Holy smokes! I’ve made everything that’s in the shop dirt cheap!
I’d really like for everyone to enjoy the books that I make. I’ve covered ebooks, pdf, Hardcover, Paperback, etc.
Well we hope that you’re all having a wonderful Christmas. Marcus surprised us all with this fantastic rendition of the crew in festive regalia! It’s too awesome not to share it with everyone!
I’ve been invited to participate in a Doctor Who themed charity event in Anaheim operated by my friends at Tikimachine. You can get prints of this and many wonderful Doctor Who themed artworks and graphic novels and such at the event on the following info card in Anaheim California.
Proceeds of the art sales will be going to Friends and Helpers, providing assistance to women, children and teens who find themselves involved in domestic violence.
There are some issues with the site this morning. Some of the content isn’t available right now. I’m looking into it and I’ll try to get it fixed before the end of the weekend. Thanks for your patience.
I don’t consider myself a teacher or anything, but I wanted to kind of close the lid on some techniques that people ask me about all of the time.
Peep how the sausage is made:
This was a FANTASTIC show! Met up with lots of old buds, met lots of NEW buds, and chatted with MANY attendees. Man, this was one of the best Comic Cons I’ve ever been to! Thanks to all who stopped by. For the first time since Blizzcon, I did a live brushes stage demo:
I had a video demo going at the booth, showing some Twilight Monk gameplay footage, and some of my timelapse demos. We sold out of Twilight Monk book 2 paperbacks for the show. Oh, and I had the best booth babes at the whole show!
I’ve got a lot of takeaways from this experience. There are many things to think about regarding this series, and how I’ve been handling it. But first and foremost, I want to improve my communication with you guys. If nothing else, just to let you know what to expect. I do a lot of this on facebook, but that’s not enough! I just have to figure out how to do more, since time is so limited. My concept art business keeps me pretty busy, but this project and all of you readers are important as well! I was thrilled to see how many people were interested in picking up the Twilight Monk book. I hope to figure out a way to get more content to you while the game is being developed, and build a more reliable consistent release of content if I’m ever going to tell the entire story!
A lot of people have been asking on my youtube channel for a brushes tutorial. So I put together a simple video demo showing how to create a simple custom brush like what I use to make Twilight Monk art. Check it out below!
Twilight Monk is now available on Comixology!
Also check out how I draw in this youtube video!
Cintiq Companion Hybrid Review:
Tablets have often been disappointing for artists for various reasons, such as limited pen pressure sensitivity, overheating, file management problems, processor lag and screen size issues. But that’s about to change with the Cintiq Companion Hybrid.
I’ve been granted special permission to evaluate and play around with the Cintiq Companion Hybrid for a full weekend. Since I’ve only spent time with the the Android version of the device, I can’t do comparisons with the Windows 8 version, or dig too deeply into the software that’s still in development. However, note that this is a fully functional Android device, complete with touch tablet support for all games and software on the Google Play store.
On the hardware side, The Cintiq Companion Hybrid is everything that you love about using a Wacom Cintiq… on the go. There are no wires, no mess, and no setup time. Just power up, and start sketching in SECONDS. I found myself wanting to be drawing on this thing all day, and it completely disrupted my other weekend plans and consumed me. It’s light weight, and bright enough that you can even sketch in the shade of a tree on a sunny day for an impressive 6+ hours of battery life (possibly more, but that’s how long I used it for today). Most devices would overheat after this much use, but the Companion Hybrid just gets a little warm under the battery casing after a couple of hours. After a night of sketching on the go, you can come back, and plug it into your desktop PC environment. Yes, it doubles as a display tablet similar to a 13HD. The hardware that I’m holding in my hands… is… awesome. Draw directly on a 1,920 x 1,080 pixel screen with incredible precision, and no lag. Pinch your fingers to zoom in and out on the multi-touch display, then save files to your dropbox or other cloud storage through wi-fi. The function keys on the side are positioned nicely, and come in handy while drawing horizontally or vertically. Use the front or back camera to snap pictures, pop them into a drawing application and begin editing immediately. As a Comic Book Artist, and a Concept Artist, I can use this to create content from start to finish completely digitally, and upload the work on the go. This device will free me up to take my work with me anywhere in the world, improve my workflow, and stay connected. In short, the Hybrid combines the touch functionality of an Android tablet with the precision and professional pen input of the high end hardware that you’re used to with a full sized Cintiq.
