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Before I get started, don't miss this fan art competition!

Fan Art Contest!Right - here's a bit of fun as an interlude to the revolution that's starting here (oh, you missed that?!!? http://fav.me/d7px6r0 :-))
I want to see some Cap Stone fan art or fan lit!
It can be any of the three main characters - Cap Stone, The Pet or The Craven Panther.
This is open to anybody, and in any medium. Use your imagination!
Keep any written entries less than 500 words please!
I'll post a journal featuring all the art, short stories, etc. and the winner will get a signed original piece of Cap Stone art from the series (Valued about $600.00)
The first two runners up will each get a head sketch of Cap Stone.
Here is the story so far, which you can read for free by clicking the thumbnails!




Please post thumbs/links of your art/s


So then - what's been happening in the world of digital storytelling and Motion Books here on dA?

As it happens, rather a lot! My favourite work of the last month or so has to be the motion poems by Igor Goldkind beautifully built by EvanLimberger.


What Peter Said to Wendy - Is She Available? by EvanLimberger
The one above is stunningly illustrated by Wendy Farrow. I was very happy to be asked to contribute, along with the peerless Bill Sienkiewicz and others.

Here are a couple of my favourites, and I think they demonstrate the incredible bredth of what is possible using a medium like this:

What We Do - Is She Available? by EvanLimbergerLed Astray - Is She Available? by EvanLimberger

I'd also like to give a shout-out to QueenDomina for the book below, which shows great imagination and innovation! The key is to have fun and see what is possible, and this definitely demonstrates that. :-)

#2 Bridget the Bot Girl - Running Away From Home by QueenDomina

As does the book below by Ghost-Notes which is pure text, but shows that there's room for prose-writers in the digital space. A real innovation in how a text story can be told:

The Great Escape - A Motion Story by Ghost-Notes

Lastly - I have to plug the final part of my Sherlock Holmes story, and the excellent second episode of MONO: Pacific!

Sherlock Holmes: The Greek Interpreter - Episode 3 by MadefireStudiosMONO: Pacific - Episode 2 by MadefireStudios

You can go here for all Madefire related info, including tutorials etc - kb.madefire.com/hc/en-us Have fun!


Meanwhile:

Who are YOUR favourite dA artists?
  • Mood: Love
Right - here's a bit of fun as an interlude to the revolution that's starting here (oh, you missed that?!!? fav.me/d7px6r0 :-))

I want to see some Cap Stone fan art or fan lit!


It can be any of the three main characters - Cap Stone, The Pet or The Craven Panther.

This is open to anybody, and in any medium. Use your imagination!

Keep any written entries less than 500 words please!

I'll post a journal featuring all the art, short stories, etc. and the winner will get a signed original piece of Cap Stone art from the series (Valued about $600.00)

The first two runners up will each get a head sketch of Cap Stone.

Here is the story so far, which you can read for free by clicking the thumbnails!

Captain Stone is Missing... - Episode 1: Chess by MadefireStudiosCaptain Stone is Missing... - Episode 2: Ada by MadefireStudios
Captain Stone is Missing... - Episode 3: Charlie by MadefireStudiosCaptain Stone is Missing... - Ep. 4: Captain Stone by MadefireStudios
Captain Stone is Missing... E5: The Craven Panther by MadefireStudiosCaptain Stone Is Missing... - Episode 6: The Pet by MadefireStudios
Captain Stone Is Missing - Episode 7: Brother Sun  by MadefireStudiosCaptain Stone Confidential - Episode 1 by MadefireStudios

Please post thumbs/links of your art/stories in the comments below!
(Please don't pm me. I'll send you a pm if you win!)

You have two weeks!

GO!

  • Mood: Love
I promised, a while ago, that I would write a journal that addressed the writing
and creative process as much as anything else - how I start, and even why.

What makes a memorable character?
What are the themes?
How much do you care about popularity - ie. is it a project you're doing for
yourself, or because you hope it will generate a huge, mainstream audience?
What age-range is it?
And as mentioned earlier - why is it important you do it?

But let's start with...

Where do you get you ideas?

Great ideas do not come fully-formed out of the ether. Even the ideas I've
had that were born of dreams, and dragged screaming from my subconscious
before I forgot them, were an accumulation of living experiences. In Metawhal
Alpha the setting is somewhere I lived as a boy. I know every inch of the
Clock Warehouse, the noises and smells of the place, as well as the referenced
folklore. The Pub in Death and the Myrmidon was indeed a local, and it does
have a well covered in glass that you can imagine some ancient, slime-slick
creature inhabiting...

Metawhal Alpha by MadefireStudios Death and The Myrmidon by MadefireStudios

The point here is that it pays to write about what you know.

I've broken that down more specifically into three areas to write about:

1. What you live
2. What you love
3. What you learn


What you live is your first-hand experience - your direct knowledge
of interfacing with the world. That is your feelings, your emotions, what
scares you, excites you, angers you or gives you peace. This includes the
people you know - which will become important for how you build your
cast of characters. You know from living how people interact, how they
respond to things. You know from living how everybody responds to
the same stimulus in unique and individual ways. You know from
living how things smell, how they feel, how they look. And you can
extrapolate whole imagined worlds from this knowledge. Use it!

My life in Shardlow informed Metawhal Alpha and my upcoming
novella 'Paradise Rex Press, Inc.' My life in London informed
'January Man'. My life in the UK and the US, as well as what I
have witnessed historically and culturally, has informed 'Captain
Stone'.

January Man by LiamSharp Captain Stone is Missing... - Episode 1: Chess by MadefireStudios

What you love is part of what defines you, and you will almost
certainly be an expert in these areas! It will help you chose the kind
of characters that populate your world, the genre, the period, the
the smells, sights and sounds. Your love will give your project one
of the most essential ingredients - authenticity. This is crucial to
any fiction if it is to be believed, no matter how outlandish!

I'll comeback to this in the next section!

What you learn is where your world gets its depth. In most great
stories you learn something from the author, and quite often it is
something the author learned that triggered an idea in the first place.

Over the years I've gone from blindly believing in God, for instance,
because my teachers told me I should, to discovering evolution at
a young age, to realizing that there are many compelling points of
view around just about everything. There is no one answer. Over
time my views have radically changed, but my trajectory took me
from blind faith, to science, to a wider look at all religions, to finding
a deep love of anthropology, to new age hippy spirituality, to a
fascination with particle physics and astrophysics, to agnosticism,
to pretty much atheism, and still onwards. My point isn't to say my
path is the RIGHT and only path, it's just to say that my questing
and inquisitive mind led me to a wide and wonderful variety of
subject matter - material that has informed ALL my writing over the
last couple of decades, and the net result is richness and balance.
'The more you know the less you know' is a cliché, and therefore a
truism. It's is also the best way to generate story ideas. Learning
and research will form the bedrock of your story. You need to
know the answers to any questions that may be asked of you. 

