My new mousepad arrived today (from Spreadshirt) and it looks awesome!

Mousepad

Mousepad

Sometimes, you just watch a movie and the first thing that comes to your mind is: “what the fuck am I watching..?”

Some movies can be really weird, crazy, funny and just absolutely mind-fucking. Get ready for a little list of some of the weirdest movies I have seen so far.

 

1. Hausu

Hausu (1977)

“Hausu” (House) is a Japanese movie from 1977, where a schoolgirl and her friends decide to travel to her aunt’s house in the country. It starts off like a cute movie where all the girls have simple names resembling their character (like “Mac” who is chubby and eats a lot of hamburgers, Kung Fu who is good at martial arts, and so on). Then it all gets weird quickly. The house is haunted by a ghost who likes to devour virgins, and the girls are killed in all kinds of hilarious ways (like eaten by a piano!). And of course, the famous scene of the white cat “playing” the piano. It’s hard to explain all the weirdness in this movie, you must kind of see it to believe it.

 

2. Benny’s Badekar

Benny's Badekar (1971)

“Benny’s Badekar” (Benny’s Bathtub) is a Danish animated movie from 1971. A young boy named Benny lives with his parents. His father is occupied working, and his mother is occupied with friends. Thus, Benny must use his imagination to have fun. After capturing a tadpole (with a totally weird scene with a bird watcher first!) he brings it back home and puts it in his bathtub, and then the tadpole takes him underwater to a magical land filled with dangerous sharks, a pesky octopus, a megalomanic crab and singing (nude!) mermaids. And of course, the singing skeleton pirates that brags about whose mother was worse. Fun!

 

3. Tetsuo

Tetsuo (1989)

More weirdness from Japan! This is the kind of movie where you don’t know what you’re watching during the entire movie, and don’t really know what the hell you just watched after it’s finished. The story goes like this: a businessman accidentally kills The Metal Fetishist, who gets his revenge by slowly turning the man into a grotesque hybrid of flesh and rusty metal. I really have no idea how to explain this movie any further…

 

4. Pink Flamingos

Pink Flamingos (1972)

This is a movie I’m never going to watch again, and it is truthfully the most disgusting movie I’ve ever seen. Story: Notorious Baltimore criminal and underground figure Divine (a transvestite) goes up against a sleazy married couple who make a passionate attempt to humiliate her and seize her tabloid-given title as “The Filthiest Person Alive”. If you’re into disgusting things like seeing people drooling all over a room, and someone literally eating a dog’s shit (just to mention a couple of things) then all right, go ahead. This movie is more disgusting than it’s weird, but it really belongs to this list anyway. Bon Appétit!

 

5. Taxidermia

Taxidermia (2006)

A weird little  Hungarian gem, “Taxidermia” is a movie from 2006 that is for the most part a black comedy with some really twisted scenes. The film is told by the perspective of three men from the same family: a soldier with a huge sexual need, an extremely obese man that loves to participiate in eating contests, and one who becomes a taxidermist. Weird and a bit artsy.

 

6. The Three Cabballeros

The Three Caballeros (1944)

When you think of “weird movies”, I suppose no one is really thinking about any Disney movie to pop up on such a list. But this one really belongs there. Made in 1944, in this live-action animated movie Disney goes far more surrealist than they ever did in “Alice In Wonderland”. Donald receives a present for his birthday, which starts off the movie with some animated shorts (which are cute and fun), then Panchito and José joins the party and everything goes wild with surrealistic surroundings and music. Whatever those animators were smoking during the production of this film, I think I’d like to try some of it…

 

7. Paperhouse

Paperhouse (1988)

“Paperhouse” is a drama/fantasy movie from 1988, where a young girl is bored from her real life and meets a boy in a surreal dream world, consisting mainly of a house she once drew in one of her school books. She soon discovers that there are links between her dreamworld and reality, and soon her dreams turns into nightmares. This movie has a really weird atmosphere and feeling to it, weird and surreal.

 

8. Begotten

Begotten (1990)

An horror/fantasy/art house flick from 1990, written and directed by E. Elias Merhige, who later made one of my favorite films, “Shadow of the Vampire”. “Begotten” is an alternative, gory retelling of Genesis, starting with a scene where God is sitting alone in a cabin, disemboweling himself to death with a razor blade. From his remains, Mother Earth emerges and uses God’s semen to make herself pregnant, wanders out in an obscure landscape where the pregnancy manifests itself to “Son of Earth”. The visual aspect of the movie is the most interesting. Filmed in grainy black and white with ambient noises makes this a haunting, nightmarish piece of art you’ve probably never seen the likes of before. Watch this in a dark room at three at night or in a heavy hangover to get the best viewing experience.

