Persia Blues #3 on comiXology

The digital serialization of my Persia Blues graphic novel continues on the comiXology platform. You can now buy issue #3 in digital format, which serializes pages 55-79 of the book:

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comiXology purchases can be read on your PC or Mac, or any tablet of smart phone, including iPad, iPhone, and Android based devices.

Persia Blues special preview book

The fine folks at NBM were at the MoCCA Arts Fest (Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art) last week…

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…and printed up a bunch of these “special preview” copies of Persia Blues, containing the first 26 pages of the book, to hand out to the attendees:

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They were kind enough to send me a box of them to do the same at this weekend’s S.P.A.C.E. (Small Press and Alternative Comics Expo), so if you’re attending the show, be sure to drop by my table and ask for a copy.

I have to say, it’s such a thrill to see the story in print form, even if it’s only a portion of it. I can’t wait to see the final book, which should be out in about a month or so.

Persia Blues: Sequential Underground podcast

In this 22 minute podcast, Sequential Underground’s Nick Marino talks to NMB’s founder/publisher Terry Nantier about the digital/print release strategy for Persia Blues, the library market, challenges faced by artists, and more.

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“This formula here, with the e-comic books, gives the artist the capacity for some input, some availability of the work as it’s coming out…and a revenue flow. It’s a means of helping the artist to get through a very long process.” –Terry Nantier

Pre-order Persia Blues from your local comic book store

My graphic novel from NBM Publishing is currently being solicited in the Previews catalog for distribution to comic book shops in May. The listing is on page 331, and earned the “Spotlight On” designation.

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Please consider supporting your local comic book shop by having them pre-order a copy for you, and a few for their shelves. The Diamond item code is MAR13 1230.

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It’s hard to stand out when you’re one of the thousands of products offered in the massive 500-page catalog, but I’m hoping the spotlight designation will help. Already, we’ve caught the eye of Greg Burgas, who had these kind words to say in his monthly “Flippin’ through Previews” column at Comic Book Resources:

I haven’t read a lot of Dara Naraghi’s work, but what I have read is pretty good, so I’m intrigued by Persia Blues from NBM. It’s about an Iranian woman who lives in both the real world and a fantasy world, but is either of them the real woman? You’ll have to read it to find out! I’m always a little wary of “volume 1″s, but I’m still interested in this.

To find a comic shop near you, drop on by the Comic Shop Locator site.

Of course, you can also order the book through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, any indie bookstore, or even through NBM itself. Whatever floats your boat, as the kids say*. For links and options to buy the book – and support me and Brent Bowman in the process – drop on by the official Persia Blues website.

*The kids don’t actually say that.

NBM Blog: Persia Blues: Fun with Kickstarter

Short excerpt from my latest post on the NBM Blog:

Next up is page 3 of the book, beautifully rendered by series artist Brent Bowman. This page is the start of a four-page sequence wherein our protagonists are confronted by some rather unsavory brigands. But what makes this especially fun is that the likeness of the lead brigand is based on Yiri, the husband of fellow NBM creator Margreet de Heer (Philosophy: a Discovery in Comics, Science: a Discovery in Comics)

Persia Blues debuts digitally on comiXology

My publisher NBM, is doing something they’ve never done before: they’re serializing my graphic novel Persia Blues as 4 digital “issues” before the print edition comes out. And right now, you can pick up the first part (28 pages of story) for a mere 99 cents through the comiXology app for your tablet or smart phone.

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Here’s the official announce ment, from the NBM blog:

Persia Blues, the upcoming graphic novel from NBM publishing and New York Times best-selling writer Dara Naraghi and artist Brent Bowman will debut as a four part series of single issues with issue #1 premiering today for just 99 cents, exclusively on comiXology, — the world’s largest digital comics platform with over 100 million downloads to date. Subsequent issues will be released every two weeks and will retail for $1.99.

