Hi! My name is Robin Childs, creator of the webcomics LeyLines!

I don’t have a very common background for an artist.  I went to college to become an Engineer, and while I graduated with honors and worked in the Wind Energy industry for five years, my heart was always in comics.  In fact, I worked on comics all through college (mostly as a way to stay awake in class) and eventually finished my first webcomic Shades of Grey about a year into my first job as a Engineer.  When the shakes started a few weeks later, I realized that I was hopelessly addicted to storytelling.  And I’ve been drawing for LeyLines ever since.


Why Webcomics?

I’ve always had a strong need to tell stories. As a self-taught artist and writer, comics have always been the best fit for advancing my skills and expressing myself. Every part of the creative process, even the frustrating elements, is a joy for me, and it is my greatest desire to one day create every day, all day, for a living!

Webcomics offer the unique opportunity for readers and creators to connect with one another and directly support each other. I can’t wait to meet more of you and share my sprawling story of adventure with you! I love hearing your comments, whether on each page or in email! I’m never too busy for readers, so never hesitate to send me your thoughts! I promise I won’t bite! Meow and paw at you, maybe, but never bite.

Clearly, I am a cat person. <-_->

What’s your process? What tools do you use?

Every page starts with a rough script. While I know the ending of LeyLines and the key points, I haven’t written a script for the full story. In fact, I only write one scene at a time. For me, I find this method keeps me excited, because it leaves room for the characters to evolve and surprise me. I wouldn’t recommend it for everybody, though! What I WOULD recommend for everyone is finding a trusted Sounding Board to run your work by. Khan, my partner in crime and Editor, is always willing to help me take a machete to overburdened dialog and unnecessary scenes.

Once I’ve scripted a scene, I sketch it out in my Dummy book. This lets me get an idea of (1) how the page will be laid out and (2) how the page will appear in the printed books. A lot of my editing occurs here, as I can see what sections might have too much dialog or unclear actions. It also helps me maintain consistent character positioning.

Dummy book inside and out

Then I sketch everything out on prepared cardstock, which has lines for live, margin, trim, and bleed areas. This helps ensure that dialog and important images won’t get cropped out when the book is published! I use cheap grocery-store mechanical pencils. Since my pencil work is so messy, I re-scan them once I’m done and convert the lines to a pale blue. The blue-lines, as I call them, are printed out and that is what I ink, using Micron pens. When I scan the result in Black & White, the blue isn’t picked up by the scanner!

Finally, the page is colored in Photoshop. While I used to color with a WACOM tablet, I’ve since upgraded to a Cintiq to increase my speed. You can see me color in-action on my Livestream Channel. I don’t generally save most of my work on there, but if you want to catch me live, just subscribe to my Twitter feed! I post there every time before I start work. Just be warned, I work with a 2-3 month buffer, so beware spoilers when you visit my LiveStream account!

Other Webcomics

Shades of Grey was the first webcomic I created starting in 2002 and finished in 2010. The story explores the power of perspective and the discovery of self through Grace’s journey from Heaven to Hell and beyond. Since I know many people really loved SoG, I have kept it available through the LeyLines site. You can find the complete story here.

Frost’s Guide for Making Enemies and Pissing Off Powerful People

In 2009 and 2010 I was a contestant in the Oberon’s Garden OCT (more on OCTs below). All my entries were in comic form, and followed the maladjusted, knife-at-a-gun-fight, Urban Winter Fae named Frost. You can read his adventures here along with the Fiction Series that takes place after the tournament concluded.

Original Character Tournaments

I am hopelessly addicted to Original Character Tournaments aka OCTs! They’re a great way to test and advance your skills, and the communities that I’ve become a part of have always been awesome! After participating as a contestant in Oberon’s Garden with my character Frost I decided to run my own! In fact, I decided to run an OCT every single year!

What the heck is an OCT? It’s like a single-elimination sports tournament, only for storytelling. The host creates an environment and scenario. The contestants submit an original character (OC) of their own creation and a story entering that OC into the host’s world. Each round, two creators are paired up against one another. Each creator writes their own version of events in which the two OCs meet and interact. At the end, a panel of judges vote on who the winner is. That creator’s story is what “really happened” and they get to continue on in the tournament. So it’s one part competition, one part role-playing game, and one part telephone. Still not sure how it works? I made a goofy “how to” that walks you through the process here.

My OCTs are designed to promote storytelling, creativity, and character depth over flashy technique, and are open to all types of creators, including writers, artists, and animators. Detailed and frank feed-back from judges is a feature of all the OCTs I run, in order to help storytellers advance their skills!

Icon Project Hades OCT. 2012 – 2013. The Greek Underworld is pulling in souls from all sorts of strange places, and the gods from Egyptian, Norse, Japanese, and Voodoo pantheons have come to collect their dead. Before they can leave, the Ferryman vanishes, trapping everyone in Hades — even the gods! The administration enlists you, the recently dead, to find the Ferryman, but the other gods have more in mind. Each of them came to Hades with an ulterior motive, and they’re recruiting. Juggle different missions and solve the mystery in Project Hades — No one gets in alive.