Reading books for inspiration and entertainment is fun. With audio-books available it also gives you a perfect way to listen while working (in my case, drawing, which is impossible to do if I hold a physical book in my hands). I mostly listen to music while I’m drawing, but sometimes it’s great to listen to a good horror story. Here’s some of my recommendations of horror audio-books available on Audible:

 

IT, by Stephen King

Stephen King's IT, horror audio book

With the new movie recently being released, it should be a no-brainer that the audio-book is among the top-sellers on audible. The book is almost 45 hours long, and if you’ve seen both movie versions you’ll notice similarities (and differences) from the book in both. I have to honestly admit that, while the book is good and all, I did feel it dragged things on a bit, but I guess this extreme attention to detail is also why you literally feel you’re in Derry while reading it. It does have a lot of other stuff going on that is not included in either of the movie versions. A bit too long in my opinion, but overall it was nice to finally hear the original story that inspired the movies I’ve seen.

 

A HEAD FULL OF GHOSTS, by Paul Tremblay

A head full of ghosts, horror audio book

Now this is a book that was spoken highly of by Stephen King himself on Twitter. While his praising of a book does not necessarily mean that I’ll like it, this one hit home with me. Story: a best-selling writer is interviewing Merry, a woman who grew up with an older sister who started showing signs of schizophrenia when she was 14 years old. As Merry is telling her tale, we hear the story about how her older sister descents into madness, and their previously quiet home turns into a house of horrors and unexpected events. Their parents eventually turns to a Catholic priest for help, as they start suspecting that she is possessed. While this is not a fast-paced horror story, it’s a chilling thriller that keeps you guessing what’s going on right up until the end.

 

BIRD BOX, by Josh Malerman

Bird box, horror audio book

This is another take on an apocalyptic world, and a really suspenseful one at that. It starts in Russia. People are going mad, killing others while killing themselves afterwards. Then, it spreads. No one knows why it happens, but what is known is that they all have seen something – something that made them so mad they could not survive. Soon, only a few survivors remain, where they must live with all the windows covered to avoid seeing whatever it is that would drive them mad. And whenever they need to go outside, they must do so blindfolded. And outside, in a world gone mad, who can be trusted?

 

A HOUSE BY THE SEA, by Ambrose Ibsen

A house by the sea, horror audio book

“A house by the sea” is a suspenseful supernatural horror story. It tells the story about Jack Ripley, a family man who’s become a famous writer. After his book became a best-seller, he and his family moves into an old house by the sea, only to find out that the seemingly idyllic new home is not at all what it first seemed. The house has been feared and avoided by the locals for decades, and there’s been disappearances and mysterious deaths on the grounds. Jack tries to scoff at the old tales and see it as silly superstition, only to find out that there really is a terrifying presence in the house that seeks to destroy both him and his family.

 

THE HOUSE, by M L Jones

The house, horror audio book

“The House” is a supernatural horror novel by M L Jones. A family moves to North Wales, hoping to start a new life in their new home next to the lake. The father, Doug, has his inner demons and an alcohol problem that he needs to control, and hopes that their seemingly peaceful new home will help him through this. However, soon upon arriving to the house, their youngest daughter Ivy finds a strange doll and is terrified by it, and claims the doll is saying terrible things to her. When Doug tries to get rid of the doll, he unknowingly unleashes something terrible, and when Ivy goes missing, Doug and his wife Joanne finds themselves battling an old evil they cannot fully understand.

 

SEED, by Ania Ahlborn

Seed, audio horror book

“Seed” is the story of Jack Winter, who once fled his childhood home when he was just a boy. Having experienced unspeakable horrors, he thought he had been able to leave the nightmare behind forever. However, many years later and with a family of his own, the horror from his past comes back to haunt him…and now, it wants his daughter…

 

HEX, by Thomas Olde Heuvelt

Hex, horror audio book

Whoever is born here is doomed to stay ’til death. Whoever settles never leaves. “Hex” is a mix of horror and dark fantasy. A place called Black Spring is haunted by a 17th century witch whose eyes and mouth are sewn shut. She appears everywhere, even inside people’s homes, at her own will. And everyone knows that the only thing they should do, is to ignore her and of course, never ever open her eyes. But one day, a group of teenage boys decide to break some of the town’s strict rules to keep the curse at bay…

 