The Cintiq Companion Hybrid comes with Wacom’s own “Creative Canvas” app which is still being fine tuned. Creative Canvas is a digital sketchbook. Create layers with a couple of effects options such as multiply, or lighten, add subtle texture to your brushes, and adjust the opacity, overall size of your brushes and so forth. Like any new tool, it takes some getting used to. At first, I found myself accidentally moving the canvas with the bottom of my hand a couple of times while trying to draw. I eventually adjusted how I was interacting with it, and it was no longer a problem. There is a slight learning curve here, as to be expected with any new software, but the rewards for a little patience are huge.
The ONLY downside of this device is that it’s ahead of it’s time, and many Android drawing apps won’t react as expected yet. Except in the case of Autodesk’s Sketchbook Pro which works magnificently, and is a much buy if you get this device.
Here’s a brief look at some of the planning for NPC’s and atmosphere direction for the games development.
A little while ago I met a really talented artist at GDC named Marcus Luk (http://marcusluk.blogspot.com) Together we’ve been making some progress on the Twilight Monk game, and I wanted to share with Twilight Monk fans some of the newest stuff we’ve been cooking up! Here’s a look at the Frozen Mountain area of the game that we are developing. I wanted to keep it very silhouette heavy and simple, similar to Journey, but darker. Marcus went crazy with lanterns and creepy background shadows and I think it works really well to create a dark atmosphere. This was originally going to be a frozen lake, but as we’ve been developing the story, it’s become clearer that it works better as a mountain, with many hidden caverns and shrines within it’s frozen depths. I’m writing a new story around this location, and it will probably look way better once we begin to develop final assets. I’ll have more updates on the progress of the games development soon!
A friend asked me this question recently, and I realized that many people might be in the dark on this stuff. So this will save you some time!
Free art program – Paint Tool Sai
You need an input device. A mouse and keyboard wont cut it for digital art. For that, you need a Wacom.
Tablets – Wacom
The Bamboo model is the most affordable, and offers slightly less features, but is great for a beginner. You only need the medium or small size model.
The Intuos is the high grade professional tablet. Plugs in with USB and has more pressure sensitivity, and portability than the displays.
The Cintiq is the screen that you actually draw on… and… it’s… awesome. But it’s also 2500 dollars. So… this is a luxury item that you buy after you’re a pro, and making bank.
In all cases, you can find older models for much cheaper. If you want to fix something, at a minimum get an older intuos, and fix it. I think you can find broken ones for dirt cheap on ebay, or used ones for 150-200 or so.
DONT BUY a tablet that ISN’T made by Wacom! Trust me… they are all junky and some wont work after a period of time. Other makers are cheap and also worthless.
To make sure that Dezmin looks consistent within the universe. This will also likely go into the art book. Oh… did I mention that I’m working on an art book?
Just returned from Singapore with some new stuff in my sketchbook. Here’s the latest addition to the Twilight Monk Universe. This guy also wont appear for a while, so his design might change a bit.
I’m shipping out all current orders today for book 2. This is your last chance for a signed edition as they wont be available after next week. On a side note, the hardcover editions of this series are the coolest thing I’ve ever made.
Since I’m in between books, I thought it’d be fun to start posting some of the concept art and illustrations from the series. Here’s a character from a future story. Keep checking back, as I’ll continue to post new character designs, world maps, and notes as often as I possibly can!
Well, book 2 is finished and out the door. I’m just doing a lot of drawing right now. Ideally, I’d like to collect a bunch of artwork into a new book. I need to make Monocromagnum available again in second print. But for now, you can watch me draw some new stuff here:
Please subscribe or share the videos if you enjoy them!
I truly want to thank everyone that participated. I hadn’t anticipated the hardest part for me : having to judge which artwork would win. If I could, I would send you all a copy of the book, because you’re all amazing to give your time and show off your skills. But I’ve committed to selecting 3 winners, and that’s what I’m sticking to!
So these 3 winners are going to get to choose book 1 or 2. I’ve already contacted you by email or facebook. So send me your address and your selection, and I’ll send them out tomorrow.
