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I wanted to announce some of the exciting things that have been going on with Demon of the Underground in recent days.

First off, DOTU is now on Patreon!  I officially launched the page yesterday, and it's already within $8 of my first milestone goal.  For those of you who would like to support DOTU on Patreon, every dollar makes a huge difference, and I'm offering some really fun rewards.  With enough support, I'd be able to shift my focus away from some of the lowest paying, labor-intensive freelance jobs I get in favor of more frequent comic updates.  You can read more about it here at the Patreon site:

Support Demon of the Underground on Patreon

Also, in addition to the official site and the Smackjeeves mirror, DOTU is now being mirrored on Tapastic.  Tapastic will run several pages behind the official site and Smackjeeves, but I'm sure it will eventually surpass my DA updates because Tapastic updates can be scheduled in advance and are much less labor intensive for me.  There will be weekly updates, 2 pages per update, until it's within 10-15 pages of the official site.  Then it will be 1 page per week.  Here's the link:

Demon of the Underground on Tapastic

And finally, I'm trying out a mirror on Inkblazers too.  It's currently running at the same schedule as Tapastic, but it's on a trial basis because Inkblazers doesn't have good discovery and doesn't allow automatic updates.  I'll give it a month or so, and if there's enough demand, I'll keep it running.

Demon of the Underground on Inkblazers

But if it isn't inconvenient for you, I always recommend the official site first.  The ad revenue I get from it is vital in keeping the comic running, and it's the best place to leave comments and keep up on the latest updates.

Demon of the Underground - Official Site (demonoftheunderground.com)
This weekend I'm doing a "Meet the Author" chat on Goodreads, courtesy of my publisher Dreamspinner Press.  I'd love it if you guys can come and join me!

You can find all the details and RSVP here:
www.goodreads.com/event/show/8…

Of course, you're also welcome to just drop in without notice.  On the day of the event, there will be a thread here:
www.goodreads.com/group/show/4…

The more, the merrier!  It's this Saturday from 3pm to 6pm ET.  Even if you can only pop in for a little while, that's fine.  I'll be talking about all my published m/m novels, especially my newest release, Bonds of Death.  There will be excerpts from my current and upcoming releases, and there will be book giveaways!  I'll also be there to answer questions and chat about whatever you want to know.

I've done a few chats on Facebook before, but this will be my first time on Goodreads.  It's like an entirely different world to me, and I'd love to see some familiar faces because Goodreads can be a scary place for an author, hehe...

Anyway, I hope to see you guys there! :)
For those of you who don't follow me elsewhere, I'm just letting you know that Bonds of Death (sequel to Art of Death) has been released!  It's available in ebook and paperback.  The ebook will be 25% off until 10/21, and the first 20 paperback copies sold through Dreamspinner Press's site have my signed sketches inside.

Ebook link: www.dreamspinnerpress.com/stor…
Paperback link: www.dreamspinnerpress.com/stor…

EDIT: The listing is now also up on Amazon!
Bonds of Death will be released THIS FRIDAY, October 19! It will be sold in ebook and paperback.  The first twenty paperback copies sold through Dreamspinner Press's website will have my signed sketches inside! You can see a preview of the sketches and find out more here:
ana-bosch.blogspot.com/2012/10…

This will be the buy link where you can get the signed copies:
www.dreamspinnerpress.com/stor…
(You can also get regular copies through Amazon and Barnes and Noble, etc.)

Also, I put up a couple excerpts from the story on my writing blog, and I'll probably put up one or two more before the release:
ana-bosch.blogspot.com/

I'll add the cover art to my DA gallery on the release day, but you can also already see it in the above links.

And... as part of Dreamspinner Press's October "tweetaway" promotions, there will be a span of one hour sometime before Sunday evening that you will be able to pick up the ebook of Art of Death FOR FREE from Dreamspinner Press's website. I can't tell you exactly when it'll happen, but the best way to know is to keep an eye on my Twitter or Dreamspinner Press's Twitter account this week. This is a great chance to get caught up for the sequel!
Just a reminder that I'm not posting a new DOTU page on DA this week in order to keep the schedule consistent, since I took a week off after the end of the chapter, but the new page is up on demonoftheunderground.com.  It'll be up here as well next Monday.

