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Coming Soon: The Complete Love and Capes!
Posted 01/28/2014

The news broke on Twitter last week, but I wanted to officially announce that there will be a Complete Love and Capes collection from IDW this summer. It’s going to include all 24 issues of the series. The only new story page will be the one-page "Hostess" ad I did with Just Jenn (which is the only post-baby story so far). I’m going to put some rarely-seen things in the back matter, including the complete collection of Love and Capes con prints, art done by some comics pros that haven’t been seen before, all the t-shirt designs and more.

It’s going to be quite the package of goodness. You can preorder the book on Amazon here.


The House Rules
Posted 01/02/2014

Happy New Year!

Every year I make resolutions, big and small. Even if they don’t always stick, I think there’s something to be said for trying. And, while the calendar rolling over to a new start is ultimately arbitrary, if it helps you start a new habit, does it matter?

One of the things I’m obsessed with is productivity and good work flow. I want to make it possible to do the most with the time I have. So, capturing my ideas, figuring out how to use Photoshop more effectively, things like that are all part of that.

Boundaries help with that. I think they’re important to those of us who freelance. I think it’s typical for freelancers who start off with a day job to work nights and weekends. But when you make the transition to full-time freelance, it’s easy to allow your work to bleed over your entire life. And, while I love what I do with the fiery passion of a thousand burning suns, it doesn’t mean that it’s all I want to do. I have a fiancee, a family and friends, books to read and movies to see and walks to take. I love being in the studio, but I want to make sure that I leave it, too.

So, I’m taking the opportunity of the New Year to post my schedule. It’s important to manage expectations. How fast should you be expected to respond to an email? When is too early to call? So, here we go with my five house rules.

HOUSE RULES

1. I work from 9:00est-5:00est, Monday through Friday, not counting holidays. You can call (or text) me from 9:00est to 8:00pm est on those days.

I live in the East Coast Time Zone, but not all of my clients do. So, I start at 9:00, the classic time to start out here. I try to wrap up around 5:00pm. But I have a lot of West Coast clients. It’s unreasonable to shut them off at 2:00pm their time. So I’ll take calls up until 5:00pm on the West Coast.

Does this mean you can’t call me at 10:30 on a Sunday night when you have a crisis? No, of course not. If you’re a client and you’re living a disaster, it’s my job to make that go away. But not everything can be a crisis. If it is, we need to have a talk.

Same schedule for texts. With emails, I know that people send those when they think of it. You’ve got an idea on a Sunday night and want to get it to me when it’s clear and you’re on your computer. Great! I’ll take a look at it Monday morning.

2. I try to return all work emails in 24 hours, phone messages the same day, text messages within a couple of hours, Monday through Friday.

Here’s more expectation stuff. I’ll occasionally get an email that reads “Please respond- URGENT!” I’ll tell you right now, email is the worst way to get me an urgent message. I’m a one man operation, so there are times when I’m at a meeting, heading to one, running out to buy art supplies, whatever… I am not constantly looking at my email. Heck, in my more productive times, I turn it down to check every 15 minuyes, sometimes once an hour, just so I’m not interrupted while I’m in the middle of a huge project. I’ve always got my phone with me, but that doesn’t mean I can always get to it either. Texting and driving is bad, and if you scheduled a meeting with me, you wouldn’t want me to interrupt it to take some other client’s call, so I won’t do that to someone else.

And please, leave a message. If I don’t pick up the phone, it doesn’t mean I’m ignoring you. I could be on a call with someone else, my phone might be in a bad service area. Even if it’s to say “I had a question but I need an answer now, so don’t worry,” then at least I know why you were trying to get a hold of me and if I should call you back.

3. I can’t promise instant turnaround time.

I’ve got a forty-hour work week, and I try to book each of those hours. So, when I go to bed on Monday, I already know what I’m going to spend my Tuesday working on. So, if you call that Tuesday, even with something small that wouldn’t take long, it doesn’t mean I can do it. I have a client I work remotely for once a every couple of weeks, and during that day they’ve bought all my time. So I’m already booked solid. That can happen.

It’s best to assume that it will take me three to five business days to turn something around. Now, if you call me a week ahead of time and let me know you’ll have a project coming in hot but you won’t have all the details or necessary materials until the day of, that’s fine. (This is especially common with lettering, where you’re waiting for art to be finished.) Then I know to block that time out for you.

