100 Sketches

I cranked out about 800 signatures in around three hours today, walked to 7-11 for a Slurpee, and then sat down and cranked out 100 sketch-edition pictures between the hours of 3:00pm and 11:00pm. I took a couple of good-sized breaks in there. Lorna, who joins us for GURPS on Fridays, is a licensed Massage Therapist. She rescued my hand after #80, and kneaded my shoulder and arm back into decent shape after #100.

In one hour I whipped out 20 sketch editions. That’s one every three minutes, INCLUDING the time it takes to switch books, number the sketch (e.g. “65/300”), and sign the front. Interestingly, some of my very favorites were the ones that only took 90 seconds to draw.

Maybe next time I’ll get ambitious and let you pick which character you want in your book. This time around it’s my choice. There’s been a lot of Schlock, Tagon, and Ennesby, several Legs, several Nick (including one for a Schlocker named Nick — I swear, that was an accident), a couple of Elf, two Xinchubs and exactly one Jevee Ceeta. There were a few “special” ones in there as well, where I recognized the name on the envelope, and drew something appropriate. I had to be careful, though, because as the night wore on (and on, and on, and on) my definition of “appropriate” slid a bit. I knew I’d crossed a line somewhere when the book for Paul Southworth almost ended up with a Schlock Mercenary/Ugly Hill crossover tentacle… um… scene. I kept giggling to myself and not touching the pen to the paper.

I’ll save Paul’s for tomorrow, when I’m awake, alert, and fresh. Or not-so-fresh. Whatever.

I wish I knew all of you better. I wish I could be sketching your books in person, with you standing there in front of me saying stuff to set me off. Cartooning is the best job in the world, and it’s even more fun with a live audience.

Anyway, 1/3 of the sketch editions are done, and we only have about 165 mailers left to go out (a bunch of the sketch editions are for pre-orders taken at the Keep). We have exactly 1600 packages to put in the mail, and over 1300 of them have been taken to the post office and shipped. Another 150 or so got filled up after the last postal pickup, and will go out first thing in the morning.

Considering that I’ve only had the books in my possession for 30 hours, I’m pretty pleased. My hand hurts and I’m exhausted, but I’m happy.


24 thoughts on “100 Sketches”

  1. I really enjoy the comic, and look forward to ordering a copy of the book. Alas I missed the preorder.. 🙁
    Glad you’re enjoying it so much. The lj is wonderful to read too.
    Gordon, a Canadian fan.

    1. I can’t wait to see which character I got for the sketches! Just wanted to say I really appreciate how much work and effort you’re putting into getting this whole ‘publishing’ done right. Really sets the standard for others I say.

      Good luck with the rest of the books!

      (Paul from Vermont)

  2. Question on payments

    Are you waiting to cash checks until after the books have shipped?

    I sent mine in a number of weeks ago, but to date it hasn’t been cashed. Now I’m worried that it might have gotten lost in the mail.

      1. Re: Question on payments

        That’s a big difference from when I struck out on my own; I had to handle *everything* myself, and frankly, it didn’t work. But then, you also have a lot more people to support, so you’re probably working a lot harder than I was.

        And to once again be frank, I’d much rather you make Schlock comics and books that I can buy than you being an exec at Novell. Not that I have anything against Novell, but there just aren’t enough good scifi comics around.

  3. Congratulations on the progress – now all I’m waiting for is the time for the mail to cross the Atlantic.

    Out of curiosity, what were the criteria for one getting a sketch edition?

    1. Paying for it.

      One only had the opportunity to pay for it, though, if one got one’s order in the first day that orders were being taken (or if one ordered the book at Penguicon 4.0).

      1. Thanks.

        I’d probably have paid. Who knows – perhaps I’ll be in time on Volume 2, if the same applies then. I did put off asking the question after the books were mailed, to avoid pressuring Howard.

      2. Or if one had pre-ordered it and paid for ‘The Upgrade’ at Penguicon 4.0, I happen to know. 🙂

        Howard, the book made it to me before your announcement of shipping, I believe. It’s great, and I’m going to begin spreading the Schlocky word. I should have ordered a non-sketch edition for that. D’oh!

        Signed, #16 of 300.

  4. Howard, you have the kinda work ethic that’d have Puritians looking at you, shaking their heads and saying “Dude, thou art working too hard, Relax!

  5. I’ve been reading the Miles Vorkosigan stories by Bujold this week. Howard was the one who introduced me to them. He was very enthusiastic about Miles in particular.

    My mind has been forced to draw some behavioral parallels between Miles and Howard. “Forward momentum” indeed.

  6. “Paul Southworth almost ended up with a Schlock Mercenary/Ugly Hill crossover tentacle… um… scene.”

    “…it rhymes with ‘pentacle hex.'”
    –Jevee Ceeta

    Bad Mormon! Bad Mormon!

  7. Wow

    Today was great. Free food and 48 ounces of Caffeinated sodas due to celebration. In case you don’t know, i was the one who asked you how long it was to get good at drawing. I’m hoping to get one of the books in the next few weeks. And hopefully get it signed also.

  8. B-E-A-utiful

    I decided to wait for my sketch when I’d catch Howard at Comic-Con 06. Something to look forward to, and a great incentive for me to be there. I do have to say that I’m glad for my decision, while the thrill of getting a random character sketch sounds great, (I’ll do that for the next book) I’ll have made a decision (maybe) by comic-con.

    Oh, and I got my preordered copies in the mail just now. Ripped open the bubble mailer, smelled that ‘new-book’ smell that has likely permeated your house and out fell my three beautiful copies of Schlock. (I’m planning on having upcoming birthday presents finished for friends) Ahhh, lovely. Thank you Howard and see ya in July!

  9. I just wanted to say I got my autographed pre-order yesterday. The quality and the appearance is awesome, and I have it squirreled away waiting to get wrapped up for Father’s Day. My dad doesn’t use the computer, but I’ve known for the longest time he’d very likely enjoy your comic, which is the main reason I’ve been so excited about the books. Thank you!

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