Kickstarter Update and Kickstarter Live

I’m so excited that we broke though the 75% mark. 

To help celebrate, this Monday at 7pm I’m going to kick off the last week of the Kickstarter with a Kickstarter live stream. You can log in at the Kickstarter page www.tal-nor.com/ks 

 I’ll be answer question about the book, the world of the Tal Nor, upcoming coming signing and comic creation in general. I’ll also talk about how this book came about and some future projects. This is info you will not be able to get anywhere else.  

If you can’t make it to live stream, a recording of the stream will be available for 48 hours and you can leave any questions that you might have in the comments.  

I hope to see you there.  

Be Well,  

T.

Back from Bmore

The Kickstarter (Tal-nor.com/ks) is going strong; we just hit 25 backers and are a mere $428 away from hitting our goal. With 12 days left to go, I’m confident that we can make it before the deadline. I have some ideas for stretch goals, but first we need to make our funding goal. Remember that Kickstarter is all or nothing.

But enough about that I want to talk about the amazing comic book event I went to over the weekend. A huge thank you to everyone at Bmore into Comics (https://www.facebook.com/bmoreintocomics/) for having me as guest at the show. It was so much fun. Two rows of incredible comic creators, each of them doing exciting books. There were three great panels all about making comics. And most importantly, everyone was simply delightful to spend the afternoon with. The only down side is that I don’t live closer and had to leave right after the show. 

On top of all that I got to hang out with one of my favs, our Cover artist Noella Whitney! I had a blast getting to catch up with her. If you have had the chance yet, go to her super fun comic http://broadsidecomic.com/ 

 Even though he didn’t have a table, my friend and fellow comic writer Jordan Clark (http://jclarkcomics.squarespace.com/) came by to hang out. He brought me the most wonderful gift, a signed copy of this weeks Bitch Planet Triple Feature #2. Jordan wrote the one of the stories in Bitch Planet Triple Feature #2 and it is Fan-freakin-tastic!!! Seriously, my next email after this update will be to tell him how awesome his story is! And get this, the two other stories are just as good. Do yourself a favor and go get this book on Wednesday. 

To hold you over until Wednesday, go check out the comics these fine creators make. Look here’s a handy list of links: 

 Blue Geek Music | http://www.bluegeekmusic.com/ 

Shreyas R Krishnan | https://www.shreyasrkrishnan.com/ 

Parker Hicks | http://vengefulghost.com/ 

M.Victoria Robado | http://www.shourimajo.com/ 

Jamie Noguchi | http://www.ypcomic.com/ 

Emily Beauparlant | www.waywardstudios.net

Deandra Tan | http://nikacomics.com/ 

Cait May | http://irregularcomic.com 

Barbara Perez | http://www.mustachebabs.com/ 

Ashanti Fortson | http://ashantifortson.com/ 

Jonathan Eaton | http://thisis65.com/ 

Kata Kane | altar-girl.com / kata-kane.com 

I would be remised if I didn’t mention one of my favorite people in all of comics and founder of Bmore into Comics, Monica Gallagher (http://www.eatyourlipstick.com/). I met Monica back at SPX back in ‘04 or ’05. I dug her art right away and after talking to her I quickly realized, she is the nicest person you’d ever meet. After years of seeing each other at show we became friends and she invited me to be part of Bmore #10. She was one of the first people to make me feel I belonged in comics, that I was a colleague. She couldn’t be there this time because she’s dealing with some heath stuff, but I’m, sure she’ll bounce back and be fine. You can check out another one of her comics here: http://www.webtoons.com/en/romance/assassin-roommate/list?title_no=1050 

I think that enough awesome people to keep you busy reading comics from now until I ship out your rewards. 

 Be Well, 

 T. Perran Mitchell

Behind the scene part 2

Hi, welcome back to part two of our look behind the scene at how I go about making comics. We’re doing this as part of the Kickstarter campaign for issue #2 click HERE to back.

Yesterday day we talked a lot about what it takes to get to the script. For me, as you saw, it means a lot of notes and thinking and maybe a little… OK a lot of pre-writing.

Once all of that is done, I sit down and bang out a draft of the script. In writing the script I try to think of each panel as a story beat, a snapshot into the action. How many story beats to we want on a given page, how will this flow from one page to the next? After having written a very rough draft I’ll give it a few passes, each time asking those types of questions.

When I’ve gotten the draft to point that it’s readable and I have everything more or less laid out the way I want, I turn it over to editorial. On this issue, I worked with an amazing editor named Jenny Fengler. I have always found that good editing is really asking good questions and Jenny asked some great questions. She helped me tightened up the script by asking why I did thing a certain way or why a character did something. This led me to reexamine the choices I made and if there were right for the story, if they were true to the characters. I can say without a doubt every time she asked a question it was because I was wrong and she was right.

Next comes the art. I’m extremely luck to work with such a talented artist as Kelsea. She has a great sense of how a comic should be laid out. She will take my ideas and run with them, sometimes adding more panels than I called for some time collapsing where I thought there should be two panels into one. Besides that, she also asked a lot of questions. It was almost like having a second editor, in the best possible way. Once again, she was right and I was wrong (I sense a theme). Every time I made a change it made for a better story.

