The Bog Road Inspirations.

County Laois was what inspired me to create The Bog Road. I lived in Portarlington for nearly 4 years and loved to explore the surrounding areas. When writing the book I got such a thrill from creating strange events taking place around many famous locations in Laois. Below are just three pages from the book showing Lea Castle, The Portarlington ‘Life’ Sculpture and the amazing Slieve Bloom/Stoney Man. There are many more places yet to explore throughout the book, but for now I hope this will wet peoples appetites! The Bog Road launches at Celtic Con 2018 in Portlaoise on the 23rd/24th June.

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The Bog Road goes ‘To Print’!

After nearly 4 years of working on The Bog Road the printers received the final proof from me today and I can say my work is now complete. I guess it’s time for a different type of work, the promotion. First stop for the book is Celtic Con which is kicking off in Portlaoise on the 23rd of June. I’m a little nervous that the prints will not be ready for the date but the printers sound very confident. For me I definitely want to launch the book in Portlaoise considering the origins of The Bog Road. It’s a book about Laois and its beautiful land so if the Comic Book Gods are shining down then the midlands will get first look! Hopefully they enjoy it…

The last part of getting the book to print was definitely the most challenging. From learning about ISBN barcodes and the correct format that printers want their PDF was challenging but a great learning experience. Making multiple changes and re-reading was tough and I was definitely happy to have a patient and professional Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou on board doing an amazing job on the letters. He brought so much to that area of the comicbook medium that I never considered. I think everyone will get a kick out of what Hass has done, some very creative stuff happening!

During the production I lost the talents of Chris O’Halloran. When it came down to completing the book we simply hadn’t got the budget to pay a man who is a rising star and working at the top of the industry. However after some stressful searching I found George Patrick Gama online who really saved me. His work is amazing and he moved on from where Chris had started and done an incredible job. Without Georges speed and punctuality the book would not be appearing at Celtic Con. I couldn’t be happier with the work, truly excellent stuff. Thank you George!

For the book there are many plans, the midlands launch at Celtic Con should only be the start. I will be at Dublin Comic Con with Atomic Diner and there will be a launch in a Dublin store, where exactly is yet to be confirmed.  There are many events happening around Ireland these days so I’ll have to start getting proactive and attend as many events as possible.

So if anyone interested in The Bog Road or my work is reading this then I hope to see you out there in the real world soon!

The Bog Road – Publisher and Graphic Novel Back Matter

When I got close to finishing my inked pages on The Bog Road I started to look around for a publisher. From the beginning I had an offer to print it through Atomic Diner Press which is owned and run by Rob Curley. Rob also co-owns 3 comic book stores in Ireland and has been a massive contributor to the scene in Ireland for a long time. So to have that backing was a great feeling. I had worked with him in the past also so this offer was very tempting for many reasons but I did want to send out submissions and see if I had other options. To be completely honest I didn’t get any large publishers interested which was humbling but not completely surprising. I guess for right now I am a bit of an unknown creator with very little social media presence. But hopefully this book and more online work like The Shadow Realm will help me reach more people. I knew there were other publishing avenues that I hadn’t explored but ultimately this books is an Irish Comic and for me to be published with Atomic Diner was an excellent platform considering their reach. Also as a creator pushing things online can result in sales which takes time out to ship the books.  So it’s nice to know that there are people in Subcity better suited to ship product and leave me to the creative work. After sitting down with Rob and agreeing a deal I’m really happy with where the book is launching from and am pretty excited to be closing in on the finish line.

While i’m waiting for the colourist to finish the internal pages, I have been working on some back matter which I have shared below. These are characters from the book. I don’t want to go into detail of who they are as it’s more fun to know them as they appear in the story. Enjoy!

 

 

Obviously Fight Talk Interview and T-Shirt Design

After an amazing response from The Shadow Realm I was invited onto Obviously Fight Talk podcast to chat more about the comic. This was a huge honour for me as the show was on its 100th episode. As an extra buzz I got to talk with two people who were very passionate about MMA and genuinely interested in a comicbook about their sport. I felt humbled to have someone outside my friends and family show an interest in the story and it was a lot fun being interviewed. But how I got onto the show in the first place was a little serendipitous. One of the hosts Noel O’Keeffe who is an amazing MMA ring announcer as well as podcaster knows me through other channels outside MMA. His mother and my mother are sisters! So before the mini comic landed on Reddit and blew up I was putting some previews on Instagram. Noel was messaging me about a collaboration on an MMA T-shirt design that Robert and him were planning. My faith in how well The Shadow Realm would be received was lifted by Noel, who seemed more convinced than me that fans would really enjoy it. As far as timing goes the whole lot just fit together nicely. They say luck is when hard work and opportunity meet and I guess in this case that would be true. As regards the T-Shirt concept and working on it I can say that comics can be grueling work so it’s nice to take a break and do a once off image, especially one that had a great idea behind it. I’ve shared it below in all its glory, if you want to pick one up then keep tabs on Obviously Fight Talk announcements. Once again I’m blown away by the power of comics to reach out and bring people together. The whole experience has given me new ideas and plans to try and capture the imagination of non-comicbook people, watch this space…

