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Crowdfunding: The Circle Graphic Novel

16 Aug

Crowdfunding is when a whole bunch of people you know and most likely don’t know, have an opportunity to support your project. Whatever the project might be. From a short film to a tuition fee to get you to a special course to further your skills, to getting a new computer application off the ground.

Recently there has been a huge variety of websites across the West doing really great things for Creators and Artists as well as for amateurs.  So, I decided to give it a go to see if I could get support to get my graphic novel printed.

(Click on here for my project on Pozible.)

Having tried to get onto the US Kickstarter website, after the initial acceptance of my project, I found out I had to live in the United States or have a US bank account to qualify. So, when I heard about the Australian site, Pozible.com which is a bit closer to myself here, in New Zealand, I decided to have a go.

As a creator, we spend a vast amount of time creating and refining our project/s and if you are anything like me, you just want to move onto the next project. Most of you who have been following my weekly post here or  my Facebook page, know I like to work on several projects at the same time. I haven’t figured out whether this is because I like the idea of working on different projects at the same time or whether I don’t like finishing projects. Despite that, I did however finish one project, The Circle.

The Circle has been like pulling teeth from the beginning. I know most people say how excited they are about working on their art and creating a masterpiece. But, this one was a killer. Imagine sitting there for hundreds of hours in front of your CRT screen with a mouse and PhotoShop, just clicking away for 2 days a week and other time I could spare, after getting home tired from work in a very busy retail environment, having the pressure of selling thirty five thousand dollars of product a week, only to get home and hope that what I was doing would end up printed and in someone’s hands.

Well, after 2 yrs of working on it, and a year of promotion on myebooks.com, I am now ready to get the book printed.

I spent the past 4 weeks, back and forth on emails trying to get quotes.  Trying to find the best option in page numbers and print size wasn’t the easiest job. There are many options if you have the money. But, if you don’t? Well, you know the rest.

Deciding that since this book was my first and hopefully not my last, I placed a promo on Pozible. So, now its up to folks on Pozible to see what they think of my graphic novel and whether they believe its worth getting printed up. Fingers crossed. You can, but try after all.

Check out the website and see whether your project meets the guidelines and who knows you may get that masterpiece funded too.

Catch up next week, Aru

Aru (Aruneshwar Singh) has a Bachelor of Arts in Digital Media -Digital Film-making. 
Always writing and illustrating and currently working on a graphic novel about the 30yrs of Institutionalised Slavery of Indians in Fiji from 1885 -1915. 
He also has a weekly graphic serial on Facebook called
Zero© and also on his blogsite.

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Adventures of the Kite Family

11 Aug
Adventures of the Kite Family written by Dan Brader with the first issue illustrated by New Zealand artists, Yi Lang Chen & Csaba Mester.

Dan and I have been FB friends since I first was contacted by him a few months back, when he asked me to check out the first issue of Kite Family. Because the series is a Real Life genre book, the issues and situations in it, felt like it was speaking to me personally as an adult male. I felt at one with the character, even though there isn’t much revelation about why Donnie is back from where ever he was. The story allowed me to put myself in Donnie’s place and think about the shit, for lack of a better adjective, that I had/have been going through after my own split and returning to my parents home to recoup for a while before I decided it was time to stand up.




I wanted to know more about the series, so I sent Dan, Five Questions to find out a bit about him as well as how the series came about. 







ARU: Tell us about yourself?

DAN: I’m a 29 year old who suffers from mild depression who spends my life on Facebook… Has a mass of debts I’ll never pay off… An ex-girlfriend who has all of my books, DVDs, records and comics and will never give them back…And I was living with my parents for the bulk of 2010…You could also say I’m a stand-up comedian and writer with a lot of promise who will get there eventually….And by “there” I mean make enough money from “art” to pay rent and bills….That’d make me happy.

ARU: How did you, as a Comedian end up deciding to write graphic novels?

DAN: Basically what happened was… I broke up with my girlfriend and because I’d spent so much time doing comedy shows and so little time working a day job and saving money (you know like normal people…) I had no choice but to come back home and live with my parents for a bit until I sorted shit out….Staying with them reminded me how much I liked writing about them (I wrote a play about them back at University) and because I was isolated in Wanaka I had no chance to do comedy routines about them…So I started writing scripts again and then it occured to me I could maybe turn them into comics if I could find an artist… I got lucky with Yi Lang Chen who very much captured the comical but realistic style I was looking for.

