Don’t Piss Off Zac Efron

I spotted this ad in the paper yesterday. Looks like pretty standard “tug-at-the-heartstrings” fare, but this one quote stood out for me:

Maybe it’s the phrase, or maybe it’s the no-nonsense sans-serif typestyle, or maybe it’s the fact that they bolded “WILL MELT YOUR HEART” in all caps, but I just can’t help but read it as a threat.

No, Zac Efron, please noooooo!!!

“Tonoharu: Part Two” is DONE!

Progress Bar Key
Story/Artwork: The Story, Drawing, Inking, and Computer Work
Final Edits: Post-Production Edits
Incidentals: Designing the Cover, Preparing for Press, etc.

I’m please to announce that Tonoharu: Part Two is, for all intents and purposes, finally DONE! I’ll need to make little changes once I talk to the printer and find out the spine width and stuff (hence the 5% still missing from the Incidentals bar). But other than that, it’s all ready for release.

It feels weird that I don’t have to work on it anymore. Tonoharu: Part Two has become a part of my routine; for almost three years, I’ve worked on it daily, usually for hours at a stretch. It’d be like if someone told you that you had completed the task of “brushing your teeth”, and didn’t have to do it again for the rest of your life.

Now that Tonoharu: Part Two is all wrapped up, I’m going to ramp up pre-publication marketing, and start talking with printers. There are also a few other projects I’ve been meaning to get in some work on, which I’ll write about some other time. And then I can always get started on Tonoharu: Part Three (sigh).

Next week I’ll posting artwork from one of the book’s hardest-to-draw scenes. Stay tuned!

More about Tonoharu: Part Two can be found here:

Friendship Abroad

(Very Mild) Spoiler Alert: This entry discusses the story of Tonoharu: Part Two in abstract terms. Unless you’re really spoiler-adverse you should be fine; I won’t be going over specific plot points or anything. But if you’d rather not know the overall direction the story is going in, this entry would best be skipped.


One of my main objectives in creating Tonoharu is to paint a portrait of what it’s like to live in a foreign country for an extended period of time.

Several friends who read Tonoharu: Part One told me they had no idea I had such a terrible time in Japan. Actually I had a wonderful experience, but I can understand why they’d assume otherwise. The first book focuses almost exclusively on the loneliness and isolation that are a part of any prolonged stay in a foreign country. But this isn’t the entirety of the experience; in Tonoharu: Part Two, I try to show other facets of life abroad, with a particular focus on the relationships that develop.

In your home country, your pool of potential friends is almost unlimited. You can pick and choose who you spend time with based on compatibility and shared interests.

But in a foreign country, the language barrier prevents meaningful interaction with the vast majority of the population. In the rural areas of countries where English education is poor (such as the Japanese countryside, the setting of Tonoharu), your pool of potential friends can be in the single digits. You either spend time with whoever is around, or you do without human companionship.

If you absolutely can’t stand the people who make up your minuscule friend pool, this can suck. But just as often it can be a blessing in disguise. It forces you into the company of people you’d probably otherwise never socialize with, which allows you to see the world through the eyes of people whose interests, beliefs and outlooks are very different from your own. In this way, even spending time with other foreigners can be a horizon-broadening aspect of life abroad.

Tonoharu: Part Two will be coming out this November. For more information, visit:

Self-Publishing a Graphic Novel (in Eight Hard Steps) Parts 2 & 3

A couple weeks ago, I gave a presentation on self-publishing at the Loft Literary Center as a part of their “Graphic Novel & Comic Writing & Illustrating Conference”.

Daily Cross Hatch reporter/cartoonist Sarah Morean recorded the whole thing, and will be posting it in segments on the Daily Cross Hatch website. Parts two and three are up now, so take a look:

[ Self-Publishing a Graphic Novel (in Eight Hard Steps) Parts 2&3/8 ]

Previous installment: [ Self-Publishing a Graphic Novel (in Eight Hard Steps) Part 1/8 ]