What makes a memorable character?


The best characters feel real, and that is generally because they
are based on somebody the author knows, or a fusion of two or
three people. Giving your character the voice of a friend - or
enemy - gives them an immediate cadence. You can imagine
precisely what they sound like, their use of language, their
mannerisms, etc. The way they look can also play a big part.
A friend of mine very precisely matches a character I drew in
'Spawn: the Dark Ages', and he later became Tunny MalTuboly
in my novel 'God Killers'.

You may also be inspired by historical figures, or aspects of
yourself. You may find that a character represents all the aspects
of yourself that are suppressed. He or she may be the calmer,
spiritual aspect of yourself, or the fearless, uncaring beast.
There's fun to be had with wish-fulfillment, setting yourself on
a journey within these stories, this world you are building -
though you should be wary of creating a perfect protagonist
who wins at absolutely everything.

When it comes to imaginative characters you can go way
more exotic. Here your knowledge - what you have learned,
your research - will really help. You might have discovered
the incredible clothing styles of the Inca's, for example (maybe
you watched Apocolypto!) and think, hey - this flying reptile
would look amazing covered in dried white chalky mud, and
festooned with Indigo gemstones!

Alway go a step further than you think you need to. The
added layers of thought will bring your character more life.
He/she/it will seem to have lived more years, and have a
mind unique to them. Remember, your characters have
generally lived a long time. With that comes nuance.

While I was writing 'God Killers' almost out of the blue
it struck me that my character Cherry Longorn could get
really ill at some point. She developed psoriasis, which almost
killed her, and directly informed how she looked and acted
in the wake of such an experience. In fact if she hadn't had
this (unnamed, undiagnosed) condition in the book much
of her resulting experiences would have seemed, well, lame!

Here's a character I am currently developing. I know he
needs to be powerful, and ancient. He needs to have horns,
but I want to somehow not be overboard with that. I'm
fixed on the beard, but should it be white or brown?

New character concept 3 by LiamSharp

A little detail is the tattoo on his face, which represents his
familiar - a horned snake.

New character concept 1 by LiamSharp

And with the musculature - because he's so far beyond human
concepts of strength and power is it OK to go really over-the-
top with him? Or should I reign myself in?

New character concept 5 by LiamSharp

Do I show his face, or does he wear a mask?
Is his face always in the shadows?
How do I make him more alien and other?

When you create your characters you need to know what
part they play in the grand scheme. Are they pivotal? Do
we need to care about them? Even love them? What is their
most prominent quality? Their kindness, or the fear they
instil? Or does the way they look not conform in any way
with the way they actually are?

Regardless of all the above - nothing will ring as true unless
YOU fall in love with your characters and believe in them.


Next up:

What are the themes?
How much do you care about popularity - ie. is it a project you're doing for
yourself, or because you hope it will generate a huge, mainstream audience?
What age-range is it?


Meanwhile:

Which fictional characters have you most identified with over the years?
  • Mood: Love
For Madefire’s last artist hunt on deviantART, waaaay back in 2012, our goal was to simply find a great artist to draw a monster story that our CCO, Liam Sharp, had written. And to say we were really pleased with the results is an understatement — not only did we have dozens upon dozens of remarkable submissions, we found a truly amazing creator who’s gone on to produce a number of stories for us. Here's the episode that came about from that contest:




This time around, however, we want to make it a bigger, more involved challenge — and a challenge it’ll be! Like before, the winner will get a paid Motion Book gig through Madefire; but rather than simply sending us your existing samples, we’d like you to take the initiative and show us how YOU would approach the story and characters. We’ll provide the script page, character designs and the deadline and we want to see your take on the characters and world — in whatever your style is as we don’t have a specific “look” in mind (so, while the character designs are gorgeous they’re NOT the desired style per se). Additionally, we’ve enlisted an eclectic, star-studded group of guest judges that will be helping us find a winner as well as giving all sorts of advice and pointers on creativity, business, etc. We’re hoping as many deviants as possible will participate!

Stay tuned and watch this space as the countdown for the challenge begins NOW! Over the next 13 days we’ll be announcing our guest judges, running some interviews with the creators, the writer, and character designer for... Fran Kenstein!

It’s going to be a lot of fun!

Go here to the official competition page for updates and info!



Meanwhile:

What would your cosplay be?
It's amazing - there are almost 250 motion books created by deviants now!!!

www.deviantart.com/motionbooks…

I wanted to highlight some more, as well as showing the diversity:

First - here's an entirely new use by krukof2 to promote a competition in both French and English, using the link function:

CONTEST / CONCOURS  2014 by krukof2

We're also seeing the tool used to create single-image parallaxes, which are REALLY effective. Motion pictures in the real sense!
Here's an excellent one by OHMEGA18:

Title Test - The Myth of Terror by OHMEGA18

I absolutely love this simple print-book type read by mothbot:

Clutter Book 1 - Or, How it All Ended Badly Des... by mothbot

But I'm also excited to see people really digging in to the tool to create motion books, such as this from shirishart:

Checkmate-Chapter 1 - The Day of the Reckoning by shirishart
Finally - I'm delighted that our own Madefire books are still winning over fans, as demonstrated in this exception book by ileWolf and Ben-Abernathy:



Keep writing, keep drawing, and keep innovating folks! :-)


Meanwhile:

I'd love to see a simple parallax image from you guys. I think there are creative possibilities that haven't been exploited, so think about patterns, layers, transparencies, fonts, and any other way you could play with a simple layered file, and publish a link to it below!

Don't forget to login to the tool if you haven't already - just go to submit, then to create a motion book:

 Create a Motion Book by LiamSharp

All tutorials and/or help you need is here: kb.madefire.com/hc/en-us

We have to treat ourselves better.

Will we ever find that ease we dream of - the one where we wake, every day,
a bright vessel brimful of inspiration? Anticipating the siren-call of the canvas, so
magnetic in a way. Brushes and paint are drawn to it. We don’t have to think.
This art makes itself. We are a conduit, a mother-father of pigment children. 

Yes - I dream of such things.

There’s not a day when I don’t consider this. Art has weight, and it weighs on us.
Our arms grow heavy even as we contemplate the first line. Fear is a big part of it.

Fear that we’ll be found lacking – not by others, but by the inner bully-child.
Younger, bitter selves that stand at our shoulders muttering obscenities and abuse.

“That is utter shit,” he/she says. “You’re wasting everybody’s time. Who gives a
crap about you? What good is this? Why are you still doing this? The world burns,
and melts, and children are killed. And still you spend your waking hours trying to
give precious meaning to this testosterone-fueled drivel! You can’t draw. You can’t
do anything. Give up. Stop now, while there’s still time…”

There’s barely a creator I know who doesn’t treat themself worse than ANYBODY
ELSE would ever treat them. 

And then – to dare show it, this cruelly battered work! To release it into the world,
where surely it will be likewise mauled?

