Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Added a Commission tier to my PATREON PAGE


For a short time, I'm going to create commission pieces for people that sign up for the newly added "commision" tier over on my Patreon page.  Only three available, so go here quick to sign up: www.patreon.com/tombancroft  



Monday, May 19, 2014

TAUGHT BY A PRO

I don't post to this blog as much as I should, since I'm on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram it's hard to keep up.  (Follow me on those too!  Twitter and Instagram- TomBancroft1)  But I seem to have completely forgotten to mention something important to me: my online art instruction website, Taught by a Pro!  (www.taughtbyapro.com).  Its THE place to watch video lessons prepared exclusively for that site by top PRO instructors from the worlds of animation, comic strips, comic books, illustration, and concept design!  Please check it out!


Friday, March 14, 2014

TOM BANCROFT web chat!

I did a last minute webchat with some fans and Patreon patrons yesterday and they asked some interesting questions that I get asked HERE quite often.  You might want to watch it.  Be warned: I never used Spreecast before so I couldn't get the mic to work at first SO FASTFORWARD to 5:15 and then it gets going.  

Some of the questions I was asked/ answered:

- What kind of pencils/ ink pens do I use for my comic strip?
- Do I work digitally or traditionally?
- What are some of my art goals (if I get more Patreon funding)?
- What is Patreon?
- Is there a good art instruction school that is low cost that I would recommend? 
- Should I go to art school?  Does a degree in art help me get a job? 
- How do I balance working hard to "make it" with family/ other obligations?
- and more!  

It's super casual and I'm a little "stumbly" with the Spreecast site, but I hope you get something out of my answers.  We'll do it again too, it was fun!  
Here's the link: http://www.spreecast.com/events/tom-bancroft-patron-chat-1.html

Monday, February 17, 2014

My Patreon Support page

Hey everyone!  
I just wanted you to know that I am creating a Patreon Support page for my OUTNUMBERED comic strip as well as other creative endeavors.  Please consider checking it out and supporting me: 
My Patreon PAGE:



MY GOAL: 
I'm asking for YOU'RE support to help me in making my online webcomic "Outnumbered" but also so that I can make MUCH MORE creative stuff!  


What is TOM BANCROFT doing?

A really good question.  Here's the short answer: I'm asking for your financial support (no more than the price of a bottle of water or a coffee a month!) to help me get my weekly webcomic, "Outnumbered" colored, urled, and hosted every month!  But that's not all!  I'm going to make this THE PLACE to have access to me and custom artwork from me.  Once we hit some of the milestones on the left side, I am ALSO GOING TO LAUNCH INTO OTHER CREATIVE ENDEAVORS THANKS TO YOU! 

 What is this PATREON thing?  

It's crowd-funding at its best!  Much like Kickstarter, Patreon is a way to support a creative person who's work you love.  BUT unlike Kickstater, Patreon is not just to back/support ONE PROJECT, but many!  In a very real way, you are supporting the CREATOR, not just a project he/she produces.  I want to create MANY different things with the support you bring me every month.  The more support I get, the more I will pull away from other jobs and become the kind of independent artist I want to be!  In the end, I'd love to be able to be producing work directly for you instead of for publishers, studios, agents, and others to take their part and charge you more for it.  I believe this is where the creative arts are going and I'm excited to be doing it with you!  

What will I GET?

​My goal is to give you as much "behind the scenes" and EXTRA art concepts as I can!   Depending on your giving tier, I will be giving you OUTNUMBERED (the rough pencils version!) a day or two early, a custom "sketch a week" created by request from one of the Patrons, t-shirts (I think I have this figured out to be able to pull off!), original artwork , webisodes, and Google Hangouts where I will LIVE DRAW.  Sounds good, Right?  

