Life Is Beautiful – The first four pages of a brand new graphic novel

 

I’ve been working on this project behind the scenes for a while now, and I’ve finally started actually illustrating it. This is Life is beautiful, a new graphic novel set after the end of the world. The apocalypsehas happened and zombies have taken over the world. One zombie wonders what the point of it all is, and makes a discovery that changes the world. It’s set in Birmingham, UK, because I love that city and it felt like the perfect backdrop for a post-apocalyptic disaster comic! You can read the first four pages by clicking on the link below. This will be published as a graphic novel in 2019, and I’m excited about what you guys will think about it. (PS, the above image is the cover of the comic, but it’s not completely finished yet! I love me some work in progress things :3

Read the First Four Pages Here

Video – Why I quit being a full time artist

About 3 months ago I made the difficult decision to go back to full time work. It sucked, to be honest, if I had my way I would 100% do this full time, but making money so we could pursue other dreams became more important than full time arting. My mental health has pretty much collapsed recently since I started the job, and I’m struggling, and this video talks a little bit about that, and why it was a hard decision, and in the meantime I draw an angel. Pretty simple digital piece, but there we go.

Art in the Park 2018

I love Leamington.

I’m not alone, either. I didn’t mean it literally, but with a population of approximately 55,700 people, I also do mean it literally. But every year for the past five years now, the Art in the Park has been another reminder of how many amazing people live in this community and how many of those people are artists.

I’ve not been in the local art community much, I guess because I grew up on the internet and as such, most of my friends are internet friends, which has also increased my social anxiety a bunch. But Leamington (and Warwick) have been my home since forever, and I feel like I’ve lost a great big chunk of time not getting involved in the local art community. So, I headed to Art in the Park today, on a ridiculously hot day, to see an incredibly busy Jephsons Gardens where everyone was melting, and everyone was appreciating art.

I’m still painfully shy at introducing myself to new local artists, but I’m getting there, and am actually going to make a point of connecting with local artist peeps from here on out. Artists have gotta stick together, after all.

A new Kickstarter!

It’s been over a week now (and has already been funded, what even) since I launched my most recent Kickstarter – this time to fund Llama merch! We’re already at 167% funded, because Llama fans are the best fans in the internet. We’re getting some of these made up:

Enamel pin badges:

The main bulk of the cost will be the enamel pin badges that are about £150 for 50 (and you can only buy 50. I couldn’t afford to buy these pin badges off my own back and figured I could crowd fund, and if I was going to crowd fund it I could also throw in extra llama merch like acrylic charms and stuff like that.

Acrylic Charms and Keychains

I’m actually really excited about these keychains because I 100% want one myself.

Sticker Sheets!

LOOK HOW AWESOME THESE STICKERS ARE GONNA LOOK THOUGH.

 

AHHH

Okay I’m done screaming. The Kickstarter is funded, so it’s kind of like a preorder right now 🙂

Powerpuff Girls VS Batman is finally done!

Two years ago, I was having a fairly typical conversation about who would win in a fight between superheroes. Out of nowhere, I came out with a question that grew into a much larger scale project: Who would win in a fight between Batman and the Powerpuff Girls?

From that, I started working on the script, and then the comic itself, and 50 pages later, it’s completely finished and available to read, for free, online:

 

Click here to read the full comic!

 

Taking subscriptions and donations through PayPal – How To

Hey peeps,

So – Patreon, eh? There’s been some upheaval over there since they announced they’re restructuring their fees and people aren’t happy. That’s an understatement. People are furious.

Here’s a post I made on Patreon explaining the fees in case you have no idea what I’m talking about.

I’ve lost Patrons over this – no where near as many as others, some people have lost $100s of dollars – but I realised I needed to quickly make a new solution in case any of my Patrons wanted to jump ship. That solution ended up being a donation button through my website (which you can see on the right) which can also be made into a monthly donation with a single click. I still get charged PayPal fees, but you get charged what it says on the tin. It’s a short term solution, and I’m still looking at alternatives, but I’ll probably keep the PayPal button open in case people want to continue to use that. It’s also currently only £1, but it is possible to set up multiple donation “tiers” in the same way as Patreon – I’m still working out how best to distribute rewards using this method though. Here’s a page on my site that goes into a BIT more detail of what I’m doing.

I want to share this info with you all, so if you want to set up your own donation button, it’s easy enough to do.

How to set up a PayPal donations / subscription button

You will need:

  • Your own website (I’m pretty sure you can do this through Tumblr, not sure about Wix or other sites)
  • A Business PayPal account (which is fairly straightforward to set up).
  • A VERY basic understanding of HTML – it’s basically just a bunch of code (I’ll take screenshots so you know what to look for)
  • I’d also recommend you make a “Thank you” page, for when people make a donation, and a “Confirm Cancellation” page, for when people unsubscribe. However you make a page on your website is fine. On the Thank You page, make sure to also include an unsubscribe button, and on the Confirm Cancellation page, include a link to where people can sign up again – this is just in case people do things by accident and makes your page a little more user-friendly. I go through how to make an unsubscribe button below, so keep following along and you’ll find it 🙂

Let’s get started

Figure out where you’re gonna put this on your website first so you have somewhere to dump the code. I recommend putting this on a seperate page on your website (see my own page above).

Log into your business PayPal account.

Select “Tools” and then “More Tools” from the dropdown menu.

You’ll be given a large list of options to choose from. You’ll want “recurring payments“.

