rachel dukes

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RACHEL DUKES is coming to TCAF!

“Rachel Dukes is a MFA graduate from The Center for Cartoon Studies (2013) who self-publishes on her website Mixtape Comics. Despite her attempts to avoid being a cat-lady, her most popular strips always feature her cat…” - Full Bio at TCAF site

Artist’s Website: www.mixtapecomics.com

TCAF is The Toronto Comic Arts Festival, taking place May 9-11, 2014, in Toronto, Canada. More at http://torontocomics.com/

Can Appropriate Artist Credit Co-exist With Tumblr And Buzzfeed?

By Matt D. Wilson

Last week, cartoonist Rachel Dukes posted some eye-opening statistics to her Tumblr about a comic she made about what life as a cat owner is like. She originally published the comic with a copyright notice and a URL to her website. That version of the comic has been seen about 81,600 times.

Another version, from which someone removed the URL and copyright info, has been seen nearly 600,000 times, mostly on Tumblr and Facebook. This problem of lack of credit is one that lots of artists have dealt with and quite a few have talked about over the past several years, but it continues to persist. It makes me wonder if there could be some kind of fix.

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The first story, “Carol & Rita”, of my end-of-the-world anthology 30 Minutes to Live.  Written by me and drawn, toned, & lettered by my pal, racheldukes.  I think I’m going to tumble the rest of these over the course of the next couple weeks.  If you like this story, go read the other seven stories on the website right now!  There are two more that will go up in the next couple months.

Also, my personal website is Exit 421, where you can find my other works, which tend to not be about the end of the world.  Enjoy!

wyrmeguy asked:

Ok another question, how did you get discovered? Or ya know how did you get the opportunity to make comics for adventure time and stuff? Thank you :)

Hey Chris,

Thanks for the follow-up question!

There’s no such thing as “discovered” in the comics industry (Spike wrote about this more eloquently here.) but I can talk about my history in comics and how I finally starting getting regular freelance work on licensed properties.

I’ve been drawing comics and posting them online regularly since September of 2001. There was this wonderful handful of years in the late nineties and early aughts where just about everyone you now that’s working on your favourite cartoon properties (Natasha Allegri, Ryan Pequin, Madeleine Flores, Meredith Gran, Lucy Knisley, Becky Dreistadt, KC Green, etc.) was growing up together, posting comics on Livejournal or Keenspace (an offshoot of Keenspot).

Working alongside these talented folks to inspire me, and learning the ropes of comics creation as I went, I formed my own self-publishing imprint (Poseur Ink) in 2003.

For ten years, I ran the small press mini comics and distribution company: selling my own work and work by other indie cartoonists (like Megan Rose Gedris, Colleen Frakes, Box Brown, Josh PM Frees, and Ed Brisson). I regularly updated my journal comic (Intentionally Left Blank) and curated and published the anthologies Side A: The Music Lover’s Graphic Novel (2007) and Side B: The Music Lovers Comic Anthology (2009).

The anthologies helped me meet a lot of wonderful artists who I had never known online before. (Annie Mok, Jon Chad, and Noah Van Sciver to name just a few.)

In addition to creating my own comics and anthologies, I also regularly submitted to anthologies put together by other creators. (The Big Ol’ Book of BIZMARI Saw You…Missed Connection ComicsBig Sexy, etc.)

I tabled at as many conventions as I could: Comic Con International, Alternative Press Expo, Wondercon, Emerald City Comicon, Portland Zine Symposium, TCAF, MoCCA, small local shows, craft fairs, zine/record swaps… in order to sell as many comics as I could and meet other creators. (This gave me the opportunity to meet a lot of my online peers in real life for the first time and strengthen our friendships.)

Even though I was creating new work regularly, creating comics never self-sustained itself financially. So in addition to all the comics work I was also co-running Mod Buttons (a custom button/lapel-pin company) with my partner Mike (who also worked with Poseur Ink), and taking illustration commissions from Cartoon Commune (under the care of Ryan Estrada). [In addition to helping me afford to print and publish comics, the former also put me in touch with even more independent artists and cartoonists. (Michelle Romo, Jason Ponggasam, Carol Burrell, etc.)]


So, I have a long history of working within the indie comics community. I never really broke in, I never really blew up, but I’ve been around, creating for a long, long time.


All the puzzle pieces finally began to fall into place during the last two years while I was at The Center for Cartoon Studies.

I helped work the BOOM Studios table during MoCCA 2012 in order to fulfill some of my CCS internship hours. There, I met BOOM editor Adam Staffaroni, who happens to be good friends with my pal Jon Chad (who happened to be one of my instructors while I was at CCS). There, Adam and I became friends. (Simultaneously, of my CCS classmates, Carol Thompson, had just recently begun working at BOOM as a graphic designer.)

Later that same year, Carol and I ran into each other at a convention and she told me she had decided to leave BOOM. My partner Mike, whose undergraduate was graphic design, applied to take her position. Adam was able to get Mike in as an intern for the position and they later hired him on full time. He started there in September 2012.

While Mike was working at BOOM, we became friends with Shannon Watters and Dafna Pleban. (And learned that Shannon was the very first person to buy Poseur Ink’s shark shirt design back when it first came out.)

In December 2012, Shannon was looking for variant cover artists for Adventure Time with Fionna and Cake and my name came up in the studio. She emailed and asked if I would be interested. (Of course I said yes!)

Having done that cover (and having a portfolio full of Frankie comics) lead to my drawing the Garfield back-up story (edited by Chris Rosa) that will be on shelves this March. (Keep an eye out for that!)

Dafna is to thank for my pairing with Gabby Silang, which is how I ended up in the upcoming Beyond anthology. I have upcoming licensed work thanks to Adam… I have another upcoming independent project thanks to Carol Burrell…

It all comes down to community. Work hard, make friends, create opportunities for yourself and your friends, take opportunities when they’re offered to you (even if you don’t think you have the time)… be kind. Success is contagious and a rising tide lifts boats. For all my years drawing comics, I would not be as accomplished as I am today without the help of my friends.

And that, Chris, is how I got to draw for Adventure Time. :)

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Maple Key contributor Rachel Dukes ( @mixtapecomics )has some serious drawing chops. Between her personal work–much of which is intensely autobiographical in nature. “Shiny,” her one-shot short appearing in the first number of Maple Key takes a more fanciful turn, dealing with the aquatic adventures of an orca-mermaid critter.

Dukes says she changed her normally fairly traditional process for “Shiny,” opting to pencil her pages digitally rather than using the non-photo blue pencils she normally tends toward for her comics work. She then inked over printouts of her work and rescanned for her finals.

You can discover more of Rachel Dukes’ work on her website, mixtapecomics.com, but if you want to read the rest of “Shiny” in print, back the Maple Key Comics Kickstarter!

Stay tuned for more creator spotlights and more information about what to expect from Maple Key Comics!