“Where I go When I Sleep”

I am proud to introduce my new Children’s Book, “Where I Go When I Sleep”, dedicated to my daughter Isa. We funded it on kickstarter and are now just getting ready to send out everyone’s copies!

With this project I stuck with hand-drawn pencil art and Lindsay did all the colouring. It was a really fast project, and that enables us to come out with one book per year!

Check it out on Amazon!

Keep an eye out for the sequel! Will post more soon!

New Colouring style for the TEMPEST!

Hello Fans!

It has been a very long time since I did a post about my art, and I’m sure having a second baby and being pregnant with a third didn’t help, but now the long wait is over! If you follow us on facebook there is a chance you may have already seen these photos, but I thought I would officially post them up here on the site!

With Reklas Abandon, our colouring style was very simple cel sheding, with very harsh pen lines. We used no gradients and no aliasing, and we used a limited pallet with only ten colours (including black, white, and a couple of greys). With TEMPEST, we are branching out a bit and letting ourselves experiment a lot more with a wide range of colours, sketchy line art, and new brush techniques for a more detailed shading.

I have been drawing up very loose sketches and Lindsay has been colouring them without touching up any of the line art. It is very experimental and you will see how it works more or less in the following pictures. Here are a few of the main Characters from the TEMPEST…

 

Bazil

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Isa

isa-town

Collette

collette

Reklas Signing Event Photos

On the 16th of July we hosted a book signing at Ryan James Fine Arts but have only just now had a chance to blog about it! Anyhow, it was great fun – the first time either of us had done anything like this before – and we had a good turnout. Here are some photos:

Reklas Signing 2014 1  Reklas Signing 2014 4

Many thanks again to Ryan James Fine Arts for graciously hosting our event! Check out their site and great artwork!

We are now back in the UK, recovering from jetlag. Before we left we signed a box of Reklas books and – in addition to prints and tshirts – we hope to get them on our own online store soon. And remember, Reklas Abandon is available to be purchased through Amazon (USA and UK), the links are to the right.

There is much more to come for Reklas and our upcoming project, so keep a watch on our site!

Reklas Abandon Book Signing in Seattle, WA

We (Natasha and Lindsay Kennedy) are currently in Washington state and will be signing copies of Reklas Abandon, selling signed prints, and drawing free character sketches at Ryan James Fine Arts on the 16th of July at 7pm. Join us with Reklas Abandon (and we’ll sign it).

Directions are below:

Here’s your chance to meet us and get a signed Reklas Abandon! If you want to preview the book, check out the link on the right. We hope to see you there!

Announcing my next project: TEMPEST

Now that Reklas Abandon has been released, published and we have sold some copies, I feel like I am allowed to start talking about the next project. I really shouldn’t call it my ‘next’ project, as it is the one I have been working on for several years now, but it is finally time to start blogging about it and pushing towards finishing something. I took a long break from drawing actual pages, as I saw several areas where I needed to grow as an artist and the story needed work, and that is why we did Reklas Abandon. We thought we should do a one-off story that took less commitment so that we could see what it was like releasing a graphic novel. The number things we learned from finishing it is astronomical. And during the break I made some serious headway on my other story; I made enough headway to get going on Volume 1 in hopes of releasing it as soon as we can!

TEMPEST

As I mentioned above, this is the project I have been working on for many years and it is only now getting close to being released. A bit of general information about it: benji

