Some answers to some questions…
Q: Are you guys going to make another Arashi Doujinshi like last year?
[Kim] we’ll make a new one someday!
Q: How would you describe your group dynamic and how do you influence each other?
[Dir] They’re all better at hands-on things. They influence me because I’m ashamed of my fail skils, so I’m trying to get better… slowly.
[Ko] We more or less just fall into our own roles naturally. Dirchansky starts the projects and drags people in. Either Kim or I organize the files and do file preps. If we are just printing ourselves, I do the actual print and production, if not, Kim and Dirchansky will figure out the print shop part. Dirchansky is then the PR online and generally they sell better than I do! XD
[Kim] Koyar and Dirchansky definitely have more social currency online than I do, haha. Like Koyar already said, we each have skills to bring to the table, and the others fill in the gaps. Usually whoever devised the thematic idea for the project is the person that does the most work, and the other two will do whatever is left, depending on availability. I think we’ve all learned a lot from each other within the years, so even these “roles” get kind of blurry around the edges as we continue to glean different skillz from each other. I think we also act as each others’ cheerleaders at times, it keeps us motivated to keep making comics, art, and try new things even if the circumstances around it can be grim (we’re certainly not doing it for the money). Pretty much like any group of friends, really. Surprisingly though, we haven’t really swapped genres / artistic influence / formal aspects of style very much. It’s a bit of a mystery, considering how long we’ve known each other, but I guess it definitely keeps it interesting.
Q: Where does the name Love Love Hill come from? Also wondering the same about evilsmile.net!
[Dir] I think evilsmile.net was inspired by a song? It was mostly Kim + Koyar’s idea, I just went along with it (my other ideas were like ROWR or MEOWMIX). I think (?) Love Love Hill is something I made up because it’s where all the animal friends live (?). It has been so long that I forgot the true origins. Maybe it has some Ogata influence.
[Kim] “Evilsmile” did indeed come from a song of the same name, by Guitar Vader. Koyar and I were very into this band at the time. It makes me think that it was a very long time ago, because the band has since broken up. If you search the song you can find it on Youtube though, I believe. I hope you think of us when you listen to it, hahaha.
If I remember correctly also, the first time “Love Love Hill” was ever put down on paper was a drawing Dirchansky made for me around this time also (probably almost 10 years ago…! OMG). I was really into One Piece at the time and I made her draw Zoro for me. Using her Dirchansky-style magic of course, in the drawing, Zoro was fighting off / getting assaulted by many animal friends. He was blushing and in bubble letters on top were the words “Love Love Hill”. I won’t deny that perhaps before then, we may have used it verbally also, but this my first concrete memory of the term. Somehow in the future this became an inside joke that epitomizes everything we do.
[Dir] This shameful picture
As always, our ask box is open to any questions about printing/comics/self-publishing/llh!
How do you print regular interior page printouts?
wensleydale asked: Love Love Love Hill! I just printed my first good ashcan (with the help of your tips) and I was wondering—how do you guys do the regular interior page printouts? Do you own your own laserjet printer?
Uhuuu~ we’re happy that you had good results with the printing!
We can/will use anything for interior page printouts. The fact that we only use bitmap 600dpi files gives us the flexibility to just print it off our own laser printers, take it to be photocopied, or given to professional printers (digital output, or offset). The results are consistently good.
We would not recommend using inkjet printers for purely b/w things though, mainly because inkjet ink is
- used up quickly
- dries quickly in cartridge
- doesn’t always produce sharp edges
- doesn’t seal easily on acetate (if you’re doing silkscreening)
- is expensive
Versus b/w laser printer toner that will last you several hundred pages. Toner is expensive, but in the long run you will get more printed pages out of it.
Sumafu has a BROTHER HL-2040
Belugachop has a BROTHER HL-2140
Figarizzle has a Samsung ML-2240
We bought these for less than 70$ each.
We also use a multitude of b/w photocopiers from local copy shops, and from larger chain copy shops (staples, office depot). If it’s a long book or if you’re making 10+ copies, just print out a “master copy” on your own laser printer, then take the rest to be photocopied! Go around your city and try to find a place with a reasonable price and quality; this can really vary here and there, but once you find a good place, you’re generally golden.
