FAQ stands for ‘Frequently Asked Questions’.
1985-2002: Bundaberg, QLD, Australia
2003-2012: Brisbane, QLD, Australia
2013-present: Canberra, ACT, Australia
Current postal address is PO Box 4666, Kingston, ACT, 2604, AUSTRALIA.
I drew cartoons and comics as a kid, up until the age of 12. I stopped this hobby during high school and university, though I continued to read comics as a fan.
I resumed cartooning in 2007, starting out with gag-type comics. I then experimented with informative/’educational’ comics about environmental matters on recombinantrecords.net throughout 2008 and 2009. In hindsight, most of these comics are quite primitive by my current standards. I was learning as I was going.
I launched stuartmcmillen.com in 2012, with Supernormal Stimuli as the front page comic. Things have continued nicely since then.
I have been a full-time cartoonist since mid-2011. Since then, my income has come from a range of sources, such as artwork commissions, government arts funding, republication royalties and crowdfunding.
There are two main ways to support me financially:
• Buying PDF versions of my back-catalgoue. My shopping cart features editable pricing, which allows readers to donate an extra tip on top of the purchase price.
• Becoming a micropatron through Patreon.com. This service allows readers to nominate a recurring payment that is automatically transferred to me each month. I offer variety of rewards for my Patreon supporters.
Please see this page for more information about both of these methods.
See my ‘Top 10‘ list of my personal favourite comics. It is a good “where to begin?” resource for newcomers to my website.
I ask that my comics remain exclusive to stuartmcmillen.com on the web. Please don’t republish them to other websites or image-sharing services. See my justification for this in a separate FAQ question, below.
However, I am happy for short extracts of my comics to appear on other websites. i.e. short ‘teasers’ that prime readers for the full story. Please limit these extracts to 6 pages per comic, per website, and always include at least one linkback to the full comic. e.g. you can re-host images 18-to-23 of War on Drugs on your blog, as long as you say where you got the content, as well as linking to the actual War on Drugs comic URL (i.e. not just linking to my homepage).
I am happy for images from my comics to appear in slideshows by academics and not-for-profits. e.g. university professors’ lectures. However, I ask that you credit me in the following way:
On every single slide featuring my artwork, please credit to artist ‘Stuart McMillen‘ and the relevant URL for the comic. (i.e. if you use slides from St Matthew Island, display the URL for the St Matthew Island comic).
If you have other requests, such as republishing my comics in a textbook or magazine, or using my artwork in a project that you are profiting from, we need to talk.
I think I provide an excellent public service by releasing these comics free to the web, in multiple languages. And for allowing 6 page extracts to be republished on other blogs and websites (see above).
Remember: it wasn’t long ago that content like mine was locked away in magazines and books, with a price tag attached.
My comics are designed to be experienced in a left-to-right format, which is very different to the top-to-bottom format of most web pages. Some of my comics contain double-page spreads which look awful if broken into a vertical format. (Compare this seamless sequence of Rat Park, versus this imgur knock-off).
I hope for people to land on my website through a particular comic, and then have the opportunity to read the rest of my back catalogue. Or to join my newsletter. Or to follow me on social media. Or to support me financially by buying a PDF comic, or donating money.
None of these nice things can happen unless readers view my comics through the stuartmcmillen.com interface.
Probably not. I generally have a backlog of ideas that I am waiting to draw. I write much faster than I draw.
Another reason is that I like to stay one step ahead of my readers.
For example, after becoming known for my comics about environmental matters, in 2012 I took an unexpected turn into drug-related comics with War on Drugs, and Rat Park. I am now doubling-back, and educating this ‘drug audience’ about ecological/economic matters with Peak Oil and my upcoming Thermoeconomics comics.
Of course, we can always discuss commissioned artwork projects…
It happens because enthusiastic volunteers contact me, wanting to help make my comics available to people who speak their language.
Usually translators keenly want to translate one favourite comic, such as St Matthew Island or War on Drugs. I usually twist their arm into translating my entire back catalogue!
This happened as far back as 2009, when Brazilian website interrogAção published a translated version of Amusing Ourselves to Death. This was done completely from their own initiative, so that Brazilian readers would be able to read the story.
I saw the benefit of embracing their enthusiasm, and assisting their efforts. I let them continue publishing to interrogAção.com.br, but specified that I would like to publish the pt-BR comics on my website too.
I plan each of my new comics expecting that they will be, one day, translated into multiple languages.
My website stuartmcmillen.com was custom-designed with support for multiple languages as a high priority. The website uses the WordPress plugin Polylang to coordinate all of the various languages. I would be lost without this excellent plugin.
My comics are created using the software Adobe Illustrator. After I have finished the artwork for a comic, I add the text captions on a ‘layer’ that sits above the artwork. Each translated version of the comic is, therefore, created from the original high-quality master artwork file.
I draw the entire the entire artwork scenes that sit behind my captions. This enables me to grow or shrink my captions, based on how concise the translation is. So sometimes other languages see more artwork than the English readers do. Sometimes they see less artwork.
To save time with lettering, I use a special font, based on my handwriting. This is much better than translators using Comic Sans or another unofficial font. Naturally, my handwriting font is only useful for languages using Latin characters (e.g. German, French, Spanish…). It is not suitable for languages like Chinese and Greek.
I provide my translators with scripts which have information about the meaning behind the English words and phrases that I have chosen to use. This hopefully minimises the guessing game for my translators.
All of this is possible because my comics are about factual, non-fiction topics. If I was publishing funny comics, I think that the jokes would often be lost in translation.
Yes, I always welcome new languages and translators.
New volunteers are always welcome, even for languages that I already support. It is good to have extra proofreaders, or people willing to take over if the current translators are unable to continue.
Also, there are some languages with gaps in the archive. e.g. French, German and Dutch. Sometimes a translator becomes too busy to be able to continue volunteering. That is why I need new people on my books.
Email me to offer your services to the translation project.
Volunteers can help me with other aspects of the comic translation process, particularly tasks involving the software Adobe Illustrator.
An example job is the process of copying+pasting the translated phrases from a .doc file into the .ai comic artwork.
This is done through Adobe lllustrator, an expensive software suite that not all translators can access. The copying+pasting can be easily done by someone who doesn’t necessarily speak the language. Extra helpers allow me to focus on creating new English language comics.
Email me to offer your services on the translation project.
Maybe you are used to reading US English. All content on my website is published in British English. It is similar, but different in many ways.
Even though most of my readers come from the United States, versus Commonwealth countries, I would feel weird publishing comics with spelling different to my usual Australian style.
So, suffer in your jocks!
Note: all of my PDF downloads include both US and British English versions of the comics within a ZIP file.
The most obvious way is to share the comics via email and social media. Take 5 minutes to think about specific people who would like to read my comics, and then send them the URLs. Bonus points if you can share with influential people who are likely to share with their own circles!
I think this specific linking approach is better than a broadcast approach. People are more likely to read messages that are specifically sent to them, and specifically relevant to their interests.
You can also help by better-linking the internet to my comics. Perhaps submit the comics to web forums for people with relevant interests. There are many pockets of the web that I am unaware of. Or maybe edit Wikipedia to better reflect the research I unearthed through my comics (here are some suggestions).
Finally, you can fund me by using the methods listed on my Support page.