The thing that stood out to me with this one was the mood. Also, this is a scene that hasn’t happened yet! It tells a story and captures the characters really well. Rin especially looks like he’s showing off his tough ninja skills in this pose.
Jose Sebastian G.L.
Mao usually doesn’t rage this hard, but there was so much care put into the chains and the pillar, and the shaping of the hair that I had to recognize this one. The energy is undeniable!
For everyone that participated, again I want to thank you! Seeing all of your different styles and interpretations, you’ve made the characters even more “real” to me.
The fan art contest comes to a close. I haven’t made any decisions yet about the winner. Needless to say, this is a tough contest to judge! Only a few will win a book, but in my heart, you’re all winners. I will be sending out emails sometime this week for those of you who won.
At the last moment, we had a few more entries!
Also, in no particular order:
Sweet new HARDCOVER EDITION of book 1 now available.
Use coupon code MARCHBOOKS13 for %20 off in March!
I’m giving away signed copies of Twilight Monk book 1!!! Well, how do you get one? Just send me a drawing! Let’s see YOUR version of Mao, Rin, Dez, or anyone from Twilight Monk! Post it on facebook or Twitter, and tag me (Trent Kaniuga) to enter. If you don’t have the facebook or Twitter, you can email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll pick 3 of the most supercool drawings and send a signed book to the artists. I’ll send out books on March 31st, and thats the cutoff!
It’s not really an art contest so much as it is just that I’d like to see some fan art. You could draw anything relating to Twilight Monk and if it’s a really cool idea or drawing, you could win with that! Just have fun with it, and at the very least, get your work posted on the site!
If your artwork is chosen, I will personally send you a message requesting your address and ship off a signed copy of Twilight Monk book 1.
How do you draw Twilight Monk? Well watch this new video and find out!
Want to know how to make a comic book like Twilight Monk? I made a video for you. Don’t forget to subscribe to see more!
I will be discontinuing SIGNED WITH SKETCH edition of Book 1 soon. So if you really wanted to get a copy with a convention style original sketch, this is your last chance! The regular unsigned edition will still be available.
“But How come!?” you might be wondering. And It’s just really in an effort to streamline the site a bit more, and spend more time drawing the comic. I’ve really enjoyed doing these, but sometimes it’s a bit of a distraction if I’ve set aside time to do pages, and all I get done is a couple of signed books and a run to the post office.
In the future, I may do an event where I make a signed edition available for a limited time. But there is no official time slot for that at present.
So I updated comicpress today… and ugh. Basically I had to re-learn everything I faked knowing about CSS 2 years ago when I made this site originally. The key to a good website is simplicity. With that in mind, I’ve hidden a bunch of stuff that isn’t the focus of the website, which is all about the comic! It should be easier to navigate now. Still having a problem regenerating a couple of thumbnails. But I’ll sort that out later. I’ve also added dropdown menus, and cut some of the fat. There are a number of features and new art that I wanted to add, but 8 hours of coding later, and I need a nap. Back end stuff isn’t my favorite part, because you don’t really see immediate results visibly. Well, I hope that it makes the comic easier to read. What do you guys think?
Ah… good times. Thanks to everyone who stopped by! Almost 50 people picked up a copy of Twilight Monk at the show! I hope they like it enough to come to the site for more.
Due to overwhelming traffic increases, and overall Twilight Monk kinda becoming a lot more popular in the webcomic scene:) I’m burning the midnight oil to bring you TWO PAGES PER WEEK! This all starts next week (OCT 15 and 17) and I hope to keep that kind of pace up if not increase the frequency. Thank you all SO much for your support. You’ve been so patient, and you deserve a reward. The more traffic we can get coming to the site, the more frequently I can release pages. If we can reach the top 5 on TWC, I will post 5 pages per week! So please remember to vote! Also, please share the comic on your Twitter, Facebook or anywhere where people look great webcomics. Sharing the comic really helps a LOT!
Also, I will be attending the Long Beach Comic Con Nov 3-4, and I’ll have high quality prints, and copies of the first issue, post cards, and maaaaybe some other cool stuf. I’ll see you there!
