I have a mailing list now

To replace the individual Facebook pages for my webcomics and have a more effective way to keep everyone informed of updates and new projects, I have started a mailing list on Substack. Please subscribe for weekly notifications of updates across all my active webcomics.

I chose Substack because they have a good reputation, some interesting people use it and they currently have no ads or algorithmic filtering. However, I do not want to have a place I don’t own to be the only place my content is posted, so here’s the first post that I made to the mailing list in full:

So this is a thing now
I’ve been meaning to set up a mailing list for almost a year now, and today I finally took the time to get to work on it. My main goal with this is to replace the different Facebook pages for my webcomics, and to eliminate the need for new pages as I create new comics (which I have! More on that later). The main problem with Facebook is that it is no longer possible to reach everyone who follows your pages, which defeats the purpose of having them in the first place. So these pages are getting shut down and hi! Here’s a mailing list to replace them.

But this thing, which I’ve called Rogues and Cultists, should be useful and fun for everyone who follows my comics, no matter which one of them they like the most or where they found them; whether it’s on DeviantArt, Mastodon, Tumblr, or even the main website which I promise will update any decade now. I only had Facebook Pages for Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan, Chronicles of the Witch Queen, and sort of a jokey page for The Lives of X!Gloop, set up to test some Facebook Page features with the expectation that no one would look at it. Nothing for White House in Orbit, nothing for my new webcomic Cultish Manners, nothing for all the little side projects that I do simply because they seem more doable right now than working on Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan, the mothership of my comics empire.

Let’s talk about Cultish Manners

My latest project is Cultish Manners, a webcomic set in the present day featuring Goth music, supernatural phenomena and some superheroics. It started as a NaNoManGo project in late 2018 and through the past year, I’ve been able to get seventeen pages and a whole bunch of supporting art done. The comic is still finding its voice, but I have ambitions for it: I want to finish the first story early in 2020 and then do a series of sequels that will be structured like a modern season of Doctor Who, with recurring villains and an overall arc that connects otherwise standalone episodes. Through this ‘season’, the cast will expand to form kind of a superhero team. I’m having a ball writing and drawing it!

One door has to close

But Cultish Manners isn’t the thing I’m working on now! After NaNoManGo 2020 ended, I went back to drawing Abúi’s Travels, a light and fun spin-off of Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan that I started in order to offload a crossover project from the main Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan storyline. It features the faerie Abúi on her trips through multiple universes, protected by a means of interdimensional transport that only drops her where it’s safe for her to appear, but which is a bit wonky. That was eight years ago, and things got a bit out of hand. To make time for Cultish Manners in 2020, I am now trying to get Abúi’s Travels wrapped up, so updates for that comic will be appearing in December.

Quick Webcomics items

Rich Morris of Yet Another Fantasy Gamer Comic is looking for work. If you have a commission that would be a good fit, leads to a job in animation, or other tips that could lead him back to a steady income, drop him a line.

Finally, I want to pay tribute to my long-term friend and collaborator on Chronicles of the Witch Queen, Little Cottage in the Woods, and White House in Orbit, Greg Storm*, who passed away from the complications of Parkinson’s Disease in September. He is missed. He was kind, creative and a dab hand at writing himself or others out of a corner. While working on Cultish Manners, I often found myself asking “What would Greg do?” While he could no longer do the day-to-day writing for Chronicles of the Witch Queen due to the effects of his illness, he was involved in the broader plotting almost until the very end. Chronicles of the Witch Queen artist Daniel Østvold plans to keep the series going in the spirit of his work, and likewise, I have been writing new White House in Orbit material off and on, also in the spirit of what Greg would write.

*Greg was a very private person and while he wrote under his own name for most of his life, he decided some time ago to work pseudonymously. We remove the old name from web page text when we see it, but when it’s embedded in the graphics, we don’t have the resources to do that in a consistent manner.

That’s a lot of words! Future updates will be a lot shorter, so if you never want to miss an update on any of my comics again, join Rogues and Cultists and get update notifications and other news items directly in your inbox!

Cultish Manners Pages 16 and 17

Last few pages of this NaNoManGo! I will be taking a break from this comic now, so I can work on my other ongoing comics. But I will be back on this one soon enough, because I want to finish it.

16th page of the webcomic Cultish Manners, in which Liath takes a beating.
Cultish Manners Page 16

Page 17 of Cultish Manners, in which Liath goes back into the club to fight the Shadow Creature again.
Cultish Manners Page 17

Liath is on loan from James Damaged, Cyberkitten01 on DeviantArt, who also helped me with Liath’s dialogue on Page 16.

