May 16, 2015

Spot the Easter Eggs!

I've started a little contest over on The Circle's Facebook Page.
Basically, there are four secret things I put into page 6 of the Dryad: A Dream of Awakening story. It's your job to find them.

The first person to find each one gets a sketch of Dryad absolutely free! That includes postage and everything!
Now, the hidden objects are really tough and won't really become apparent until they are discovered, and even then I won't make any promise that they make sense or are legitimate easter eggs! But there are some hints over on the Facebook page, but there's another one right here... faerie anatomy!

While you're over on the Facebook page of The Circle, you might consider giving the old page a 'like' for me too if you're feeling in a generous mood.

May 14, 2015

Dryad: A Dream of Awakening collected

And now, for your viewing pleasure, is the Dryad: A Dream of Awakening story all in one convenient spot as a perty looking PDF. Enjoy...

Dryad: A Dream of Awakening

As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I'm in the process of getting a Patreon program together and it's slowly coming along. This Dryad story is the perfect example of the sort of thing I want to produce much more of from here on out. And with the awesomeness that is Patreon, folks can have the option of supporting me in some way so that I can keep on doing just that.
So how much would you pay for that Dryad story? How much do you think it is worth? $1? $2? $5?! Let me put it to you this way- if I were to produce maybe two of these sorts of stories every month, would you miss a couple of bucks from your bank account if it meant you could continue to see these stories? Not to mention all of the perks you would get...
Anyway, that's enough of me trying to get my hands into your collective purses, wallets and coinbags for the time being!

I'll be back soon with some renditions of Strongbow and maybe even a few other of The Circle's characters. Who knows, I might even give some of them away to folks that like them...
See you then.

Dryad: A Dream of Awakening ends today!

And we've made it to the final page of this little tale of Dryad.
It's been a hugely enjoyable couple of weeks producing these eight pages and I hope that that comes through in the work and that you, too, get some enjoyment out of reading it!

I will be converting these eight separate pages into a self-contained PDF in the coming days, and I'll link to that as soon as it is done. I think the story will flow a lot better once all of the pages are put together in the way they were always intended to be.

Past that, I'll be moving straight on to the next story, which centres around a character by the name of Strongbow. He's a really lovely fellow, salt of the earth and all of that (dripping sarcasm fully intended). Strongbow's little introductory story is a bit more long-winded than the previous Alanna and Dryad ones, so it will be presented in the form of illustrated text, like Alanna's was. It's so long, in fact, that it may turn out that I need three or four installments to get it all out there. So the first one should be out by the end of this month, with the other parts being peppered between the other character stories.
I actually have some decently-sized plans for this Strongbow story, but I shall only leave it at that allusion for the time being...

See you soon and thanks for reading!

May 12, 2015

Dryad: A Dream of Awakening page 7

And here I am again with page 7!
I'm running a little bit behind with everything, I'm afraid. So the final page, which was supposed to be done by today, will have to be delayed a day. But you know, I'm penciling, inking, colouring and lettering each of these pages myself, and holding down a full-time job in the meantime. You'll allow me one extra day, won't you? No?

So tune in tomorrow for the final page in this, the first of many, Dryad story.

May 11, 2015

Dryad: A Dream of Awakening page 6

I know, I KNOW... I'm a day late with page 6! I'm terribly sorry about that. It's because page 6 took a very long time to draw...

As you can see, there's a lot going on in it and it had me up until after 2am last night and back at it at 8.30 this morning. But it's done and I'm happy with it and I hope you like it too. The good news is that page 7 is mere hours away from being released. So while there were no new pages yesterday, you'll be getting two pages today to balance that out nicely.

Anyway, in page 5's post, I mentioned that the music of Jeremy Soule has been having a marked effect on me lately. Well, it's had such an effect on me that I've decided to learn how to play the piano with the full intention of composing my own music to possibly accompany these The Circle stories.
It sounds pretty flippant and crazy, I know. As if learning to play the piano and composing complex orchestral arrangements is just a couple of hours of tinkering with a keyboard away. More like ten thousand hours... but it's something I've wanted to do for a while now and I'm not completely musically illiterate.
I have tunes in my head that I want to make recordings of. If they're good enough, I'll upload them to share, but I imagine a lot of it will either end up in the Recycle Bin or just on my iPod to listen to while I'm drawing or commuting.
I'm ruddy excited by it, I must say.
Now all I need is an actual keyboard...

May 9, 2015

Dryad: A Dream of Awakening page 5

I was naughty last night and didn't do any drawing. I blame Captain America and that pesky Winter Soldier... So I've been playing catch-up today. But here is page 5, hot off the presses.

I've been listening to a lot of stuff on my iPod whilst I've been drawing. I've been a follower of Peter Mohrbacher and Sam Flegal's excellent One Fantastic Week, which I try and catch whenever I have a Tuesday off. But they also have all of their episodes available as MP3's on iTunes, so I've been fairly churning through them (one of my questions to Cory Godbey in episode 47 gets asked, which is cool).

I've also been listening to a lot of Jeremy Soule (surname pronounced 'soul,' as I've only recently discovered) recently. But I shall talk about what that effect that has had on my in tomorrow's post.
See you then!

May 8, 2015

Dryad: A Dream of Awakening page 4

Congratulations everybody, we've made it halfway in one piece!
This was a really fun page to do. I've been drawing these eight pages not necessarily in order, and this page turned out to be the sixth one I did. I feel as though this is the page where I actually started to depict Dryad well.

Tune in tomorrow for page 5 of Dryad's story!

