Signed book + character plush bundle?

A signed book and character plush bundled together for one price? Am I seeing ears perk up? Well, the price might even turn a few heads. The price that’s being settled on is $25, including shipping.

So, how will the bundles work? Well, Dream Angel is getting the bundling first. So, here’s how it’ll go:

  • Dream Angel #1 + Dream Angel plush action figure
  • Dream Angel #2-20 + fan’s choice character plush action figure
  • Some books between might have a particular character paired with them, but most will be fan’s choice

In other news, Dream Angel #21 will be released on Thursday, January 28, 2016! Since the site’s acting up about images, unfortunately, those will have to wait, but the product page will be live that day. I’ll also be able to order the proof copy of the printed version which soon after will appear on indyplanet with the books that came before it. As for adding Dream Angel #19 and Dream Angel #20 to indyplanet, there have been some setbacks with that process beyond my control. As soon as the problems are worked out, I’m sure they’ll be live as well.

For those still awaiting news on Techwarrior #3, that one ought to start production soon. How soon, is hard to say, but when it’s green lighted, I’ll make sure you know immediately! A small teaser for it would be that the action gets more intense and soon new characters are introduced. It’s a book worth anticipating, so keep an eye out for news on it!

Signed books available right here?

I’ve considered it for a while, and I’d like to hear thoughts on having signed books available right here in the shop. I know people have reported having trouble with IndyPlanet’s checkout system or would rather get a signed copy from the artist, so I’m opening the idea for discussion.

To clarify, I’d have to markup the price of the books even though I can get them at cost, which is a little over $6, generally. Including shipping to me, that’s not bad. Now, think about it this way: to break even, I’d have to markup the books to about $12 on individual sales. To make a profit, we’re talking $18 – before my own shipping cost is added on. Fortunately, if I can order a bunch at a time, the cost is driven down for me.

This would mean I could do an unsigned book for about $6.50-$7 and a signed book for $7.50-8. A fair price, all things considered. Individual shipping to you via flat-rate (My preferred method because it’s insured!) comes out to $5.75. So, we’re talking $12.25-12-75 and $13.25-13.75 with shipping. Still pretty fair, all things considered.

Why would I reveal the prices? Well, I like letting people know what they’re paying for. I was taught early on “Honesty is the best policy” and I’ve stuck to that consistently for years. I’m being honest with you concerning the prices of these books, but for those who want printed copies and don’t want the hassle of IndyPlanet’s checkout system or want it signed by the artist, well, this would be a golden opportunity, don’t you think?

The other consideration I’ve put out before for discussion is doing a signed book and plush action figure combo pack for $25. I’ve had people agree that would be an extremely good deal, but I’m opening it for discussion again. I really do want as much input as possible on these ideas.

Techwarrior #7 soon to be released!

Hey, Techwarrior fans!

You’ll be happy to know Techwarrior #7 is soon to be released! Okay, so no date has been set yet, but rendering has finished and after some post production, it’ll be able to join the already large list of books available!

Think about it, there’s 25 books in the Dream Angel series and 6 for Techwarrior already available. That’s 31 books! Not counting the new editions of Dream Angel #1 or any of the collection books. An impressive roster, wouldn’t you agree?

Now, I’ll agree it seems like making these books is so easy they can be made over night, but that’s far from the case. Matter of fact, there’s a very long process involved. Writing being among the hardest parts at times. Sure, almost anyone can write a story, but how good is that story? By good I mean does it keep a reader’s attention?

So, we have writing and editing, both very time consuming alone. When the script is finally settled, figuring out paneling and even layouts can be rough. Now, I’m not affiliated with it at all, but I use ComicLife for layouts. The plus for me is the fact that I can just drag and drop my final renders for each panel into that panel. Since it also has the script in a drag and drop setup for dialogue and narration, I’m able to adjust those to suit the layouts. Again, no images yet!

Well, what about all those awesome renders in the books? Surely, they took hours to draw, right? It would take a far more skilled artist than I am to hand draw those renders! Sure, I’m a skilled artist, but hand art isn’t my strong suit.

