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Look, let's just get this out of the way once and for all...

WE ALL LOVE PRINT!

I mean - we REALLY REALLY REALLY love print!

Nobody - NO-BO-DY! - wants to kill print. Not Madefire, not deviantART, not any other digital art, comic or literature provider. That isn't the point of digital at all! That conversation should be forced to stand in a corner with a dunce hat on, because it really is THAT dumb and isn't worth our time. Don't look at it. Don't talk to it. And definitely don't feel sorry for it! It's a trolling meme and doesn't have a worthy or generous thought in it's very small brainpan. It's an evil little turd with a mean spirit and no imagination.

And don't feed it either!

Now then...

Let's rip open our skulls and publish directly into our brains shall we? Let's stream story-forms to our liminal cortex and mainline creativity! Let's unlearn everything we thought we knew about words, pictures, motion, sound, and the mediums we know so well, because the more we can forget the more open we can be - open to styles, innovation, invention, magic, and poetry carved out of light and pumped at our eye-receptacles as wave/particles.

I'm actually not joking!

Revolutions require us to wake up. We KNOW we are consumers. We KNOW that we are only very SLIGHTLY free. We KNOW that every little liberty is being stripped bit by bit from us by a constructed media narrative intent on making us paranoid and afraid to speak up. We know that we are watched, and studied, and judged, and that we are mostly revenue-generating engines for creatures that look, sound and seem just like us, but long ago stopped giving any kind of a damn.

I don't care if you are right-wing, left-wing, liberal, socialist, conservative, religious or a non-believer - you conform to the above. And it's NOT good.

The artistic revolution I refer to is about progress in a changing world, and we CAN make a difference.

These are your weapons:

Imagination.

Your imagination is entirely your own. It's like a muscle. You can grow it, exercise it, and make it more powerful. 
Just as you may buy an album for one song, but after a few months your favorite song is the one you least liked - probably because it is the most difficult, most challenging track. The one with a tricky structure, complex rhythm changes, deep lyrical content - great art and great stories can take time to appreciate. You have to work hard to attain the rewards. This is also true of literature. The books I loved and enjoyed the most have generally not been the books that made me a better writer or reader. I love a by-the-numbers fantasy or sci-fi romp, but it's reading James Joyce, Samuel Beckett, and Herman Melville that pushed me towards new ways of thinking. They helped me grow.
Read smart, view and review smart, and don't carve your opinions in stone.

History

You do NOT need to be any kind of intellectual to grow as an artist or writer. I was a very average achiever academically, but I've chosen to spend a good portion of my life learning whatever I can. Indeed I have discovered a love of knowledge, a need to be as widely informed as I can be.
When I refer to history I mean it in the sense that people too readily seal themselves in a point in time. Generally some point between their early teens and mid-twenties I believe, a point during which most beliefs are set in stone - if you LET them be! (And I strongly advocate that you don't!) Allowing yourself to remain trapped in a point in time, a perceived 'perfect' spot, where nothing can be improved upon is a guaranteed way to kill creativity. 'If it ain't broke, yadda yadda...'
I cry bullshit. 
History, and the knowledge of it, allows you to see progress, the steps that led to all the things you love - and maybe also hate. To some comic readers, artists and writers there was no time before print comics. There was no time before comics! They are perceived as perfection, and should be left alone - even if they were better in the 70s/80s/90s/etc. before the modern creators "raped my childhood"... Change, ever the villain!
Learn about ART, the birth of literature, drama, comedy, sequential storytelling, the strength of the political cartoon, the incredible, devastating power of a few well constructed words.
Don't believe anybody in assumed authority is automatically RIGHT. Grow your own mind.
And BE STRONG ENOUGH TO CHANGE YOUR VIEWS - and I mean that about EVERYTHING.