ARU Whats it been like working with the artist on the first issue?


DAN: Yi is a very talented artist and is very easy to work with…He seems to ‘get’ the tone of the work. I was very lucky to find him as I have been through a few artists prior to him and they’ve either been unreliable or just didn’t get the vibe of the piece. I also had Csaba Mester, a talented Hungarian artist, do a short piece with the Kites and we’re working on a comic about Tom Waits now but will probably do some Kite family stuff together too. So now I have two great artists to work with!

ARU: The ‘Kite Family‘ seems to feel very claustrophobic and seems like it has a lot of personal feelings placed into it from experience. Is this something you wanted to do with it from the start?
DAN: The comic is very close to my life. I’ve changed the odd thing here and there and exagerrated certain things but basically this is what it was like for me when I first returned home. I’ve tried to keep it punchy and comical as well so it doesn’t just seem like me having a big whinge. I’d liked it to be a very long series (I’ve written a whole stack of scripts already..) that’s divided between regular issues like this and issues that are a bunch of short pieces similar to how Pekar did early issues of “American Splendour


In my mind and heart I believe the book is a winner and needs to given the 4-6 issue graphic novel drive and let me be the first to say I dibs the copy after your family gets theres.
You can read the first issue, hereThere is also a  with tons of extras fan page
(ARU), Aruneshwar Singh has just finished his Bachelors Degree in Digital Media -Digital Film-making.
Having decided to become a teacher so he can see the world, he has just begun a
Diploma in Digital Media -Multimedia. On the creative side Aru,
is writing and illustrating a graphic novel about the 30yrs of Institutionalised Slavery of
Indians in Fiji from 1885 -1915. He is a prolific script writer and writes in all comic
book genres which include several graphic novels for his own company,
Rising Sun Comics.

A Hell(Blazer) of a week.

22 Jul

I have been reading comics as mentioned the other week for close to 30yrs. And a small portion of that time I have spent a small fortune buying, selling and re-collecting, after my first collection was burnt in a fire. Amongst those were the Uncanny X-men run from #180-295. Some of the greatest X-Men stories told were written during those years. But I am digressing. Anyway, I restarting collecting 10yrs ago and haven’t stopped since. As well as you know writing and creating my own. 


Hellblazer Pandemonium Jami Delano is a Must Read.





One of my top 3 fave non-super-powered is John Constantine, Hellblazer from Vertigo, (Batman and Punisher are the other two). John was created by Alan Moore back in issue #37 in Saga of the Swamp Thing. That character has is the longest running non-hero comic book. I had a couple opportunities over the past few years to get my hands on #37, but due to lack of funds or having already committed myself to other books, I missed out.


Hellblazer: Rare Cuts is a good starting point.

   The character of Constantine is so rich with lore and mysticism that there is so much that you can do with him with ruining the history as long as you stick to the archetype. John is the Trickster, the Court Jester and The Magi all in one.  It was this that after setting myself to reading from Hellblazer #1 to the lastest that was available in October last year that led me to write Black Waters, my own take on John Constantine,


Intro to Black Waters©, by Aru Singh. 2011

 Writing a 148+ page Hellblazer standalone graphic novel based in the Fiji was not something I gave much thought to. I was waiting for my plane ride back to Auckland from Nadi Airport, after a stressful trip back from my ex’s father’s funeral and I guess I needed to clear my head and so I just started writing. It was messy but after some rewriting it came together. I have no idea what I am going to do with it. I did have a guy consider working on it, to see if we can get DC Vertigo to look at it, but after discussing it I thought to let it rest for a bit. And who knows, I might illustrate it myself after I get Zero completed.


Thats the background to how much I like the John Constantine Archetype. The following is 3 amazing events which took place in the last 6 days.


Event 1.
  Last weekend while at Zinefest I stopped by a comic shop and bought the DC Direct Collectible Figure of John in his Hellblazer set-up. It wasn’t in the store but they would have it the following week. This  was an out-of-the-blue purchase.