The reality – bar the auspices of subjectivity, and the pointless cruelties of the
modern troll – is that our art fares much better in the real world than we generally
imagine or hope. Because for the vast majority what we do is like magic. It’s a form
of alchemy, creating new realities born of deft penmanship, a sensitive slip of clay,
a surprising flurry of words.

We ask our worst critics to represent us - ourselves!

These journals are now a huge part of my work, and there’s good reason for that:

Authenticity.

What I’m trying to do is genuine, and it comes from a place of knowledge and
experience. It comes from failing, but trying again – from learning. It comes from
knowledge that only a tiny number of creators get to do what they THINK they
want to do.

Let me explain: I had thought I wanted to be a fantasy artist, or science-fiction
illustrator. But I also wrote short plays in the vein of Woody Allen. I imagined I
might one day make claymation movies. I thought I might write a novel.
Perhaps I would draw comics…
It ended up being comics. And then I got, for the greater part, stuck there. 

Children at some point stop drawing. We shed bits of ourselves. We stop playing.
Games become competitive sports. We are advised by supposedly older, wiser
people to turn to more profitable possible futures, subjects that are sensible.

But some of us rebel – at least at the start.

The more I am free to look at what art is, what comics are, what motion books
are, and what creativity is, the more I feel a need to advise against the obvious.
If this is truly to be a creative revolution then we should, as much as possible,
try and free ourselves of the fabricated shackles that we don’t even know are there.
We have to unlearn everything.

Maybe we need a dogma, a declaration: 

I will not bully myself, or judge myself against my peers.

I will be free of the tyranny of style, the cruelties of fashion.

I will dare to learn. 

I will be free of all expectation, and will not judge the fruits of my labour, as it all
leads to greater knowledge and nothing is ever a failure.
 

I will not follow the rules, as all rules are man-made and subjective.

Well, y’ know, maybe that’s a bit pretentious – whatever that means! But you get
the gist! Let’s create for the love of it, and aspire to that perfect dream I mentioned
at the start. If we take away all the chains, and stop all the judgement, then -
why not? Why shouldn’t it be a blissful experience? 

And then – who knows what we might create?

 
(And damn you who say art should be all about pain! I’m not having that either!
Pain can inform our art – we have enough of that in life. It needn’t be an aspect
of the process. I've had enough of that!)

  

Meanwhile:

This is all part of a learning process for me – a discovery. I always love hearing
about the epiphanies of other creators. Tell me your stories!
And here's a piece from my gallery that has no meaning at all, but was done
for the love of creating! I did it way before 300 was released, and called it
Leonidas because it had a strangely classical, epic feel. :-)

Leonidas by LiamSharp

Favourite things are amongst my least favourite things.

I'm not talking faving something on dA. After all that quickly becomes multiple things, not singular. No, it's the singlular best thing that bothers me - the inflexible, intransigent, and defining thing.

As a kid I went along with this kind of thing:

What's your favourite colour?
What's your favourite car/brand of jeans?
Who's you're favourite band/footballer/cartoon character?
Who's your best friend?
What's better: Pepsi or Coke?
What would be your best job?
"Who's your favourite artist?"
Or best of all from my son, Lorcan, when he was about 9 - "Dad? What's your favourite fly?"!??!

Ultimately what happens is that we start to genuinely invest in this kind of thinking. We carve ourselves, slowly but inextricably, into inflexible stone aspects of ourselves, eventually crushing many of the broader possibilities of what we might potentially be. We start to define ourselves by this narrow list of favorite things.

Think about it:

"I'm an ass man"
"I'm a Manchester United supporter"
"I drive a BMW"
"I don't do sci-fi"
"Hey, I don't hug"(believe it or not, that's 100% verbatim!)
"I hate pussy pinko liberals" (again, verbatim.)
"I'm a Marvel guy"
"I only read DC"
"comics are for geeks", etc.

As I've grown older it's occurred to me that actually I really don't have favourite things. I used to trot stuff out without thinking - "Led Zep are my favourite band" being amongst the most usual - but it wasn't really true. Sometimes I'm into Pink Floyd more, or David Bowie, or Jeff Buckley, or Bellowhead... or any number of bands and artists, new and old. As it turns out I like lots of musical genres, and I'm not really defined by any of them. True, I'm a novice when it comes to jazz - and it doesn't currently resonate with me very deeply. That said, I've enjoyed learning about it in documentaries, and I'm working on it, I can respect it, and there are exceptions. So why should I put myself out there as just a rock guy, when really that's just one (albeit quite large) aspect of my taste?

And yet people do this all the time:

"I'm a punk!"
"prog is shit!" (verbatim)
"I love hiphop. Hate rock!"

I definitely don't have a favourite colour, and why would or should I? (Why are you even asking? What could it possibly matter to anybody, unless you have a personal stylist?!!?)

We have to think about the consequences of this kind of completely ingrained and narrow thinking. There are so many ramifications that when you actually start thinking about it you start to realize that it likely has a profound effect on all of society, and it goes on ever day under our noses.

It was reported to me recently that a couple who had spent time in Africa some 45 years ago had made the statement that "African's don't put the same value on life that we do" - "we" being 'the West', though it's debatable as to whether they were actually referring about Africans as a race, or whether it was with regard to the sociopolitical situation due to their geographic location, history and demographics. Either way, it's a statement 45 years out of date from people who were there at a time when such comments were commonplace, understanding was slight, and also by people who had not made very much effort to learn about how things had either changed in that time, or why (assuming their original comment was accurate, which is doubtful) it might still be the case. As a result, it's bad information that they carved in stone years ago and stuck with, and now tend to preach as fact, whereby it stands a good chance of becoming a meme for another generation. A perpetuated bigotry.

We're in an age where we are expected to be easy to categorize. We are homogenized to the point of blandness - metrosexual, in our sports-casual, or business-casual veneers. We know the freaks are still out there, but we're changing that. And don't forget to vote for your favourite act on X-Factor kids! (Robert Plant or Bob Dylan would have been thrown out in the first round. Actually in Dylan's case he might have been made one of the comedy no-hopers, the judges stifling laughter behind bejeweled and perfect fingers.) These lists help companies predict trends, and the narrower the lists the easier that is to do. The same lists are circulated to keep the same items/acts/celebrities in the spotlight - the ones they want us to see. And the vast majority of consumers are happy to go along with this. Just look at the numbers!

We become what have defined ourselves to be, and as a result we grow limited - stunted even.

Favourites only serve to create division, and to shut down our capacity for learning and growth. They are not, on the whole, about defining ourselves. This is because choices are branded. You pick a kind of music then you can be tagged with a type of clothing, or reading material, or the kind of films you want to see. You become a category, not an individual. More and more programs on websites start to make our choices for us - and this is promoted as a kind of virtual boutique that especially caters to us. But all it actually does is kill chance - the chance we might discover something unexpected in a place we might never choose to look. The more you click off what you don't like, and on what you do, the less you will ever see. You'll be a cliche, a branded item, a good little consumer.