For those of you in the Southern California region, be sure to attend Long Beach Comic Con Nov. 3-4
Ill have some Twilight Monk and Creed and other stuff there too. Bring your babies if you want me to sign them, poke at them, or sing to them. I do all of those things!
Oh, there may or may not be posters resembling the following image at the show!
Before I began creating art for any character sprites, I needed to decide on a style to draw them in. When a character is presented in a comic book, more details can be shown, because your camera moves depending on the shot for the scene. With a sidescroller, a characters proportions need to be altered so that there is enough distinction in their silhouette that emotions can be portrayed in their animation. Each character needs to feel distinctly unique in shape and movement because they are much smaller on the screen. Sidescrollers don’t usually get the benefit of being able to zoom in on a characters face to convey emotion. Classic sprite games such as Final Fantasy 6 did this AMAZINGLY well, even with greater color and size restrictions.
While I enjoy more realistic proportions in some games, Twilight Monk really calls for a dynamic range. I’m looking forward to pushing this range even further with larger boss designs later on.
Hangin at the Bon epi cafe jammin story and pages for twilight monk book 2! I do most of the book at cafes lately. Expect a little backstory on the stranger, and everything in Maos world gets craaaaazaaaay.
I’m trying to get way ahead before I start posting because I want to post 2-3 pages per week when it starts up again. Do you guys want to see a mainstream release? Do I need to be in your local comic book shops?
Look for some character bios this eek on the site as Im doing like 3-5 updates per week now.
The fishman guard was featured in a demo video earlier this week, and the new guy on the right is a redesign of a very old Twilight Monk character from 2001. I wanted to simplify him and bring him into the current styling of the universe. Here’s the original drawing.
Back then, I didn’t really know how to use photoshop, and I had no understanding of how to clump details for readability. The sprites for the TM game are going to have to be a lot simpler, so details like you see in this character would just turn out looking like mud.
The thing about game development is, there is no certainty. You can’t plan everything out with certainty, and see it come together and work exactly how you expected. This is because video games are about “feel”. The final product has to “feel” good to the player more than it has to look good, or have some formula that’s supposed to make it perfect for what the audience wants. Sometimes you build something, and you get all the way to the end, and you find out that the player jump height has changed because it feels better for gameplay if he doesn’t jump as high. Next thing you know, all of that artwork has to be redone. As I’m learning to code, I’m making similar discoveries about coding as well. There is always a more efficient way to do something.
SOME things I’m sure of. Some things I can be absolutely certain of. My model that I’m looking at is the Castlevania series and Metroid right now. I like their save system, so I’m playing around with the idea of having these “save rooms”. I’m not entirely sure how this will work for modern gamers though. It seems that these days, players want to be able to save anywhere. It’s too early to know for sure.
I’m in a freeflow state with ideas right now. The game is an open canvas, with the only restrictions being the camera. All ideas are valid. So I just sketch and brainstorm.
ALSO of note: I’ve been making little additions to the site. You can expect a lot more upgrades to menus, new features and more frequent updates for a while!
I made a painting and recorded using the magic of video for you. I’ll be doing a series of these so stay tuned! -Trent
I call it “gameplay”, but it’s really just basic navigation and animations. Anyway check out da VLOG to see the goods.
I also heard that new pages for Twilight Monk book 2 are gettin DONE! DUNZO! Peep this photo that I shot while nobody was lookin!
That pic is FO RILL.
Also you can pick up a Poster from the ebay shop next week. So I’ll see you then!
Yes! Twilight Monk is going to be a game!!! But it’s still a long way from being done. That’s where this website is going to start getting interesting. Because I’m going to need your help and I’m going to need your permission. Your feedback will SHAPE THE GAME. That’s right… I’m going to want you to help me make this game everything you ever wanted in a side scrolling adventure title. My inspiration to begin with is to make it a Metroidvania game giving the player the ability to traverse a landscape, and backtrack to discover previously hidden paths.
I’m going to be posting updates every week to show you the latest developments, and ask for your feedback. At present, what you see in these screenshots IS a playable, but there is no combat, or AI in the enemies yet. Presently Mao can jump, run, and idle. I have the movement where I want it for now. But like I said… this is a LONG way from being a full game experience. I’m learning A LOT doing this, as I’m coding the entire thing myself AND making all of the assets.
