A Job, Yay!

Hey everyone!

This is just a quick note I’ll probably link to from all the other websites because I’m lazy that way, but mostly to explain why updates an all 3 web comics *might* (most probably) slow down a bit for a few months.

And it’s quick because: I got hired to do an inking gig (professionally… yeah, I know!) that I can’t talk about now, besides that. Which I will when the time comes, of course.

This is a paid gig, with a contract and all that fancy professional stuff, which means, this is my top priority now, which means, until that’s done per set deadline, I can jump into my own stuff. I think I can keep a certain workflow on the web comics, but if an update is missing one day, now you know why. And I think the ones that’ll “suffer” more are Wyliman and Go Fuck Yourself, especially the latter as for the next few pages I’m getting stupid with the details. Clink should stay the same.

Anyways, that’s what’s going to happen until mid July, when this project shall be completed. It’s a really exciting comic. I’m very fortunate to be working on it, with an amazing team behind it. I hope I can tell you all about it soon enough.

Later Days, Willie Mays!

Mario A.~

Evan Dorking on Storytelling

I’ve never done this before but I really should because I think it’s a valuable log for inspiration that sometimes gets lost on the social media ether (or, at least, I do it for myself to keep a constant reminder)

I’ve been a fan of Evan Dorkin’s work (and the man himself) for a while now. I like his art style, his acid and cynical sense of humor that resonates perfectly with me. And, of most recently, following him on Twitter and reading him when he goes at it about the comics business. Not in a bitter way, but as someone who loves it and sometimes feels frustrated or disappointed with it (I think).

Yesterday Mr. Dorkin had a little 26 part Twitter, ramble? rant? “slap you awake if you want to work in comics” session? which I think it’s quite important to preserve for anyone interested in working in this painstaking mistress we call comics.

I present it to you guys almost untouched. Just grouped them into paragraphs, completed words that Mr. Dorkin had to cut due to twitter space constraints and put some parts in bold that I feel need special emphasis (but that might be me thinking as a letterer).

Quick Twitter jump-in. Bear with me here, OK? So, Here’s the thing: (Sarah Dyer) & I are looking at a lot of artists’ work for a project. So many artists out there nowadays, doing so much engaging artwork.

BUT (pro tip time): Amazing art doesn’t necessarily = amazing comics.

Please, please, please, and I say this knowing more good comic artists means more competition for technically unsound guys like me: If you want to be a comic artist, don’t spend all your time doing pin-ups. That isn’t comics. Sounds simple. Many of you don’t get it.

I don’t care how many people out there are getting work without doing storytelling or backgrounds or mood or character or acting or action. If you don’t know how to at least grapple with that stuff, approach it and make it part of your skill set, you will not last in comics.

I say that not just as a person who’s made comics and reads comics, but as a writer — writers, like editors, work with artists (duh). Your pin-up of Dr. Who or Spock or a Game of Thrones character or whoever might look lovely as all get-out & sell well. It isn’t comics.

So many of you young folks out there draw better figures and people than me. I don’t worry about it, because that’s all you draw. No settings, no backgrounds, no differentiation in character, body language, etc — Can’t use you. Too many like you. You’re not drawing comics.

Years ago I was sitting at my fan table sketching at a NYC con. A guy slapped his portfolio down to show everyone he was better than me. He drew very well, in the then-current style. He drew rings around me. My drawing was shit-awful back then. I’m in comics. He is not. Some reasons: He didn’t draw actual comics. He drew pin-ups (Also: He was a complete jackass). I worked to get better. I got better.

Why my not-so-great art doesn’t sink me: I write. I work hard. I tell a story. I know my limitations. I tell a story. I tell a story. Get your act together if you want to make comics for real. Want to sell Adventure Time prints at cons for another fifteen years? Relax then.

I’d rather work with someone good and giving their all to tell a story, than the best artist in the world who doesn’t. Or can’t. It shows. It does show. All the beautifully-drawn standing-around-in-space comics look like crap next to living, breathing personality-driven art. Wonky art by a believer is better than perfect art from a machine, if you follow. Great chops aren’t all that matters in drawing comics.

Hope that helps someone. It should be obvious, but we do without thinking, and we get into grooves, get praise for that one thing we do well. Comics isn’t about doing one thing well, unless you want to be Jim Davis on Garfield. I’d like the money, but fuck the rest of that. Real comics is the package. The people, the place, the time, the clothes, the joke, the timing, the pacing, the mood, EVERYTHING. That’s some hard shit to be in charge of and deal with and carry off. A lot of people can do it, you own their books.

Are you doing it?

Finally, that doesn’t mean you have to be Tezuka, Chaland, Mignola or a Hernandez Brother (or whoever makes you weak in the knees). Charles Schulz was perfection and he didn’t draw muscles or cars. Kate Beaton doesn’t draw vast, detailed cities. But it’s all there.

So lose the pin-ups if you want to draw comics. Seriously. You’re great at it, but it isn’t comics. It’s pin-ups. Go work more better.