But since I'd like to still offer some sort of entertainment, here's a video of my dorky budgie for those of you who haven't already seen it:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=tX_ZtH…

If I get a chance, I'll also put up some new cover art later this week. :)
Dreamspinner Press is having a 25% off sale until tomorrow (July 31), so now is the ideal time to pick up Art of Death if you haven't already.
www.dreamspinnerpress.com/stor… (ebook)
www.dreamspinnerpress.com/stor… (paperback)

Also, I'm holding one last giveaway in celebration of this release.  Check out my guest post about nude modeling and leave a comment before 8/2 to be included in the drawing:
pantsoffreviews.blogspot.com/2…
As some of you know, my first novel was released earlier this month through Dreamspinner Press.  If you don't know, it's called Art of Death, and it's an m/m paranormal mystery with a chunk of romance thrown in.  To celebrate the release, I'm doing a Facebook chat on Dreamspinner Press's fan page tomorrow, Saturday 7/21, from 1pm to 6pm ET.

You're all invited!  There will be conversation, ebook giveaways, excerpts, m/m-themed sketch requests, and more!  The only catch is you need to be 18+, since the book is aimed at an 18+ audience.

RSVP here, or just show up tomorrow!

Don't have five hours to spare?  It's all good.  Drop in for a few minutes  and say hi, or throw your name into the giveaway drawing!

Tentative schedule:
1:00 - Introductions: About me, about Art of Death, and about you
1:30 - Sketch requests/Ask Anything thread.  Request an m/m themed sketch in honor of the "art" theme behind Art of Death or ask any question you have on your mind.
2:30 - GIVEAWAY: comment to enter.  "Guilty Pleasures."
3:30 - Books from your childhood/your first favorite books
4:00 - Chat with the boys of Art of Death.  Ask them whatever you want!
4:30 - GIVEAWAY: comment to enter.  "Places to Visit" - favorite real and fictional locations
5:00 - Sequel Preview: Bonds of Death (with excerpt)
5:30 - Sketch requests revealed, Giveaway winner revealed, upcoming events

I hope to see you there!
DA keeps giving me an error message saying it can't process my file, so I can't update DOTU here today.  I'll try again some other time.  But you can still read page 60 here on the main site.
Or not...  I just felt like changing my username, because it's what I should have picked in the first place when I made my new account, but for some reason it slipped my mind when I was checking for available names.  It makes more sense to go with my artist name since this is an art website.

Just letting y'all know!
An anonymous awesome person has upgraded me to a premium account!  (At least I assume it's a person; none of the ferrets or birds I know are adept enough to navigate DA...)  Anyway, thank you so much, whoever you may be!  I'll use this as an incentive to post more and be more involved, since I've kind of let DA sit on the back burner lately.  But I won't let this premium membership that was so kindly donated go to waste!

I have several pieces of book cover art I did recently that I need to post, so keep an eye out for that in the coming weeks!
My DA page is quieter than most of the other places where I post, so sometimes I forget to do anything besides update DOTU.  Sorry!  I do have some new artwork that I'm just waiting for the "all clear" to post.

Meanwhile, I put together a list of "20 Freelance Tips from an Art Director's Perspective."  You can read the original post at my blog.  Or you can keep reading here:

------

I'm not the best artist or art director since sliced bread (who, by the way, was so successful he was practically rolling in dough), but I have been lucky enough to have worked on both ends of the art director/illustrator spectrum.  For four years, I was an art director to illustrators, sculptors, retouchers, and graphic designers for a large corporation.  For the past three months or so, I've been a dedicated freelancer.

I learned more about how to be a good freelance illustrator from being an art director than from any other source.  With this in mind, I thought it would be a good idea to share some tips from an art director's point of view on what to do and what not to do as a freelancer.  And now that I'm a freelancer, these are all things that I myself intend to live by.