I think we should be ENCOURAGED to engage with many things we don't think we like. (Note: I'm not talking about clear ethical things like racism, bigotry, etc. Some things it is absolutely fine to NOT like!) I think it can be extremely rewarding to watch a documentary on a subject you had not thought you were interested in, or try a genre of music, or read a book you would ordinarily never pick up. I think it can really help to understand both sides of whatever you are into - and that requires actually KNOWING about both sides of any argument.

Meanwhile:

What are your current pet hates?
Sudden change is born of something slower.

Consideration is rarely a factor.

What granite edifices we are inevitably destined to become – even we who claim to embrace possibility and change, who claim we want it and will it - if we are not vigilant!

I only just discovered this intransigence in myself – and I’d have told you to your face it wasn’t true. I’d have sworn it! – and I’m not bloody having it.
If I can’t listen to my own advice I have no right to a voice. I’m a hypocrite.

I have, I realize, not properly listened to the small, true voice of my creativity. I’ve hidden away from it, except for a few fleeting excursions.

I’ve failed it.

And I have pandered to an industry. I’ve portrayed a medium as one of ‘true art’, when reality clearly demonstrates it so rarely is. I’ve tried, to the detriment of any sensible career, to be free of fashion, expectation and commercial shackles – only to fearfully retreat back to the safety of more acceptable, mainstream styles I could riff on, or rip-off. I lacked true conviction for fear that I would further alienate myself from a mainstream that had already tried me out and decided I didn’t have the right kind of consistent, reliable, easy-to-follow trajectory. Or that I was too unpredictable. Or that I was just not the right fit.

But still, in the face of a generally unloving parent – which is how I cast the comics business – I didn’t ever fully cut myself free, and give myself the time to figure out exactly what it was I REALLY wanted to be.

How can this have taken me so very long to realize?

I was 18 when I got into comics, and that introduction was all about mimicry. Could I paint like Don Lawrence, and be his assistant? Could I draw anything like Bolland? Jim Lee? Bisley?

Yes I could, and yes I did.

And like many others too – but not quite as well, and not with the conviction, the honesty of knowing it was MY art, or that it was MY story.

I have been a commercial syphon, a cypher. Not a ‘real’ artist at all – not for a long time.

And that's fine, if that is what I want to be - a commercial artist. An interpreter. There is greatness in that. I'm not knocking it. But it's not, nor has it ever really been, the journey I am on. And that's what is dawning in me.

And yet - I have never had the time to learn how to actually BE me. Not in my comic work at any rate. Not really. Not in any greater artistic sense.

We – myself and my wife, and a few visionary friends – started Mam Tor publishing in 2005 so that creators could be the artists they truly wished to be. Madefire has continued that tradition. Both of these companies have dramatically reduced my creative output, but what little I have done - with really only one exception – has failed to take me away from the clichés that my career has been forged upon.

In grabbed and hurried moments I have reached for artistic heights that I have never had time to evolve. I have fallen back on every trick I ever learned, and every corner I have ever cut – and I have cut a great many! I have rested on so many laurels, and cursed my lack of attention, the slipping away of that will to draw, as I yet, and unexpectedly, continued to grow as a publisher and as a writer.

I have a book due out some time in the next few months called ‘Paradise Rex Press, Inc.’ and it is the only authentic piece of art I have ever created. That is the single exception, and it was channeled and excreted. It was a birthing, not a contrivance. It was, and is, an honest dishonesty, as all good art should be.

I have discovered, over the last near-decade, that my true self is far better expressed through words these days, and that my visual art is woefully lacking.

And in that revelation there’s a great joy in realizing that I have this wonderful opportunity to NOT draw – at least for a while. To regroup, and rethink. That is exciting to me.

If I have a dream, an ambition for my future beyond this executive, CCO life that was born of necessity - because somebody had to do it with the right conviction and the right ethical, artistic belief – it is to have the strength of my convictions artistically.

I wish for the time to explore, and make mistakes, and actually do some learning. I wish to deconstruct everything I’ve come to take for granted, and to not fall back into the same complacent routine, fraught with doubt and failing to speak to my ethics, my philosophy or my expectations.

If I were to make a movie – and that is also a dream of mine, like so many other artist (another cliche really) – it would not be a blustery actioner. I know that now. It would likely be poetic and humane, a slow-burn elegiac affair with little of any mainstream intent. Likewise, I suspect, my next comic project - whatever that may be.

At some point I hope to create again – to be able to dedicate a month, or year, or much longer, to making work that matters to me, and is honest. That dares to be flawed and imperfect, and that I don’t judge against my heroes - where it will inevitably fall short, as it always has.

I wish for this. I dream of it.

For now, though, there’s a revolution going on that has picked me out as one of its new champions. I’m scared, and excited – a sensation that has doggedly refused to let up over the last few years, and has indeed intensified.

I hope it works.

I hope writers and artists, and readers, and publishers, take up the call. I hope we see the transformation that is so possible, so achingly near-tangible. I hope all this.

And then – art!
It's been almost eight years since I came across deviantART.

I was looking for a good gallery site, somewhere I could put my work and share it with fans,
new clients, anybody who might be interested.
I'd found sites that supported art, journals, and all the prerequisite needs, but something
was missing
.

The fact is those template sites are dead space. What they lack is community.

That really is the linchpin: When you join dA you join a movement, a community, a city,
a temple erected to art!

And with that comes responsibility - a ready and eager audience, and all the tools you need
to grow personally, artistically and professionally in a marketplace now teaming with
aggressive, hungry life!


Here's my very first deviation from December 29th 2006 - it's a cover for the series I was
drawing for DC's Vertigo imprint, 'Testament' co-created by myself and Douglas Rushkoff.
(incidentally you can read all four volumes on the Madefire app. I specially remastered it
for digital!)

Testament 12 cover by LiamSharp
(All the good themes - sex and death! It looks a bit clumsy to me now, but I was very
pleased with it at the time!)

I've been using my dA page for the purpose it was intended ever since I joined - sharing
my work, directing potential employers towards it. But something else happened that I
didn't expect - my journal started to gain traction.

It's now the case that whenever I post an image or a journal, my journal gets much
more attention. I found a voice, and that people wanted to know what I had to say -
and not just about art, comics and writing, but also life in general.

It's hard to explain how seismic this was for me, but I think it comes down to this:
As with most artists, I'm very critical of my own work. My expectations around my
art are so huge they are insurmountable. I want to be Michelangelo, and I fall so
very short of that! But when it came to writing there was no expectation - either
from myself, or anybody else. And that freed me up. I often look at posts I have
written and I don't recognize myself - it's better than I expected, unlike everything
I draw or paint, which is universally worse than expected, to my eyes at least.