Last thing: Think about writing your own work. Why? Because my hand’s in a wrist brace, and I’m still making comics. Also: Control, baby.

Make sure to follow Evan Dorkin on Twitter @evandorkin

Mario A.~

Become a Patreon

After months on deliberating if I should get one going or not (I opened my account since September) I finally did it. It’s a little hard for me to ask for money (the donation buttons on my webcomic sites always haunt me for some reason), but, it’s indeed work i’d love to keep producing but it’s becoming harder to finance with no outside help.

So here it is! Ergo Comix on Patreon.

In case you’re not familiar with Patron, it’s basically a way to give constant financial support to the artists you like. You can give as little as $1 and as much as you’d like. Every bit helps and it’s greately appreciate it. You can raise or reduce the amount you are willing to give each month and you can jump in and out any time you want. Or, you can watch this video that explains it even better.

There’s two mayor goals I want to reach and compromise to you with this Patreon: Be able to tackle at least a chunk of the printing costs of both comics printed versions and, bring Wyliman back.

So here we are. Hopefully you’ll be able to help me out on this venture, either by becoming a patreon or just by spreading the word.

Thanks a lot!

Mario A.~

Drawing Challenges

You’ve probably seen those around. 30 Day Drawing Challenge or Draw Every day February-or-whatever-month-is-convenient. And those are fine, to an extent. At least they get people motivated to draw daily. Unless you’re serious about comics or illustration as a career, then, you should be doing them anyway in the first place.

So, with that intent, I thought of a couple of drawing challenges that I think are more helpful into teaching you something about narrative in comics.

The first one I posted it some time ago on my Tumblr, but kind of got lost there, so I’m placing it here since I barely update this site.

1.- Write and draw a 20 page comic without using dialoges/words, at all.
Your whole story has to be told in pantomime, and it needs to be clear to the reader. It’s really up to you what it’s going to be about, and which style you want to draw it in. There’s no silly rules, you don’t even have to post it online if you don’t want to. It’s a personal challenge (both are, actually), to prove and improve yourself as a storyteller.

This will help you, in the long run, to be able to tell more with the body language of your characters so you don’t have to rely heavily in dialogues. Yes, sometimes you get to fully know the personality of a character for what they say and the way they say it, but also from the way they sit or engage in situations. And, when you don’t have any words to lean on to, those other important characteristics raise a lot. Which brings me to the second challenge:

2.- No word balloon should have more than three lines of text.
I know sometimes there’s a lot of things you want to say in your comic, a lot of explaining to do, a lot of setting up, and lots of exposition. But exposition should be weaved into the narrative, not dumped to the audience like a boring pile of bricks. And, everything that you’re writing could be super interesting, but it doesn’t take away the fact that having a wall of text on a panel, especially in EVERY panel, feels like a chore. So, if you don’t want each panel to look like a cluttered wordy mess like one from a Penny Arcade strip (or like this), learn how to edit your texts. Think of it like having a Twitter-like characters limit per page.

This will help you learn how to synthesize the information you’re giving to the audience. To get rid off redundant and/or over-stating words and descriptions. Which, mixed with the previous challenge, creates a “don’t tell me, show me” scenario. But, if you have a longer dialogue that “HAS” to be in just one panel, you can break it down in parts.
THIS is what I mean (and yes, I’m using my own work as an example, thank you very much). The first and last panels are broken up that way. Instead of the character having run-on sentences in one pile, it gives more of an idea of time between statements than a coma would do. Also, the example with panels three and four. You regularly see those two panels mashed into just one because they’re basically part of the same statement he’s giving. Why divide them, then? To give the narrative pacing, and to let two actions express more (and give more meaning to the punch-line) than just one.
That’s a big word here, folks: PACING. Some people would argue that having a limit on how much text you can put in a word balloon will cause to extend the story because more panels will be needed. Yes, that’s the idea here. To have a more organic and smoothly paced narrative instead of a roller coaster that stops every five meters to smash into a wall.
No page limit on this one, but give it a try on a story longer than 15 pages.

That’s about it for now of these “challenges”. Mostly because these two complement each other and work great together. But, if you have ideas for other actually useful challenges, let me know and we’ll work them out here in a future post.

Mario A.~

Bonus tip: If you ever have to break a word in syllables because it’s too long and half of it is in one line of text and the other on the next one, only separated by this “-“, just take the whole word and write it down in the next line. It looks like crap when words are broken down like that. (I refer back to this, where it happens in almost every single panel, but that’s mostly the letterer’s fault)

Venta de Originales de Wyliman

(Sorry folks, just in Spanish this time, but i might open this to everyone soon enough)

Es algo que he venido pensando últimamente y bueno, dada mi situación actual, creo que es momento oportuno de hacerlo. Por el momento solo es de manera local (México) por la inmediatez de un depósito bancario a comparación de toda la vuelta por Paypal. Pero al punto:

Como bien dice el titulo, pongo a la venta paginas originales de Wyliman, por el momento, de los volúmenes Tres y Cuatro (de volúmenes anteriores aun no, porque quiero ver que tal funciona esto, y del volumen 5 los pondré a la venta hasta que ese libro este concluido), sobre todo porque de ambos volúmenes no hay mucha discrepancia en el costo.

