Weekly Update 2/6/18 | The New Copier Is Here!! | Starting Out Self Publishing | Investing in Technology

[Image: Photo of CANON ImageClass MF632Cdw consumer-range office printer/copier. source: canon.com]

Oh gosh, I have so much to talk about. I rambled about the new copier in a video here, but I’ll give you the run down in text form too:

Basically, I am now the owner of a Canon imageCLASS MF632Cdw – a mid-range color laser printer/scanner/all-in-one. It is a beautiful little machine and I’m really happy with it so far! I got mine from a big chain electronics store (won’t say which) and

I have already had to replace the toner cartridge, but that’s to be expected. They give you a half-full toner cartridge to start with, and when I got it, I was kinda hyper and printed a crapton of test editions to figure out my offset layout software…So I wound up buying a toner the next day. I’m sure the store thought I was absolutely out of my mind but I needed that darn toner!

But the proof is in the pudding: I’ve been able to print my first zine-size (6×8, roughly) editions of You Are In Love and The Cheyenne Line, my first two comics. They are so beautiful, dude, I’m just freaking out that I was able to make them at home, for so little money. 🙂 I’m also developing a couple of other zine-format (folded, stapled) publications, including an Inktober zine (containing my Inktober illustrations from 2017).

So what do you DO with a bunch of zines? And what about those slightly-off-kilter, misprinted misfits? Do they get thrown out or wasted? Nope. I’ll be using those as promotional items – I’ve found that people who would NEVER buy a romance comic based on a song by The Ataris, would totally take a free copy. People love free shit, is what it comes down to.

And as for the nice ones, I’ll have them on sale, but most of the ones I’ve already printed will be given or traded to artists when I go to Katsucon in a couple weeks. I’ve never been to a convention, and while I’m not tabling this year, I’m definitely going to be heading into Artists’ Alley, and I want to have something a little better than a plain old business card to hand out.

Choosing to invest in this printer – and choosing to commit to the continuous investment in toner cartridges – was a big decision. I had to talk with my partner about it and think about whether it was the right time to buy such a thing. Financially, it’s perfectly plausible; but whether this was the right place to put the money was another matter. I’m not exactly a big name, and I’ve sold a grand total of one of my comics. One COPY. EVER. (As of this writing, anyway.) So, sadly, I’m not sure I can justify it based on “I’ll definitely be printing enough comics to make back the money in six months!”

However, my partner and I agree that based on the quality of my work, and the consistency with which I produce content, indicate that yes, it’s time to own a nice copier. It’s worth it to invest in, because even if it’s not within six months, this copier WILL pay for itself.

I intend, however, to prove myself wrong and “pay it off” (make back the same amount we spent) within 6 months. I’d like to at least use it to pay for the toner!

Anyway, you can click here if you’d like to purchase one of my comics. I had fun putting them together, and I think they came out great, so head over to the shop to explore what I have for sale.

Also, I have FINALLY got my mojo back on working on my spiritual stuff! So expect more grimoire/Book of Shadows posts soon. I’ll be doing flip-through videos once I’ve got some done, and until then, there will be at least text updates.

Sorry this update is going up late this week, I had kind of a crazy weekend. But all is well now. 🙂

~Julian

Weekly Update 1/29/18 | Zine Influences, Comic Inking, and Self-Publishing Rebellion!

[Pictured: An assortment of the zines and self-published publications I’ve collected over the years.]

Hey y’all! It’s Julian. I’m in the midst of a comic-inking marathon, but I’m taking a few minutes to write up an update. 🙂

I’ve been really inspired by zines, zine culture, zine discussion, and zine documentaries this week – and self-publishing in general is becoming even more appealing to me than before. I’m really excited and, in fact, proud to be self-publishing. I honestly think that self-publishing is the future of art, rather than a dying concept. I see more and more young artists self-publishing zines, books, and comics, and more and more big companies going down…in a way, it makes me happy. We are still here.

I’m currently working hard on My Life On The Sidelines, my current comic project. I’m on the Prologue right now and am about 2/3 done with those 24-ish pages. I’m looking into formatting and printing it, and it’s going to be more zine-sized than my previous (8.5×11″) comics. Every day I’m learning more about what my technology can do and how I can print them without going to a bigger printing service. It’s awesome!

(If you’d like to read Sidelines now, please click here.)

The whole idea of self-publishing appeals to me partly because it’s an act of rebellion. Not just if you make an explicit, politically drive riot grrl zine – I mean that self-publishing itself is an act of rebellion.

How so?

Well, first of all, it rejects the very idea of needing permission: permission to speak, permission to share your ideas, permission to promote your art. It rejects the idea of needing validation; anyone can self-publish, so it doesn’t matter whether your art is “good enough” or “high quality.” And perhaps best of all, self-publishing is no respecter of persons. Rich, poor, POC, white, male, female, nonbinary – anyone can make a zine, and for the most part, no one can stop you.