Patronage

We need to look out for each other.
That sounds so simple, but it really isn't! It require dedication!
An example - some ten years ago myself and a few of my fellow creators realized that there was a meme perpetuated on comic journals, forums, news sites, etc. that meant that the same ten or twenty creators appeared on all the lists of top creators, almost without exception. They still do. We KNEW that many of the best of our peers NEVER MADE IT ONTO THOSE LISTS, even successful ones. We looked about, mutually appreciating the fact that for whatever reason we did not circulate in these hallowed groups. Some of us had come close, but our moment in the sun had quickly passed. Others had NEVER been truly appreciated, no matter how brilliant. It seemed wrong to us!
So we made a loose pact - that we would each mention the other, start NEW lists. Subvert the corporate system, the mainstream narrative, and inspire people to look at artists that truly deserved the respect of fandom, the critics, and the medium at large.
I have to say, almost to a man they never followed through. But I can hand on heart say that I did, and I can also say I've seen it make a real difference. I've made it part of my routine to plug those underdogs, to share their art, to sing the praises of those that have shared my journey and inspired me.
It is IMPERATIVE that we all do this, otherwise there is no shout. There is no new discovery of greatness outside of the monied and well-trodden systems already so long in place. We fail before we even begin.
Plug the artists you love! Share their work. Be a patron! :-)

(Note: re. Patronage - I am happy to say I see some fantastic patronage on dA. It's one of the things I love about it.)


This week there will be a HUGE opportunity for all creators, if we play it right. I'm very excited to see what happens next... 
Add a Comment:
 
:iconlt-metamorphose-lt:
LT-metamorphose-LT Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2014  Student Filmographer
I know this is probably a bit late but I'll just comment anyway. 

Another interesting post! I really like the 'Patronage' section. It is something that not a lot of people talk about when they become famous for their works. However, even as I read this, I can't help but have that cynical/pessimistic part of me that says that most people will not bother about me introducing to lesser-known and different artists who really deserve the recognition and love. Worst is that they will insult and say I'm one of those "hipsters". What I'm saying here is sometimes I'm doubtful and fearful if I can make any change in the world, even though I know it is a revolution that needs to come. How should I go about dealing this? 

Lastly, congrats on the MotionBook Tool Opening! I think I might be able to publish my comics after all. :D
Reply
:iconliamsharp:
LiamSharp Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2014  Professional Artist
You might be surprised to know that every thing I do scares me a bit - every piece of art, journal post, convention I attend… there always the chance somebody will be unpleasant, and I'm not very think skinned! But the alternative - never saying what I think, never trying out something new artistically, not pioneering this new medium - is kind of unthinkable too! So you have to put your best foot forward sometimes. :-)

And it doesn't matter what anybody else says. You feel free to be you. You might find this journal interesting: liamsharp.deviantart.com/journ…
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:iconlt-metamorphose-lt:
LT-metamorphose-LT Featured By Owner Jul 11, 2014  Student Filmographer
Being myself yet trying to give my good or best impression to others is probably the hardest thing in my life. 

Thanks anyway for the advice! Always a pleasure hearing from you.
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:iconcirprius:
Cirprius Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
The one that got me the most is "History". The reason is, I've never thought of history in the same way. I truly believe that what you see in life is unique, and that uniqueness tends to play itself out in ones own artwork. I never thought about getting stuck in the good-old-days of art. It made me actually take a step back and ponder if that was something I had a habit of doing
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:iconliamsharp:
LiamSharp Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2014  Professional Artist
It's easy to do - stick in the here and now. But we're all at the end of a long chain! :-)
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:iconcirprius:
Cirprius Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
That's a very good point!
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:iconsweetpuppy76:
Sweetpuppy76 Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2014
A very creepy title, my friend. Dancing :la: La la la la the LA scale 
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:iconliamsharp:
LiamSharp Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2014  Professional Artist
:D
Reply
:iconsweetpuppy76:
Sweetpuppy76 Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2014
XD
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:iconbenwolstenholme:
BenWolstenholme Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2014  Professional General Artist
Awesome to see you articulate this Liam!
Beautifully put :)
Go for it we're right behind you :D getting exciting
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:iconliamsharp:
LiamSharp Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2014  Professional Artist
Cheers Ben! Viva la revolution!
Reply
:icondeevelliott:
DeevElliott Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2014
You are on a roll, mate!!