Technically, the computer draws the art, but I have to tell it what to draw and how. Sounds easy, doesn’t it? Not by a long shot! Just like hand art, telling the computer what to draw in 3D takes a lot of time, study and practice! I’ve been at it about 10 years now and I still haven’t quite gotten all the basics figured out!

How then, do I make these fantastic images? Keep in mind I’m self-taught and this is a very steep learning curve. Add in constant improvements to the programs being released meaning new features need to be studied and learned. Makes it a lot more complicated than a simple pencil and paper. For those willing to take the time to study and practice, it can be a lot of fun and very rewarding, though.

Get the books from the store and you’ll see very quickly where updates to programs or a new skill had a direct impact on the art of the books.

Techwarrior #6 is complete!

Techwarrior #6 is complete! The rendering is finished! There’s still some things to do before it can be released, but production is complete. That’s something, right? While normally, it would be just about immediately released in digital form here in the shop, we’re planning to step up and make the release more timely and also include the printed version in the party.

What’s that mean? Well, it means the e-book files and shop page will be prepared, but not posted until the printed proof has arrived and the book is ready for simultaneous digital and print release, possibly with a real party attached.

Again, what’s that mean? Well, it means you’ll have to keep watching for more news and be ready when the book is released! Should be a lot of fun when it is!

The train of thought now that Techwarrior #6 is complete might be to just binge render and see how many renders for the next book can be done before this one is even released. The fun might be rapid-fire releasing books to finish off this series.

Yes, (spoiler!) it’s meant to end with Techwarrior #12. Now, before you start yelling that it can’t end there, there’s an “unless” attached to that statement. The “unless”? Unless there’s enough popular demand for more books in the series.

There’s even been a couple ideas for names of new villains. Now, hold on. If you’re a fan of the series already, you might be wondering why it’d need new villains since Cryptolock is such a cool one to start with? Ummm… how many superheroes have just one villain to fight? Well, Techwarrior ought to be no exception if his series should keep going, right?

Even He-man has more than just Skeletor. So, Techwarrior ought to have more than just Cryptolock, his Cryptobots, snakes and spiders, right? So, will Techwarrior go beyond Techwarrior #12? That remains to be seen, but it doesn’t hurt to be ready, right?

Dream Angel #24 released!

Dream Angel #24 is finally here! Years in pre-production and it’s finally here! This book is downright breathtaking artistically!

Well, now you don’t have to take my word for it! You’re able to get the book and decide for yourself just how beautiful it is!

Why’d it take years in pre-production? Well, see all those extra names on the cover credit? Those are fellow creators whose characters visit in this book! They also helped contribute to the story, so it took longer to write as a result.

Not only are we partying here in our own activity stream, but we’re celebrating in an all-day online event on Facebook! And, as a special treat, there’s a 25% off coupon available that’s good until Sunday, December 12th!! It can be used once per customer for 25% off your entire purchase. So, if you’ve been looking at getting those collection books and this new one, this is a good chance to grab them! The code is:

24releasecelebration

You’ll need to use a social media site to login to this site (this helps with security). Then, add the items you want to the cart from the shop (share them to social sites for an extra 10% off!!). Finally, put the coupon code in just as you see it here during the checkout process. There will be a box asking for coupons. Paypal handles all the credit/debit card information for added security.

Well, now that Dream Angel #24 is released, what’s next? That’s easy! It’s Techwarrior’s turn! Techwarrior #6 will soon be ready to enter production. The script is prepared. The plan book (which helps with rendering) needs to be completed. After that, the Comic Life file can be prepared and rendering can begin. So, keep your eyes peeled for Techwarrior #6! We’ll be seeing that one soon!

Calling all Techwarrior fans!

Calling all Techwarrior fans! The printed proof copies of Techwarrior #1-5 collection have been shipped! You know what that means, right? It means they’ll arrive in a couple days and if they look as good as they always have in the past, the book will go live on indyplanet soon after. Won’t that be exciting?

So, for printed book lovers, especially Techwarrior fans, that’s great news. Now, what about Dream Angel? That new version of Dream Angel #1? Well, that one’s coming along. Much slower than usual. As they say, “Good things come to those who wait!” right? This one’s going to be worth the wait.