Of course, I realize I’m speaking from a place of privilege in that I’m in a country and area where if I say (or self-publish) something outlandish, I’m not likely to be killed for it. But really, in most places, anyone can self-publish. You can even be anonymous or use a pseudonym if you’re really uncomfortable about it. I do.

But really, I believe that self-publishing is an act of rebellion, a show of courage, and a practice of self-worth and love. Self-publishing your work shows that you are unafraid and unabashed and unashamed.  And so I’ll keep running off photocopies.

Until the next time we speak, I hope you’re having an excellent day, and I’ll talk to you again very very soon!

~Julian

Weekly Update 1/15/18 | “Sidelines” Comic Creation Process – Setbacks, Successes, and Surprises!

So I’m in the beginning of the Starting-To-Panic Point: the moment at which the number of days before my deadline approaches the number of pages I need to do BY that deadline. At a good steady pace, I can ink maybe a page a day. I am very slow and very bad at focusing, and I get burned out easily, so I prefer to keep it down to one page a day. That doesn’t often last to the end of the deadline period, but hey. One can try.

Today is January 15; my deadline for my comic is February 15. Well, actually, the release date is February 15. I have to have all the pages inked by the 7th at the VERY latest.

To make matters more difficult, I have a convention coming up just days after that deadline, AND – I’m inking these pages with a dip pen! Not my usual Microns, but a dip pen! What the…?! What was I thinking?!

Me: But G-pen nibs make such beautiful lines! It’s everything I’ve ever looked for in line art!
Also me: Never mind how it looks, it’s not POSSIBLE to do a whole 20 page intro chapter in 20 days if you’re doing it with a dip pen. 
Me: But dip pens are PERFECT!
Also me: And they take forever.
Me: BUT THEY’RE PERFECT!
Also me: You’ll never get it done in time if you do it with dip pens.
Me: And if you make me use microns, it’ll look lifeless and lame. I need to use dip pens for this! MY COMIC IS WORTH IT!
Also me: *massive sigh*

This is just a taste of what goes on in my head on a day-to-day basis.

So yeah, the dip pen situation is slowing things down, but I desperately want to use dip pens for this project. So unless/until it becomes abundantly clear that that’s impossible, I’m still going to try.

I HAD had the first several pages sketched very neatly and was ready to start inking them, but then realized – much to my dismay – that I had sketched them on paper that isn’t good for pen and ink. I’m used to my Microns, which will write on pretty much any paper without much trouble. Dip pens and ink are a bit more finicky.

So I traced and redrew all those pages onto different paper, paper that actually takes pen and ink in a great way. I probably should use Bristol board, but I’m broke, on a budget, and already have drawing paper on hand, so yeah, higher-grade drawing paper it is.

I’ve also reorganized some of my art materials into more portable cases. If anyone’s interested, I’d be happy to do a “what’s in my pencil case?” video, since those seem to be pretty popular amongst the YouTube journaling/art people. 🙂

Also! I’m having a huge 10%-off-EVERYTHING sale on my Etsy shop. So head on over! There’s original art, trading cards, journals, and handmade goods galore!

Thanks again to everyone who’s been supporting me through this journey so far. I really am looking forward to this year. It’s shaping up to be a good one. 😉

~Julian

Weekly Update 12/11/17 | Shipping Wars, Prismacolor Pencils, and BAKUMAN

Hey y’all! It’s Julian.

It has begun. The shipping wars of December 2017 have begun.

What I mean, of course, is the process of producing, packaging, and shipping all the holiday gifts I’m sending out this year. And if you’ve ever done this, you know that “war” is only a moderate exaggeration.

I’ve chosen FedEx as my partner in battle this time around. Currently, an amazing piece is in their hands, headed to Chicago. I’ve had no complaints with FedEx so far, so they’ll be my partner going forward.

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I’m busily working on other pieces, and yes, I’m working with Prismacolors now!! SO in love with these things. I got the 150 set, only because they were on sale for like $47 on Black Friday. But they are now mine, safely in my hands, and I intend to use them to the best of my ability.

I’ve also begun to really use the local library system again…mostly for reading manga, yes, but also for picking up books on writing, drawing, and publishing comics. Here are a few I’m reading right now:

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BAKUMAN (Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata) – Created by the author and artist of Death Note, BAKUMAN tells the story of two high-schoolers who aspire to become manga artists. Through a classic manga-style Odd Turn of Events, our hero, Moritaka Mashiro, makes a pact to become a published manga artist, WITH his work turned into an anime, before he’s 18. I’m only 2 volumes into this series, and it’s at least 20 long, but I’m really enjoying it so far.

