Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Ink Drop Cafe Promotional Watercolor

Medium: Watercolor
Paper Used: Canson Moulin du Roy, a mould made cold press watercolor paper.  This is no longer available, but Canson Heritage in cold press is an alternative, as is Arches cold press.
Paints used: Winsor and Newton, Daniel Smith, SoHo, and Holbein

You guys might recognize the process shown here from the Easy Blends and Fades tutorial in my Watercolor Basics series.  Rather than go in depth here, I encourage you guys to read that post if you're interested in blending and fading.

This piece was painted to celebrate the launch of Ink Drop Cafe, and my webcomic, 7" Kara, membership status.  Ink Drop Cafe is more than just a comic collective, we have a growing list of fantastic affiliates that provide resources and services for artists and comic creators.

Stretched and Penciled Illustration:

All over wash of water+ alizarin crimson 'glow'.

Painting the marble counter top.

Blocking in color.

Building Up Same Color Tones

Adding Shadow and Detail.

Final Scan.

If you'd like to learn more about my watercolor process, or are interested in learning how to watercolor yourself, make sure you check out my Watercolor Basics series.  I teach you everything I know, from selecting papers, paints, and brushes, to the techniques I use for illustration and comic art.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Teaching Services Available

I'm a Nashville area comic artist and watercolor illustrator with a bachelors in Hypermedia (digital art) from the University of New Orleans, and a MFA in Sequential Art from SCAD.  I enjoy teaching a variety of age ranges, and am passionate about comics and affordable art education.

For years, I've offered my services as an art educator to conventions, schools, and libraries in my local area and on my convention circuit.  I've presented workshops and panels along the Gulf Coast and throughout the South, from New Orleans, Louisiana to Savannah, Georgia, to Nashville, Tennessee.

I offer two class options:

In Person: I'm available for in person workshops and panels at schools, conventions, libraries, and to with small, self organized groups.  I'm willing to travel to you if you're in the Nashville area, and willing to negotiate travel expenses if not.

Private Lessons:  Private lessons are great for homeschool groups, or individuals interested in one on one art lessons.  Private lessons can be held in a library meeting room, or a space can be rented to accommodate the event.  Private lessons involve one on one instruction in a relaxed, low pressure setting.

Workshops: Workshops are ideal for smaller groups (up to 20 people) and include a short presentation, a demonstration portion, and then hands on exploration of the materials.

Panels: Are for large groups (20+) and are presented from a focal point.  Panels begin with a presentation and end with a Q+A to allow for custom help.
  • Can provide a list of recommended materials to suite a variety of budgets
  • Additional notes and resource links will be made available to the students at the end of panel or workshop
  • If budget is provided, can purchase supplies for class use
  • Presentation can be recorded and uploaded for later access
  • Can work with groups in a variety of sizes, from very small personal groups (that allow for one on one education) to school auditoriums
Rate: $50 per hour

Online:  Outside of the Nashville area?  I'm available to teach workshops and lead panels through Skype and Google Hangouts.  Have a large group?  I can offer panels via Livestream and Youtube.

  • Can provide a list of recommended materials so students can follow along
  • Additional resource links and notes will be made available to the students ahead of time
  • Presentation can be recorded upon request and uploaded for later access.
Rate: $25 per hour

Topics I can teach:

Comic Topics:
  • Brainstorming and Planning a Longform Comic
  • Creating Thumbnails and Roughs as a Blueprint for Your Comic
  • How to Make a Mini Comic
  • Watercolor for illustration and comics
  • Inking for comics- pens, nibs, or brushes
  • Anatomy for Comics
  • Basic Perspective for Comics
  • Comics as a career

Other Art Topics:
  • Introduction to Watercolor
  • Introduction to Art Markers (waterbased, watercolor, and alcohol based)
  • Alcohol marker (Copic) illustration
  • Artist Alley 101
  • Portfolio building for art school applications
  • Digital Art Techniques
  • Portfolio review
Email me to discuss what I can do for your group!

My Experience

Teaching Experience:

Comics in the Curriculum, Fall 2009, Fall 2010: Volunteer program spearheaded by SCAD Sequential Art Program to teach and encourage literacy and creativity through making comics.  5th-8th graders

East Broad Elementary School 3rd-6th: Spring 2011, student taught under Katrina Schaeffer
Esther F. Garrison School of Visual and Performing Arts: 5th-8th: Spring 2011, student taught under Katrina Schaeffer
After school tutorials and portfolio prep Spring 2011: Garrison- 8th graders

Self Promotion and Publishing: teacher assisted SCAD 400 level course under Anthony Fisher, Summer 2012

Panels Presented at SCAD:
The Dapper Cartoonist; Spring 2012, Presented at SCAD- presentation available here
The Con Funk; Spring 2012, Presented at SCAD- presentation available here
Preparing for Cons; Spring 2013,Presented at SCAD


