Pursuit of a Dream

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By techgnotic
Untitled-1 by techgnotic

Felipe Cagno’s Long Journey to “The Lost Kids: Seeking Samarkang.”

Many deviants know well…

…“The Lost Kids: Seeking Samarkand”, the 200+ pages graphic novel written and created by Brazilian storyteller FelipeCagno.

What few know is the story of how it took him almost a decade to bring this story to the public between script re–writes, production setbacks and more than three years of working with a team of artists spread across the globe.

Although “The Lost Kids” started as a feature length screenplay developed during Felipe’s Master’s program in film production back in 2007, the initial idea came to Felipe years earlier—in the darkened back of a school bus speeding home through the night after a field trip to the planetarium. Alone in the dark and lost in thought, Felipe imagined the bus suddenly vanishing from this world and showing up in a Final Fantasy sort of world filled with magic, airships and a sense of wonder.

For many creators ideas hatched in childhood can steer many of their creative storytelling endeavors for years to come.

For Felipe this particular idea stuck with him all the way through film school and his graduate program where he finally put it down on paper. He believed that this particular story stuck with him so long because he never grew out of it creatively, for if it would stick with him it should hopefully stick with others.

Felipe’s Teachers took interest in his tale, encouraging and shepherding him. The screenplay placed in several competitions. Now he knew he had something special.

After graduating Felipe reached out to several producers and creative executives he interned for. Taking their advice, Felipe began adapting his “Lost Kids” into both a new foreign format and a new medium: the Graphic Novel. But where to start?

It was then that Felipe discovered the deviantART community and started a new journey with his project.

Having a warm welcome from the community gave him the confidence to follow down this new path. Knowing little about making comic books, and being a writer not an artist, Felipe had to go back to studying. By observing and reaching out to other dA members who have successfully established their original characters, like DJ Shwann, Artgerm, and Dan Luvisi with LMS and many others, Felipe began to navigate the same waters. First came the “Lost Kids” art book and partnership with Ben & Joey Vazquez, followed closely by an Art Contest open to all artists. Soon after, it was time to start production on the actual Graphic Novel.

Everything was done within deviantART and alongside the community. Every artist that collaborated on the Lost Kids, from all over the world, came from relationships made possible through the DeviantArt community. Felipe gathered together artists and members from the  US, Argentina, Brazil, El Salvador, Mexico, Scotland, Italy, Portugal, Singapore, Philippines, South Africa, China, Japan and many other countries to work on this single project, which spanned over three years.

Felipe recalls,

“There were many moments of deep despair, several setbacks along the way. This was still an independent project put together by a single person behind it, organizing and streamlining all the creativity every artist was bringing to the table. I found the best artists to work on the ‘Lost Kids’ and was keen to take in their creativity to better the project, even if it meant the project might have to adjust to accommodate the new ideas. And that’s the beauty of it, when you welcome constructive criticism and good ideas, the original project evolves into something better. It’s important to absorb the set backs, the challenges and failures, and then turn them into something positive.”

A lot of authentic citizens in the deviantART community became aware of Felipe’s effort and passion for the “Lost Kids” and what he was trying to build…

…and decided to lend a hand with a cover or illustration. Artists like Stanley “Artgerm” Lau, Genzoman, Sayagina, ElGrimlock, Todd Nauck, Liol, Loish and many others all played a part in setting up the “Lost Kids” as a viable graphic novel series.

“Lost Kids” finally became the successful comic book series it is today: a sold out hardcover edition kickstarted in Brazil to much acclaim and digitally distributed in the US and Europe through Comixology, the leading digital comic book distributor.

Felipe Cagno’s Advice to Serious Dreamers

It’s important you take yourself seriously before anybody else. You must invest in yourself and in your work both the time and money it demands because if you don’t do it first, how can you expect someone else to do it for you?”

Put yourself on the line and people will take you seriously. Take risks. Learn from others as much as you can. That’s what the dA community is for, to support each other in the betterment of everyone’s art.”

