Thursday, 17 April 2014

The WonderCon of you - April 18-20

Tomorrow sees the start of the WonderCon weekend in Anaheim.

I'll be at table AA-237 for my first con of the year.

I'll have the following stuff available -


Hero Code issues 1, 2 and the stand alone issue 6.

issue 1, cover art by Drew Johnson
Issue 2, art by Agustin Calcagno
issue 6 art by David Brame
Hero Code Theatre of War Prologue (art card editions - come with sketch cards)

art by Agustin Calcagno
4 of the sketch cards from the series
Hero Code Theatre of War issue 1 ashcan (black and white)

art by Gary Lister
The Black Wraith - ashcan sets (four issues)

issue one cover by Ming Doyle
Omnitarium trades (full and half sized, as well as a couple of sets of issues 1-4 left)

art by J C Grande

Department O issues 1 and 2

art by Andrew MacLean
Samurai The Graphic Novel book 1

cover by Drew Johnson
Hero Code issue 1 sketch cover editions

this one's by me!
I'll also have some prints, a few mini-comics (ID is the lonely monster), collectors card sets.


Price list is as follows:

$5 - single comics/prints

$10 - Books or sets (Omnitarium, Black Wraith set, Samurai)

$20 - sketch covers (though I often do deals on the ones I've done as I have no confidence as an artist!)

And I tend to do bundle deals - normally $20 for five prints, and this convention I'll have the Mega Bundle deal - a copy of everything and a print (so 3 sets or books, 7 comics, a print) for $50.

I'll also be doing a few sketch cards myself while there.

And, yes, I take credit cards.


I'm also going to be running a raffle - every transaction will get you a ticket, every Mega Bundle transaction will get you five. Prize is a rather excellent sketch cover by Russell Fox, featuring Matt Smith's Doctor.

Hopefully I'll see you there - table AA 237 (like the room in the Shining, but I promise not to chase you into a snowy maze with an axe).

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Let it Flow - creating a PDF for Comixology Submit.

Hero Code Theatre of War Prologue. A long title for a book which took me a long time to format and get right for Comixology Submit.

It got accepted today, but not after a lot of back and forth, to and fro, up and down.

The original art was done at A4, which was strange in it's own right, and then reduced down to A5 for print. I used those A5 pages to create Comixology spec JPEGS (1800pxls on the smallest side) and then a PDF for submission, and had problems with the text articulating (pixelating).

The original TIFFS (both A4 and A5) were at 300dpi, CMYK (for print), which was converted to 72dpi and RGB for the PDF.

The next round of conversions was a head scratcher - and not just my head.

I went back to the original A4 sized files and resized them to the Comixology spec - but going a little higher than the minimum - 2000pxls on the smallest side (width for standard pages, height for a double paged spread).

The head scratching came around when I produced the PDF. It had two pages which appeared smaller than the others. I checked the sizing, I checked the resolution (on both the original art, and the reformatted art), but the pages were appearing (in Preview and Adobe Reader) as different.

I resubmitted, and Comixology got back to me, and quoted that a different page from the ones I was seeing as small was a different size!

I again checked, looking at this new page, and could not see any information to say it was different.

I went back to the drawing board, and reworked my work flow, this time getting it right.

For the sake of helping anyone out there who is planning on submitting to Comixology, I now give you a quick outline of my workflow. It may be convoluted, it may have unnecessary steps in there, but it's what works for me!

Comixology Work Flow

When I get the files back of the finished pages - normally from the last person in the chain (letterer, usually) these come back as print files - that is CMYK, 300dpi.

These come back bigger than the print size (for standard comic size I use Ka-Blam's guides, which can be found here).

I then go into Adobe Illustrator and using my guide page (7x10.5 inches) I reduce the file page down to fit this. Depending on where I am printing, I will either keep the file as CMYK or convert to RGB at this stage. I also save the new file at 600dpi, keeping it as a TIFF, but using the LZW compression.

I also take this chance to rename the resized file to my own naming system - normally print page number - comic name and issue - page name or number (e.g. 01hctowpfrontcover or 03hctowppp001). This saves a little time later, and helps keep the names separate from the original files.

I tend to save everything to Desktop while I'm working, so I can see it easily.

I then create two folders - one for print and one for digital, and drop all the resized print files into the print folder.

Using GraphicsConverter 9 (I have the paid for version, but you can use it for free) I then open all the print files up, and begin the conversion process.

Going into Picture I will convert the mode to RGB if it's still CMYK, and then Size to change the image settings. I use pixels as reference, and keep the image proportionate, changing the narrow side of the image to 2000pxls.

I will then save this new size image as a JPEG to desktop - this step usually drops the resolution down to 72dpi.

Once done with all these files, I drop them into the digital folder.

I then create the PDF using iCombiner - it's a very simple drag and drop program, and the file naming system I use should keep everything in page order.

Once the PDF is created - named as the issue title and number and saved to desk top - I check it over, and if all is good, it is ready to go.

I hope this helps - I'll also do some smaller posts later about the process of submitting, creating the cover image for Submit, etc, but that's it for now.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Black Wraith Kickstarter

We've launched a micro-Kickstarter campaign to help get the Black Wraith mini-series collected into a single book - campaign here!

Black Wraith 1 cover, by Ming Doyle and Heather Breckel

Springing from the pages of the Hero Code, The Black Wraith quickly became a favorite with readers. G Brett Williams and M L Harris got together to produce this contained story.

We hope you'll consider backing or sharing the project.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

MPS Survey

As we move into year 5 for MPS, I wanted to run a quick survey for MPS.


Monday, 31 March 2014

What is on Table AA237? (pt one)

I'll be at WonderCon in Anaheim this year, April 18-20 - table AA 237 (easy enough to remember for any fans of The Shining out there!).

There'll be comics, including a couple of new ones (issue two of Department O, as well as the long awaited issue two of The Hero Code), and a handful of collector cards and prints.

I'll be posting some images and further info closer to the date, including some info for some competitions.

Hope to see you there.

Thursday, 26 December 2013

Patreon Page for Monkey Pipe Studios

I've been thinking about trying this for a while now, and figure nothing ventured nothing gained.

I've set up a Patreon page for Monkey Pipe Studios.

The idea of Patreon is kind of like an on-going Kickstarter campaign crossed with a subscription service (I think!).

Rather than getting people to help you meet a specific goal (although you can do that), you go for kind of continual backing, a patronage of the arts, which sees people pay for your work as and when it is created.

I've set it up primarily as a subscription service for The Hero Code, but will be including other MPS titles. I've also set it up with the plan to not publish more than a book a month maximum.

Check out the page here, and consider becoming a Patreon of the arts.