May 7, 2015

Dryad: A Dream of Awakening page 3

Day 3. Page 3. Can somebody remind future Jay to allow more lead-in time for these things? Future-future Jay would no doubt appreciate it!
I like the colours on this page. I went for subtle and less saturated tones for this one, and I think it suits the story much more. I am seriously considering going back and re-colouring the first two pages to match this one more. But that would have to wait until after it has all been released, in the far flung future time of next Tuesday.

Back again tomorrow with page 4! Which reminds me, I should probably go finish page 4...

May 6, 2015

Dryad: A Dream of Awakening page 2

Well, I'm back again with page 2 of Dryad's first solo story, A Dream of Awakening. Here it be...
So I promised yesterday that I'd reveal a little bit more information about this unusual character called Dryad. Well I'm all about keeping promises...

Dryad is a creature of the wild places. While technically she is a female, she and all of her kind (all of which are female too) cannot reproduce. But she and her sisters are mothers to the forests of the Realms of Faerie.

A Dryad is intrinsically tied to her own wood. To permanently separate one from the other is to be the death of both. Even long periods apart will cause great illness to each of them. 

Dryads are magical beings. They age little and live for longer than any but their creator knows. They are made of magic, and have some magical abilities, though these vary from Dryad to Dryad.

And that is all I dare reveal at this time!
Back again tomorrow with page 3.

May 5, 2015

Dryad - 'A Dream of Awakening' begins here!

I don't know why it is, but I almost feel more anxious about releasing this second Tales from Outside The Circle story than I did with the initial one, The Wilds Will Bide.  Don't ask me why that is, because I really don't know why! Maybe it has to do with this being 'that difficult second album,' or maybe it's because the release of this second story makes the reality of what I am trying to do that much more concrete. It's almost as if by doing this second story, there's no turning back! But I don't have a fear of that at all. I guess it's just a plain old fear of falling flat on my face with a property that nobody has any interest in looking at. Now that is quite scary.

But anyway, all I can say is that this 8-page story contains my heart and soul. I didn't leave anything off the drawing board here, I just dove right in and gave it everything I had. I'm pretty happy with the resulting work and I hope you find it enjoyable to read and look at.

So I'm going to be releasing this 8-page story at the rate of one page a day. This is an entirely vacuous and marketing-minded ploy to get as much traffic coming to this site as I possibly can. I'll make no bones about it! It has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that I haven't quite finished all of the pages just yet... nothing at all.
On the eighth and final release day, there will also be the accompanying 8-page PDF of the story released as well, so it can be easily read in one convenient spot.

But that's quite enough of my prattling on! Here now, for your reading pleasure is page 1 of...

I'll be back tomorrow with page 2 and perhaps a little bit more information about this mysterious creature of the woods.
See you then!

May 1, 2015

Patreon & Dryad

So some of you may recall me saying that I had planned to have the 8-page Dryad comic complete and ready to release by the end of April. And wouldn't you know it, it's the first of May and Dryad isn't here yet. Well, she's close, I promise. Real close...
Here's a sneaky look at a finished inked page.
But because she's a little late, this will give me the chance to try out an idea I've got for releasing this particular story. I was, initially, just going to simply release the 8 pages all together as single jpegs here and as a PDF file all together, the same as The Wilds Will Bide story was.
But instead of that, I thought it might be cool to release each page on a separate day. That'll give me a bit of breathing room to get the later pages done and dusted. At this point, I have four pages completely inked, scanned and in various stages of colouring. I have the other four pages roughed out and ready to go. And the good news is, it's a bank holiday here in Ireland this weekend, and I have been generously granted a whole three days off in a row! (a rare thing, as anybody that works in retail will know) So the plan is to start releasing the 8 pages at the rate of one a day some time over those three days, probably on Tuesday the 5th of May.

I must say that I'm really excited about this story and the artwork, and I can't wait to start getting it out there. So keep an eye out for that early next week!
The other bit of news I have to announce is that I am in the process of putting together a Patreon campaign. For those of you that don't know what Patreon is, it's basically a system where I tell people about the project I am working on (The Circle, amazingly), and I give people the opportunity to help support me in my endeavour by donating an amount of money each time I release a story.
So, for instance, if I were to release a 12-page illustrated story about The Circle's character called Longbeard, people that had chosen to become patrons of mine would automatically donate a predetermined amount of money. There are different levels of monetary contribution to be chosen from, and mine will start at $1 and will probably go up to $20 per publication, maybe even higher for the crazy rich folks that love me.
So each time I release something, you donate the amount you have chosen. You can set a monthly cap on how much you donate, so that if I go on a spree and release ten stories, you will only pay the capped amount.

The fun thing about the tiered system of donating money is that each level comes with its own incentive reward. So while all of the stories are going to be released for free this year anyway, as promised, those that donate money to each release will get to see it earlier than non-paying viewers. There are also rewards such as free books (both digital and printed), a 'patron only' blog through the Patreon website and lots of behind the scenes stuff such as video commentaries and looks at early drafts. One of the top tiers even gives a select number of patrons the chance to appear in the actual story!

It's a really awesome program and it has the potential to make creating personal projects much more financially viable. I'm probably still a little ways off going live with my Patreon campaign, but it will be here some time in the next few months. There are videos that need to be made and I want to get a few more stories under my belt, not to mention trying to get a few more potential patrons interested in my work too! But I'll talk more about all of this Patreon stuff soon enough. But you have been warned!

And that's it for me today. I have a couple more days of work and then I'm off for those glorious three days! So I'll be back then with page 1 of Dryad's first story.
Ciao for now.