TRANSMISSION, by Ambrose Ibsen

Transmission, audio horror book

A college student, Kenji, accidentally stumbles upon a strange recording in the background of a song. He can hear the faint voice of a woman uttering something. Curious about what this could mean, and if it is a hidden message of some kind, Kenji becomes obsessed with the recording and sets off to find answers. At the same time, a retired Vietnam vet, Reggie, has seen a woman in a video who keeps uttering…something. Soon, Kenji and Reggie meet during their search for answers. Who is that woman, and what is her secret message? The more they reveal about this woman, the more complicated and sinister her story turns out to be…

 

THE ELEMENTALS, by Michael McDowell

The Elementals, horror audio book

After experiencing a rather disturbing incident at a funeral, the McCray and Savage families look forward to have a nice summer break at Beldame, on Alabama’s Gulf Coast. Here, there are three Victorian houses by the beach, but only two of them are habitable, as the third one has mysteriously been partly buried beneath a huge dune of sand. However, even if it’s been uninhabitated for a long time, it’s not entirely empty…inside, something deadly is waiting…

 

THE DEMONIC, by Lee Mountford

The demonic, horror audio book

Danni is a woman with a husband and two children, living what seems like a normal life. However, when she was a young girl she ran away from her home and her abusive father, never to go back. Now, her father is dead, and she is forced to return home to attend his funeral and the property that she’s inherited. However, something else than bad memories is waiting for her in her old childhood home…

I originally planned to save this question for the next “Questions And Answers”, but instead I decided to make it a full post.

A question both Vanja and I have gotten more than just once, is “How did you meet, and how did you start working on collaboration projects”?

To make a rather long story short: Vanja and I met 10 years ago, on a comic convention in Norway. It was love at first sight, but we lived in different cities so the distance between us wasn’t exactly short, so we began to send each other e-mails. As things progressed and we found out we had a lot in common and fit really well together, we started a relationship and I moved to Stavanger, where she lives.

At first, we didn’t work on any collaboration projects, we had our own things but would often ask each other for advice, constructive critique and suggestions. However, it was when Vanja came with the idea for “Sally The Ghost Hunter” that the ball got rolling. She would write the manuscript for the stories, while I would sometimes come up with ideas for certain scenes or story ideas. After a few years of doing “Sally The Ghost Hunter”, Vanja also had the idea for “Bella Mortis Presents” , which consists of short horror comic stories, with various themes, and I automatically loved the idea. While “Sally The Ghost Hunter” will be concluded in a few episodes from now, “Bella Mortis Presents” can continue for as long as I’d like to. Vanja also writes the manuscript for these comics, while I add suggestions or come up with some ideas for the scenes and plot (fun fact: episode #7, “The House By The Road” , was based on a dream Vanja had). The only exception is “Happy Helloween” , which was an old short comic I had made several years back, that I decided to re-publish as a “Bella Mortis Presents” comic and made some additional pages for.

We have an excellent way of working together, and since we have always shared a mutual interest in horror and mysteries we’ve always easily been able to inspire each other. After seeing a movie together we can talk for hours about inspiration and ideas we’ve gotten from it, and we both get really inspired on our trips abroad (especially to Paris, a place we’ve both fallen completely in love with). Vanja is also a good editor for me as she’s honest with me if I come up with ideas that may not fit in, or things that I should change. Living together under the same roof probably make the process a lot easier, that’s a given, and I consider myself lucky to have a partner to work with on projects like this. As mentioned a few times here on this blog, we’ve also expanded our collaborations to other kind of projects as well: http://inkedinhell.tomte.org/projects/upcoming-game-project-concept-art-part-3/

So, that’s how we met, and that’s how we work together 🙂

Webcomic traffic tips

When you create a webcomic, your main goal is to find readers who are interested in your work. Over the years I’ve familiarized myself in a few tricks that will make you find your “audience”, whatever your webcomic might be about, so I figured I wanted to share a few tips on how to get some more visitors.

But first, let’s take a look at the most common suggestions:

Social media and webcomic sites

Now, lets take a look at the most common tips you’ll always find if you try a quick Google search for “how to get more visitors to my webcomic”. They will mostly list all the obvious, like Facebook/Twitter/Social Media, and famous art websites like DeviantArt, Tapastic and such. Well, that’s all fine and dandy, but there are a few problems with these suggestions:

  • Social Media: if you aren’t already having a respectable number of followers, it’s mostly going to take a lot of time to get them. Building up a base of truly interested followers can take a lot of time. Time you’d rather spend on your webcomic.
  • DeviantArt, Tapastic, etc: while places like these can give you great exposure, you might risk “drowning in the crowd”. There’s already so many webcomics there, it’s hard to get noticed.