Name: Tempest
Story type: This will be an actual series rather than a one-off story like Reklas abandon was. My rough guess would be at least 10 volumes, but perhaps more.
Length: I estimate each volume ranging between 100-200 pages. Some will be longer than others, but volume one will probably be the longest since it is the gateway into the world. And as mentioned above, there will be at least 10 volumes to tell the story I wish to tell.
Genre: Fantasy/sci-fi/adventure
Art Style: This will be pretty similar in style to Reklas Abandon, as far as the people go, but a lot more detailed and perhaps a bit less angular. I will be doing a lot more backgrounds of course (as Reklas Abandon had next to none), and the world will be much, much, much bigger.
Colouring: Yes, the whole series will be in colour. I just can’t get into fantasy unless I have colour taking me there, and so I see this as an important aspect of my series. We will be putting a lot of effort into choosing the swatches for each different world, and we are already really excited about the ones we have come up with so far! The colouring style will be much different to Reklas Abandon in that it will be much more detailed. With Reklas, it was a total of 10 colours (including black, white and three different greys), really simple one shade cel-shading, and we used the pencil tool for colouring instead of a brush on photoshop, meaning the lines were very harsh rather than smooth-looking on the canvas. With TEMPEST, we will still try to limit our colour pallet, but it will be a lot more vast. We will also be using paintbrush-like strokes to give it more of a fantastical touch. After completing a few trial pages in this style (which I might put up soon), we are really excited with how it is looking. There is nothing more surreal for me than seeing my worlds come to life in colour.
Who is doing what: As usual, I (Tasha) am doing all of the drawing/line art, and Lindsay (my husband) will be doing the majority of colouring. Different to Reklas Abandon where we both came up with the story, the writing is done mostly by me. It’s a story I have been doctoring for many years, but of course, Lindsay has been invaluable in helping me embellish it and working through plot holes and writer’s block.
Story/Plot: This story is a big one. My aim before releasing the first volume was to have it basically finished so that I would have no plot holes and plenty of decent foreshadowing. I have a lot of pride in that the story should be able to keep a consistent flow as it will ever move forward towards an epic end. The plot involves three completely different worlds (our Earth being one of them) and how characters from all three collide to to tell different stories. There are several characters from each world that you will follow as you go through the series, and every separate story is woven together to create a large tapestry-like picture.

My Progress so far

Over the past 4 years I got as far as volume 3 only to stop and see there were several things I wanted to do over. As of now, I am starting over with volume 1 and that is what I will be working on this year. Now that I have grown as an artist, (I hope!) and Lindsay has grown as a colourist, we are pressing on to release the first volume and set ourselves on a long course to finally finish the story.

As I work on it I will be blogging about our progress and hopefully give you little snap-shots into the world. I want to be posting pictures of different characters/etc. so you can be seeing whether or not you are interested in this kind of story. If you wish to keep getting updates about it, just see the widget on the right and subscribe to the blog!

Pictures coming soon!

A Review from Living Myth Media

See original review here.

I am deeply honored and humbled by the fact that someone picked up the graphic novel to review it. When Lindsay and I decided to make Reklas Abandon in our spare time while our new-born was taking naps, our intention was to take a break from our other bigger art projects and make something fun together. Both of us being complete amateurs in the realm of putting together a graphic novel, we decided to make something super bite-size, satirical and caricatured. We started the story poking at comic book stereotypes and it morphed into something that ended up going a bit deeper than a total make-fun satire. It was a dangerous step mixing comedy and satire as well as mystery and drama, but we figured for our first venture we could go bold and throw it out there to see what happens.

That said, it was an exciting thing for me seeing a review from someone who doesn’t know me and could critique my art in an unbiased way. I feel the review does Reklas Abandon justice and points to both strengths we were hoping to achieve and weaknesses we were either well aware of (and hope to grow in) or that were slightly intentional (for example, the characters being stereotyped and odd interactions). Here is the review:

“You can tell this was written by an artist; there’s something unreal about the way everyone in this comic reacts to everyone else and the characterization is a little stilted. That said, the art actually makes the deficiencies of the writing work for it in this weird way that I need to pick apart to better understand. The story follows a rich young woman who buys a house that is the abode of a vampire and his servant, who comes with the house. Also, there’s a techie. There’s always a techie. The art is all block colors with little in the way of shading, but it makes the comic feel like a forties dining lounge. This is sort of addictive, once you get a few pages in. I can think of several people I know that would love this, and I’ll be passing it on to them.”

I would like to thank Aaron Golden for his review and kind words. May this be the first of many helpful reviews!

Comicon weekend a success!