And I get to be me - not just an interpreter of other people's stories. I get to talk
about REAL things, things that matter, and that can give a fresh perspective,
even inspire. I can talk about the things that anger me, or hurt me, or upset me,
or that delight me.

I can share great work by others - like Travis Charest:



I get to talk about the industry from the vantage point of a veteran, and share
my old war stories - all the things I wish I had known going in. I get to talk
about Death's Head II, the book that put me on the map - and still the best-
selling comic of all-time to come out of the UK into the US Market.

 Death's Head II by LiamSharpDHII 4 cover by LiamSharp

I get to show unpublished paintings...

Surprise 40th birthday present by LiamSharp

Personal projects, such as short films...

Heartland Archive 02 by LiamSharp
Heartland Archive 05 by LiamSharp
Heartland Archive 01 by LiamSharp

...and novels...

God Killers cover 2 by LiamSharp
Paradise Rex Press, Inc. cover by LiamSharp

Current projects...



Abstract painting...

Remembering Bleaklow by LiamSharp

Journals about my heroes...



...and about revolutions...




In short - and to sum up - I get to be me in every facet. This is my home on the internet,
my virtual family. I get to breathe, and grow, and challenge myself, and challenge art in
general. In turn I get challenged, and supported, and appreciated, and sometimes NOT
appreciated! That's what families are for. :-)

So - HAPPY 14th BIRTHDAY dA!!!


Thank you for the great times I've had, and the better times ahead!!!

Viva la revolution!!!
Creativity - where you get your ideas… this a theme that I seem to have been running up against more than usual over the last year. At an event in Vegas I watched Neil Gaiman and John Cleese talk about this, having prepared my own talk around the theme - certainly with regard to the origins of imaginative storytelling.

The the brain represses vivid memory when you're awake. This is, of course, a natural defense mechanism. If every time we thought about anything that had terrified us it was conjured in all it's dramatic three-dimensional glory we would be in a ceaseless realm of fear, unable to distinguish perceived mental constructs from real ones! We happen to know that all our perceptions are actually only constructs of the mind, so the way we interpret this data depends on our level of consciousness.

It's for this reason that memories of dreams can be AS vivid and fully formed as those of real events. Dreams can often feel like a waking reality as we experience them, because that wall that enables the distinction between reality and memory isn't present in the sleep state.

Mental world-building is what gives us the ability to do more than just decode symbols when we read. We can interpret them as sound and imagery. If we remember a great book it's not the words on the page we see in our mind, it's a place, faces, moments, incidents. We can even imagine sounds and smells! These memories are as clear as waking moments, and we really take this for granted in pretty much everything we do.

I have often wondered if that barrier that separates the unconscious from the conscious is notably more transparent when it comes to creative people. I've watched dreamers slip into other worlds for a while when fully awake. They are not seeing what is actually in front of them. I can attest to this myself, having a wealth of family anecdotes to draw on regarding vain attempts to get my attention when I've inadvertently drifted into a fugue state while mulling over something or other!

And I sometimes wonder if it's an ability to picture alternatives to arguments, and to embrace all possibilities before settling on what seems to be the best, most lucid argument that separates an open-mind from a closed one.

I get close to lucid dreaming - in the sense that I often figure out I am dreaming and after that I'm able to enjoy the ride somewhat more, though rarely control it. In that state I can get quite analytical, and even scary events can be interpolated coldly. I usually try to really examine my environment when this happens - it's pin-sharp and HD - but what I tend to find is that it's very elastic. Nothing stays still. I can't read a book as it's likely to turn into a bunch of flowers, or a large insect. But if I keep moving, just drift along, it's often breathtakingly beautiful.

Beyond dreams, which have inspired a large portion of the stories I've written, it's life and living and learning that gives up the most riches. And we do well, as creatives, to be open to the vastness that nature and science afford us. It's in living, and learning to know myself, that some of the more interesting aspects of my novel God Killers came about. You will all, I'm sure, have realized by now I'm a liberal-minded peace-loving man. I abhor war and violence. At the same time I loved fantasy literature as a young man, before realizing that it generally glorifies war (this is changing, I hasten to add, but it's still true of a great many of the classics.) The huge, heroic saga at the heart of my novel suddenly conflicted with my ideals, causing a really interesting tension - making me look at the scenes I was crafting in a new light over the seven years it took to write. I emerged from that experience a very different person. It forced me to look deeper, and it made the work a lot better.

For me, creativity - the well-spring of your ideas - is born of three things: what you learn, what you live and what you love.

Meanwhile:

1) What has inspired you most over the years?
2) Have you ever tried writing about or drawing something you are not generally interested in? And if so, what were the results like?
As you may have seen, 'Milk for the Ugly' became a record-breaking motion book last week! Check out these astonishing stats:


Views: 446,951 (3,562 today)
Favourites: 12,336 
Comments: 3,012



We're so proud of Kate and Anna! It was a joy to meet them at SDCC this year, and they deserve all the attention they get.

I'd love to remind everybody that there are MANY more motion books being built right now, so please go and check out the books in that category: www.deviantart.com/motionbooks

Here's a plug for my latest... 

Sherlock Holmes: The Greek Interpreter - Episode 2 by MadefireStudios

...and a promised shout-out for one of our early users 
Dark-Kadabra! :-)

Ringo The Assassin - Homecoming Missile by Dark-Kadabra

Lastly:

1) How can we get more people to visit the Motion Book category?
2) What are your top 3 favorite motion books by fellow deviants so far?
Well. That certainly was an AMAZING convention. There's nothing quite like the San Diego Comic Convention. It's the greatest show on earth.

For now, though, it's time to recover, and to think about what it all means. It's impossible to capture in a journal all in one go - there's simply too much to process! So I'll get back to you once I've wrapped my head around it all.

Meanwhile - there's somebody I'd like you to know about that doesn't get the acknowledgement she deserves.

She's one of the best - if not THE best - collaborators I've ever worked with.

She has read everything I've written as a script or book back to me, helping me hear the mistakes, the problems, the places where I was hitting my stride, and other places where I was not.

She has co-created many stories with me, often coming up with the heart of the concept out of which I could extrapolate whole worlds. 

She has researched for me, so that I know I have accurate information, dates and details.

She co-created Captain Stone.

With John Bamber and I she started a publishing company called Mam Tor, for which she oversaw all the production - the schedules, the payments, the advertising, the paper stock, the distribution, the pagination, the bar codes, the delivery, the printing.

She has been my biggest supporter, the voice of reason, the one that got me through all my darkest days.

Without her there would be no Madefire.

Thank you, Christina McCormack. You mean everything to me. 
Today marks the end of a very long and exciting journey. We've actually achieved EVERYTHING we set out to do. I can barely believe it. :D

MADEFIRE is now available on Android, iOS, Windows and the web!

The tool we built is open for ANYBODY to use - free! wreckling.deviantart.com/journ…

And you can publish your own books in whatever digital form you choose directly to the world's biggest creator community - namely, right here on dA. (create.madefire.com)

We have also launched our new interface today, which features a whole new library of classic print-type material, because we have ALWAYS loved comics, and always wanted to support them. All our material you can purchase in-app.

