Thursday, 7 October 2021

The Generation: Origins, pre-launch!


The book I began writing...oh my word, seven years ago this month, is now available to buy, from Lulu alone at this point until it's approved on other sites! 


Here's a link to purchase it the book The Generation: Origins

Over the last year the book has been edited professionally which, in my opinion, is an important part of the process. Since May, I've been ordering revised proof copies. The last issue with the book was that the cover art looked like it'd been filtered through a pair of tights (see the printed X-Men covers I did for Marvel for more tight-like printing fails). I've still no idea why as it hadn't looked like that on any of the previous proof copies. Before that, the problem was the title not being aligned properly on the spine. The issue before that was the missing dots after J and G on the cover. You get the picture, it was a long and tedious process.

How to describe the book? It's set in two eras, the 16th century and the 1980s. It has elements of fantasy, sci-fi, teen angst, and, at least in my editor's opinion, is a 'great book'! It'll be the first in a series, it's written in the first person and there are four different characters who the tale is told through.

I'm self-publishing through Lulu's print on demand service, but it'll be available through other online sellers too. It'll be print only, so no Ebook, as I'd prefer to have thieves put some effort into stealing it, if they feel the need, and have to scan 280 pages instead of just clicking a button and nicking it. I know that Ebook theft, in reality, isn't a massive thing where authors lose a ton of sales, but I spent a long time writing the book, and I'd like anyone who robs it to have to at least put a little effort into doing so.

If possible, I'd like people to buy it through Lulu. No, it doesn't have one-click shopping or free postage, but I get eight times the money if someone buys it from Lulu instead of the more convenient online companies. It's a fair chunk of revenue. 

The book will cost £13.75/$17.99 - I planned to sell it for less - but the printing costs went up recently, and also, as it's going to be sold through the global distribution market too, so I can reach a bigger audience, there has to be a set minimum price. Still, it only costs a little more than three comic books and will take a lot longer to read. 

I'll be selling signed copies and also copies of the book with original sketches inside. They'll be available directly from me, if that's your thing. 

Many thanks to Rob Rundle for editing the book. He was very thorough and I learned a lot about the English language and writing from him. We had an easygoing working relationship, which was great. Rob would correct my appalling grammar and punctuation and make suggestions that I was free to use or ignore, chapter by chapter. I think there were only two or three suggestions I didn't go along with throughout the entire process. The biggest changes I made were after his initial read through when he told me that I shouldn't leave the book on a cliffhanger. So, I added four more chapters that resolved the issue and, in the process, altered the entire book. He was spot on. it's now a much better book!

The only issue that created was that I'd already written 70,000 words of book two. Which I then had to delete as a result of the changes made to book one. Book two is now a totally different book (I'd written myself into a corner with a paradox anyway, so it was for the best). I've now completed the first draft of book two and am currently going through it, chapter by chapter, to try and eliminate any continuity errors and terrible passages of writing. Then Rob will let me know what he thinks!

You may be reading this wondering why I've written book two when the first one may only sell five copies. The answer is that I enjoy writing and I can escape to another place when I write, immerse myself in another world that isn't anything like the one we live in today. Well, it has similarities, but it's far enough removed that it's still a good place for my mind to wander about and explore. I used to do that by reading comics, but they lost that escapist element for me a long time ago. It might have something to do with the decompressed storytelling, or the fact that nothing of consequence ever happens anymore. Possibly, it's because I'm unfortunately no longer 13.

I'd like to thank all the people who read the first draft of the book and offered feedback (although, no-one outside of Rob has read the additional chapters that now conclude the book!). The feedback received was valuable and I appreciate all the comments! Especially Peter, who said, 'It looks like art isn't your only talent.' I'd like to thank Ben Le Foe for the use of his name for one of the characters. Also, thanks must go to Russ Payne, who was there at the beginning and has been a great support (and tech guru) all along the ride.

Book Two, 'The Generation: A New England' (working title, it may change, but I quite like it) is a longer, more complicated book. There are also more characters who have their own first person chapters (without checking, I believe there are ten). I can't really say anymore as there are too many spoilers.

I'll be updating this blog more frequently. Good reviews are welcome. Negative reviews will be tolerated and accepted.




Tuesday, 29 December 2020

COMMISSION PRICES AND INFORMATION 2021

For the second year in a row, I'm not changing my commission prices. I don't think it's right given the year we've had and the uncertain outlook with everything moving forward. 