1. Ask questions.  If there's any ambiguity in a job, check with your art director.  This is much better than guessing and sending in something incorrect.  And don't feel stupid for asking questions either.  Often, art directors have been at their jobs for long enough that they take certain bits of information for granted.  If it's your first time working for them, they may forget that their company's jargon is unfamiliar to outsiders.  And unless they're particularly surly characters, they'll appreciate that you're making an effort to get it right and do a good job.

2. Be as resourceful as possible in finding your own references and coming up with your approach.  Art directors love freelancers who are problem solvers and don't need their hand held at every turn.

3. Don't let yourself get lonely.  I could always tell which freelancers didn't get out of the house enough, because they'd keep me on the phone forever.  A bit of fun conversation with an art director is great, but don't become someone that people have to make up fake meetings to get away from.

4. Send your invoice in a timely manner.  Different companies work in different ways, but to me, the best time to send your invoice is within three days of completion of the job.  Some of my freelancers would send their invoices along with their finished work, but I preferred those who gave me a chance to confirm that I didn't need any revisions.  Waiting too long is disconcerting to an art director; it's another loose end that they can't tie up.

5. Don't be a pest about your invoice.  Respect the terms of your payment schedule.  If you're supposed to be paid within 30 days of the job's completion, don't start calling after a week to check the status.  There were plenty of art directors at my previous job who wouldn't even work with certain illustrators because, even though they were talented, they nagged too much about their invoices.  On the other hand, if a repeat client is taking an uncharacteristically long time paying an invoice, don't be afraid to give them a nudge.  Sometimes paperwork slips through the cracks, and they may have forgotten or lost your invoice.

6. Have a good attitude.  I was one of the many art directors who would not work with illustrators who were jerks.  There were always plenty of talented and pleasant alternatives to choose from.  I remember one illustrator in particular who laughed at me and talked down to me when I told him my project's tight deadline.  I never contacted him again.  I chose someone less skilled but more pleasant.  When other art directors asked me about him, I told them that he was rude.  A lot of other people had their own unpleasant experiences with him and avoided him as well.

7. Do remind your clients that you exist.  If you haven't heard from an art director in awhile, feel free to give them a nudge and let them know that you're available, and perhaps send some new samples.  But don't send out mass emails, and don't nudge your art director too frequently, or it becomes an annoyance.  Once every few months is generally enough.

8. Don't procrastinate.  Work on your assignment as soon as your schedule permits.  You don't want to have to turn down any new incoming jobs because you procrastinated on an old one and no longer have spare time.

9. Whenever possible, send in your job a few days before the deadline, in case any changes are needed or if there are any technical difficulties with the file.

10. Do a good job every time.  Imagine you do a crappy job on an illustration and send it off, and the art director says "Thanks, it looks great!"  Are you thinking, "Yay, this art director is a pushover!"?  News flash: sometimes art directors lie!  They might just not have time to go over all the revisions with you; they might be planning to send it out to someone else or fix it themselves because they don't have faith in your skills anymore.  And if you do a bad job the first time working with a new client, you may never hear from them again.  You may be screwing yourself out of a repeat client.  I sent far more work to the illustrators who did a good job every time than the ones I felt were "hit or miss."  Give yourself the best chance possible by never sending in work you know is subpar.

(But don't worry; a lot of times "It looks great!" actually DOES mean "It looks great!"  If you put in a solid effort, have faith in your skills and take the art director at their word.)

FYI: art directors absolutely do talk to each other!  I worked in a building with maybe about 30 art directors, and there were no secrets.  We'd often go to each other for recommendations on who would be good for a job, and we'd complain about the freelancers who were being a pain.  One freelancer sent me a drawing for an angel figurine that was supposed to be feminine and elegant.  When the angel turned out more buff than anyone on Dragonball Z, I showed everyone on my team, and we all had a good laugh.  Some of us even had a "wall of shame" for bad illustrations.  I know it sounds cruel, but it was a way to make the best out of a bad situation.  Again, this is why it's so important to do a good job every time.

