Here’s A Warm-Up Head Sketch!

Here’s a Warm-Up head sketch from today. Drawn in the Adobe Sketch App for iPad with an Adobe Ink stylus.

Played with two design elements I don’t usually incorporate in my characters lately: Decided to try out the solid color “red stuffy nose” design element I see a lot in character design these days, and opted to give him a long Samurai Jack style jawline.

Apparently, the “red stuffy nose” design element has a name: It’s called Tumblr Nose.

For Authors: How NETFLIX Tested Images So You’ll Binge Watch More

Via Fast Company by way of Kboards:

The human brain can process an image in just a few milliseconds, so the right picture can spark someone’s interest and convince a viewer it’s worth exploring a new show in a single glance. Which is why, in 2014, Netflix began gathering consumer research specifically about the images on its service.

The research indicated that looking at images not only prompted users to watch content, but accounted for a whopping 82% of their time spent browsing (as opposed to, say, reading movie titles or descriptions). In other words, the images mattered almost four times more than the text describing the storyline. Members also spent only 1.8 seconds considering each title. “We know that if you don’t capture a member’s attention within 90 seconds, he or she will likely lose interest and move on to another activity,” says Nick Nelson, Netflix’s global manager for creative services. “Images become the most efficient and compelling way to help them discover the perfect title as quickly as possible.”


Netflix’s data reveals some interesting takeaways about why people watch one thing over another, but more broadly, may be applicable to anyone looking to hook readers, viewers, or buyers with compelling imagery.

Netflix’s takeaways are pretty interesting:

  • Depict Three Characters or Less: “One of Netflix’s earliest findings was that interest tended to drop off when an image touting a show or movie contained more than three people. It seems that users find it hard to focus when there are too many people, and may not be able to absorb cues about the storyline.”
  • Complex Emotions Make Us Stop & Linger: Scientists have known for a long time that humans are hardwired to respond to faces: Studies have found that infants process faces long before they are able to recognize other objects. However, one interesting thing that Netflix discovered is that people tend to focus more on images of people displaying complicated expressions over stoic or benign ones. These highly emotive images are able to quickly and effectively convey subtle details about the show or movie, drawing users into the storyline and prompting them to watch it.
  • Polarizing Villains Demand Atention: Just like complex emotions are more likely to capture our attention, images of polarizing characters also tend to grab our attention. Netflix found that members responded better to recognizable villainous characters over pictures of the hero. They found this to be true in the kids’ genre, as well as for action shows and movies.

The fourth takeaway noted in the article isn’t so notable to me. If you’re interested what #4 is, click here to find out.

The art of the thumbnail image in today’s age is here to stay!

Marvel & Netflix’s PUNISHER Spinoff Officially Announced

Jon Bernthal’s stand-out iteration of The Punisher will receive his own spinoff series after his debut in Daredevil: Season Two on Netflix, but that’s not the best part of the news.

Writer and executive producer Steve Lightfoot (Hannibal) will serve as the series’ showrunner. Lightfoot, along with fellow showrunner Bryan Fuller, guided three amazing seasons on NBC’s Hannibal.

Lightfoot’s written some of the series’ best episodes, so I’m thrilled to see what he’ll do with The Punisher.

Amazon’s Giveaway Tool Adds E-books Option

Amazon says its Giveaway tool, which I wasn’t aware existed, allows you to “Run promotional giveaways to create buzz, reward your audience, and grow your followers and customers”.

Kboards’ thread on the announcement sheds more light on how this can benefit authors:

Via Kboards:

Amazon Giveaway, a tool that allows sellers to run promotional giveaways, now supports e-books. Authors that use Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) can now create marketing campaigns and giveaways for their e-books. The tool lets an author require a reader to say follow them on Twitter or share their email address in exchange for the free e-book.