That’ll take you to the Recurring Payments Dashboard, which is where you’ll be able to view your customers once you have some.

On the right there are a bunch of options. You MIGHT want to do something a little different to what I did here. I chose a donation button, which has the option of clicking “make this a monthly donation” option. But you can also chose a subscription option, which lets you chose from three different tiers from a dropdown menu. I’ll show you what I did, and then I’ll show you the subscription option as well.

Making a donation button

Click on “Make a Donate Button

This will take you to the donate button creation page. Keep the button type as Donations, give your button a name (mine was “Test Donate Button” for this scenario). Play around with the options a bit, it depends whether you want your own donation image or keep PayPals own image. Change the currency if you want to use something other than GBP of course. The options under that say “Contibution amount”, this is where you can decide whether to chose a fixed amount or leave people to choose how much to donate. On my button I’ve left it so people can chose their own amount, but it depends what you want to do. You’ll also have the option to use your merchant ID, or your primary email address, to be paid. I chose my email address. It just depends whether you might your email address being shown, but my email address is available elsewhere on my website anyway, so I chose it to display my email address. Up to you on that one!

After you’ve done that part, we can ignore Step 2 because it’s not necessary, and then click into Step 3. (The next part is exactly the same if you are creating a Subscription Button, so continue below to see what I’m doing)

 

Create a Subscription Button

A subscription button lets you chose different “tier” levels, so people cann subscribe to you at different amounts. Follow the above steps until you get to where I start talking about the Donate button. You should be on the “Recurring Payments Dashboard”, and on the right there is a link saying “Create a Subscription Button”. Click it.

This’ll take you to a similar page as the Donate Button, but this time the “subscription” button is selected on the drop down. (Actually, this is the same page, but for easy explanation I took you here this way in case anyone gets confused).

On the “Customise button”, click “Add a dropdown menu with prices and  options”, and add as many price tiers as you want. I’ve gone with three. You can change it to monthly or yearly if you want, but I chose monthly as it’s similar to Patreon.

I’d recomment ignoring the other two options to be honest as it’s not necessary!

Step Three – customising the button

Step 3 lets us customise things a bit more. Because we’re currently not setting anything up for tier rewards or anything, I’ve clicked no on the first two options about requesting information off people as well as their postal address, I don’t need that info.

The next two boxes are  why I suggested making a Cancellation Confirmation page, and a Thank You page. Put the URL for both of those into the boxes when prompted.

Now that part is done, so click “Create Button“.

Your button is done. In that little drop down box, is a bunch of code called HTML. Don’t edit any of it or delete any of it, you just need to copy it and paste it into your website. Click on the “Select Code” button to make sure you’ve got it all (the text will go blue), right click and select “Copy”.

Go back into your website and find the HTML editor. Usually it’s a button that says </> or “Plain Text” or something like that. Paste the code where you want the button to go, and then save your page.

Visit the page and test the button out to make sure it works! Clicking the button (Subscribe or Donate, depending on what you’ve chosen) will take you to the page to confirm your decision, and if you get that up it means the rest will work too (you can’t donate to yourself but you could get a friend to do a test run if you need to)

Easy peasy, right?

(Let me know if it’s NOT easy peasy, and I’ll try and walk you through it some more).

 

Creating an Unsubscribe button

You need a way to help people unsubscribe to you if you need to.

Go back to the “Add button to your website” page where you copied the HTML. On that page, at the bottom, there is a link that says “Create an Unsubscribe button”. Click that. It’s pretty straight forward from there, the page will ask you if you want to use PayPals button or your own, so if you’ve made your own unsubscribe button you can upload that and click “Create Button”. It’ll take you to a page where you’ll have some more HTML to copy onto your new site. Do the same thing here as you did before and copy and paste it onto your page.

I recommend posting it onto the same page as your Subscription / Donation button, so people can have an easy go to for it, as well as on your Thank You page, so people can quickly unsubscribe if they did it by accident.

Here are my thank you and cancelled pages if you want to have a look and see how I’ve done it.

And here’s my regular Subscription page, if you want to see how I set mine up.

Did you find this helpful?

If this helped  you, please consider donating something to say thank you 😉




Let me know if I have any questions by emailing me at

sarah@sarahandthestrange.com

Or going through my Contact Page

Thanks!

Illustration Portfolio Migration!

I’m constantly remodelling things over on this website and today marks the day when my illustration portfolio – which has been sitting quite comfortably on this website for a long time – has migrated over to its own website. This change has been a long time coming; I’ve always felt that my illustration portfolio felt a little out of place on this site – the home of my weird projects, videos, shop, etc and it felt too disjointed. People would turn up on my website expecting a portfolio and getting this weird mish-mash of things. To be fair, my weird mish-mash works for a lot of people, but if you’re looking for an illustrator specifically, you probably don’t care about my youtube videos or random nonsense, you just wanna see my illustrations straight away.

My portfolio can now be found at:

www.sarahbatesillustration.com

PS: This post needed an image so I’m using one of my favourite pieces from Inktober 2017. See all of my inktober illustrations (and buy a poster, if you want) over here.

 

New: Colouring pages

Other the past week I’ve been creating some fantastic colouring pages to sell over in the new section on my online shop. I’m really pleased with how they’ve come out and the quality is much improved from my last colouring book. Because of that, I’ve decided to start work on my SECOND colouring book, which I’m aiming to be ready for February 2018 😄

Until then, go check out the colouring pages that are available to download! 

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