1512420_10152732794477538_752175184_n For three long days…

My family manned the Varida P&R booth at the Emerald City Comicon. (Picture on the left: My sister Katy-holding a tribble, my sister Toni and my brother Steve passing out stickers) I cannot stress enough how jealous Lindsay and I were feeling because we could not be there. If it wasn’t already clear, we live in England and couldn’t make it out for the release of our first graphic novel. We owe everything that happened this last weekend to our amazing American family who put in so much of their work, money and lives to promote Reklas Abandon.

Every day we would be texting and skyping them to get updates and in a way we felt like we were there. We are deeply sorry we could not have met all of you who came to our booth in person! We also want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for those of you who bought books. Please do not hesitate to comment and let us know what you thought!

I am getting an email set up so you can write to me personally about your thoughts/questions about the book. It has a unique story and I am eager to dialogue with anyone who has questions or insights. I take pride in the great care that I put into not only in the creation of unique characters, but also unique story lines. I recommend to anyone who has bought or will buy the book that you read it more than once before forming an ultimate opinion.

What we gained from having our booth at Comicon

I would say that the benefits from participating in comicon will be long lasting. We initially hoped to sell out and make a financial profit but soon learned that promotion was of bigger importance at an event like this. My family, after talking to lots of other vendors, learned that sales were quite low for most of them and that considering this was our first-ever event, we did quite well. With this in mind we decided to get as much of our stuff out there as possible. Here are the things we did that seemed to go really well:

  • We gave out several thousand stickers for free with “Reklas Abandon” and our website to passers by.
  • We bought a half page ad in the Comicon booklet about our booth. We advertised there about our free T-shirt giveaway every hour. We had lots of people come check out our booth and even buy merchandise simply because the saw the ad.
  • T-shirt giveaways! This was one of our biggest successes. By the end of the weekend we ended up giving away 20 free T-shirts through our hourly raffles. Lots of people came to our booth to win, and afterwards we had winners wearing our shirts which worked out as great advertising. Not only that, but there were a few T-shirt winners who ended up buying a book to go with it! We loved how it not only brought people to hang around, but it gave us a chance to dive into the awesome community of like-minded geeks like ourselves.
  • Selling books was our main source of income, and the number one thing I was hoping to happen. Ultimately, we didn’t make Reklas Abandon to make money. We made it because we had a story to tell and a unique way to do it. We ultimately wanted to do this event so we could get the book out there and let it be experienced. All in all we sold around 50 books which completely blows my mind! Thank you!
  • I think that having family members run the booth gave us a unique vibe. I don’t know how many people can say their mom writes sci-fi and enjoys comicon events, but I sure can. The entire weekend the booth was entirely manned by my family members who just had a great time hanging out and showing the spirit of what our community is all about. Though seeing us and our hearts, we hope that we gave off the vibe that we are not about fame or money, we are about community and promoting eachother’s unique art.

At the end of the day, kicking off Reklas Abandon by participating in a big event like Comicon was a great way to get the ball rolling for bringing out more art… not only for me, but other members in my family who are gifted writers, artists and visionaries. Please subscribe to the blog if you are at all interested in our progress!

Stay tuned for a post with pictures from this last weekend T-shirt winners!

Books and Booths!

Today is Friday, the first day of Comicon. It is morning for Lindsay (my husband and co-writer) and me, but the middle of the night for my family who will be manning the Varida P&R/Reklas Abandon booth at the Emerald City Comicon. It is hard to believe that the little make-fun comic strip I did for my sister in the car back in 2009 is now a completed, published work that is premiering at the 2014 Emerald City Comicon. Today, it finally feels like it is happening!

The only thing left is for me to be holding the book in my own hands.

200 Limited Edition Copies PRINTED, and I have an awesome family to thank!

photo 1 Yesterday, at 3:45 Seattle time, my family went to pick up the 200 Printed copies of Reklas Abandon to be sold at Comicon this weekend. (Photo on the left: my brother Steve carrying the books out to the car) They literally picked them up on their way to set up the booth the day before the event! Everything has been down to the last minute, yet everything seems to be coming together! It’s just how God always seems to work.