The first volume in a three volume series coming from NBM, Persia Blues was both the first title from the publisher that utilized a Kickstarter campaign and the first time they’ve serialized a pending title digitally before it reaches print. The e-comic books will be taken down upon publication of the book when a simultaneous e-book version of the GN will appear.

Needless to say, I’m very excited about this, and very curious to see what the response will be. Everyone knows that digital is where comics are heading, but even as a creator with a vested interest in the medium, I’m having a hard time making the transition from print to digital. I’m hoping that this new venue will expose my work to a whole new (global) audience.

If you do decide to give the first issue a try for just 99 cents, I’d love to get your feedback on it here. Not just the story, but the whole digital experience. What did you like/dislike about the viewer? Would you see yourself purchasing more comics digitally?

Persia Blues: Kickstarter postcards

Sorry I’ve been incommunicado for a while. Between trying to get the book done, an increased workload at my day job, and oh yeah, getting married, my free time has been nil lately. But I did want to share these images of the large 6″x9″ postcard I’ll be sending out soon to the backers of the Persia Blues campaign on Kickstarter, thanking them for their support:

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I’m really glad with how these turned out. The front has a classy matte finish, and the large size makes them a cool artifact to hold on to.

If you didn’t get a chance to participate in the Kickstarter campaign, but would like a postcard, please drop me a line (via the Contact page of this site) and I’ll mail you one, gratis.

NBM blog: From Iran to Indie Comics

Here’s an excerpt from my first blog entry on my publisher’s official blog, sharing a bit about my background and the inception of Persia Blues:

During college, I began dabbling in writing on the side, and even got involved with a fly-by-night indie comics publisher operating out of the west coast. Well, more like the publisher’s spare bedroom, which happened to be in an apartment in a city on the West coast. That experience soured me on the business side of comics for a while, and I lost interest in creating comics, though I still remained a fan of the medium. It wasn’t until about a dozen years ago that I met some similar minded creators in my hometown of Columbus, Ohio, that I started to become serious about writing again. We ended up calling ourselves the PANEL Collective, and have been creating and self-publishing small press comix for over 10 years now.

But that’s a story for another post.

However, I will mention that it was through PANEL that I met and befriended the artist that would eventually team up with me on Persia Blues…

Read the full entry here.

Persia Blues – Kickstarter

It occured to me that I’ve been promoting the Kickstarter in support of our book all over the Internet, but forgot to mention it on my own blog. So let’s remedy that, shall we?

Follow the link to check out our book, and the cool incentives you can earn by supporting it.

And here’s the video I put together for it, with a lot of help from my better half, Wendy.

Persia Blues – an artist’s perspective

(Originally posted on the Ferret Press blog here)

Brent made this great process post over on my other blog, and I felt it should be shared here as well. Take it away, Brent:

I’ve just finished an amazing dream sequence for the upcoming graphic novel Persia Blues, written by Dara and drawn by yours truly. This is how I did it. (Not really a tutorial exactly but more of a show and tell)

First i looked at the script and i did my breakdowns and thumbnails.

Now I’ll show you all the pencils compared to the inks. These pages are done in the “here” part of the story, which is the fantasy world. So I’m using inks, inkwash, markers, and pencils.

I used a real photo of a persian rug for the rug in panel 2, tweaking it in Photoshop and dropping it in as a texture. Same thing with the stars in Minoo’s hair.

This is a double page spread. Added my standard cloud background and some spots for the White Demon. And some stars. but actually very little photoshop on this one. You may notice a few changes from the pencil stage to the finished art. Particularly with the warrior figure on the far right. i just wasn’t happy with the figure. So i fixed it. I’m happy with the results.

I drew the crowd scene on a different piece of paper and just added it in when I was done. Also used my standard cloud background. (Years ago I drew a full sheet of clouds in pencil and I was so happy with it and unable to replicate it that i just keep using it over and over again as a background.

Anyway that’s it. I’m lovong this project. All feedback is appreciated.

And y’all check out our Kickstarter project. Dara’s working on it as we speak.

