Hi everyone! I thought I’d start a little blog about NFTY Pups and my creative process. My background is primarily in comics and illustration (both hand-drawn and digital), but I’ve always been fascinated by new technology and how it impacts art and vice versa.
NFTs have been around for a while, but it’s only recently that they’ve become more mainstream, thanks to some high profile purchases (Beeple, anyone?) and Christie’s auction house “legitimizing” NFTs in general.
Like many people, my first reaction to this news was wonderment, and a bit of confusion. Why would anyone pay that much to own something digital that they could just download off the internet for free?
I began researching NFTs, seeking to understand them and their appeal. At some point I had a sort of light-bulb moment. I finally got it. And I thought it was pretty genius.
When I got my first job working on the Sabrina the Teenage Witch series for Archie comics back in the early 2000s, things were still pretty analog. I created each page on real paper using real pencils, and mailed them to the inker who would then ink them by hand with a brush. Every few months Archie would send back a stack of my original pages to me to keep. I’d take these pages to comic conventions and sell them to collectors and fans – it was a nice way to make some extra money!
Years later, when I picked up some other comics work for Dark Horse, everything had switched to digital. Now I penciled and inked my pages in Clip Studio Paint, colored them in Photoshop, and lettered them in Illustrator. I copied them over to Dropbox and sent my editor a link to download them. It definitely made the process more efficient, but the downside was I no longer had physical pages to sell. The same was true for many comic artists who switched from selling original pages to selling prints and sketches at comic conventions. I, myself, couldn’t sell as many prints as I did pages – and each print alone was worth far less than an original page. Other than doing on-demand sketches, I wasn’t making much money at cons, and I eventually stopped paying for tables altogether.
With NFTs I finally see a way for digital comic artists and illustrators to monetize their work in a way that wasn’t possible before. I think it’s really exciting.
So you might be wondering why I’m not selling my own digital comic pages as NFTs right now. The main reason is this whole thing is still new, and I’m unsure of the legality of selling digital pages made under work-for-hire contracts with characters I don’t own the rights to. I will probably sell some of my creator-owned illustrations or web-comic art at some point. But mostly, right now I’m excited about creating something completely new, and that’s NFTY Pups.
I got the idea while learning about NFTs and what made them special. I saw an article describe non-fungible tokens in this way: A bit coin is a token that is identical to any other bit coin. You and I could exchange two bit coins and they would be exactly alike. But a non-fungible token is like a pet dog. You and I might both own a dog, but they’re two unique animals. We couldn’t just switch one for the other.
I had the idea to create a world of unique and individual pups that could be “adopted” by collectors. As a writer, I wanted to expand on this idea further and create a story for each dog that takes place in the same world, Nftytopia. It’s definitely influenced by my childhood love of NeoPets and videogames with fantastical self-contained worlds.
Each story will be standalone, but will connect to the others in subtle ways, eventually revealing an overall arc.
I’ve recently launched my first pup, Momo the corgi. Her story is called “Momo and the Magic Pearl”, about a mysterious discovery she makes while digging for treasures on her beach. I collaborated with musician Shakira Knightley who created a unique song to go with her animation. You can listen to and view Momo on Rarible now!
I have more exciting things planned, so I hope you’ll stick with me as this world continues to grow!