March 2020: State of the Dread

Hey there, DreadHeads! 2 down, 10 to go. Here’s what happened in February and what’s going down in March.

The Podcast

3 more episodes last month, and there will be another 3 this month. I’m still organizing content for the eventual DP StoryTime podcast, that one isn’t in production until I have my current book farther along. Find the podcast wherever you subscribe, and follow along!

The Artwork

Myles and Rose Standish, With Answerable Courage

29 pieces done in February, including 3 for my next big release. I’m using AutoDesk Sketchbook to do digital art for that book, and I love how it is all coming together. I am also drawing the cover for this one, it is going to be fantastic. Can’t wait to share it with you!

The Writing

Blogging is all but dead, I only keep this page going as a placeholder for an eventually larger, sexier, more powerful website.

I did finish a draft of WAC, it’s rough but very workable, and once I finish the art I will polish the text.

I also picked at a story called HOMEWORLD which will be one of the first DP StoryTime adventures once that gets underway. Having a few ideas in process helps me to keep the wheels turning in case I stall on one.

Once this thing gets moving it’s going to be a ton of fun.

The Unfattening

Yeah I lost zero weight in February. Well, maybe a pound or two, but life was just a kick in the pants. We had a baby last month so we’re still in adjustment-and-new-sleep-schedule mode at House Dread.

I’m going all-out tyrannical on it for March and I will weigh 205 pounds by the end of the month. Mark it.

Whatever Else

During my art sessions I either listen to podcasts or watch B-minus programming on Amazon, and this show has been pretty interesting so far. It’s about Prohibition in the south and the lasting impact it has had on the region.

It’s good research for a future project I have. 🙂

That’s all, folks. Get back to work. 👍

February 2020: State of the Dread

Hey Dreads, what’s kraken?

Celebrate with me, January is finally over! One of the two most miserable months of the year, the other one being August. The first is cold and joyless, the second is hot and joyless, it is what it is. Here’s what I did last month:

Brother Trucker Book Club

THE PODCAST

Putting out 3 episodes proved to be much better than doing 13. So far I like that format. The first two episodes saw the passing of Mike Resnick and Christopher Tolkien (who I have read) and the third episode dropped right at the passing of Mary Higgins Clark (who I have not). A solemn month for legendary writers in their genres.

Right now I’m reading an old Resnick title that I never got to, and I’m already enjoying it tremendously after one chapter. The man uses dialogue like surgeons use scalpels.

Be sure to subscribe to the Brother Trucker Book Club Podcast wherever you listen to podcasts. Thank you, listeners!

 

THE ARTWORK

IMG_20200123_100147_689

My #draweveryday challenge was a success! 31 new pieces of varying quality made it into my sketchbook, or into the digital archives as the case may be. Check out instagram.com/dreadpennies to follow along. 

The above image was by far my favorite. I got to sit in a safety class for three days at work, and had this idea after seeing an article that said Texas legalized the hunting of feral pigs from a hot air balloon. Story Idea! 

So I drew it as I listened to the instructor drone on about the importance of not running people over with your truck. (I had heard this information before.)

As for this challenge in February, check out the video below:

 

THE WRITING 

I admit I wish I had finished a draft of WITH ANSWERABLE COURAGE this month. To be honest I’m having trouble finding a balance between the new job at Krakengard and my responsibilities at home, but I think things are finally clicking. Just gotta grab life by the face and slap it around a little bit.

That said, I’m three chapters away from having a draft down, and then I’ll switch gears to the illustrations. Still looking at a post-Halloween release date.

I’m also–and this is very tentative, I don’t have details for you–beginning the preliminary stages of developing an audiobook for SLEEPLESS HOLLOW. Cannot wait to have that one out there in my favorite format.

 

THE UNFATTENING

Last year I lost 20 pounds and then found them again in about 5 months, so believe me I’m pretty mad about that. I blame the new job, which is exceptionally less physical than the old one. I’ve finally figured out what to do about that, and if you care to follow along my fitness journey, check out @batteringraham on Insta.