Now that we talked a little bit about work flow, here is an example of the script I hand off to Kelsea. On the Kickstarter page, you’ll find the finished pages leading up to this one.

PAGE 5 (6 panels)

PANEL ONE

Inside of the constable’s HQ. I’m thinking that this is where we’ll see the strongest western influences. The inside of the constable’s office resembles that of a marshal or sheriff’s station in a western. There are a couple of desks, a pair of holding cells and hallway that leads to a couple of interview rooms along with a break room for the officers.

With the Mrayaks waiting outside, Sophie and Kat stand with the mayor in front of one of the jail cells. In the cell, sitting on the bed. is Emma. She has a wide-brim Cowboy hat on, which is lowered to cover most of her face. It appears as if Emma might be sleeping.

BERNARD LOA:

This is our constable -- and the Murderer -- Emma Magarey.

SOPHIE:

Wow. This is looking like our easiest case ever, isn’t it, Kat?

KAT:

I think so, Soph. I mean, normally we have to investigate…but Mayor Loa has obviously done all that work for us.

PANEL TWO

Sophie and Kat continue to talk with the mayor. They both have had their fill of these kind of small town mayors who think they know how to do everyone else’s job better than they do. They’re not doing anything to try to hide their feelings of disdain. Please position them so that it will be easy to show that Kat is cutting him off via lettering.

SOPHIE:

Obviously. With such conviction in your voice, Mayor Loa, why you must have witnessed the murder yourself!

BERNARD LOA:

Well…no, but--

KAT:

(Interrupting and cutting off the mayor)

Did anyone witness it?

PANEL THREE

Kat gets in the mayor’s face. She is giving him the kind of neutral stare that only truly dangerous people are capable of. The kind of stare that looks through a person like they’re insignificant, and that the person staring could end them without any real trouble at all. The mayor is doing his best to drop his eyes to avoid Kat’s. Inside, Bernard Loa would like to do nothing better than run from the room screaming, but he is too afraid of what reaction that might provoke.

BERNARD LOA:

(in a near whisper)

No.

KAT:

Then let us do our job.

EMMA:

(From off Panel)

Oh, I like her.

PANEL FOUR

Emma Stands up next to her bed, is and is walking towards the door of the jail cell. She has tipped her hat back on her head so that the reader can see her face fully.

EMMA:

Hi. I’m Emma Magarey, town constable.

PANEL FIVE

We can see Sophie, Kat and Emma (who has reached the door to the jail cell and is resting her hands on the bars). Everyone is standing very casually. The mayor has backed away from this exchange nervously. He may or may not be in the panel.

SOPHIE:

Pleased to meet you, Constable Magarey.

I’m Rytier Sophie LeCoise.

This is my partner, Rytier Kat Zang.

KAT:

Why does the mayor think you’re the murderer?

PANEL SIX

Close up of Emma. Her nonchalance has broken down a bit and her true and deep sorrow is starting to show through. She has been holding it together well, but she is near her breaking point.

EMMA:

If I had to take a guess, it’s probably because Cylise Magery is my ex-husband.

<end page 5>

One thing I tend to do is not give a lot of art direction. I ‘ll first set down the facts of a panel then I like to talk about the feel of a place. After that I like to focus on the actual story of what is happening. I’ll write what each character is feeling and what they’re thinking on a particular page. The way I look at it is that I’m paying the artist for their expertise in illustrating. I don’t need to tell them how to elicit an emotion or capture a mood, I just need to tell them what the character feeling and they’ll know how to show it on the page.

After I’ve handed the script off, and answered all of Kelsea questions (each time we work together she has less, which I take as a sign I’m improving as a writer), she goes about laying each page out in rough pencils. Here is what page five looked like.

Jenny and I will look over them to make sure that we’re all envisioning that same comic and that there were no mistakes in the script. It is easier to fix mistakes here than it is to once the inks are down. When the water coloring starts, there are no changes that can be made.

I’m truly impressed that we never had to have Kelsea change anything. She hit the layouts out of the park on the first go. Let me say again I’m so very luck to work with so many talented people like Jenny and Kelsea.

Next time we’ll look at the inked line work and my preliminary lettering.

Until then, be well and thank you for backing this book. Your support means the world to me.

T. Perran Mitchell

Behind the scene part 1

As part of the Kickstarter I’m currently running for issue #2 ( CLICK HERE www.tal-nor.com/ks), I wanted to give a behind the scenes look at how I go about making a comic. It all starts way before the script. I begin by throwing some ideas down on paper by hand. Notes about plot lines and things I want to accomplish within the story. It’s a tool I use to brainstorm ideas and to start getting the ideas to a coherent form. These pages pile up, some of them get lost, some of them get thrown away as I decide what direction the story will move in, but most of them I’ll keep a reference while I write the outline and even sometimes the script. Here is an example of an early note about issue #2, I’ve blacked out the spoilers, please forgive the handwriting and poor spelling.