Because we had a few problems getting books from our main printer in time we decided to go to a local printer in Woodinville for the copies we needed this weekend. These 200 copies we are calling our ‘Special First Edition’ copies as there will be none others like them in the future. These are the only books to be printed here and will only be sold at Emerald City Comicon. We will keep a few for ourselves of course, but if you buy a book that has a note about it being Special Edition, you should keep it. It might be special one day! I believe my publisher will also be numbering all 200 books, so if you find a number, its your lucky day!

photo 3From what my family has told me, the quality looks awesome, and so I am going to have to take their word for it!

That is my sister, Toni, on the right. You have her to thank for this Graphic Novel’s existence. (And if you want to know more about that, you can check out the page I did about the making of Reklas Abandon when I started it last year.)

I am sure you have noticed my family’s heavy involvement both in the publishing and the promoting of this book. That is because we are extremely family-oriented and we are each other’s inspiration in more ways than one. My mom, Suzanne Hagelin, President of Varida P&R, started her publishing company as a way for our family, and others like us, to get our works out there. Mom is a writer herself and has several works (including some amazing Sci-Fi!) on their way to being finished and published. Steve and Toni are both also writers and artists, as well as my oldest sister Katy whose creative outlet is dance (a link to her dance company based in Seattle.)

All that to say, Reklas is the first fruits of the Sci-Fi/fantasy fiction that will be coming out of Varida P&R, so if you like Reklas Abandon at all, there will be more like it coming!

Like I said, these books traveled straight from the printers, into the car, and right to the set up of Booth 3006 at the Emerald City Comicon…

Booth #3006!

Please welcome, the coziest, awesomest, best-kept secret at the 2014 Emerald City Comicon! The heart we have behind it is a sort of ‘safe-haven’ duck-in during the mad house event. We know we are tucked away in the most un-visited floor away from the majority of foot traffic, but we see this as the perfect opportunity to hide away from the bigger booths that might over-power us and have a quieter location to meet/make friends. While we are professional and take our work seriously, we are also a family business and we want it to feel like that when you visit our booth. Most people helping out with the booth will be family, including my parents, my siblings (Katy, Toni and Steve), my cousin Mary, my uncle E. Eric, and some of my close friends. I see this as one of our strengths and hope many will find their way to the best booth at Comicon. BOOTH 3006!!!

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Introducing the Varida P&R booth with the premier of Reklas Abandon.

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Steve and my Mom (the Mastermind of all this)

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My cousin Mary hiding behind one of the T-shirt designs.

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… And the other T-Shirt design to be sold. (Please note the awesome wine boxes on display most likely donated by E Eric the wine specialist! …yes, we have class.)

 

Come see us at Emerald City Comicon!

website-booth-mapFind us on the map!

Reklas Abandon fans, please Click on the map to see the location of our booth at the Emerald City Comicon 2014! To see the full map of the Emerald City Comicon event for a bit of context, just click here. At our booth you will be able to get Reklas Abandon stickers, buy the newly released book and buy one of our two T-shirt designs which at the moment are being sold exclusively at Comicon!

Update on the Printing Crisis:

Things are getting intense as we approach the final countdown to the big event. We are still having trouble with our main printer (who just can’t seem to get our proof copy printed!), and so we have gone with a local printer for the Comicon copies. They will look slightly different, I am assuming, to our main copies which will be sold on amazon, etc. So think about it this way: if we ever get famous, and you buy one of these limited edition copies, they might be worth something one day!

Live Preview:

If you haven’t already noticed, we have put up a bit of the book for you to get a sneak preview. Please feel free to read it to get a taste of what the book will be. If you like it, please consider buying it and supporting our art.

Pre-ordering the book:

If you live in the continental USA, you have the opportunity to pre-order the book now for $15 (which is free of tax and shipping!). If you live outside of the USA, please email books@varida.com to find out your extra shipping costs. Because of the trouble with the main printing company, we do not yet have a release date, but it should be somewhere around early April 2014.