Earlier this year, I sold the coloring books that made up about 95% of my income to a publisher. This was a great move for a lot of reasons – getting my books into brick and mortar stores means more people can pick them up, and those books get better promotion, quality control, and overall awesomeness thanks to Sourcebooks’ fabulous print job.
(Also, I get to visit the Unicorns Are Jerks 3-in-1 book whenever I go to Target. STILL NOT OVER THAT.)
The downsides of moving into traditional publishing are that I get paid less per book and I no longer have a monthly paycheck. I’m living off my advance and savings and crossing my fingers that the royalty report I get every six months will say good things.
This is why I started looking into Patreon.
If you’re not already familiar with it, Patreon is a place where you can pledge $1, $2, $5 a month – however much you want, really – to directly support creators whose work you love. In return, you get rewards based on your pledge amount. It’s an excellent system! I support a bunch of writers and artists myself, and the behind-the-scenes posts and new work I get to see makes me so happy.
Showing other people what I’m working on is a huge motivator for me, so I’m excited to have a new way to do that! If you support me on Patreon, you can look forward to WIP posts about projects I can’t talk about publicly yet, misfit coloring pages that didn’t make it into my books (and maybe Patreon-exclusive coloring pages?), and pictures of my cats, because why not.
My Patreon account is right here. Thanks for reading!
This week I updated my Society 6 shop with a handful of pieces that folks have been asking for.
First off is a Unicorns Are Jerks print I originally made for AMA-CON.
Some friends on Twitter asked me to put it on stuff, so here it is! T-shirts, tote bags, mugs, the whole enchilada, covered in a jerk unicorn eating a baby’s candy.
Mighty assistant Jack says we should make this our work uniform:
Have to admit, I’m tempted.
Shortly after AMA-CON, I saw that sign-ups were open for our local Cat Video Festival‘s first ever artist alley. It was a last minute thing, but hello, tabling at a CAT VIDEO FESTIVAL? I am so down for that. So I started sketching cats…
And then wound up in the ER with agonizing hand pain 5 days before the festival. Tenosynovitis of my right thumb tendon. MY TENDONS DON’T WANT ME TO HAVE NICE THINGS.
What’s an artist to do when faced with a busted dominant hand and a looming deadline for cat art?
I switched hands. My left hand is as clumsy as the female lead in a poorly written rom-com, but apparently it absorbed my high school art teacher’s lesson on drawing wrong-handed. Lefty’s art style is sketchier and looser than my usual, but I dig it.
The most popular thing I drew for the Cat Video Festival was my Starter Pokekittens. Look at these cutie patoots.
Fluffasaur (plant type)
Purrtle (water type – but poor little guy is afraid of water!)And Pikamew (electric type) All 4 of these little floofs are on my Society 6 shop, as a team and individually, on prints, shirts, tote bags, mugs, etc. (They’re also up on my Tumblr, if you’d like to share them.)
Personally, I like the throw pillow.
And I want to wear this Purrtle tank top to show the world that I too am shaky and uncertain about my purpose in life.
Okay, enough ogling my own merch. Back to work!
I’m going to be a special guest at AMA-CON in Amarillo, Texas next weekend!
AMA-CON is an anime, comic, gaming, steampunk, and pop culture convention with a ton of amazing guests and vendors, and because it’s run by the Amarillo Public Library system, the profits go toward reading, ESL, and literacy programs!
I’ll be signing books, selling some art, and, oh yeah, running a workshop on making your own coloring pages!
AMA-CON will be my first ever convention as a special guest, and I’m thrilled to be a part of it.
If you’re in Amarillo July 23-24, stop on by!
Hey, have you seen this new coloring book?
Robot friends! Did your sentience come with a longing for love? Do love interests run from your laser eyes? Does your programming lack a flirtation protocol? Then you are holding the right coloring book!
The Robot’s Guide to Love features 22 pages of romantic advice sure to help any robot find a human, robot, or toaster to love.
I’m going to level with you, friends: This is my favorite dang coloring book I’ve made. It’s about things dear to my heart, like love and loss and laser eyes, and it turned out even cuter than I had imagined. And gayer. And sillier.
I love it a lot. I hope you will, too.
Here are some sample pages. Click through, and you can download the full size versions to print.
In the past month, I’ve had two books come out. One of them is available for sale; one of them was the coolest commission I’ve ever gotten to work on.
First off: The Apocalypse Coloring & Activity Book, published by Lark Crafts April 5th, 2016
My first book with a for-real publisher! Also my first super-sized coloring and activity book – it’s almost twice as long as any other coloring book I’ve done so far! It’s also my first and probably only book to feature giant robot paper dolls.
From the back cover:
The apocalypse has dawned—and this fun-filled book is the perfect diversion as you await the zombie attack. Color in a picture to reveal an “inspirational” message. Solve a crossword about what’s in Jimmy’s survival pantry. Design a vehicle to drive across the wasteland. Match the alien to the method of global destruction. Don’t go into your bunker without it!