It features all-new art and some strong story improvements. Of the three versions of the book, it’s definitely going to look the best. Now, that certainly doesn’t mean Dream Angel #1 and Dream Angel #1 2nd edition extended cut are no good. Quite the opposite. There might even be talk of a Dream Angel #1 collection for fans to be able to see the evolution in art and story between the three versions.

Now for the harder questions. “What about Techwarrior #6 and Dream Angel #24? Both books before were cliffhangers!” And you want to know what happens next, right? As I’ve announced on Facebook, I’m getting married at the end of June this year and moving across the country. Most of my focus is on that. While Techwarrior #6 and Dream Angel #24 are basically ready for production, finding the time to do so is harder than normal.

Yes, I could put the new Dream Angel #1 on hold and do Techwarrior #6 as quickly as I did Techwarrior #5, but what then? You’d want Techwarrior #7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12 the same way. You will anyway, but right now that’s beside the point.

The point is that the new Dream Angel #1 is slower to render. Each panel has been taking a good amount of time to render. This means I can setup a render and walk away to pack boxes or organize things for packing or something else.

True, Techwarrior had his slow renders, but that book was also done much faster despite that. Dream Angel’s had a lot more slow renders, which have left me able to get other things done while it’s rendering. It’s in production, just slow production, so it makes progress despite the other things going on.

Hopefully, that made sense. The short of it is that there’s still a book in production even though I’m preparing for a wedding and a cross-country move. So, looking forward to the new book when it is finally finished?

Techwarrior fans will be delighted to hear things will return to normal after the wedding and move are done. Dream Angel and even Hillbilly Hoot fans should be equally delighted.

Expect bugs and glitches…

This site’s had something – nobody knows exactly what – go wrong recently and while it’s being fixed, expect some bugs and glitches. No, there’s no problems with security and the store still works, the problem has been largely related to updating things on the management side and uploading images.

Explains why Techwarrior #5 and Techwarrior #1-5 don’t have product images yet, doesn’t it? Not to worry, Techwarrior and Dream Angel are teamed up to squash the bugs and glitches as quickly as possible, but if you should find yourself having trouble with the site – i.e. error messages appear instead of the page you want, simply wait a minute or so and refresh the page. It simply means something’s not quite working just yet.

On to better news now! Techwarrior #1-5 will soon be in print! The proof copies are expected to arrive April 7th. So, for fans of printed books, you’ll be happy when the link to this one’s announced. It’s a 60 page full color collection of all 5 books together. The price? Well, preliminary estimates seem to put it at about $5-6. Not bad, huh?

Even Dream Angel might be getting some collection books. Early price estimates there are higher, but that goes with the higher page count, too. Hers would be trade paperback size and much thicker. However, first her artwork and story need… updating.

There’s nothing wrong with the currently released Dream Angel books, so don’t get me wrong there at all. The simple fact is that Techwarrior #5 was greeted with more interest for its Iray rendering style. It’s also been mentioned that there’s some holes in the early parts of Dream Angel’s story that could be filled. Nothing too major, but some additional details would be beneficial. So, the script is seeing some updating and the artwork is soon to follow.

What’s that mean for newer books? Well, it means the series is getting a light reboot. Not a complete one, just enough to fill in those holes. So, 23 books are going to see new art, giving books that are still being written plenty of time to be completed.

The most difficult books to update might be Dream Angel #1-6, as these were initially done in Poser with a lot more Photoshop work than recent books. Dream Angel #1 2nd edition has some complete DAZ Studio scenes, but only some as it, too, had more Photoshop work as well. For some scenes, also, starting from scratch might also be better.

First thing’s first, however, will be bringing this site back to 100% and that means manually uploading necessary files. So, be patient and look forward to more excitement once it’s back to normal.

Learning resumes!

Learning resumes? When did it stop? Well, a lesson had to be learned the hard way that did stop my studies briefly this week. Although I’ve been around computers most of my life, apparently, I still don’t know some things about them.

I put my 3D programs and library on an external hard drive I got for Christmas and when I went to switch it from my tablet to the computer, the tablet claimed it was still in use even though nothing was open and using it. The mistake was pulling out the hard drive anyway.

