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.
image

I’ve Been Making Book Covers

Hey everyone!  Sorry for the lack of blog posts lately, but I have been very busy trying to get Adamsville 2 into port on time so I can have it at the printers by November!  It has a long good ways to go but I feel optimistic about the journey ahead.  There’s a lot to talk about with Adamsville in the future, but I wanted to share some of the other work I have been doing lately.

One of the things I have been working on has been illustration and designing book covers for other authors.  I recently finished up four different books, spanning a number of topics.

For something on the more illustrative side of thing, I recently finished covers for author Scott King’s books “National Cthulhu Eats Spaghetti Day” and a choose your own adventure book called “The Eyes of Hastur.”  Here’s the covers for both:

lineart1 (1) 2-wrap-around- finished

yelloweyesmockup-finished-web-2

Illustrating covers for middle-grade and young adult books is something I have been wanting to do more of, so these books as well as a few others I am working on for Scott, have been a lot of fun!

On the design side, I recently finished the cover for the book, “The Road To Briarwood.”  This is a follow up to the book Treverode The Defender, a book I also designed the cover to.  Written by Holly Bebernitz, you can learn more about both books on Amazon.com 

road-to-briarwood-V2-1

 

And last but not least, I helped design the cover for a Elaine Keith’s book “Living Expectantly: Extraordinary Living In An Ordinary World.”  A great book on faith and life.

front-cover-final

 

As an author I know how important a good cover is and it’s been awesome getting the chance to help other’s books be presented well.  Here’s hoping I keep getting better at it!

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

cropped-webcomic-banner-3

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.

Book 1 Big Update and Upcoming Appearances

image

This is a fantastic poster commission of my Kickstarter backers wanted for his school library.  I absolutely loved working on this and now I need to talk with him about using it for promotions myself! Lol

Well this post is coming on the end of fulfilling the first Adamsville Kickstarter.  It’s gone great so far.  The reaction the book has gotten has been very encouraging and so far the process itself, while exhausting, has gone smoothly.

image

I sent out the last major shipment of books for the campaign today.  It took me all weekend to get everything in order and ready to go, but I worked like crazy and have this thing almost finished.  Just a few copies left to ship because I’m still needing responses from the backers.

image

The Classified Editions of the book proved to be the biggest hurdle in general.  I had to write new pages of content which was actually super hard!  Because the packet contained spoilers for the rest of the series, but the challenge was I couldn’t give away anything TOO important!  In general I think it’s a pretty cool little packet with fun details for the those looking for a hint of what’s to come.

You can buy a Classified Edition of the book in the store as well! Just choose Classified Edition in the drop down.

image

And lastly convention season is upon us!  Now that the Kickstarter is wrapping itself up, I am turning my focus to work on book 2 production, which should be getting much more fast and furious, and convention season.  I ordered a giant banner to sit behind me at the tables.  It was so cool to unroll that thing and see it!  Felt my professionalism go up like 19 notches, lol.  Whatever that means.

I created a page where you can view my appearances for this year.  For the most part I will be staying in Florida.  With the baby on the way this summer, I will be hanging close to home when the height of the convention season is in full swing.  But here’s where I will be over the next few months.  More will be added as I shore up the details.

2014 Appearances

Amelia Island Book Festival
Amelia Island, FL
February 22nd – 9AM-4PM
Admission is FREE
http://ameliaislandbookfestival.com/

University of North Florida Sequential Art Class
Museum of Modern Art – Jacksonville, FL
March 10th – 6PM-8:45PM

MegaConvention
Orlando, FL – Orange County Convention Center
March 21-23
Visit sire for Admission Prices and times
http://megaconvention.com/

More To Be Announced…

Well that’s it for my big update!  I hope you all have been doing well and THANK YOU all so much for your support and making this book a reality.  I hope you all join me as I launch into book 2.  Lots more fun stuff a coming.