I'm also excited because my Vertigo series Testament, written by the great Douglas Rushkoff, is available as one humongous omnibus edition, or as four smaller collections, and I digitally remastered and reworked most of my art for the launch. You'll find new cover art and a fantastic new logo designed by Tom Muller too. 

It feels like we've hit critical mass, and it's VERY exciting! 

Go download Madefire on the device of your choice, and happy reading everybody!!!

Meanwhile:

1. What more could we do to make Madefire and the motion book tool even better for you?
2. As it's a special day it's time for some treats! What is YOUR fav food and drink?
I'm sitting 18 floors upon the balcony of a condominium in San Diego. It's night, 10.41pm to be precise. Over to my left is the Hyatt, and the bay. The lights twinkle. There are a few low clouds illuminated by light pollution - just for added effect. You can feel the presence of the sea on your skin, taste it on your lips.

It's all very Bladerunner - except for the sea bit.

I remember the first time I flew to San Diego, and tonight I'm reminded that I should not forget; should never take it for granted. We get used to everything, given time. And too often we fail to take stock. To contextualise.

When I first came here I was a very young man just starting a career in comics - though at the time it felt like I was already a veteran! I was a working class boy of meagre means transported through circumstances, luck and a little talent to places of which youthful dreams are made. (My heart forever belonged to California, even before that became a conscious acceptance.) 

This circus, this flash-mob of geeks and freaks and artists and writers, of cosplay heroes, and heartbroken martyrs, misfits, maestros, millionaires and masturbators, playboy bunnies, perverts, voyeurs and visionaries, the victors and the vanquished of a myriad of media and mediums make this something we all have a collective propensity to belittle. We are the hunter-gatherers - short-sighted and hungry, too hungry in fact to take in the enormity of this mythic world we inhabit. The stars become a backdrop, a setting, a means of navigation.

Yes. Our feet will be sore, and our cheeks will ache through the act of a thousand disingenuous smiles, and yet another thousand more genuine ones. Our midrifts will swell, and our faculties will dim, and yet we'll all feel the post-con blues - the feeling that something happened that was important, and that we didn't have the awareness or senses to fully capture.

It was too big, and somehow we missed that.  

We'll be lost in hopes and dreams, the business of business, the betrayals and bastardisation, the bitterness and backstabbing, the curt and the terse and the politic.
But let's not miss out on the wonder, eh? Let's be bloody thankful for once!

Here we are, we one-hundred-and-fifty-odd-thousand lovers of what makes us human - our propensity to dream, and from that, grow. Our need to create what does not exist and to make it exist in thousands of fibreglass storm trouper costumes; cardboard swords; elf ears; paintings; words; films; apps; pamphlets and passion projects.

There's literally NOWHERE on earth I would rather be right now.

So fuck you, the bug that has bit my head, both arms and caused a large itchy bump to appear on my lower back while I wrote this. You'll not steel this moment from me! I'm here, in full appreciation of the curious, and delightful twists fate apportioned me. I was a midland boy who never thought to see such things, yet here I was, and here I am.

Here's to an amazing week at SDCC!
I've been working towards this for six years.

After struggling to make print work at Ma
m Tor (great reviews, lots of love, but prohibitive costs, too few sales) my big questions were: 

How can I publish the stories I want to tell in a direct way, online?

How can I build a platform that lets OTHER people tell their stories too - because this needed to be about much more than just me.

It needed to be a grass-roots revolution.
It needed to be something that creators wanted, that served them.
In short it had to be a need.


The questions after that are many:

If you're in a digital space, what are the possibilities?
Can you build a digital audience first that can determine the need/want for print versions, and then facilitate that?
Can the creators keep their copyright?
How do you rethink the marketplace - and actually, CAN you?


And now here we are, and the tool has been built.
Creators of all skill levels ARE publishing their work, sharing it, selling it.
One week in since the tool became openly available to everyone and we're starting to see that dream come to life - and it's AMAZING! :D

Some of the artists on dA routinely get 200K views of any new story they upload. It's changing the way things are done in publishing, and it's a NEW, different audience to the one that print people are typically used to.
These creators have built their own followings on here, and produced their own material. They sell prints, and all kinds of merchandise associated with their work, and they are considered superstars at conventions - though they are not the stars comics audiences typically know about! yuumei.deviantart.com/ is a classic example, though there are many more. People have fainted in her presence I'm told! And yet typically comic people have never heard of her!

And so we come back to this:

I'm going to be banging on about all of this more than usual because NOW is the time that everything is in line to really take a big step up with regard to creator-awareness, and awareness in general.
It's actually REALLY IMPORTANT that creators and lovers of comic KNOW about this!
We've had wonderful support along the way. Our app has remained a solid 5 stars in the app store in the UK and US for two years now, but we have been flying just below the radar while we gathered momentum, lined everything up, and made sure the tool was ready.

We're good to go!

We need you to check it out and support it.
Share it.
Try it out.

Publish your stories, your art books, your comics or your motion books - it doesn't matter which. The tool lets you build whatever you like!

Go here for details: wreckling.deviantart.com/journ…

Here for a basic video tutorial of the classic comic build (you can upload and publish a comic to dA in under 6 minutes!!!): vimeo.com/100164819

And go here to see what people are creating RIGHT NOW:www.deviantart.com/motionbooks…

But most of all - keep an open mind, and have fun!!!! :-)

________________________________________________________
For your reading pleasure - I give you Cap Stone! Completely free!

Captain Stone is Missing... - Episode 2: Ada by MadefireStudios
Captain Stone is Missing... - Episode 3: Charlie by MadefireStudiosCaptain Stone is Missing... - Ep. 4: Captain Stone by MadefireStudios
Captain Stone is Missing... E5: The Craven Panther by MadefireStudiosCaptain Stone Is Missing... - Episode 6: The Pet by MadefireStudios
Captain Stone Is Missing - Episode 7: Brother Sun  by MadefireStudios
Sometimes things are just MEANT to happen. 

I don't personally believe in any higher forces, angels or household gods looking out for us. But I do concede that sometimes something will happen that has all the hallmarks of an event that was MEANT to happen!

David Miller was the linch-pin of one such encounter that ended up changing the fate of myself, Madefire, AND deviantART forever.

Angelo Sotira - the CEO and founder of dA, as well as a massive patron or the arts and artists in general. He really IS that passionate about this stuff! - was at comic con two years ago. It was the last day and he was feeling miserable and despondent. He had been looking for a comic company to team up with, a company that had enough vision to try something new, and break away from the norms by partnering with dA. Over the course of the show he had had various meetings with many publishers, but none of them 'got' his ideal, and none were prepared to make the leap into futures unknown and unknowable, but potentially full of dreams.