 

WHATEVER ELSE

Really we’re just gearing up for the baby to come, which feels like it’s taken forever, and I’m not even the one who has to carry her all the time. Ugh you guys, my poor wife…almost there. Home stretch.

In the meantime, GUYS check out this great YouTube Channel I found and totally love: it’s called Ambient Worlds, and the guy puts together these hours-long videos of movie soundtracks with nice sound effects in the background. For example, he’s got mood music for each of the Hogwarts House common rooms, with fires crackling and whatnot. He also has videos for Gondor, Rohan, the Shire in Middle-Earth, or stuff for the Hunger Games, I mean…everything. It’s just beautiful. I’ve been writing to it and I love it.

Okay time to get back to work. If you’ve read any good books lately, comment below! I’m always on the hunt for a recommendation. I’m trucking full-time, last month I read 15 books, I can probably get to yours 😀

SLEEPLESS HOLLOW Free Chapters

Front Cover

Hi gang,

If you haven’t been following on Twitter or Insta, I’ve recorded the first 3 chapters of SLEEPLESS HOLLOW, which launches next week! They’re on the Brother Trucker Book Club Podcast. Individual episode links below:

Chapter 1: A Distant Relation

Chapter 2: Endless Watch

Chapter 3: The Book in the Box 

And for some icing on the cake, check out my page on Inktale! You can buy all kinds of sweet merch with the Headless Horseman on it! Everything from throw pillows to towels, mugs, shirts, hoodies, and more.

Thanks for tuning in!

States of Dread: Production Update

Hey there, DreadHeads. Here’s an update on my various projects, and when you can expect various things over the next year.

SLEEPLESS HOLLOW:

I’m 95% done with the cover. Illustrator Greg Newbold (check out his wonderful work here) has graciously weighed in on my in-progress shots on Facebook, and his feedback has really helped to clean it up. Here’s what it looks like right now, cover not final.

I still don’t feel comfortable announcing a release date for it. I have a few more things to write into the manuscript, which came in at 60k words. Right now my editor has it and her initial opinion is highly encouraging. I’m sooooo excited to share this book with you guys.

THANKSGIVING EPIC FANTASY:

A few years ago I jokingly drew a picture of some Pilgrims and Indians riding giant turkeys into battle together, and I lamented the lack of fun Thanksgiving books. We have tons for Halloween and Christmas, why not round out the trifecta?

So I’m working on a book that will come out next year in November, which coincidentally is the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower arriving in North America. Right now I’m in the research phase, and I just finished reading this great book by Caleb Johnson.

I want to use as many real historical figures as possible, and in order to do it well, I needed to know more about everyone on the boat. In November I’ll read another book for research, written by William Bradford himself:

Of Plymouth Plantation by [Bradford, William]

I’m not revealing the title of my book yet, but you can bet it will be fully illustrated. This continues the streak of my best story ideas starting out as sarcasm.

BRIMSTONE, or “Blast Crew Goes to Mordor”:

This book needs a lot of work. Major thanks to my friend Madeline for an extremely thorough reading of it, she gave me a lot of feedback that will make the story tons better if I apply it right. Unfortunately there is nothing about that process that I can rush, and when I do get around to this book it will have a TON of artwork in it, so I wouldn’t expect it out before 2021 at the absolute earliest. Trust me that it will be quite the ride when it is there. In the meantime I’ll work on smaller projects for annual releases, and pick at this one slowly so I don’t rush it.

THE PODCAST:

I’m so happy about how well the podcast is doing! Big thanks to everyone who’s tuning in. Look up the BROTHER TRUCKER BOOK CLUB wherever you listen to podcasts. I do three episodes a week–two for book reviews, one for trucking stories, usually around 15 minutes.

READING:

At the time of this posting I have read 98 books in 2019, 35 in print and 63 on audio. This doesn’t include 12 books that I elected not to finish after getting about a quarter of the way through. 2019 has been a great year for discovering new good books. And the best time of year hasn’t even landed yet!

THE FUTURE:

This is hard to predict, and is mostly guided by things that I would like to do. I just have to be selective with my time. I want to release at least one book per year. Sometimes that will mean a short book, but I’ll always have something in the queue.