Cultish Manners Page 15

Comic page in which Tess and Tag argue outside the club, only to be interrupted by Liath being violently pushed out through the door.
Cultish Manners Page 15

Here we are with page 15. Not the best one, and there’s a few things I would have done differently if I had time to try again, but I’m sticking to the NaNoManGo schedule for now.

The final panel ave me some real difficulties and I ended up asking Aggie Janicot for advice. She demonstrated how to lean into the action lines of the flying Liath figures a lot more.

Photo of the inked page with pencils still visible.
Photo of the inked page with pencils still visible. The bottom panel is a bit of a mess!
Photo of Page 15, showing the suggested pose Aggie Janice drew
Photo of Page 15, showing the suggested pose Aggie Janice drew

On social media, I’ve been talking a lot about how much I’m enjoying working traditionally and how I’m striving to get spotless inks on the paper. But in the end, this page ended up not very clean or error-free and a lot of it was cleaned up or redrawn digitally. I’ll keep working on this, though.
Lettering was done, again, in Affinity Designer for iPad and the learning process for that continues. It turns out that Affinity Designer does not have a feature for warping text, but I could fake it by running the sound effect text on a path and manually changing the size of each letter.
When I started Cultish Manners, I decided that this comic would not be touched by Adobe Photoshop at any time, and that I wanted to move away from the custom Stripschrift font I’ve been using for years and years. The body font is Out of Line BB from Blambot, which I paid for. The sound effect font is a free Blambot font, Bada Boom BB, which I’ve had for many years as well. I did shop around for fonts before settling on this old one, and Blambot has a few that I liked better, but before I decide, I want to figure out if I’m actually going to do the sequels to this story. The font I like the most is one of the most expensive ones they offer and I don’t want to buy it just for a one-shot.
With seventeen pages in seventeen days, I’m on track. A panel a day is a nice comfortable pace for me to work at, but it’s not a pace at which I’ll get the story finished by the end of the month. So I will probably continue to work on this through December. However, I’m also kind of itching to draw something else right now.

Cultish Manners Page 14

Third page of this year’s NaNoMango and Page 14 of the comic as a whole. This one took a while, because it’s more panels. But I had fun going back to Bristol board. I’m back to how I was working 20 years ago! Bristol board, Hiro 111 EF nib, India ink with white ink for corrections. The only differences are the process in which I draw and ink one panel at a time, and the large amount of digital post-processing.

Comic page in which Tess runs through corridors and finds Tag the bassist
Cultish Manners Page 14

An earlier stage of the page:

Photo of the page in progress.
Cultish Manners Page 14 in progress

Cultish Manners Page 13

It turns out that the Patreon plugin for WordPress isn’t working as well as it used to. The last post was supposed to be only visible to Patrons, but wasn’t. Ah well. I guess I will post my #NaNoManGo work as public, scheduled posts instead. Here’s page 13:

Liath fights the shadow creature while Frits, the singer of Cult of XünÿX, suffers. His bandmates are considering what to do and keyboardist Jan Boenen suggests giving Frits his heroin back.
Cultish Manners Page 13: A reminder of what’s at stake

And here’s a photo of the page-in-progress from last Tuesday, with my cat’s ear visible in shot:

Raw scan of Page 13 of Cultish Manners while it was being drawn.
Cultish Manners Page 13 in progress

Linklog for November 8, 2018: Nasi Goreng, Ginger Baker and Something You Can Do Right Now To Push Back Against Nazis

There’s an interview with me on Wordsmith.social by Copyleft Curator.

What You Don’t Know You Don’t Know by Luna Nieves (“Aicaya”). Making people learn Unix-ish stuff on the internet is a good way to create a perpetually-angry programmer community. If you want to start from the beginning, nothing beats books, but books are out of the reach of many.

How to radicalize a normie, and how to maybe de-radicalize them. Innuendo Studios.

The French Olympic logo tumbles out of bed on a Parisian morning. She tousles her messy bob, dons breton stripes and ballet flats and whisks down the stairs from her fifth-floor apartment to grab a baguette before enigmatically texting two men who are pursuing her romantically.” Twitter thread started by Megan Clement.

Charles Babbage’s Difference engine captured in Gigapixel images from 2012.

Also from 2012, The Return of the Limits To Growth by Ugo Bardi. The rehabilitation of that essential and frightening study into humanity’s effect on the environment and where that will take us is long overdue.

Back in the present, the Intercept has not been able to find a single leftist among the people across the political spectrum that Mark Zuckerberg claims to have been consulting with. It may just be that the Intercept’s methodology is flawed and the resulting article is a tad on the tendentious side, but given what we know, which includes the news that Facebook will consider right-wing harrassment farm Breitbart a “reputable news organisation” for the purposes of its new and improved News tab (don’t use their News tab!), I find the claim that Zuckerburg is either bullshitting about consulting with people across the political spectrum, or, worse, that he has no idea anymore how the political spectrum runs, entirely credible. In any case, don’t use the Facebook news tab. Hide it, or pretend it doesn’t exist. If you’re going to have a filter bubble, make it your own.