In this frame of mind he decided to do one last round of artist's alley, because it always lifted his spirits to be surrounded by such creativity. On that round he passed David Miller's table.

And that's when it happened:

David said "Hey, did you check out Madefire? They're just over there. You really should..."

Angelo was tired, not really in the right frame of mind, but he wandered over incognito - hood up, pretending he was part of dA's merchandising team, or a warehouse worker. 

Skip back to a year earlier:

Madefire had just been funded, and us four original members sat in our tiny office in San Francisco. There was one big, blank white wall, and the first thing that I pinned up on it was a piece of white paper with the words 'deviantART' written on it. I have been a fan of dA since I joined eight years ago, and I felt we really SHOULD try and find a way of talking to them...

Back to comic con, and I was looking at this guy in his dA hoody thinking 'I know that face!' :-)

Within minutes Angelo realized that he had found what he hoped to find after all, and we were likewise thrilled having made the contact that we had always intended to make!
Soon we were taking photos and smiling, and Angelo had come clean about his identity. It was amazing!

The rest, as they say, is written in the unchanging annals of time!

And so, with no further ado, I give you David Miller, and his first book created using the Madefire tool and published on dA! The circle is complete!!! :D 

Enjoy!

WOW!!!!

Seriously, what an incredible few days!!!

I wanted to capture a bit of the excitement and share my favorite digital comics and books, from pros and amateurs alike, because something really special is happening! I'll be sharing more in the coming weeks and months, but to kick you off and without further ado:

NEW USER GENERATED CONTENT

These books show a range of styles and approach, from classic static manga, to innovative use of sound and motion:

Background - Char Ref by Danesippi

This parallax by Danesippi is deceptively simple, but works beautifully. So much depth!

 Masked by Grozyll   

The most basic use of the tool, but so amazingly designed and executed by Grozyll that it begs to be checked out.

BlackEyed 1 (English) - by zursoif by zursoif

East and west are fused in this book by zursoif which takes Manga trappings and throws Travis Charest's amazing artistic sensibilities into the mix - to great effect! Another comic style read, but well worth a look!

Steel Raining - Laquelaq by PencilInPain

This Motion Book by PencilInPain has about the best parallax cover I've seen! VERY profession work all round. Great art, great build!

THE ATTACK OF THE MOTION BOOKS by krukof2

This highly entertaining Motion Book by krukof2 skews close to more tradition animation, but really gives a sense of what's possible!

FREE PROFESSIONAL CONTENT FROM MADEFIRE



Still standing tall as one of the most AMAZING digital reads, after almost two years, Kinman Chan's interpretation of Dave Gibbons' 'Treatment' universe is astonishing!

Mono - Episode 5 by MadefireStudios

The latest - arguable best - installment of MONO, drawn by Ben Wolstenholme and written by myself, is an intense, beautifully-crafted experience. Go read the whole series so far! The books are all free in the Motion Book category.

Houses of the Holy - Episode 7 by MadefireStudios

If you like to be scared, this is for you! XMen writer Mike Carey teams up with the Magik the Gathering artist Dave Kendall to bring you Houses of the Holy. If any book demonstrates how timing and animation can add to the horror, this is it!

Bram Stoker's Dracula's Guest by MadefireStudios

Dave Lupton has produced numerous amazing books for Madefire. This latest Dracula story is one of his best!

PAID



This extraordinary, epic book is unlike anything I've ever seen. Critically acclaimed, controversial novelist Ricardo Pinto teams with legendary fantasy illustrator Adrian Smith to bring you an experience far beyond anything achievable in print comics. I urge you to buy the complete story and read it in one mesmerizing sitting...

Injustice: Gods Among Us - Episode 1 by MadefireStudios

It wouldn't be right not to feature one of the heavy hitters here, and they don't come bigger than Injustice! Amazing sound and animated elements elevate this far beyond all other digital versions of the same series. It was a smash hit in it's still, silent form. As a Motion Book it's exceptional!


________________________________________________________
For your reading pleasure - I give you Cap Stone! Completely free!

Captain Stone is Missing... - Episode 1: Chess by MadefireStudiosCaptain Stone is Missing... - Episode 2: Ada by MadefireStudios
Captain Stone is Missing... - Episode 3: Charlie by MadefireStudiosCaptain Stone is Missing... - Ep. 4: Captain Stone by MadefireStudios
Captain Stone is Missing... E5: The Craven Panther by MadefireStudiosCaptain Stone Is Missing... - Episode 6: The Pet by MadefireStudios
Captain Stone Is Missing - Episode 7: Brother Sun  by MadefireStudios
Amazing.

I know, it's name-dropping, sure, but it's also a chance in a bazillion...

I spotted Guillermo Del Toro at Oakland airport yesterday.

For whatever reason I felt compelled just to say hello, or forever kick myself. So…

"Mr Del Toro?"

"Yes?"

"I just wanted to say hello. I believe we have some mutual friends…" and so it went for about three minutes.
I didn't want to push my luck, and everybody deserves their privacy. He was gracious, charming, and interested in who I was - which I believe says a lot about anybody. (My wife once put it very clearly - "it's as important to be interested as it is to be interesting…")
I was thrilled. 
Soon we parted ways.
I emailed some friends like the big kid I am, grinning ear to ear.
Then I queued up for boarding.
By chance I had A1 - the first in line - and when I boarded...
there he was!
I asked if he minded if I sat next to him and he very warmly said no, not at all!

Long story short, we chatted like old friends for the next hour and a half. He's a huge comics aficionado, and he really knows great art and artists. We share very mutual tastes, I'm delighted to say! Bill Sienkiewicz, Dave Gibbons,  Michael Wm Kaluta, Brian Bolland, Richard Corben, Moebius, and of course the exceptional Mike Mignola. He owns some incredible work, and also know the great's that have influenced much later generations like Franklin Booth, and Clement Coll.

We also talked about movies, and he said what a terrible shame it was that Sam Rami's original Spiderman - a perfect film in his opinion - was now almost forgotten to a large extent. That everything was becoming more and more disposable. I had to concur. And we discussed more elegiac movie-making like 'The Assasination of Billy the Kid by the Coward Robert Ford', and 'The Master' - great, slow-burn stylistic movies that both lost money, even though they were (relatively) cheep to make by blockbuster standards.
There was much more, but you get the idea. I could have talked to him all day!

Finally I gave him a copy of my novel, 'God Killers', which I've been recently re-reading (it came out in 2008 so I was curious what I might think of it now.) And he was very taken by the Madefire app, and the concept of the tool we just released. He's going to download it onto his iPad. You could see his mind working! He said "Oh, you're working with all the good guys!"

Absolutely wonderful chance meeting. Normally if I'm ever lucky enough to meet people I admire it's at an event where they are being mobbed, and you rarely get chance to do more than shake their hand.