There are no shortcuts in life and either you work harder and better than the next guy or you will be just another struggling artist with a hobby.”

Nothing beats that sense of wonder when a professional you admire sees your work, compliments it and eventually reaches out to collaborate. Publishing the Lost Kids gave me a new career which I was at first only passionate about as a fan.”

321: Fast Comics Cover by Lucas Leibholz

Following up on the Lost Kids, Felipe is working on a new comic book project called “321: Fast Comics”,

A collection of short stories illustrated by top comic book professionals and dA members which must always follow the same formula: three (3) pages, two (2) characters, one (1) twist ending, hence the title. With those rules in place, anything goes.

Below is a FREE preview for the book that is available now on MadeFire:

“The Lost Kids: Seeking Samarkand” single issues can be found in digital format on Comixology under Felipe’s banner Timberwolf Entertainment, a publishing label created to distribute this first graphic novel but is now moving to his second title 321: Fast Comics—and three more to be released in 2015.

Felipe is also running a comic book contest on his DeviantArt page that represents a fantastic opportunity for all of the storytellers in the community.


Your Thoughts

  1. How many years do you think should be budgeted to working on a single project before maybe calling it “completed”?

  2. Do you have an artistic idea you’re so passionate about that you keep returning to it over and over again?

  3. Have you ever reached out for help to an artist you admire and received real help with your work?

  4. How many other artists are you now in collaboration with or have you collaborated with in the past?

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Has this became anything? Is still going on?
That was inspiring, I'm so glad I read this, I only wish I'd done so sooner! 
It's rather encouraging for when I hope to ask people for covers for some fics and maybe one day original works :D
Fwo0sh's avatar
1. One to three years, depending on the creator and size of the project?
2. Yes,  I've had a couple for a while now. All of them are in my head, haven't gotten around to putting them on paper yet, which I should do ASAP before I forget the sodding things.
3. Not really, no.
4. I haven't really collaborated with anyone as of yet. Done a couple of commissions but that's about it.
Dracold's avatar
"There are no shortcuts in life and either you work harder and better than the next guy or you will be just another struggling artist with a hobby.”

And that is the only thing I can ever be. Just a struggling artist with a hobby. Seriously, how can anybody afford to spend time and money on something when he already needs to spend majority of their rime to get a basic money supply to basically stay alive?
And with me, it's even worse since the only creative ideas I have include copyrighted characters. Despite that ideas (I think) are good, amazing and even better than the source material (which is in this instance not such a great feat actually... but still), I could not possibly make anything from it because it is copy-f******-righted material. Copyright is there just so that the author of the original idea can keep destroying his own work while the fandom formed around his franchise watches helplessly.

Being artist with a hobby is rather fine by me. It's far better than dedicating absolutely everything in a hopeless fight against the windmills. And too bad that my creative mind just cannot leave the established franchises. Maybe once I completely loose all the hope for the existing franchises, only then I will start making up stories that do not ever use any character, story, feature or concept that ever existed before. But that can hardly happen. I am not just creator, I am also a heavy consumer. And to stop imaging things in established franchises would happen in my case only if I got completely bored and disinterested in absolutely everything that is in the entertainment industry. And if this happened, my production would have to become incredibly cynical and pessimistic. I don't see the benefit in that.
Fwo0sh's avatar
While copyright might be frustrating at times, it's important to remember that copyright exists to protect the creators explusive rights to his/her work. Without copyright, it would be a nightmare for creators, publishing their work only to see it hijacked and potentially destroyed by others. It's there to protect the rightful ownership of an idea or whatnot. That being said, it is valid to say that copyright protects the owner, not the IP itself. This can of course bee frustrating and  rightly so, to see a beloved IP slowly burn to the ground in front of you, but in the end there's not much you can or should be able to do except voice your critique.
Dracold's avatar
Critique doesn't help. Creators actively ignore it and corporate slaves actively silence it, making it out as if critics were the very plague that is destroying it. Making it like those who disagree are the cancer and that the original work has no faults.

