Freeland Friday: Quality, Speed and Readership

Lately I’ve been thinking about quality. Or rather, quality as it sits in relation to speed, production realities, and reader perception.
I’m thinking about it now in particular for a few reasons.

Firstly, I’m currently working on the early issues of my first indie monthly comic, with all the attendant scheduling and process adjustments, and financial concerns, that entails.

Secondly, while in this frame of mind, I’ve been reading a few indie monthlies that have been huge successes. Titles that are amazing, popular, and which I have great respect for, so I hope this doesn’t read as sour grapes or anything. But as I’ve been reading, I’ve found myself caught up frequently on art niggles. Small things, but things I can’t help but notice – backgrounds or limbs that look sloppy rather than sketchy, copy-pasted panels where it’s clearly for time rather than a humorous or uncanny repetitive effect. So on and so forth. Part of me feels it’s snotty of me to let them bother me. But they do take me out of the story, and more importantly they relate to all the things about quality and schedules and readers that I’m thinking about right now. Because these are huge hits. Readers are obviously not as bothered by these things as I am. And given that, do they matter?

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Residencies Roundup (Both Writers and Artists)

Lots of residency deadlines have just passed with the end of the year, but I’ve spotted a number of great-looking current ones floating about, so I thought I’d flag them up in case anyone can benefit!

LitSpace Writers Residency (writers) in Florida – 2 weeks, stipend for travel and living, seems lovely and community-oriented. May be best for North Americans, unless you can cover part of your travel yourself. Deadline Jan 31

Ox Bow Residencies, Minnesota (artists and writers) – various 2-5 wk residencies, for those teaching on arts faculties, recent MFA grads, and writers and artists in general. Residency fully funded, and travel funding can be applied for. Deadline May 9

Sci-Fi and the Human Condition residency, Omaha (artists and writers) – includes housing and stipend. Deadline Jan 8

Jon Schueler scholarship, Isle of Skye (artists) – this looks *amazing*. 3 month residency on Isle of Skye, w/ travel, accomodation, and generous stipend. Deadline 3rd Feb

La Napoule Interdisciplinary Group residency, La Napoule, France (artists) – Beautiful-looking month-long group residency, offers accomodation and food but you probably need to make your own way there. Deadline Mar 1

Artist-at-Sea Program (Tahitian Hydrothermal Vents), from Tahiti (artists and writers) – really interesting-looking art+science collab project. No additional fee but all costs covered. Deadline Jan 10

The Lighthouse Works residencies, Fisher Island, NY (artists and writers) – these look lovely..3 people at a time, small island commuity, funding for travel & materials. Multiple dates, deadline Feb 1

Write Away Europe fellowship, Spain (writers) – a semi-taught (?) group retreat – retreat funded by fellowship, but would need to get oneself there. Deadline Jan 15

 

 

 

2016 Ho!

Christmas15-SThompsonI’m tardy in posting my Christmas/New Year greeting, but I had two days over Christmas where I did no work at all, and that is good, so no apologies! 😉

Keep an eye out on the blog over the next little while – I’ll try and post some more 2015 work, since I’ve been quiet this last year, and some reading/watching recs I loved over the last year.

Good luck and fortitude for all for 2016 – may we all find the ways to tell the stories we want to tell, that make the world a little better, and that we can be proud of <3

Refugee donations commission giveaway

For anyone who hasn’t seen it yet, yesterday author Patrick Ness started a fundraising page for Save the Children’s work providing aid in the current refugee crisis. He pledged to match up to £10,000, and the results have been beautiful and staggering, with more and more authors (dozens, now – list on the fundraising page) adding match funds of their own as the total grew. As of writing, it’s approaching £200,000. At £250,000, Virgin Money will waive their fees, adding even more to the Save the Children’s work.

This is such a beautiful picture of the YA book community. Let’s spread it to the comics community too! While I’ll obviously be adding what I can, I’d like to do something more, however small, so:

Head over to the donations page and give something, however much or little

Comment here (w/ email address) or tweet me to say you’ve done so, and I’ll add you to a draw to win a fully inked commission, drawn with extra love and care – whether you’d like a portrait of yourself or a loved one, a favourite character, whatever!

(*within reason, I reserve right to ask for an alternate pick! ^_~ )

Let me know, and I’ll draw on Wed the 16th! Let’s go!!

Also:

-Check here for more you can do

-If you’re going to BristolCon, OctoCon or FantasyCon, you can join Emma Newman in crocheting some warm things to send

 

 

Nine Worlds schedule

Nine Worlds is *this weekend*, and after all the really lovely comments I heard flying around about last year’s, I’m excited to be going!

I’ll be doing a few panels, so here’s where you can find me (and listen to me hopefully sound vaguely like I know what I’m talking about):

Fri:

-How To Break Into Comics – But Seriously, How?  //  Room 11  //  1:30pm

The requisite how-to-break-in comics panel, we’ll hopefully have some good discussion on some nice chewy, practical stuff, and hey, what does ‘making it’ even look like to different people? I don’t think there’s just one route to go within comics, even professionally, so let’s chat!

-Representative Drawing for Graphic Narrative – How to draw the comics that look like you  //  Connaught A  //  3:15pm

Life drawing session, whee! I think I’ll just be floating around helping out, so if there’s any drawing stuff you want to ask me about, this is a good time!

