Four days until you get to see the webcomic!

Only four more days until you get to read my new webcomic! I’m so excited, this is something I’ve been working towards for two years. 

While you’re waiting, I thought it’d be fun for you to see what goes into creating a comic panel. It’s an interesting process. 

I’ll walk you through the first panel of My Ex, Vlad.


I start by doing a high-level outline of the story. For this panel, the words were:

“Gladdy comes home…”

Page Roughs

My next step is to rough out the panel and figure out the “cinematography” and framing of the shot.

First Pencils

I draw a more refined version.

Second Pencils

Then I try to draw it better.


If I am struggling mightily with a panel, I (sometimes) ask a comics mentor for advice.

Reference Photos

Sometimes I act out the things happening in the story and take a picture to figure out how things would look.

Third Pencils

I draw something I don’t hate.


This step is more than just tracing the pencils. I vary the line width to create subtle shading and “carve” the lines out of the pencil sketchiness. 

Spot Blacks

Sometimes a panel benefits from having large areas of black, this can create drama or lead the reader’s eye to the important part of the panel.


The next step is laying in solid color patches under the inks.

If you remove the inks layer it should not have any gaps between the areas of color. That’s so it prints correctly if you make a print version of the comic.


This is where you go through and add highlights and shadows based on where the light sources are in your scene. I use a technique called “cell shading”


Then I add dialog. Although this comes last, I have to have the size and placement of the dialog bubbles in mind starting way back with the roughs stage.

And that’s how I make a comic panel!

Look forward to seeing you on the site on Valentine’s Day!


P.S. If you have any questions or comments about this process, type a comment below and I’ll get back to you! 😀

Intro Video for S.A.W Graphic Novel Class

As part of the Sequential Arts Workshop (S.A.W) online Graphic Novel class, we’ve been asked to make short videos introducing us and our projects. I thought you might find it amusing. 

It also explains the storyline behind Vampire Ex-Boyfriend and what I hope to accomplish with the project. (So, you know, SPOILERS)

It’s 3:34 minutes long.

Removing the “Adult Content” label from my Patreon page

I’m currently working with Patreon support to get the “Adult Content” warning label removed from the page where I share my comics.

This is important for two reasons:

Accounts labeled “Adult Content” do not show up in searches on Patreon. If you go and search on “cute comics about sheep, and vampires” or even “Syne Mitchell” my page won’t show up. Which means that people who might enjoy my comics, can’t find them.

Even if they run into a friend or fellow guild member who says, “Oh, you like comics about sheep, and vampires? Syne Mitchell is working on those, here’s a direct link to her Patreon page. They will see: “Adult Content: You must be 18 years or older to view this content.” Which probably gives people wrong ideas about what goes on in my comics about sheep…

… I’ve noticed that several people to I’ve sent my Patreon page address to and said, “I’m so excited about making comics! Here, go take a look!” Have never mentioned my comics again, if they spoke to me again at all…

Panel from a sheep comic that shows a shepherdess desperately trying to dress a sheep in a sweater, and swearing, in unreadable symbols. The image is 90% hidden behind a "censored panel". Text of the comic reads: "You must undress the sheep, roll up the cuff, and then... re-dress the sheep."

Hmm, OK, maybe it’s not just the content warning that gives them the wrong idea…

So let’s go back a step and talk about how my content got flagged in the first place. 

When I was setting up my Patreon account, one of the items I needed to fill out was whether my material contained Adult content, which includes any amount of nudity.

Dialog box from the Patreon web site asking whether to classify your Patreon account as 18+ in terms of age appropriateness.

My goal with the Patreon site was to share both my comics and artistic journey. I was doing the audacious thing of learning to draw at age 49, and thought it would be fun for folks to watch my skills progress and read about the steps I took to get there.

A big part of my early learning was figure-drawing classes. I want to make comics about people, and want those people to look properly proportioned. The thing about community-college figure-drawing classes is that the models are nude, and for good reason; it’s hard to see bone placement and muscle anatomy if the model is wearing clothes.

I dithered ever whether to toggle the “18+ content” selector. Figure-drawing class exercises are not provocative; it’s a person in a comfortable pose they can hold for 20-40 minutes, who just happens to be nude, similar to what you see in public museums, though (in my case) more inexpertly drawn.

Being a literalist, I could not avoid the fact that the models were naked, and there was no “yes, they’re nude, but it’s not a sexual nudity” option.

So I eventually chose “yes”, figuring that I could un-check the box later if I changed my mind (you can’t) and not realizing the impact that choice would have on the discoverability of, and engagement with, my comics. In other words, I read the Patreon Adult Content guidelines, and yet didn’t understand all the implications. 

I also thought that I’d be able to mark individual pages as “Adult Content” and leave the others unmarked, like songs in iTunes. Also not the case.

After a year, I re-thought this decision. I wasn’t posting that much content with nudity, anyway. When the Covid-19 pandemic hit in early 2020 (I’m in the Seattle area, where things started in the U.S.) all my figure drawing classes were suspended.

To get the “Adult Content” label removed, you have to contact Patreon Support and have an actual human go review your posts. It took about a day for a support person to get back to me and say that if I removed the posts with nudity, I could get reclassified.

I felt like a sell-out, and yet I deleted the content. It was only three or four posts, and tangential to the main purpose of sharing my adventures making comics.

Now I’m waiting to hear back whether my page has been re-classified as all-ages. I’m hoping it happens before I give my talk at the Whidbey Weaver’s Guild, because I want to mention my comics, and don’t want to scare folks away with the “Adult Content” label. 

Unfortunately, I’m having a hard time checking whether it’s gone through. I’m not able to find the slider selector on the Settings page for my site (where did it go?). And because I’m the page’s creator, I can’t try to sign up as a patron for myself.

If you have a moment, and aren’t currently my patron on Patreon, would you mind doing me two small favors? It’ll take only 2-3 minutes and won’t cost anything.

1) Go to and in the “Find a creator” search box, enter “Syne”. Do I appear in the listings? You might have to scroll down the page.

2) Go to and select one of the orange “Join” buttons. (Note: You can cancel before entering payment info, so you won’t be charged.) Do you get a “Adult Content” warning? To back out of the sign-up process, hit the browser’s back button or close the page’s tab. 

Note: If you do accidentally sign up to be my patron, you can easily cancel on the Patreon site, or contact me through the Contact page on this site and I’ll walk you through it.

If you do that quick test, please let me know how it went in the comments below or on Facebook. I’d appreciate it. 🙂 

Comics for a Pandemic

Covid-19 is on all our minds at the moment. As an artist, the way I deal with uncomfortable emotions is by creating art. Below are a couple of comics I drew with the current situation in mind.

This first comic represents my hope that the current situation will bring us closer together.

Next I drew this picture of The Amabie. From the Japanese legend, if you look at an image of The Amabie while there’s an epidemic about, you’ll be protected.

I’m sharing it with you to let you know I’m wishing you health and wellness.

For my behind-the-scenes story behind this image, see the post about my process.

If you want to see the amabie photos created by other artists from around the world, go to Instagram and search on the following tag (amabie in Japanese) you can see pictures of amabie from all over the world: アマビエ

Maybe you want to make or share one?

Tip of the nib to David Lasky who introduced me to the concept of The Amabie and invited other makers and artists he knew to come up with their own versions.

Want more comics? Each month I post a free comic on the Comics page on this website.

For even more comics and behind-the-scenes information, follow me on Patreon. There’s a lot of free content there in addition to the patron-only posts. And of course, if you have the interest and the means, I’d appreciate your support.

Become a Patron!