Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Curly Hair, Swedish and Finishing a Graphic Novel

Swedish flag with Badin and the Secret of the Saami
Although I was oblivious to it as a small child, my Swedish-American mother endured this curious statement from other white people from time to time: "Where did your boy get that curly hair?" they would ask. 
"From his father!" she quipped with guarded annoyance. "Where else!?"

You see, no matter where I live, or who I am, I never really "fit in." The only way I accomplished such a status was when I accepted my Blackness and made a place for myself. Then I knew I could contribute to the society and be a part of making it better. Denying it because I was light skinned and could "pass" compared to my darker-skinned fellow humans never helped.

So when I wrote Badin and the Secret of the Saami, I could easily relate to the little African boy who grew up to become the famous African diasporan of Scandinavia. I did not need to put myself in his shoes. I WAS in his shoes. Like him, I struggled with racism and identity. Like him, I had a caring white mother who made sure I could have any amount of education and pursue all interests that I desired.

But I always knew I had to do something to help people of African descent feel good about themselves to take their place as contributors to their nations and communities.

With Badin and the Secret of the Saami, I want to show that not only should Blacks and Indigenous people feel good about their valuable history, but that ALL people can be inspired to make a better world and future for our children.

Please join me on this mission. Buy the Mini-Sagas, follow and read the character diaries. Two more Mini-sagas are on the way. New character diaries are uploaded every week. We have about a year until this graphic novel will be put on sale. I need your support by sharing, re-tweeting and spreading the word about this project.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

New Beginnings: Badin and the Secret of the Saami

The face of Badinsecret.com
Home page for BadinSecret.com

On this day of May 1, 2016, I am very excited to announce the official website for Badin and the Secret of the Saami. This is the main website for an historical fiction graphic novel about the Swedish Queen’s young adopted son, Badin, and his siblings in an adventure to save the future of humanity.

The BadinSecret.com website will feature the characters, information about the story, the real Badin and a storefront (Every graphic novel needs official tee shirts!)

The characters section lists the main characters, their basic attributes and links to their Twitter pages. Yes, that's right. Each of the main characters will be writing short journal entries from today until May 1, 2017, when I plan to have the graphic novel in your hands.

I encourage you to go there today and follow the characters that interest you the most. I know you will enjoy reading—and interacting with them—during their day-to-day lives. I have put alot of time into Swedish and Saami cultural and historical research and am looking forward to telling their stories. If you don't use Twitter, you can view their entries at the new Badin and the Secret of the Saami Facebook Page. Each of the six characters will get one day for entries. In the world of writing, this is called "Twitter Fiction." These entries will be completely free and accessible to all.

The first day of May is an important Swedish holiday that symbolizes new and exciting times. The dead of winter—and the old ways—melts away with the snow and is replaced by the fresh green new growth of life. Badin was a fresh new addition to the rigid and cold ways of the Swedish Royal Court. The Saami people are just as unique to Sweden, but with a deeper connection to the land that is and always was theirs. The synergy of the two will bring salvation to the Kingdom of Sweden and humanity.

Please take a few minutes to view this video I made on May 1st Eve in commemoration of the BadinSecret.com website. After watching, please rate it with a thumbs up and SHARE it. Liking videos and posts are appreciated. However, with a project of such significance, sharing the link and re-tweeting brings much more attention. Help me share this wonderful story about friendship, adventure and the great power of science and mythology in the wonderful land called Sweden.

If you are curious why I am so enthusiastic about Swedish history, these videos about my trip to Sweden for Allt För Sverige will be quite informative!

Characters Twitter diaries links: http://bit.ly/1rJ9Pow
Badin and the Secret of the Saami Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/badinsecret/
Badin and the Secret of the Saami Official Website: http://www.badinsecret.com/

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Big Announcement May 1, 2016 for Badin and the Secret of the Saami

Screenshot from Badin and the Secret of the Saami
Strange, but true!
I have bigger plans than I originally imagined for Badin and the Secret of the Saami. As I have been finishing up the final artwork, two Mini-Saga editions have been published and efforts to promote it have constantly been refined.

The ultimate plan has been put on paper and will be revealed on May 1, 2016. With this plan, I hope to make this graphic novel project the most memorable and enjoyable experience for all ages.

Stay tuned here or on Twitter and Facebook as the day approaches. You can use the search hashtag #BadinSecret as well.

The picture at left is a screen shot of the pencil and inking process for a pair of panels in Act 2 of Badin and the Secret of the Saami.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

New promotion sketches for Badin and the Secret of the Saami

Star players in Badin and the Secret of the Saami

I have written before that Badin and the Secret of the Saami is the greatest endeavor I have taken upon myself in my entire life. 

Compounded with somewhat crippling financial and personal setbacks, this is the worst time to be working on a project for no pay. Nonetheless, I believe sacrifices must be made in order to work for a bigger cause than myself. Conversely, with great sacrifice and suffering comes strength of character and greater resilience.

If I can die knowing that someone who read the Graphic Novel or the Mini-Sagas gains a new or greater respect for Sweden, the immigrants and Africans like Badin who have contributed to its culture and the indigenous Saami people who live there, I will know that my sacrifice was worth it.

The image above are six digital sketches for all of the headline characters (I'm leaving the villain out for now):

Anna Olsdotter: Peasant girl
Badin: The star of the show
Gaaktu: Brave leader of a South Saami community
Gustav III: Crown Prince of Sweden
Queen Lovisa Ulrika: Matriarch of Sweden
Sofia Albertina: Young Princess of Sweden

If you have been following my progress since last year you will notice the addition of a new face: Anna Olsdotter. She is a very special character for the story and for my own personal (secret) reason. The final inked and colored versions of which will be used for a major marketing push that I plan to reveal on May 1, 2016. I am confident that this new push will help the graphic novel stand out amongst its peers by endearing new and current followers to the above characters.