Y ahí viene la parte interesante, how much $$? Cada página tiene un costo de $1,200 pesos ($100 dólares), a excepción de las tiras de los capítulos 37, 38 y 39, que están a $800 pesos cada una. El costo ya incluye el gasto de envio. Tambien, si viven en el DF y Estado de Mexico, se puede acordar vernos en algun sitio y hacer entrega directa.

Así que si alguna vez quisieron algo de arte original de Wyliman, esta es la oportunidad. Solo mándenme un correo a contact@supermariogonzalez.com para ponernos de acuerdo.

O, si gustan algo mas personalizado, recuerden que también estoy abierto para hacer comisiones.

De antemano, muchas gracias.

Mario A.~

PD: Como nota adicional, en el archivo, cada que una pagina haya sido vendida, su numero tendra una “X” a un lado indicando que ya no esta disponible.

So, What’s Gonna Happen?

As I’ve teased for the past few weeks, there’s something not so good going on with my life as of lately. Skipping to the meat and potatoes of the issue: I’m almost broke.

Now, this isn’t a petty post to ask for help while I do nothing in return, but to give context of what’s going to happen. Last year, my ventures of touring around the US to comic book shows proved to be hard, and it seriouslly kicked my ass financially. Some shows were awesome and totally worth the trip, but others weren’t so much. Added to that, readership for at least Wyliman (haven’t really properlly installed a visitors tracker to the Clink website) dropped to incredibly low numbers. In all honesty, I don’t know what happened or how to pin it to something (the site looks way better now in my opinion and I haven’t done anything different to promote every new page in all my social media outlets), so money is not coming in from the Project Wonderful ads.

So basically I need to get a day job again. Something to keep a constant flow of cash coming my way so I can still keep myself and my work afloat, and to keep hitting awesome shows and meet with awesome fans and fellow cartoonists.

Which means: Both webcomics will have now an undefined schedule for updates, since I won’t have the amount of time I have now to produce one page a day. Of course, it’s not ideal for any end of the process of me delivering content to you guys, but this has to happen or there would be no content at all.

I don’t want to commit to say when the comics will update because there might be times I won’t be able to meet that deadline, all I can say is that as soon I finish drawing a page, I’ll put it up and let you all know (be sure to follow me on Twitter, Tumblr or the Facebook fanpages for both Wyliman and Clink so you know when I do that).

And, as I feel is convenient enough to remind everybody that you can help me out a bit: if you have a couple of bucks every now or then just laying around, you can kick them to me by hitting the donate button in either one of the webcomic sites (said button is located right next to the comic page on each website). As well, I’m always open for commision work. Or, just the simple one that helps a lot: spread the word about my work. Tell your friends, share it online, whatever is the easiest for you. It drives more traffic to my websites.

Thank you guys for understanding and I hope this whole situation gets better soon enough so I can dedicate myself soley to draw fun stories for you once again.

Mario A.~

On “This Will Come Out Sometime” Advice

You have probably seen this a lot.

I guess it’s the nature of artists. Whenever working on a personal project, they’re possibly scared or doubtful to just take the next step and getting it out there. Not bits and pieces, or little teases here and there, but the actual product (either finished or a part of it if it’s a serialized venture).

I’m guessing you see more of this in comics (or maybe *I* see it more because that’s the medium I dwell the most in), people teasing their projects to their followers, showing some character designs, little back stories (or some huge exposition dumps that would work better by weaving them into narrative instead), and, what I think is a new Tumblr thing, these “character building whatever-day-of-the-week” I’ve seen a ton of people do.

Those are fine, don’t get me wrong, but they don’t fly for too long. What’s happening is that you’re making people crave for your stories and keep explaining to them why they will might like it, but without actually showing them why.

And that’s the main point here: Show them, don’t tell them.

Arguably, it took me 8 years to actually start publishing Wyliman, but what do you want from me? I was 13 at the time I created him, and as a matter of fact, a 10 page story was published and showcased at a museum as part of a collaborative effort with other new cartoonists a year after it’s creation, so there. But yeah, it was until late 2005 that I had enough of just drawing pin-ups of him and silly one liners that I decided to finally start working on the stories and show them as soon as I had them.

And holding and keeping my mouth shut about Clink was a bit of torture. I came with the whole “finished” concept on May of last year, and I couldn’t help to open my big fat gob and tell some people at some shows “yeah, I’m working on this thing that will come out early next year“, which, hopefully, they didn’t remember until it was actually online. But I had to hold back. I hate hyping something to people; not because it won’t live to their expectations, but because I hate feeding them bait instead of a nice tasty meal.

I know other life priorities over take the time people have to dedicate to sit and write and draw their stories. And they are super eager to show the world that they are in fact alive and producing. But I know it’s not just me that we’d prefer from these really good storytellers to just hit us in the face with “Here, this is happening now.

Commit, don’t be afraid, and just go for it.

Mario A.~