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Closing in on an art team, preliminary Kickstarter details

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By balder Comments (52)

Our three candidates to ink and color Xin's pencils are all doing amazingly well. We'll have the last of their audition files in by Friday, and then Xin and I will come to a decision this weekend. I have to say that it's going to be one of the hardest calls in Erfworld history, because I think any one of them could do the job of both inker and colorist. Therefore, I believe we'll be picking only one of them for both roles. It will be very hard to say goodbye to the others.


Seeing as one of the unlocks of hitting Milestone 2 (still shocked it has happened) was to make 4 posts a month to the Toolbox, I have posted the pencils that we are using to test our candidates' skills.




The goals for our Kickstarter project are coming into focus, too. We had been planning to do a smaller one this month anyway, with a $6000 goal to make a 2016 pin-up calendar and a Prince Albert crest lapel pin.



I think we've decided to keep it really streamlined and stick with the $6000 goal. Pledges made above that goal will simply all go to the art team.


There have been some money questions posted, so I want to clear up our intentions here. To my mind, the Kickstarters are for making things that require capital outlay. That includes paying printers and manufacturers, but also paying the illustrators. (Illustrators kind of like to know that you'll have the money to pay them before they start a project.) The Toolshed is for ongoing expenses like server hosting, warehousing, and above all payroll. My salary, Linda's, and the web team's salary will be coming out of that.


Now, we raised a lot of money to Draw Book 3. But the budget we have for that was based on the page rate I was paying David, and the page count that I estimated. Being that I want to pay the new team collectively about 1/3 more than I was paying David, and we have maybe 90 more pages in Book 3 than I had planned on, there is an art budget deficit of about $28,000.


So my attitude with the Kickstarter is that we'll have some pretty simple rewards, mainly the calendar and the KS exclusive pins, and if all we do is hit $6000, wonderful.


If we go over, then whatever extra money we raise will help me pay for Book 3 to be drawn, instead of pulling that money out of pocket (i.e. from Toolshed pledges) or even borrowing it (hopefully not). If by some chance we fund to $34,000, then we'll have some kind of major stretch goal unlock for having conquered the whole deficit. Every dollar raised after that point (minus fees and taxes) would go directly to raising the page rate for the artists even higher.


So the artists will be paid the new rate regardless, but if there's a runaway response to the project then they may end up getting a sizable boost on top of it. We'll see how it goes.




In terms of a timetable for return, obviously the pressure is on us. The rush to join the Toolshed caught us by surprise and we're all pretty happy and grateful for that. But still, this month, the team and I are temporarily out of a job.


With the Toolshed pledges that high, the sooner we return to posting comics, the better for everyone. But one thing I have promised Xin is that I will keep a large buffer at all times. So we're not going to launch until we have that, and we've worked out our process for making pages. Expect page 096 to post sometime in early October, with the chances of missing any updates in the future drastically reduced.


  • Corrupt User

    "we have maybe 90 more pages in Book 3 than I had planned on"

    Wait, does this mean we aren't even at the half-way point yet?  That all the various threads (Albert, Bunny, Carpool, Trammenis/Diplomancy, Juggle Elves, Jed, Clarence/Jojo) still have time to come together in a climax of Titanic proportions?

  • UnknownContact

    Take your time man, the silent majority is in no rush.

  • Brony83

    Alright, it's nice to hear that things are looking better now!

    Feel free to post the occasional backer or book 3 update so you'll have some income at least.

    And feel free to use the last of your 4 Toolshed posts simply to sum up the Wiki edits you made during the month (but I wouldn't mind if you'd post them in this stream here instead, either).

  • Veryfuzzylogic

    A buffer is worth the wait.  Less stress and better reliability with a good buffer.  Not saying I won't miss the posts for the rest of the month.  


    I suppose there is no way you could do some text posts for either the backer stories or book 0 or something in the meantime, even if it's just once a week?

