2023, Happy New Year

Here it is, the artwork I promised…and just in time for 2023. I hope you like it, I enjoyed working on it. I’m still trying to find the creative styles that suit me, and this has been a fun learning opportunity. A new year means new opportunities for creativity and growth!

Let me give you a little background on the new artwork. It’s all my favorite characters from season 1 (which starts production early this year by the way, I’m so excited!). Oriole, Ryn, and all the fun support Onyx Guard characters: Bolse, Imaris, A’zahl and Thome. This has inspired me to actually make a similar layout with the ‘bad guys’, which could be kinda awesome.

January is going to be a very busy month for me. I’m actually launching a sticker business that was inspired by all the drawing I’ve been doing for The Barrier Scroll. The name of the shop is called Tiny Chicken Island, and I’ll be selling island themed stickers that hopefully bring you joy 🙂 Opening day is January 20th, 2023.

Things I aim to do more of this year:
1. Comic panels
2. Running
3. Welcoming uncertainty
4. Writing
5. Eating better
6. Drawing
7. Pouring into cups that pour back into mine
8. Prioritizing my needs
9. Embracing difficult conversations
10. Making time for the people I care about/care about me

Things I aim to do less of this year:
1. Force, chase, or beg
2. Negative self-talk
3. Let my empathy impede my self-respect
4. Dwell on failure
5. Compare myself to others
6. Take things personally
7. Hold onto toxic feelings, people, or ideas
8. Be a prisoner to the things I can’t change/control
9. Worrying
10. Making time for people who don’t care about me

Recommended Playlist:

Thank you for the support, I hope you have a wonderful new year. ♡

Writing tips: Outlining your narrative

The story of The Barrier Scroll is something that has been with me for a long time, but I’ve never truly fleshed out the details. When you start to think about story structure and character motivations, it can be daunting, intimidating even to outline your narrative.

There are countless resources to plot your story but the one that resonated with me the most was a rendition of Blake Snyder‘s storytelling structure, Save the Cat!, called Save the Cat! Writes a Novel, by Jessica Brody. This story structure, used on countless popular movies and novels, outlines essential plot points, or beats. When you struggle with structure like I do, this is immensely helpful. To visualize this, here’s Savannah Gilbo’s graphic to get us oriented:

It can be helpful to think about a comic thematically.

I wont go in depth as to what exactly Save the Cat! story structure is, but I do want to stress the importance of structure overall. Structure helps you space out the major events of your story in a way that keeps your reader engaged, without overwhelming them. How do the character’s goals, motivations, and internal conflicts propel the story forward? And why should the audience care?

John Truby, screenwriter, director, and author of The Anatomy of Story says: “Without good structure a story will not work, no matter how good the writing.” I don’t recommend sitting down to write a story from beginning to end and expect it to all make sense when you come out the other end. For most people, to get the best result, you need to apply the craft of story telling and think about what you are doing before you dive in and start writing. Truby says, “Every hour you put into prep work on your story, you save ten when it comes to writing, and rewriting, it…writer’s block is almost always caused by not knowing where the story is going.”

Write down all your ideas, no matter what, and no matter where you are.

Stories, at their deepest level, explore the human spirit and communicate that truth. Find a structure that works for you, so that your narrative has meaning, and connects with readers.

Recommended Resources:

Thank you for the support. ♡

Drawing Process: Phylos Crowmin

Ok story time: A few years ago I befriended a Crow family that lived in my neighborhood. It was a big crow family that was really vocal and loved to play. Hearing all kinds of exceptional stories online about people making crow-bro friends and getting neat little gifts in return I gave it my best effort and started feeding the family. Ok spoiler alert, THEY DID NOT BRING ME ANY GIFTS, but they did demand that I feed them, and were very vocal if I did not. This included banging on my window with such severity that I thought they would break it, as well as ripping up the patio furniture cushions until I came outside with a handful of dog food. Some crows are assholes. I named the momma Crow “Ukiyo-e” because she used to squat down and make this adorable noise that sounded like two wood blocks banging against one another. I was sad when I moved, and hope they’re still doing well.

Just to give you some context on this little guy, his name is Phylos Crowmin. Phylos took Oriole, our protagonist, in when she was tiny. Over the years he has become a father-like figure towards her, and has done his best to shield Oriole from the realities of life, maybe too much. He’s the owner of Caladrius Tavern and Inn, which he inherited after the previous owner passed away.

I wanted to share a progress video on how I drew this character. Enjoy.

Thinking up Beastmin characters is always fun because I can choose animals that I absolutely adore, and Crows are definitely on that list.

Thank you for the support. ♡

Story Idea

The first time I thought up the characters for what is now titled The Barrier Scroll was when I was very little. It was a bit of a silly story back then, clunky, with no real narrative, but still it had a lot of soul. Even today however, the promise of the premise remains the same. A relatable, flawed character goes on an adventure and comes out on the other side a bit less flawed, wiser, and better for it. I can’t wait to start sharing this world with you. It means a lot to me to take these characters I’ve carried in my head and heart for decades finally come to life. It’ll be slow going, since I work on this purely in my spare time, but steady. But I hope that it will start to gain traction as the pieces begin to fall into place. I’m planning on a 3 season comic that’s still very much in its early stages of writing, but the foundation is being laid, and the world is being built. Thanks for coming on this journey with me. I hope you enjoy all the hopes, loves, and sorrows of these characters as much as I enjoy creating them.

Thank you for the support. ♡