If copyright didn't exist, at least in this current state, the IP's wouldn't have to be destroyed by nature. If somebody took over, the success of that IP would be determined solely by the feedback from the audience. Which is being determined even now. But in case of no copyright, the actual talented people could take over it. Or at least create some fair competition so the original creator would be forced to step it up.
Now, all I see is companies owning IP's just to generate a steady profit for them. They only live on the brand recognition alone. They own a character, so they shove him into something and they profit. Content doesn't matter. It can be completely empty, they just generate profits for nothing.

Of course obliterating copyright has it's own issues. And I talked about this in the past. I even defended it. But having it also have it's issues. And not changing anything is not helping anything.

In comments under this article, I both attacked and defended copyright. Just to show that I know both sides of the conflict. And that the conflict is within me:
Fwo0sh's avatar
I understand the frustration and sure, the idea of more talented and qualified people taking over an IP when the creator/owner slacks of in terms of quality, is an interesting one (has potential as a preventive measure, making owners think twice before abusing an IP) but in the end it would entail a horrific infringement on the creative rights. 

If we look past the issue with principles of ownership and stuff, a way that has been suggested before is to have the fans decide who the IP should belong to. A sort of voting process where people could come up with alternate ideas and if these are better than what the IP owners' have come up with or done recently, they lose the rights. It's a fascinating idea but one that would be hard to implement and pretty much begs to be abused.

Something I personally would be interested to see is if a big corporation like eg. Sega would hold a competition on who should get to develop games for their IP:s, like Sonic, where fans vote on devs etc. That way, the owners would retain their rights while giving power to the fanbase in the creative process.  It would be an interesting experiment to see how it would turn out, would the involvement of the fanbase ensure quality or would it all come crashing down in a burning cluster-f€%k? 
Dracold's avatar
The only problem with the voting process is that any system that is needed to count the votes is expansive if it is supposed to be made secure. Elections for political parties must be monitored closely to ensure that nobody is cheating. And as far as I know, in all countries, this system is always in physical form. No Internet based elections. Because that way, it could be easily manipulated by hackers. Internet surveys were many times hacked in the past, even those which were important and influential.
If it was possible to assure that this process is secure, I would be all for it.

Even though I am not entirely sure that the original creator of the IP should really retain the rights for his IP. We are not even talking about a particular person. We are only talking about a company here now. There is a person in that company that comes with an idea. He earns huge profits for that company because of this idea. But over time, the management in the company completely changes. The original creator of this idea is gone as well as all other people around him who were helping him to realize his idea. And those who stayed don't really understand this idea any longer. And where more time passes, the company only earns money for this original idea existence. It doesn't even do anything with it. It only earns money for lending this idea to other people. That would be the case even in the system that you proposed. The copyright system fundamentally exists because the society is trying to be just. But is there any justice in this idea? Company earning money for doing nothing but owning the idea? This idea was made by the people who no longer work for the company. In some cases, those original creators were even fired by that company? I don't really see this behavior as just.

The same goes for SEGA who keeps earning money for the constant re-releases of Classic Sonic games. Games, that are as of today 20 years old. And most people who worked hard on those games no longer even work for the company. SEGA doesn't even know how those people made those games. And still, SEGA just keeps re-releasing those games and keeps raking in profits. This is how copyright "protects"the rights of the people who worked hard on the product.
If the company that originally came up with the idea was to retain the rights for it at all circumstances, this is how it would be abused. Heck, it is abused constantly, but nobody rises against it, because this is simply how it is.