​Here's a sample strip in its "rough pencils" form- EXCITING!:



I will be doing  "HOW TO" videos like this one on "How To DRAW MARK" (my OUTNUMBERED main character) as a sample: 


Hit this link to view the video

Thank you, Tom Bancroft


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Kickstarter Interview With DOUG TENNAPEL

I was recently asked to attend an animation/video game festival in Canada and one of the subjects they wanted me to speak on was "Crowd Funding your creation", since I had finished a successful Kickstarter project for my Opposite Forces GN.  I had some information and opinions from going through the process, but I really wanted other opinions.  More experienced ones too.  I quickly turned to friend, Doug TenNapel.  He is one of the most successful Kickstarter creatives I know.  His sketchbook project went through the roof (details below) and he is now working with some partners on a video game Kickstarter project- that ends in TWO DAYS!  (Back it NOW- http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1949537745/armikrog).  Doug has great insights into how to run a successful Kickstarter, below is the transcripts from a phone interview I conducted with him.  Any mistakes made are my own, this is unedited and fairly raw since I was trying to type as he spoke.  And- no- he wasn't shouting at me the entire time, I just made his responses ALL CAPS for clarity.  ENJOY!  


Kickstarter Thoughts with Doug TenNapel


Doug Tenapel has a long background that includes successfully creating video game concepts/characters as well as many well-loved graphic novels that he writes and draws.  He has animated, done comic strips, character design, art direction- basically all forms of media you can think of.  He has done one very successful Kickstarter for a huge sketchbook that he asked for $18k but exceeded his goal by receiving over $100k.  He and two partners are now running a Kickstarter for a video game called Armikrog.  They are the creators of Neverhood and Earth Worm Jim.  After a huge start, the Kickstarter is about midway through with a goal of reaching a goal of $900k.  They are about half funded as of this writing, with 20 days to go.

His first big break in video games came when Steven Spielberg funded Neverhood and just said, “What do you want to do?”   They were starting a video game company and just gave him a million- 2 million and said go make a game.  He made a stop motion video game that was a worldwide hit.  #1 pirated game worldwide- especially in Japan and Iran.  That overseas black market has given Doug a strong following worldwide which is helping his current Kickstarter projects, ironically.  Most popular game in Iran so he is getting a ton of backers for Armikrog- in Iran. 


Q and A:

What was the one thing you learned/discovered that you didn’t know about Kickstarter when you started this- even with all your research beforehand?

IN A GOOD WAY, THE GENEROCITY AND KINDNESS OF THE FANS, I DIDN’T EXPECT.  KICKSTARTER DONORS ARE DIFFERENT FROM CON FANS.  THEY ARE VERY GENEROUS AND SELFLESS, USED TO GIVING TO PROJECTS WITH THEIR MONEY.  THEY ARE THE MOST HEART-FELT MEMBERS OF MY FANBASE.  LOTS OF PLEASE AND THANK YOUS. 


Can someone with very little to no social networking following run a successful Kickstarter/Indiegogo program?

IT’S VERY HARD.  ITS HARD ENOUGH EVEN WITH A HUGE FOLLOWING/FAN BASE.  I HAVE A DECENT SIZED FOLLOWING CAN’T COMPARE.  BUT ONLY A PORTION OF THAT FOLLOWING INVESTS IN MY KICKSTARTER PROJECTS.  SO IT CUTS DOWN QUITE A BIT.  IF IT IS A LOW PRICE POINT, THE NEWBIES WILL HAVE A MUCH BETTER CHANCE AT SUCCESS. 

I EVEN DECIDED ON THE VOICE CASTING BASED ON THEIR TWITTER FOLLOWINGS A BIT TOO.  NOT COMPLETELY BUT YOU DO WANT TO CONSIDER HAVING PEOPLE INVOLVED/EXCITED IN YOUR PROJECT THAT HAVE HUGE ONLINE FOLLOWINGS. 


HOW DO YOU BUILD AN AUDIENCE?  YOU GIVE THEM STUFF FOR FREE.  YOU HAVE TO PROVE TO THEM YOUR CREATION IS WORTH FOLLOWING FIRST.  YOU CAN’T MONETIZE THEM BEFORE THEY ARE A FAN.  YOU HAVE TO CREATE A PROJECT AND GET IT OUT THERE.  LATER, YOU CAN START ASKING THEM TO HELP YOU ON YOUR NEXT PROJECTS.  BUILD YOUR AUDIENCE FIRST, THEN ASK FOR MONEY FROM THEM. 


