Category Archives: Explanations

Blog: Blueberry Pi Day

The best part about working on a blossoming project like “This is Pi Day” is that with a moderate amount of success, lots of interested readers, and a modest amount of user participation, is that I can try new things and (a) have more than just myself and a few family and friends enjoy it and (b) not worry about breaking something that is going to cost me money or a job.

This is just a web comic with a few hundred readers after all.

But as to point “a” the modest success of This is Pi Day has encouraged me to rehash part of an idea from a project or two back. I do this all the time: start some project, write some code, draw some pictures, churn out some copy, and then if it sticks (which it usually doesn’t) I work until it burns out my interest and move along. At the end I’m left with a few lessons learned, some archived content and occasional some technical assets.

In the last couple weeks I’ve dug out some old code I wrote about year and a half ago and re-purposed it for a version 2 of This is Pi Day’s website.

Unfaked News

See, eighteen months ago I had this idea about writing an interactive “news explainer” website for kids. It would take important news, simplify it down for (in essence) the person readers of this comic know as “The Girl” and anyone else and… voila? I started to hit a solid stride and then… well… the whole USA election meets fake news meets controversial media debate started, and so I dropped my efforts like a hot potato.

Even so, I’d written a pretty slick little custom content management system: basically a web site app with user accounts and point collection and interactive games and all sorts of full (and half) developed features.

And what do you know? It took about five hours of effort to retool it to work with my comics. So, officially I’m treating it like an alternate-beta-experimental side version of This is Pi Day, but… you never know. A little more development work, some content migration, and… maybe a brand new way to enjoy This is Pi Day.

Check it out at blueberry.piday.ca

Do you Like Web Comics?

Hey! Me too! What a coincidence.

This is Pi Day is an independent web comic about fatherhood, running, video games, science, art, independence, integrity, imagination and just generally ... family adventure. It is created, written, illustrated, and promoted by Brad Salomons from a quiet suburb of a remote Canadian city called Edmonton, Alberta.

Looking for more pi? We regularly celebrate at the great circle of math, science and technology culture. This is Pi Day has been calculated as the product of one geeky dad, one curious kid, and an irrational volume of corny dad jokes.

New full strips are published on Saturday mornings (and shorts, appearing randomly whenever I draw them). This is Pi Day will always be free to read on this site, but if you enjoy it please help me out by sharing the link on social media or supporting in other ways.

Blog: Too Soon? Not Soon Enough?

As of this weekend this web comic will be about four months old.

And while This is Pi Day is not “old” by most measurable standards, by the standard of “things I make that stick” it’s getting up into the realm of driving itself over the hump of that statistical bell curve into the realm of “above average.”

oh, the thanks …

Which of course means I have all sorts of people to thank. The folks on Facebook who have been sharing and liking my comics. The communities on Instagram & Twitter which grow daily and helps promote and comments and gives me more little hearts than these scribbles probably deserve. And, of course, all the people I know in real life who have been egging me on in this goofy endeavor.

Which all means, obviously, that a little web comic project is going to stretch a little longer than I’d ever anticipated when I dropped a few of my scribbles onto Facebook four months ago.

Consequently, I’ve needed to start thinking about things like, ummm…. say, winter…. which here in mid-Northern Canada will drop hard and cold just in time to ruin everyone’s Halloween costume and continue through until it’s time to plant my carrots in the spring. So… soon. Sooner than I would have liked considering I was sipping coffee on my sunny backyard deck in shorts a couple weeks ago.

by April the snow will actually be more of a brownish-grey …

Four months ago I had just a few doodles in my doodle library and most of those were of the same types of things…. none of them winter-based. No snow. No sleds. No shovels. No ice skates. Not a patch of icy sidewalk to be seen. In other words, my characters are going to either need to stay inside a whole lot for the next six months, or… I needed to draw some wintery clothing and scenes.

And, I liked my bike art, too.

Do you Like Web Comics?

Hey! Me too! What a coincidence.

This is Pi Day is an independent web comic about fatherhood, running, video games, science, art, independence, integrity, imagination and just generally ... family adventure. It is created, written, illustrated, and promoted by Brad Salomons from a quiet suburb of a remote Canadian city called Edmonton, Alberta.