It’s being built in HTML 5 so I should be able to post a playable test realm which I can update regularly for you to play around in (in theory). That should be ready in the coming weeks if its going to happen. If not, then I’ll have videos.
I want for you to be there, through it all. As I stumble around trying to learn things that I’ve never done before and then pull off something (hopefully) pretty damn cool. I’ve been making games for 11 years, and did comics for 9 years previous to that, but my dream was always to make indie games and indie comics.
Speaking of which… The Twilight Monk Webcomic is continuing soon as well! The script is coming along nicely, and I’ve got about 14 pages roughed out. You can expect to see new pages rolling out starting in a couple of months at the latest. In the meantime you’ll have to settle for updates on the game and new character concept art/design notes/sprite animations and other cool stuff relating to the game and its development.
Please be patient with me on this. It’s a HUGE undertaking, and I’m doing concept art for League of Legends right now also. So I’ve got my hands full! I will be very curious to read your comments on how the game looks right now. Be harsh, be critical, post paint-overs, or throw design ideas at me. I will try to incorporate everything that works within the core gameplay of the design.
Get it signed with a sketch here: TWILIGHT MONK BOOK 1 ON EBAY
Here are some of the sketches that people have received for purchasing the book directly. I’m so grateful for each and every person that purchases the book. If you check back, I have a very exciting announcement regarding the future of Twilight Monk coming soon! -Trent
You may now order a physical copy of Twilight Monk Book 1 “The Shadow King” here: Trent Kaniuga on LULU.com
I will be offering a signed edition “with doodle” through my ebay store in a couple of weeks for $13 if you have the patience.
This book is the culmination of many years of planning and dreaming for me. It is only the beginning of what I hope to achieve with Twilight Monk. Your support in purchasing this book is what keeps it going! I’ve tucked a few extra never before seen images in this book as well so that you’ll have bragging rights over your friends that didn’t buy it:)
Thanks again for all of your support! I’m scripting book 2 right now and plan to start releasing pages once I feel that It’s ready.
I’m proud to have spent 6 years at Blizzard, and in that time shipped 3 AAA games as a Senior Concept Artist including Diablo 3, WoW:Burning Crusade, and WoW:Wrath of the Lich King. But I’m not gonna be doing that at Blizzard anymore. “Say Whaaaaaa”? You say?
That’s right, I don’t need no stinking job! I’ve successfully unemployed myself so that I may live my life of passion/rage/and thumb wrestling, that more Twilight Monk may be done. “But to what end? What are you gonna do Trent?” I know you are thinking.
My logic is this: If I can create environments for billion dollar franchises… over and over again, well then it should stand to reason that I can somehow put those billions of dollars in my OWN selfish pocket!
Ladies and gentlemen… I give you…
Sometimes I do freelance art for trading cards and comic book covers. This was a card for the World of Warcraft TCG game.
For those of you that can’t wait to get new Twilight Monk stuff, maybe you can sink your teeth into this 500 page collection of work that I did BEFORE Twilight Monk! CreeD was an indy comic that I have worked on over the course of the past 17 years in between other jobs, and now it is finally collected by IDW for you in one MASSIVE volume!
Hey budz. How’ve you been? My schedule is starting to ease up a bit, so I’ve been able to address some of the edits that I’ve been wanting to do, as well as adding a scene that I’ve felt was missing. I can’t go into the details of why I had to take a break, except to say that it was for personal reasons, coupled with high demand for my time on the Diablo 3 project. As many of you know, we’re working very aggressively to deliver Diablo 3, and that means that my tiny little corner of awesome on the internet had to take a back seat for a little while.
When I can, I still cook up covers and potential poster images, so I thought I’d share one such piece with you here. You may also be interested to know that a 500 page collection of my CreeD series was just released today! You can find it at bookstores and online at such places as Amazon. However, if you’re really lazy, you can just go to http://www.creedcomic.com and order it from there.
I’ll be out of the country through almost all of September on my trip to South Korea. If you’re living near Seoul, or also visiting in September, hit me up and let’s get together.
Hey buddy, why so quiet lately, hm?