 

Two Comics Vs each other in Website Hits

So just by sheer timing I released 2 stories online in January. The first was the preview to The Bog Road on the 5th of Jan on reddit/r/ireland. The second was The Shadow Realm on the 17th. I found Reddit is amazing for getting content into the hands of interested people. The Bog Road gave me over 1000 hits on the day I launched the preview with it clocking up over 100 retweets on Twitter, a massive success personally. However I was shocked with the reception that The Shadow Realm got after posting it on Reddit/r/mma. On that day I posted it got over 20,000 hits, truely phenomonal. I guess I learned that people who would traditionally not read comics suddenly found an appetite when the subject matter was something they had a big interest in. I can’t thank them enough for the support as it got my story into the hands of so many people. I guess if your story finds the right audience then you’re in for a fun ride! See stats comparison from my barrykeegan.com.

Also there was some great media attention and I thought this article was brilliant on Professional Fighter League. Also another article on Independent.ie. The icing on the cake however was a mention of The Shadow Relam on The MMA Hour found here.(35:48) This is such a massive popular podcast so it put a big smile on my face.

When I get the chance I will post some Bog Road progress and a new project I’m starting…

The Shadow Realm and Steemit

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I decided to try and host The Shadow Realm mini comicbook on Steemit. Still trying to get what the site is all about but from what I understand you can make some money in the form of crypto currency when other Steemit users like and share your blog posts. Like most artists posting work online we are all looking for places to make some money from the hours we put into the work. Appreciation is amazing but getting a few quid would be nice too! I will link my Steemit blog off all other social media and see how it goes.

As regards The Shadow Realm. I’m pretty excited to put it online, it’s a small story with the aim to hopefully get some shares and bring in a few more to follow my work. The story itself is more aimed at MMA fans and less so towards hardcore comicbook lovers, I think you need to know MMA to enjoy the story, will be interesting to see how it is received.

iNOG – A Small Art Project

Just sharing a small bit of artwork I created with iNOG (Irish Network Operators Group). For my day job I work as a Network Engineer. It was a career I pursued after deciding that I needed a second stream of income, the bills had to be paid! I started going to iNOG to network with my peers and learn as much as possible from these clever people who had been working in tech a lot longer than me. Somewhere along the line word got out that I was handy with visuals and the two founders Donal and Cristian asked if I would work with them to create a logo that represented the community. So below is the Logo with the 3 characters who form up elements of Network Engineering. Bash Bunny, Fiber Fox and the iNOG Automation Robot. When the logo was launched at iNOG::C I was asked to present at Amazon’s office in Dublin which can be seen here. Overall I have to say this whole adventure working with the iNOG founders was awesome and looking back I’m really happy with the results and friends made along the way.

Twitter Came Through

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In a previous post I was talking about how Twitter hadn’t served me too well with sharing The Bog Road preview, but I definitely spoke too soon. This whole “online presence” is a learning experience and overnight my tweet got 33 re-tweet’s, for me that is a phenomenal reaction. Now I have to say I believe some people came over from Reddit and re-tweeted which was Awesome. Reddit still leading the charge as a powerful place to engage with people you’ve never met and share your work. Definitely a great start to begin putting The Bog Road into peoples hearts and minds.

Releasing The Bog Road previews on social media.

I’ve been holding onto this work for a long time but with a day off today I have been posting and sharing the preview everywhere I can think of. There is so much work involved in the marketing and or spreading awareness. I have a big respect for all you marketing people now 🙂

Facebook platform is going great which is a lot of family and friends, kind of an easy enough place to share your work.

Twitter on the other had is so difficult, I find it impossible to get exposure there, must keep studying and find out the key to success.

Instagram I plan on going to there later which is a solid platform and you can get good exposure to people you don’t know.

However the winner for me as always is Reddit. I posted the link to The Bog Road preview earlier today on the Ireland sub-reddit and there has been a load of great feedback from strangers, exactly the people I think all creators want to reach. This worked great for my Shadow Realm teaser a while back and hasn’t failed me again. I drew in 7 new followers on twitter since posting who I think came from reddit. Would recommend this to all out there trying to share their stories, just be clever about the sub-reddit you target.