Relatedly, The Coming Ethics of the Internet of Things by Emily Gorcenski, discusses accessibility and inclusiveness in our future tech infrastructure, and also has some things to say about the accuracy of data generated about us.

Bicycles are the fantasy hero’s friend by Camestros Felapton, in which it is argued that a bicycle would be the best way for a fantasy hero to get around, if such a device can exist in the fictional world. The comments do some work on that qustion, but Camestros suggests that post-apocalyptic settings would be a good fit for bicycles.

I am trying to figure out how to recalibrate a 22-year-old scanner, and IT8 Calibration Targets at Computer-darkroom.com is very useful for helping me learn more about the one IT8Cal card we found in our archive. Argyllcms seems like a capable tool to use to generate ICC profiles. It doesn’t seem easy to use, though, so I’m still looking for alternatives.

In music, legendary drummer Ginger Baker passed away two weeks ago last month. Some albums from his period working with Bill Laswell can be found on Bandcamp, including Middle Passage, Horses And Trees and the live set Live in Japan by Material with Ginger Baker. Plus his classic album with Fela Kuti, Fela Kuti Live with Ginger Baker, which is available through Bandcamp site for Kuti. These are all highly recommended and, in case of the Laswell collaborations, unfairly overlooked.

Massive White Supremacy Board Leak: How to Access and Interpret the Data includes torrent and magnet links to the entire SQL database from the defunct neo-nazi white supremacist message board Iron March. Share and enjoy!

A topic dear to my heart: How to cook the perfect nasi goreng, Felicity Cloake in The Guardian.

Cultish Manners Page 12!

Fresh out of my iPad, here’s the 12th page of Cultish Manners ! This page becomes available to the public on Tuesday morning, 9 AM CET, but you, my kind patrons, get to see it first.
I’m doing NaNoManGo again this year, after a successful Inktober. I decided to continue working in mostly traditional format, at a rate of one panel per day. So far, this seems to be working, because here I am on Day 3 and I’ve got a 3-panel page done. The other two images show the original art in progress. This was a lot of fun to do as well!
The character Liath is on loan from James Damaged, Cyberkitten01 on DeviantArt. I’m considering stretching her big fighting scene out for another page, because I won’t be able to use her forever.
Poses are all referenced using photos from Senshistock.

Inktober bonus image and gallery

Here’s a little Inktober bonus image for ya:

Abby, a white redhead in a Pokémon-inspired outfit, and Tess, a Black Goth girl in a mesh shirt, swigging beer bottles that are definitely not their first of the night
Inktober 2019 bonus image: tasty

Tess and Abby partying hard. I started this image for prompt 25: Tasty, but decided to go with another prompt instead. I spent a bit of time in the week after that finishing this image up.
I stopped drinking in July; it wasn’t so much a decision I made as a natural progression from drinking less and less in recent years. One effect that’s had is that I find it harder to imagine, write and draw people who drink. I can still do it but it doesn’t come naturally.

I managed to get something done for every day of Inktober this year! Below is a gallery of the images I posted during the month:

Nude Toon Creation Drawing Challenge, August 2019

Inktober is over, and NaNoMango is starting. This first day, it’s unlikely that I will have a page ready out of the gate, so while there is no new work, I wanna go back to some of the drawing challenges I’ve done in recent months. Here’s the Artists Of Nude Toon Creation Discord Daily Drawing Challenge for August, 2019, in full, as a gallery, because if I keep posting one a day I’ll never get caught up.

Inktober 2019, Day 31: Mary Shelley

THE Mary Shelley, modernized
Inktober 2019, Day 31: Mary Shelley

Day 31: Mary Shelley. 3 months after she was brought back from the dead, Mary Shelley has settled on a modern style that suits her.

If I squinted and tried really hard, I might be able to find a connection to the official prompt, but the truth is, I just didn’t care for it and didn’t want to spend too much time in the morning coming up with something that fit, so I just drew what I wanted. I look forward to bringing Mary Shelley back from the dead in comic.
The art itself looked better in its pencil state than inked, and better as an inked drawing without Copic tones than with them, in part because I switched the tones for her scarf and her jacket around. Here’s an image that I drew on my iPad earlier, which shows what it should have been like:

THE Mary Shelley, modernized, drawn last year
Inktober 2019, Day 31: Mary Shelley as drawn earlier

I did use cooler greys and more color in that one, but the ratio between jacket and scarf works better.