working for the big bad, but they are not going to be easy to deal with either. The more I flesh out this new baddie, the more the story starts to turn in a new direction. Plus I have a better idea what changes I am going to put Jolly through.

I am always thinking of how to grow his character, and I want things to go in a meaningful direction. Yes, I know I throw in a lot of silly into the strip, but that doesn't mean I want it all to be a goof. I just want it to be entertaining to me.  

If it makes me laugh, then that is a big plus when I'm doing the page, because after all, if I'm not amused, why would I bother with it, right?

Anyway, one of the other things I think about is just how far am I willing to go with my serious moments? Right now I'm thinking that I will be going down some dark paths. Along the lines of great loss, and dark moods. The way I have the world, I can still go with what I think is funny, but I don't know if I can pull off the dark humor that I have brewing in the back of my head.

Questions I ask now are along the lines of; what would it take to break Jolly's spirit, and how would he come back from that? What kind of behavior would he fall victim to, and would he have any friends that would stick by him through it all?

Anyway, in other news, I am going to try and get some help making my webpage look spiffy. A very talented creator named LooeyQ who does Mad Dog (and is currently at Florida SuperCon showing off his awesome-ness at his own table) is going to give me a few pointers so that I can give you guys something besides a white background to look at.

Anyway, that is about all that's on my mind. I hope everyone had a great 4th of July, and enjoys a great weekend to go with it!

Gavin 07/06/2013

Playing a Priest in game.
by Draginbeard 23rd Jun 2013, 6:03 PM
Draginbeard

I want to talk a little bit about gaming this time. It's still one of the most enjoyable things I do, and I make time to play around a table with friends as much as I can. This time I want to say a little something about the challenges of running a class I usually avoid.

In the most recent D&D campaign I am involved in, I am playing a priest for the first time. Usually I distance myself from having to sit back and clean up after every battle, but this time it is a little different. First off, in this game world, the gods are distant and seldom respond to a call from their faithful servants. In order for my gnome cleric, Nifty Bellsong to successfully channel and spell, he needs to roll a Difficulty Check.

Instead, it is the Druid society that has claimed the high post of spiritual guidance in this world. Effectively, I am playing a priest that everyone thinks is just using Druid magic, even though he, in no way conforms to anything that even remotely resembles an actual druid. (Garden Gnome jokes aside). So I have been faced with playing a class that needs followers in a world where no one believes in gods.

For role play experience, my character Nifty has taken (almost a joke at first) to street preaching. Right now my rolls have not been very good, so he is struggling a bit gaining a crowd who will listen to him. Realizing most people won't stop to hear some 3 foot nut job preach at them while standing on top of a couple unstable crates, I decided to really think about what Nifty would say.

To this end, I wrote up this kind of funny rant that reflects both the campaign world, with a healthy (or unhealthy too, I guess) mix of our own current events. This is what I came up with:

Nifty's street corner.

Greetings and salutations all of you grand and lofty citizens of Burgholt  (or whichever city/town he happens to be in). Allow me to offer you the voice of hope and reason in these troubled times!

'Troubled times' I would call this neither original, or even a strange thing to say, for when are times not troubled? Throughout history, in nearly every city this very thing could be said, and its use has ever been implemented to gain your attentions. So let me focus first on Hope, and then return to the trouble of our times.

Hope, you say? Have not the gods abandoned us to war and desperate measures?

I say to you that they have not! Pelor himself watches over us still, for he cares for our troubles and smiles warmly upon us all. Give him a kind thought and have faith that the days of salvation is coming, don't you know!

On that note, I return your attention upon the events of the day, and the troubles that we face in this dire hour. This, my friends and fellow compatriots, is where we must focus, and it is here that I offer you my message of hope. Welcome to Doctor Nifty's street corner!

As I began earlier, I have come to say that Pelor is watching us all from on high. Our troubles and concerns do not go unnoticed, and while events unfold that we cannot fully grasp or open our hearts to, Pelor is with us all, and he can help guide us through to safe harbor, don't you know!

(exclusive to Burgholt city)

And as we speak of troubles, you all know that war has come to many shores. I myself, have seen such in my travels, and I must offer up caution to the governing body of this fine city. It may be strong, and the harbor impregnable, yet a brave and wise man once said to me; "Impregnable? Bah, give me 10,000 Kelmain with crossbows and canoes, and we will impregnate the lot of them!"

Bolster our defense! Surely that is a good start. But that is only a small start. Pelor has given me a chance to walk among your fair streets to witness a mighty city guard who, while well trained and amply armed, avoid the lower docks, as if sure that no enemy could infiltrate through shipping lanes. I think this a grave error.

 I say to you again, such arrogance can be costly, for an enemy did indeed infiltrate beneath the very streets you tread so carelessly upon.  You may ask who,  or how,  and why?!  All very good questions! And I will answer these as best as I can.