So, DIGITAL versus PRINT...

Don't think of it like the two are in conflict with one another. Many titles don't sell enough on paper so you'll lose money on it. Launch digital first, no printing costs, build an audience and awareness, that can lead to a demand for a paper edition. One can lead to the other. You can serialize digitally first and then collect the material later. Again, the digital has no print to recoup and acts as promotion as well for the planned print edition. (Collect any good quotes or reviews you get for the print edition).

In this scenario digital becomes effective tool in elevating your project. It may also become your home of choice, but that is your call.

Write and draw what you want! YES! Absolutely!!! But also consider who and what your market will be. I REALLY recommend building your ideas out inside the community for feedback and then giving away a big chunk for free.

It'll help you build an audience.

Reality check: SUPERMAN sold over 800,000 copies in 1960. Superman sold 35,000 copies in 2014.

The market is ever changing. History is always just that, history. Look at what is coming not what went before. History is educational and informative, but you're stepping into the future. None of us have magical crystal balls but we can make good educated guesses.
Reply
:iconliamsharp:
LiamSharp Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2014  Professional Artist
Ha ha! Dave - I said we weren't going to talk about print vs digital anymore... ;-)

But seriously - of course, you're right. All these points are SO important, and often under the radar. Couldn't agree you you more. Well said.
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:iconcarcherwills:
Carcherwills Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2014  Professional Artist
Well said! 
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:iconliamsharp:
LiamSharp Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2014  Professional Artist
Thank you, appreciated! :-)
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:iconvinceandrews:
VinceAndrews Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2014
good stuff man. :)
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:iconliamsharp:
LiamSharp Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2014  Professional Artist
Cheers mate. Onwards! :-)
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:iconasp-in-the-garden:
Asp-in-the-Garden Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2014
truth.
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:iconliamsharp:
LiamSharp Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2014  Professional Artist
Indeed! :-)
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:iconkrukof2:
krukof2 Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2014  Professional
yeap !
things changed that's a fact.
When you go in japan subways  nowadays , people are absolutly addict to their Ipads and Iphones to read mangas . People with printed books are  very very rare.
Printed books still exist , but digital books are here now and new generations will use it more than the prints.
I was a little bit affraid of that , but since the days I saw the motion books built with the MotionBookTool  I m very exited by this new area.

The only limits of the artists is the limits of their own imagination :iconyesyesyesplz: 
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:iconliamsharp:
LiamSharp Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2014  Professional Artist
So delighted you're enjoying the tool so much! Your book is going to get a big push VERY soon... :-)
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:iconkrukof2:
krukof2 Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2014  Professional
Yes I enjoy the tool more than you can imagine .
It fit exactly with my way of working and with what I want to do.

That is great !!!! I m really excited !!!!

I have different projects that I will built with the  motion book tool in the next months  + and the envy to work in the US buisiness.  
 A lot of things  :iconyesyesyesplz:
Thank you so much  again  :icontrampolinefunplz:!
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:iconderveniotis:
Derveniotis Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2014  Professional Artist
Can I share this on Facebook, Liam?
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:iconliamsharp:
LiamSharp Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2014  Professional Artist
Share away! I also posted it on FB... :-)
Reply
:iconderveniotis:
Derveniotis Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2014  Professional Artist
Your profile is full, no wonder we weren't already friends there :) Sssssssssssssharing away!
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:iconliamsharp:
LiamSharp Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2014  Professional Artist
Thanks mate!
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:iconmothbot:
mothbot Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
I'm assuming Madefire will have a booth at San Diego? A booth where maybe one could play around with a certain digital book making application? A booth where maybe the Liam Sharp will be getting angry and teaching others how to get angry?
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:iconliamsharp:
LiamSharp Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2014  Professional Artist
There will indeed be demos! I'll be around, but I plan to be cheery!
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:iconemberguard:
Emberguard Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2014   General Artist
A booth where maybe the Liam Sharp will be getting angry and teaching others how to get angry?

 xD hopefully that doesn't become counter productive :lol:
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:iconliamsharp:
LiamSharp Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2014  Professional Artist
Ha ha! :-)
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:iconzyphryus:
zyphryus Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2014
AMEN!

