Reflecting Back On 9 Years Of Creating Adamsville

I legit got a bit emotional inking pages of Adamsville 3 this week. It hit me that this will be the last time I draw these characters in a story like this. That ideas I first came up with 9 years ago, are finally coming to an end and becoming a reality for people to read. And it made me thankful. So I hope you’ll allow this sappy creator to say this, two months before Book 3 premieres on Webtoons in October.
 
Not much of how I thought all of this would pan out has come to pass. I didn’t get a publishing deal the way I hoped in the beginning. I pitched it to every major publisher I could get it out to TWICE! Each time they declined. After the first round of rejections it took me three years to finally get up the courage and determination to make it anyways. I had to work hard to make a book with no pay (like so many of my fellow creators), print it myself, and pound the pavement with it, slowly hoping it would find its audience.
 
And it did! I’ve visited schools numerous times where I receive letters and emails long after I’ve left, telling me just how much Adamsville has encouraged their students. Or parents who said their kids have read the books more times than they can count. And a few adults too 😉 I love that when kids are given a chance to read this series, they seem to love it. It’s why I started doing this in the first place, to create something I would loved read as a kid, and I couldn’t ask for more.
 
But then I got more. Last year, Webtoons offered me a featured comic spot on their platform and it began reaching a larger audience than I ever had before. Having the support of my editor, Emily Jae Young Han, David Shinok Lee and everyone else at Webtoons was certainly unexpected and so awesome. They’re doing awesome things in comics and I’m so glad I get to be a part of it. Thank you for the opportunity and believing in my comics. I hope I give you an awesome finale over the next year.
 
And just a final thank you to all of you guys, my friends and family who supported me in following this crazy dream I’ve had since I was in 3rd grade. When I was a kid, I dreamed of signing my own books, tabling at conventions, creating my own universes… All of that awesomeness. And it’s happened… And I couldn’t be more grateful.
 
And with that I’ll close. I have a page to finish inking and a story to finish writing… I’m so ready to give all you an awesome finale and can’t wait for you to see what I have coming next.
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Adamsville Book 2 Timelapse Video

Hi Everyone.  Just a quick video of me inking a panel from the upcoming sequel of Adamsville book 2.  I dropped some of my favorite music in there with Journey’s “Separate Ways.”  Hopefully it doesn’t get taken down, lol.

Production is really starting to crank up on the second book.  Hopefully by the end of the summer we will be really moving getting this book inked and set up.

 

Don’t forget you can pick up book 1 through the online store if you haven’t read it all yet!

Discipline, Focus and Positive Energy

In Blake Snyder’s final book in his Save The Cat books on screenwriting, Save The Cat Strikes Back, he writes:

“What was I? What specialty did I offer? What was my service? I was impossible to find, or even see, because I had no silhouette.  When they thought of me the writer what did they think? Well, nothing.  I’d thrown myself in all directions, not mastering one.”

I’ve recently found myself feeling a bit rudderless.  This might seem odd, because I just released a book.  It is doing well for something that is just getting its footing.  I’m currently in production on volume 2 and by all aspects, things seem to be on the way up.

I’ve mostly been thrown off because I’ve found myself falling back into that familiar trap of trying to do too many things and not strive to be great in one area.

We all get this way I think.  Especially if you work on long form projects like I do.  When you start working on a project  it’s very easy to be excited and enthusiastic every day you sit down to work.  Skip ahead a year or two and, even you are in love with the project, you can start to long for the days you can switch gears to something else.

I’ve always been focused in full on Adamsville from a comics perspective.  It hasn’t taken very long for me to be tempted by another graphic novel project, before I pull myself out of it and get refocused.

The temptation for me has been around the idea of other mediums, i.e. children’s books, screenwriting, etc.  I always think I can do more and accomplish more than I really can, given my resources in time.

It’s been my understanding from others, and in my own experience, that the best method for scaling more quickly in a given field, is to find a focus and give it your everything.  If you don’t want to become known as a romantic comedy writer, or a portrait artist only…  Your best bet would be to avoid writing romantic comedies and painting portraits.  Does this mean you can’t explore those side interests?  By no means.  I do however think, and this is what I am telling myself right now, that if you want to get to the next level and see tangible progress you have to get focused.

Think across almost any medium of art and you’ll see this.  A country music artist isn’t going to start doing rap music tomorrow.  A horror writer isn’t likely to become a period piece romance author tomorrow.  I think a better question is to ask why the country music star got to be a star, and why the horror writer is known for that as well.

The truth is, they have spent many years with intense focus on how to be masters at their craft.  They’re great at it because they’ve taken the time to know why certain things work and certain things don’t. The horror writer knows that if he plays by certain rules and pushes them further, he can make something great.  And probably knows that if he switched to writing a period romance piece, he would be rethinking the genre from scratch.  It’s tough and yields mixed results.

Well what can we do to improve ourselves? Ask yourself:

1.) What do you want to become known for?
2.) What can I do to get myself there faster?
3.) What distractions can I eliminate?

I want to become known as a master of all-ages science fiction/fantasy suspense graphic novels.  I can get there faster by staying focused on Adamsville and then related style projects.  I can eliminate distractions by not going into full production on any project that is not related to the above.  Sadly this means setting aside children’s book projects, or other web comic ideas, that take time away from this focus.  It’s not easy, but it is beneficial!

What about you?  Do you struggle with this?  How do you overcome it?

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If you haven’t read Adamsville, you can buy the first volume from Amazon for 20% off over the next two weeks!  They’re eligible for free Prime shipping.

Called To Create Episode 3 – Choosing Your Project

In the third episode I discuss how you go about picking which project you might want to take on. I recorded the audio on this while in my car. Sorry for the interstate noise! Hopefully it’s not too crazy.