The objective here wasn’t to get the whole story down as much as it was to discover the shape of things. It was also a way to get to know one of the characters. My writing process is character driven. I do a ton of work getting to know each of the characters before I start writing. I like to know who they are, what they want and what they need before I start. Once I know that, I’ll just put them in a situation and see how they react. At that point, it as much them telling me what happens as it is me making stuff up.

The actual killing, the first two pages of the book, came to me all at once and I saw it very clearly. What wasn’t so clear was who the killer was and how it all went down. To figure that out I had to write a suspect list:

You can see here I have a pretty long list, with people and an idea for their motive. Some of these suspects got cut for space (comics only have so many pages). Other it turned out were figments of my imagination and don’t exist in the world of the final comic. Remember until it’s in the final, published comic, it’s not real.

After I wrote up all of these notes, realized I needed to delve more into the back story of this town and the people in it. These are things I needed to know so I could get a better handle on who everyone is and the events leading up to the comic. I ended up writing about 10 pages of prose spelling out the what happened before the comic. These pages were really helpful in working out just who did the murder and why. These pages are also something no one will ever see. Partly because much of it is kind of boring and some of what I wrote is full of salty language. I drew a bit of inspiration for this town from the show Deadwood. Now, if you’ve seen Deadwood, you know that it is just about as far from an all-ages show as one can get. I want my comic to be OK for a younger crowd to enjoy. So, all that writing had to be confined to the realm of research and for my eyes only.

Once that was done, I start plotting the book in a bullet point fashion. This outline will serve as a road map for the script. One which I take several detours from as I write. It also one that would have taken to a different place than the actual book, if I had followed it to the letter. Unfortunately, it’s full of way too many spoilers to share in an edited form.

Tomorrow we’ll pick up with a page from the script and rough pencils that Kelsea developed from them. Until then, thank you for your support and please help spread the word about this Kickstarter. You can use the shorten link www.tal-nor.com/ks

Be well,

T.

Three Days/Seven Days

Three days until we have a print ready copy of The Chronicles of the Tal Nor #2. That right, besides crossing a T and dotting an I or two we are done with issue two!! The main hurtles have been my day job becoming deadline city, eating up most of my energy and my anxiety, about screwing all of this up, eating up what was left. Somehow through it all we manage to get this done.

Given that we have a couple days left, if you want to get any last-minute letters into the letter page. You still have a tiny amount of time left. Send them to Talnorcomics@gmail.com and mark them OK To Print.

Seven Days until we lunch our Kickstarter. I originally planned to launch tonight, but when I looked at the calendar I saw we’d be hitting 4th of July right out the gate. Since that would be a dead-day and possibly weekend here in the US, I decide to push it back past the 4th to Wednesday July 5th. What better day to launch than New Comic Book Day! Stay tune for a link next Wednesday.

It’s been a long journey to get here but we are closer than ever to holding issue #2 in our hands. When it felt like I would never complete this project and need a pick me up, I turned to this song by The Doubleclicks. I hope it can inspire you to keep making things and working on your creations as much as it inspires me.

Be Well,

T.

The Little Things

It’s the little things in life that making an upcoming event feel real. I’ve been excited for SPX ever since I received the email saying I won the SPX lotto and would have a table at this year’s Small Press Expo. The release of this year’s floor map, showing me and Steve at table L6 (Click the table number for a map), amped up the excitement. But it didn’t start to feel tangibly real until I received my new Square reader (I can take cards with chips now, as well as Apple Pay and I’m sure other things I don’t even know about yet) and my Maryland Tax info on the same day.

This has led to both feelings of excitement and the beginning of the normal pre-convention worries. I’m sure I’m not alone in my pre-con fears which includes but not limited being worried about the following:

·         No one will buy my books

·         I won’t bring enough and miss out on sales (this leads me to bringing everything in my trunk)

·         I’ll forget just about everything

·         There will be a mix up with our hotel room and we’ll have nowhere to stay

·         I’ll have some sort of panic attack/freak out

Now, has any of these things ever happened? Well, outside of forgetting a few minor con supplies (like snacks or extra note cards) none of these things have ever happened. But that’s how it goes with irrational fears. I have them before every con and they drop away as soon as I set up and talk to the first convention goer.

In other news we have been hard at work on issue. Kelsea is killing it with the new character designs. While we won’t have it completed in time for SPX, there is a chance of something new on the table. In the meantime here is a tiny preview of what we’re working on.

 

Be Well

T.

Happy New Year,

What, it’s February? ALREADY!? Time flies when you’re working hard and we here a Tal Nor central have been working hard on putting together The Chronicles of the Tal Nor #2 along with a few other secret projects.  In addition to that I have a not secret, non - Tal Nor project to help hold you over until the next issue comes out.

I wrote the opening story for the Club 27 Anthology from Red Stylo Media.  This rock themed anthology features stories inspired by the infamous club 27, Rock Stars whom all died at 27.  There’s tales inspired by Janis Joplin, Jimmy Hendrix, Kurt Cobain, Amy Winehouse and More!  The art and writing on this book is amazing and I’m honored that not only did they ask me to write a comic for this book, but they choose it to kick off the book!  For more details and to get a copy head on over to Red Stylo Media website. http://redstylo.com/project/27-a-comic-anthology/

More news to coming soon!

T.