And sometimes things happen, I know. An artist blows a deadline. You suddenly get an opportunity that you can’t turn down and you need an ad for it. We’ll take care of it. It may require some late nights on my part, it may require a rush fee on your part. The goal here is to make sure everything isn’t a rush.

4. Deadlines. I don’t miss them. Please make sure to tell me them.

When you’ve got a project, let me know when it’s due. From my newspaper days, hearing “ASAP” drives me nuts. To me, that means I can do it As Soon As I get the projects done from people who could actually gave me a deadline. If you need it finished tomorrow, tell me that you need it tomorrow. There have been more than a few times when people have given me a task, I let them know I’ve received it and have it scheduled for tomorrow, and I get the response back later “Oh, we need that today.” Tell me that to start and we won’t lose time going back and forth that could be used to get the job done.

I’ve been working professionally for over fifteen years and I haven’t missed any deadlines in that time. I’ve gotten pretty good at time management. And, if I can’t make a deadline, I’ll let you know that, too. I won’t take more work than I can handle.

5. If you’re a regular client, I will let you know my schedule.

It’s not all about what you need to do. I have to do things in the client/artist relationship, too.

I do a lot of conventions. My brother got married on a Friday afternoon two weeks ago. I do career days at schools. There are lots of reasons that I’d be out of the office.

So, if you send me regular work, I’ll be sure to email you and let you know when I’ll be away at Comic-Con in San Diego. I’ve got lots of clients who aren’t comic related, so they don’t know the industry shuts down for that week in July. It’s my job to make sure you know that so if you do have work, we can make sure it gets done.

 

I hope none of that sounds too harsh. I think it’s good to get these things stated and in the open. I’m under no illusion that this will solve every issue, but it’s a good place to start.

And, if you’re a freelancer, I encourage you to think through these things yourself. When do you want to be available? How much do you want to work in a week?


Tomorrow! Me! Comics and Friends!
Posted 12/20/2013

I’ll be appearing at Comics and Friends in the Great Lakes Mall here in Mentor, Ohio this Saturday from 2:00-7:00. I’ll be signing and sketching and smiling for pictures and many other things that begin with the letter “S”. I’ll have a chunk of Love and Capes and My Little Pony and other things for sale.

Drop by and see me. I’ll be the oasis of calm in your hectic holiday shopping.


The Alter Ego Comics Holiday Special
Posted 12/09/2013

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of being a guest of Marc Bowker’s Alter Ego Comics as part of Lima’s downtown Christmas celebration. Marc was a great host, as always. He introduced me to the tasty food and great people at the Met. If you’re ever in Lima, I can’t recommend it enough.

I was doing sketches for a $5 donation to the Our Daily Bread soup kitchen. They do a lot of good, and in my four hours at the store, we managed to raise over $250. I’m proud to have been able to help.

The best part, though, is the people. Working on My Little Pony has brought me a new group of fans. It’s wonderful to see so many kids excited about comics. It’s the best part of doing these appearances.

I was also interviewed by the local TV station and taught a class on drawing MLP. There should be pics of the class and (shudder) even the video should be posted at some point. When it does, I’ll let you know.

In the meantime, here are pictures of some of the happy customers as well as Marc’s Holiday Display, celebrating the Star Wars Holiday Special.


I’ll Be Signing at Alter Ego Comics
Posted 12/05/2013

This Saturday, December 7th, I’ll be doing a signing/appearance at Alter Ego Comics in Lima, Ohio. for the Downtown Holiday Fest! You can support small businesses (Alter Ego and other downtown businesses), get 20% off your purchases at Marc’s fine store, and I’ll be signing and sketching… and teaching a My Little Pony drawing class at noon.

I’ll also have copies of the Love and Capes trades, my issue of MLP:Twilight Sparkle, and copies of the Pony Tales trade which features my story and six other awesome ones. My sketches will be $5.00, with the money going to the Our Daily Bread Soup Kitchen.

You can read more about it on Marc’s Alter Ego blog, and get a complete list of Downtown Holiday Fest participants here.

It’s always a fun time at Marc’s shop. I’m looking forward to seeing you there!


Twinkie Ads for the Next Generation
Posted 07/08/2013

This thing called Comic-Con is coming up, and I feel like I should have something new for it. I mean, it’s not like the complete run of Love and Capes isn’t enough, right? Not to mention the chance to meet me. But yeah, I think we need something new, too.

