We Are Seven is a one-woman art studio currently producing books, comics, and graphic novels. This blog chronicles my progress.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Pleiades available on Amazon

More good news! In addition to being available through Lulu (the book's printing company), Pleiades is also available through Amazon.

Kickstarter backers, you'll still get your copy before anyone else. The bulk print order has already been shipped from Lulu and should be here in approximately two more days. Once they arrive here, they'll promptly be autographed and shipped out to you. I'll also be sending out prints of the book's illustrations, which sadly could not be incorporated into the book's final revision.

Pleiades is also available as an eBook through Smashwords.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

The book is here, and it's ready to print.

I can barely believe I'm writing this, but I picked the most recent copy of Pleiades up from the Post Office yesterday, and it looks like we're finally ready to go. I couldn't even open it at first, and made my boyfriend look it over for mistakes before I could.

Much-beloved backers, you can now look forward to receiving one relatively soon. The bulk order has been placed and should be shipped within the week. Once they get to me, I'll send them out immediately.

Non-backers, you can buy it directly from Lulu.com or download it from Smashwords.

Fingers crossed everything runs smoothly from here out...

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Pleiades: Seven Stories of Unhurried Solitude

Here are the posts about the creation of the short story collection Pleiades. The list starts with the oldest and ends with the newest post.

For the book's website, please visit pleiades.weareseven.com.

Emmy: Self-Titled

Below are the blog posts about the creation of the ball-jointed doll web comic, Emmy Self-Titled. The list descends from oldest to newest post.

Two New Polymer Bodies

Continuing from Two New Faces

 With new faces must come new bodies, right?

The crucial parts of a ball-jointed doll are the joints. For mine, I've been using wood beads. To accommodate the movement of the elastic through the joint, I've widened the bead holes into slits using a small bow saw.

 Initially, I made a mold from one of these modified beads, and cast a few resin replicas, but I ultimately couldn't justify the extra time, work, and resources when wood joints work just as well.

For the bodies, I've been using Super Sculpey. On these arms and legs (as well as Morgan's torso), however, some quickly-made terra cotta sculpey will do. At least, for the moment.

And here are the crudely-hewn but very useful new bodies for Saterlee and Morgan. Sans hands.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Pleiades Update: May 11, 2013

It's now five months after I had originally hoped to have Pleiades released to the public in printed form. I haven't offered my backers many updates during these past five months, as I've felt very guilty about not being able to finish this project faster. But I don't want you to think that it hasn't been on my mind every single day.

Despite what I like to believe, learning really isn't always fun. Discovering new things without the bother of experimenting and getting things wrong is exhilarating, but the more common way of trial and error sometimes sucks. Often sucks, in fact. I've been so frustrated by this entire process sometimes, and with my own inability to reasonably estimate the amount of time something will take, that there have been many times when I sincerely wished I'd never started any of it.

Frustrated Lilli: "This isn't worth it. It's not even a very good book. It's just a sucky first attempt at writing a 'real' book, and I wish I hadn't wasted my time and money and so many waking hours on it."

But, overall, that's not how I really feel.

Calm Lilli: "Everyone's got to start somewhere, and I think it's not a bad first book at all. I wish it hadn't taken so long, and I wish I knew everything at the outset that I know now, but if I hadn't taken this first step, I'd never be able to take a second."

During this past almost-year, I've developed a mental list of things that I've learned this time around that will make next time a lot easier.

Things that would have made self publishing faster and easier:

1. Owning the newest, non-trial version of MS Word.
My love and appreciation for Open Office has definitely waned during the self-publishing process. It's a sad truth, but the world runs on Word, and those evil masterminds behind it will find ways to make even the most compatible alternative software incompatible with any publishing platform that utilizes Word. Half a millimeter's difference in formatting can utterly destroy all you've worked for. It's just not worth it. Next time, I'm caving and buying that hateful program. And all its updates.

