A second look at Kickstarter

One of my plans for the coming months will be to possibly set up another Kickstarter.  But I can’t do that just yet.  I ran a Kickstarter effort a few years ago but it failed.  I very much want to do another one.  There are things that must be done first.  There are three tasks that must be completed before even putting together such an effort.

The first step will be to actually communicate with some successful Kickstarter campaigns.  The plan is to ask them what they did right, what they wished they hadn’t done and what they attribute their success to.  It’s important I understand why these campaigns succeeded and the mechanics of such campaigns.  One example is that of Charles Dowd, the creator of Lilith Dark.  Sometime ago, he had a campaign to raise US$5,000 for printing an original Lilith Dark graphic novel.  He not only succeeded but also raised nearly THREE TIMES the original goal!  I will be investigating some of the other Kickstarter successes including the ones I’ve promoted here on the blog in the past.

But that is not enough.   Continue reading

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Von Herling, Vampire Hunter still for sale

My original Gothic horror graphic novel Von Herling, Vampire Hunter (ISBN 9780989069618) did quite well.  The paperback copies on Amazon sold out.  About a week ago, there was one copy on Amazon itself and quite a number in the marketplace.  The copy on Amazon was sold and slowly the number in the marketplace went down.  First there were ten copies, then eight, then six, then eight again, then down to six and four.

Not bad at all, uh?  People like Von Herling.  I do want to do more with him and even have a script for another book.  I’m not sure when I’ll get around to it.

Anyway, for those of you who want more of Von Herling, copies of this Gothic horror tale are still available on Kindle.  If you want paperback copies, they are also available for sale on Indyplanet.  Or you can get them direct for me for US$16.99 plus shipping.  Anyone interested can reach me at maxwestart(at)gmail(dot)com for more info.

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Notes for April 23, 2016

I have new pages of Sunnyville #14 up on DeviantArt.  So far, we’ve got the cover and the following pages: page 1, page 2, page 3, page 4, page 5, page 6, page 7, page 8, page 9, page 10, page 11, page 12, page 13 and page 14.

Once this gets finished, my plan will proceed as scheduled.  Besides my sabbatical where I’ll be brushing up on my basic skills, I have plans to produce the scripts for Sunnyville #15-23.  I already have a handful of notes, but story treatments need to be written up and scripts have to be done.   Continue reading

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The Importance of Life Drawing

My sabbatical hasn’t officially started yet, but I’m not waiting to get my skills up to par.  I haven’t been to life drawing in quite some time, so I started with that as practice.  Luckily for me, the Plains Art Museum right here in town holds life drawing sessions in their studio.  At time of this writing, they only hold life drawing once a month but that’s still good for practice.  Anyway, my traditional tools for life drawing have usually been pencils and graphite sticks.   Continue reading

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Two more Sunnyville reviews

Sunnyville Stories Volume 2 and Volume 3 got some more good reviews!   Continue reading

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Amazon Review for Sunnyville Volume 3

Sunnyville Stories Volume 3 is for sale on Amazon.  In addition to selling a couple of copies, the book got a glowing review!  I’ve decided to share it here!  And so…

Max West is a fellow I’ve known over the Internet for over a year, but the roots of his devotion as a cartoonist and maker of comics are a byproduct of long self-discovery and trial that led to an approach that challenges readers to re-discover the core function of graphic fiction. He achieves this by writing and drawing the stories straight and bringing up subjects among the initially stiff-looking, awkwardly inked denizens that can’t be ignored once noticed. Sunnyville Stories is doubtless the foundation of West’s commitment to this end.