Now, I’m not saying you shouldn’t use these things. Even tiny drops will make a larger puddle, but in general it takes a lot of time and effort and even then it may not bring good results. Common suggestions to quicken things up are doing crappy things like commenting other people’s work (aka “hey nice webcomic, take a look at mine!”), but let’s be honest, how often have any of us ever checked out anything from the comments section..? Yeah, didn’t think so.

Below, I’ll share a few additional tips that should be helpful. They’re not going to give you thousands of visits overnight, and they may not bring you your first handful of patreon supporters within a week..but it’s a start.

Tips #1: Buy some ads on Project Wonderful

Yeah, yeah, I know. Buying ads..? Using money on promoting your webcomic..? Bah! Humbug! But, really, just hear me out. When you’re trying to find your audience, they will need to find out that your webcomic actually exists in the first place. And it doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Search for some places on Project Wonderful that best fits the theme and genre of your comic, and try for a small amount of time on each (a week or two, or if the stats/results are crap you may turn it off after a couple days). Make sure you check your stats for the ads that works best: if the pageviews of your webcomic is increasing, then it probably means that the site you placed the ad on has an audience that is within your target group. If a site’s traffic mostly makes people enter your front page and then click away, then that site does not fit your target group. Experiment with banners (I’ve found that 768×90 leaderboard banners and 160×600 skyscraper banners are working best), and make sure that the website gives a good exposure for the banner (not hidden at the bottom somewhere). If you do this for a while, you should be able to get a nice amount of visitors that are truly interested in your webcomic, and will return back to read more.

So, here’s a short checklist of how to make the most of your ads:

  • Choose a website that’s got a clearly visible banner. Avoid sites that hides the banners at the bottom of the site.
  • Make sure you choose a website that’s got a theme/style that fits your work. If you’re doing, say, a fantasy webcomic, you may want to look for sites in that genre. Also take notice that some people can be favoring certain drawing styles, so it can be a good advice to look for something that isn’t that far from what you’re doing. Still, I’ve noticed that results can be somewhat surprising even on sites that isn’t very similar to my own…so don’t be afraid to try for a short while on non-similar websites as well.
  • Keep a good eye on those webstats. If you’re not taking a look at how the ad’s traffic works on your site, you’ll have no idea which ads works best for you. Take a close look at things like visitor time (how much time those visitors spend on your site – do they look around or do they click the “back” button after a few seconds?), and how many of those visitors are returning visits. This will make it easy for you to narrow down which ads you should stick to, and which ones simply does not work for you.
  • Make some eye-catching banners that describes your webcomic easily! In my genre (horror) some images of skulls and ghosts mostly do the trick. People will know what they’ll be coming to. It’s just as important to have an eye-catching banner as it is to have a “honest” one: if you make a banner of something that looks like an action-packed story, it’s safe to assume that a lot of the visitors will click the back-button quickly if the story is a slow-burning romance story. Oh, and avoid flashing gif-banners. Those are annoying as motherfuckin’ hell.

Tips #2: Watermark your images

Now, this is mostly a tip for those of you that post some drawings other than just webcomics. The thing is, a lot of  people out there just loooove to repost other people’s stuff, wether they have permission to or not. If you’re already sharing these things for free, there’s not necessarily anything bad about people reposting your content…but people who do that are often lousy with giving any kind of credit for where they found it. This is why a small watermark, a logo plus your website url, on the drawings will help getting some direct traffic if people repost your stuff.

A side note on this: before, I never put watermarks on the photos I post, only my drawings, but after seeing some people using my Disneyland Paris photos without giving at least a simple credit, I’ve decided to put my url on some of my photos as well.

Tips #3: Write content on your site that can give relevant search engine traffic

This is something I’ve started focusing more on here on my blog, and it got results pretty quickly. Let’s say you’re doing a sci-fi webcomic, and you have a blog or a website where you post a page every now and then or an issue. Mostly, you’ll also add some text and tags in that blog post, right? This can be useful in order to get some search engine traffic. Using specific keywords (like “sci-fi action webcomic”) in order to try getting some traffic when people are searching for just that, will get you some targeted visitors to your webcomic. Also make sure you use alt tags on your images! A lot of people use the image search, and I’m getting some hits from the tags and descriptions I’ve put on these. For example, I used “Sexy graveyard pinup drawing” on the drawing at http://inkedinhell.tomte.org/drawings/pinup-6/, and if searching for this in Google images it comes up pretty quickly. Try going for some longer keywords (trying to rank for “webcomic” is almost impossible because the competition is too high), but trying to rank for longer terms should be easier. For example: if you have a webcomic that’s about some anthropomorphic characters that’s battling fantasy monsters, it could be something like “furry fantasy webcomic with monsters”. Use more than just the same phrase over and over, as long as it still fits the content of your webcomic.