11. Don't miss a deadline.  Seriously.  Just don't.  I was more forgiving about this than some other art directors; many of my colleagues would never work with someone again if they missed a deadline.

12. Take very good notes.  (This applies more to direction given over the phone than through email.)  

13. The last thing you should do before sending your completed work back to an art director: REREAD ALL THE JOB SPECS and all of the instructions the art director gave you, and make sure you covered all of your bases.  This is probably the most important thing on the whole list, because it's the thing the most people seem to forget.  It is SO important to be able to follow directions; an art director should not have to ask for the same thing more than once.

14. If you can't fit something in, be honest and decline the job.  Don't miss your deadline or do a poor rush job (unless the art director has explicitly told you that they're desperate and will take anything you can possibly give them).

Just FYI, if you turn down jobs too frequently, art directors will give up and stop contacting you.  (Hopefully you're turning down the jobs because a higher-paying client is keeping you too busy!  If that's the case, good for you!)

15. Don't dump your personal baggage on your art director.  It's not their problem that you're struggling to pay your bills, that you have a mortgage, health problems, etc.  They can only give you as much work as their job allows, and they can only pay you as fast as their job permits.  Sob stories only make things awkward and uncomfortable.

16. Clean up your work before you send it out.  This applies mostly to stuff like pencil sketches.  Adjust the curves, remove scanner burn, crop out the edges of the paper, etc.

17. Don't throw anything away.  Keep all your old projects.  You never know when a client might have a hard drive crash and need you to resend it.  Also, components from old projects (like textures and references) can often be used as resources for future projects.

18. Don't lie or exaggerate about how much time you spent on a job or how difficult it was.  (I've had illustrators do this in hopes of getting more money, and it was annoying.)  And don't underestimate an art director's intelligence.  True, some art directors may not be familiar with oils or Photoshop or whatever you use to create your work, but a lot of times they are.  Often, they're not outsourcing a job because they don't have the skill to do it themselves, but rather because the parameters of their job don't allow them time to do it themselves.  Don't claim to have spent all night lightening up your Photoshop illustration if the truth is you just played with the curves tool for thirty seconds.  (And if you actually did spend all night lightening up your Photoshop illustration?  Next time consider spending thirty seconds with the curves tool!  Time is money, dude.)

19. If an art director asks for something that seems ridiculous, don't assume that they're wrong or stupid.  They know what's acceptable to the higher-ups in their company, and they know what sells best to their customer.  I've had to ask illustrators for things that went against my own artistic tastes all the time.  Sometimes these were things my boss or general manager requested.  Sometimes they were licensor requirements or technical requirements.  If something really doesn't make sense, respectfully ask the art director why they want it that way.  They may or may not have a good reason.  If you think you have a better solution, consider presenting a rough sketch of your solution alongside what they asked for, but accept whatever choice they ultimately make, and don't take it personally.

20. Price your work competitively.  If you're too expensive, art directors just won't send you work.  If you under-price your work, you're screwing yourself.  The ones who get the most work are those who do a good, consistent job at a reasonable price.  I always preferred the reliable illustrator at an average price than the hit-or-miss illustrator who was dirt cheap.  Ask upfront what the art director's budget is and go from there.
For those of you who aren't watching me elsewhere and haven't seen this, please check out my latest Demonblog entry!  It should be helpful for people who are new to webcomics, or at least new to promoting their webcomics online.  If you've been at it for awhile, I'm sure none of this is new information, but hopefully someone will find it helpful!

Webcomic Listings, Services, and Resources - on DEMONBLOG

In other news, I have a short story to be published in February; I did the cover art for it, so I'll be posting that here some time.  Also, my birds are all losers.
Er... that is to say, I'm putting up pages for DOTU on various social media sites and comic sites so you guys can all keep updated on the latest news more easily!  So far, you can find info about DOTU in all of these places:

Blogger @demonoftheunderground - This is "Demonblog," the official blog for DOTU.  I'll post all news and updates here, generally with more detail than what I post anywhere else.  Also, I'll post all TopWebComics/Comic Hovel voting incentive images from the previous month here so you're guaranteed to never miss one!  The first two old incentives have been posted today.

