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Moving, Expanding, and Distribution Plans

Moving, Expanding, and Distribution Plans published on No Comments on Moving, Expanding, and Distribution Plans

Hey there! This is an update for everyone who isn’t aware of what’s happening on our end. What have we been up to since we started working on comics again?

1. We’ve moved. Kelly is getting married; her fiance lives in Virginia, so she relocated and they now reside in a quaint little house. It’s everything she’s ever asked for, aside from her wish of becoming a famous artist. She’s still working on that last bit.

2. We’re expanding. Per the move, Kelly is now working on obtaining more funds to get an in-house printer. We’re looking for the industrial type so we can drop-ship exact issue orders and save money in the long run. This is going to run us a few hundred bucks, perhaps even a thousand. In the end, we’ll have full control of what we publish, when, and how.

3. We’re planning distribution, our way. This comes after the printer business–physical distribution. We’re looking mostly to the east coast and will work our way back west.

Until then, we’re illustrating issue two of The Other World and will distribute digitally. You can buy our works here. Thanks!

PS- Kelly’s gotten a lot of feedback on that Youtube tutorial on comic-making she posted a bit ago, so she’s sort of promised to run a series. Maybe. If she can get a good camera.

See ya,
Jaime and Kelly

The Other World

The Other World published on No Comments on The Other World

OtherWorld2

Time flies, doesn’t it?

We’ve launched the first issue of The Other World; you can buy it here. This is a bimonthly series and we’re working on the next script now.

I would like to thank everyone for their support up to this point. On a personal level, a lot of things set us back from putting out our next in-house comic. I lost a dear friend to cancer exactly a year ago today. Needless to say, it was hard trudging through the grief to start creating consistently again.

Thanks again for looking forward to the next chapter in this series, and we hope you enjoy the first issue!

We’re Headed To New York!

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No, we’re not moving, we’re just attending a book release party there!

A few months ago, we did some illustration for the book “Love In All Forms: The Big Book Of Growing Up Queer”, which saw overwhelming success and a lot of community support. A book store in Manhattan has purchased copies to sell in their shop, and will be holding a book release party for contributing authors to attend.

I don’t have dates yet for the event, but I’m extremely excited about going! I’ve always wanted to celebrate something I’ve done in New York, so it looks like I’m starting to accomplish that dream early. Jaime doesn’t live too far away, so we’ll be going together if we can.

More info as I get it!

-kmg

For The Sake of Visibility: I Am Genderfluid

For The Sake of Visibility: I Am Genderfluid published on No Comments on For The Sake of Visibility: I Am Genderfluid

On the back-end of this website, there’s nothing new happening. We get a ton of spambot comments per usual, but now they’re getting a little fresh: “Can I take you to get a cup of coffee?”  “I’d like to get to know you a little better.” I never knew we’d be so exposed to such bold flirtations from non-sentient programming.

Here’s a new thing though, fresh on the horizons from my personal desk, but put here because I feel this intersects with Ashur’s business and writing. Throughout my career, I have worked on paintings that played with gender (“Spirit of Detroit”, which used a male model presenting as a female to replace a male model in order to embody a new, fresh feminine persona of the city), have masked as a man or someone of neutral gender (see my article with South End), and worked on a book starring a transgender woman (“Transhuman Resources”). I have been comfortable throughout all this because none of it ever bothered me, though I did sometimes wonder what, especially about the masking, it said about me. I like being neutral and sometimes male. It makes me feel more like myself.

I sat one day pondering this and then realized what I am, is genderfluid. I identify as a woman, except in some cases, I don’t. Nothing about me changes and there’s no new information aside from that except the name.

But what is in a name is visibility, and telling the world that yes, I’m here. I exist, and I’m not straight (I’m bisexual, actually), and I don’t follow gender norms either. I’m doing this for people I feel can’t speak up or want encouragement. They can at least count one more person in the creative field who is non-binary and belongs to the LGBT community.

This is all this post is. Visibility. For those that need it, I hope it helps. You can be and do anything you want to in life. To hell with anyone who says you can’t.

 

kmg

This Is An Official Update

This Is An Official Update published on No Comments on This Is An Official Update

Hi! This is an official update from us on how things are going.

We got this tweet, which made me extremely flattered anyone cared to know what the collective has been up to:

And I was like, wow. I didn’t realize we seemed so inactive!

Here’s the thing about me: I do my thing, and then I space out and don’t realize how quiet I get. I tend to also default to an extreme sort of modesty, in that I don’t like to talk about myself as much. I’m pretty sure that comes off as me just not doing anything. I apologize for that.