I'm just glad I bothered to say hello.
I'm still thrilled about it.
You can never be too old to be inspired, or delighted by talented people - most especially if they turn out to be warm human beings too. :D


________________________________________________________
For your reading pleasure - I give you Cap Stone! Completely free!

Captain Stone is Missing... - Episode 1: Chess by MadefireStudiosCaptain Stone is Missing... - Episode 2: Ada by MadefireStudios

Captain Stone is Missing... - Episode 3: Charlie by MadefireStudiosCaptain Stone is Missing... - Ep. 4: Captain Stone by MadefireStudios

Captain Stone is Missing... E5: The Craven Panther by MadefireStudiosCaptain Stone Is Missing... - Episode 6: The Pet by MadefireStudios

Captain Stone Is Missing - Episode 7: Brother Sun  by MadefireStudios
It's ALIVE!!!!

OK, all, here she is!

Login. Upload. Publish direct to dA! HERE!

The Madefire Motion Book Tool by LiamSharp

Remember - this tool was made for ALL creators!

You can publish text only, or illustrated books, comics, or go the whole hog and add depth, sound and motion. It really is up to you, and only limited by your imagination!!!

Checkout this quick-start video - how to upload and publish a book in minutes:

 

Great demo by codygarciaart.deviantart.com

www.deviantart.com/art/CG-MOBO…
 

Motion Books on dA

Motion Book Tool Support

Video Tutorials


The revolution is here!!!!


Check out My Recent Journals:

I got angry!Anger.
Anger and frustration.
That's what started it all!
I'm not somebody that feels entitled. I don't expect anything from the world, or anybody in it. That said, I did feel I had earned a fair hearing. I'd put in the years, drawn the BIG books, and the cool ones! I thought I should, by rights, be able to get at least one pitch for a creator-owned comic written and drawn by me off the ground. But though I must have pitched upwards of 30 titles across the board over a period of TEN YEARS, nothing landed.
So yes. I was angry and frustrated!
I was asked, by the very excellent Joseph Michael Linsner, what Madefire was all about a couple of weeks ago, following the Big Wow Comic Fest. It was a good question, as it pointed out a gap in our message, something people were perhaps not getting:
Why?
Why do it?
What was the need?
The need was to create a platform for the digital age on which creat
  I got angry! Pt.2As I said - I got angry. Frustrated. And I see it a lot. How DO you get your work out there? How do you get seen?
Getting into comics is something a lot of people want to know how to do, but there's a lot of questions you want to ask yourself first. There is such a vast array of genre and sub-genre, technique, approach, and so on, that it's important to be clear where you want to go with your work at the outset – and you have to be REALLY honest and tough on yourself.
Do you want to draw:
Superheroes?
Manga?
Romance?
Antho?
Horror?
Sci-fi?
Erotic?
Intellectual?
Historical?
Low-brow?
If you're into the capes and tights and you want to go mainstream you're going to have to want it incredibly badly, as the competition is the most extreme I've ever known it right now. There seems to be more titles than ever - and with the digital revolution more people are capable of producing sleek, mainstream quality art - but right across the
I Got Angry! Pt.3I'm not an angry guy. I'm very mild-mannered. But there's SO MUCH I wish I had known up front, before I got into comics. There are rudimentaries that I'm kind of angry nobody clearly pointed out before I got in too deep.
Nobody tells you that in the mainstream, as an artist, you'll almost certainly be drawing stuff you're NOT prepared for, and don't really have any desire to do or passion for.
Are you hearing this? It's REALLY a big one:
You'll almost certainly be drawing stuff you're NOT prepared for, and don't really have any desire to do or passion for.
What does that mean? What are you saying Sharpie? How can that be right?
Well - and this is from experience - you won't generally get to draw or write the book you're most suited to.
Classic example: I've been trying to get a Conan gig my whole career - a book I'm so clearly suited to it's unreal, and pretty much every artist I know has said as much! - and yet, even after all this time (27 years

I Got Angry! Pt.4 (Furious Interlude!)I was wondering to myself if I was STILL angry about things, even after all these years - and honestly? I really am!
Actually - I'm f**king pissed-off!!!
You'll be hard-pressed to find an artist that isn't!
We're over a barrel. We're art monkeys. We're work-for-hire engines that spit out the creations of others as best we can, striving to gain enough prominence to sustain an ongoing living, dreaming of a legacy.
We face hatred, the bitter barbs of trolls, the cruel dismissal of subjectivity, unfair comparisons with our peers.
We have to navigate taste, culture, the need for relevance.
We have to beat our way past the legions of others after the same job.
We have to remain immune to the jealous mutterings of those that fall along the way.
It SUCKS being a part of the machine, the self-serving circle of an industry consuming itself because it doesn't know any better. It's stuck in an ancient cycle, a rotating dance that is literally going nowhere!
So yes. I'm f**k
I Got Angry Pt.5Something else to get a bit angry about...

DISTRIBUTION.

If you GET a distribution deal, you'll be in the long shadow cast by the big companies, buried in a dark corner of a vast monthly catalogue.

If you have no marketing budget, then your only option is to hit message boards, FaceBook, indie-driven comic sites, and by getting hold of a list of the internet comics news sites – they're easy enough to find, you just have to Google them.
If you have created your own book, and your dream is to see it printed, but you have literally no funds and nobody is willing to publish it, there are other great options, such as http://www.lulu.com/blog/tag/print-on-demand/. Here you can upload your entire book having placed it into one of the templates they provide, and you can then order a printed, bound copy direct from them for the price you set for it. Print on demand is an incredible innovation, and like Amazon, they will list your book for anybody to buy, they'll eve
I Got Angry Pt.6Something else that get's me angry...
Why can't artist's be EXPECTED to experiment? To try new things? To be innovative?
Why is it that drawing in the same style forever is viewed as THE BEST approach?
How do we unlearn this?
How do we encourage creators to be daring, and our readers to be more open and daring too?
I admit it.
I chop and I change, and if you're looking for a book that is consistent then you'd better not invest any time in me! As a result I've lost many fans over the years. People at cons sometimes say 'where did you go after The Hulk? I thought you must have left the industry...'
They never knew I was always here, but always changing.
Case in point - 'Captain Stone is Missing...' (FREE on dA here: www.deviantart.com/art/Captain…) may be, in my opinion, the best work of my career, but consistent it is not!!!
For me there are artists tha


And here's the complete first series of my Captain Stone motion books! All free!

Captain Stone is Missing... - Episode 1: Chess by MadefireStudiosCaptain Stone is Missing... - Episode 2: Ada by MadefireStudios

Captain Stone is Missing... - Episode 3: Charlie by MadefireStudiosCaptain Stone is Missing... - Ep. 4: Captain Stone by MadefireStudios

Captain Stone is Missing... E5: The Craven Panther by MadefireStudiosCaptain Stone Is Missing... - Episode 6: The Pet by MadefireStudios

Captain Stone Is Missing - Episode 7: Brother Sun  by MadefireStudios