  • dmolla

    eagerly awaiting the kickstarter kick-off!


  • Amit

    Sounds good. Take your time.

  • phasedweasel

    I would also like to add take your time.  We'll be here.

  • lesigh

    If they're all good, why can't you put them all on retainer? So while one person is working on comic #1 for the week, someone else is working on comic #2 for the week. Allows for more time and attention to detail. 

    But yep, glad to hear that Xin's on board.

  • kiyote


    I think that the big problem right now for Rob is that all of those Toolshed pledges are directly linked to the comic's output.  If the comics aren't coming out because of an artist switch over, the pledges drop.  Which I think is a very fair way of doing pledges, I just feel bad in situations like this.  

    I'm probably am going to go on over to the store and buy a couple hundred shmuckers to throw around in the forums, just to help out.

  • Xarx

    You are absolutely doing the right thing. Great art and masterful storytelling on a reliable schedule are worth waiting for.

  • ArtyD

    @balder I guess I'll take step 1, check your Shmucker's jar.

  • FlyinFungi

    Could you have a 12 month calendar reward? If thats possible by the new year....

  • Lemons

    YESS!!!! A buffer zone, finally you can set yourselves up to work under less stress :) that's the key here - less stress = better comic

  • Glorendil

    I think you should consider some sort of redundancy in the illustrators team. This could come in the form of hiring two inkers instead of one, so that they might have to cover for each other if one of them is unavailable, or even one of them might do a bit on pencil work if Xin is unavailable. Anyway, any configuration of that sort might reduce the chances of another downtime.

  • ArbitraryNotion

    Sounds like you got it figured out.  Great to hear you are going to do it right! :D

  • GrapeKiller

    I'm positively desperate for more Erfworld but I'd much rather hear you've got a solid, responsible plan to keep it going than see you rush to get ANYTHING posted.  Take your time. Maybe post a text update?

  • falcore51

    I just want to bury you under tool pledges till you just write stories for this every day :-).

  • Nightseraph

    I'm not going to complain at all about this hiatus. We're being kept informed and having biweekly blog updates. This is all I wanted when I heard the bad news. Its a huge step up from the newsless droughts of previous breaks.

    Besides, everyone loves Xin's artwork. The shakeup can be a good thing.

  • jbevermore

    Great news, glad to hear it. A short delay now is more then worth it to secure a long term future. 

    That said there's a more important question that need to be answered. Now that the toolshed reached the 1K mark where is the strawberry cake that was promised?

  • DunkelMentat

    This is very exciting! I have generally found that comics with the art responsibilities divied up between 2 or more artists look better. So happy to have Xin on pencils and whoever you choose for inks and colors. To those talking about having more than 1 artist for the non-pencil art, they would need to get paid, which means less money for each than if it were just one.

  • The Jeff

    Am I the only one around here,

    Who thought of Chicago, Color my (Erf)World.

  • sdub

    @jbevermore The cake is coming.

  • Octavian

    If you could hear my geek squealing you'd run. You'd run far, far away. And have great pity for me.

    Thanks for the update! I look forward to the return of regular comics next month. So happy!

  • Keldaria


    Nice to see we're once again progressing. I look forward to seeing what kind of things the new kickstarter will contain. 4

    1 quick question however, with regards to the last kickstarter's signed original art panels which seemingly have yet to go out (atleast mine has). Will those still be fufilled with all Davids artwork or is there a chance with the mid book swap that we may receive one from the new Art team? Because if I can, I'd like volunteer to swap out for one from Xin & the new team when they get underway. Even if it ends up taking quite a bit longer, I'm happy to wait. Don't get me wrong, I like davids art too and won't be disappointed with one from him, but I always did like Xin's style and I'm glad to see her seriously back on the team. I can't wait to see her work once again take to the page.

  • Slayorious

    I look forward to seeing this comic return and I'm very happy to see you reach your second toolbox goal!