These invaders were Orcs! Come to do unspeakable ceremony and murderous heretic magics. Many innocents were lost to the bloody rituals performed in a rotting temple that the very builders of this city paved over, untold decades ago!  Any who ventured into the very sewers beneath your feet were abducted and hacked to bits in a most gruesome display of savagery!

I swear upon my faith that I speak truth to you all, for I have seen these brutish creatures, and with the aid of some very fine people, we drove them out! Soon we will go and seek these Orcs and drive them all into the open to deliver a final, righteous blow against evil!

So yes, it is good to bolster your defiance, and lift up a vigilant gaze. The measures taken for your protection should not just be left to the governing few. These politicians have their hands full counting coin, raising taxes, and holding petty sport to distract you from the true danger around you.

Do not surrender your freedoms to an unseeing, and openly belligerent policy of complacence! Take, as a for instance, the policies that your gluttonous leaders currently offer to keep you from everyday dangers...

They have taken away the commoners right to bear arms. A bold and worrisome decision, especially In a frontier country, where arms and protective clothing are a steadfast necessity. I speak out and say you should not allow these bureaucrats to compromise the safety of your families, don't you know!

 I, under the guidance of Pelor, have witnessed with little mirth, the progressive, and concrete expansion of child labor. These mewling, and conniving trade masters made law makers have given you quite the industrious advancement in civil peace keeping. Your own children!

You have all seen this, children are thrust into harm's way, becoming small arm caddies. Lugging around burdensome weapons of carnage, as if this measure of keeping the peace will save them should an unwitting patron get jumped by knife wielding thugs, or gods forbid, and invading force!

I ask you with an honest heart, will your child be spared if the very patron they are playing small arms locker for, decides he no longer wishes to conform and avail himself to the child's service? I say the risk is great if this patron is of the black hearted and leads your youth to a bloody end, down some dark alley!

Oh, the city guard will attempt to hunt down the perpetrator, and if they can find and capture him, punishment will be dealt swiftly. Surely that will ease the hearts of that child's grieving parents, right? I think not! But wait, we should not fear, for the current masters of the city tells us such a thing is a rare occurrence, most children in this vocation survive long enough to see the sun shine one more day. Are you not reassured by this brightest of news?

Ah, but there is more! To further ensure less violence in your fair streets, the mediocre brilliance that is your governing farce, has it in mind to further enthrall you with the delusion of safety. I have heard from inside sources, that parliament is in discussion to soon reduce Arrows and cross bolts to 7 per quiver!

Oh yes, expect that and more, my fine populous, for these same leaders continue to generously tax any successful ventures, funneling proceeds to the carefree and unmotivated. Not to mention, line the pockets of this self same body politic that brought you 'soap with a prize inside'!

And  lastly, yes, they are still scribing all of your conversations, public and private, for your own safety, don't you know!

I know this is much to darken your mood, but I say that you have all in your power,  your destiny can be yours to choose, and Pelor will be with you when you see what true freedom can do for your very soul!

I say to you, there is hope. The gods have not abandoned you. We can have spare change, yes we can!

I serve Pelor, and his grace is upon me. I live with my heart and faith to guide my path. I follow Pelor, and trust in a freely chosen moral responsibility to help others. Come sit with me and let us talk of a greater good, one that does not offer an unseen tax or limitations!

Pelors grace and blessings be upon you all!

 

See you all next update!

Gavin - 06/23/2013

 

 

 

 

Doing more
by Draginbeard 17th Jun 2013, 3:13 PM
Draginbeard

Howdy folks,

This past week I've been thinking about this new idea I have for a comic. As the week went by, I thought deeper and fleshed out a lot of things about this new story and how I planned to doing the art.

This also got me thinking back to when I  first began preparation to do my Draginbeard project. At the time I could not imagine that there would be anything more important, and I was going to put every ounce of creative juice I had into making Draginbeard the very best it could be.

It never really sunk in that I might have other ideas and stories that could not be told in the confines of Draginbeards universe. I was totally involved and consumed with doing one comic and that was that.

I have heard the term, 'kill your baby' in reference to a project like a movie or book and comic. But I absolutely had no intention of ever letting Draginbeard go. Starting a new project felt a little bit like I was cheating on a spouse...in an odd and uncomfortable way, now that I say that out loud.

I see things a little different now. First though, let me say that I am not stopping Draginbeard. I have plenty to do on that project for the foreseeable future. But, I can now see that there are some stories that I will want to work on that will have to be done separately.

I have learned a lot in the last year, and the more I learn, the more I realize just how much I don't know. I want to try some new art styles and a different, less involved story. I have a solid idea and I can visualize how I want to tell it.