This fall I’m going to practice more with digital drawing, because I’ve got a major itch to get into cartooning. We’ll see how it works with my writing, because novels are my first true love. It just might be time to start having some little art kidlets, if I can swing it.

The important thing is to not spread myself too thin and burn out, as I often do. My real kids are getting older and I really want to dedicate more time to adventures with them. I just have to balance my craft with the more important things.

That’s all. Stay tuned to my Twitter and Instagram (@DreadPennies) for other updates. Thanks everyone.

Best nine remind me I need to draw more.

2016 was my most art-heavy year, what with finishing Engines of Liberty 3 and then knocking out Kill The Beast.

Not that I put too much stock in Instagram likes, but it’s a mathematical fact that my content reaches more people when it is art.

I don’t know which 9 photos will make the list this year, but I expect one of them will be a meme. We’ll see.

Takeaway is: I should draw more. Been too busy this year (2018 has been a major slog, work being the chief reason.)

So expect more of that. In 2019 I will spend 10 minutes a day drawing, and I’ll post each day’s progress. That’s when I’m not actively illustrating a project.

Not that anybody cares because nobody reads this blog. Get back to work.

31 Days of Inktober

Well, I finally participated in Inktober, and did 31 original pieces. It was fun and I learned a lot about my skill level. Thank you for following on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram as I revealed new ones.

I will definitely do it next year, and will probably even follow the official prompt list.

For now, I am setting aside my drawing pad and taking up the keyboard to participate in NaNoWriMo. See you on the other side!

This Week’s Card Art

2018 Template 3

Finished another template last night (though I might tweak some of the colors later, still a new discipline for me.)

On this one, you & yours would be drawn into Santa’s snowmobile, outfoxing the Abominable Snowman at the North Pole. I might also add some trees in the background just because.

Down below you’ll find the last two templates I did.

I won’t be heavily advertising these until November, but feel free to place an order whenever. Prices start at $25, I draw you in, you print them up and send them out instead of paying a photographer this year. Yay!

 

2018 Template 22018 Template 1

First Christmas Card Templates Are Up!

Copyright 2018 by Graham Bradley

Yeah yeah, Christmas decorations in September…this isn’t that.

I’m trying to sell customized art to make a little extra cash this fall. The sooner I open up for business, the more overall moolah I can make. Plus it gives you time to think of what you want me to make for you.

This is cheaper than corralling your whole family front of a professional photographer, only to find out (once you have printed 100 cards) that your 6 year-old was secretly flipping the bird to the camera.

This last week I finished the first of the custom Christmas card art commissions for 2018, and I decided I need to change up my method. It took me about 8 nights of work to knock it out.

Instead, I figure I need to make templates so that I just need to draw people in them. The first two templates are featured above. Over the next few weeks I will add more. (And feel free to make suggestions in the comments!)

Template drawings will start at $25. Some of the more complex ones will be about $50, you’ll see what they look like as September rolls on.

This will allow me to fill orders faster and earn more overall money.

Which is kinda the point. 🙂

You can still commission something from scratch, but that option will start at $75. I’ll post an example of what that looks like once I have permission from the last client to share hers.

Feel free to message me at dreadpennies [at] g mail to get your order started. Or if you have questions, comment below!

Thanks.

Updated Pricing on Your Christmas Card Art

Hey there, Dreads.

A few months back I announced I was doing custom Christmas card art for 2018.

This is still the case, and I’ve made some updates to the pricing and the options available. I just finished a custom card for a client and it took a lot longer than I intended, and I’m concerned that if I start scheduling more of these, I won’t get them all done and they won’t match the quality to the price I’m charging.

SO. The fix is this: I’m designing some templates for basic cards with stock backgrounds and stuff, and the “custom” part will just  be how I draw your families. Certain cards will cost more because of their details or popularity or what have you.

Fully custom cards will cost more, and still have a general turnaround time of a week.

Details are pending, as soon as I get the first round of templates done. If you have any questions, comment below or email me at dreadpennies (at) g mail.

Talk to you soon!