Sat:

-Show, Don’t Tell: Wordless Comics – Why make wordless comics? What do they represent?  //  Connaught A  //  10:00am

I’ll be here in capacity as a person-who-sometimes-makes-wordless-comics. I love them.

-NaNoSessionMo – Write a novel in 1 hour, 15 minutes!  //  Royal A  //  1:30pm

Come and help write a whole novel in 75 minutes! Sounds like ill-advised fun! 😀 (It does actually. I think you should go!) I’ll be there sketching a cover for whatever you lot come up with, in the same amount of time. I definitely got the easy job here.

-Magical Girls 4eva – The mystical feminine, from cave walls to Comixology  //  Connaught A //  3:15pm

I hope the many holes in my magical girl history don’t show up too much here. I’m on this one as someone drawing from this feminine-mystical-kitsch-awesome well in my work, and noticing a ton (a TON) of my peers doing the same. (See also: My slowly ongoing Blood and Roses illustration series)

The rest of the time I’ll be floating around (not literally). See you there! 😀

Writing Wednesday: Opportunities roundup

Thought I’d do a little Writing Wed roundup as there seem to be quite a few really cool opportunities worth flagging up in case they’re of use to anyone!

-World Nomads have a travel writing scholarship on at the moment – involves flights to San Francisco (from anywhere by the sound of it) for a few days mentoring, followed by a 10-day road trip to destinations of your choice in US, with some blogging responsibilities along the way. Deadline May 27

-The rather amazing Write a House residency is taking applications again from those who would be up for relocating to Detroit and getting involved in the arts locally, with a house given to the resident as a potentially permanent home. Deadline June 5

-The Branscombe House artist residency in Vancouver – I’m really tempted to apply to this! Studio/accomodation provided free for 11 months in exchange for community arts project hours. Deadline May 20

The Kent Harrison Arts Council Artist in Residence Program – another year-long house-provided-in-exchange-for-gallery/community-hours residency, also in BC – this one in Harrison Hot Springs! Deadline June 1

-This fantastic year-long Radio 2 Artist in Residence program, with a generous bursary. Must be UK resident and a professional in your field (defined here by being over half your income). Deadline May 10

Til next time, and good luck to anyone applying to any of these!

2015: Convention burnout, and doing things differently

I realized last year that I’d been tabling at conventions every year for over a decade. (Yay!) Then towards the end of last year, a combination of conventions-that-had-been-booked-in-the-spring and jobs or events that showed up later and I couldn’t say no to meant that I had a period of almost three months with a con, job, or event every single weekend (straight after being out of the country for a month).

To say I became burned out is an understatement, and I had no time to plan or prep for any of the cons I attended, having to simply pack what stock I had around, and then leave it in the suitcase afterwards for the next one. On the one hand, being forced to have a more casual approach meant I put less pressure on myself regarding earnings, and tried to focus on seeing people. And in between all that running around, I did get to spend some time with comickers I adore, and had some really great conversations.

But after doing cons the same way for so long, I think it’s high time for a change of pace. I still want to do a few cons this year – I would miss you all too much if not! So:

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Happy New Year

 

And late Christmas wishes too – I hope everyone had a bit of a breather, and some time to relax, recuperate and reflect. Christmas-SThompsonI won’t make this a full new year’s post, as I’m still reflecting really, but I am looking forward to the year ahead, and very grateful for the blessings of the last year, including the wonderful chance to do a CUNE residency in Estonia, and getting the chance to work with the absolutely fantastic Phoenix crew.

Planning to make a few changes for this year, mostly to cons as I’m feeling a bit burnt out – but will be around, making work and enthusing about comics! More thoughts soon :)

Freelance (not quite) Friday – VATMOSS updates

As we approach EU-VAT-Reg-Day (Jan 1), here are some updates. A lot has happened since my first VATMOSS post (which you can read here if you need a bit of background on what this is about. If you sell digital content online, this concerns you).

I will be getting things off Gumroad, etc, before New Years, and know what a lot of fantastic individual creators,  small presses, and small businesses of different sorts will be calling curtain, and that is a horrible, backwards thing.

I’ll update a few categories here: Campaign updates; International; Third-Party Platforms; and Emailing Files.

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VATMOSS Updates and Twitter storm – UK and EU creators, please read!

I’d been hoping to do a more in-depth followup of VATMOSS updates, but time has not allowed (if you’re not sure what VATMOSS is, see my last post, w/ info and links – if you sell digital content online – comics, fonts, knitting patterns, etc – and are in the UK/EU, this affects you).

However,  a quick post is needed anyway, for this important update:

The excellent EU VAT ACTION site are organizing a Twitter Storm for tomorrow, at 10AM GMT. Their site has fantastic and specific information on what to tweet, to who, and with what hashtags, to make the greatest impact.

Building on the petitioning and contact with HMRC in the UK, the aim of this is to push the European Commission to suspend the new regulations, before they break up over Christmas and the regulations roll in Jan 1.

Further updates as I’m able and as news becomes available, but keep an eye on the EU VAT ACTION site as well. While you’re there, please please also sign the EU-targeted petition as well.