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Making Comics (Scott McCloud) – This is pretty much my core text as a comic artist. I don’t own a copy but I borrow one from the library from time to time. It’s the basics of creating comics – whether comic books, manga, or graphic novels – all told in graphic novel form. Very fun, very educational, very important work.

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The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing Comics (Comfort Love and Adam Withers) – I haven’t read this one at all yet but it looks awesome. It’s by a husband-and-wife team who started self-publishing comics in 2008, and were doing it full time in 2009. Which is incredible. So I wanted to read this and pick the brains of the experts!

Well, that’s all I’ve got this week. I have a couple of videos coming your way, though, so stay tuned for that!

~Julian

A non-Monday update?! MADNESS! | Upcoming Projects, 2018 Plans, and Comic Reveals!

[Pictured: Sketch of Redd from Sidekick Goes Super. Read on for more on that!]

Hey y’all!

I have some free time today, though it’s a Friday, so I figured I’d write up a post, though I’m really trying to post on Mondays regularly. I might not post this one til Monday, but we’ll see. 🙂

I’ve been thinking about future planning this month, more than I did last month…largely because last month was Inktober and I was busy as FRICK and couldn’t think ahead further than the next ink illustration. I’m thinking about December, but also 2018, which seems to loom above us like a monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey or something!

I’m looking at doing 3 big projects: two comics and my Tarot deck.

The first comic is Sidekick Goes Super, a manga-style comic that at once pokes fun at and pays tribute to the “magical girl superhero team” trope, by focusing on their dorky male friend who acts as a sometimes-helpful sidekick but never ends up with the girl. Instead, Sidekick gives him a chance at breaking that trend. On a more serious note, Sidekick will explore the ups and downs of friendships between men and women, as well as what it means to be a guy, girl, or something else, in a world where to be born is to be put in a box and locked there until you grow beyond it.

Sidekick Goes Super will be a series, not a standalone comic, and the first “issue” will be out in February. You can read more about Sidekick here: https://www.julianjaymes.com/sidekick.

The second is tentatively called The Conversation, and it’s a darker, more philosophical comic about life, death, and human rights. It is probably going to be a very triggering comic, centering on the discussion between a girl about to commit suicide and a passerby who strikes up a conversation with her (hence the title.) Reader discretion is strongly advised.

The Conversation will be a 60-70-ish page comic, standalone, and will be available in fall 2018. You can read more about it here: https://www.julianjaymes.com/conversation.

I really appreciate everyone’s support of these projects. I have received a lot of really sweet comments on Instagram on my latest images for Sidekick Goes Super, including the one attached to this post. Hearing from people who like my work is just so wonderful. I get about 20 likes on most of my posts, and I cannot express how happy that makes me! I am still VERY new to Instagram, and I don’t know how to hashtag, but it makes me so happy to have people enjoying my work. 🙂

Sidekick is the first project I’ll be working on this year, followed by the Tarot deck, then another issue of Sidekick, then The Conversation. That’ll just about wrap up 2018 for me.B And of course there will always be random illustrations…and the Secret Project! Which I STILL CAN’T TELL YOU ABOUT. Agh! I promise…soon!!!

I’m really excited for this year, and I look forward to building this website, my portfolio, my brand, and just creating all year long. I’ll have a video with New Years resolutions and such in a month or so!

Abundant Blessings,

~Julian

TCL will be shipping Wednesday!

I’m still learning to set up pre-orders, but for now, TCL will be on sale tomorrow and shipping Wednesday and Thursday.

Here’s a preview…

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Please stay tuned and I’ll have the whole thing posted here soon.

I’m getting re-excited about this project. I had honestly lost some of the “fire” while doing the last few pages, but now that it’s going to be printed, I’m super psyched. 🙂

~Julian

The Cheyenne Line is complete.

Sunday, 7/30/17, 9:15pm

Yep, I just finished inking the last page. I’m a bit worn down, but I thought I’d write out some of my thoughts and reactions before going to bed.

To be honest…I got sick of working on this one. Not sick of drawing or being an artist…not sick of the plot, song, or characters…just sick of being on the same old project that should have been done in  a month and a half, not 3 and a half. I’m still learning about pacing and the importance of rest days; I’m still developing a system so that I can work sustainably (read: without driving myself out of my mind!).

But I’m okay, that’s the important thing.

Oh, and the comic is done. On time. That’s the OTHER important thing.

I’ll be fixing up some last-minute errors tomorrow (Monday), and then printing it Tuesday-ish, and then on Wednesday it’ll be shipped out. A limited number of people will receive a free copy, but anyone can purchase a copy on my Etsy shop (it’ll be listed there as soon as I have printed copies to sell – haven’t figured out pre-orders yet).

Good night moon, good night room.
Good night art supplies, good night weary eyes.
Good night deadline, good night Cheyenne Line.
Good night Staedtler pens, good night, all my dear friends!

~Julian