And to add to that whole 'big whigs on the list of awesome people' - SO MANY ARTISTS (including myself) have craved and dreamed of the day they get to collaborate with a BIG Name... and after a while, I realized it that as COOL as that would be, we all need to look at the fellow creators that are at the same stage we are - as we all grow bigger and better, we too many someday end up on those bigwhig names, and no one ever knows who's gonna strike it big in the public eye - best not to even think about that and use/utilize/participate with and enjoy the creatives around you. You will create great things and you'll have great stories and you'll make great history. And maybe someday you'll get to tell those awesome stories to keen ears. :)
Reply
:iconliamsharp:
LiamSharp Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2014  Professional Artist
This is one of my favourite responses ever. Thank you. And yes!!!! I've been there - and I still am there. That will always last a lifetime. X
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:iconzyphryus:
zyphryus Featured By Owner Jul 10, 2014
Thank you, glad our words can dance together in our brains!
Reply
:iconicenectar:
icenectar Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2014   General Artist
I get influenced a lot by what I read whether it's manga, comics, or prose but I've always liked reading. It surprises me that I have a sort of "following" on my stories because I don't really think of myself as a professional writer or anything. I've ben writing for years because I'm not very vocal. I used to do a lot of drawing but I stopped drawing in public when people would look over my shoulder and watch. Writing is better because no one looks over my shoulder for that.

I'm not good at plugging the people I like. Well, I share pictures on Facebook from time to time...
Reply
:iconliamsharp:
LiamSharp Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2014  Professional Artist
You write from the heart, and that makes people feel they can trust you. Despite your insecurities, you're not afraid to share them - that makes you brave, whether you care to see it as such or not. And it will always draw people to your stories. It's a great quality to have as a writer. :-)
Reply
:iconicenectar:
icenectar Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2014   General Artist
Thanks! Although I did start a thread in the forum here once about publishing. Many people didn't think I was worthy. I was too wordy or something. I guess that's because I read the classics  back while I was in grade school on up. Anyways, I just take a vague idea and expand on it. I never know where it's going. What I do may not be professional quality but it keeps me out of trouble and people do seem to like reading it although I generally never get comments on my work. However one story has close to 20k visits so I guess people like to read what I write.

I still want to attempt to draw my characters. I need to work on my skills before I do that though...
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:iconliamsharp:
LiamSharp Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2014  Professional Artist
20K is HUGE!!!!!!!!!! :D
Reply
:iconicenectar:
icenectar Featured By Owner Jul 9, 2014   General Artist
I thought it was but then I glanced at other people's works and I've seen some up to 50k with twice as many comments than what I've got. I don't know if that means anything but I am glad to see the number going up (on other stories. The one I used as an example is finished) when I post a new chapter. Someone out there must be reading them even though I'm no Tolkien...
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:icondremalone:
DreMalone Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2014
I always get an education and a deeper love for my craft whenever I read your posts, senor. :)
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:iconliamsharp:
LiamSharp Featured By Owner Jul 8, 2014  Professional Artist
That's SOOO great to hear!!! :-)
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:iconemberguard:
Emberguard Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2014   General Artist
"Nobody - NO-BO-DY! - wants to kill print. "

You're right, nobody does. But it does remind me of a issue that all print on demand artists will have to face sooner or later:
fineartamerica.com/newsletters…

 The link I've put above does make some good points about royalty commissions and I highly recommend you read it. When I first told mum about DAs royalties for print on demand (for the default 20% to artist, 80% to DA) she was really shocked and told me I shouldn't go with a company that takes such a large amount. And to some extent I agree, it is a large portion out of any profits made but I love how we can change it to the other way round if we have a premium membership, so for that I agree with DAs way of doing things simply because we can change the royalty amount at a really small price so both sides make money. But what I would really like to know is if I was to go outside the internet and get a company to sell stuff on my behalf what kind of royalties I'd be getting in comparison to the online alternative. 