Looking for more pi? We regularly celebrate at the great circle of math, science and technology culture. This is Pi Day has been calculated as the product of one geeky dad, one curious kid, and an irrational volume of corny dad jokes.

New full strips are published on Saturday mornings (and shorts, appearing randomly whenever I draw them). This is Pi Day will always be free to read on this site, but if you enjoy it please help me out by sharing the link on social media or supporting in other ways.

Blog: Selling Your Odd Self

This is a post in a short series I’m writing about “How to Draw a Web Comic: Observations from Day 1″

Do you what’s really odd? Numbers not divisible by two, that’s what. But seriously…

My mother (of all people) asked me a curious question the other day while I was sitting at her kitchen table, flipping casually through the newspaper comics. It was a curious question not because it was deep or complex or unknowable. It was curious because it was almost laughably naive from my perspective but a “why would she even know that” kinda question from hers.

She asked: “So are you going to send your comic to the newspaper to see if they’ll print it?”

I laughed.

That tactic worked exactly once: way back when I was in University the campus newspaper would print any comic that met the formatting guide and did not break the editor’s rules for “appropriate content” whatever. One submitted it by sliding it under the door… and then watching the paper for the next few weeks.

I tried to give my mom a simple explanation of the nuanced workings of comic publishing syndicates countered against the decline in print media… but the short answer was, no, mom: it doesn’t work that way.

I doubt my comic is publishable at all, actually. It may be the most normal thing I’ve ever drawn, but it doesn’t fit into that rigid framework that ink-and-paper publishers, even the small-city rags still published where my folks live, that those folks are willing to invest in. It’s too odd. To eclectic. Too clean to be edgy. Too subtle to be mainstream. Too much like the work that inspired me. Too different to fit into the space provided.

There is no easy track to getting people to read this thing.

Instead, for every hour that I spend drawing I end up spending another two doing this voodoo science called marketing, wherein I attempt to push a link into the universe, to put it in front of someone who might click on it. I do this simply because I want people to look at what I made. I’m not making any money doing this: it’s purity vanity… with a dash of going to sleep each night thinking that I added something positive to the world, even if it is something a little bit odd.

The problem is that we live in a mass media market, and me, I’m the equivalent of the little pie shop on the corner, competing against every chain Mc-Horton-Bucks on every other corner. I might make good pie, but to sell a single slice I have to post five times on Twitter, three times on Facebook, once on Instagram, and reply to at least two fans who want to ask great-but-resource-consuming questions about my recipe. It’s a labour or love, and I love it… but that doesn’t mean I don’t wish it was easier. Fans are great, but even unless they are sharing or liking or forwarding or re-posting or something, every click, every view, every read that trickles across my comic is earned through that time I need to spend promoting my odd self. It’s a tough slog.

With This is Pi Day I’ve been promoting this notion that it’s important to support that. And I think it’s made me a better internet citizen, too.

Do you Like Web Comics?

Hey! Me too! What a coincidence.

This is Pi Day is an independent web comic about fatherhood, running, video games, science, art, independence, integrity, imagination and just generally ... family adventure. It is created, written, illustrated, and promoted by Brad Salomons from a quiet suburb of a remote Canadian city called Edmonton, Alberta.

Looking for more pi? We regularly celebrate at the great circle of math, science and technology culture. This is Pi Day has been calculated as the product of one geeky dad, one curious kid, and an irrational volume of corny dad jokes.

New full strips are published on Saturday mornings (and shorts, appearing randomly whenever I draw them). This is Pi Day will always be free to read on this site, but if you enjoy it please help me out by sharing the link on social media or supporting in other ways.

Blog: Drawing From Yourself

This is a post in a short series I’m writing about “How to Draw a Web Comic: Observations from Day 1″

This is Pi Day is not my first web comic. I have been asked a number of times the vanilla ice cream question of art (or music or any amature creative hobbyist for that matter)… “what made you want to draw a comic strip?”

To which I often reply: “It’s cheaper than therapy!” Ba-DUM-ching!

In fact This is Pi Day is my third web comic. (And I’m not even counting the short-lived strip I published in my college newspaper.)