The truth is, we’ve been making money quietly. Ever since Red Bull happened, I’ve been getting back to 3d modeling and texturing, freelance writing, and selling paintings. We’ve had some more work from the Red Bull show sell to various collectors, with some being shipped off as far as Portland, Oregon. I’m preparing to work on a second collection of art that will premiere this fall at Baltimore Gallery in Detroit.

Some paintings were also shown off at the Jivehouse Fundraiser (which I forgot to blog, apologies) at the 4731 Gallery in Detroit.

In between this, I work on my political fellowship with the Economic Justice Alliance of Michigan, and am working on developing a weekly radio show with 96.7 WNUC-LPFM Detroit.

We also got an offer to turn Blood Money into a movie again, but we’ll see how that goes. I tend not to say much on that sort of front until I see some money change hands. Til then, it’s all speculation.

I apologize for the lack of updates! I hope this suffices for now. Please feel free to always tweet us at my personal twitter handle (@kgpaints), Jaime’s (@jaimeacocella), or the collective’s (@ashurcollective).

kmg

Red Bull House of Art, An Awesome Short

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Kelly Guillory: Artist Profile – Red Bull House Of Art from Shane Law on Vimeo.

This video of me was done while I was participating in the Red Bull House of Art fellowship. I am so thankful to Shane Law Productions for creating this awesome short!

If you didn’t get to see my work at Red Bull House of Art, some of the pieces will be hanging at a Black Milk show coming up in the very near future. RBHoA alum Niki Urban and I will be displaying work together.

I’m still expecting to show in New York later this year, I’m sure I’ll hear back on the status of that at some point soon. The planned list of exhibitors for NYC include myself, Ellen Rutt, and the amazing Molly Soda.

-kmg

We Were Interviewed By The Rack Show!

We Were Interviewed By The Rack Show! published on No Comments on We Were Interviewed By The Rack Show!

Hi!

The Rack Show, a geek/pop culture podcast that interviews local creatives, talked to me this past Sunday about current and past projects. For those waiting to see “The Other World” completed, I’ve narrated the first half in this episode for you. There’s still sixteen more pages being added that are not shown here.

I brought along some tools of the trade to show how I work, along with art for everyone to check out.

I hope you enjoy the interview! You can check out The Rack Show here.

-kmg

Red Bull House of Art

Red Bull House of Art published on No Comments on Red Bull House of Art

closeup

In K. Guillory’s artwork for Red Bull House of Art, you’re given a glimpse of how society views the modern female through the wide yet shallow lens of the world wide web. “It’s a reflection on women, the Internet and how relationships have changed,” says Guillory, a 32-year-old artist with roots in Houston and Detroit. “I’m hoping the audience thinks about how women interact with the Internet and it’s ability to promote feminism and a positive self-image of black women to empower themselves.” Guillory is a writer, graphic artist and founder of the Ashur Collective, an all-female comic company based in the Grand River Creative Corridor.

Thank you to everyone who came to my opening at Red Bull House of Art last week! According to the curator, Matt Eaton, the gallery saw 2,000 people pass through its halls that evening alone. That’s two thousand people who saw my art. After the big party, I went home and saw Instagram light up with people posing with my collection, standing by their favorite painting. It made me feel great to see that big of a response to my work.

Credit: Jeremy Deputat/Red Bull Content Pool

The other artists featured were Brent Forrest, Niki Urban, Parisa Ghaderi, SHEEFY, James ‘Jimbo’ Braddock, and Elmer. They all turned out beautiful work and were a breeze to paint with. Red Bull has churned out a lot of wonderful alumni, but I have to say that our group was wonderful, supportive, and well-mannered. I’m going to miss hanging out with them!

Throughout the night, I overheard people creating explanations for the paintings. Instead of posting the explanations here, I’d like to invite anyone who has a question to email me (ashurcollective -at- gmail) or leave a comment for clarification on any of the work. I think it’s better to have a dialogue about it rather than writing a guide. Plus, I like talking to people and getting feedback! It’s just more personal that way.

http://shalomgigi.tumblr.com/post/117560033993/kgpaints-had-the-babest-of-babes-at

If you haven’t viewed my collection yet in person and you live in the Detroit area, I recommend you go. Seeing these paintings online through social media is one thing, but it’s a different experience in person.

Red Bull House of Art is located at 1551 Winder Street in Detroit, Michigan. The gallery is open on Saturdays from 10-3pm.

