Sunnyville Stories #15, Pages 1-2

Hello, Sunnyville fans!  Before we get started, I’ve got a couple of announcements.

First, some bad news – I won’t be at Anime Fargo as my application for the artist alley was rejected.  However, I will be at Valleycon so I’ll keep you posted on that.

Second, I’ve signed up on Ko-Fi.  Ko-Fi is a sort of “tip” service where if you like someone’s work you can buy them a “Ko-Fi”, which is a monetary tip equivalent to a cup of coffee.  If you’re a Sunnyville fan, be sure to buy me a Ko-Fi today!

Last item before we move onto new business – I launched a webcomic last week which has its own blog.  It’s called Tiffany & Corey.  Be sure to check it out!   Continue reading

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Tiffany and Corey

I’m here tonight to talk to you about another work of mine.  It will be launching tomorrow.

I have created a webcomic series consisting of gag cartoons titled Tiffany & Corey.  Tiffany & Corey has its own blog but will be getting updates on Facebook (albeit to select people), Twitter, Google+ and Tumblr.

Tiffany & Corey is a gag series emphasizing humor above all.  Unlike Sunnyville Stories, there’s no ongoing storyline or saga so it’s easy to get into and you won’t have to worry about continuity.  Another difference from Sunnyville Stories is that title characters aren’t anthropomorphic animals…they’re human!  It’s also fair to warn you that while Sunnyville is more “general audiences”, Tiffany & Corey is a little more adult towards the “parental guidance suggested” spectrum.  There are jokes involving alcohol (Tiffany is implied to be  quite a drinker) as well as dark comedy.

The idea of doing gag cartoons isn’t new to me.  I tried doing gag cartoons when I first started learning to draw.  During my freelancer days in Greensboro, I even submitted gag cartoons to magazines without success.  Work on Tiffany & Corey began back in February.  I spent two months recording jokes and gags in a notebook.  I scoured joke books in the library, online joke websites, and old magazines like Reader’s Digest, Boys Life, etc. for source material.  I have about 600 jokes written down, enough material for at least a few years.

Tiffany & Corey will be updated twice a week, on Tuesdays and on Fridays, with black & white gag cartoons.  I have some color cartoons ready and will be sharing them too on the site.

I am under no illusion that this creation of mine will be a smash hit.  It may not be the next Peanuts, Garfield or Popeye.  It may not even be the next Lockhorns, Heathcliff, Dennis the Menace or B.C.  But at least I have faith in this work and plan to show what I’m really capable of.

So tomorrow morning on Tuesday, June 13, 2017 around 5:42 AM Central Standard Time, the first Tiffany & Corey gag cartoon will be posted to the above blog link.  A color cartoon will follow on Friday June 16.

And so make sure you tune in tomorrow morning.  Tomorrow on that fateful day, you will be taking a trip…an adventure, perhaps. You will meet two characters with whom you will travel with not only that day, but also in the future as well…

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Computers And Making Comics, Part 4

Ladies and gentlemen, we have reached the end of my look at the computer in making comics.

Be sure to read the previous entries.  You’ll have to check other sources to see how specifically draw on the computer.

One good source I recommend is ImagineFX magazine.  They have articles and tutorials on how to draw on the computer as well as handy art techniques.

There’s also two more books from DC Comics if you’re into the more mainstream superhero style of comics making.

One is The DC Comics Guide to Coloring and Lettering Comics by Mark Chiarello and Todd Klein.  It’s exactly what it says on the tin – it explains how to letter on the computer and how to color your comics digitally, also going over techniques, methods and pitfalls to avoid.

If you want to do EVERYTHING on the computer, you may want to read The DC Comics Guide to Digitally Drawing Comics by Freddie Williams II.  I have not read it myself as I work traditionally but it may be worth checking out.


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Computers and Making Comics, Part 3

I have talked about hardware when it comes to using computers to making comics.  What about software?

There’s many choices out there.  All drawing programs come down to two kinds – raster and vector.  Raster-based programs have images depicted as pixels.  Vector-based programs have images depicted as lines.  I cannot comment on which is better; it’s based on one’s own preference.

As for the software out there, those are many.  All programs out there are either vector or raster.  Photoshop from Adobe is arguably the most popular as it is considered an industry standard.  I use Photoshop 6.0 myself.  There’s also Photoshop Elements which is a cheaper and scaled down version of Photoshop.

Illustrator is another popular program.  If you like mimicking traditional media, Painter from Corel may be just what you need.  Like Photoshop Elements above, it comes in a scaled down version called Painter Essentials.

The list of drawing programs out there would be too long to list.  Some of the more well-known ones out there are OpenCanvas, SAI, Autodesk Sketchbook, and Manga Studio.

Unfortunately, these software programs I mentioned have the same issue as the hardware I discussed last time – cost.  Many of these are NOT cheap.  They will run for several hundred dollars or even into the thousands.  You might be able to save money by getting older versions of the software.

There are free drawing programs out there such as GIMP and Inkscape.  As I don’t use these myself, I can’t comment on how useful they are so you are on your own there.

Since drawing software represents a significant cost, it’s best to familiarize yourself with the program and really get to know how to work it.  A trip to your local library or bookstore should turn up several handy books on how to use these programs.  In fact, in the final part of the series, I’ll clue you into various resources for producing comics or digital art on computers.