Event 2.
  Having gotten home and still feeling unwell I had stayed up and was browsing comic on an online auction site and came across Saga of Swamp Thing #37 from June 1985. It was on Buy Now for $5 + $3 for Delivery. I actually have my comic shop guy, Jeremy at Gotham Comics here in New Zealand looking out for one. I better tell him I got a copy now. This comic goes for around US$30+ and around US$90 on milehighcomics So, I was quite excited about this. 



Event 2.
   If you look in the letters section of this months Hellblazer #281 you will see at top right hand side my very own letter. I have never written a letter, that I can remember to a comic company about one of their comics, so when I heard talk that they might be bringing Hellblazer in to the main DC Universe with Superman and Batman etc. I thought I better send a message. So, I can’t remember when but a couple weeks back I got on the Vertigo site and left a message. 


Hellblazer #281



Now, you are probably wondering why I shared this with you guys? Well, I thought you guys might like to share in my hell of a week. 
-Aru


Further info John Constantine, Also, Straight to Hell. Both sites were helpful when I was writing the graphic novel. 

   


Auckland Zinefest 2011 part 2

20 Jul



So, as I mentioned the other day, I was quiet sick and wasn’t feeling too good having spent the previous day locked up in my hotel room with the blanket over my head coughing and blowing my nose every ten minutes. But I made it up to the event after being dropped off by my father who had driven me down.


I was really interested to see what the turn out for this event would be like, since it was my first ever Zinefest. All day there was an even amount of people flowing through the tables, looking and buying books and items on display. I bought a ton of items myself.


But being my first Zinefest, I wasn’t aware of the difference between a comic book and a zine. So, I sat in on a panel, which was being held below the event at an adjacent room to a wine bar.

A ‘Zine’ is dissimilar to a comic book, although toons and comic books have been used as part of the Zine Culture to get their message across, whatever the message maybe. Unlike comic book creators, those who create Zines are more interested about the environment, conserving and politics. Of course comic book creators also use these themes in their work, but lets just say that we are not as overt about such things. To us we are more about writing it into a story, than it being the story.


Amongst the Zine tables there were a few comic book creators, a couple I recognised and some I had met before. Amongst them, who I knew would be attending was Richard Fairgray through the facebook New Zealand Comics site.


Richard Fairgray has worked in comics for nearly 20yrs and has done some work overseas as well. He has always been on the go and at the moment is working on a collaboration with William Geradts of Beyond Reality Media, on a online serial, called The Inspiration Duncans as well as on his own site blastosaurus.com on a daily toon serial called ‘I Fight Crime‘ written by his wife, Mary Ann-Cotton. 

At the Fest Richard had the I fight Crime books as well as a couple different other comics he has worked on. But I think the I fight Crime books really stood out as not many folk do print forms of toons and especially if they are already online.  


Marc, -whose surname I didn’t catch- also had his  print form version of his ActionManAdam, webcomic, ‘a weekly comic about a young Canadian trying to find love in Christchurch, New Zealand’. The comic book unlike the website version is in black and white. But, the stand out points about Marc’s comic is that he had virtual hand drawn the background to every cover for the new set he brought. And only having gotten them back from the printer the day before he had each issue sealed up with stickers and a pin.

More on other comics and creators from the ZineFest soon.


Aru







Auckland Zinefest 2011 (Saturday pics)

18 Jul

I was pretty sick leading up to the Fest and also during the Fest on Saturday. The article about the day will be up on Thursday, while I wait for the anti-biotics to clean out my system,  but in the meantime here are some pics.


Sorry about no captions. More pics with all juicy details to be added soon… Stay tuned.


Who is Aru, anyway?

13 Jul



A little History… 


Archie Comics, Walt Disney, and 2000AD

The first memory of ever seeing or reading a comic book was in, Nacovi, Nadi Town in Fiji. It was two different ones, an Archie and a Walt Disney Comics, with Goofy etc. Its reading these comics at the age of 7 or 8yrs old that has become the focal point in my life. 

The second memory is, when having moved to New Zealand with my mother in 1981.  A tent created with my knees under blanket at night, a small torch lighting the 2000AD comics, my friend had lent me.