I’m kinda in love with this book. It was an idea I didn’t think a publisher would go for, but the editorial team at Sterling/Lark not only loved it but gave me a huge amount of creative control over the contents. Pretty much the only thing I got told “no” on was “Can I get away with a page about Will Smith fighting aliens?” Not without his permission, alas.
(Mr. Smith, if you’re reading this, I’d love to give you a cameo in one of my coloring books. Have your people call my people.)
Anyway, here are some free pages from the Apocalypse Coloring & Activity Book for you to download and color! Click through for larger sizes.
The other book that made its debut this past month is a private commission I worked on for a client, who has given me permission to share a peek of it with you.
The Empire Coloring Book, a mini coloring book of scenes from the hit show Empire, commissioned and co-written with Gabourey Sidibe, who plays Becky (one of my favorite characters!!) on the show.
— Hercules Mulligan (@GabbySidibe) March 8, 2016
YEAH. THAT HAPPENED.
Gabby wanted to make a really unique gift for the cast and crew of the show to celebrate the end of season 2, and I think we suceeeded in that. The only way to acquire a copy of this book is to be one of the amazing people who work on Empire, but Gabby was kind enough to let me share a few pics with you.
I love this show, and it was an honor to translate it to coloring pages. Also, Gabourey Sidibe is the best client ever (and exactly as awesome as she seems).
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve gotta go draw some robots. Because my job is awesome.
Hi everybody! Did you know my super fun coloring and activity book about the end of the world is coming to a store near you NEXT TUESDAY, APRIL 5th?
I am freaking out. This is my first book to be widely distributed by an actual publisher. It’s going to be in for-real bookstores, and I’m going to go to one, find it on the shelf, and hug it and coo at it until the bookstore clerks ask me to leave.
Fortunately for you, you don’t have to be seen with me in public to get a copy! You can buy your own, or you can enter the VERY EXCITING GIVEAWAY below and get a free copy, signed by me! I’ll doodle something neat inside it for you, too.
I’ve been sitting on this news for a while now, and I’m SO EXCITED to be able to tell you…
I have a new coloring book coming out next spring with Sterling Publishing! It’s called The Apocalypse Coloring and Activity Book, and it’s an informative, upbeat guide to surviving many common apocalypse scenarios – with fun activity pages!
What can you expect to find in The Apocalypse Coloring and Activity Book? Well, among other things:
- A bright side to the nuclear apocalypse
- Tips on how best to deal with life in a frozen hellscape, plague-riddled wasteland, and more!
- A quiz to help you assess whether your ally is secretly a killer robot
- Mazes and other fun activities to help pass the time in your bunker
- Finally, an answer to the question “Should I take a selfie with a zombie?” (Spoiler: NO)
And because it’s me, there’s body diversity and stuff, too.
The Apocalypse Coloring and Activity Book, guys. It’s going to be a thing. I’m still kind of in shock that a real publisher actually let me make this. (Shoutout to my editor, Kate Zimmerman, who has been fantastic to work with!)
I can’t wait to share this book with all of you. I hope you like it.
(And never fear, I’m still planning on self-publishing another coloring book before the year is up. If all goes well, The Robot’s Guide to Love should be out before Christmas.)
After a whirlwind week, I am thrilled to announce that I’m now represented by Beth Campbell at BookEnds, LLC. Beth is up for the task of handling everything I want to throw at publishers (coloring books, novels, eventually comics), as well as helping me protect and continue my self-published work. She’s amazing so far, and I’m looking forward to working on ALL THE THINGS with her!
Happy 2015! The past couple of months have been wild.
- Unicorns Are Jerks got mentioned on George Takei’s Facebook in November!
- io9 gave Mer World Problems a shout-out!
- December 2014 coloring book sales were RIDICULOUS (Thanks, George!), which means I can DEFINITELY do this thing full-time for another year! This time last year, I was half-convinced the whole coloring books thing was going to be a short-term fad. I’m glad to say it’s turning out to be at least a medium-term fad! I’ll happily keep making these things as long as you folks keep buying them. Thank you for giving me the best job ever.
- I signed on to illustrate my friend H. Jonathan Goltz’s upcoming project, a delightfully twisted post-apocalyptic picture book about making friends! It’s fantastically creepy-cute, and when it comes out in late 2016 you should definitely check it out.
- I did the cover art for Lyda Morehouse’s upcoming short sci-fi detective story “The Case of the Missing Devil Child,” which I’ll link to when it’s out.
- Unicorns Are Jerks showed up in unexpected places, which spread around Facebook and made it to The Daily Dot with possibly my favorite headline ever: Amazon Glitch Exposes Children to Anti-Unicorn Propoganda.
- I’ve just been welcomed into the Wyrdsmiths, a well-established local SFF writers group I’ve admired for years! They’re an awesome bunch of authors, and I’m beyond psyched to be joining them.