Remember in addition to buying Adamsville book 1 from my store, you can now buy the book through Amazon and use your Prime Account!

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Book 2 Production Blog – Honing An Old Process

Production on book 2 has been slowly building up to full steam.  Admittedly I am very behind on schedule.  This is mostly due to the fact that the script was difficult to get to a place where I felt I had done enough honing and it was workable.  I think I have taken this book and thrown it out maybe four times now…  I’m on my fifth iteration of it.

But now that I at least have a solid first act it felt like it was time to get to work on inking and penciling pages.  So I’ve found myself stolen away in the nooks and crannies of the office look for places I can work in quiet.

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In this book I am dealing with one big concern in particular and that’s that this book is scaling to be somewhere around 190-220 pages, compared to the first book which clocked in at 155.  Production wise, I have no idea how I will hit the kinds of goals I tend to set for myself.  So I have been rethinking this whole process of penciling and inking the book and how I track them all.  I mostly want to force myself to push through my penciling and writing phase so that within the next six months or so I have a finished rough draft of the comic I can share with my critique circle and get their feedback on.  Hopefully this will really reduce the amount of changing that takes place to the story after it’s all said and done.  But what it also does is let’s me have all the heavy brain work out of the way.  It’s all, butt in chair, hands on stylus from there on.

I have also been looking to eliminate this stage almost altogether:

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Thumbnailing pages.  Now thumbnails are super important to this process, but I think I can just distill them down and get rid of a step.  I tend to do like four passes on a page before I start inking it.  The first is the page break down, where I go through my script and break it all down into pages and panels, then I do a small thumbnail on the page, then I pencil it and then I tighten the pencil….  THEN ink.  That’s too many.  I think I can basically skip the small thumbnail phase and do my thumbnails as rough pencils, then tighten those up before I ink digitally.  This could be a disaster, but I think it’s worth a shot even if it gives me back just 10-30 minutes per page.

I am inking pages finally, and that has been going more slowly that I expected.  Just kicking the dust off of these old tires.  Case in point, I had inked this panel before realizing I messed her design up quite a bit.  Went back in a fixed it:

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I had started using Manga Studio 5 for this book to begin with, but I have really been having an issue with it lagging down and generally making the process harder for in the inking stage.  So I couldn’t have non of that.  I switched back to Manga Studio EX 4.  The inking engine in EX 4 is just, in my humble opinion, much better.  I feel like the current inking engine in EX 5 presents too many issues and lagging problems.  Going back to old faithful has let me focus on the work and not the software.

I hope I will have more news to share as the book continues.  Stay tuned for more!

Self-Portrait! Me Against My Monsters

selfie-webI had a blast putting together this little fun self-portrait.  I will be using this for an article  that I’ll post about more soon, but I wanted to share this image now.

I really want to make scary sort of comics and Twilight Zone style plot lines so I thought this would be a fun little tribute to my goals and aspirations.  Have you guys ever tried drawings yourself with the things that haunt your head?

All Sites Pointing Back To One – Consolidating My Webpresence

self-portrait2It’s taken me awhile to get this finished and finally pieced together, but I finally made the decision to bring all of my books and stories under my personal website instead of spread throughout the web.

I’ve gotten a bit tired of having to check multiple places and visiting this site for this purpose and so on.  It’s just not good time management, or good web-presence I think.

So now Adamsville will post exclusively to my portfolio site, under it’s section which can be found here

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Additionally I will be bringing all of my previous work to this site, so From Death Til Now and Kevin and the Light of Destiny will be coming to here as well.  The old sites will soon shut down and as of now will no longer be updated.  So update your RSS feeds and some such.  Because www.michaeleregina.com  is now your hub for all things I do.

So if you are new here, poke around and read some of my books!  Thanks for coming by!

First Convention/Book Show And NEWMAN!

So I’ve had my first show with Adamsville!  A couple weeks ago I attended the Amelia Book Festival!

It was a great day and we sold a number of copies of the book, actually making a profit on the day! Which is always awesome.  My daughter Story, who wrote our other book The Dragon Book & Other Stories, even came out and signed copies of her book that we gave away to every kid we could get them to.

It was  great experience and has me even more excited for MegaCon in Orlando, FL that is just a couple of weeks away.  If you happen to be in the Orlando area March 21-23 come to the con and say hello!

I’ve been getting so many kind emails and messages from you all, telling me how much you’ve enjoyed the book and your kids as well.  It’s been so encouraging.  And honestly agonizing as kids keep asking me when the next book will be out.  I am now in production on book 2, but it’s still very early in that process… I’m doing everything I can to get it out to you all as soon as I can.  I’m even considering ways I could raise the funds to help hire a colorist so I can essentially cut the work in half for me personally.  The idea of a Kickstarter this early in the process  kinda makes me nervous, since I tend to like to have my projects finished when I run these campaigns.  I wonder what your thoughts are though, so please share them with me!

NEWMAN KICKSTARTER FOR JOSH ULRICH  

Many of you might have remembered, or came here because of my friend Josh Ulrich and his project Jackie Rose.  Well he’s got a new campaign up and running!  It’s a pay what you want campaign to help him produce his digital comic NEWMAN. It’s costs as little as a dollar to get a ton of comics and it’s an awesome story.  So if you can, consider checking it out!

Called to Create! A New Videocast

Hey everyone!  I wanted to chime in real quick and share with you all the beginning of a new video cast I will be producing entitled Called To Create.  We’ll be talking making art and juggling life and all other manner of creative questions.  The first video is up and you can check it out now!

The image featured in this video is actually from one of the Kickstarter backers on this project!  I plan to post a few other commissioned pieces as I work through them.