So, a short checklist:

  • Use keywords/tags that describes your webcomic when you write blog posts and descriptions
  • Make sure to also use alt tags on images to get some valuable image search traffic
  • Go for a mix of terms/phrases that describes your webcomic, and make sure you especially go for the longer ones (they’re more likely to drive in results)

 

Well, that’s it. Hopefully some of you might find this helpful. When it comes to driving traffic to your webcomic there really is no quick fixes on it, just multiple solutions where some things work better for that person than this person. Still, I believe that these 3 tips should be helpful to most people.

Oh boy, have I been busy during the Holidays! Got a Nintendo Switch and two games for Christmas: “Super Mario Odyssey” and “Zelda, Breath Of The Wild”. I’ve already completed the Super Mario game (which was a lot of fun), and I’m now playing the Zelda game. Love the Ghibli-ish style in the game, and it looks beautiful on the big screen too. I love how you can play the games both as handheld and on the TV.

I love those small beer cans with cool labels. Not only do they look and taste good, they’re also working perfectly as a pencil holder.

Here’s what you do:

1. You go to the grocery store and buy one or more of these small cans with a big opening.

 How to make a simple pencil holder

As I mentioned: big opening.

How to make a simple pencil holder

2. Drink it.

How to make a simple pencil holder

3. Wash it.

How to make a simple pencil holder

4. And, TA-DAH, you’ve made yourself a fancy pencil holder!

How to make a simple pencil holder

How to make a simple pencil holder

This eventful year is soon coming to an end…however, despite the cold winter days here in Norway there are still lots of things to enjoy. Today I went on a fishing trip with my father-in-law. Great weather (ice cold, though!) and nice catch, too 🙂

Round 2! 😁

QUESTION 1: From where do you get your inspiration?

Inspiriation

  • Answer: From a lot of places. I can get inspiration from music, movies, other comics, travelling, nature…from life itself, so to speak.

 

QUESTION 2: What was the first horror movie you remember watching, and how did you react to it?

First horror movies

  • Answer: «Gremlins II», I think. To be honest, I don’t remember exactly how I reacted to it, but I remember that it didn’t scare me. Today, I find the «Gremlins» movies to be fun and somewhat childish entertainment (and I prefer the first movie, seen it a lot of times 🙂 ). If I were to think of the first horror movie I saw that actually scared me, however, I think that would be «The Changeling».

 

QUESTION 3: Have you ever really looked forward to see a movie, only to be disappointed?

Zombieland

  • Answer: Yes…«Zombieland» . This was a movie I looked really forward to, and had high hopes for, but I ended up getting really disappointed instead. I expected a zombie-movie with focus on the zombies and the actual “apocalypse” feel that is often portrayed in them, but instead I felt that it fell kind of flat. Yes, the “apocalypse” is there, but the characters seemed to have no problem finding new weapons and more food. Overall, I just didn’t get the hype on this one.

 

QUESTION 4: Do you read manga/watch anime?

Manga & Anime

  • Answer: Before I met Vanja, I was one of those who thought manga and anime primarily dealt with things like PokeMon and “magical girls” with fluffy dresses and extreme high-pitched voices. I found out that there’s a lot more to it than this, though, as Vanja started introducing me to some gems in the “genre”. I think that some of the best horror comics comes from Japan, like «Uzumaki» by Junji Ito, and the comics from Hideshi Hino to mention some. I also like the movies made by Studio Ghibli (R.I.P. by the way, but Studio Ponoc looks like it’s going to bring that beautiful 2D-animation further). We also recently watched «Attack On Titan» , season 1, beautifully animated and with lots of blood and gore, too 😁

 

QUESTION 5: What is the weirdest/craziest movie you’ve ever seen?

Weird Movies

 

Got another question? Add it to the comments field below 🙂

A lot of things have happened in my life recently, and these have all been very positive for me. I can’t remember the last time I felt this excited, happy and satisfied! 😀

As you have probably already guessed, some of these things that I’m talking about, is new projects. And while it is far too early to reveal much yet (other than that there will be a new collaboration project with my dear Vanja) I have a little concept art drawing to share:

As you can see, it’s going to be jungle-themed. Like I said, it’s in very early progress, but stay tuned and more info will come!

We’ve also just gotten back home from a very nice trip to Trondheim (my place of birth), and on our last day there, wednesday (yesterday), we enjoyed some cake and fruit in the evening. Yum! 😋

Cake pavlova

pavlova

The cake is called “Pavlova”, a cake made of meringue, cream and berries. We went to bed with a full stomach yesterday night, that’s for sure!

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