How I Do Comics

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odysseycoverpreview2We released the preview issue to Transhuman Resources today, and I got some questions about what I use to color comics. What a great time to share resources! Here’s a great list of links, plus my not-so-secret-process for comicking. I tried making a video about this once, but I rambled a lot in it and was very shy.

Unless it’s a special circumstance, it doesn’t matter what you use for coloring. While some pay-for programs help, like Lazy Nezumi or Paint Tool Sai, you can create fantastic, memorable comics using programs and tools that are absolutely free.

At the end of this entry, I’ll also list money-saving tips that any entrepreneur would appreciate, plus some things about marketing as well.

If you’re a comic artist and reading this entry, please feel free to share your materials and process in the comments! There are lots of people who would love to learn and get into the medium. Making books is a beautiful process, and everyone should try it at least once.

Gather Your Materials:

  • A script. Yes, you need a script. Don’t say “I’m going to write a script” and then wing it. It will end in disaster.
  • Drawing board with the proper bleed proportions drawn. I recommend the Canson Fanboy 10×14 bristol board.
  • A sharpened pencil
  • A scanner (refurbished or new is fine. try to save money on this)
  • A big white eraser (I don’t recommend pink)
  • Sumi brush, one medium sized and one as small as you can find
  • This brand of Japanese waterproof ink
  • A Pentech V5 pen

If You Have Limited Money, Use These Materials Instead:

  • Lots of copy paper
  • A sharpened pencil
  • A used scanner
  • A sharpie

Try to get the recommended materials, though, because they’re going to make the difference.

Download These Things:

Set Up This:

  • Instagram for your comics/your comic artist profile, if you don’t have one
  • Facebook page for what you’re doing
  • Twitter, if you don’t have one. Start making friends. Talk about comics and Detroit. Don’t just spam your stuff, let people get to know you.
  • Get to know the media/journalists. Be their friend. Talk to them. Do this via Twitter. Writers are there, bro. Don’t just spam them, that’s annoying.

Getting Started:

  1. Print a copy of your script. Do you notice points where characters enter buildings, turn corners, or ask suspenseful questions? These are called page-turners. Draw a line under the page-turner. This is the end of your page.
  2. Locate enough page-turners to segment your script into at least sixteen different points. A good comic book will consist of at least this much. Go for sixteen or thirty-two pages, but try to do the former if you’re just starting out. You don’t want to get overwhelmed.
  3. Take a regular piece of paper (not your bristol board) and draw four rectangles on them. These are page thumbnails. Sketch out what your comic pages would look like. Try to draw all of your comic pages to see how your story will flow. Here’s a post about drawing thumbnails, and here’s a page that shows how comic panels should look.
  4. When you’re happy with your thumbnails, draw the real page on your bristol boards. Draw lightly. Remember not to put too much action outside of the borders provided, and leave some space for your word bubbles!
  5. Ink your page, set the page aside to let the ink dry, and then erase the pencil marks. If you erase right away, your ink will smudge!

Scanning And Coloring:

  1. Scan that sucker! Ideal settings: scan the page as a PNG file with 1200dpi, greyscale mode. Technology updates all the freaking time, and we constantly demand our images update the same way. Images that don’t have a high enough dpi will become unusable over time. Save yourself some heartbreak and scan hi-res files early on, and store them in a hard drive for safekeeping. (Warning: don’t just let your files sit in a storage device for too long. Files can become corrupt when they get too old, so update your backups ever so often.)
  2. Get this comic template from KaBlam Printing. Pay attention to their tech specs and click around the site to see what they recommend for file preparation. Don’t do things along the bleed too much! Printers WILL get annoyed and yell at you for it. It’s happened to me before!
  3. Open the printing template in Photoshop, Gimp, or whatever editing program you’re using. Open the lineart you scanned, copy it, and fit it into the template. Make sure your lines fit within the border if you’re drawing proper panels!
  4. Don’t know how to color stuff in Photoshop? Here are some guides for that.
  5. Texture your page! Use the paper texture you’ve grabbed from other websites, paste it on top of your artwork, and play with different blending settings to see how it affects your work. You might find it makes your comic art look better.

Lettering And Piecing Together

I use Manga Studio, so I’m going to cover the steps I take:

  1. Always save your original colored pages separately from the ones you letter. You may need to fix typos and mistakes later, or scrap the old lettering for a reprint. There’s always something! Archive your old work and keep it in a safe place.
  2. Import image files after setting page dimensions. Check all pages to make sure they are bright enough. You want to set your story properties to either 20 pages or 24, if you have 16 pages of actual comic story. That’s enough room for a cover, a back cover, front matter, and some ads or extra content (if you want 24 pages).
  3. Letter your comics! See how to do this with Manga Studio.
  4. This is something people often overlook: check all pages to make sure your coloring choices match. Print a test PDF with CutePDF to see how the book flows when you read it. Does everything “fit”? If not, fix the images and text!
  5. Everything look good? “Print” your comic via CutePDF and you got yourself a finished comic!

