Plans within Plans

Other than wanting to quote Dune … just kidding. November and December are always reflective times, planning stuff and sometimes more importantly – abandoning stuff.

This has been a tough couple of years as an indie comics self publisher.  The market, if there ever was one, feels smaller for work like mine. Other friends of mine have been feeling the pinch as well.

We used to do all the local shows, and sometimes travel to nearby states for others. Most of us are in our 40s now and feel that most of those shows simply don’t need our ilk as much as they did when they started out.

If we haven’t already chosen not to do certain shows, they have certainly not noticed as it’s often said ” someone always wants YOUR spot.” If you leave it for a second, you lose it.

So yeah, I’m on more waiting lists now. But hey, I’ve been this patient. Every once in a while I walk past a table in artist alley and can see the same thousand yard stares on some people and you can often hear it in their voices and I say to myself, “that kid ain’t gonna make it without a serious attitude change.”

I have no evidence for it, but it’s a gut feeling. Sometimes, you push people away from your table with that look of sad desperation that says “I just paid hundreds maybe thousands of dollars this year to come to this convention and be ignored by thousands of people.”

And some kid, having barely published one book, is proclaiming that the world is so unfair. My reptilian tears have barely dried.

Kidding.

Independent comics are supposed to be tough. If it was easy money, there would be a lot more crooks, scum and douche-y middlemen scouring the market and plying indie comics to the rafters.

I have been reading a lot of Michael Lewis books lately but one aspect of “The Big Short” really sticks with me. That in order to spot any sort of financial bubble, you really only need to look at a few things and one of them is the amount of criminal activity associated with the sector accompanying that market.

I don’t imagine many independent comics completely rip off, fake, or otherwise otherwise graft their way to success. There just isn’t any money in it UNTIL you do things right.

That’s weirdly comforting.

So planning for the next year, I surf for deals on software I want to upgrade or try, ditch projects or finish them to a degree I can be comfortable with, and try to imagine what my fricking parachute color is. But I hate that metaphor.

I think it’s better to figure out what color your WINGS are. I don’t want to jump out of perfectly good airplanes, I want to be the airplane. But enough metaphor butchering.

SO I got my approval on being an Amazon influencer – I kind of don’t know what that’s going to entail other than me recommending things. Before I get accused of shilling, which it indeed is, I don’t plan on recommending anything I wouldn’t get myself – or that I don’t already own or have used. I simply don’t have the reputation to get paid for a recommendation like some less scrupulous social media butterflies.

I settled on finally digging into Substance Painter, getting a new graphics card and CPU, a bit more memory, and even – for the first time – raising funds to hire a colorist and maybe even a letterer for my books.

Don’t everyone jump up at once.

Hope to see some of you at shows next year (if I get off some of those waiting lists).

Emma’s Progress

That headline sounds suspiciously like a medical emergency, but since I don’t know anyone named Emma – other than the comic Stained’s main character – it’s a benign headline.

So while this doesn’t look like a lot of progress, a lot of what happened at this stage was planning and reference gathering. And another simple process – organizing the model.

In the previous post, the parts that were broken out in the Xpose view were only organized as they were imported. The latest version organizes the Zbrush subtools by name and discreet parts in a cleaner and more logical way.

I had mentioned colors would happen later, but it didn’t cost anything to apply some standard materials as I save some reference image links. Boots, jackets, shirts etc – I think Google now thinks I am shopping for women’s clothes.

Be sure to check out Stained on Comixology.  Or, you can follow David’s work on instagram or twitter @myzomibes or @451official.

Emma from Stained

Not too long ago I met David Baron, the creator of the mini series “Stained,” published by 451 Media.

I volunteered to 3d model and possibly 3d print a figure prototype of the main Character Emma, an technologically enhanced bounty hunter.

So my first step is always digging through my personal model library looking for similar models just to block in the figure and possible props. Some of Emma started with a model I had made of another comic book character for an animation test. Female, same basic proportions and clothing.

But I would need fingerless gloves, weapons, a holster, a different hairstyle and lots of custom cybernetic details later. These were the base elements I cobbled together to plan out the figure. Dig the floating eyeballs:

Zbrush has a feature I don’t often see used other than to show that it’s a feature. In most default interface setups of the current versions, the XPose button hides at the bottom right of the model window.

What it does is temporarily transpose all the subtools into an exploded view so that you get the above layout or something similar.

Useful? Well, since I have not seen too many people use it, I guess people don’t find it very useful. But in my case, it’s useful for picturing at least in a very early way, the discreet parts which will require different treatments for 3d printing. Sometimes, it’s good at showing me parts that need special attention because some of their geometry has been hidden. It can also tell me I am using too many subtools.

If you’d like to read more about Emma’s adventures, check out Stained on Comixology. Follow David’s work on instagram or twitter @myzomibes or @451official.