According to the Giveaway tool’s FAQ page, in addition to requiring a reader follow you on Twitter or share their email address in exchange for a free e-book, the author can also have the reader view a brief video on Amazon or Youtube. If that video, such as a book trailer, can in fact be selected by the author, then that’s a pretty neat option, too!

Very glad Amazon has opened up to allowing e-books to be included in its Giveaway tool.

I discovered this news by way of Jane Friedman’s tweet above. If you plan on self-publishing and you’re not following her, you should start now!


Bryan Fuller To Helm New Star Trek Series

Bryan Fuller is one of my favorite TV writers. As Herc at Ain’t It Cool has noted previously, Fuller has written two of the Heroes TV series’ best episodes “Company Man” and “Cold Snap.” As showrunner of Hannibal, Fuller put out three amazing seasons.

Hannibal is one of my favorite TV series from the last few years. What made the series great is it was very strongly character driven. The characters’ motivations and actions propelled the series and that’s what I found most impressive about it.

A series like Star Trek requires strong characters that can hold their own amidst all the sci-fi imagery that audiences are getting numb to, and if anyone can deliver on characters like that, it’s Fuller. I’m very excited to see his take on the Star Trek mythos!

Amazon Lobs Lumberyard at Self-Publishers

Lumberyard_WeibblogThat is, Amazon just launched its own #selfpub-friendly video game engine, Lumberyard, which is free to download and requires no fees or obligations to share revenue (unless a developer utilizes online multiplayer).

Via Kotaku:

It’s particularly noteworthy that the engine is completely free. If you look at its competitors, like Unity, Unreal Engine 4, or even CryEngine itself, for example, all of them come with either a license fee or a royalty fee.

This is good news for self-publishers in general, whether you’re a video game developer in need of a game engine to create your game, or an author interested in adapting their creator-owned projects for game-play.

It’s also worth noting that Lumberyard doesn’t have to be used exclusively for video game creation:

Q. Can I use Lumberyard for non-game purposes, such as architecture, simulations, and animated movies?

Yes, please do.

That’s great news for architects, engineers, filmmakers, and animators, too then. Architects have free to use software like Google Sketchup, which is very handy, and Animators have free to use software like Blender, but having access to another tool to help you create is always a good thing.

Amazon is providing some very cool tools and outlets for creators to use.

It’s a great time to be a self-publisher!

#FrankMillerChat On Twitter This Friday. You in?

Via DC Comics:

We’ve corralled co-writer and comic book legend Frank Miller to answer them in a special fan chat on Twitter this Friday, November 20 from 10amPT/1pmET to 11amPT/2pmET. Join in on the conversation using the hashtag #FrankMillerChat to ask any questions about the upcoming Dark Knight comic. You can ask him about the main story, the “DARK KNIGHT UNIVERSE PRESENTS” mini comic in each book and probably the most-often asked question since the book’s announcement: “What’s up with that title?”

I’m a big fan of Miller’s take on Batman. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend the DC Universe Animated adaption of The Dark Knight Returns!

Check out my Dark Knight Returns Speed Drawing Video below!

Anyone Thankful Gizmodo Has Gobbled Up io9?

Being that I’m writing this before Thanksgiving, and that no ETA is given for when the merge will happen, I’ve opted for a holiday-themed headline for this news because why not, really:

Via Comics Beat

Will any geeks news sites be left standing as 2015 draws to a close? I would have thought io9, the nerd part of the Gawker media empire, would have been the safest, but I guess it couldn’t pull its weight as a standalone brand, and has just been folded into Gizmodo, the massively huge and popular tech blog.

So am I thankful Gizmodo has gobbled up io9? No. I’m sad to see that io9 won’t remain as its own brand. What I’ve appreciated about io9 is the attention it’s given authors and novels, regardless if they covered traditionally published books or self-published ones. Mainly, I’ve always turned to io9 as a solid source of TV, Movies, and Comics news, so finding it as a “section”of the Gizmodo brand will be an adjustment. It’s disappointing but I’m glad io9 will still have a presence that will hopefully remain  strong!