Oh and as a side note here is my cloud background. Made it back in 2004 or 2005 for some unfinished project or another. I call it “stormy weather”. Now that you know about it, you will see it in my work ALL the time.

 

 

Persia Blues – a lettered page, with some missing figures

I haven’t posted a Persia Blues update in a few weeks, so I thought I’d show off some more artwork. This is page 3. Art by my partner in crime Brent Bowman, writing/lettering by yours truly.

Yes, those missing figures could be you!

Which brings us to the unfinished figures on the page. This may not come as a big surprise, but we’re planning on running a Kickstarter campaign soon for the book. Yes, we already have a publisher lined up, and to their credit, they’re actually paying us an advance on the book. But the reality of the current publishing landscape (especially for indie graphics novels not coming out from a major publisher) is that there’s not much money in it. Which means the advance is nowhere near what Brent deserves to be compensated for all the time and effort that goes into drawing a 100+ page book. Hence, Kickstarter.

Anyway, one of the incentives will be the opportunity to have your likeness drawn in the book, as one of the 3 mercenaries in the above scene. And you’ll also appear on the following three pages, in a knock-down, drag-out fight with our protagonists, Minoo and Tyler.

So keep your eyes on this blog, or the new Persia Blues website (still under construction, but almost ready), for details on when the campaign kicks off, and what cool incentives you can score.

Persia Blues – Anatomy of a cover, part 3 (of 3)

(go here for part 1, and part 2)

Sorry, I know this last part was a long time in the making. What can I say, busy, busy, busy. But let’s get to it…

When we sent in our last set of cover concepts, I thought we were pretty close to finalizing the design. However, our publisher had some misgivings about the emphasis on the architectural elements of the story, and our protagonist only appearing in headshots. He astutely pointed out that:

We need to have something more personal and focused on the heroine…don’t get tangled in story elements…

This made sense, especially given that with the book’s print dimensions of 6×9, we really did need a larger image of Minoo to catch the reader’s eye. But he did like the “tri-head” concept, so Brent and I discussed some more ideas and submitted another set of designs, this time featuring our protagonist front and center:

Terry liked this new design, so the finish line was finally in sight. Brent pencilled the final cover illustration, and before the painting stage we had a few more discussions with Terry about the final details. At this point, he wanted Brent to pay special attention to Minoo’s expressions:

A sense of urgency and the expressions on the faces are important…Danger/fear/resolve especially in her ancient incarnation, defiance in her present day incarnation…

Brent and I discussed some simple color schemes, and my better half (Wendy) provided us with a Pinterest board full of fashion looks for Minoo, and after months of hard work, we had an approved painted cover for Persia Blues:

I must admit, at times the process was frustrating and slow, but in the end I’m quite happy with the final design. And I can certainly understand the importance of getting the cover right, from our publisher’s point of view. Unlike a monthly comic book, Persia Blues will be primarily distributed through the book store market, and even with my limited knowledge of that trade, I know how much importance is placed on a cover image. This is a venue in which the corporate buyers for chains like Barnes & Noble have so much clout over the publishers, they can actually dictate cover designs right down to the colors used. As prestigious as NBM Publishing may be, they’re still a smaller publisher competing against the juggernauts for shelf space and recognition in book stores, which made this process all the more important.

Epilogue: so now that we had our cover, we needed a masthead/logo for the book. NBM’s art director, Martin, solicited some ideas from me before starting the task of designing the logo. I forwarded the working logos Brent and I had been using on the cover sketches, adding that ideally I wanted something modern looking, but with a Middle eastern vibe to the typography. An English font that borrowed stylistic elements from Farsi, if you will. Here’s Martin’s logo, which I totally dig:

So there you have it, an abridged account of how we came about with our book’s cover illustration. Believe it or not, the entire process took about 8 months, with the first batch of cover sketching going out on December 11, 2011, and the approved cover uploaded to NBM’s FTP site on August 28, 2012.

Next, I’ll share a few more pages of interior art…