Partly because the time I’d normally spend on working on comic this week is going to be eaten up by American Independence Day. Which is, for my family, a major family gathering kind of holiday; and for the tiny mountain town that I live in, a major week-long festival kind of holiday.
And partly because of technical difficulties – this week, the computer that I use for drawing the comic on has been having startup issues that began last night, that I’m trying to diagnose and repair. If I can’t fix it soon, I’ll need to figure out another way to continue the comic.
For the last several months I’ve been working on a children’s book, following the urging of friends and family who’ve seen my other work and have wondered what is wrong with me that I’m not doing children’s books. I never really bothered to try sending my art anywhere, because I know how prohibitively difficult it is to break into that industry, but it turns out that Amazon will let pretty much anyone upload stuff to the Kindle store, so I gave myself an assignment to learn the process of making a children’s book by making a children’s book.
It’s 30 pages (that is to say, 30 individual illustrations), and while it is meant for children, I think that if you enjoyed some of my short stories here, especially stuff like How The Raccoon Got His Coat, or The Soldier and the Tsar, you’ll find that The Tiger who Roared her Stripes Off fits right in alongside those.
(I’m also curious to know how it renders out on various devices after going through Amazon’s internal file conversion processing mechanisms – I can preview it on my own devices prior to file upload, but still. If you decide to get this book and have comments on it, please do drop me a line.)
I mentioned last month that there were some pretty neat things that had happened in the intervening year and half while I was away, wanted to talk about some of them now! The first is back in September of last year, I got a very kind email from a composer named Aaron Hourie, who, after reading They Sit So Still, recorded this piece of music and sent it to me. The idea that anything I made would inspire anything as pretty as this is a concept that I’m still struggling to deal with. If you want to get absolutely emotionally wrecked, maybe try listening to it and reading the comic at the same time:
And, completely unrelated, before I ever got started working on the comic, I would periodically compete in Shirt.Woot’s weekly tee-shirt design contest. I never wound up winning, though I came close a few times, and eventually I realized I was doing an awful lot of work that I was never actually getting paid for, so I quit participating. And then about a year ago I realized that with the advent of crowdfunding, I could actually probably get some of the more popular designs printed on my own, and so in the summer of 2012 I launched a kickstarter and wound up having a whole pile of t-shirts made.
This was originally done with the intention of having some more varied merch to offer in the store, but I wasn’t really fully prepared for the complications that shipping a large number of orders would introduce, especially when international shipping was involved. So I sort of sat on them for a while, until I was able to get the bulk of the orders taken care of, and only just now have I gone through and inventoried what I can actually sell.
The executive summary here is I’ve fixed and reopened the store, and there’s now t-shirts available, though there aren’t too too many remaining – between 1-4 per design per size. Ideally, as the Patreon train picks up steam and I get enough of these sold, though, I’ll be able to order a second run.
I also want to add more metal tag designs, but of course my first priority here is getting the comic itself buffered and up to full functionality! I feel very optimistic about everything right now, so of course the temptation to over-promise is very strong.
So trying to relaunch the comic a fortnight prior to that furry con might have been a little bit ambitious, coming to think about it. When the con swings around, pretty much everything else I am working on comes grinding to a halt in the name of con prep.
Con prep for me is pretty light this year, since I am neither on staff nor am I dealing as I have in years past, nor even do I have anything in the art show, but I am doing conbadges. Here are a few from this year’s batch:
If you will be at the con, you have until the end of tomorrow (Thursday, the 15th) to preorder one if you’d like one. They’re $50 this year, and you can use the contact form to send up your solicitation.
Unrelated to the con, I’ve recently been introduced to a neat webcomic tracking service called Comic Rocket, and it’s supplanted my RSS reader as my primary method of staying up-to-date on comics. (And this of course is notable with the passing of google reader.)
Comic Rocket is especially useful for reading through longform comics with deep archives, and its discoverability and recommendation features are excellent, as well. I did a much longer write-up of the service on tumblr, but it’s probably better to just visit the site and fool with it a bit yourself to see how useful it is to you.
If you do wind up becoming a user of comic-rocket, you can add The Dawn Chapel to your list of comics you’re following, and if you have any interest in seeing what I’m reading (or intend to start reading, as is the case of about a quarter of my list right now), you can view my profile here.