Do you think the crowd-funding craze will go away/die soon? 

NO, IF YOU LOOK AT WHERE ENTERTAINMENT HAS COME FROM, IT WAS GEARED TOWARD A UNITED VIEWERSHIP.  NOW WE HAVE CABLE AND ONLINE VIDEOS WHERE THE AUDIENCE IS “INDIVIDUALISTIC” AND MORE NITCH.  THE INCOME OF THE NETWORKS HAS GONE DOWN.  IT ALSO GIVES US THE CHANCE TO SEE STUFF WE NEVER WOULD HAVE BEFORE.  KICKSTARTER IS FEEDING INTO THE INDEPENDENT MOVEMENT AND NITCH MARKET SELLER/CREATORS.  WE DON’T NEED TO GO TO PUBLISHERS, WE CAN HAVE OUR FANS FUND THE PROJECTS THEY WANT.  THIS GENERATION IS USED TO/WANT TO DO THIS STUFF.  NO PUBLISHER WOULD LET ME DO A PROJECT THAT ONLY SELLS TO ABOUT 1000 PEOPLE.  BUT I CAN CROWD FUND IT AND ACTUALLY MAKE A PROFIT OFF OF A SMALL PROJECT.  PEOPLE ARE MAKING THEIR OWN DECISIONS ON WHAT THEY WANT AND THEY ARE PUTTING THEIR MONEY WHERE THEIR MOUTH IS. 

Besides funding your dream project, do you set out to make a profit with your projects?

THERE’S NO ROOM FOR ASKING FOR PROFIT.  I PUT ABOUT TWO MONTHS OF FULL TIME WORK INTO ALL THE INCENTIVE FULLFILMENTS AFTER THE SKETCHBOOK WAS FINISHED.  THAT WAS UNPAID TIME.  YOU HAVE TO PUT A TON OF TIME INTO A PROJECT (WORKING FOR FREE) BEFORE YOU CAN LAUNCH A KICKSTARTER ALSO.  WHAT IS YOUR WALK AWAY AMOUNT?  YOU SHOULDN’T EXPECT KICKSTARTER TO FUND YOU WHOLE PROJECT.  I THINK, WHAT IS THE MINIMUM AMOUNT I NEED TO DO THIS PROJECT THAT I WOULD DO ANYWAY?  DON’T HAVE KICKSTARTER LIFT THE WHOLE THING AND YOU HAVE A LOT BETTER CHANCE TO HIT YOUR FUNDING.  IF PRINTING COSTS ARE $10K THEN ASK FOR $9K AND GET SOME HELP ON THE BACK END FROM FAMILY OR FRIENDS TO RAISE THE REST IF NEED BE.  OR YOU MAY GET OVER YOUR AMOUNT ASKED FOR.  FIGURE OUT WHAT YOU THINK YOU CAN GET ON KICKSTARTER AND NOT WHAT YOU NEED. 

Stretch-goals?

I REALLY BENT OVER BACKWARDS TO DO MORE MANUAL LABOR (EARTH WORM JIM COMMISIONS,ETC.) TO GET PEOPLE EXCITED ABOUT THE KICKSTARTER TO MAKE THE KICKSTARTER MORE EXCITING.  I THOUGHT THEY MAY NOT BE AS EXCITED ABOUT THE ACTUAL SKETCHBOOK, BUT I KNEW THEY WANTED THE COMMISSIONS AND WOULD GET THE SKETCHBOOK WITH IT.  IN THE END, I THOUGHT THEY WOULD WANT THE SKETCHBOOK, BUT THEY DIDN’T KNOW IT.  I MADE SURE I HAD STRETCHGOALS THAT WOULD MAKE THE SKETCHBOOK BETTER AND BETTER BUT DID IT BY DOING MORE AND MORE COMMISSIONS OF EARTHWORM JIM AND NEVERHOOD, ETC.  THEY WANTED THE CHARACTERS MORE THAN THEY WANTED MY WORK EVEN.  THE VALUE TO MY FAN BASE IS IN THE WORLDWIDE POPULARITY OF THE CHARACTERS, SO I SOLD THAT. 


