so download what you need cause delete train is leaving the station soon
so, i will begin painting in 5 minutes.
any questions you want to make sure i respond to and don't miss, i suggest you post on my twitter or facebook.
@stjepansejic on twitter
any questions on tips, tricks techniques you got, feel free to ask. i'll try and demonstrate them while i paint
any other questions, welcome as well. i'll try to reply to all of them but if i miss some feel free to repost.
stream itself will take place on twitch. here is the link.
here is the exported stream
ignore the cover image, it was just my desktop XD
the demonstrated piece this time was an alien xenomorph.
more streams to come soon.i'll probably open suggestions for what to draw as well cause today i just went in there no idea on my mind
this was a horrible year. in fact it came on the heels of a bad year already... i was today harshly reminded of my absence here. i guess silence doesn't do much and i just never dealt with commiseration well... however as it affects my readership i probably should lay the cards on the table and answer some frequently asked questions as well.
for the last two years i exerted myself with overworking for some very simple reasons. there were family members with somesevere health issues and i was the only one able to provide the financial backing.
so i did what i do best... i drew tilll it hurt.
at times i would produce two full color comics a month +other stuff as well.
you can only burn the candle on both ends for so long before the flames meet and you burn out.
still, i kept going beyond that point and it caused health issues for me as well. still family health problems seemed to subside. and then as some of you may know things took a dark turn and my mom died on halloween.
so yeah. fuck 2016.
i am doing better now. my arm issues have subsided, so i'm back doing what i do. i write and i draw.
so this misery of a year aside, what does 2017 have in store for us?
hell if i know, but i can tell you my plans.
many asked ybout switch and death vigil.
well, here are some harsh truths. switch and death vigil were financial failures. death vigil less than switch, but nevertheless they never found a market to put it in corporate terms. not big on that but at the end of the day, rent must be paid.
those two, alongside ravine present 3 beloved stories that i wanted to tell
so, will i tell them?
well, thanks to sunstone... yes.
sunstone , my erotic comedic romance ended up being a sucess i never expected just as it was the story i never planned on writing.
and now it is the salvation to my other projects.
january to march i will be posting the last 3 issues of switch here for free. there is no point in printing them as the earnings would barely cover printing and distribution.
after those 3 issues are done i will sentd the trade to print.
switch will also be the very last standard single issue comic i produce. from here on out, i'm makinggraphic novels only. so basically full ytory in one book.
after switch is done, i will decide whether i will make death vigil lost childhood or the second volume of death vigil in 2017. may end up making a poll..who knows.
those among you curious about ravine... well, if death vigil and switch were low sellers, ravine was a financial abyss XD
truth is sales on that book were so low there is no way i could justify carrying on....
unfortunately... or fortunately, i was never a smart businessman. i do intend to make ravine volume 3, and give the series one last chance at life. there will be more info on it as 2017 progresses.
now, on the topic of tutorials and stuff like that, i started a twitch channel. i figured i could do q and a demonstrations or whatever there. microphone is still an issue but i will have that worked out very soon as well.
i don't know that's all that comes to mind right now, but if you have some additional questions, feel free to ask.
For the last twelve years i have been burning the candle from both ends . I hardly remember a moment when I wasn't doing a monthly series plus up to two additional comic projects. This has garnered me a reputation of a fast working creator, whether it was work for hire or creator owned projects
And now, thousands of comic pages later, my body has decided to rebel. Erratic sleep schedule, bad posture, it all contributed to my current issues. For the last two years I have been steadily feeling worse and worse. Be it from my thyroid issues or from my spine/drawing arm problems
During this time I adopted the tried and true walk it off method of recovery.
This ...was a mistake.
My spine/shoulder/arm pains have become progressively worse to the point that I have drastically dropped off in my speed of productivity.
For this reason, Switch, more than any other of my projects has suffered great delays. These delays have contributed to a catastrophic dropoff in sales numbers.
So I was forced to make a tough decision. We will be cancelling the publication of the remaining 3 issues of switch.
Wait! There is good news.
Cancellation is simply for the fact that delays have become unpredictable and at this point the book is completely unprofitable.
Cancelling the book will give me the time to wrap up the currently ending volume of Sunstone and take some time off to get my health issues sorted out.
As soon as my health issues subside, i will produce and publish online for free the remaining three issues of switch and from there on the possible future of the series will be decided by the trade sales.
My sincere apologies to all the readers, and stay tuned, we will be back, you will get the full story!
Often i get asked why i put my books online for free when i am trying to make a living of them
Well, here's why. Comics are a small and a very competitive market. Ten times so if you are working on creator owned stuff and ten times over if you aren't a big industry name.
