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A fan of my work wrote and asked for advice about writing a graphic novel. Here's what I told her:

My first piece of advice is to completely give up on the idea of "totally new." Really. Let it go. Nothing is totally new. (A good thing to remember when people say "Kids these days!")
I wanted that totally new, too. It'll make your brain hurt. Instead, go for a fresh take on something that's already been done. (EVERYTHING'S already been done!) Take a story that didn't work for you because the idea was good but the execution was bosh, or had an unsatisfying ending. Take a page from your own life, take MANY pages. We've all had amazing days, and amazingly crap days. A favorite teacher, or not a single one. A friend who moved away or died, or was true to the end.
Only ONE time has a story just come to me BAM! and been all there. Every other one has been a lot of work. Fun, sometimes nail-biting work. But work. Hard work. Enjoy it while you're doing it, because you will almost inevitably look back on the time you spent writing your GN and feel a little wistful. Only once in my career did I loathe a job from beginning to bitter end. One year out of twenty-three.

Don't pull things out of your butt. Don't try to be mysteeeeerious. Remember that your story is a closed world. Put in nothing that is not essential. You CAN have interesting characters that you don't have to explain them. They are texture. That's fun. But somehow, they have to fit. A good way to close your world is to have a prologue (which you can toss later) which encapsulates the theme(s) of the whole story. I did that in both Cathedral Child and Clockwork Angels and Rumble Girls.
A wonderful piece of advice is start as late in the story as you can and end it as soon as you can.

Read things beside comics. Please. For your own good. Fiction, non-fiction, it's all good. If you want to avoid reading things in the genre you're writing in, do. I do. But that's me. I'm chicken that I'll see someone do exactly what I wated to do, and better, and pffft my energy is gone.

Have people read what you've written, and ask where they got lost, if they did. DON'T ask how they liked it. That/those answers will make you crazy. Just ask if they got it. If they didn't, DON'T defend it, FIX it. LISTEN to what they say.

GIVE UP PERFECTION. There will always be plot holes, awkward turn of phrase, characters who would sound like jackholes if a real person said their dialogue. The beauty of your readers if they have NO IDEA how it looked/read in your head. NO IDEA what you threw out, or how art and dialogue turned to hash. Remember that YOU know everything about your story and at the start your audience knows nothing about your story.Relax!

My good friend Jim Salicrup (he's the co-publisher at the graphic novel publisher Papercutz, and was also and editor at Marvel and Topps) says, "Do the best you can in the time you have." That is the most excellent advice.

NEVER EVER put your work down. "It's not my best work..." Then why are you showing it? If you're not ready, don't share. If it is ready and you're saying that, you're trying to deflect criticism. True story: *I* did it. It's obnoxious. If you need fresh readers tell them, "I need readers." Full stop. When you're pitching that minty-fresh gn, say "Thanks for looking." That's ALL.
(On the other hand, NEVER say, "I'm better than..." Law of horrible awkward. genital-shriveling, stomach in the basement coincidence says you just insulted their best friend and/or favorite artist. ASK ME HOW I KNOW. Oh god do I know.)

Finally, finish it, and do another. And another. And another.

I wish you nothing but good luck. It is delightful to see people succeed, and I hope you are one of them.



My rent's due this Friday, and my complex charges $50./day late fees, won't work with me (I tried), so no foolin' gotta raise $300. $190. $140. $50. by Friday.

UPDATE $230. to go! $190. $140.   $50. TO GO,  DONE!  YAY! YOU GUYS ROCK! THANK YOU SO MUCH!!

So, here's how I'm trying to raise it:
Commissions (shipping inclusive!)
Near-Life Experience Original Art Sales (special pricing!)

There's a lot of images, so scroll down!

Price is $55., payable via PayPal to divalea @ gmail.com, which includes shipping, for a 5x8" watercolor, single figure. I am ace, as it turns out, at painting cats with wings, but I also do amusing portraits and character commissions.
Some recent pieces:





ALSO: Near-Life Experience Original ART SALE!

Any one is just $25., which includes Priority Mail shipping. Except for Making Chicken, which is a three-piece set and is $50., First come, first served!
They're about 5x8 inches, acid-free paper, made with Faber-Castell Pitt Pens, Prismacolor pencil, white paint, and an abiding love of the absurd.