The Book of Stories OCT (TBOS). 2011 – 2012.
While Lady Ink and Mudd gather Champions to prevent the Unwriting of the Worlds, The Book is sucking people into the chaotic realm of Stories! Each round, a random genre of fiction will be chosen as the realm of Stories shifts. TBOS is free-form, with no win condition — everything is up to you!

Project Minotaur OCT (PMOCT). 2010 – 2011.
In a world where legends and mythological creatures have become enslaved by science, contestants must fight to survive a deadly virus that causes frightening and mystical mutations. Entrants must work their way through a dangerous, tangled, technological maze, uncovering secret plots, facing other contestants and delving deep into the mysteries that lurk at the heart of Labyrinth Labs.

Interviews and Reviews

I have been lucky enough to be interviewed by several remarkably wonderful people, and received reviews of LeyLines as well. I absolutely love interviews and the feedback from reviews has already helped me improve my work by leaps and bounds. If you are interested in reviewing LeyLines or would like to interview me, please drop me a line!!

- 9Q9A # 26 with Max Miller Dowdle on January 16th, 2014.
- TGT Video-cast on December 7th, 2013.
- Hybrid Interests podcast, part of the Points of Interest Podcast Network on November 25th, 2013.
- Episode 72 of the Independent Road with Peter Palmiotti on September 10th, 2013.
- Rob and Dan’s coverage of Intervention 2013 (starting at ~8 minutes) on September 1st, 2013
- David at Don’t Pick the Flowers! on October 11, 2012.
- Misty & Reed of the Comic Dish! on October 10, 2012.
- Evil Ink with Amber Dalcourt October, 2012
- Your Webcomics with Jack! on July 29th, 2012.
- Girls of Geek: Denver Comic Con 2012 on June 15th, 2012.
- With Michelle of Girls of Geek! on February 20th, 2012
- TGT Media Presents #202 on December 16th, 2011.
- Neatorific Creator Corner on October 10th, 2011
- Comic Dish Podcast #154 on August 24th, 2011

- YourWebcomics with Jack! on March 13, 2013.
- Webcomics Wednesday by Andy Goldman of Lithicbee on March 28th, 2012.
- Comic Dish Podcast #143 on April 27th, 2011

Rambling with Robin

Back when I was making Shades of Grey I thought it would be fun to try my hand at podcasting. “Ramblin’ with Robin” is pretty much what it sounds like. I hook up a microphone, sometimes alone, sometimes with special guests like RekKa of Skyfall, Khan, and even (gasp!) my mom, and we talk about whatever suits our fancy. Usually revolving about comic topics, but we’ve roamed into movies, cooking, sexism, and, of course, Shades of Grey.

At the very least, you can find out how funny I sound on the radio.

Date: 04/10/12 Run time: About 15 minutes
My process for developing dreams in LeyLines and an in-depth examination of the bird-like “Diamond Eyes” dream figure.

Date: 03/16/12 Run time: About 13 minutes
Rambling with Robinreturns with a podcast on the topic of Commerce vs Creativity. Prompted by the great discussion happening at Twitter under the #lfwc (Long Form Web-Comics) hashtag.

Date: 11/6/08 Run time: 34:xx
What is the Zeppo character? Why are they unique? And why do we love this rare individual so much?

Date: 2/26/08 Run time: 28:00
What makes a good ending? Khan and I discuss as we attempt to brush the dust off our RWR skills.

Date: 12/10/07 Run time: 31:16
What defines a villain? What sets a good villain apart from a bad one? We discuss the nature of villainy.

Date: 10/23/07
Khan and I talk about Hans, and why people love him, or love to hate him.

Date: 10/21/07 Run time: 22:07
RekKa, Khan and I discuss the pros and cons to re-doing a web-comic.

Date: 08/28/07 Run time: 34:02
RekKa and I discuss different methods for web-comic creation.

Date: 08/24/07 Run time: 49:29
Syprus, RekKa, Matt, Khan, Ii-san, and I discuss Role Playing. We also discover the danger of large radio groups. (Madness)

Date: 08/18/07 Run time: 41:20
Syprus, RekKa, Khan, and I throw down on the topic of misogynistic mentalities in comics.

Date: 08/03/07Run time: 26:31
My review of Asylum Laboratories

Date: 06/29/07Run time: 25:44
I discuss the works that have influenced me in the creation of SoG.

Date: 06/27/07Run time: 18:32
Just. Do. It.

Date: 06/22/07Run time: 34:27
My mom and I have a grand ol’ time talking about cooking, kids, SoG, and all matter ‘o things!

Date: 06/18/07Run time: 25:45
If I could go back and re-do SoG, what would I change?