And multiply it twice over again if you as a writer aren't a big name.
Now me, i am moderately known for my art. Trust me people being e-famous for some silly superhero jokes doesn't translate to comics sold XD
In fact there is a general prejudice about the priorities of artists who take up writing. I still remember early reviews that exclaimed genuine surprise that my stories were actual stories and not just excuses for splash pages and spreads.
So, with all of that working against me, here i am in the market that is fughting for a very small number of readers, all things considered. People buying comics have limited funds, so i am supposed to convince them to take a risk on me because...reasons?
Truth is, it's not even an option. Creator owned comics live and die by their sales even more so than your franchised ip stuff. I have seen many die. It is a terrible feeling to see your creations evaporate due to lack of awareness. Hell, we'll take it when they die because they're shit! That's on us as creators, you know... but seeing a good story die before it can even take off ...that shit hurts!
So what's with me and all of this free stuff left and right?
It's simple really. The way i got it figured, we live in the age of crowdfunding. For multiple reasons i will not partake in that but i do very much believe that people are willing to support good projects that they like.
So here i am with my simple premise: i make comics, if people like them, they can support them by buying them. That way i get to make more comics.
My way people actually get to see the comics in their entirety and decide whether or not they want to support my storytelling addiction XD
There are four books i am actively creating
Sunstone (for adult readers) you can read the webcomic on my shiniez.deviantart.com/ account
Ravine (with my friend and co writer ron marz)
there are volumes of these books available online through amazon barnes and noble, online comic shops and real bookstores and comic shops (that decided to carry them)
Oh... and once again, i don't do crowdfunding.
1 my country doesn't have the taxation for it quite worked out
2 the feeling of owing peope rewards would eat me alive and run me into an early grave
3 the lure of it deteriorating to on demand port scares the shit out of me XD
So yeah, that's it.
I make books, if you buy the books i get to make more books, if not...well, i can always find other stuff to do
so, i messed up my shoulder a bit...tho technically it''s connection of shoulderblade, and spine and whatever not... point is , don't hunch and draw!
i'm doing therapy for it now and with some luch should be back in action soon.
drawing has been a pain...literally XD as i usually draw from my shoulder quite a bit. as a result i had a very shitty december
oddly enough the one thing that kept me sane was playing destiny on my playstation. ironically i can play on the gamepad without moving my shoulder... go figure. but gametimes are finally coming to an end!
there is work to be done!
humble bundle top cow pack. featuring i think all of my witchblade issues i drew back in the day and much more
forgot to say, this is for charity. i don't get anything from it to my knowledge, and i'm more than okay with it!
So, after a metric ton of questions about it, i will assemble some PERSONAL OPINIONS
On the nature of style, its ups and downs... stuff like that
This is based on my own personal experiences, mistakes, dead ends and fuckups.
So take anything i say here with a few grains of salt.
In fact , reason i'm writing this is that i have started getting an unsettling amount of notes flat out idolizing the imperfect unfinished mess that is my style, so before it harms people's growth i wanted to share some personal insights i learned over time. Some through experience, other through conversation with industry professionals.
Style.. the way i would define it is, artistic handwriting.
It is a coveted answer to a visual problem, often imitated but unless build from scratch, rarely comprehended.
If we use the handwriting metaphor, style becomes a natural extension of cutting corners, and working fast. Just like letters become a distorted form of their learned structure, so do figures, faces, and objects in your artworks.
Often times you will see a beautiful piece of handwriting and you will want to emulate it , or at the very least incorporate it into your own, but unless you know the structure of letters, you will only pick up deformations without truly understanding what made those deformations work.
I was there once. I started off back in the day by emulating 90's style comic artworks. Result was a lack of comprehension. I could to an extent copy what i saw from artists like Michael Turner, i could copy those proportions, but as with any foundation made on distortions, i then added a layer of my own distortions to it.
Suffice to say, the result was less than ideal.
So, my advice, minimize taking influence from styles. Focus on working from ground up. Learn structure, proportions, the basics, and then let your own style form from strong foundation. Hell, if you have that foundation, then you can indulge in letting yourself be influenced.
Now, style has its upsides and downsides.
Upside is that it is often a distinctive and relatively attractive solution to a visual problem. This is what motivates us to often copy them, again been there done that, and if you do, have fun with it, but remember the foundation
Downside is that in its simplicity lies a danger of complacency. You get too used to the solution that you stop growing. ( this is often temporary).... (hopefully XD)
STYLE IN STORYTELLING
One of the huge advantages of a style is it's reductivity. (i don't think that's really a word, but i think you know what it means)
The difference between an illustrator and a storyteller is that an illustrator has the luxury of spending a long time on a single illustration. A storyteller aint got time for that shit!