The first two collected volumes have all but established the identity of the town and it’s inhabitants, and their well-to-do affairs; the main characters Rusty Duncan and Sam Macgregor have a chemistry and depth that’ll gain momentum as time goes on, that much is sure. It is episodes 8-11 collected in Volume 3 however that awakens an unexpected shift you wouldn’t normally expect in such an idyllic setting. Without giving away too much spoilers, I will say that Rusty’s high school trouble, which was before suggested to be a throwaway joke to complement his snarky and laid-back demeanor, is shown to be an actually serious problem. He actually has trouble applying himself to math, doing the worst on the latest test. His mother Nancy is furious and expects much better from him, expectations that go much deeper as we find out later on. With help from his father Al, Rusty takes steps with his friends to prepare better and study better, hoping to make it through life after earning a good high school education and learning to not give up. A topic that would be relatable to the common, indeed. This is followed by an account of Banzai Restaurant owner and head chef Goro Tanuki experiencing a fall in confidence over the skill of his nephew Goemon, and a return to familiar follies involving a visit from a rock band, before concluding with another issue between Rusty and his mother. Nancy has reservations to Rusty’s quest to attend the Oak City Academy of Design and Art and become an animator, insisting he’ll be more prestigious as a doctor. It is through the intervention of friends and neighbors, however, that she must come to terms with the ambitions only her son is interested in and can make happen. Two bookends I didn’t otherwise expect; needless to say, it’s the first signs of Sunnyville growing the beard indefinitely, while still taking a dive into fun along the way.

With this as an upfront, whoever’s interested is welcome to give Sunnyville Stories a try and find what ground Mr. West has tapped into yet. Ground in the indy community that is only found once in a lifetime. Expect refinements and development of craft as the series progresses. I know it won me over.

Wow…I needed to hear this.  Now I have something to work for – I aim to make Sunnyville volume 4 the best it can be.

If that’s not a reason to get Sunnyville volume 3, I don’t know what is.  And while you’re at it, why not check out volume 1 and volume 2?

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Sunnyville not to fundamentally change

I need to make some clarifications on my upcoming sabbatical.

First and foremost, I am NOT quitting drawing or ending Sunnyville.

Second, Sunnyville Stories is NOT going to fundamentally change.  It will still be a series telling about Rusty & Sam in a small town.  I still plan to keep the look and influence of 20th century newspaper comics (like Peanuts, Garfield, the Far Side, etc).

With all that’s happened and what came before – that was the reason for my planned sabbatical.  I honestly need a break.  I need to take time off to write scripts for Sunnyville numbers 15-22.  It’s also a strain on me to not only write and draw Sunnyville; I have to promote the series, I have to negotiate with vendors & libraries in carrying the work, I have to go to conventions AND I have to handle the business end too like taxes, government paperwork and so on.  (Let this also be a warning out there to whoever thinks cartooning, illustration, animation, etc is glamorous and a quick way to fortune.  It is NOT!)

The aim of the sabbatical is to practice my basic drawing skills (and that will never end).  It’s also to hone my skills with the ink pen, brush up on the format of comics itself (hence why I’m pulling out Scott McCloud’s books) and to review perspective.  While it’s my aim to sometimes use Western style perspective in Sunnyville (one-point, two-point and three-point), I don’t aim to abandon the usually flat and simple perspective that I use in my work.

While taking a break is for my own good, Sunnyville will continue on.

During my time off, the blog will be updated regularly and you’ll get to see my progress.  You’ll also get to see script excerpts and concept art.  As Sunnyville #15 involves Rusty going a game show, I’ve got some neat ideas for that.

Nothing will change except my skills.  I aim to keep going no matter what.


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Notes for April 2, 2016

Well, friends, I’m back to work on comics.  But first a few announcements…

First, my allies at Carmine Street Comics have started a Patreon to support creators.  Be sure to check it out and make your donation!

Second, the annual MoCCA Festival is taking place this weekend in the New York City area.  So if you’re around there, be sure to head on over!  Check out my write-ups on the past events to see what they were like.   Continue reading

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Sunnyville Stories Volume 3 Books on Amazon!

Just a reminder – Sunnyville Stories Volume 3 (ISBN 9780989069625) is now for sale on Amazon!

Get your copy now!!

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Flintlock Book 1 Kickstarter

I came across this on the Self Publisher Association Facebook page.

It’s a Kickstarter for Flintlock Book 1.  It’s got pirates!

Check it out!

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