Hello! The Kickstarter for Bellmage pre-orders is coming to a close in about 24 hours, after which, we get back to regularly scheduled programming! In the meantime, check out this video explaining, in-depth, the painting process for the exclusive Kickstarter print of the Bellmage map:
The Bellmage Kickstarter has launched!
I have a tendency to mention that I’m working on things without actually detailing what’s going on! Moving forward with Woolmancy, that will change. So what is Bellmage all about?
Bellmage is a 37-page graphic novel about an apprentice bell-crafter who is booted out of the academy with a challenge to make her stone bell ring. Unfortunately she’s yet to have any training. She’s also not sure where to turn now. So like all trainees in a crisis, she bravely… returns home to her parents. Great situation right?
Frankly, because I want to. But let me explain.
Last year I wrote and published Style Quest. While I still take delight in the story, and think the information is helpful, I really didn’t write it for myself.
So this year I decided to produce a story for me. It has silly bits and introspective bits. It has musical notation and footnotes; maps, new languages, fancy endpapers, visual guides and I’m seriously, seriously thinking of adding an endnotes section. In fact, just consider it done.
In being excited to work on something that contains a lot of what I love, I excite others. By writing stories about struggles and triumphs I’ve faced, I can bond with and inspire others.
I say that’s a pretty good reason.
What it is: Think of it as a fancy pre-order system. The book is finished (aside from that endnotes section) so now I’m asking for help to print it.
How it works: Over the course of one month, you can sign up to pre-order a book, or one of a few other goodies that I’m offering
> I hit my goal of $800 (or over fund even)
> I get the money
> I print the books and ship them out to you
What if I don’t hit my goal? I get nothing, your card doesn’t get charged and Bellmage will be printed in a distant future.
Let me be clear in saying that you don’t have to pledge. If you think the project seems fun, or if you want to donate without anything in return, fantastic. I really appreciate it.
But if you don’t, or can’t, I really won’t hold it against you at all. Really.
With that being said… Go check out the Bellmage Kickstarter page!
The Kickstarter for Bellmage is coming up on August 1st!
Getting Blue Cat Co. off the ground as a place where fantastical stories are built and distributed has been an interesting challenge. AND SO MUCH FUN! I love learning, and the fact that there are so many moving parts to creating visual stories and publishing them is daunting, but so rewarding.
Let’s talk about the first official tale from Blue Cat Co: Bellmage.
Bellmage is a light-hearted journey about the trials of starting out as an apprentice in a clan of magical bellmakers. The story follows the journey of a fresh apprentice who is sent on a quest, totally untrained, and tasked with making a stone bell ring. She must figure out, not only the bell’s mysteries, but her place in the world she lives in.
The book runs 48 pages long and is packed with extra notes, bell terminology and explanations in addition to the story. Though it premiered online last year, the art has been redone (in color!) and the story touched up to be a bit more cohesive.
From the beginning, I’ve asked for community involvement in picking the story and crafting it along the way. Now I’d love for your help in bringing it to life as well!
This is a simple Kickstarter. Just books and a few ways to get yourself into the next comic Woolmancy. If this is successfully funded, you can bet that I have some amazing plans for the next book launch!
Stay tuned for future updates and the Kickstarter link!
ON AUGUST 1st, 2017
After making this comic a day at a time, reworking it with new art and preparing to print… I realized I’d been making this project alone!
Posting the pages online did lead to some nice fan interaction, but I want to include more of you into my process from now on. I’ve decided crowdfund the printing of Bellmage as a first start.
The project will launch on Kickstarter on August 1st and run for 30 days. I’m offering reward tiers ranging from a digital copy of the comic, to printed comics, to even getting yourself or your business drawn into the next comic! I’ll get more detailed in the upcoming weeks.
To be perfectly honest, I’m so accustomed to doing everything by myself that crowdfunding feels like a major, terrifying step. Forget meeting the funding goal, what if I only get one backer? And it’s my relative??
Or even the flip side: What if it is wildly successful? What if it’s way too much to handle? What if I need to hire an assistant? Who would I even hire?!
In all directions it seems impossible. But why not attempt the impossible right? That’s how progress is made.
I’ll be back with more details soon! If you want to stay more up to date, sign up for the newsletter as I’ll be sharing more sneak peeks and tidbits there!
You may notice a few things flying about, in odd locations… Just doing some site maintenance! Shall all settle down soon.
I love the regular world building features here, but I’ll need to put some extra attention into making full stories this month.
What it means for the blog: Posts will have to slow down a bit for a month or two.
What it means for stories: I will soon be able to bring you a polished final book for Bellmage! New art and an expanded ending. It will be an ebook and the second printed book published by Blue Cat Co. I will also be hammering Woolmancy into shape. I’m developing the introductory pages for submission purposes, then moving onward from there.
In the meantime, there will be posts here and there! And please feel free to continue to contact me with questions or comments on social media (linked in the header), in the comments section or email Abrian@BlueCatCo.com.
7 pages of Woolmancy were crafted. It was pitched. And in the time it’s been sitting about, waiting for a reply… It has evolved. It has become so much more and so much fun! The image above is a silly sketch, but things have drastically changed inside the story too.
As things progress, Woolmancy will be produced as a book. As much as we enjoy running short stories here, there’s no way we could serialize something so long here on the Blue Cat Co blog. The current thought is that Woolmancy could be serialized on Patreon! More news on that as it comes.
If you want any of the other stories in one collection, see our Gumroad for PDF downloads of the stories we’ve presented here in the past.
We will return to worldbuilding posts soon! Our Master Archivist is recovering nicely and should be back in commission any day now.
For the 14 days leading up to Christmas, we thought we’d pull out 14 watercolor paintings that describe the preparation of a glorious feast! Enjoy The Tricon Rugara as we head into winter (or summer if you’re one of our Southern Hemisphere friends).
You can see them all collected here.
A font test for the Woolmancy title. If this were an actual book cover, the font would need to be beefed up.
How’s everything going? Have you been enjoying the story of The Phoenix Tree, fresh from the Blue Cat Co archival room?
Project Woolmancy has been underway for a few months now and the first comic pages have been crafted. I wanted to take a moment to talk about the importance of finishing and skill building.
The script for Woolmancy has been edited, rewritten, reviewed, edited, rewritten and now I’m thinking of a new way to write comics scripts using audio recording. The thumbnails have gone through a similar process, changing right up until the final page and sometimes afterward.
So you would think that it would be good to go right? Not necessarily. Skills grow and taste grows along with them. As your skills grow, you become aware of things that you could do differently.
The key here is finishing. You can’t effectively enact changes until you’ve finished something. You have to be able to hold it up and say “this is done. Now how can I do better next time?” Throughout the process I thought I could make changes as I figured things out. Each page could be a little better. And they were just a little better.
In order to make your work a lot better, however, you have to finish.
So the introduction is done. And it may be redone with my new found level of skill and discernment after I take a break.
After a week you may look back at your work and decide that your skills haven’t advanced to the point that they would be improved by a rework. In that case, you move on. Endless iterations are just as pointless as leaving what could be better.
However, I must say that I worked harder than I ever have on this project so far and I’m proud of the result, no matter how imperfect. It was a different kind of hard work. I altered my process so that I could use my mind the whole time, rather than just grunt work churning out pages. But that’s a topic for another update.
Talk to you again soon!