With the abundant responsibilities laid out before me at this time, one of my many projects must either be put on hold, or suffer in quality. Twilight Monk is my passion, and I have chosen to take the summer off to apply script changes, new scenes, and future script planning to ensure its quality. I also want to chill on the beach and look at girls in bikinis. Technically speaking, Twilight Monk is my 3rd job, and done as a pleasure as well as a hobby. You can look forward to a greater version of the book when it returns later this year.
As many of you know, I work as a Concept Artist in the video game industry. This industry is notorious for having long hours and lots of overtime work. My work at Blizzard and my quality standard are my highest priorities.
Over the past few months, I’ve been completing the final print production of a collection of my old comic book work called CreeD: Omnichronos. This book is 508 pages and will be published and released by IDW in August. I had to reconstruct some lettering, fix spelling errors, and add a 30+ page sketchbook collection to the book. The publication looks fantastic, and I can assure you that I personally handled all of the graphic design and cleanup myself with over 150+ hours of production going into its reconstruction.
In other CreeD news, I’m working with a Literary Manager to shop CreeD around to film studios. I feel confident that this will be a worthwhile venture, but it requires that a lot more work be done.
Additionally, I’ve been working on a flash game with a friend of mine. I cannot yet release details of the game yet, but it’ll be free to play when its ready, and Ill post more about it later.
My personal life has gone through some major changes as well, and my time and energy has been spread even thinner. Twilight Monk is my baby, and I love this project like a child. In the midst of all of these mounting responsibilities… I’m concerned that the quality of the product has begun to slip, and I cant let that happen.
I want to assure you all that I remain committed to Twilight Monk and it’s development. We are just getting started, and there WILL BE MORE coming in the future. By my estimates, my schedule should allow for more content to be released this fall. But I won’t start releasing more pages until I feel confident that the work is ready to show. My intention is to create something that is not disposable, something that speaks to the heart, and stands apart as a truly unique experience. When Twilight Monk is complete, it will be the kind of book that you will want to share with others, and cherish long after you’ve thrown out your old collection. At least… that is my goal.
I’m a bit surprised that these guys don’t get boatloads of traffic. They are very clever, and seem like normal doods, but with a very serious (almost scary) love for web comics. There are TONS of webcomics out there, so when someone mentions Twilight Monk, I’m inclined to tip my hat, if I can’t shake your hand. Thanks guys, for the fantastic plug. The Twilight Monk review begins at 27:45, but I urge you to listen to the whole thing, as it’s a very entertaining show!
I’ve been considering whether or not my current approach to doing pages is really working at the pacing and with the clarity that I want. You may have begun to notice the change already, as I begin to slowly transition to fewer panels per page. After much discussion with fellow manga readers and artist friends, I’ve done some mockups of how the earlier Twilight Monk pages might be done differently to communicate more of the action. But I want to run it by you, the audience before I go back and rework old pages!
By limiting the number of panels per page, and not filling every panel with a background, I could tell more story, focusing on the details of the action over more pages, while doing the same amount of work. Thus, if I switch to this new method in theory, I can offer 2 or more pages per week instead of the current 1 page/week.
Here are the first 3 pages redone. Please comment! I want to know what you guys think before I make this change!
I make doodle.
Then I paint doodle.
I started releasing a page a week back in October 2010, and I just this week reached over 16,000 unique viewers with over 65,000 unique pageviews. These are tremendous results! Thank you! Many peeps are passing it around, and those very same peeps are the gatekeepers of the future, and my new friends. Seriously, if youre local, we can sit down for a coffee, and talk about how empty the internet was before Twilight Monk. It was like a world without ham sammiches, or string cheese.
On the production end, Ive just completed final inks for page 22, and I have about 30 pages roughed out with holes here and there, so Im keeping a nice comfortable distance ahead. Ive had some breakthroughs in the script, and how I want some key scenes to play out in the coming months, with bits here and there of final dialogue. New characters will emerge, as we close in on the impetus that really begins the story.
For the past few years Ive been doing a lot of painting, providing artwork for the World of Warcraft Trading Card game Published by Upperdeck, Blizzard, and now Cryptozoic. Whenever a card is printed, I receive a small stack of printed cards with blank backs. Ive collected 20 of these cards which Ive made available on my ebay store. You can support Twilight Monk and get your hands on a set here:
I apologize if I cant write back to everyone that comments or sends me an email. Please understand that I get 20-50 emails or comments every day, and if I stop to answer everyone I will fall behind on the comic and then you wont care whether I answered or not, because pages would not be consistently released. I want to thank everyone that has been contributing to the site with your comments and feedback. Making this comic and seeing how well its being received is really… well its been making me very happy. Your comments improve the book, and without them, Id just be talking to myself. Every comment matters.