Not long after, I discovered that neither the tablet nor the computer would recognize the hard drive and after doing everything I could to recover it, I finally had to format it. Fortunately, I’ve got a good file recovery program for deleted files and that’s helped restore the lost files. The problem with that is the file structure I had is now gone and to get things back to normal, files will have to be moved around and programs more than likely reinstalled again. As you can imagine, that would in fact slow down my studies a great deal.

Yet, I haven’t been idle while the computer’s been restoring files. This site did go down – likely a faulty plugin update – a couple days ago and that needed to be fixed as well. In the middle of the technology acting up, a bunch of plush figures have been created. They’re waiting for hair, clothes and faces, but they’re ready.

In the middle of all this, an idea for a one-shot comic was found. I’ll be working that idea out and coming up with the necessary designs so when my 3D library’s back to normal, I can possibly start that into production.

I bet you’re thinking “Wow, what a mess!” Well, it’s simple enough to say it goes with the territory I’ve chosen. Computers do have a bad habit of messing up, but that’s what backups are good for, right? Even when things go haywire, I’m not idle.

Modeling studies and what’s been learned

As you know, I’ve been studying modeling and learning a lot in the process. These modeling studies and what’s been learned from them will be put to use in future books.

Why study modeling? Well, sometimes I just can’t quite find what I want in ready-made models. I might have a very specific idea in mind and just can’t find something to match. What to do then? I’ve very clumsily made my own models in the past and gotten lucky when they did what I wanted or looked close within reason to what I had in mind.

Lately, I’ve gotten the idea that if I can make reasonably good-looking models I can also sell them. Okay, it’s going to take a lot of practice to get to that point, but having that as a sort of sideline to the comics will help them, too. From that point of view, that makes these modeling studies worth the time, wouldn’t you agree?

One thing I’ve become particularly proud of is the ability to create my own dynamic cloth. Dynamic cloth being simulated cloth that drapes realistically on the 3D model. The theory with that being that used together with the cloth that’s not dynamic and simply has morphs to simulate the wrinkles and appearance of cloth, it can step up the look and feel of the characters to help against the “stiff and lifeless” complaint.

So, between being able to model my own stuff, use more realistic-looking clothes on characters, camera tricks and lighting that sets an effective mood, it’s safe to say future books will look even better than ever. It just means being patient while these new skills are learned and practiced. Don’t forget to come keep an eye on the activity streams page, though. I’ll be posting goodies there occasionally!

Happy Halloween 2016!

Okay, it’s a few days early to be saying Happy Halloween, but why not? There’s already Christmas stuff in stores. Halloween might be the day of the dead, but I’m still giving you a gift: 40% off your entire purchase. It can be used once per user and expires at midnight on Halloween. Let’s have a bit of fun with this, shall we? It’s not often these coupons show up.

How are the next comic books in line coming? Well, let’s say they’re on a semi-indefinite hold for the time being. That doesn’t mean they’ll never be made, it simply means new things are being learned to make them even better. All right, I’ve said it before and I’ll keep saying it: lighting, cameras, modeling, texturing and a number of other things are being studied in greater depth to give the scenes more life and to make them more believable. This means putting books on hold to learn the new skills. When they finally go into production, you’ll find them worth the wait and understand why they were delayed.

I dove in head first making books because the images were in my head and I wanted to render them before they “escaped” and I had trouble setting up the scenes. Since there are scripting slow-downs for the books, I thought I’d take advantage of the spare time to do some studying I should have done years ago. To be fair, many of the tutorials I’ve been looking at lately weren’t around when I started. Luckily, the studies have begun bearing fruit and happily, the results are improving by leaps and bounds.

So, when can you expect books to begin reappearing? That’s a hard question at this point. Techwarrior’s script is written through its 12th book – which is meant to be the last in the series unless popular demand calls for more. Dream Angel #24 is about 95% written. Still a few details to finish it off. Its script is roughed out to the beginning of #33 at this point. Hillbilly Hoot needs some sorting of details and various other things fixed, but it may well be moving along soon, too.

So again, Happy Halloween! Even if you don’t celebrate it, the coupon code is still a gift.