 As to everything else in print, yeah, I wouldn't want to see that go either :3 there's nothing quite like a physical copy of whatever book etc. you happen to buy in your hand. 
Reply
:iconliamsharp:
LiamSharp Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2014  Professional Artist
Thanks so much for your reply, it raises some issues that never get properly addressed, and it's important that people understand all the aspects. It's complex!

It's really interesting, as an artist myself, to have seen both sides of the coin here. One thing we hear all the time - and I've said it often - is that artists don't get paid enough, and too often people expect us to give our work for free. You can read pretty much all my experiences and views on publishing here: liamsharp.deviantart.com/journ…

However, there IS another side to: Just as artists need to recoup their costs, get something back for all their hard work, the service providers need to recoup something for their efforts also. People tend not to consider, for instance, how many people are employed at deviantART, or my own company Madefire, in order to keep everything going, ticking along. How much money it takes just to pay for servers and memory space in the cloud, how long and how many people it takes to develop software, to pay for the studio and office space, to cover legal costs, accounting, human resources, or to simply deal with any and all of the many issues users have. The community was built out of a genuine love for art, but there is an expectation that it should be free. How could that ever work? Who would pay? If it was all free there would be no platform at all, and no dA!

BTW, let me tell you most publishers will take a 50/50% split with creators, and dA are about the most generous on the planet. Even art agents take up to 40%. Diamond, the distributer, used to take 62% of my profits when I was a print publisher. Then the retailers took their slice after that - and that was after I had paid for printing, and any advertising. dA is actually VERY reasonable. :-)

It's really important that we buy each others work, and that those who provide the means - be it print or digital - get to share in the profits. For many work-for-hire gigs in comics today there are literally no royalties.

Hope that helps explain things a bit!
Reply
:iconemberguard:
Emberguard Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2014   General Artist
However, there IS another side to: Just as artists need to recoup their costs, get something back for all their hard work, the service providers need to recoup something for their efforts also. 

Yeah, where I live minimum wage would be 30 something thousand dollars a year, which multiplied by however many employees who probably would want more then just minimum wage would be a lot of expense for the company on top of any printing costs. Plus of course all the other expenses you just mentioned.

BTW, let me tell you most publishers will take a 50/50% split with creators, and dA are about the most generous on the planet. Even art agents take up to 40%. Diamond, the distributer, used to take 62% of my profits when I was a print publisher. Then the retailers took their slice after that - and that was after I had paid for printing, and any advertising. dA is actually VERY reasonable. :-) (Smile)

 Thanks for that info :D I read somewhere about how when a company sells their products (digital products like tv for example) to the middle men and then onto the retailers everyone along the line adds 20% onto the price (minimum). But then there's other articles that say some retailers make a 1,000% profit on some items. But as far as the first article is concerned about the 20%, considering you said Diamond used to take 62% and then the retailers take their slice, DAs default kinda sounds about right now. It still sucks to have to have so little by the end of it, but it does put it into perspective. The only other alternative would be to make your own prints like the old masters who first started the print industry which would have its own problems in itself. 
Reply
:iconliamsharp:
LiamSharp Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2014  Professional Artist
'The only other alternative would be to make your own prints like the old masters who first started the print industry which would have its own problems in itself. '

It really does! :-)

I think even getting a full 50% back isn't bad - if literally nobody else is taking a slice then you're doing really well. But you DO need a decent readership prepared to buy and invest, and be a patron!
Reply
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