2. Owning the newest, most expensive non-trial version of Adobe.
Even more annoying than not owning MS Word was the fact that I had only the cute little free Adobe Reader on my computer. That meant that every single time I needed to update the master file, I had to drive across town to the college library, get logged in, make a twenty-second change in Word (which I'd then convert to a text-embedded PDF), and then go back home. I couldn't even use the public library, because it had the previous version of Word installed on its computers, and would therefore totally screw up my entire file if I dared to save even the slightest change.
I can honestly say that the great majority of extra time spent on this project was due almost entirely to not having these two programs (or the money to buy them). Next time, I will simply have to save up and install them both on my computer.

But now onto the update part of this update.

It's with great disappointment I inform you all that the illustrations will not be making it into the final version of Pleiades. You may recall that my sweetheart and I had a disagreement about including them. I was worried that the final quality wasn't good enough, and he argued that the book would be of lesser quality without them than it would with them. He told me not to let "perfection be the enemy of good," and I eventually sided with him.

I added the ISBN to the book, making it officially a Real Book, and order one (hopefully) last preview copy to make sure it all looked good. It did... except for the images. This time, it wasn't a very slightly fuzzed quality to my darling illustrations that caught my attention. It was an undeniably craptastic, 50-times-through-the-copier quality that led me to literally throw the copy across the room and against a wall. Really, guys, they were just that atrocious. Since I had changed nothing about the images, I could only conclude that including illustrations in the text of a novel was playing publisher's roulette with image quality. I was not willing to risk getting 50 books with hideously rendered illustrations and 50 with nicely reprinted illustrations. It was with a heavy heart (and another trip out to the college library) that I removed them completely.

I plan to include separate prints of the illustrations in the books sent to the backers.

So, at last, another test copy is on its way. I pray this one doesn't suck, so I can finally get these books out into the world.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

It has arrived.

Yes, after a long wait, Pleiades has arrived.

I was immediately disappointed to see that it needed another correction.

I was also so displeased with the quality of one of the illustrations, that I intended to remove both of them. My editor disagreed with me on this one, and we debated on it for a while. I acknowledge that I might have a more critical eye than anyone reading it, but said that I'd never be able to rest easy knowing that 'poor quality' image was included. I argued that it didn't look like something that would come from a proper publisher (though in hindsight, I take that back). Finally he said, "don't let perfection be the enemy of good."
He really liked the illustrations, and thought I'd be diminishing the quality of the book by removing them, not improving it.

So I conceded, provided I could put a frame around the image to seperate the illustration's "white" background from the white of the page.

So here's hoping the next "final test" will be the last one, and that it won't take 52 days to get here.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Two New Faces

I've got two newly finished heads to show you, from the BJD webcomic Emmy: Self-Titled.

The two most major characters besides Emmy herself: Dr. Mike Saterlee and Morgan.
Morgan, profile

They've got finished bodies (except for Saterlee's feet...) too. All that remains is to put some paint and clothes on them and finish the set, and I'll have another few pages to put up on the web SOON.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

A delay in Pleiades

Well, as those of you following the Facebook or Kickstarter pages already know, Pleiades has been on hold pending the arrival of the final proof in the mail. Yesterday I emailed Lulu (they request you wait up to six weeks before reporting an error) and let the know I hadn't yet received it. This morning I received an email apologizing for the wait and informing me that they were sending out a new copy today.
Finally... I'm really looking forward to being able to send this out! Hopefully it won't take more than another week.
Until then... we wait.

But in the meantime, it's time to continue work on Emmy.

I'm living in my parents' basement temporarily (so long to my lovely little house...), and have my workspace set up again. I want to complain about how hard it is to keep things up to date when I'm moving around like this, but I know the story of Lotte Reiniger, who managed to produce 12 of her revolutionary stop-motion paper puppet films in 11 years while on the run from the Nazis. So I can't whine. It's actually rather inspiring.

Thank you for staying tuned. I promise I'll have a worthy update for you very soon. I'm dying to show you the comic... it's going to be so cool (if I say so myself).