Why am I telling you all this? Well, for starters, I expect very few people even read these creator blogs, but I don't want to blab my ideas out over Facebook and Twitter. So for those of you who actually do read this, here is a glimpse of what I have planned for my next project.

It's called 'Tinder' and its going to be something of a 'Wood Punk' story. All the main characters are going to be modeled after versions of an artists manakin. The reason I am doing that is so I will learn how to better use body language to express emotions, instead of drawing just facial ones.

I need to get better with hands, posture, clothing, and movement in my work, I think drawing close to a manikin model, and using a bare minimum of facial features as possible, will force me to reach deeper to get my ideas across.

When I return to doing Draginbeard once again, I hope the extra work and experimentation will improve my skill and style that much more.

Anyway, there you have it. This is what all my tweeting and FaceBooking has been all about last week.

I hope all you dads had a great father's day, and I will see you guys next update.

Gavin - 06/17/2013

Browsing for insight
by Draginbeard 7th Jun 2013, 5:59 PM
Draginbeard

Howdy folks,

I read a really interesting article from Jesse Hamm on his livejournel blog titled 'late to the medium?' This was an answer to the question, 'is it possible to get your skills up late in life?'

Since this is something I personally have thought about (I turned 48 this year), I was curious to see the answer.

I know I am not the only one struggling to get their art up to a solid level, and I am always on the look out for both instruction and inspiration. The list of books that Jesse provided sound promising, and I will share these with you here;

1) Draw 50 Famous Cartoons, by Lee J. Ames (amazon has this for $8.99)

2) Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, by Betty Edwards ($14.55 on Amazon)

3) Figure Drawing for all its Worth, by Andrew Loomis ($28.98 on Amazon) - Anatomy

4) Successful Drawing, by Andrew Loomis ($28.98 on amazon) - Perspective

5) Creative Illustration, by Andrew Loomis (26.92 on amazon)

And one other that wasn't listed in the blog but looks promising - Drawing Lab for Mixed Media Artists by Carla Sonheim ($17.30 on amazon)

For me its good to keep browsing art books, even if it's just at the library (a favorite place of mine), to gain new insights, or revisit old ideas that I didn't quite 'get' when I first saw them.

Im sure everyone has good art days and bad. I hit a bad one this week where the best I could manage was a half dozen crummy sketches. Even still, a bad sketch can spark something positive, depending on how you look at it. This is the very thing I have to keep reminding myself when I am having a hard time getting motivated.

So far this week, I have started inking 3 story pages, re-worked 5 old comics, and rough-sketched 4 more, and I still feel like I'm falling behind. Silly, aint it?

I think the point to today's blog is along the lines of keeping yourself inspired, and working even on sketches, is still work, but it's the kind of ground work that is going to lead to better art down the road.

In other news, I have been tweeting a little more regularly this week, still not at the volume of some regular types that I follow, like Howard Taylor (Schlock Mercenary), Wil Wheaton, and Kevin Smith, but then I'm not out doing some of the cool things they are involved with.

Still, I am speaking my mind a little more and that feels pretty good.

I am still on track with filler updates going three times a week, and I have the first page for the regular Draginbeard strip in the buffer for July. I'm hoping to get a sort of assembly line thing going so I can get back to 2 updates a week. I need to get 9 more strips in the buffer before I can even think about doing that.

Optimally I want 12 strips in the buffer before I go back to twice weekly, this way I have some breathing room and won't have to cut back to once a week again like before.

I don't know how often I will be keeping up the blog here, I figure once a week, posting it on an update day, either Monday or Friday. I don't know if anyone even reads this thing, I mean I dont read very many of the blog posts for the comics I read either, not unless they have gone on hiatus or are about to.

At any rate, I'm not going anywhere for a while, I still have a strong need to post my comics and tell my little story.

I hope you guys have a great weekend and I will see you next update!

Gavin - 06/07/2013

5 Things I learned this year.
by Draginbeard 26th May 2013, 11:28 PM
Draginbeard

Howdy folks,

I know it's been a little while since I have done this blog thingy. To be honest, I am a little wary of social media in general. Yes, I know I sound like an idiot considering I do a freaking WEB COMIC, and it goes directly to the internet! What a dingle berry I am!

So anyway, I really haven't, until recently, known what to do with things like a blog, facebook, or twitter. The big reason I don't post that much is fear. I can be a real dumb ass and say some pretty stupid things, and here I have a chance to not only be offensive, but to do it in a way that EVERYONE can see, for all eternity! Needless to say, its worrisome.

So where does that leave someone who wants to do something of personal relevance online? I needed to educate myself so I don't blunder about any more than I absolutely have to.  And HOW does someone like myself become effectively educated? I'm glad I asked that question! I went to Phoenix Comicon! And do you know what I found out? Comicons are FULL of great lessons just waiting to be learned!

