Conjunction Junction with Oni Hartstein and James Harknell (Episode 83)

Oni and Harknell founded Intervention (Internet + Convention) after constantly fielding questions from creators looking for advice; it's now in its fifth year. The partners created the event aimed at people trying to make their own opportunities to express creativity, often with a commercial angle as part of a career, while keeping it affordable, accessible, and inclusive. It's grown from a surprising 500 participants in its first year to over 1,000 attendeees expected in 2014. They're launching a second event, a Doctor Who fan event called (Re)Generation Who, in 2015. We talk about creating an event, serving an audience, and building a community.

Sponsors and patrons

This podcast is made possible through the support of sponsors and patrons.

Swiftly.com, a new service of 99designs.com, gets small design jobs done fast. For just $19, they match your small design job with a professional graphic designer and complete it in less than one hour. All designers handpicked from the talented community at 99designs.

Thanks to Cards Against Humanity, which is helping underwrite our indie ads. CAH just launched a site where you can buy directly from them, including their Bigger Blacker Box and their 2012 and 2013 holiday packs, the profits from which are donated to charity.

Our indie advertisers this week are:

  • Bee, an issue tracker and timesheet app for the Mac.

  • Nearly Impossible, an event for people who make and sell physical products.

Thanks also to patrons Andy McMillan, Ready Chi, and George O'Toole for supporting us directly through Patreon! You can back this podcast for as little as $1 per month. At higher levels, we'll thank you on the air and send you mugs and T-shirts!

Show notes

In a surprising move, no show notes are needed for this episode, as all the references are self-contained or in the introduction above!

Into the Bellwoods with Lucy Bellwood (Episode 82)

Lucy Bellwood is a Portland cartoonist who started her working life with a crowdfunding campaign. She's a member of Periscope Studio, a loosely affiliated working space and collective of which I've interviewed other members. True Believer was the outcome of her Kickstarter project, and she's built a career from there.

Sponsors and patrons

This podcast is made possible through the support of sponsors and patrons.

Swiftly.com, a new service of 99designs.com, gets small design jobs done fast. For just $19, they match your small design job with a professional graphic designer and complete it in less than one hour. All designers handpicked from the talented community at 99designs.

Thanks to Cards Against Humanity, which is helping underwrite our indie ads. CAH just launched a site where you can buy directly from them, including their Bigger Blacker Box and their 2012 and 2013 holiday packs, the profits from which are donated to charity.

Our indie advertisers this week are:

Thanks also to patrons Ben Werdmuller, Alex Bond, and Garry Pugh for supporting us directly through Patreon! You can back this podcast for as little as $1 per month. At higher levels, we'll thank you on the air and send you mugs and T-shirts!

Show notes

Jony Ive in an interview with the New York Times: "We all see the same physical object. Something happens between what we objectively see and what we perceive it to be. That’s the definition of a designer – trying to somehow articulate what contributes to the way we see the object."

In Tom the Dancing Bug, Pablo Picasso is told to stick to his popular clown paintings. Lucy's mentor during her formative pre-college years was Eben Matthews. Erika Moen's mentor was Lin Lucas. Erika appeared on Strip Search, a reality web TV show created by the folks behind Penny Arcade.

The monthly comics newspaper Funny Times was an awesome window for decades for me into all the cartoons published independently, in alt weeklies, and beyond. It's where I first read Alison Bechdel's Dykes To Watch Out For, long before her Bechdel Test had become a popular trope.

Savannah College of Art and Design offers a sequential art program that Lucy considered attending. She went to Reed College instead. We also talk about the Independent Publishing Resource Center’s Certificate Program in Comics and Independent Publishing and her attendance at the Center for Cartoon Studies summer session.

Here is my obligatory link to Kevin Kelly's "1,000 True Fans" essay. He and I had a great talk for this podcast in February 2014, of which there is a complete transcript.

You can find Lucy's talks on cartooning in audio form on SoundCloud.

Puzzling Evidence with Chris Yates (Episode 70)

Chris Yates is a polymath. A sculptor, artist, woodworker, cartoonist, entrepreneur, dog-kennel assembler, musician, and more. He's best known now for his handmade jigsaw puzzles. He's on the show to talk about his zigzag path to making a niche for himself.

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This podcast is made possible through the support of sponsors and patrons.

New Relic helps everyone's software work better, and if you’re in any business today, you’re in the software business. New Relic monitors every move your application makes, across the entire stack, and shows you what's happening right now. Visit newrelic.com/disruptors to find out more.