The real answer is: I just do. I like making stuff. Is that too abstract? Not everything needs a reason, or a profit motive, or an outcome that ends in fame or glory or a trophy.

Thus, I keep trying.

The first was a series of strips that were trying waaaaaaaaaaay too hard to be insightful observations of life. Unfortunately my observations of life were about as weak as my art. Cliche. Trite. A little too new age, which surprised even me because it wasn’t who I thought I was. It didn’t go very far.

The second was a science fiction comic about a bunch of bugs that lived in a kind of alternate dimension that entirely composed of computer circuitry. I drew a couple dozen strips that were very much part of one linear story. It failed because I started making it up as I went along rather than planning further in advance. It was a complex story that demanded a coherent thread: I couldn’t invent that and draw it all at the same time.

I don’t want to imply in the slightest that This is Pi Day is in any way some rolling success. It might still completely flop. It might land on it’s modestly drawn face and never get back up. That said, my third attempt at a web comic has felt more successful because I’ve moved the element of “I’m making this all up” one level closer to reality. I’m drawing from my own life for inspiration.

It’s not that I think it’s impossible to draw an amazing comic with a fantastic plot, or a completely made up story, but it’s definitely easier for a guy who works full time, parents most of the rest of the time, and is trying to squeeze a demanding art hobby through the gaps to have a full trough of amusing anecdotes to feed the creative beasts lurking at his door.

Do you Like Web Comics?

Hey! Me too! What a coincidence.

This is Pi Day is an independent web comic about fatherhood, running, video games, science, art, independence, integrity, imagination and just generally ... family adventure. It is created, written, illustrated, and promoted by Brad Salomons from a quiet suburb of a remote Canadian city called Edmonton, Alberta.

Looking for more pi? We regularly celebrate at the great circle of math, science and technology culture. This is Pi Day has been calculated as the product of one geeky dad, one curious kid, and an irrational volume of corny dad jokes.

New full strips are published on Saturday mornings (and shorts, appearing randomly whenever I draw them). This is Pi Day will always be free to read on this site, but if you enjoy it please help me out by sharing the link on social media or supporting in other ways.

Blog: Elbow Greased & Social Medias

There are not yet many followers of this comic project (a few but not many) but those of you who have been paying attention may have noticed that since I’ve given myself a healthy head-start on the art — I have comic strips banked until the end of the summer for every Saturday — I’ve turned my attention to my website and marketing.

Gagh! Dirty word. Marketing.

Yet, even –maybe especially– little unknown creators need to get the word out.

So I’ve not only set up a Twitter, an Instagram and a Facebook page, but I’ve set loose a few little PiBots to make sure that those feeds are regularly fed.

Additionally –and I’m not sure if it will take off or if it will just be me talking to myself– I installed a forum on this very site. “A forum,” you ask. “Isn’t that what websites used to have back in 1847 for the folks who gathered around their steam-powered thinking machines to convey messages about train schedules and Egyptian mummy mythology?”

To that, I’d reply… “Well… perhaps. But what is old is new and what is old is something free to install on this site that I can understand and what the hey… hey?” And of course you can use it to do all sorts of self-promotional things, like join up and talk about YOUR comic strip and encourage other people to go read it.

But I digress.

The tldr; of this post is that I finally spent some time tweaking my web presence under the vapid pretense of trying to earn myself an audience. So share and enjoy. I am.

Do you Like Web Comics?

Hey! Me too! What a coincidence.

This is Pi Day is an independent web comic about fatherhood, running, video games, science, art, independence, integrity, imagination and just generally ... family adventure. It is created, written, illustrated, and promoted by Brad Salomons from a quiet suburb of a remote Canadian city called Edmonton, Alberta.

Looking for more pi? We regularly celebrate at the great circle of math, science and technology culture. This is Pi Day has been calculated as the product of one geeky dad, one curious kid, and an irrational volume of corny dad jokes.

New full strips are published on Saturday mornings (and shorts, appearing randomly whenever I draw them). This is Pi Day will always be free to read on this site, but if you enjoy it please help me out by sharing the link on social media or supporting in other ways.