We got panels to draw, frames to color characters to move from point a to point b.
For that reason the summarized forms achieved through one's personal style help a lot.
You gain speed. You gain productivity.
You often lose subtlety. What do i mean by that?
Well, let's take a few general large scale styles. Your archetypes of styles
Superhero western comic style
If you take a look you will notice that repetition of same looking characters is a constant thing
(WAZZAAAP! I DO THAT TOO!)
But why is this the case?
Because subtleties get lost over time.
Have you ever noticed how you either have
1- attractive characters (that all kinda look like same character with different hair and clothes) be it a superhero/superheroine , or a disney princess or an anime...um... hero/villain/random person
2- Distinctive characters ( very intense facial structure with very little subtlety, all chiseled out of a block of pure distinctiveness of features, never has a world seen such a distinctive person!)
3- Or completely out of the left field outrageous characters
Reason for that is that storytelling is a very grindy repetitive process. Be it comics or animation.
Let's say you make a character and decide, it will have slightly droopy eyes and a small bump of the nose. Let's say you insist these are not going to be overt traits, but subtle, portrait like characteristics.
Those two traits over time have a way of evaporating.
.Subtlety gets lost over time, like a meaning of a sentence in the game of chinese whispers.
So this is why you will notice certain visual archetypes being repeated.
( again, I am a good example here )
You see, thing about visual storytelling is, for the most part we are not drawing real people. They are a language of visual symbols. This is why when you look at an anime you see 20 same characters and yet you can still recognize who is who.
Again, exceptions as always, do apply. Many storyteller rely heavily on photo references, or have over time devoted themselves to completely purging style from their artwork and relied solely on doing pure realism. They are masters of their craft but even their method is often far from perfect as what is overly defined often becomes overly static.
Point is, there is a time and a place for every one of those approaches.
YOUR OWN STYLE
Again, going back to the beginning, my advice is, start from the grounds up. Learn realism first, understand what is happening and why it is happening before you work on your way of showing it happening.
If you feel strongly that you want to learn from other people's styles, you can. But just be aware of it's flaws. You are learning from someone who already applied deformations to the form. You will inevitably apply your own layer of deformations and overshoot the golden zone of where deformations look good and end up in the "the hell did i just draw "territory
You will mess up, but you will learn, trust me speaking from experience.
Over time you will feel your style as your own artistic handwriting and then you will see what you want to do with it. Step by step you will improve your artistic language, master drawing bodylanguage, expressions , gestures
Master incorporating nuanced looking different characters
(i swear it's on my to do list XD)
Master telling a story .
(also on my to do list... it's a long list)
It is a hard but rewarding journey.
Ps, if you are now writing an elaborate wall of text telling me all the ways in which i am wrong...then the opening statement may have gone completely over your head XD
joking aside , try not to make it a wall of text XD easier to reply to shorter stuff
by the 12th of august i will post death vigil 8 here.
i said it before and i'm saying it again, i refure punishing my fans and readers for my own delays.
so here is how that will go.
i finish the book and send it to print, so if you want to support the book, volume 8 will be available through print and ocmixology.
after that i am immediately wrapping up the bonus material for the trade book and sending that to print.
and after that... we'll see. it will depend on trade sales and sales of my other books, but i am optimistic.
these are not all the design sheets as i don't want to post the ones that weren't shared by sideshow themselves but it's better than nothing
there are also caped versions of he man design as well as some other fun variants, maybe sideshow will show those at some point.
here is the full announcement article
anyhoo this will be a fun year
aand i'm off to work because switch just got solicited for october and pages need to get done!
also for some crazy good detailed photos of the sculptures go here!
some fun insight for any of you who want to get your own series running...
without promotion...quality won't get you far.
let's put things into context
this is death vigil series result on comic book roundup
comic book roundup is to comics what metacritic is to games and whatnot. it compiles multiple reviews and creates an average score.
based on reviews death vigil has a score of 9.1 out od 10
and yet here we are.
i will now copy a part from my previous journal as it is relevant
now, as i work predominantly for independent companies, my work can be a bit hard to get.
reason for this is a simple one. comic book stores buy their supplies from diamond. the main distributor.
they buy stuff they know will sell. comics aren't a huge profit business so they have to choose the winners on their own.
it is a harsh system but comic store owners have bills to pay as well. so don't take this as me harping on them in any way
it's more of an explanation of how things work for those interested in getting into creator owned/indie market.
some stores will stock on indie stuff, most will stock on issue 1 and judge on people preordering issue 2 onward, whether or not they will keep ordering the book.
unfortunately this is how good books often die. customers don't really know this process. i certainly didn't.
we enter a store pretty much expecting the store to hold the product that is relevant to their business and our interest. it is a given to us.
unfortunately this doesn't work with comics. preorders and pull lists are what makes or breaks an indie book, so if you plan on making and publishing a comic, keep this in mind. this nearly killed death vigil.
it is a vicious cycle.
it is a road to failure and here is how it goes
1 publish a book and people like it- you are in 7th heaven...