I don't know how to solve this problem. But the idea should be that the person, collective or company should only have rights for a certain IP if they are having the talent and are willing and able to put the necessary effort into managing it. Only people like that should have the rights and only people like that should be getting profits out of their work.
But because I am not politician, economist or lawyer, I don't really know how to achieve this state. Even if I knew, I would hardly convince anyone to change the system. Too many influential people for whom the current system suits their book.
PinkSpace101's avatar
1. I'm currently making a graphic novel called Boy Wolf, and it's about a boy named Geo Sparks, who has to control his powers as a werewolf while finding the moonstones in order to turn back into his old self(Geo and the teens of Dark Cove used to be humans). The settings takes place in a Island called Dark Cove. It's kinda looks like New York. His friends and rivals with different species like a vampire, immortal beings, dragons, and more mystical beings. What do you think?

2.My old story, Rockitty which I'm changing it to Astro's adventure.

3.One time with an artist named Shillin gives me advice to help with my work.

DimensionXXIV's avatar
1. Ive been working on a comic of my own but so far its very difficult to keep working on it because I have such low self esteem on the matter plus its overwhelming and a lot to look at as a whole but I haven't given up completely and I wont release anything till i'm satisfied with what it is so far its been four - five years since i started the story. I'm just afraid to draw it till I'm one hundred percent okay with it. don't know when that is.

2. yeah I think about it every day It would be a fantastic story everyone could love and I want to share it but I'm afraid and overwhelmed of the amount of work i have to do to make it and im afraid of being rejected.

3. I am afraid to. asking for help also makes me ashamed and embarrassed. I have too much to lose self esteem wise.

4. I dont work well with others on this. my pride and self esteem issues sort of prevent me from opening up to other artists even though I may need the help. Also I would have a hard time finding the motivation to constantly work with someone. once something I do turns into everyday work I lose interest and this is something I don't want to lose. I love my comic its a part of me its not just a story and I would feel hurt if others didn't love it as well.

Twenty Fourth Dimension Sketch by DimensionXXIV
DarkLordZafiel's avatar
1. I do not believe a project is ever really completed until the creator is content to leave it as is, you just can't measure that in years.

2. Yes I do! I have had an idea since middle school and although I have not produced much material about it I have been mentally building it for years and it has only gotten better with time. Some day I hope to make something of it but right now it just seems too big for me to tackle by myself.

3. I am normally very shy and typically don't reach out to the artists I admire most, though I wish I could.

4. I would love to collaborate with others on I project but I really am not very good with reaching out to others so for now that is a distant dream.

I can say that after years of twiddling my thumbs I am in the process of writing and illustrating my own webcomic series. Not the story I have had for years but one that quickly evolved over the course of a year and I can feel passionate about, it is a start.
Darkscreamer785's avatar
Very inspiring! Really enjoyed reading this!

I don't really consider myself a seriously dedicated artist, but I'll answer the questions anyway:

1. As many years as you feel you need, as long as this project isn't what you're making a living off of.

2. Sort of. I have a certain idea that I've been working with for about two and a half years now. I think the hardest part about getting it really going has been world-building, and making certain concepts make sense. I want to make it sort of like Star Wars, where you can have different types of advanced technology and what not, while have elements of the supernatural that can't be completely explained/countered with technology. Also, I'd like to add that aspect of mystery/adventure to the story, but for some reason I'm just having a hard time capturing that.