Since I have no money to spend on advertising I will need to rely on my own efforts by any means necessary, readers, friends and family to spread the word. We have postcards, this blog, a Facebook fan page and a Twitter hastag #BadinSecret. However, that is not enough. Stick around until May 1st and see.


Saturday, April 2, 2016

Traveler - The Second Minisaga for Badin and the Secret of the Saami

Traveler is the second puzzle piece for a complex and wonderful story about a Swedish man of African descent. I am very excited and I want you to buy it now. You will be moved.

This is the first of its kind in historical fiction: A combination of sequential art and short story prose with a deep educational component.

Traveler introduces a famous 10th century Arab explorer with a new twist. What would an Arab explorer be doing in Sweden and what connection could it possibly have to Badin in the 18th century or the Saami people? Read the Traveler to find out.

This mini-saga is exclusive and not included in the upcoming graphic novel.

For some behind-the-scenes video of the production of artwork in Traveler, watch these videos from the Black Rhino Illustration YouTube Channel:

Friday, March 25, 2016

Literary Agent Rejections for Badin and the Secret of the Saami

After completing the final art for Act 1 of Badin and the Secret of the Saami, I embarked on an 8 hour binge of combing the internet for literary agents who are looking for graphic novel writers. I narrowed it down to 14. I methodically submitted requests for representation and prayed for the best.

As of today—a week later—about half declined to assist me in finding a publisher. The replies were standard and cordial. I am a little disappointed. However, my story is controversial and the artwork is not fancy—and in some cases unorthodox. Also, it about Swedes, Saami people and an African child. Many Americans don't consider that interesting (unfortunately).

However, I will keep trying as I work. Regardless, I plan to finish three more mini-sagas (buy Vaarvaa at Lulu today!) and the graphic novel this year. If no one wants to represent me, I will represent myself. I am used to self-publishing and I have no fears about knocking on doors and asking people and businesses to carry it.

At left is an ink-only abstract from the upcoming Mini-Saga "The Traveler." I created it with Clip Studio Paint. This one will be 2 pages of art and about 3 pages of text. I'm almost done with it. I am looking for an April release. It is heavy! Those who buy it will be in for a treat and a big shocker when they read the graphic novel. The Mini-sagas are not included in the graphic novel. So if you think you can "wait it out" I would not recommend it. I do plan a special edition graphic novel that will include the, but that may not be finished until late 2018. The special edition will contain concept art, related articles and art directors notes.

As I grow with the creation of the graphic novel's Act 2, 3 and 4, I have realized that this story is a powerful weapon against xenophobia, racism and—to a small, but significant degree—Islamophobia. I need your support to help me fight the rising tide of hatred that is growing in the United States and Europe for immigrants. We are in a time of great danger. Please buy, read and invite others to buy and read Vaarvaa, the upcoming mini-sagas and the graphic novel. Use the posters and avatars. Let's get the word out now!

Thank you for your support.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Act I Final Art Complete for Badin and the Secret of the Saami

Abstract from Act 1
A year ago today I began preparation for a Kickstarter campaign to fund the translation of Gustaf Adolph Badin's diary. Thanks to generous friends and family, it was very successful and now the real Badin's diary is free for the entire English speaking world.

Also as of today, I can proudly announce that the first of four Acts for Badin and the Secret of the Saami is complete! Complete as in all ink, color and lettering (the hardest part), that is. There is still some more editing of text and artwork required. Some things I am not happy with and must leave along until I complete the entire graphic novel. Nonetheless, it is ready to start "shopping" around for a literary agent. Even if I do not snag an agent, I will not let that stop me from self-publishing. However, if I do, it might mean I can be more financially secure as I proceed over the next few months.

All of the main characters—including villains—have been introduced. They live my mind and to see them finished on paper is truly inspiring. Speaking of inspiration, I have been sending the art to a select few around the world. One of them is a man named Donald Clayborn. He spent many, many years in Sweden and Denmark gathering information about Badin in the 1980's. Needless to say, he has been a crucial source for my research of Badin, Queen Mother Lovisa Ulrika and King Gustav III.  Mr. Clayborn has told me that what he sees me doing makes him proud. That is something I do not take lightly because Mr. Clayborn is a serious no-nonsense man. I hope to write more about him in later posts.

I do not like complacency. So I am not taking a break from my work (with the exception of writing this blog entry). Today, I created the page files for Act 2 and built the layout for Mini-Saga #2: Ahmed. Hopefully, you have purchased Mini-Saga #1: Vaarvaa. If not, please do so. You will not regret it!

My plans are to release four Mini-Sagas leading up to the graphic novel. Some people are under the impression that the Mini-Sagas are samples of the graphic novel. They are exclusive PDF stories that will not be in the graphic novel. However, in another year or two I plan to create a special edition which will include them (along with all kinds of extras such as Art Director's notes to explain all the pages and the symbolism behind their composition). Before that I still will need to release the graphic novel in Swedish, Sámi and French. So don't wait.

The Mini-Sagas have been written and will be a unique blend of sequential art and text. As with Vaarvaa, there will be an educational component. Here's a list of the Mini-Saga titles (subject to change):

#1 Vaarvaa (released)
#2 Traveler (script and artwork complete; still editing)
#3 Kraken (script and artwork complete; still editing)
#4 The Mirror (script complete)

On the marketing front, I have established a Twitter hashtag #BadinSecret. I'm still new to this realm of advertising. So please feel free to offer any suggestions. I am experimenting with it for my children's books and it seems to be generating more buzz.