What do Lil Wayne, Black Girls CODE, and Humans of New York have in common? They've all raised funds on Indiegogo! Indiegogo has hosted over 100,000 campaigns since 2008 and distributes millions of dollars every week around the globe. Listeners visit tnd.indiegogo.com to receive a 25% discount on fees.

 

Abraham Finberg, CPA: From dealing with those pesky 1099Ks to complex accounting needs, go to finbergcpa.com for all your financial support. Services can be as simple as a 15-minute phone consultation session all the way up to outsourcing your whole internal accounting office. Use promotion code DISRUPT to get a free phone consultation today!

 

Thanks to patrons GravityFish, Garry Pugh, and Abraham Finberg for supporting us directly through Patreon! You can back this podcast for as little as $1 per month. At higher levels, we'll thank you on the air and send you mugs and T-shirts.

Show notes

Chris displayed with Topatoco at Emerald City Comicon recently; he works a lot of conventions. He created 50 Comic-Con Questions as a tongue-in-response to what people ask. Chris is almost sui generis.

The "Quilt of No Return" has a difficult rating of 9.3 out of 10. Chris's cartoon, Reprographics, ran from about 2004 to 2013.

Ryan North of Dinosaur Comics is possibly the nicest guy in the world, based on his reputation. David Lynch did Angriest Dog in the World for quite a while. xkcd by Randall Munroe turned not being able to draw into an asset. Chris worked early on with David Malki, interviewed on New Disruptors in September 2013. Ceaco sells mass-produced versions of Chris's invention.

What the Outfoxed Says with Dylan Meconis (Episode 69)

Dylan Meconis is a prolific cartoonist who lives in Portland, Oregon. She constantly labors away at a mix between her solo work and projects in collaboration with others, including writing the script for Scott Kurtz's popular PvP webcomic. She is part of Periscope Studio, which we've talked about in previous podcasts. We talk about building a career and learning from mistakes while keeping all the plates spinning.

Sponsors & Patrons

This podcast is made possible through the support of sponsors and patrons.

New Relic helps everyone's software work better, and if you’re in any business today, you’re in the software business. New Relic monitors every move your application makes, across the entire stack, and shows you what's happening right now. Visit newrelic.com/disruptors to find out more.

Creative VIP is the exclusive membership club for creative professionals, writers, and designers. Membership includes discounts on world-class online services and apps, and access to a growing library of graphics, vectors, icons and themes. Save 25% on your membership, forever, by visiting http://creativevip.net/disrupt

 

What do Lil Wayne, Black Girls CODE, and Humans of New York have in common? They've all raised funds on Indiegogo! Indiegogo has hosted over 100,000 campaigns since 2008 and distributes millions of dollars every week around the globe. Listeners visit tnd.indiegogo.com to receive a 25% discount on fees.

 

Thanks to patrons Andy McMillan, Andrei Matetic, and Abraham Finberg for supporting us directly through Patreon! You can back this podcast for as little as $1 per month. At higher levels, we'll thank you on the air and send you mugs and T-shirts.

Show notes

Dylan's books include Outfoxed, Bite Me! (a vampire farce); Family Man, a graphic novel being told pages at a time, and then collected into volumes; and Danse Macabre 2.0. My friend Alison Hallett recommended Dylan's work and the Bone series by Jeff Smith. Dylan mentioned the artist Ivan Bilibin as an inspiration for Outfoxed.

Portland has a ton of creative people of all sorts, and cartoonists and comic-book artists rank high among them. Both Dark Horse Comics and Oni Press are based there. Erika Moen, a Periscope Studio participant, was on this show in August 2013. Bill Amend (Foxtrot) became internet famous.

Dylan's Kickstarter campaign was successful, but she hit a bunch of snags we discuss. Her wife, Katie Lane, is a lawyer who advises freelancers at Work Made for Hire on making good decisions about their work and rights! Katie performs legal work for cartoonist Matt Bors, a previous guest on this podcast.

I and Dylan listed off an oodle of conferences, which include Gallifrey One, Rose City Comic Con, Emerald City Comicon, PAX, the XOXO conference, MaxFunCon, and JoCo Cruise Crazy.

Erika Moen is using Patreon to fund each cartoon she creates.