Currently the site pulls an average of about 450-550 unique viewers a day. Thats a huge improvement from where it was last month when it was rare to get over 100. Word is getting around! The site is presently ranked #258 on Topwebcomics. It is through many resources that it has come even this far, and there is still a MOUNTAIN ahead of me. But Id like to talk for a little bit about how Ive reached this milestone.
Firstly, I put everything Ive got into the content. These pages are not just sketched and kicked out, they are CRAFTED, meticulously. I post regularly, EVERY Monday, and I enjoy reader feedback. Id like to believe thats all it takes… but its not.
The second most important thing is the support that Ive gotten from other webcomic developers. Jason Brubaker at www.remindblog.com did a nifty writeup for me the other day, and I went from 400 up to 600 unique viewers that day. Travis at www.beanleafpress.com posted a sweet article that gave me a boost in viewers a few weeks back. Other creators plugging the website have helped out a lot. I would never ASK for something like this, but it helps tremendously.
The 3rd most important thing that happened is advertising. I spend 100 dollars a month on www.projectwonderful.com with an advertising campaign that brings in about 400-500 unique viewers a month. Ive been informed that this is not very good. So I did some research and found that its much better to hand select the sites that you advertise on. I had been running an auto campaign, and assumed that it would be advertising in relevant locations on its own Ill be posting an update that will go into details on how to tune your advert campaign after I figure it out myself. Presently Ive set my campaign to bid up to 1.10 dollars with a daily spending target of 3.30 a day. I hadn’t selected any specific sites at all. From my initial research, that seems to be the problem. You may learn from my mistake.
The single best place Ive advertised is Topwebcomics, where Ive spent 45 dollars for a banner there, Ive gained about 250-300 new viewers EVERY DAY that the ad runs. I tried advertising on facebook, but it was insane. 35 cents per click is far too expensive for a free webcomic.
As for making money from the website, to cover costs, I have not yet. My goals right now are to provide excellent content without a lot of nonsense. Im trying to keep it straight to the point, and focused on the content. That means that Ive anticipated taking a loss every month for a while to get the word out. Ive improved the ebay store in the left sidebar to showcase my own ebay store using ebaytogo. And Ive been selling about 4 CreeD sets per week and a few Nova Colony books, but its not very much money. Still, I prefer to offer my own books that Ive had published in the sidebar instead of running ads.
After I read an article about the 80/20 principal as applied to web design, I realized that its going to be difficult to have the depth that I want the site to have, and still keep it simple, with less buttons and options and distractions. The 80/20 principal suggests that we spend 80 percent of our time trying to get 20 percent of the results we want. So by focusing on the content that matters most (the results in that 20 percent), we can waste less time on the unnecessary stuff that just distracts users anyway. But then before you know it, I want to add a fan art section and a world map and more behind the scenes stuff. All of these things will be there eventually, but I have to integrate it in a way that does not distract from the focus which is of course… the comic pages.
Ive tried many things, but these are the ones that have worked up to this point. I intend to keep experimenting and will report the results in future blog posts. I also would have liked to go into the details of how to craft story, and plan a release schedule, with tips and tricks on the actual content development, but that feels like a post for another day.
Traffic is rapidly growing! I couldn’t be happier with the response that the site is getting. A few poeple have been requesting new features, so here are the things I’m working on right now:
Banners, character profiles, world map, and a painted wallpaper. Should have banners in the next couple days! Thank you all for your feedback and support!
While working in video games, I’d like to think I’ve become quite successful, having worked as a concept artist on games like World of Warcraft, and Diablo3. Which begs the question… Why have my Indy comic efforts not succeeded? After working on Twilight Monk, and meeting with some success for the first time in this new world of digital web comics… I believe I finally have an answer.