Hokey Old Time Comic Book GoodnessSo, in conjunction with justJenn Recipes, whom you may remember as baking me some Twilight Sparkle cookies back when I helped launch the My Little Pony Micro-Series, we have created a Love and Capes print in the style of the old Hostess ads. Ads which are so awesome that they have been collected by Seanbaby into this fantastic web archive.

Today, all you get to see is this preview image. On Wednesday, head over to justJenn’s site and see even more details. We’ll both have them for sale at our booths at Comic-Con, so drop on by!


Free Comic Book Day 2013… Finally!
Posted 05/18/2013

I’ve been promising to recap my Free Comic Book Day for a little while now, but the busyness of business got in my way. But, for a brief time, I’m caught up. Having gone into darkness on Twitter and Facebook so that when I go see Star Trek: Into Darkness tonight without being spoiled as to who Benedict Cumberbatch’s character is (my money is on Keyzer Soze, though), I’m a little less distracted.

This year I returned to Newark, Delaware for Joe Murray’s Captain Blue Hen event. Joe runs a great event, and he met every rider on my contract of services. Thankfully, my contract of services is a lot less intense than Beyonce’s. Mostly it’s “I like Pepsi and take me to see Iron Man 3.” I flew into Baltimore on Friday, drove up to Newark, and then set up at the shop. The next day was Free Comic Book Day, and there the fun began.

The difference between this year and every other is that now I’m a Pony Artist™. I wrote and drew an issue of My Little Pony and that changes everything. Since Free Comic Book Day is such a kid heavy event where they can pick up such kid-friendly titles as Spongebob Squarepants, NFL Rush Zone and The Walking Dead (wait, what?), I become a lot more interesting to those kids having worked on Pony.

So the coolest thing was drawing for the young kids, the kids whose faces light up with a quick head sketch of Rainbow Dash. A couple of them even drew pictures for me. It’s just awesome. I have a great job on a bad day, and on a good day it’s magical.

I also taught a drawing class over at the next door art center, too. I love that Joe is able to turn the event into an experience like that. It’s not just free books, but a whole experience.

I also pre-drew a bunch of MLP sketch cards thanks to some sage counsel from Joe and his staff. That gave me a new saleable item and helped keep things hopping at my table.

Afterwards, we all went out to dinner. I got to hang out with the crew, and especially my friends Jamar Nicholas and Dan Parent. It’s so great talking shop and business theory and life philosophy with them. Truly some of the best times!

I’m definitely looking forward to next year!


Love and Capes Emerald City Print Pre-Sale
Posted 02/22/2013

I’m taking preorders for my new Emerald City Comic Con convention print. I have 25 of them and when those are sold, they’re gone. They’ll be $25 at the show, but if you preorder them here, you’ll save $5 and be sure to have one waiting for you.

Seattle





My MY LITTLE PONY… in stores TODAY!
Posted 02/20/2013

Ponies, everyone!
My Little Pony


It’s Valentine’s Day! Win Love and Capes prizes!
Posted 02/13/2013

It’s Valentine’s Day, and Comixology is running a sale on the digital versions of the entire Love and Capes catalog. If my math is right, you can get 24 (25 if you count the double-sized wedding issue as two) issues of my favorite superhero romantic comedy for $25.00! That’s crazy.
Valentine's Day Sale-- EVERY ISSUE HALF OFF!

To help promote this, I’m running a contest on Twitter and Facebook. Here’s how it works:

On Twitter: Tweet (or retweet) this link to the Comixology page, http://bit.ly/lncvalsale with the hashtag #lncsale and just like that, you’re entered. You don’t even have to buy them, though I would appreciate it if you would.

May I suggest:

Valentine Sale! The entire Love & Capes catalog is on sale @comixology today only! http://bit.ly/lncvalsale #lncsale RT to win a t-shirt & art!

But anything with the link and the hashtag will be entered.

On Facebook: Like the Love and Capes page and like and/or share the link to the Comixology sale.

I’ll pick one random winner from each service. You’ll win:

  • One of the new Love and Capes t-shirts. If you already ordered one, your money will be refunded.
  • An original 9×12 one-character commission of your choice.

I’m blessed with some of the best fans in comics. Thanks for supporting the book, and I hope you have a great Valentine’s Day.

Win this!