See You in the Funny Webpages with Dave Kellett and Fred Schroeder (Episode 68)

Dave Kellett and Fred Schroeder created the movie Stripped about the past, present, and future of comic strips and their creators. Dave is the creator and cartoonist of two webcomics titles, Sheldon and Drive, and the co-author of How To Make Webcomics. He is one of a small but growing group of webcomics artists who are self-sufficient. Fred is a veteran cinemographer, nominated for Best Cinematography at Sundance for his work on Four Sheets to the Wind. He has been shooting commercials for much of his career.

Together, they matched Fred's filmmaking skills with Dave's personal knowledge of the field and his contacts to create the first feature-length documentary on the topic, funded in part through two Kickstarter campaigns. They don't pull punches about the difficulties of being a comic-strip artist, but they show all the joy and love that goes into the work along with many potential bright lights already illuminating parts of the field and shining on the horizon.

Sponsors & Patrons

This podcast is made possible through the support of sponsors and patrons.

Media Temple: Web hosting for artists, designers, and Web developers since 1998. World-class support available 24x7 through phone and chat—and even Twitter. Sign up with coupon code "tnd" to get 25% off your first month of hosting.

Creative VIP is the exclusive membership club for creative professionals, writers, and designers. Membership includes discounts on world-class online services and apps, and access to a growing library of graphics, vectors, icons and themes. You can also get a regular goodie bag on your doorstep. Save 25% on your membership, forever, by visiting http://creativevip.net/disrupt

 

Abraham Finberg, CPA: From dealing with those pesky 1099Ks to complex accounting needs, go to finbergcpa.com for all your financial support. Services can be as simple as a 15-minute phone consultation session all the way up to outsourcing your whole internal accounting office. Use promotion code DISRUPT to get a free phone consultation today!

What do Project for Awesome, the world’s most compact e­vehicle, and a baby have in common? They've all been crowdfunded on Indiegogo! Indiegogo has hosted over 100,000 campaigns since 2008 and distributes millions of dollars every week around the globe. Individuals can start raising funds immediately. Listeners visit tnd.indiegogo.com to receive a 25% discount on fees.

 

Thanks this week to patrons Greg Hayes, Neil Richler, and Abraham Finberg for supporting us directly through Patreon! You can back this podcast for as little as $1 per month. At higher levels, we'll thank you on the air and send you mugs and T-shirts.

Show Notes

You can watch a short preview of Stripped on YouTube.

Bill Watterson created the poster for the movie! He's interviewed by audio (as we discuss).

We mentioned Topataco, a company that helps fulfill webcomics' artists books and other material. I spoke to Topatoco's Holly Rowland a year ago.

Fair use is an incredibly fraught topic because there's no simple and inexpensive way to determine in advance whether a creator's use of copyrighted stuff would be covered by the legal principles! I wrote about Stripped and its second Kickstarter for clearance-rights funds for the Economist.

We also talked about errors and omission (E&O) insurance that movie theatres require in order to let your film be shown in their venues. The Documentary Film Program at Stanford University provides advice about fair use to filmmakers as well as helping them obtain insurance plus find pro bono or reduced-rate legal assistance.

David Malki and his chums took Machine of Death to the top rank among books sold at Amazon.com as part of a concerted effort among their fans. They beat out Glenn Beck, who was not happy about it at all. I talked to David about this, his comic strip, and the second book in the Machine series last August.

VHX is the DRM-free streaming/download service that helped Indie Game: The Movie deliver to its backers and later buyers, and did and is doing the same for Stripped. The makers of Indie Game were among my first guests, and I checked in with them last December to talk about the aftermath of the film's release and the production of their deluxe edition.

However, if you're a regular iTunes user, you can help boost Stripped to No. 1 in the iTunes movie or documentary rankings by pre-ordering a copy by April 1!

Code Monkey Comixology Crazy

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The first installment in the Code Monkey Saves World  comic-book series based on Jonathan Coulton's songs and written by Greg Pak is available to the public today via ComiXology.

I talked to Jonathan and Greg in May about their blockbuster Kickstarter, and as a backer, I had the first issue in my hot little hands already several days ago. Very enjoyable and sets the stage for the next three issues!

Episode 36: Machine of Breadth with David Malki

Click above to listen in your browser or download the podcast directly (MP3, 48 MB, 1 hour 46 minutes). Subscribe to the show's podcast feed to get every episode automatically.