Creating Chloe: Thoughts On A Girl’s Appearance

For those that are new to this comic, the central hero of book 1 in Adamsville is Chloe Johnson.  She’s a 12 year old basketball star. She’s popular at school and adored by the other hero of the story, Todd Frederick.  Here’s her being awesome:

page012I love her character.  She’s smart, brave, makes hard decisions and in the end she’s exactly the person she needs to be.  But one of the only things I have ever been criticized on with the art for Adamsville has been Chloe’s appearance.  Every so often I am given feedback from someone on how boyish she looks.  Or that she should be prettier.  I’ve had people tell me that if I dolled her up more I might sell more copies of the book or it would be more popular.

For a long time I took these comments to heart and would feel bad about it.  Mostly I would take it as an affront on my art and ability to draw.  I would feel like “maybe I just can’t draw a pretty girl.” And I mean, I’m just a humble artist trying to make his way in the world, what if I did maker her prettier?  Maybe I WOULD make more money. It made me feel very self conscious of myself and my character.  It’s hard to have someone call a character, you feel so fondly for, ugly  basically.

I don’t know what that means for “the success of my book” or if it “turns away readers.”  I would have no way to quantify that, but what it has done is make me think very soberly about the thing I see behind comments like this.  What I really feel when someone comments on her like this is “what kind of message are we sending our girls?”  What is going on that I should feel pressured to make Chloe a character that looks a certain way to help me sell books?

A friend of mine posted this up on Facebook and I was really touched and moved by its message. It really helped me see what this sort of message does to these beautiful young ladies and women in general:

 

This is a serious problem in general within our society.  I am a father to two young girls and they will be growing up with all sorts of insecurities about themselves and their appearances.  Every movie they see, or show they watch, and magazine on the store self screams at them THIS IS WHAT PRETTY IS!  It scares me frankly.  As I know it does many parents.

The funny thing is, I designed Chloe very specifically.  I designed her to be a bit boyish in her appearance, because she’s a tomboy!  It’s an essential part of her character. I designed her taller than Todd because she’s a basketball player, so she’s lankier and more stretched out in her design. I didn’t sit down to design her and think how I could make her the most attractive 12 year old I could think up.  I had a character that I saw very clearly in my head, and frankly the way she appears in the book is exactly how I want her to look. I tried to design a character who is a person, not some sort of strange 12 year old sex symbol.  And I think she’s very pretty the way she is, thank you very much.

All this to say…  I love Chloe Johnson and who she is as a character. After thinking on this criticism, it’s actually made me proud of  what she represents to my readers.  I love the way she looks, because to me she is a normal person…  Though fictional.  So I used to feel very self conscious about her, but now… I embrace this bit of feedback.  Because 1) it means my character design came through and 2) I’m not out to reinforce these stereotypes.  Maybe Chloe can help break some of that down.

I hope in some small part she encourages other young female readers of my book to be brave in scary situations.  To believe in something bigger than themselves.  To be themselves.  And that they’re pretty awesome, the way they look and the way they are.

Pick up your copy of book 1 today.

 

Adamsville Book 2 Production Blog Begins

Well we’ve finally arrived at today.  This is the first official production diary entry for Adamsville book 2.  It’ll mostly be an overview of sorts on what I expect the coming months will entail and all, but first off:

A WORD ON THE SCRIPT

The reality of all of this is I hoped I would be making this book, as in drawing pages, almost 6 months ago.  I ran into a number of issues with my script though and that really prevented me from moving forward.  The book wasn’t bad, but it was huge and a bit slow moving.  In that draft we were something like 50 pages into the written script before the main thrust of the action in the story actually took place. And that just wasn’t acceptable.  In this draft the junk hits the fan much sooner which is awesome.  It’s also about 13 pages shorter which is also better.

When I began working on this script about a year ago I knew I was in for a struggle.  It was a big book and a lot of concepts were being thrown together.  I didn’t know just how difficult it  was going to be.  In the end the story is almost identical to the one in my early treatments, but the characters and their motivations are substantially different.

CURRENTLY HAPPENING

I feel really good about this draft though and I can’t wait to get started.  I won’t be in full force just yet as I am working quite a bit on the final reward tiers for the Adamsville Kickstarter.  I really want to get that out of the way before I spend any time working on the actual art for this book.  That said there’s a lot to start work on.