DeviantART bob-illustration - You're looking at it!  On DA, I post new DOTU pages one week after their release to the main site.  I also put up other artwork - at least when I have time to do other artwork!  I'll also put *some* old voting incentives here.

Facebook @demonoftheunderground - Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter will all have mirrored news posts and perhaps some random goofy junk.  I'll also link my Demonblog posts through these sites.  But I won't be posting actual pages to these accounts.

Tumblr bob-artist - Same as Facebook and Twitter.

Twitter shobana_appavu - Same as Facebook and Tumblr, but of course this is limited to much shorter posts.

Google+ - Still figuring out how to use it! ;)

Livejournal bob-artist - I use this primarily for more personal posts - and ferrets!  But there's plenty of discussion about DOTU there, and I re-post the comic pages in blocks after their release on the main page.

TopWebComics - This is an awesome comic voting site, and I get a lot of traffic from here!  So I really appreciate every single vote I get.  Last month I finished at #224, which was over 100 places higher than the previous month - all you voters are AWESOME!!!  I always try to reward voters with fresh incentives every week.  The incentive images range in theme, from ferret photos to WIP shots to shiny new DOTU-themed comic strips.  It's a new month now, so please help so the comic doesn't slip in the ranks!  (P.S. new incentive uploaded yesterday!  Little comic strip with Pogo and Annie!)

Comic Hovel - This is a comic voting site.  It's not as big as TopWebComics, but I greatly appreciate any votes I get through here!  The incentive will always be the same as on TopWebComics.

Ink Outbreak - This is a really really cool website that provides an easy way for readers to keep up with all the webcomics they read, while preserving the content of the original website rather than filtering it into an RSS feed.  I use it both for reading and for sharing DOTU, and I think it's great.  You can follow DOTU so it stays in your reading queue and will automatically pop up high on the list every time I add a new page.  It's a relatively new site, but I think it's gonna be huge, and I encourage everyone to check it out!
Those of you who know me from other parts of the internet probably know that my old man ferret, Gumby, died a couple days ago. :(  Needless to say, I'm in a bit of a rut.  Things aren't great for me right now in terms of work, health, and happiness...  So DOTU and my other creative outlets are currently my solace.

I'm really excited and thankful for all the new watchers over the past week or so!  If any of you would like to share a bit about yourselves, I'd love to hear!  Check out this post if you'd like to share, or just drop by and say hi over here! :)

Also thanks to all of you who gave my new commenting system on the DOTU website a whirl!  I'm really happy with the way it works.

I put up a new voting incentive for DOTU.  I know I'm kind of a weenie and don't have a lot of original art as my incentives - I usually do wip shots, etc.  I haven't had time for much else.  But I know a lot of you like the ferret photos, and I thought this would be a good week to share one of my favorite photos of my Gumby.  Again, people who know me from elsewhere may have seen this photo already, but it's soooo cute, so I'd say it's worth seeing again!

RIP Gumby!

Demon of the Underground - Official Website
Vote for DotU on TopWebComics!
Yaaaay, I've added a new commenting system, powered by IntenseDebate.  Now I'm actually able to reply to your comments!  Unfortunately, all the previous comments will no longer show on the page, but I still have record of them in my ComicCMS admin panel.  So comment away!  I'm really excited that the commenting system is now more interactive!

If you have the time, please try it out and let me know how it works for you. :)

Demon of the Underground - Official Website
Only two more days of voting for TopWebComics!
I checked out the voting history for Demon of the Underground on TopWebComics, and I was SHOCKED to see that there are actually several people voting for the comic!  I can't tell you how much I appreciate this!  Feedback - any sort of feedback, be it comments, favorites, votes, watches, etc. - helps me stay motivated, so I'm very very thankful to those of you who've been reading!