Is there an incentive you would NOT do again?    One you wish you had?

NO REGRETS ON THE SKETCHBOOK PROJECT BECAUSE IT WENT SO WELL.  NOW THAT I’VE BUILT THAT AUDIENCE AND GAVE SO MANY SPECIALTY COMMISSIONS, I MAY COMBINE A FEW TIERS.   NOW THAT PEOPLE KNOW I AM GOOD FOR IT (FULLFILING COMMISIONS AND PROJECTS) I CAN ASK FOR MORE MONEY AT THE STARTING POINT OF THE KICKSTARTER.

What proportionately “paid off” better?   The lower priced tiers or the higher priced tiers? 

IN MY CASE, THE HIGHER PRICED TIERS.  IN AMRIKROG, IT’S THE LOWER PRICED TIERS.  FOR THE SKETCHBOOK, I WAS KNOWN FOR MAKING THE VIDEO GAMES (Earth Worm Jim, The Neverhood), SO THEY WERE INTERESTED IN GETTING THE BOOKS.  THEY KNEW EARTHWORRM JIM BUT DIDN’T CARE I DID THE COMICS.  THEY DIDN’T CARE ABOUT THE SKETCHBOOK PROJECT ITSELF, BUT THEY REALLY WANTED THE HIGHER PRICED ORIGINAL ART OF EARTHWORM JIM AND NEVERHOOD.  I SOLD IT AS “THIS BOOK IS HOW I DID IT”- ITS WHERE THOSE IDEAS- AND OTHERS STARTED.  WE HAVE 10K BACKERS ON ARMIKROG AND THE AVERAGE PER PERSON DONATION IS $44.   THAT TELLS ME THAT I NEED TO HIT A LOT OF PEOPLE SO THEY CAN GIVE SMALL AMOUNTS FOR US TO HIT OUR GOAL.  A LOT OF MY TIER STAGERING WAS ME FIGURING OUT HOW I COULD MAKE THE NEXT TEIR UP LOOK IRISITABLE.  IF ITS $5 MORE, HOW CAN I GET THEM TO JUMP UP TO THAT TIER AND WHAT DO I NEED TO GIVE THEM TO MAKE  IT EASY TO JUMP UP TO IT?  SOMETHING THAT THEY WANT. 


Is 30 days a good amount of time to do a Kickstarter project? 

YOU DON’T NEED MORE THAN 30 DAYS.  IF YOU GO LONGER THAN THAT YOU JUST INCREASE THE “LULL PERIOD “ IN THE MIDDLE.  MOST GIVE AT THE BEGINNING AND AT THE END.  THE LATE GIVERS ARE IMPULSE BUYERS.  NO ONE IS BRAVE ENOUGH TO DO A 20-DAY CAMPAIGN BUT I THINK YOU’D MAKE THE SAME AS THE 30 DAY.  THE BEGINNING AND THE END ARE THE WHOLE DEAL!



"If you 20% in your first week, you have an 80% chance of being successful in your Project funding."  –Brian Fargo 







Friday, May 24, 2013

Character Mentor is now in JAPANESE!


To those of you that speak/read Japanese, I just found out that my second book, "Character Mentor" is now being printed in Japanese by the publisher, Born Digital.  Thank you to Born Digital for sending me a couple copies of the book (shown below).  It looks beautiful!  Please check it out at the link below!  They have had it out for a few months now, I am just hearing about it now.  Thanks, Tom B.

http://www.borndigital.co.jp/book/2920.html


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Character Mentor- IN SPANISH!

My publisher, Focal Press, just sent me a small box of copies for the new SPANISH language version of Character Mentor!  Its very cool, even though I can't understand most of it.  The spanish publisher, Anaya Multimedia (www.anayamultimedia.es) decided, for whatever reason, to make it smaller in size. I gotta say, I kind of like it.  Its backpack friendly now.  The color and paper is actually slightly better quality also.  So, if you are a spanish speaking artist, go to their website and order one!