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Melinda Steffen
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87 followers
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Melinda's posts

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Tomorrow I'm exhibiting in Pete's Mini Zine Fest! A celebration of little works of joy: zines! Though zines (short for magazines, of the indie kind) traditionally consist of written works, cartoonists are gradually taking over zine fests :)

Saturday 7/30 from 2-7pm at Pete's Candy Store (the "store" is actually a bar... there is no candy, but it used to be a candy store) 709 Lorimer Sr, Brooklyn NY 11211. Take the L to Lorimer or G to Metropolitan Ave. See you there!
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Last week I got to experience and exhibit at Comic-Con International in San Diego!! (more on that in the next blog) and I realized I need to prepare for Boston Comic Con in 2 weeks.  Do I even still live in New York?
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I met Tim Young this past MoCCA Fest, and he not only interviewed me at the show, but also did an in-depth review of my comic "Apartment Hunt" for his "Deconstructing Comics Podcast!" http://deconstructingcomics.com/?p=5334

Tim lives in Japan, so now some people in Japan know about my comics! It's a fair and balanced review, and I think it comes out slightly on the positive side, which is great considering Tim and his friend were pretty harsh on the first 2 comics! They start talking about mine at 22:45.

Tim and his friend were very spot-on in communicating visual details in words. I appreciate that Tim liked my clear panels and style! I totally understand about getting confused towards the end, and maybe I could have explained the 3rd girl differently. Yes, I could have made a 24-page comic going into every detail of the hunt, but that seemed boring to me, and I think the shortness better conveys the urgency of finding an apartment in NYC. But I'm super glad they both wanted MORE story! The sequel will have slightly more pages, though not as many as 24, but this review is great to think about while making it!

Ah, they caught me on the size! I was hoping people wouldn't notice it... Originally, "Apartment Hunt" was supposed to be a quarter page in size, like my other mini comics (The Misfortune Cookie, The Lucky Penny, etc) that are drawn at 8.5x11 size to scale down to 1/4 size. But when printed, the text was just too small, so I printed at half page size, which lead to that white space on the top and bottom. Although for the sequel, I'll have to make it the same "wrong" size to match the first story. To answer their question, I printed it at Staples. I never photocopy my work, as the quality wouldn't be as sharp!

Thanks again, Tim, and everyone please check out the Deconstructing Comics Podcast!
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The post-vacation-blues are a real thing.
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I replaced my computer's RAM (random access memory) all by myself with success!! It's a big step for me - at first just the thought of opening my computer's insides was scary. Thanks to talking with the Mac Doctors at the Apple store, watching lots of YouTube videos about it, reading some articles, and asking tips from technology-inclined friends on Facebook, I found the process pretty easy to do once I got started! Knowledge is power!! I wouldn't recommend doing this if you're not prepared though. The biggest thing to watch out for is the electrostatic thing, which sounds scary! No, you will not be electrocuted, you just need to touch something metal to discharge any static electricity. Honestly, the hardest part of the process was getting the new RAM out of the damn clam shell packaging!
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This is a comic I've been working on for awhile with writer Patrick McEvoy - called "Integration"!  I met Patrick at a small convention at Lovecraft Bar months ago, and he liked my work and sent me some scripts to look over.  (It's good to exhibit at conventions large and small because really, you could pick up freelance work anywhere!)  It's great that I had a lot of freedom with the drawings - from the green mohawk to the disco ball stoplight (of course stoplights will look different in the future... so why NOT a disco ball?)  I love futuristic themed stories - they're so fun to draw!  Glad this comic is complete and seeing the light of day - as freelancers know, projects without solid deadlines are always the ones to be pushed back when other hard deadlines loom.  But I've been improving my time management skills and was able to fit this between other projects whenever possible.
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Some of you may have seen the weekly No Tears:  Life With FD comics I create and share on Facebook.  FD stands for Familial Dysautonomia, a very rare disease.  The guy who writes the scripts for the comics, David Brenner, the FD Foundation's executive director, has worked there for a whole decade!  Some people from the foundation reached out to me and we came up with the idea to make him a custom comic as a special honorary gift!  They wanted to depict David as a Navy Seal, the most specially trained, technology savvy, and elite fighters of the USA.  I definitely listened to the In the Navy song a lot while working on this :)  (Can anyone find the Beatles Yellow Submarine "Easter Egg" I placed in there?)  I made the comic in a record time of 8 days, along with my teaching job and other duties.  I presented the comic at last Sunday's FD Day, their annual conference.  Everyone loved it!

Usually I draw custom comics for couples, as you can see from the custom comics section on my site.  It's a great way to tell the story of how the couple met, got engaged, and so on!  But I think the honorary custom comics are extra special.  Sometimes the couples comics are just for 2 people, unless they're displayed at a wedding reception.  But the honorary comics can be displayed in the office and seen by everyone!  It's kind of like a visual resume - if you're new to the company, or not as familiar with the honoree's day-to-day work, you can tell what a hard worker and amazing role model the person is in the comic!
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There I was last Saturday night, working on some sketches for a client in Photoshop, when suddenly the screen went spaZoid, then black.  I remained calm.  But then I started to worry when my computer wouldn't restart!  I immediately made a Genius Bar appointment for the next day at the 24-hour Apple store (yes, we have one of those in NYC :)

Basically it was a problem with the laptop's logic board, and apparently was a defect of some early 2011 computers, because they fixed it for free!  Thank God, because it would have been like $600 otherwise, and this computer is 5 years old, so I'd probably only get another year out of it anyway.

Luckily, I wasn't too worried about data loss because I back up via Crash Plan!!  It's basically cloud backup.  At first, when my external hard drive crashed a few years ago, the concept of backing up to some unknown location was scary to me, but it actually works out very well!  Before, with my external HD, I'd only backup at the end of the day (or every few days), but this way I backup continuously.  I had to redo some stuff on the one file I was working on at the time of the crash, but all other files I'd worked on that day were fine.  But seriously, if I didn't have the comfort of cloud backup, this situation could have been A TOTAL DISASTER.

But the Mac doctors had to take my computer away to do some operations for a few days.  I had separation anxiety, as I'm protective of my laptop to a ridiculous degree.  They said it could take 5 business days, but I insisted it had to be fixed by Thursday, as I have a weekly deadline (the No Tears: Life With FD comic!  Colored digitally in Photoshop).  Of course, there is never a good time for a crash to happen, but when an artist relies heavily on their computer to get work done for many clients, it's a tough situation!  I was very adamant about this, and the Mac doctors were very understanding.  I did have some physical drawings for a custom comic that needed to be done in the meantime though, so I was still productive.  Luckily, they fixed my Mac 2 days early!  The squeaky wheel gets the grease!

And so far all files and programs are OK and running smoothly (knock on wood).  The Mac doctors didn't have to wipe my drive, so I didn't even need to spend the time re-uploading everything from Crash Plan and was able to jump right back into work!  Given everything that happened, with so many points at which things could take a turn for the worse, this situation turned out pretty damn good! 
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