Don’t forget to go check out wensleydale and ocicatsy’s comics!
^hope you don’t mind this pimping!
koyar: I like to fold and then staple, so I’d know where I’m supposed to staple. I find it easier this way. I think most people do it this way.
But if I’m using the long arm stapler, it has a paper stopper and a ruler for measurements, so I don’t need to fold before stapling.
Koyar: I’m glad you like our contents!
How do we decide how many books to make and bring, I’d say it came from experience. We have been burnt from printing too many books, partly our own fault from over-estimation, as well as printing more books to bring per unit cost down. As soon as we have switched over to manually printing our own books, it became more flexible in terms of small runs. The maximum I am capable of printing and binding at once is 50 copies. I can print more, but it’s exhausting. It is the number I start off with nowadays, because I can easily print more if I run out, and if I don’t, they’ll last for a while and it is not a huge investment or space issue like 500 copies. The magical number 50 probably varies for everyone else.
On how many to bring to a convention, it would depend on the convention itself. I usually bring my entire stock of each title to anime conventions, whereas I may only bring <5 copies to smaller comic cons, zine fair, or literary festival. It is important to know who your audience is, the size of the convention. For example, it’d be silly for us to expect to sell our girly sparkly manga-style comics at SDCC even though the audience is mostly average celebrity chasers and superhero readers.
Kim: Thanks for the comments on our new blog :) We’ve been thinking for a long time about the things we do, and so it’s great when people read our tl;dr posts and get something out of it.
Continuing from Koyar’s point, it’s hard to come up with an exact number because it also depends heavily on how much stock each member is currently in possession of. With everyone in the collective living in different cities too, sometimes the amount of books isn’t pre-planned — we just bring whatever the heck we have on hand.
This is another reason why we make our books in small batches on demand. For example, if I know Koyar is going to an upcoming convention, I am able to print up whatever amount I think she’ll need and send it to her. She will just keep selling them until we run out, and then we make more. It’s not an exact science, but it works.
For books that we get printed professionally by a company, we bring whatever we can physically carry to the convention (lol). When I’m traveling I usually just load up my suitcase to about 40~50lbs which is the max that my skinny 5foot-asian-girl-arms can carry. We make a big push at sales for the debut of the book, and then divide up the remaining books accordingly afterwards (since this way I can distro the books to the other members without having to waste more money on mail). Telling you this also doesn’t give us an exact figure to give you, unfortunately, but I hope it at least gives you an idea of what we do.
Dirchansky: Hello! Thank you so much for reading our entries, we’re happy that it can inspire and help other people with their self-publishing endeavours.
The largest print run we’ve worked with was ~300s books. We still have boxes and boxes of those books leftover as literal paper weights. Because of such experiences, I’m reluctant to invest in printing more than 150 books in one go (through professional printers). However, I know people who can easily sell 100+ books at a convention. I’m just not one of them.
We mentioned previously that we’re not that popular online or offline, so your visibility and “popularity” definitely plays a role in how many books you should print/bring.
I would not say that we are masters of determining the magic number. Some books sell better than expected, some books sell less than expected. I sometimes think of comic/book-making to be a risky and expensive hobby, but I also think of it as “I’ll print some books instead of flying to an exotic vacation location for 1000$”.
A few LLH members have been selling books at conventions for 10+ years. At some conventions, people start to recognize our work because we go there regularly, and they want to pick up anything that is new on our table. If you are the type that goes to conventions all over, you might want to only bring a portion to each convention so you can spread your books out to different audiences.
Also consider how much other stuff you will be having on your table, because the more choice of titles/products you have, the more “spread out” the sales will be.
If you already have some readership, you can also take paid pre-orders to gauge how many copies to print. For a new book, my safe number for printing is ~100 copies (+ contributor copies), the amount I tend to bring is ~20-40 books. Leftovers are sold online and at later conventions. OH YEAH we’re in Canada, so overall # con attendants is much less compared to conventions in USA.
I know this isn’t a clear answer, but it’s very situation dependent. General advice: shoot lower at first, and then build readership, then print more…
(unless you have money to burn)
Koyar: wow we typed so much lol