2 people don't know about preorders so they count on the store to keep ordering and they'll keep buying. this isn't so. store orders significantly less copies of volume 2 and 3 and publisher regulates the printrun accordingly
3 you start realizing that the initial profit melts away after issue 1 with alarming rate, and by issue 3 you find yourself struggling to keep your head above the water...
4 this is when you take on sidegigs to help finance the book you are passionate about. while you are trying to make ends meet, your book starts suffering delays...and the interest in it wanes
5 orders catastrophically drop with delays as readers more and more start trade waiting. ironically trade at that point might be a very optimistic idea...
6 misery and despair
many books vanished this way. my personal solution to this is-
1 inform people interested in your books about how this works
2 promote the good books.
way too much time i see spent on people discussing stuff they hated in books or stuff that offended them.
way too rarely do we enthusiastically speak about the stuff we love. often we take the good entertainment for granted. hell just look at youtube. majority of successful channels and up being the ones shitting on the bad stuff. we thrive on cynicism nowadays.
it is the lifeblood of the internet.
also for a more detailed experience of creating indie comics
i highly recommend
jim zub is a veteran indie comic writer at image comics, currently writing skullkickers and wayward.
KEEP THIS IN MIND! DON'T BE DISCOURAGED! this is merely here to show you the pitfalls, now you can work on avoiding them. i was told a lot of this from other industry professionals so now i'm passing it forward
so good luck to all your dream projects becoming a reality
so... now to the topic of preorders.
unlike videogames comics are primarily a printed medium. sure there is digital but for the most part it is a bonus. not in all cases of course, to anything there are exceptioons..
but wha are preorders important?
well, if you are going indie, and creator owned, they are the onyl thing that will let the store owner know you want the product. unlike games , comics are a far smaller industry, and store owners have their own bills to pay, so risking on overstocking on a book that might not sell is a very risky business decision for them.
fact is, without preorders, subscriptions, or pull lists, they will usually not get the book.
this is what happened to death vigil volume 2. people loked the book and expected to walk into the store the next month and find it there.
alas, store owner got no feedback and so they regulated their orders... and the kicker is, then with halved orders, image did the next logical step.
they regulated the print runs.
and from there on it went from bad to worse.
truth is , no one is at fault. it was a learn from your mistakes kind of a situation so hopefully, if you plan on making your own book, you take my experiences and make use of them.
now, i will be posting preorder links for death vigil volume 1 here. whenever i find more i will add to the list. those familiar with sunstone will recognize this as it helped many get the book
but before i end this,
1- don't apologize if you can't buy the book! i was once where you are now. i get it. if you can spread the word , it means a lot but beyond that i hope you like the story.
2 if you have any preorder links or a story that will carry the book that you want added to the list, let me know
3. thank you everyone who supported me and keeps supporting me, you have my most sincere gratitude.
before preorder links, here is a comixology link for digital versions. stuff i post here is in a lower resolution to accomodate loading speed
and image comics digital
archonia.com- online comic store thatdt delivers in europe
they also have available preorders for death vigil t shirts and prints so if that's your thing
forbidden planet uk
also a wide variety of death vigil stuff
more to be added.
we live in the age of kickstarter and patreon....
people are supporting all sorts of projects...
NO! I'M NOT SETTING UP A KICKSTARTER OR PATREON!
i don't have the patience not the focus to handle all that... but it did get me thinking...
if teasers for projects can get people to fund it... what aout the full thing?
i don't do crowdfunding. i make comics.
i publish comics. if people love and buy my comics... i get to make more comics.
so with that in mind. i will post the entirety of death vigil here.
from there on it's in the hands of the readers. if you want to support the book being made, i will post the comixology links, and image digital links, as well as trade preorder links.
so if you feel this is your kind of comic, and it's something you want to see made in it'y entirety..and can afford to support it by buying it...thank you.
if not, i still hope you like it. so with no further a do... this week i will be uploading issues.
starting today with issue 3. enjoy
death vigil on comixology
death vigil on image comics digital
death vigil amazon
also available for preorder on other versions of amazon and in online comic book stores
death vigil issues