SOLD!                                                    SOLD!

Pool People                            Glee                                                    How to go to Bed


Thanks, everyone! Please share the link to this post if you're not in the market for art right now!

Lea at MangaNEXT in New Jersey: NEXT WEEK!

I'll be at MangaNEXT in East Brunswick, NJ, from October 29 through October 31!

MangaNEXT is the only US convention devoted solely to manga, encouraging more manga and doujinshi in its dealer's room and an expanded Artist's Alley.

I'll be there, debuting two completely new programs!

Friday October 29 6-7p:
Otaku no Mori: 12 Stories About 1 Year at Gainax
By December of 1989, I had survived the Loma Prieta quake, had a shoebox containing $1,000 in dollar bills and quarters for catalogs that didn't exist and had been dressed as a Japanese bar hostess. The nervous breakdown was still five months in the future.
Otaku no Mori will a presentation of spoken word with drawings done on the fly. Come see me fling myself into the maw!

Saturday October 30 11a-2p
Manga Boot Camp:
Where do you go when you've devoured every book on being a comicker
from the dreadful to the intimidating? When you have every disc of
tones, two each of every Copic color and type, the latest manga drawing
program, the scripting software, and the 72" flatscreen bajillion
levels of pressure Cintiq?
To boot camp! Learn how to make manga anytime, anywhere.

SIGN UP INSTRUCTIONS HERE: http://manganext.org/node/192

This is a three-hour workshop for artists AND writers, the goal of which is to end with a 1st draft of a nine-page story, or series outline, using the tool of Mike Rohde's Sketchnotes as a kickstart and confidence-builder.

VIDEO: Dear Vincent Painting Playback

One of the things I love about Brushes is that you can grab a playback vid off of the Brushes server. I got the one for Vincent, added some sassy surf-inspired music, and here you go:


Dear Vincent

It's almost Halloween, so I painted Scream King Vincent Price on my iPhone using the Brushes app.


Posted via LiveJournal.app.

I Survived 24 Hour Comic Day 2010!


Here's my 2010 24 Hour Comic. Following the first four pages, there's a helpful LJ cut to save bandwidth, and also because there are about 4-5 NFSW pages.
I made it ENTIRELY on an iPhone 3Gs using an app called Brushes for the character drawing, & Brushes plus various photo enhancing apps for the backgrounds. (I mean entirely: notes, painting, textures, lettering, tweeting. EVERYTHING.)

Team Dickcookies (that's me ad my comicking compatriots Kat, Jason and Grady) had a 100% success rate! We ALL got 24 in 24, Jason finished first, Grady second, Kat and I finished at 11 hours, 59 minutes.

We met and mastered at Dragon's Lair in San Antonio, under the bewildered eye of manager Bob Schafer, following the daytime team of Elin and Clint, and evening team of Will. The miserable bane of the previous two years, the appalling Club Antro (it had beds in it, BEDS), was closed for numerous violations (gang violence, fights, etc.), so no glass shelves vibrating to bad music bass from 8:30pm-2am.

Team Dickcookies made up for the Antro-lack with our own outbursts of laughter every half hour from about 6-7pm on through 6am. These guys were seriously funny, and we were all seriously punchy. Most of what we laughed at is still funny to me, but maybe not to anyone who wasn't there. The rest of TD doesn't know it, but I'm assigning them each  24HCD story to draw, because the story of "dickcookies" is too good to write out.


More Jackwagon behind this curtain!Collapse )
More Jackwagon behind this curtain!Collapse )
More Jackwagon behind this curtain!Collapse )

NLEx: Fireflies

A note from the comicker: Near-Life Experience Original Art Sale is going! Most pages are $35. You get cool art, I pay my bills and keep making NLEx! 
Now, the comic!

Inspired by the song "Fireflies" by Owl City. Owl City's official video and Captain Valor's American Sign Language performance follow. Both are massively charming. Thanks to raggedrobin for the ASL link!


I made this from my Tweets about coping with rejections.

It's all gold, people, if we are alchemists.

Posted via LiveJournal.app.


roaring dragon, spore, monster friday
Lea Hernandez-DivaLea
Atelier DivaLea

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June 2016



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