Anime South East:
Basic Human Anatomy; Presented at Anime South East,2012
Garage Printing; Presented at Anime South East,2012

Anime Weekend Atlanta:
Basic Human Anatomy; Presented at AWA,2012
Artist Trading Cards; Presented at AWA 2012, 2 sessions held on different days
Drink n Draw; Hosted at AWA, 2013
Business Practices in Art; AWA 2013

Artist Alley 101; Presented at Hamacon 2014
 Materials and Techniques Part 1; Presented at Hamacon 2014- presentation available here
Materials and Techniques Part 2; Presented at Hamacon 2014- presentation available here

Artist Alley 101; Presented at LouisiANIME 2014
Self Publishing; Presented at LouisiANIME 2014- presentation available here
Watercolors 101; Presented at LouisiANIME 2014- presentation available here

Introduction to Watercolor; Presented at Mechacon 2014- video of panel here
Introduction to the Artist Alley; Presented at Mechacon 2014- video of panel here:
Introduction to Copic Markers; Presented at Mechacon 2014- presentation uploaded here

Artist Alley 101- Presented at MTAC 2015
Introduction to Watercolor- Presented at MTAC 2015

Introduction to Inking- Fall 2016

Libraries and Schools:

St. Charles Parish Public Library:

Draw Together Workshop 2015- video of workshop here.

Nashville Public Library

Let’s Draw a Mini Comic!- Summer 2016- presentation uploaded here:
Test presentation
Live presentation

Chibi Drawing Workshop- Spring 2017

Private Sessions:

Introduction to Watercolor- Summer 2016. Mixed group of students, ages 12-15. Teacher: Lori Dixon

Friday, June 16, 2017

Feed Readers for Organizing Webcomics, Resources

Want to keep all your comics, blogs, Youtube channels, and more in one handy place?  Want to just open ONE APP on your computer or phone and be able to get caught up on everything that happened in the week?

Well, my friend, you should check out FEED READERS.

Feed readers are a great way to stay up to date on your favorite comics, and to follow blogs, resources, and inspiration that you enjoy!  Many readers come with a mobile version, so if you prefer to do your reading while on the go, feed readers can help keep updates at your finger tips.  Feed readers beat bookmarking, since you can access your favorite reads from any computer or device that allows you to log in an updated stream.

Almost all updates for Ink Drop Cafe, listed in one place for easy catch up.

Years ago, I wrote about using Google Reader to organize your blogs and comics into a handy, easy to read list.  Unfortunately, Google Reader has been abandoned (RIP), but feed readers are seeing a resurgence amongst webcomic fans, especially as sites such as Tapastic are coming under fire for recent TOS changes.

Most feed reader services offer similar features, and all should allow you to:
  • Add most webcomics to your feed reader for easy updates, and easy binge reading
  • Add blogs to your feed reader so you can stay up to date with comic news, tutorials, resources, and job opportunities
  • Add Youtube channels to your feed reader- don't rely on Youtube's faulty notification system to let you know when your favorite creators have updated
Things you probably can't add to your RSS feed (without jumping through hoops):
  • Twitter accounts or Lists
  • Instagram accounts
What if you want to follow a site that doesn't have an RSS feed? There are RSS feed creators which work decently.

Webcomic artists looking to shift your audience away from Tapastic: Please feel free to share this post with your audience, especially if you'd like to facilitate mobile browsing of your comic.

Today we're going to demonstrate two of the many feed readers available, Feedly and Newsblur.  Both have mobile apps that allow you to read on the go, as well as browser based apps which allow you to read at any computer. 

This post was sponsored by Ink Drop Cafe, the creator's collective.  Check us out, sample our fantastic selection of webcomics and our wonderful affiliate resources.  To keep up to date, I've linked the OPML file that contains most member and affiliate projects at the bottom of this post.


Interface for new Feedly Account:

Adding new seeds:

You can just type the URL in, and Feedly will search for an RSS feed.

Creating a Collection:

To help keep your comics and blogs organized. 

Possible organization styles:
By genre
By Collective
By use
By artist

Adding feeds to a collection:

Adding blogs:

Adding Youtube channels:

Adding comics:

Exporting your OPML file (the aggregate file of all your feeds) to share with friends or on another feed reader service.

  • Super easy to use
  • Can use a Feedly account, your Google account, or your FB account
  • Can follow blogs, comics, websites, Youtube channels
  • Only need to search the URL, don't even need the RSS link

  • Has become extremely limited now that they have paid options like Pro and Team
  • A bit convoluted


Newsblur is a fantastically simple feed reader built and maintained by developer/designer Samuel Clay. I have a paid account, because I want to support development, but the free tier is only restricting by updating feeds every 2 hours or so. Otherwise sites are polled depending on the average rate of their updates.