Printing Matters

Remember how I said to plan for either 20 or 24 comic pages? That’s because it’s also going to be a little costly to print. On average, for color without the printer inserting an ad into your work, it will cost you about $2.50 to print your comic. Most comics about that size (actually, mainstream comics with 32 pages at least) go for anything between $3.50-$4. In order to maintain some semblence of local competition, you’ll need to set your comic’s price at about the same rate.

It doesn’t make much in terms of profits for you. Welcome to publishing! You won’t get rich off of this, but you will get people who do think you have money, or just respect you a lot. In order to make a decent profit, you’ll need to sell a lot of copies of your work. Doing so on a monthly basis? That’s even harder.

For most people, this is where they stop. But if you’re serious about managing a comic business, read on.

Contacting The Media And Networking

I hope you utilized that social media I told you to set up accounts with! Oh.. you didn’t? You don’t want to? I hope you can advertise without them, then.

  1. Use your personal Facebook to start off. Facebook has made it harder for business pages to advertise products with their own followers. You’ll need to resort to sharing posts on your own FB page to get the most views and clicks for your comic project. Sucks, doesn’t it? Yeah. And buying ads won’t help that much. We’ve already tried that avenue.
  2. Send press releases to local comic blogs, entrepreneur news sites, and other websites you think might find your comic business interesting. Click here to learn how to assemble a press release. It is a business, after all, and you should be treating it as such if you’re going to sell multiple books. Talk about your process of creation and what impact your business aims to have on the community. Encourage others to get into publishing as well. No, they aren’t competition if they do the same thing as you. There’s no one in the world who reads just one author’s books.
  3. Print business cards. Attend networking parties aimed at designers and business owners. Talk about your comic business as if it’s legit–because, you know, it is.
  4. Don’t just spam others when you have a new comic, get involved with the community. Look into writing op-eds for the local paper sometimes. Speak up about community issues. You’re not just a comic creator, you’re an author and publisher. People want to know what you think about things, so get out there and voice your opinion!

Oh, yeah.. distribution!

Distribution Matters

I’m going to be honest: I avoid Diamond. I don’t like them and I don’t think they’re designed to provide indie artists with opportunities to get their foot in the door. They’re aimed at distributing work that’s published by the Big Three, and that’s it. They aren’t even interested in marketing their company on Tumblr. What good are they to me?

  1. If you want to distribute through Diamond, read this. Weep. Try to do it anyway. Good luck. Don’t forget to save up $2500 beforehand.
  2. If you want to distribute comics through a regular comic shop, look up ones that take indie comics. You might have to call around. Many will take your books on consignment. Some will buy a few copies to give it a chance. Do your best to make sure your book is beautiful enough to sell. Make that cover pop, utilize colors to capture attention. Think reds, neons, bright colors, and pleasing gradients. Make it unique, not just the regular T&A fare they serve on the book racks every week.
  3. How will you know your zany plan to sell comics is working? When you sell out! Check back at the comic stores–don’t call them a lot, go visit! See if your books are still there. Are they? Sold out? Congrats, you’re about to build a relationship with that retailer, because they’re starting to think they won’t lose money on you!
  4. Don’t always rely on retailers to sell your books. Set up a shop (like with these guys) and have your books available for customers to purchase if they visit your site. Sell out? Look to order more if you’ve got profits. What, you spent your profit money? Don’t do that! You’ll need to reinvest, silly!

Okay, Now Do It All Over Again

Over, and over, and over.. And over time, the word gets out, and people hear about you before you meet them, and then you get to team up with cool sites and write about what it’s like making comics, and people think your cool and then you feel cool, too.

And somewhere in all that mess, you might get some money out of it.

Saving Money

  1. Use Google Voice to set up a free business phone. Your calls can be forwarded to your real phone. Texts and voicemail can be saved as emails. It’s awesome and free!
  2. Using a local printing service means you don’t need to order a ton of comics to sell, before you sell them. Do so incrementally. Be slow to spend but quick to improvise.
  3. You’re a comic company, so you get to use creative means for business cards. Stickers, anyone?
  4. Always have a free comic in your shop. Many customers want to see how well you can draw and write before they spend money on you.

That’s all I’ve got! Share tips in the comments. Thanks for making it through this gigantic entry!

-kmg

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