I used to think that I could just save up a fully painted 80 page book, get it printed in 1000 copies, and drop this huge bomb on people that will remember Creed and somehow word would spread, and I’d sell every copy in a few months. But it didn’t quite work that way. I spent 4 years on Creed imaginary, painting every page. It was my best script, with the best painted art I’d ever done in a comic. And it has sold under 300 copies to date (compared to when CreeD was selling 30,000 copies per issue). This was a heartbreaking failure, and most importantly… it didn’t work. That’s because today’s comics and the business of comics is about having a relationship with your audience. Now I’m not talking about some pillow talk and smooching under the stars. What I realized is that… I didn’t keep my audience satisfied with regular content throughout the development of these books. I hadn’t built the trust with my audience yet. And just “making something great”, wasn’t enough if nobody cared about it. I wasn’t reaching out to new audiences. I didn’t even advertise it… anywhere. I had a deviantart page, and a blogspot. Needless to say, I became very depressed. I felt like a failure… like maybe I don’t even deserve to be successful at my other job either.With Twilight monk, I decided to do something different. I decided to just take my time, to deliver the content efficiently. WordPress was a huge step forward for me. You don’t have to wait very long for pages to load, and you can jump all over the place, or read through story arcs… its a far superior delivery method to the old flash players that I used to use. Secondly, I decided to have a regular delivery schedule. I may not be able to post very much content every week, but I can promise that I WILL post… EVERY Monday with at least one new page. Also, I read, and try to reply to every comment that I can. Thirdly, I am reaching out to people who have never heard of me with advertising. I spend more money than I make on this site, in fact… I haven’t even thought out how to monetize the site yet. But my audience grows by about 300 new readers every week.
And if you are making your own comic, my advice would be not to do what I did with Creed imaginary, and assume that just because you make something great, THAT will be enough to raise awareness. Build a community, advertise during development, stay consistent, and build a relationship with your audience.
Perhaps this is obvious to most of you, but I stubbornly did not want to adapt to the new business of internet web comics for far too long.
As many of you know, I dont do commissions. I work many long hours during the week, and its rare that I have any time to work on Twilight Monk! But on rare occasion, I go to conventions, and do art on request for peeps. At the long beach comic con last weekend, I did about 5 or so drawings for cold hard cash, and I thought Itd be nice to post them up here. The first is a CreeD drawing, that was intended to be a gift for a longtime fan on his birthday, and the second was a princess leia (I hope thats obvious). Ive got a couple more, and Ill post them in the blog here likely this weekend. Im going to be trying to keep up with more posts throughout the week, every week on top of the new pages every monday. So check back regularly! Id hate for you to miss it!
That number on the left is accurate! Twilightmonk.com is now #720 at the time of this post, and climbing every day! Im so pleased that people seem to like Twilight Monk! I dont know what im doing, but I must be doing something right if you guys are voting for this webcomic, and that means a lot to me. Ive been trying to give back as much as I can.
This last update included a new cover, and inside cover page, along with page 8. Last weekend I did a live drawing on stage for a couple hundred people, and heres the image to prove it! Tomorrow begins Long Beach Comic Con. Ill be at booth 1209 doing sketches and giving away Twilight Monk Post Cards. Please come see me! -Trent
I know Im just getting started, but Im actually quite excited to find out that Twilightmonk.com is number 1131 on topwebcomics! I know that sounds like its bad, but… considering that it started at number 7000 something only 3 weeks ago, Id say thats great news! Im going to put together a wallpaper reward for those who vote for the site with that handy button on the left. But the artwork isnt done yet. All the same, It would mean a lot to me if youd give me a vote. You can vote once every 24 hours I think. So when the wallpaper is ready you can vote for the site again! Heh.
I’m selling some old games on eBay too. I should probably set up a new account for this, but I need the cash for all of these new hosting costs and such. If you’d like to buy creed or nova colony comics, they are a bit further down the page.
Everything is under construction as I dig into building the infrastructure for the site. Im quite new to all of this css and wordpress stuff. So I really appreciate your feedback on how I can improve the site. Right now the header is wonky, and I need to extend the art, I dont have any of my buttons in place for interesting things to check out about the book. Criminey, I dont even have menus yet! Well, Its all very exciting regardless. I anticipate that in the coming weeks this place will really start to look nice! Come back on mondays for new page updates!