David Malki's biography would take five minutes to read out. You may know him best as the perpetrator of the cartoon Wondermark, but he's also a filmmaker, a movie trailer editor, an author, an entrepreneur, and the Supreme Commander of Publicity & Promotions at TopatoCo, a firm that handles merchandise primarily for webcomics. He's available for weddings and bar mitzvahs. We talk about making films, making cartoons, and making books, and having a great time at all of it.

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 Show notes

David Lynch's peculiar cartoon strip, The Angriest Dog in the World. Penny Arcade is one of the most popular Web comics. Zach Weinersmith's Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal dates back to that era (we talked in Episode 15), as does Diesel Sweeties by Rich Stevens.

I received a copy of Chris Ware's Building Stories from my wife for Christmas, but his work makes me realize the keenness of life too fiercely. Or something. Dinosaur Comics is produced by David's friend Ryan North. It has the same drawing every day; the dialog is all that changes. Jeff and Holly Rowland run TopatoCo. Holly was my guest on Episode #21, in which we talked about Make That Thing! New England Web Comics Weekend took place in 2009 and again in 2010 and was hosted by TopatoCo.

Machine of Death was inspired by this episode of Dinosaur Comics. Futurama had a "death clock" in an episode in 1999, but David points out the death-predition thing is as old as the Greeks. David Pogue tried an experiment in removing DRM from an ebook in 2009; sold a lot more books. But he didn't like the outcome.

Machine of Death spawned a game funded on Kickstarter and a second collection of stories just out called This Is How You Die.

You can find David at GenCon in Indianapolis this weekend (August 15–18), and at PAX in Seattle August 30–September 2.

Photo by Joshin Yamada. 

Episode 34: Do Toy with My Affections with Erika Moen

Click above to listen in your browser or download the podcast directly (MP3, 32.8 MB, 72 minutes). Subscribe to the show's podcast feed to get every episode automatically.

Erika Moen has been drawing comics since she was a teenager, and found online success with DAR: A Super Girly Top Secret Comic Diary while working full-time jobs. Fortunately, she was laid off, and moved into new chapters of her life, which included an appearance on the Web reality show Strip Search (from Penny Arcade) and the launch this year of Oh Joy Sex Toy, a regularly appearing comic that reviews and recommends adult paraphernalia. We talk about her career and how the Oh Joy project has consumed all of her time and some of her husband's. (This episode contains frank discussions of sex toys and sexuality, a few obscenities, and is marked explicit on iTunes.)

On Twitter, find Erika at @ErikaMoen and her comic at @OhJoySexToy.

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Show Notes

Erika remembers The Smithsonian Collection of Newspaper Comics, which is out of print, but used copies are available. Her first "adult" comic, past Archie and the gang, was Bone, which is an extensive series of interrelated stories by Jeff Smith.

Erika likes Girls with Slingshots by Danielle Corsetto, reads PvP by Scott R. Kurtz every day, follows the adventures of Family Man by Dylan Meconis, and enjoys Cardigan Weather by Amy T. Falcone. (Dylan also collaborates with Kurtz on PvP.) Kurtz and Penny Arcade co-produce The Trenches.

When Erika launches a Kickstarter, she is determined to not offer tons of tchotchkes. In Episode 25, Jonathan Coulton and Greg Pak discuss how they tried to limit the quantity of physical rewards, but still misjudged. And Matt Bors described, in Episode 29, how much effort it was to get all the stuff out the door for his successful Kickstarter.

DAR ran its course and finished up in late 2009 with what Erika calls the most self-revelatory installment of the series. She released two books that comprise the entire run. After DAR, she worked on Bucko with Jeff Parker, which is now available as a book, too. Oh Joy Sex Toy occupies all of her time currently.

One reason Erika wanted on Strip Search was to meet impresario Robert Khoo, who is widely considered to be a business genius. He approached the two fellows behind the Penny Arcade comic, Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik, to build their strip into what's become an empire of conventions, a charity, Web reality TV shows, and a gaming news site, among other things. Erika drew a strip about being eliminated from the show and meeting Khoo.

Erika is part of a loose collective of comic artists called Periscope Studio, in which everyone does their own thing, but also can turn into a colonial organism for projects. Max Temkin discussed in Episode 27 how he forms a new company for every project he engages in, as it always involves a different group of people.

Sarah Mirk is coming out with a book, Sex from Scratch, that looks at the baroqueness of relationships. She and the previously mentioned Matt Bors (both of whom, also live in Portland know Erika) worked together on an excerpt for Symbolia magazine.