The majority of my internet usage is through RSS feeds—so finding a functional, available RSS reader was tantamount after Google Reader was deprecated. I personally prefer Newsblur, but people have different needs. Newsblur may not be the best reader for image or audio-based updates for instance.

The split view is default. It allows you to scroll through a list of updates, of either all your feeds, a folder of feeds, or an individual feed without having to see the entire update. You can choose to display all feeds or only entries you haven't read. The sidebar lists the number of unread updates per site and the entire application can be navigated via keyboard shortcuts. The layout is intuitive, simple, responsive, and customizable.

Adding a feed is as simple as right clicking on a folder, selecting add site, then either typing the name or pasting the RSS/Atom feed url.

Newsblur also has a training option which allows you to treat your RSS feeds a bit like a social network. If you're subscribed to more feeds than you have time to read, spending time to train on a good update will help Newsblur show you more like it. I don't personally use this feature since the majority of my reading is from a dozen or so sites.

Speaking of social network features, Newsblur has commenting and personal-blog features. My first reaction to this was that I didn't want yet another social network; but as I read some comments, and maybe it's just the sites I follow, I found the community was like-minded, interesting, and courteous. It's convenient to comment directly in the RSS reader rather than going to the site, signing in, and completing a CAPTCHA to comment there. The audience is different between the two strangely enough.

All-in-all, I think Samuel Clay, through his design decisions and possibly marketing, has built a community worth interacting with. I encourage anyone using the service to read comments and to comment themselves.

A simple list-based alternate view to split.
Original content alternate view to split, depending on the complexity of the site, this doesn't always work right, but may provide a better experience if RSS feeds are restricted to just titles or truncated content.

A text-based view for sites which have ads overflowing their RSS feeds. You probably won't need this.
A tile-based view similar to Pinterest. Great for image-based content.
By far, the app I use on my phone the most is my RSS Reader. I got a smartphone eight years ago so I could have an RSS reader on-the-go (though GPS and tethering were reasons enough). The app is free and works well on even older Android devices; I assume it works even better on iOS since Clay is more of an Apple guy.

I didn't feel like screen shotting my phone, so this is courteous of the Google Play store.
Finally, and certainly unique to Newsblur, Clay hand-crafts wooden bluetooth remotes which are compatible with Apple products and Newsblur as well as many other applications. I personally wanted to get one of these beautiful remotes, but lack of support for Windows or Linux would make it virtually useless for me other than as an ornament.

Image courteous of Samuel Clay, the remote runs around $70 and works with a variety of applications.
  • Simple interface.
  • Allows multiple views of content saved per site.
  • Free tier of site and app is ad-free.
  • Can import/export OPML files to migrate between services.
  • Good social features.
  • Hosted in multiple locations through Amazon Web Services, so it has phenomenal up-time.
  • Creator responsive to bugs and technology advances.
  • Nifty remote for simple navigation.

  • Have to pay for premium tier for near-real time RSS feeds such as shopping websites. (is this really a con?)
  • If connection is lost, sidebar can sometimes desync; and if there are no updates, but the sidebar believes there are, it will scan through the entire RSS history forever and consume a ridiculous amount of clock cycles. I believe I've submitted a bug report for this, but I can't recall and likely won't happen if you don't leave Newsblur open 24/7.


Here's the RSS link for this blog:
Here's the RSS link for 7" Kara:

Here's the in progress Ink Drop Cafe OPML file (a list of RSS links, packaged so you can easily load it into your reader), including our wonderful affiliated blogs!

RSS 2.0 and Atom for the purposes of a general user are the same thing.

In addition to web comics, RSS feeds are great for tracking time sensitive things:
  • Shopping sale info: eBay search results, Craigslist search results, and Slickdeals.
  • Local events: Eventbrite, Facebook groups, Songkick, Meetup, local venues, and government-sponsored events.
  • Job sites: Monster, indeed, Craigslist, Dice, and Freelancer.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

How Artists Make Money From Patreon

If you're interested in using Patreon to fund your webcomic, your art commissions, your art tutorials, or the resources you're creating, this survey should answer a few of your questions by giving you an inside look at how other artists are handling their campaigns!

The Patreon Survey results are now live!  About a month ago, I polled artists who used Patreon as a source of income on a variety of Patreon related topics- how long they've been sharing their work online, what type of work they create, how they advertise and more!  My own Patrons have access to screenshots of the graphs- so if you find that easier to parse than a spreadsheet, you should join the Artnerd community and check those out!

To view or download the spreadsheet, click here.  Please do not redistribute the link or the spreadsheet- distribute the link to this post instead.