I accept postal commissions all year round. So, if conventions don't return in 2021, we can sort it out online.
I've just been to the PO for the first time this year and discovered that Royal Mail have decided to double the cost of postage to the USA. So, from now on there'll be a basic charge of £10 for postage for anything going abroad. Otherwise, especially with sketchcovers, they're not worth drawing at the prices I do them at. For cover recreations it'll be £15. Again, that's less than what it costs to post something that size and weight to the USA, but it'll help keep my prices down. For large pieces, such as oil paintings, I'll be using UPS. For postal commissions within the UK, postage is free, unless it's a massive piece, a stack of blank covers, or there's some other one off situation involved, in which case, there'll be a fee.

How to pay: First, I take payment upon completion of the job, it makes the wait easier and also gives me incentive to get the commission finished. Paypal, bank transfer or cheque are all fine.

Here's the full rundown of what I do with examples and prices. As you'll see if you're a regular client, there isn't much new art, basically because I've been very limited with time since March due to the Covid-19 situation (and before the lockdown in March I was dealing with a sick parent). 



 SKETCH COVERS


These are still £50 for a b/w Copic sketch like the examples below, a single figure bust, a close up etc, even a single full figure or basic background. For a wrap that'd be £100. Colour (Copics and ink with watercolour wash) will be £60, £120 for a wrap. For anything like multiple figures, detailed background, complicated compositions etc then it'll be on a per job basis. We're not talking hundreds of pounds or anything, but they will be a little more money than the base price!

Also, I must point out, that the quality of blank variant titles varies greatly depending on the publisher. For example, DC generally have the best surface to draw on.
Marvel tend to be hit and miss. Also, be mindful that some Marvel blanks have a massive logo plastered across them that inhibits greatly where they can be drawn on. Why? No idea, it's inane. Think about that when considering those blanks for a commission!
Dynamite...every tool I use skates across the almost plastic surface and coagulates in a pool of frustration. So, not all options will be available for every blank variant. We can always talk about it beforehand. 
Just be aware that occasionally, I can't do what you want on a specific sketch cover so you may have to be prepared to accept an alternative. I have managed to draw some ok stuff on Dynamite blanks over the past year, but it was sans Copics! Time for the art!


Eartha Kitt, £50


Obi-Wan, £50 


Palpatine, £50


Jane Fonda, £50. Considering the surface, I thought this one came out quite well. Pencil and ink, no markers on this one, Dynamite can't cope with it.


Julie Newmar and Adam West, £65


Josh Brolin, Thanos, £50



Michael Rooker, Copics with colour wash, £60


Brie Larson, £50


Reeve and Kidder, £65




Poison Ivy portrait, £60




Adam west portrait, £50


Poison Ivy v Batman, £65


I can also do the above style of detailed sketches on regular paper, either A4 sized at £50 (£60 for colour (Copics with a watercolour wash) or A3 sized for £100 (£120 for colour), if you don't want them on blank variant covers. Again, it's a similar situation regarding detailed backgrounds and multiple figures. They'll be priced on a per job basis. 
One thing I no longer offer, on any surface, is likenesses of people who aren't celebrities, by that I mean family members, friends etc. It's just a load of hassle. Sorry. I know I've broken this edict in the past, but no more! 


Examples of A3 Copic tonal sketches



Joker's Daughter, A3 £110 (splash of colour)


Medusa A3 £110 (splash of colour)




WATERCOLOURS 


 These aren't to be confused with the Copic pieces with a colour wash, these are true watercolours, no ink or marker involved. 


Prices start at £200 for a watercolour piece A3 in size. That'd be with a fully rendered figure, or two if it's simple, with a basic background. For a more detailed background, for example with rendered buildings, it'd be more money, say £250. For multiple figures involved in a battle, then it'd go up in price again. See examples below with listed prices for an idea of the different costs.


Jakita Wagner, A3 watercolour, £200




Brie Larson, A3 watercolour, £200



Poison Ivy v Batman A3 watercolour £225




Web of Spider-Man #1 watercolour recreation A3 £200


The following are examples of A4 watercolours


90s Rogue, £60



Kid Flash, £60


70s Martian Manhunter, £60


Emma Frost, £60


Jean Grey, Black Queen, £60


Wonder Girl £60 

Speedy from Arrow based on Green Arrow #1 cover. £60



Banshee, full figure watercolour A4, £60

COVER RECREATIONS/ RE-IMAGININGS 

I enjoy doing these, for the most part, especially by artists who's work I like. Standard price, $300 (about £220) for the linework ones. That includes me drawing in the logo, price etc. Unless you don't want it on...The full tonal pieces are $400 (£270), they're obviously more time consuming, but they look pretty nice. I also colour recreations digitally, the cost of the digital colouring (a full size colour print is included too) is $100. Cover recreations are approximately regular comic art size 15.5" by 11".

