It's been a while since I made any UTC announcements here, so here's an update. I'm no longer uploading UTC pages on dA. But the comic is still going, and there is a brand new page today at utc.catomix.com
For those who haven't read it yet, UTC: Urgent Transformation Crisis is a webcomic about a school of teenage mad scientists (some more mad than others) who use genetic engineering to turn themselves and their friends/family/anyone-they-don't-like into animals and other common TF tropes. The comic is currently 219 pages with 10 complete chapters and much more to come.
Things slowed down in the past year because I relocated twice and had to find a new job, but that's all settled down now. I'm in a new house and I have a steady employer, with enough free time to continue working on comics. I'm going to slowly build back up to a weekly schedule for UTC, but for now the new pages will simply go online whenever I'm able to get one finished.
So go, get reading, do it now, get to the chopper, etc.
The con is being held at Resorts World Casino, 110-00 Rockaway Blvd, Jamaica, NY 11420.
Major announcement. Unfortunately probably not a very shocking one to those who have been reading since 2008, and had likely become suspicious after last week's page updated a day later than it was supposed to.
The long and the short of it is that UTC is going back on hiatus, for an indefinite period of time. The simplest explanation for this is that I realized I'm just not ready to get the series started again. It was a mistake to promise a return date back when the hiatus started in June, when I frankly had no idea at the time what my living situation, employment, and confidence as an artist would be in the fall.
As you know, I spent the summer trying to evolve my art style, which is most evident in the Rayna on the River strips. However, in struggling with the new UTC pages, it's become clear that my evolution hasn't yielded the results I've aimed for. Not yet, at least. I need to take more time to work on my artistic development before I can continue with any ongoing comic projects.
I am not, repeat, NOT going to give up on UTC. I have scripts and a solid goal. What I lack is the ability to execute it.
This is going to be just like all the other hiatuses: long, unfair, and thankfully, finite. Due to this development, however, I have decided it's prudent to suspend my Patreon campaign for the duration of the hiatus.
Watch this gallery for new works that will hopefully result from my continued artistic exploration!
For those who started following me recently because of the Rapunzel comic, thank you and welcome! I make a weekly webcomic about transformation called UTC. You can read it at www.catomix.com/utc
In a break from "tradition," I will not be posting all of the pages for the new chapters to deviantArt. The official UTC website will become the exclusive home for the complete series, while dA will only get a few pages on special occasions (ie big event pages or pages I'm just plain proud of). I will keep all the pages for Chapters 1-10 on dA for the indefinite future, however.
And the UTC Patreon is still going! You can access weekly bonus comics and read new UTC pages a day early!
If you're in the New York City/western Long Island area, I am going to be selling UTC books alongside Zebra Girl creator Joe England at NY Wintercon in Queens the first weekend in December. Feel free to come on by!
I'm planning two more convention trips this year. First up is Topatocon in Massachusetts in September. I won't be at a table, I'll just be walking around and meeting people. That's hopefully going to be a good time. The second con is Wintercon in NYC in December, where I'll be running a table with Joe England (Zebra Girl) and selling UTC and Rayna on the River.
Now, speaking of Rayna, that series debuts NEXT TUESDAY at www.catomix.com/rayna ! It will update every Tuesday and Thursday for the rest of the year. More on that next week!
Rayna’s parents gave her a precious stone and told her she must take it to the Ocean. The journey is long and the surest way to travel is to sail down the long and winding River. It’s a journey she won’t be making alone.
The first few strips serve as the prologue, and they'll also be posted here to increase exposure. The majority of the series will run exclusively on the Catomix website. This is my first new ongoing series in eight years and I'm so excited to bring this story to life. Please check it out when it drops in three weeks!
UTC's third phase is in development, with scripts in progress. It's expected to return in October with the epic conclusion to "Class Warfare."
UTC: The Baaad Comics are continuing to be released every weekend during the summer for Patreon subscribers. The campaign has been updated to include early access to Rayna on the River strips.
Phase Two of UTC is scheduled to end on May 18. There is going to be a break before Phase Three begins. I can't say for sure yet if it will last only a month, or if it will be more like a summer vacation, but there will definitely be a substantial pause in the series while I get Phase Three hammered out. This will be my first break in a year and a half, and I intend to make the most of it.
So it's time for another call for guest comics! Anyone interested in making a guest comic for UTC is welcome to send submissions any time between now and June 1. We've had some great ones in the past. As an extra incentive this go-around, I will draw a commission in exchange for each comic submitted. If you've always wanted customized UTC character art, now's a great chance to get it and contribute to UTC at the same time!
Please mail your submissions to email@example.com. Comics can be as tall as needed, but should not exceed a width of 700 pixels.
PS. If you are a Patreon backer, you will receive information about how the break will affect the campaign within the next few weeks, once I have worked out all the details.
I've decided to rework the page. Instead of a dramatic "cliffhanger" on the reveal panel, I'm adding extra panels (which were going to be on page 205) which have dialogue that clearly states what's going on. You'll see Jen NEXT TO Cass, Morty and Katsuko, which ought to help show her changes much more effectively.
The redone page will be the "new" page that will go on-line next Monday.
Thank you, as always, for your feedback. It helps me see the big picture when I get tunnel vision, and it ultimately makes the comic better for everyone!
I've been working hard on this site for a few months and I'm really proud of it. It's easier to browse, the menu system is streamlined, there's character tags, and by popular demand, a comments system! More features to come.
Let me know if anything is wonky with it.
The comic is moving! utc-comic.com will redirect you to the correct site. For now, it redirects to ComicGenesis. Starting Monday, it will redirect to the new, permanent home for UTC on the Catomix server. Use this URL from now on to always stay connected to UTC.
The ComicGenesis site will continue to exist for at least a month, so that as many readers as possible can transition, but the site will no longer receive content updates.
Happy New Year!
The year overall has had some hiccups, but I'm proud of the work that I've done on UTC from beginning to end. I will have released an unprecedented 46 pages and 3 covers during 2014. There were 50 weekly content updates, which is very close to my goal of 52. This makes 2014 UTC's most productive year! (The second-most productive was 2007 when the first 42 pages were released.)
I'm looking forward to 2015 when UTC will continue to press forward, Phase Two ends, Phase Three begins, and a whole new wave of changes sweeps over the comic...including a brand new website!
Happy Holidays to all, and to all a good night.
The gist of it is that I'll draw character portraits, ref sheets, pinups, icons, comics, TF sequences, and just about any other kind of digital art you can request. More info and pricing will be coming next month when I officially open for business.
Back to UTC, the tenth chapter is coming. The cover will be revealed next Monday, and the Monday after that you'll start seeing pages. This is the last chapter in Phase Two. We're finally here. Three years ago I was worried if I would even make it all the way through these issues. 132 pages is a lot to think about all at once, but I took it one page at a time. There have definitely been ups and downs, but ever since I left my job and redoubled my efforts on UTC and art in general, there have certainly been many more "ups". It's a trend I hope I can keep going next year.
Happy Holidays, everyone! Thanks as always for reading!
(All updates occur on Mondays at 4:00am Eastern U.S. at utc-comic.com)
NOV 17 - Regular update + Audio Commentary for Chapter 8
NOV 24 - Regular update
DEC 1 - Regular update
DEC 8 - Double update (final pages of Chapter 9)
DEC 15 - Cover of Chapter 10
DEC 22 - Regular update (first page of Chapter 10)
DEC 29 - Regular update
...and so on until...
MAY 18 - Regular update (final page of Chapter 10 and Phase Two)
We have half a year to go before Phase Two is finally finished. I'm extremely proud of the work that has come out this year and that almost all of it was delivered on time. The May 18th end date is only one month later than my original projection.
UTC is chugging along. I'm going to be concentrating on it all this week to finish up every remaining page of Chapter 9. (There are six left.)
In other UTC-related news, I have updated the UTC Patreon campaign with reward options that have been highly requested! The new rewards and an FAQ are below.
The comments field is open to any questions you have about UTC and the Patreon campaign. I want to hear from you about what you want and how you want to get it!
NEW AND UPDATED REWARDS:
PERSONALIZED SKETCH: In addition to the $1-$5 rewards, I will doodle a sketch just for you! It could be a UTC character, or it could be a character of your own design. Sketches will be in rough black & white and e-mailed directly to you. (This reward renews once every month!)
FULL COLOR CHARACTER PIC: In addition to the $1-$5 rewards, I will draw a fully colored character of your choosing. It could be a UTC character, or a character of your own design. Drawings will be made digitally and e-mailed directly to you. (This reward renews once every month!)
YOUR CHARACTER IN THE COMIC: (This is marked down from $100; previous $100 donors will have their cameo rewards doubled retroactively) In addition to the $1-5 and $30 rewards, you will be given the opportunity to design a new background character for an upcoming issue of UTC. Do you want to see yourself in a cameo? You got it. Do you want one of your OCs to attend Attic High? You got it. Do you want to show a friend or significant other how much they mean to you? Well, you'll need their permission, but if you get it, you got it! The character might even receive a speaking role depending on the circumstances. Please note that you will not receive compensation for the use of this character in UTC, but you will absolutely retain your intellectual rights to the character. You will be entitled to one single-panel appearance by one character for each month you maintain this pledge level. (Or you can opt to have the same character appear multiple times instead.) And yes, this does accrue. You can "cash in" your unused months at any time and have a whole group of characters appear at once. Circumstances of the story they appear in will dictate how I can integrate your character(s) into the page.
GIFT SET (U.S. SHIPPING): You get access to the Baaad Comics, Early Access to new pages, PDF copies of every existing UTC book, and your character in a UTC cameo, PLUS I will mail you a special UTC gift set with the following contents: A signed copy of the UTC: Volume 1 trade paperback (collecting issues 1-4 of UTC) with an optional character doodle inside, a random signed copy of one UTC Phase Two comic (#5, #6, #7, or #8), a set of UTC character stickers, and a 9"x12" color character drawing. The characters you pick for the doodle and drawing can be from UTC or can be any character of your choice. (This reward does NOT renew after the first month.) (This reward is only available to Patrons with a postal address WITHIN the United States.)
GIFT SET (INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING): You get access to the Baaad Comics, Early Access to new pages, PDF copies of every existing UTC book, and your character in a UTC cameo, PLUS I will mail you a special UTC gift set with the following contents: A signed copy of the UTC: Volume 1 trade paperback (collecting issues 1-4 of UTC) with an optional character doodle inside, a random signed copy of one UTC Phase Two comic (#5, #6, #7, or #8), a set of UTC character stickers, and a 9"x12" color character drawing. The characters you pick for the doodle and drawing can be from UTC or can be any character of your choice. (This reward does NOT renew after the first month.) (This reward is only available to Patrons with a postal address OUTSIDE the United States.)
* UTC PATREON F.A.Q. *
Q: I want to donate to UTC, but I don't want to register at Patreon, or I don't want to set up automatic recurring payments. How can I donate?
A: Unfortunately Patreon offers only the automatic recurring payment option right now. I looked into other donation options and so far have determined the best and only viable option for single-time donations is through PayPal. If you have a PayPal account, you can send a single donation of any amount to me at catomix[at]gmail.com .
Q: I donated to you via PayPal and my donation amount matches a Patreon reward tier. Can I collect the reward?
A: Contact me with which rewards you would like. Because some rewards are sent via Patreon only, I can't make them all available to you, but I will accommodate as best I can. As of this journal writing, I can fulfill rewards from the $5 tier and up even if you do not have a Patreon account.
Q: If I start donating this month, can I still see all of the UTC Baaad Comics from previous months?
A: Yes. When you confirm your donation, Patreon automatically makes every existing Baaad Comic available for viewing via the Creations tab on the UTC Patreon campaign's home page.
Q: When do I receive the rewards?
A: The Baaad Comics and Early Access rewards ($1 and $3) should be available immediately. These are the rewards that get posted directly to the Patreon website and you will have access to them in your feed. $5 rewards and higher will be sent out after your payment has been processed at the beginning of each month.
Q: How much of my donation do you receive after fees?
A: If you pay via a credit card, there is a small fee that that goes to the credit company. After that, Patreon collects 4% of all donations I receive.
Q: Is there a penalty for cancelling my recurring donation?
A: No penalty whatsoever.
I'm leaving my full-time job in order to pursue freelance comic and illustration work.
Several experiences over the past couple of months have led me to seriously look at my long-term prospects as an illustrator, and I realized that there needs to be a paradigm shift in the way I go about making art.
I am nothing but proud of the work I have done at my job. I consider myself very lucky to have gotten where I am right now, and to know a lot of great, caring people who helped me along the way. However, a good job and a fulfilling career are sometimes two separate things entirely.
I have been living in a very expensive area. In order to stay here and keep the job going, I have had to make a lot of sacrifices in my lifestyle and lower the bar on my personal aspirations. Up until now I have gladly done so, because I truly had a good thing going. But now five years have passed. I expect to have to make many more sacrifices for another four years, until my college loans have been paid in full, and those sacrifices are even more serious than the ones I've already made. I have begun to fear I will not be able to make them.
Realizing that and accepting that opened my eyes to what was right in front of me this entire time. There is a mountain of unexplored ideas piled up in my brain, and a long list of unfinished commissions on my desk that I struggle to complete even as I struggle to keep my webcomic going on a weekly basis. I may be proud of my professional work, but I am not so proud that I have disappointed friends and commissioners who are still waiting for art from me. Art that I am truly much more happy to draw than the work I am doing at my full-time job, but can't draw because of exhaustion, distraction, and overall emotional numbness as I lurch from deadline to deadline.
I have lost a lot of sleep. I have forgotten a lot of my passion. The few hours a week I get to work on UTC briefly rekindles the spark inside me that pushes me to keep going, but it's not enough. It's not nearly enough.
In July, I went to a convention and met many wonderful, talented, encouraging people that helped me feel more confident and proved that my work is worth something. In August, I was asked to speak at a book club and met welcoming, curious and excited sci-fi/fantasy fans and had an unlikely conversation with one special individual that moved me to the core. Everything and everyone I've encountered in pursuit of a stronger bond with this great community has lead to one undeniable fact.
Comics are my passion and they need to be my life. Not in four years when my loans are paid off and it's "safer" to try this. Right now.
With the help of a friend, I am moving to a more affordable area away from Westchester, where I can calm down and focus on becoming the artist I've always wanted to be without worrying so much about paying bills and affording meals. It's going to be difficult. I'm excited and I'm scared and I have no idea what's going to happen, but it will be what needs to happen.
In a few months, I will reopen for commissions. Lots of them. All types of them. Character sheets, pinups, comic pages, TF sequences, icons, logos. I will finally have the time I need to devote to them. Faster turnarounds. Higher quality. Sketches galore. UTC will also benefit greatly from the attention I'll be able to devote to it.
The kind of art I want to make is art that matters to you, because you matter to me. We love the same things and we want to see more of those things.
If you're still reading this far, you're probably one of my long-term watchers and friends. To you I want to say an extra special thank you for supporting me with your time and your words of encouragement and sharing my work with others. Artistic growth is a long, slow process, but time and effort pay off in a big way. I would not be the artist I am without you, nor would I now be in a position to become the artist I need to be.
I hope you will continue to support me as I embark on this crazy adventure. Whatever happens next, without a doubt, will be worth the risk.
I will be giving an hour-long talk about writing for webcomics, giving info about my background and comic ventures over the past decade.
The meeting is open to the general public. It's August 9 at 8:00 PM at the Barnes & Noble in Paramus, NJ. Stop on by if you're close. I'm told they are very nice folks.
It was a time when everything was possible and I proudly hung every single comic I made on the wall with sticky tack no matter how crude the art was. Many years later I'd become so critical and obsessive about the quality and content of my work, I would all but shut down. Only in the last three years have I begun the slow and still-evolving process of accepting what I am, what I want to do, and how I need to do it.
If that sounds dramatic, that's what it is to me. My passion for comics and the influence they have had on me plays a role in every major decision I make in my life. I learned how to tell a story in a hundred different ways. I drove myself to get better at art, a class I used to hate with a passion. As I got older and more confused with myself and the world, I sorted things out by drawing private fantasies in comic pages. I chose a masters degree in animation because I wanted to integrate my illustration skill with my filmmaking studies. I weigh my job prospects on how well they would assist my comic book side ventures. Selling comics at conventions has given me confidence at being an entrepreneur. I've made lifelong friends through collaborative projects, and I've harshly bid goodbye to a friend as a result of one as well.
I cannot imagine a life where I don't make comic books. It is just what I am, and today I realize that more than I ever have.
When I started drawing stick figure Star Trek comics with crayons in notebooks, my audience was my parents and my younger brother. Today my audience is you. Strangers on the internet, finding something in my stories that resonate with you. A flight of fancy in the mind of a seven-year-old has become a living dream come true, and it is because of you.
Thank you, forever.
FEED ME YOUR MONEYS.
To put it simply, UTC has much more potential than what I am capable of right now, as I have to take commissions and look for freelance jobs in addition to my full-time job in order to make enough money to pay my rent and loans every month.
UTC itself is staying free to read. The Patreon campaign is a way for fans out there to pledge a monthly donation, even just one dollar a month, to help me make more UTC content and, ultimately, increase the number of pages I can produce per week and even turn this into a full-time job in and of itself. They are lofty goals to be certain, but the amount of support UTC fans have shown over the past seven years, through e-mails, words of encouragement, and even fans who I've met at conventions, has shown me that UTC is worth pursuing into the future, and that the sky is the limit.
If you'd like to donate to the Patreon campaign, the link is at the top (and bottom) of this journal! On the site you'll find information about the goodies you can get in return for your patronage. These range from Friday joke comics that only patrons will see, to a chance to get your own character or yourself a cameo appearance in a future UTC page!
Thanks so much for reading UTC after all these years. I'm delighted to continue bringing it to you no matter the circumstance.
P.S. Now that the campaign has kicked off, UTC is guaranteed to update with a new page every Monday for the rest of the year! The break is over!
*MILESTONE GOALS *
$250 total pledges/month - MONTHLY STATUS UPDATES
$500 total pledges/month - DESKTOP WALLPAPERS
Patreon backers will receive a new UTC-themed desktop wallpaper every two months. Wallpapers will be available in the most common sizes and can be freely downloaded through the website.
Patreon backers will see an original fully-colored transformation sequence once per month. A poll will be set up to determine which UTC character will be transformed and what they will transform into. The transformation will have at least four stages.
All Patreon backers will be able to read an exclusive series of sketchy one-panel comic strips called "The Baaad Comics". (Examples HERE) These are really simple joke strips that augment the more serious tone of the main series. A new strip will be released every Friday starting July 25. (The first 4 strips that are being released publicly right now are a test run that will remain available to the public. All strips from July 25 on will be Patreon exclusive.)
Pledge $3 or more per month - EARLY ACCESS TO NEW PAGES
You will receive a bonus update at the beginning of each month that contains hi-res (150 dpi) scans of the pencilled stage for each of the UTC pages released in the previous month. You'll get to see what the raw drawings looked like before they were cleaned up and inked. Sometimes I think they look better before inking, particularly the action panels.
I will chat with you on Skype or Google one-on-one for 30 minutes via either audio or video (your preference). You will get to control the conversation, asking anything you want about any topic. It doesn't have to be about UTC. We could talk about Star Wars, or even One Direction. Maybe you want to know my opinion about the usage of the Oxford comma. Everything is on the table, except of course topics that I would feel uncomfortable discussing. You will be entitled to one 30-minute chat for each month you maintain this pledge level.
You will be given the opportunity to design a new background character for an upcoming issue of UTC. Do you want to see yourself in a cameo? You got it. Do you want one of your OCs to attend Attic High? You got it. Do you want to show that friend or significant other of yours how much they mean to you? Well, you'll need their permission, but if you get it, you got it! The character might even receive a speaking role depending on the circumstances. Please note that you will not receive compensation for the use of this character in UTC, but you will absolutely retain your intellectual rights to the character. (Unless it's based on a real person. They have rights too.) You will be entitled to design one (1) character for each month you maintain this pledge level. And yes, this does accrue. You can "cash in" your unused months at any time and have a whole group of characters appear at once, or have one character appear multiple times. Circumstances of the story they appear in will dictate how I can integrate your character(s) into the page.