So, after 4 days of comicon awesome, I learned the following things:

1) Treat social media as if you were at the dinner table at Thanksgiving. Politics and Religion are sure ways to incite a response you may not be looking for.

2) Don't be a dick. Use respect and kindness at every turn.

3) You will never win a forum argument. Even on twitter, and facebook.

4) Talk about the things that you are interested in, not what you think everyone else might be interested in. After all, you are trying to get in touch with people who like the same things as you do.

5) Don't just post an update on your comic, say something real. Give an opinion on something you have just seen or did. And again, try to use some tact and be respectful.

 

So starting tonight, I will be back on the blog and using my twitter and facebook account to reach out and talk about things that interest me, including and besides my webcomic. And to that end, I want to talk about the Phoenix Comicon I just finished seeing.

I love comic books. I have since my memory started connecting dots. I love the stories, the art, and the thrill of collecting issues of my favorite titles. The fact that I am doing a webcomic is part of that and it makes me feel that much more at home with the artist and creators that come to the conventions. I may not know what it's like to be involved with big publishing, or the stress in the business side of things, but I now know the pain and joy of creating the art, writing a story, and putting it out for people to see. Right now I am small time, little potatoes compared to just about everyone else, but damn, I love being involved even in the smallest way!

What was it like at this year's convention? It was bigger and better in nearly every way. Last year I walked around, and talked to a few people here and there, got some signatures and played some games. I sat in on a couple of panels and generally enjoyed myself. This year was different for me in a lot of what I consider significant ways.

I paid more attention to what was going on at the booths. I talked with more creators, not as in depth as I could have, but I'm still star struck and its taking me a little time to get over that. I made it a point to check out new comics and sit in on more panels.

The highlight of this year was in the big panels that I got to see. I bought a ticket to see 'Wil Wheaton's Hour of Awesome' and you know what? It was exactly as advertised! Coming in as a close second was John Barrowman's panel. And I mean it was a very close second! My god... John deserves the title AWESOME! John is inspiring and hysterically fun to watch! My next favorite with the Jewel Staite panel, she was so adorable and smart, and fun to watch, she is just all around amazing.

The Babylon 5 reunion panel was a mixed bag of happy and sad. I  forget that so much time has gone by. I mean, I sit and watch the show and it's like everything stands still. Then I see the actors who were in this great show and suddenly realize 20 years have gone by! I was shocked and saddened to realize just how many of the cast and crew had passed away. I was moved at the memorial short film toward the end. There were more than a few lumps in my heart when the cast spoke so fondly of their absent friends.  

The last panel I want to mention is the Wendy and Richard Pini panel. Realize that I grew up reading Elf Quest. I mowed lawns to earn my comic book money. I was dying between issues of this big magazine sized black and white comic. My mom is also a huge fan and I was able to get some signatures and a shirt for her from the con. I would have gotten her some comics signed too, but I just didn't get around to shopping for any.

Now for the last bit of news I have.

My own comic is going to go in a little bit of a vacation. Basically work has been overwhelming, and my buffer is gone. I need to load it back up. BUT, I'm not going to leave you guys hanging. I have a bunch of filler art I have wanted to put up, so for the next four or five weeks, I am going to be updating twice a week, Mondays and Fridays with some early work, some game jokes and my very first concept strips for Draginbeard I did back in 2010. I hope these will hold you guys over while I but butt trying to get my buffer back into shape.

I will be doing more blog work as well, getting back to using social media more as I get myself out there and ready for the day when I too, will be an exhibiting at comicon!

Well, I think this has probably been my longest blog post in a while, and I don't want to make your eyes bleed anymore.

I hope everyone has had a fulfilling memorial day weekend.

Thank you to all who served and died for our countries and help preserve our way of life.

See you next update.

Gavin

05/26/2013

Birthday
by Draginbeard 25th Mar 2013, 11:02 PM
Draginbeard

Howdy folks.

Well I had a birthday over the weekend and got a chance to relax and watch some of the DVDs I received. Lost Girl is one that my mom sent me. It has a Buffy/Dresden/Supernatural feel to it. I'm enjoying it so far. I still haven't had a chance to check out Caprica yet, but I am looking forward to that.

I did some solid work on the comic, but I'm still taking my time getting a page done. I really do need to speed things up a little bit though.

I had an idea for a Vampire game that I am tinkering with, maybe one of these days I will do a comic based off of it, I just don't think my drawing skills are up to the task just yet.

I did think about using a personal experience in the comic and I decided that I do want to use some of it, but that maybe I could take this opportunity to maybe do something different with it, so starting around chapter 3 you will start seeing other characters for Jolly to interact with that could very well become regular cast members. I'm a little bit excited to develop that story.

Not a whole lot else going on other than the weather is warming up. I hope everyone has a great week, and I will see you next update!

Gavin - 03/25/2013

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