20140121-110520.jpg

Sketches for Chloe in book 2

This coming weekend, after going through any notes I get from friends doing their read throughs of the script, I plan to print the script out.  That will start a process of going through the whole book and beating out every page and panel.  This is an important step for me because it will tell me just how long the book is so I can start scheduling my production, and any assistance I hope to employ, and get a good idea on when I think it will be complete.  This book is look pretty large which does concern me quite a bit, but making the book great is my main goal.  Even if it takes longer than I would like.

So in the coming weeks look for lots more behind the scenes info and picture.  Make sure you fine me on Twitter, and Facebook using the links to the side there and you’ll never miss anything.

REMEMBER TO PICK UP YOUR COPY OF BOOK 1 TODAY

Update On Book 2’s Progress

I hadn’t done a post on this in a few months, so I thought I would give you all a look into what’s going on with the sequel and what’s going on with the release of book 1.

Book 2 – The Writing Goes Ever On

I won’t lie, I am grossly behind my self- imposed schedule for starting this book.  I had hoped I would be drawing book 2 months ago, but it just hasn’t happened.  The script has been very hard to wrestle to the ground and get right.  Either it’s too long, not interesting enough or just seems conflicted with the characters…  It’s just not gotten there yet.  And it hasn’t been from lack of trying.

In many ways I look back on 2013 and see what feels like an unproductive year.  I know that is not the case.  I’ve had two successful Kickstarter campaigns, launched my webcomic for Adamsville and had my busiest commissions year ever.  But when I look at the comics works I’ve made all I can see is one script for a book I won’t produce and a number of drafts for Adamsville book 2.  The sad thing about writing, when you make comics, is it feels like you’re not doing much in the end.

It’s really a false statement though.  That’s a lot of work!  lol.  And hopefully that work will make the production end of book 2 much smoother and exciting. I have to keep reminding myself that I have been making a comic all year.  Writing is the foundation of it all.  I think it’s going to be worth the effort, if the current draft is any indication.

I’ve learned a ton through this process and realize just how much I didn’t know before.  I wrote most of my stories by the seat of my pants, just letting intuition guide me.  Which is great, but sometimes intuition misses things that matter and they come back to rear their heads much later on.  The struggle this year has presented in writing I think will pay dividends for the rest of my life when it comes to writing and doing it more effectively.

Book 1 – The Road To Print

I approved the proof for book 1 just about a week ago.  I’m still terrified I messed something up, though I have no rational reason to believe that after having reviewed the documents over and over and over again.   But I can’t wait to see it.  I’m hopeful to get a physical proof in the next few weeks.  Once that happens I will set up preorders and all so we can start getting this thing out there to everyone!

Goal!

We did it! Oh man. So happy. And so relieved, lol. I’m gonna give my “award acceptance speech” now. So brace yourselves:

Thank you, everyone. So much. I don’t just want to thank you for backing this book financially, though that’s certainly important and kind of the whole point of this. Or for just tweeting, posting, emails, messages… All of what you did to help spread the word. But your support, in general, for me and this book that’s been on my heart and mind for half a decade now, is really special to me. With this book I’ve gone through literary agents, publisher pitches, years of work not knowing if anyone was going to enjoy it, disappointment at the near misses for it and now excitement that a group of readers, family and friends believed in it and are excited about it enough to see it get printed. I can not wait until all of you read this book and then hopefully come back stoked to see what happens next. So thank you all again.

Book 2 is almost about to begin full on production as I’m finessing the script and making it as awesome as I can. And let me tell you… It’s gonna be big and awesome.

We still have a little more time, so remember I did announce one stretch goal that is not too far away:

$7,250 – LOCKED – Two exclusive Kickstarter only “Welcome to Adamsville” postcards/mini prints (designs coming) will be added to the campaign with backers in the $20/$25 tier receiving one random print. $30 and up receive both postcards.

VISIT THE CAMPAIGN HERE