Life of the Party: An Artist’s Tale with Travis Hanson

I’m an artist myself, and I love webcomics… but when I saw Life of the Party come across my feed on Facebook, it was love at first sight.

When did you become a tabletop gamer or role-player, and what was your “gateway game”?

I was 12 or 13 when I started gaming way back in the early 80’s. Our go to games were Gangbusters, Star Frontiers, Gamma Worlds and Dnd.

What inspired you to get into self-publishing?

I have always loved to tell stories and I love having control over the way I tell stories. I found that self-publishing was a great way to do that and I found that even though the road is hard the rewards are well worth it.

Did you publish material before platforms like Kickstarter became available?

Yup. I published several comics and books before Kickstarter. I even had two huge flops which really hurt. But we bounced back and Kickstarter really opened doors to indy publishers. Yet even if there was not a Kickstarter platform, I was determined to make it work.

What do you think was the major component between No Mercy: Viking Penguins vs Pirate Bears missing its funding and Life of the Party: The Realities of an RPG’er getting nearly 2,000 backers?

Well, they were two different projects. One (No Mercy) was a sequel to a card game, that had support, but I was going through a really rough and emotional time and my heart wasn’t in it. It was a powerful moment for me when it failed. Yet I also know that the audience is there for the game, but it’s not the focus at the moment. When I started LOTP, I was doing a daily comic about gaming and it found it’s niche really quickly. It was something for everyone, it was much different than anything I have ever done, and when you update every day an audience will grow rather quickly.

Do you focus on reaching out to previous backers or new audiences for each campaign?

I do both. Because you have fans that want to be a part of many things that you do, so I try to include them.

After 10 campaigns, what is your ONE big tip to new Kickstarter campaign creators?

Update every single day and build your audience, before you launch. Especially if you are doing comics. That fan base is crucial.

After 10 campaigns what is your ONE major warning to new Kickstarter campaign creators?

The warning is to never stop talking to your backers. Keep them informed.

Tell me a little bit about Life of the Party: Roll for Initiative, your current (620% funded as of this post) campaign on Kickstarter!

Life of the Party: Roll for Initiative is the 2nd volume of my ongoing comic. It is the next 100+ comics from the original launch date a year and a half ago. Its all about the love of the game, the funny things that happen in it, and a mixture of real life itself. So it has something for everyone.

Do you have any sneak peeks of upcoming work?

Yup – I added a coloring book as an add-on to this Kickstarter. Here are 2 never before seen interior pieces!

Your art has a very fun, energetic and has a playful feel to it. Who are your biggest inspirations from the art world?

My inspirations are all over. I love Bill Watterson, William Stout, Stan Sakai, Sergio Argonas, Jeff Smith, several French and German artists, and many many others.

Did you go to school for art, or train anywhere?

Nope, I am self-taught. Art school was not an option for me and I had to figure it out to make it work.

Has life always inspired your subject matter, or did that develop over time?

Oh yes, life is a big part of my work. I find it very very inspiring and have done so ever since I was a little kid.

What are your favorite mediums to work in?

I love watercolors and copics, and I also enjoy the digital mediums as well.

Who’s your favorite Old Master artist?

I love the works of many of the landscape artists of the 1800’s as well as the military artists during WWII and WWI who had to capture the emotions of soldiers in the heat of the battle. A job I would not want to have.

Who’s your favorite contemporary artist?

I don’t really have one.

Do you host any game nights at your home or at a local store/eatery?

We try to have a game night every now and then here at the house. I am about to bring my teens into the world of Dnd this weekend.

What is your favorite adult beverage (we are I’m A Social Gamer after all)?

I love Mexican Cokes.

Check out Travis Hanson on:

Bean Leaf Press (his own website)

Kickstarter (his current campaign)

Patreon (a great place to support him)