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!

Alrighty, time for one of these! A list of completely random questions some people have asked me. Just for fun 😋

Here we go!

QUESTION 1: Are you a cat or a dog person?

Cute Cat

  • Answer: A cat person. Without a doubt. That does not mean I dislike dogs, not at all! I do like dogs, especially pugs, they’re adorable creatures. But cats are a bit closer to my heart. I think this is because I’ve heard and witnessed so much abuse against cats (people treating them poorly, dumping them, etc.) Some people say cats are “arrogant”. Yes, they are independent and not easily manipulated, but if someone think badly of an animal because they cannot control them, that probably tells more about this person than the animal…and cats do show affection, and a lot of it too, it’s just more subtle.

 

QUESTION 2: Have you ever been tricked by someone?

Mons-Ivar

  • Answer: Who haven’t been? But the most elaborate “trick” someone pulled on me, dates back to around 2001-2002.  It was back in my high school days, where I got an e-mail from a funny hillbilly-boy from a place called “Skatval” here in Norway, and he called himself “Mons-Ivar”. He had a sister, her name was “Lise”. They had their own websites, with photos and info about them (the website for “Mons-Ivar” is still up, actually). I started chatting with “Lise” as well, where she often hinted a certain interest for me. At this time, I was that kind of guy that had never been with a girl and was over the moon that a girl actually showed interest. This went on for weeks. However, things came to a halt when I and an ex-friend of mine (who was then one of my best friends) searched for these people on the public tax records (called “Skattelistene”), where I found out that these people didn’t exist. After this, I never heard anything back from “Mons-Ivar” and “Lise”, and I suspected my ex-friend to be behind it all. I tried to confront him, and even told him I wouldn’t be mad if he just admitted it. He didn’t, however, he just got angry that I accused him for it. Many years later, however, I saw that his name was written on the “Mons-Ivar” website, listed as the “web designer” for the site (and his name is still there to this day, hidden in text that’s the same color as the background). So, yeah, you could say that this was one of the more elaborate tricks/pranks someone have pulled on me. And to be honest, it would have been a pretty funny one too, which I could’ve laughed heartily at today, if it wasn’t for all the other things that followed which now just make me see this as more unsettling than funny.

 

QUESTION 3: Do you believe in ghosts?

Ghost Girl

  • Answer: This question is a little bit like the “Do you believe in UFO’s?” question. Yes, I believe in UFO’s. It means “Unidentified Flying Objects”. I believe people see unidentified flying objects which are caused by various things (like for example ball lightning). But I do not believe they are flying saucers with little green men in them. It’s the same for ghosts. Yes, I believe the phenomenon exists, and yes, I believe people see/experience “ghosts”. But I am not convinced they are the spirits of deceased people. As a horror movie fan, the concept of ghosts are often a theme, and while many films use the standard theory of them being spirits of the dead, some films in recent times (like the “Conjuring” movies and the “Annabelle” movies for example) portray them as demons that manipulates people into believing they are the ghost of an innocent little girl for example. In my comic series “Sally The Ghost Hunter“, I simply portray ghosts as the classic spirits of the dead. I think I may explore the theories/concepts around ghosts a bit more in upcoming “Bella Mortis Presents” stories, though. Even though I personally don’t know what to think of the phenomenon of ghosts, I still enjoy a ghost horror story.

 

QUESTION 4: Are you a satanist? You make all these drawings with blood and gore and use upside-down crosses and occult symbols in many of them, so you must be, right?

Magica Baphomet

  • Answer: I specialize in the horror genre, but that doesn’t mean I have to believe in it or treat it like anything else than what it is: a fantasy. Jeez Louise, they’re just drawings! I often draw occult symbols because the devil/satan/beelzebub/gamle-erik or whathaveyou is often part of the horror genre, together with blood & gore, monsters, ghosts, demons, freaks and all those things I draw. This does not make me a devil worshipper or a satanist. Just someone who enjoys the horror genre.

 

QUESTION 5: Have you ever had a strange thing happen to you that scared you?

Creepy Experience

  • Answer: I have experienced a few things that scared me at first (although some of them could be explained later on), but there was this one thing that happened several years ago. I still lived with my parents at that time, and we were the only ones in the house. We were all sitting in the living room, watching a movie. Then the phone rang (the home phone). My mother went to pick it up, only to look strangely at me, because the number showing on the display was that of my cell phone. We just looked at it, and didn’t know wether to pick it up or not, but then it stopped ringing. I went into my room to check if my phone was there as usual (I suspected I might have lost it), but it was there and the call logs didn’t show that it had tried to call the home phone. It didn’t really scare me, but it was a bit creepy. It never happened again, though.

 

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

 

Last year, around this time, a stray cat mother and her little kitten decided to move into our backyard. We first tried to call the local animal protection center, but they didn’t have the capacity to take in any more cats (unfortunately, some people have a fucked up way to treat cats like trash and dump them whenever they please 😡).

We decided to try and tame them. This was a long and somewhat tedious task, considering that they were both terrified at first, and they would not come inside the house. We placed a “cat house” in the garden for them so they could keep warm at least. After a few months we were at least able to get the kitten to come inside, and thought it was a she…so we named the cat “Philippa” (we call the mother “Fia”). After a while, however, when “Philippa” became tame enough so we could pet “her” and she would start sleeping inside the house, we figured out we’d been wrong, and that “Philippa” is actually a he. But alright, we just removed a letter from the name so now the kitty is “Philip” instead 😺

As for both cats, they now have a much better life (after getting their first deworming treatment we especially noticed a significant change in Fia, the mother. Afterwards her fur got more “shine” to it and she started looking much healthier overall).

While they’re both still two scaredy-cats, and will bail if someone else comes around, they now greet us with their cat-smile (if you don’t know, cats “smile” to you when they slowly blink their eyes together while looking at you 🙂). So it is possible to tame stray cats, but it will most likely take some time.

Some pics:

Smugmug gallery of Philip when he was a kitten (and we still called him Philippa)

Philip (kitten) and Fia (photo from last year):

Philip The Cat turned into Philippa The Cat

Hello, and welcome to my new blog, “Inked In Hell”!

For several years I’ve been running this website (Tomte.org) where I’ve been showcasing my work. I’ve had several blogs during the years…and the last one ended up being more or less a photo blog. Not quite sure why it ended up that way, but I’ve wanted to start a more personal blog for a while now, with more in-depth posts about what I’m working on and what’s going on in my life. There’s a lot to tell, I can promise you that! 😀

I’ve been working on this blog for a few days now, and decided to use the same theme and layout as my previous blog (which has now been converted into just a photo blog). I first struggled a bit with deciding what kind of name I wanted. Some ideas were “Heads Are Gonna Roll” (as you probably have seen already, I’ve had a habit of drawing people getting their heads chopped off, specifically gothic/punk women chopping men’s heads off, and there’s also another reason I love this title which I will explain sometime later 😁 ), and things like “Tomte’s Mansion” came to mind, but was quickly discarded as being a bit too…well, dull. Another title I had in mind was “Black Ink & Nightmares”, but decided to go for “Inked In Hell”. Since I work mainly in the horror & punk/gothic genre, and often draw devilish pinups, monsters, ghosts and all kinds of hellish creatures, I found this title to be quite fitting.

I also worked on multiple headers. Below are two I decided to not use, and instead I chose a simple one with just text instead. There will be enough graphics in this blog to come anyway!

Thanks for looking around, please stay tuned if you want to see more 🙂