creating the *unofficial* 2019 mark sheppard appearance list
Last updated 02/07/2019
For those of you only here for THE SHEPPARD LIST, you can view itas an on-page interactive PDF, complete with live links to the convention websites & their social media channels (with the exception being YouTube currently, because I haven’t made the icon yet).over at MarkSheppardFandom.Blogspot.com.
You can also download the current version of the Sheppard2019AppList to save on your phone. We’ll try to keep it updated if/when new dates and info are released.
The PDF will be updated as new information becomes available, but (as always) you’re ultimately responsible for doing your own adulting and verifying information is correct.
Sh*t happens. Sometimes prices change or dates get canceled on account of filming or familial obligations. *cough* Or sometimes the designer works on a project for way too long and ends up f*cking sh*t up in a sleepy stupor and has to go back and fix things. *cough*
If something to that effect comes up and affects a con you’re attending, try not to be a giant douche about it. Is it disappointing? Yeah, sure it is. That doesn’t give you license to behave like a twat waffle, though. Roll with the punches and mind your manners. . .
creating the list: More fun with AP beta testing
I have had SUCH a blast designing this piece! Affinity Publisher has really stepped up its game since its initial beta release last year.
Back in late 2018, after learning that the rumors were true, that Serif really was working towards producing an affordable alternative to Adobe’s InDesign desktop publishing software, that it was not only more than an urban legend, but that it was being offered to users for beta testing… Well, be still my dark, little layout-loving heart!
Creating Sheppard’s 2018 Appearance List (well, what was left of it by then) was my very first test drive of the software. I’d snatched the info from Nat’s blog—she’d put together a lovely and detailed list of Sheppard’s whats-and-wheres, but I wanted it to be … LOUDER. After the amazing time I had at the convention I attended in June 2018, I wanted to help get as many asses in those panel seats and as many bods in those op lines as humanly possible.
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This year Nat asked me to design the appearance list for her site, which I was more than happy to do. I mean, I was going to do another design this year anyway, and if one of my fave social media masters wanted to sport something I made on her page, hellz yeah… Absolutely! I was SO down for it. Couldn’t wait to get started.
I hadn’t used the Affinity Publisher software in a hot minute; having discovered the greatness of one of its sisters, Affinity Designer, I’d been wrapped up in getting better acquainted with it for some time. I did know, however, that several updates had been made to the publishing software since I’d used it last. With a new project on the horizon, I was eager to see how Affinity Publisher had come along since our last fling.
Finding a Theme
Last year I purposely tried to emulate a convention promo poster. I was just messing around and trying it to see if I could do it. I think I did well enough for an amateur.
This year I wanted to try something different. After spending a good deal of time viewing existing posters and flyers for inspiration, I set my sights on more a nightclub vibe. ** I might have originally intended to include a “Live Dudes” neon sign in the background. The Husband loved the idea, thought it was hilarious, even—which is ultimately why I scrapped that particular idea altogether. If The Husband is laughing that hard, it’s probably a safe bet that it’s something that’s going to offend, and since I was making this to go up on Nat’s site and not strictly my own… Well, I figured I’d try to keep it classy.
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I just wanted to take a moment to share. I've been working on a spiffy #MarkSheppard appearance list for @DragonEmbers since January (it's actually going to be ready later tonight). I'm so excited about how it's come out--#LoveDesign--but after seeing the #SPN300 photoshoots pic.twitter.com/1YKb9MrCUE— Bubbles & Chaos (@BubblesAndChaos) February 6, 2019
Imagine my surprise when I saw that the Supernatural crew had done a neon-themed photo shoot recently! I had to screenshot the file creation date of the Sheppard list—pics or it didn’t happen, right? He may not have been invited to the shoot, but he still ended up with a little neon something. I’d even considered trying out the neon lighting on his face, but ultimately decided against it because that smug mug of his is too pretty to alter.
If you were hoping for a detailed rundown of how I went about it all, sorry. Much like when I’m cooking, I tend to surf around and find a base recipe, maybe research a couple of techniques, and then just jump in and … do … things. I’m not great with writing down my steps just yet—which is an absolutely terrible way to do things, by the way; later in the process, I really wanted punch myself in the mouth for not taking the time to plan or set up any styling as I went along. Would’ve made things so much easier in the long run and saved a lot of time when I needed to add pages or change elements.
To achieve the final functioning PDF file, I actually had to use a combination of programs and tools, some paid and some free:
- Affinity Publisher (free beta desktop publishing software download)
- Affinity Designer (paid vector-based graphic design software **does offer some pixel-based creation possibilities, as well**)
Inkscape (free opensource download)**I recalled that I intended to use Inkscape to attempt to insert the hyperlinks, but scrapped that idea because parts of the piece were rasterized when I tried to work with it in this program; it looked gross.**
- GIMP (free opensource image editing software download)
- An online PDF editor (free trial version)
Why so many programs, you ask? Well, because AP is meant to be a desktop publishing software, so while it does have some image creation/editing capability currently, it’s fairly limited. Future versions of the software do intend to hold hands seamlessly with its sisters, Affinity Photo And Affinity Designer, it seems, but that’s sometime in the future. I’m also not an expert-level user of any of these programs; a more experienced and educated designer likely could chop a couple of these programs off of the list.
Affinity Publisher Yays and Nays
Currently free, paid pricing likely one-time payment of $50.00.
Lovely grid layout and measuring tools.
Has a feel that reminds me of InDesign.
Offers precise control of typography.
Still buggy in its beta version, so does crash here and there—SAVE OFTEN.
❌ Lacks hyperlink capability currently—this is a pretty big nay for the pros hoping to move away from other desktop publishing softwares, and is one of the biggest complaints I’ve seen within the beta tester feedback forum.
❌ While Affinity does offer some video tutorials on using Publisher, they’re limited at this time.
Overall, I’m still loving Affinity Publisher as an alternative to the pricier desktop publishing software out there, and I expect I’ll purchase it when they release the true version. Now, well-established professionals are less likely to make the switch to #TeamAffinity until certain kinks are worked out, but for those of us whose budgets frown on the subscription model, Affinity products are looking to be exciting options with promising possibilities.
Special THanks & Shout outs to:
- Sue Catt, who bore textual witness to many a tantrum during this process from its beginning, and only told me when she was laughing maybe half of the time.
- Ms. Joy, the admin for Sheppard Addicts, for her keen corrective eye and graceful tact when notifying me that I’d f*cked up.
- Ms. Nicole, one of a team of admins of Mark Sheppard Fans, for her design eye and for providing a particular text graphic—it wasn’t used in this theme, but …
- The Husband, Ms. Eff, and Doc Holliday—my dear analog non-fanpeople—for smiling and nodding enthusiastically when I come at them with my “Look what I made” fangirl ish. ❤
- The Teen, for volunteering to help me with a technique I was trying to figure out, then for her excitement on my behalf when I was able to figure it out myself. ❤
- Lil’ Kaos, for ensuring I do not chain myself to my desk. ❤
- Nat, admin of Mark Sheppard Fandom and admin team member of Mark Shepard Fans, for asking me to design for her this year, and for her kindness and patience with me during the process.
- Mark Sheppard, for being Mark Sheppard.
- All of the lovely people who’ve tested the PDF and have taken the time to give us feedback on it. So glad to hear that some of y’all are finding it useful. 😊
So what did you think of the PDF?
Have suggestions for additions or improvements to the document?
Drop a comment below!