I also do completely original linework commissions and also original tonal pieces done in pencil, ink and Copics. Same pricing as the recreations. See an example of those below after the recreations!

The linework recreations, $300









Digital colouring, original art and colour print included, $400. An example of an original (non recreation) commission.




Another example of an original linework piece, re-imagining this time, coloured digitally.





The tonal recreations, $400 each



Example of digital colour over tonal b/w art.





The following are in another artist's style (Nick Cardy in this case) but are original compositions.




OIL PAINTINGS

I paint in oil on canvas board. I can work to specific size requirements but the usual size is approx 18" by 13". I used to paint on stretched canvas but various postal services seem to enjoy bending the art and trying their best to damage it. I always use UPS to post oils, it's quicker to foreign lands and that helps alleviate the stress of art being in the post. Also, both the recipient and I can track it (something unavailable with Royal mail and USPS, despite what they say.)

Below are a some examples. I'll talk about pricing underneath each image. I price each piece according to the size and subject matter. 


Daredevil, 24" tall, $2750


TV and Movie Heroes, 24" $3000. This one cost more because of the extra time to get the likeness right.




Oversized canvas, 24" tall, $2750 (£2000)


Oversized canvas 24" wide, $2750


Surfer cover recreation in oil, approx 18" tall $2000 (about £1500)


About 18" tall, $2000


Batman C-44 Collector's Edition oil recreation, $2000 


18" tall about $2000



Oversized 24" tall, based on Silver Surfer 4 cover, $2750


18" tall, $2000



Oversized, 24" tall, $2750

If you're interested in me doing a commission, then get in touch via johnwatsonart@gmail.com or message me on FB! 

Wednesday, 8 July 2020

The Generation: Origins; an update.



It's been almost six years since I began writing the first in series of books. It began as a collaboration with my friend, Russell Payne, ground to a halt, and then re-emerged as a solo project. Russ is now also writing his own book based on what he'd begun (and never finished) for our joint effort. His book will be about the perception of reality, something I'm certain will be unique.

I finished writing book one some time ago, in late 2018. Or so I believed. Outside of a vaguely pretentious dissertation I wrote for my degree, I'd not written anything of length or scope since my GCSE English years. And, looking at what my teenage kids know about the English language, I didn't learn that much about the English language at school. The result? Editing the book myself was always going to be difficult with my lack of edification regarding the rules. So, I'm having the book professionally edited.

After an initial read through by the ed, it turned out that I hadn't really finished writing the book. I've recently added four new chapters that tie together several loose ends, seemingly random events connected through time, and create an entire new world for the protagonists to attempt to make sense of.

So far, the process is going well. The editor makes notes and I have the option of ignoring him, or applying his notes and advice. So far, I've been happy to go along with all the changes and I'm learning about the things that bypassed me at school (although I'm pretty certain I was never taught them in the first place. However, since I spent most of my schooldays daydreaming, who knows?)

For those folk asking when the book will be published, my answer is, 'when the editing process is finished.' I'm currently awaiting feedback on the new chapters. The cover art is done, although I'll need to alter the thickness of the spine in light of the additional chapters.

In the meantime, I'm writing book two. For the fourth time. Altering the end of book one threw the new book into disarray, so I decided to scrap the entire thing and begin again. I actually enjoy the writing process, so it's not really an issue. It's a very different story from what I intended and the characters, after a little resistance, are beginning to settle down after all the plot-line upheaval.

Book 2 is set in the 1980s. It's a different 1980s from the one anyone my age will recall, as a result of what happens toward the end of book one, but it's still recognisable. Researching the decade, and delving into my own experiences has been a blast, although having Sinitta's So Macho stuck in my head for the past week has been problematic. Could be worse, could be the theme tune to Postman Pat. I've also ended up becoming a little obsessed with old school BMX. They're ace. Uncovering songs that I probably only heard once when they were released, the titles and artists lost to time, but the tunes eternal, has led to an expanded playlist to accompany my late night writing sessions.

I'll be self-publishing through Lulu in paperback. Eventually it'll be out as an Ebook, but not for a while.