  • of the creators polled, most Patreons were used to support a single comic, followed by Patreons that sell commissions, and then support multiple comics.
  • Most Patreon promotion occurs on Twitter, followed by Tumblr, then Facebook and on the comic the campaign supports.
  • Most Patreon campaigns make $25-$100 per month.
  • Patreon campaigns provide all sorts of incentives, but popular options are early updates, bonus art, and process art, as well as commission tiers.
  • The volunteer services question seemed to cause confusion.  I meant 'what sort of community based services do you provide free of charge to benefit the art or comics community as a whole', and should have asked it that way.  Most artists provide a webcomic free to the public, followed by Art Instagrams and art at conventions.
  • The AVERAGE artist answering this poll has provided this service for approximately 6.5 years, based on the  45 responses to this question
  • Most artist engages their audience via Twitter, chatting (Discord?  Skype?  Livestream?  Many responding to this poll didn't actually specify), Tumblr, and at conventions.  A very popular response seems to be 'responding to every single question on every social media'.
  • Most artists saw the most support from casual online acquaintances, closely followed by online friends, and then mainly strangers.  This may sound surprising to some of you who haven't done online work and sales before, but probably doesn't come as a surprise from those of us who have run online campaigns of some variety for awhile. 
  • Backer incentives varied greatly, so I recommend checking out the spreadsheet, or the screencaps provided to my Patrons.
  • Most creators spend 1-3 hours per week creating additional incentives, followed by 3-6 hours per week. 
  • Follower counts varied pretty wildly as well, IN GENERAL artists with more services tended to have viewer subs per service, but more overall subs, but that is an estimate.  I recommend you check out the spreadsheet or my screenshots to get a better idea.
  • Pageviews or daily hits also vary pretty wildly, again I recommend you check out the spreadsheet.
  • Most responding creators listed Freelance as their dayjob, followed by Yes.
  • The highest ranking sources of online revenue were Project Wonderful Ads, followed shortly by Youtube ads.
  • And most responding artists do indeed have online shops.
By Income:
  • Of the artists polled, only two described their Patreon income as $500-$1000 per month.  One has one comic listed, the other has multiple comics listed.  Between the two artists, they provide early access to comic pages, sketch commissions, access to livestreams, access to gallery of WIP art, exclusive participation in a monthly request event, Patron exclusive physical rewards, and early or exclusive access to information about sales and future products.  Both artists are webcomic vets, listing 10+ years experience.  Both artists work freelance, and both artists have online shops.
  • Right below that is $100-$500 per month from Patreon.  The majority of these artists are using Patreon for their webcomic, although a few also use it for commissions, or artwork and merchandise.  Popular rewards include early page access and access to extra sketches, downloadable wallpapers, access to livestreams and a private Discord, as well as some physical rewards.
  • The next bracket, $25-$100, has the most creators in it.  Many of the creators in this bracket use Patreon to fund multiple things- comics, Youtube channels, commissions, ect.  Early updates and early access are popular reward choices, as are sketch requests.

Thank you to all of the artists who participated in this survey!

And if you're looking for an in depth post on an artist's experiences with Patreon, check out this post!  It covers everything you'll need to launch your own campaign and suggestions on how to promote.

This post was sponsored by Ink Drop Cafe, the creator's collective.  Nattosoup Studio Art and Process blog is an affiliate of Ink Drop Cafe.  For more wonderful art resources, please visit our Affiliate section!

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Creating a Spring Succulent with Copic Markers Tutorial

Today I'm going to show you guys how to use alcohol markers like Copic to render realistic succulent.

My Patrons have requested more alcohol marker tutorials, and I'm happy to oblige.   If there's something you'd like to see more marker tutorials, join my community of Artnerds on Patreon.

This tutorial was made possible thanks to the generosity of my Patrons on Patreon.

Creating a Spring Succulent with Copic Markers Tutorial

Materials Used:
Fluid Watercolor Paper
Sailor Mitsuo Aida brushpen
Alcohol markers- Prismacolor, Copic, and Blick Studio Brush Markers
Copic Opaque white or White Gouache
Derwent Coloursoft color pencils
Derwent Inktense Color Pencils
Mixed watercolor palette-SoHo, Winsor and Newton, Holbein, Daniel Smith

Friday, June 09, 2017

Con Announcement- Library of Fandom

Hey guys!  Tomorrow I'm tabling at the:

Library of Fandom

Saturday, June 10th
White House, TN City Hall

New Mini Watercolors for Library of Fandom:

 Artists and vendors are in the City Hall Gym

And I'm wayyyyy in the back, so make sure you head all the way back (with your money intact) to come visit me!

Besides those adorable new mini watercolors, I'll have:

  • wooden charms
  • stickers
  • copies of 7" Kara, volume 1
  • mini comics
  • original art for sale
  • copies of Gizmo Grandma

and much more!

Mermaid coloring packs- 10 beautiful black and white images on high quality paper, perfect for coloring with markers!

A few of the original pieces for sale tomorrow: