Launch Codes Weeks 1-52

Updated: Jan 1, 2019

Week 1

Hello, everyone! This is a new blog series based around an initiative I'm taking with my alumni association, the Ghost Cat alumni association. The Launch Codes project is, essentially, based around being more forward facing with the process of creating art, both the good parts and the messy parts and the bad parts. Part of that is going to be check-ins such as blog posts and video posts. For me I've decided that this means doing a weekly update of what I got done for the week, what I'm planning for the week, what went well, and what didn't. These will post on Thursday or Friday of every week, depending on my schedule. Then, at the end of every month, I will be doing a video round-up of the whole month on the same general topics! You can watch the initial launch video below:



This post is going to be a little different, and a little longer, than the typical post, which will look like this:


Accomplished this week:

  • This week I worked heavily on my illustration I've dubbed the Corpse Pile because, well, it's a pile of preserved dead people. I got the basic colors down on all the figures and got the lighting decently established, so now I can go in and work on polishing everything up and actually painting. This is easily the most complex illustration I've ever done due to the amount of figures in it, so I'm learning a lot and having a ton of fun with it. My goal is to finish it within the next couple weeks.

  • Started tearing apart my newest novel, Bound by Kith, with my writing critique group. They're wonderful and going to make the book so much better.

  • Worked on the illustration for the first chapter of my first book. I'm experimenting with doing timelapses of illustrations for each chapter with me narrating the chapter over the timelapse. If it goes well, and people like it, I'd like to eventually do the whole book, so we'll see how this first test of the idea goes!

  • Nearly done with the thumbnails for Part 1 of my comic project Gunpowder & Pine. I have about 5-8 pages left to thumbnail, and then I can start working on pages!

  • Sent out my first newsletter of the year. My goal is to do one a month this year, and if you want to sign up you can do so on my website. The newsletter will be a round up of my month, announcing appearances at conventions and info about them such as table numbers, discounts in my online stores, etc.

Meant to get done this week, didn’t get done:

  • Meant to finish the illustration for the first chapter mentioned above, but ended up getting busy with other work. (Mostly the corpse pile illustration, because I'm having so much fun with it.)

  • Meant to finish the the thumbnails for G&P, but again got distracted by the corpse pile. Such distracting corpses they are.

Goals for next week:

  • Next week is going to be a huge week of edits on Bound by Kith, because even though my critique group has only chewed up the first two chapters so far, there's already a lot I know I want to rework.

  • Finishing the thumbnails for G&P.

  • Working on the corpse pile.

  • I may work on the chapter illustration some, but that's a bit more of a back-burner project.

So, yes! That's the little doses of my artistic life you'll be getting every week for 2018! I hope you all find it interesting, and please don't hesitate to ask any questions about my projects or my methods or anything else.


Also, here's my goals for all of 2018. Let's see if I can actually make it through all of them! The main goals are listed first, and then sub-goals needed to accomplish the main goal are listed beneath the main goals.


-Publish BBK 2

  • Create new chapter header illustrations

  • Create cover

  • Do layout

  • Upload to Ingram Spark

  • Create Book Trailer (maybe)

  • Promotion/Marketing

-Publish GaP Volume 1

  • Thumbnails

  • Pages 1-5

  • Pages 6-10

  • Pages 11-15

  • Pages 16-20

  • Pages 21-25

  • Pages 26-30

  • Pages 30+

  • Cover

  • Layout

  • Upload to Ingram Spark

  • Promotion/Marketing

-Send newsletters out once a month. Will contain updates on each project, new blog posts, previews of stuff not yet posted, con appearance info, etc. Add some exclusive discounts/giveaways too.


-Post more progress works.


-Do weekly blog round-ups of what has been accomplished each week, and what will be accomplished next week.


-Do monthly video round-ups of what has been accomplished each month, and what will be accomplished next month.


-Do chapter readings + painting time-lapse videos for each chapter of BBK1. (Do full book if people enjoy them.)


-Do at least six video tutorials throughout the year

  • Brush modes/sketching in Photoshop

  • Walkthrough of my comic process

  • Using Lazy Nezumi for Perspective drawing

  • Using Art boards in Photoshop for keeping track of references

  • ???

  • ???

-Write 1st draft of Haunt

  • Outline

  • Draft

-Write 1st draft of BBK3

  • Outline

  • Draft

-Finish sculpture of Dustin and Vivian


Week 2

Accomplished this week:

  • Finished the thumbnails for Gunpowder & Pine Part 1. Yay thumbnails!

  • Updated the first three pages of G&P P1. Originally the first three pages were their own short comic, but I realized they made a great opening for G&P so I'm using them for that instead. They just needed a little updating of formatting and dialogue.

  • Outlined a short story. I've assigned my writing students a short story project, and I'm working through it with them, so this will go a bit slower than my usual writing process. Teaching is always fun, though!

  • Some basic editing of the first few chapters of my next book, Bound by Kith.

Meant to get done this week, didn’t get done:

  • I intended to work on the corpse illustration more, but I just didn't get to it with other stuff.

  • I had hoped to get at least one new page of G&P done, but I only got through about 90% of the inking of the new page.

  • I had hoped to get more editing done on Bound by Kith, but as I worked I realized I needed to find a way to make chapter 5 into chapter 1 and...ah...that was a lot more intensive than I had time for this week.

Goals for next week:

  • Next week is going to be a huge week of edits on Bound by Kith, again. I'm going to the mountains this weekend to just slam out some work on it, because I always write better up there.

  • Finish two pages of G&P.

  • Working on the corpse pile.

  • Work on some commissions I'm taking to help get over the gap between jobs I'm currently in.

Week 3

Accomplished this week:

  • Undertook the planning for a huge edit to my current manuscript, Bound by Kith. It involved a lot of note-cards and curse-words. Chapter 5 is now chapter 1, chapter 3 is now chapter 2, chapter 7 is now chapter 3, the original chapters 1/2/4 have been cut entirely, and there's two more murders than I started with.

  • Digitized all those note-cards into the digital file and reworked the new chapter 1 so that it works right as the new chapter 1.

  • Plugging away at the Corpse Pile illustration. I think I'm going to run a small Kickstarter for some special edition high-quality spot gloss prints when I finish it. I'd like to eventually run some bigger Kickstarters for my books and such, but I want to test the waters first with a smaller project and I think this would be a good one.

  • Worked on a couple commissions.

  • Started cleaning up my social media. I'm trying to widdle down on what I use regularly so I'm not spread so thin and can properly focus on things.

Meant to get done this week, didn’t get done:

  • I did not get any work done on Gunpowder & Pine. I just got to swamped with other work.

Goals for next week:

  • Next week is going to be a huge week of edits on Bound by Kith, again.

  • Finish two pages of G&P.

  • Working on the corpse pile.

  • Work on some commissions I'm taking to help get over the gap between jobs I'm currently in.

Week 4

Accomplished this week:

  • Finished the corpse pile! It turned out so well and I'm crazy happy with it. This is the most complicated and intricate illustration I have ever done.

  • Wrote a 3,000 word short story for my volunteer writing coach job. I volunteer at the alternative High-School where my step-father is a principle teaching creative writing type stuff and mentoring a few students. Right now we're working through writing a short story together, from beginning to end. It's quite a fun little project.

  • Paneled/laid out 10 pages of Gunpowder & Pine.

  • Worked on and finished a few commissions.

  • Took over control of the website for my writing critique group. I might re-build it eventually, but for now I'm just taking care of making sure everything is up to date, adding pages for any new members we get, and other little bits like that.

  • Put together a "How to be a writer" presentation for career day at the high school. Three 30 minute sessions with 15 students each, plus 20 minutes at the end where students can come back and ask extra questions. Gonna be fun and hopefully only a little rambly.

Meant to get done this week, didn’t get done:

  • I did not get any pages of G&P done. I think I exhausted myself a bit with how much work I put into the corpse pile. However, I did get the files made and panels drawn for 10 more pages, so that will give me a jump-start on the next few weeks.

  • Editing on Bound by Kith. Again, I was so determined to finish the corpse pile everything else kinda got pushed to the side.

Goals for next week:

  • Next week is going to be a huge week of edits on Bound by Kith, again.

  • Finish four pages of G&P. I need to get caught up.

Let's Try This Again


I've done a lot of thinking today. 2016-2017 was an interesting couple years for me as an artist and author and just general human being. I graduated from college in late 2016 and, to put it simply, attending that college was a mistake. It’s a long story but essentially I was lied to and manipulated by a college that was at the beginning stages of dying when I got accepted, but they’d done such a good job of hiding it that I didn’t know until it was to late.


Coming to terms with that was a huge struggle, especially because of how in debt it put me. It is something I am currently pursing legal action for, but that’s not really the point of this post. The point is that that experience, coupled with my depression (and, let’s be honest, it certainly didn’t help with the depression) really set me back in a lot of ways. I didn’t connect with people, I didn’t network with people, I didn’t develop healthy working habits.


But, most of all, I created my work in a bubble. I didn’t share it with anyone, I didn’t get critique, I didn’t get help. I didn’t want it. In college I was told off for giving in depth critiques, and many students gave subpar critiques that weren’t helpful in any way and that was treated as the right way to do it. These experiences created this sense that critique wasn’t worth bothering with. If no one was going to give me actual advice on my work and how to make it better, then there was no point in asking in the first place.


Obviously, this is a very harmful mentality to have. Art can’t be created in a bubble. It needs other people to help it grow and thrive to be the best it can possibly be. 2017 was my year of discovering that, as well as building the healthy work habits I should have developed in college.


In 2017 I tried a lot of different styles of working. Everything from using timers for everything I did to track what I was doing, to scheduling myself out weeks in advance, to not scheduling at all but taking notes on what I did as I did it. There was also a lot of exploration of how I work best when it comes to planning projects; the level of planning I need to do, what kinds of planning, etc. By late 2017 I finally found the methods that really clicked for me, after a lot of trial and error, and it resulted in an explosion of wonderful productivity and projects I was proud of and stayed proud of. I no longer felt like I was beating my head against a wall to get things done, and then hating them after a few days.


A big part of this was also finally starting to network with people, and starting to find people who could give me the critiques I wanted and needed to improve my work. I found an amazing writing critique group that is full of wonderful people who don’t give me any slack when they’re talking about my work. I reconnected with other disenchanted people from my college, and together we are working on building a network to help everyone else who was left in the dust by a college that was supposed to support us but never has.


These two groups, plus finally having an effective method of working, all really came together towards the end of 2017. That meant I came into 2018 with an entirely different outlook on my work and what I want to do as an artist and author. I’m crazy excited for what I’m going to be able to do now, but I’m also looking back on projects I did during the last few years and wishing they had been able to benefit from the personal advancements I made in 2017.

The biggest of these projects is the Kith and Kin saga. These books are my babies. I’ve already released the first one. People have bought it. I’ve shared it and sold it and done press about it. I’ve written the second book, and I’m currently in the process of editing it.

But I wrote the first book when I was in a bad place in my life. I wrote it when I was still struggling and still didn’t understand my brain well enough to work as effectively as I can now. I wrote it when I didn’t have anyone to help me, to critique me. The same is true, though to a lesser extent, for the second book.


It has been while working on editing the second book that I came to a lot of the realizations I’m sharing in this post. I worked on this book the most while I was going through that self-discovery period last year. Right now I’m still working on that project, but I’ve come out the other side of that period and it is making me view the project very differently.

Working on editing the second book feels like banging my head against a wall. There’s things I can’t change because it is a second book, and I’d have to change the first book to make it work. There’s things I can change but they’re so deeply entrenched in the story that it would involve a full re-write of the book. There’s things about my process that have completely shifted, so going back to a book that was created under my old processes feels like back sliding. I’m not the same artist, nor the same person, as when I wrote the second book and even more so I am not the same artist nor person as I was when I wrote the first book.

Obviously, I will always be changing and growing as an artist, but this feels like a bigger change. This isn’t just general learning, this was a serious, self-initiated, forced change. I made myself into the artist I want to be, the kind of artist that can undergo regular change and growth, because I wasn’t that artist before. It was hard and parts of it sucked, but it was worth it.


With all of that said, I refuse to abandon the Kith and Kin saga. I love it. It is still my baby. I still adore the characters and the world and I know I can do amazing things with it. But I realize now that I need to start over, as hard as that decision is. I’m lucky enough that this project is still 100% mine; I self-published it and I’ve done all the art and marketing and everything myself. Admittedly, this was because I refused to ask for help which was the problem, but in this instance it is an advantage because it means there is nothing standing in the way of me wiping the slate clean and starting from scratch.


This was still a hard decision to make, but I know it is the right decision. I am going to leave the first book, Bound by Kin, as it is. It now gets to be a stand alone novel. But it is also going to serve as an outline for the redo, so there will be a lot of similarities, but there will also be changes. I will also be outlining and getting at least a first draft of all three books in the series done before I release any of them. These books, while there are three of them, are one thing. I need to finish the whole thing before I give it to the world.


That’s not to say I won’t be talking about it while I work, though. I’ll still be talking about it a ton! I’m going to share as much of my processes as possible as I undertake redoing this project, because I love sharing my work. But a finished Book 1 of the redo is probably at least a couple years off.


So, yes. Lots of thinking has happened, and now you all know what’s going on with my work! I’m really excited by this new turn, even if it was a hard decision to make, and I hope you all will enjoy being on this journey with me.


Week 5

Accomplished this week:

  • I restarted on the Kith and Kin series. The reasons for this are long, but if you are interested in the full story it's in the "Let's try this again" section above. Basically, though, I did a lot of thinking and realized this was the best thing for the project. I'm very excited about the new direction, and already the whole project feels much stronger and well rounded.

  • Did a career day presentation at the high school where my step-father is the principle. Rambled for a few hours about what it is like to be a writer and the realities of the career and all that. It was tons of fun.

  • Created a new character chart for the Kith and Kin series to better track character arcs and motivations throughout the whole series. I've got it about half filled out so far.

  • Started re-outlining the first book in the new version of the Kith and Kin series.

  • Meeting with fellow Ghost Cat Alumni members plotting future plans for the association and watching funny videos.

  • Gunpowder & Pine work. I'm changing up how I keep track of this work a bit, so that I can progress through it in a manner that's more suited to critique/my workflow. I'll now be posting the total number of pages I have done for each stage every week.

Thumbnails: 36/36 pages

Paneled pages: 36/36 pages

Inked pages: 9.5/36 pages

Lettered pages: 9/36 pages (technically not all pages have text, but I'm going to count pages as lettered even if they have none just for simplicity's sake.)

Colored pages: 3.5/36 pages


Meant to get done this week, didn’t get done:

  • Editing on Bound by Kith because, as I said above, I started over on the whole series.

Goals for next week:

  • Taxes and other "get my finances in order" stuff.

  • Prep for Galaxy Fest, my first convention of the year. I'm only tabling as an author, so just my book and a few basic prints related to the book, which makes it easier to prep for since I won't have all my stuff.

  • G&P work.

  • Kith and Kin Redo work.

January Wrap-Up Video


Week 6

Accomplished this week:

  • Found a new title for the redo of the Kith and Kin series! I haven't titled the individual books yet, but I wanted a new series title right away for organizational purposes. The redo will now be referred to as the Glory is Poison Saga.

  • Wrote about 5,000 words on Glory is Poison Book 1.

  • Worked on the outline of Glory is Poison Book 1.

  • High School writing group meeting. I work at a local High School a couple hours every two weeks, helping students with their creative writing. This week we discussed failure and being able to recognize when things aren't working and what to do about it.

  • Writing critique group meeting. I didn't have any submission for critique this week, but we had a lot of great overall discussion on projects and redoing projects and publishing and all that.

  • Gunpowder & Pine work. I'm changing up how I keep track of this work a bit, so that I can progress through it in a manner that's more suited to critique/my workflow. I'll now be posting the total number of pages I have done for each stage every week. Bold numbers are last week's counts for reference.

Thumbnails: 36/36 pages 36/36 pages

Paneled pages: 36/36 pages 36/36 pages

Inked pages: 9.5/36 pages 11/36 pages

Lettered pages: 9/36 pages 11/36 pages (technically not all pages have text, but I'm going to count pages as lettered even if they have none just for simplicity's sake.)

Colored pages: 3.5/36 pages 3.5/36 pages

  • Got my finances in order...ish. I'm not a math person. I can't wait until I can afford an accountant because numbers are evil. Also did taxes.

  • Prepped for Galaxy Fest. I'm having a hard time psyching myself up for this one. I have an author table, which means I can only sell my books, and the only book I have to sell right now is the first book of the Kith and Kin series. I bought the table before I decided to restart on the series, and now that I HAVE decided to restart I really don't have the motivation to sell the old books. But I do wanna sell 'em so I can at least make my money back for ordering them and buying the table.

Meant to get done this week, didn’t get done:

  • More work on G&P. I wanted to get at least a couple more pages inked and lettered. Just ended up busy with other work and was fighting some motivational issues.

Goals for next week:

  • Working on G&P. I'd like to get at least three more pages inked and lettered next week.

  • Finish the first two chapters of GiP:B1 so I can submit them to my next critique group meeting. I want to have them dig into before I get to deep into the new draft since I'm writing it in a totally different style than I usually write in.

Week 7

Accomplished this week:

  • Exhibited at Galaxy Fest in Colorado Springs. It was a decent little convention.

  • Gunpowder & Pine work. Kinda. Grey numbers are last week's counts for reference.

Thumbnails: 36/36 pages 36/36 pages

Paneled pages: 36/36 pages 36/36 pages

Inked pages: 11/36 pages 11/36 pages

Lettered pages: 11/36 pages 11/36 pages

Colored pages: 3.5/36 pages 4.5/36 pages

  • Worked on a prismacolor marker illustration of my character Dustin. Just wanted to dig into some traditional media a bit, because I've been doing so much digital lately. (I actually started this last week and totally forgot to mention it in last week's post.)

  • Sent the first 10 pages of Gunpowder & Pine to some friends for critique.

Meant to get done this week, didn’t get done:

  • More work on G&P. Galaxy Fest just totally took it out of me  and I had zero energy to do anything afterwards. (Eventually I'll remember that conventions ALWAYS do this and I won't schedule myself to do anything for a few days after them.)

  • Finish the second chapter of GiP:B1 for my critique group. I did get the first chapter done and sent off for critique, though.

Goals for next week:

  • Working on G&P. I'd like to get at least three more pages inked and lettered next week.

  • Reading! I need a break from society so I'm running off into the wilderness for the weekend with a stack of books. Hopefully by the end of it my brain will have reset a bit and I'll be able to jump back into work.

Week 8

Accomplished this week:

  • Finished a reference sheet for Coal, Dustin's dog in Gunpowder & Pine.

  • Finished a reference sheet for the wall of animal pelts that covers the missing area of Vivian's house in Gunpowder & Pine.

  • Finished a reference sheet for Vivian's main outfits.

  • Read three books.

  • Made a set of stitching brushes for Photoshop.

  • Made a new intro video for my Patreon and updated the overall page. Not 100% sure when I'll fully relaunch yet, but I want to have things ready.

  • Started prepping Patreon rewards so I'm ready to go whenever I do relaunch.

  • Digitized a sketched chart of Dustin and Vivian's scars.

  • Writing critique group meeting, where they tore apart the first chapter of Glory is Poison.

  • Major edits on the first chapter of Glory is Poison.

  • Gunpowder & Pine work, other than the reference sheets.

Thumbnails: 36/36 pages 36/36 pages

Paneled pages: 36/36 pages 36/36 pages

Inked pages: 11/36 pages 12/36 pages

Lettered pages: 11/36 pages 12/36 pages

Colored pages: 4.5/36 pages 5.5/36 pages


Meant to get done this week, didn’t get done:

  • Didn't quite reach my goal of getting three more pages inked and lettered, but I did finish off some reference sheets that really should've been done awhile ago. They'll be helpful going forward.

Goals for next week:

  • Working on G&P. I'd like to get at least three more pages inked and lettered next week.

  • Write a review of one of the books I read, because it was very good. The other two were good as well, but not quite good enough to make me want to write a review.

February Wrap-Up Video


Week 9

Accomplished this week:

  • Prepped Patreon rewards by getting them all formatted and metadataed properly.

  • Created a posting schedule for Gunpowder & Pine and all related Patreon rewards.

  • Painted a simple cover for Gunpowder & Pine Part 1.

  • Created Webtoons preview thumbnail and page thumbnail template for Gunpowder & Pine.

  • Helped work on some clarifications for the Launch Codes initiative.

  • Started rebuilding my Gumroad shop to sell originals and special edition prints. It will probably eventually include other stuff later such as books and comics. I like the customizability of Gumroad and the creator first mentality.

  • Organized my files and backed everything up. (Backup your files kids, you'll regret ever being born if you don't.)

  • Started sketching a new big painting. It's just going to be a fun thing for me to work on between comic pages so I can get breaks from cell shading and actually paint.

  • Started working on some new sticker sheets. I had one sticker sheet at Denver Comic Con last year and it was my best seller and the only thing I've ever sold out of at a single con, so I want to make more sheets for this year.

  • Scheduled out my whole next week of work. I normally only schedule major deadlines and stuff, but I've got a ton of little things I need to do next week so I've scheduled myself out all week.

  • Gunpowder & Pine work. Last week's numbers in grey. I did all the coloring this week. ALL OF IT.

Thumbnails: 36/36 pages 36/36 pages

Paneled pages: 36/36 pages 36/36 pages

Inked pages: 12/36 pages 12/36 pages

Lettered pages: 12/36 pages 12/36 pages

Colored pages: 5.5/36 pages 11/36 pages


Meant to get done this week, didn’t get done:

  • Didn't get anymore pages inked, because I decided to focus on coloring so I could get enough pages done to be able to start posting.

  • Didn't get the book review done. Just got to busy.

Goals for next week:

  • Start posting Gunpowder & Pine! This will include relaunching my Patreon, as the two are very intertwined.

  • Queue all Patreon posts that are ready to go.

  • Update website, blog, and tumblr prior to starting to post Gunpowder & Pine.

  • Start working on new book based blog over on tumblr. This is a secrety secrety project for now, but I'm very excited about it.

  • Work on Glory is Poison if I can squeeze