Who would have thought that the from the age of 17 to 21yrs old would see myself spending thousands of dollars on comics and then losing then to the fire in 1999. And then I didn’t pick up a comic again till I began my studies for a Bachelors Degree in Digital Filmmaking in 2003. I got back into the comics as a way of meeting/making news friends in a city, Invercargill, New Zealand. I also started trading in them and also collecting as an investment. And have continued that trend up till now 8yrs later.  

A Writer is Born
The previous 2yrs I had watched all the Star Trek Next Gen, Voyager, Enterprise, Deep Space Nine,

and then the best Sci-Fi series in the universe,

. And having read almost all the Babylon 5 novels I became inspired to write my own Sci-Fi series. (I have written the 1st Pilot and most Season 1 and will at some stage, will illustrate or get an Illustrator it for a graphic novel.  


The Circle Graphic Novel
The highlight of the studies was making my own 90mins length Student Feature Film, which I wrote/directed and shot on a HDV Cam. It was this that U decided to turn into a graphic novel and I then spent 2.5yrs using a mouse with Adobe Photoshop turning the film into a 148 page graphic novel, called The Circle. A crime/drama story about four male students. Which had, up till last month 55000+ hits with 8 to12 months on myebooks.com until I took it down as I want to get this printed.

Incredi-Girl  Comic Book Series
I then decided to write a Superhero book especially for my niece who was 6yrs old at the time and Incredi-Girl was named by her and an acquaintance who I had given a PC drawing tablet to work on it only did the 1st issue before ended all communication with me. 

Months later while asking for an Illustrator to help complete the artwork on DeviantArt.com, I was able to find Mike Burbbeck, who completed 6 of the 7 issues, which I decided to Color (my 1st time) and Letter it. I still need to finish lettering and coloring it.  
(art by Mike Burbek in pics, left & right, all others are by me.)


The Girmit Graphic Novel

Last year I separated from my wife after 9yrs of marriage and did two university papers in Bachelors Degree in Visual Arts. For one of the papers I decided to put my 5yrs of research I had been doing on the history of the Indians in Fiji Islands. I wrote/illustrated/colored and lettered the first volume.  I have several trips to Fiji for this book. I have started work on the 2nd volume, but since this volume is very emotional and has a lot of painful ordeals in it I want to be in a right set of mind to write and illustrate it. 





For the past 10 weeks I have been doing a weekly single page upload of a comic book series on to a Facebook page about a world parallel to ours, only 25yrs ahead of ours. It’s a Sci-Fi political drama with the main character being a radio talk show host.  I am hoping to have this in print after I have completed the first pages.

Scriptwriter/Storyteller
 I have written and completed several movie and graphic novel scripts. And having created the world of Zero © I will be including some of those as part of Zero©. My strength lies in script writing but due to necessity I have also started doing my own illustrations. 

For Scriptwriting I use a programe called CeltX. I have been using this app for over 6yrs and I find it very user friendly and since they add the Comic set-up bit its made comic writing so much faster and easier. 

As far as stories go, I write in nearly all the genres; from Science Fiction to Crime to Horror to Dramas. 

Artist 
I actually don’t like illustrating as it takes too much time and I like to utilize my time writing, but due to costs involved in acquiring an Artist to work on my projects I have started to work on my own work. And so, from now on until I can afford to pay someone I will carry on working on my stories myself as I have enough stories to keep going for 10yrs.  

Software
I work on a Windows OS HP DV3000 Notebook and a MacBook Pro Snow Leopard OS 10.6.8. Manga Studio Ex is the Software I use but I also use Photoshop CS5 and Illustrator from time to time. But I find the best software for illustrating, lettering and design for comics is Manga Studio EX 4. I also use a Wacom InTous4 Drawing Pad 6″x9″ which for me, due to my wrist injury is flexible to use and using the pad makes the process of drawing digitally so much easier.

Freelance Comic Work
I am looking for work as Freelance as a Letterer and Graphic Designer for Comic Book logos and layouts. I have an extensive background in Art and Graphic Design and am fluent with several Creative Suites.
  
Well, that’s my comic addiction in a coconut shell. 

I am off to Zinefest over the weekend and so next I am hoping to have some video interviews and pics from the festival. Zinefest will have lots NZ comic book creators around promoting and selling their works.