3. I've discussed ideas for stories, characters, settings, etc. with friends and family, but that's about it.

4. None right now.
ExpoArtExplorer's avatar
I like it. But the thing is. I'm less of a drawer and more of a story teller. But, If I had the chance to work with an artist I'd gladly accept it. Though now that I have read and wondered. This is cool.
elperico13's avatar
you are writer hu? could I read a story? Im currently wring one but im not very good and help from someone with knowledge would be awesome, and i would draw it cuz thtats what i do haha
ExpoArtExplorer's avatar
Well I dunno about letting you read a story when it's not finish. But to help a little. When a person talks you must start another paragraph. That way it will be no confusion on who's talking.
elperico13's avatar
D-Prototype's avatar
1.  It depends on both the person and the project.  Everyone should take as long as they need to get things right.
2.  I'm interested in action and sci-fi, as well as ideas inspired by things I've seen in video games.  I tend to keep coming back to those ideas when I create comics.
3.  By help, you mean advice, right?  Then yes, I have.
4.  I helped with one large collab, but it's not like I'm always collaborating with one group for everything.
Ermin96's avatar
I congratulate Felipe on achieving his dream and creating a beautiful story and also to all the artists for having a good heart to help and creating beautiful art :heart: :)
DragonLegend13's avatar
2. Oh my goodness yes, last time I counted I think there was over a dozen.
They all have different plots, their own characters, some real-world some fantasy, different time periods.... It's so much that I can barely keep track of it all!
pinchback's avatar
boundaryinbetween's avatar
  1. How many years do you think should be budgeted to working on a single project before maybe calling it “completed”?
    Ahh, one of the age old questions. When I think about it I do get a tad confused, but I think it all depends on the person. How long does it take you to do something, what other things are you already doing (such as whether or not you have a job and how much time that takes up), and how much energy you have. There's also the question of setting a deadline. Personally, deadlines stress me out and even when it's something I want to do and enjoy doing, I'll get stressed out and procrastinate on it!  

  2. Do you have an artistic idea you’re so passionate about that you keep returning to it over and over again?
    Yes I do! I could honestly talk about my story all day, haha. I have my story I'm working on right now, which will be a tale told in 7 parts and some illustrated pages to help picture the characters (I've never been one to enjoy really lengthy, wordy descriptions) and man I'm so excited. It helps when you can work with a medium that, when you get down to business it doesn't feel like business. That's what writing is like for me when I get into a groove. And on good drawing days, oh lordy it's such a great feeling. 

    The actual artistic idea I keep getting drawn back to are things inspired by angels and mythical beasts. My story is inspired by The Book of Enoch, Enoch being the human who was taken up to heaven and became Metatron, and eventually Satan. I've always been attracted to transformations like that, and using that inspiration with the other characters... it's gonna be quite a ride, let me tell ya. I hope I do the idea justice!! 

  3. Have you ever reached out for help to an artist you admire and received real help with your work?
    Yes I have! Not on here though, mostly real life help with teachers (some I didn't even have a class with) and online help with my artistic friends I thoroughly respect. 

  4. How many other artists are you now in collaboration with or have you collaborated with in the past?
    Hmmm... I think 6, unless you're counting the silly little projects which would bring the number up to 10 or something. Currently I'm doing one art trade over on tumblr. It may be a while before I post that one 'cause, haha, LIFE.

SpicePrincess's avatar
How many years do you think should be budgeted to working on a single project before maybe calling it “completed”?

---Trick question. It's not about number of days, weeks, years or decades. You can't put a time frame on that. Sometimes you can't work with a budgeta nd just have to know how to market you product. There is always free resources and places to put work for it to be noticed and gain notoriety. In any case, as far as time in general goes, the work is only done when the artist feels it is. Many times work is presentable, but so long as the artist knows they have room to improve then they will never feel their work is truly finished.

Do you have an artistic idea you’re so passionate about that you keep returning to it over and over again?

---I'm always inspired by Steampunk and Victorian era, goth, mori kei, and lolita styles, as well as fantasy and action/adventure/romance stories and scenes. I'm also quite motivated to fill the gap made by the lack of POC art. I haven't stopped drawing these things and I don't think I ever will.

Have you ever reached out for help to an artist you admire and received real help with your work?

---Besides school instructors and my friends? Not particularly, no. A handful of artists I admire have given me some advice on anatomy or coloring when asked, but for the most part I am either ignored or I don't know how to word what I want to ask.

How many other artists are you now in collaboration with or have you collaborated with in the past?

---I've collaborated and still collaborate with my friends many times. Memes, lineart/coloring collabs, you name it. Probably about 20 different artist friends I have collaborated with by now. Some projects in school required collaboration as well. Other than that...that's about it.
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