Vote for Demon of the Underground on TopWebComics!

Sharing the love; also vote for my buddies' comics!
Sombulus by TheDelphina
Nil Points by amightyfrog

Hmm... I'm thinking maybe someday I'll get a paid account so I can do features in my journal...

P.S. I haven't forgotten about you, cyen!  She's the one who caught my 600 pageview kiriban!  I'm determined to finish your illustration this weekend!
Linking to alexiuss's post:
alexiuss.deviantart.com/art/MA…

Thanks emmalazauski for noticing that one of my pieces was stolen, and for letting me know!  (it was a not-so-good piece I did way back in college... who knows why they stole that one in particular?)  Take a look through the archive linked in the above post and see if any of your art was stolen.  If you recognize anyone else's, let them know.
I apologize in advance for the flood of deviations.  I'm uploading a few of the pieces from my old account that I still like.  Will probably be 4-5 of them.  As much as I wanted a fresh start, I also don't want an empty gallery. ;)

Don't forget the kiriban!  Screencap my 600th pageview and I'll give you a b/w sketch request.  Single character, moderate amount of background, PG-17ish rating or less.
Just a quick update on this post - I've upped the kiriban to 600 views, since no one caught the last one!  But if you haven't already, I still want to hear your answers to the below!  I want to learn more about my watchers. :)

Soooo, questions -

1. What's your name/alias?
2. Do you post your art on DA?  If so, what kind of art do you do?  (I know the answer for some of you, but I'd like to hear how you'd describe your own art!)
3. If you are an artist - why do you do art?  Are you a professional, is it a hobby, do you do it for therapeutic reasons, to share with others, etc?
4. Are there any artists or creative people, professional or not, that you greatly admire?
5. Favorite animal?  Do you have any animals?
6. Where are you from?
7. How are you today?
8. What's something you love to do besides art?
9. What's the last thing you ate?
10. Why do you watch me?  Is there a particular type of art that you want to see more of?  Or do you know me personally or from somewhere else?
11. Do you know who Ebo is?

And in case you were curious, I figure it's only fair that I provide my answers too.

1. I go by many names...  My real name is Shobana.  Most people call me Bob - it's a random nickname I picked up years ago.  My user name "Ana Bosch" is pretty much my first name backwards.
2. Of course, I post my art on DA.  With this account, I'm primarily focusing on comic/graphic novel art, though I may post some random illustrations in the future.
3. I do art because I need to.  I get stories and concepts in my head that I need to get out on paper.  I don't consider myself to be a "true" artist.  I'm not in it so much for the joy of creating an image and using media and playing with color and form as I am for communicating the ideas that are swarming in my head.
4. Ferrets!  And parrots!  I have two ferrets, a cockatiel, and an African grey.
5. Illinois.
6. Better than I was yesterday.  Still not 100%.
7. I love writing.  At one point in my life, I was good at it, at least for my age.  I've lost most of my skill, but I still enjoy it.  I also love hanging out with my animals.
8. I just had some flatbread crackers with herb goat cheese spread from Whole Foods.
9. I don't watch me. :)
10. Yes!

---------

As for the 500 page views - I'm only 6 views away.  So I'm offering a b/w sketch request to whoever can screencap my 500th page view!  Single character, moderate amount of background, PG-17ish rating or less.
So... the "links" page on my website is pretty sparse right now.  I have a few people whose links I plan to add at my next update, but I want to wait until I have at least five people to link before I update.  (I have, like, three now.)  My first preference is to link to comics that have their own website outside of DA.

Any suggestions?  First off, do *you* have a webcomic?

And second, do you have webcomic recommendations?  I'm familiar with a lot of the webcomics that are popular with people on DA, and for the most part the popular ones I've seen just haven't been my thing, even though a lot of them do have good art...  So it's been hard trying to figure out who to link to!  I think I tend to prefer the type of comic that is a little out of the ordinary and doesn't have too typical of a plot.  I'm also more keen on giving my support to people who haven't really been noticed yet.

Let me know what you think!