Please sign up for the Sunnyville Stories mailing list if you haven’t yet.

Also, be sure to stop over to DriveThru Comics for digital copies of Sunnyville Stories.  Copies of Sunnyville Stories Volume 1 are still for sale on Amazon, both in print and Kindle formats!  While you’re there, be sure to pick up Sunnyville Stories Volume 2 and (if you love Gothic horror) Von Herling, Vampire Hunter!  And now available is the latest installment of the saga, Sunnyville Stories Volume 3.  Get them today!

Copies of all the above titles are available to the library trade via Brodart Company and to retailers from Ingram and Baker & Taylor (via BCH Distribution).  Copies are also available direct from the publisher.  For ordering information, contact maxwestart(at)gmail(dot)com or write to:

Different Mousetrap Press LLC, 1100 19th Avenue N, #108, Unit J, Fargo ND 58102-2269 USA  


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Sunnyville Ads to Get BIG EXPOSURE!

Greetings, friends.  I have some exciting news to share with you.  Tomorrow, I’ll wrap up my computer series and also I want to remind you to go back the Thunderchickens Kickstarter if you haven’t done so.

Sometime ago, I reported that Alterna Comics is doing a line of cheap newsprint comics.  They retail for US$1.50 each and are available in many comic book shops through Diamond as well as through newsstands.  I also reported that Sunnyville Stories is advertising in some of the summer and fall releases.   Continue reading

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The Thunderchickens Kickstarter

Today, I want to stump for another Kickstarter campaign.  This one is for a project called the Thunderchickens.

The Thunderchickens is a general audiences comic, not unlike Sunnyville Stories.  The campaign has roughly ten days left to make its goal of US$5,000.

The Thunderchickens is a superhero title but is a child-friendly title too and features other elements like family relationships to set it apart from the usual DC or Marvel fare.

With its offbeat premise, beautiful artwork and enthusiastic creators, the Thunderchickens is worth pledging to – be sure you spread the word about this magnificent comics Kickstarter today!

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Computers and Making Comics, Part 2

Picking up from where we left off last time, I’ll talk some more about computers and how they tie into making comics.

In this particular blog post, friends, I’ll discuss hardware.  Before we get started, I need to emphasize what I said the last time – technology is constantly changing.  It gets better and better year by year.  That cutting-edge, state-of-the-art latest model desktop unit you see in your friendly neighborhood computer store may become completely obsolete within as little as a year.  It is possible to get upgrades on older computers and retrofit them with increased capabilities.   Continue reading

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Computers and Making Comics, Part 1

Today, I’m going to talk about a tool in making comics that I haven’t really touched on yet.  That is the computer.

In today’s highly digital, Internet connected age, the computer has become one of the standard tools in making comics.  In some instances, it is the primary or even sole method of making comics.

It is not my intention to slam the computer method of making comics; I say this because I work traditionally and I have grown up as part of Generation X (I was born on the tail end of it), the first generation to grow up with personal technology like video games, home video, cable television, and (natch) computers.  In this series of blog posts, I want to give a basic overview of computers to make comics with and let you make your own decisions on whether they’re right for you.   Continue reading

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The Next Kickstarter To Be Announced Soon

Tonight, we have a special update.  First, I have some more pages up to my children’s picture book Hilda & Richie so be sure to take a look.

Next, the Kickstarter for the Auroraman/Axiom-Man team-up was fully funded!  When I shared my blog post last night, the Kickstarter was about halfway funded and had 24 hours to go.  I was astounded to learn that the Kickstarter met its goal, raising the second half of its goal and making it within a 24-hour period.  I did stump for this Kickstarter on my blog as well as my other channels like Twitter and Facebook.

Speaking of Kickstarter, I’ll have a big announcement to make next month in June.  I am planning another Kickstarter early next year to fund my next book Sunnyville Stories Volume 4.  My successful Kickstarter from earlier this year has given me the momentum I need and valuable insight to do another one.

I’ve been busy.  Besides working on Sunnyville #15 and #16 (which will be in Sunnyville volume 4), I’ve been analyzing the data from the Super Special Kickstarter.  The numbers from there are impressive – I pulled in much traffic thanks to the blog, Twitter, Facebook and my supporters.  Still though, it is not enough.

To make sure the next one succeeds, I’m reviewing some new tactics from online workshops on Kickstarter and crowdfunding.  You’ll find out about those soon enough.  Stay tuned to the blog for more news and updates!

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Auroraman & Axiom-Man Kickstarter IN FINAL HOURS!!

There’s a Kickstarter in its final hours that needs your help!

This Kickstarter features two Canadian superheroes – the Auroraman created by Elaine Will & Jeff Burton and Axiom-Man created by A.P. Fuchs.

This Kickstarter is in its last hours.  It’s about halfway to its goal but only has a little over 24 hours to meet its funding goal.  It will not succeed if it doesn’t make its goal by tomorrow on Thursday, May 4, 2017 at 8:59PM Central Time.

If you have money to spare, please pledge to this Kickstarter.  If nothing else, spread the word!

UPDATE:  As of May 4, the Kickstarter has been fully funded!

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