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. ♡

Reflecting on 2022

This year has been capricious to say the least. But regardless of how tumultuous it’s been, I have been able to continue to pour my heart into the passion projects I care deeply about. This comic has been a wonderful escape for me for the last year and a half, and within that time I have been able to conceive characters and a world that I love and I hope someday you do as well. That being said, none of this consistency and progress would be possible without time and dedication set aside to work on these things.

Making time for Personal Projects

I recently wrote a post about how to make time for the things you care about and want to be doing. Creating The Barrier Scroll comic is a huge undertaking for me, and something that I was, quite frankly, intimidated to commit my time to. I am by no means an ‘illustrator’ or a ‘writer’…but I want to be. So I try to take what time I have in each day, and dedicate it to something that gives me joy and passion. I’ve given passion projects and personal development a lot of thought and it really comes down to one thing: making time. This little cutlet of insight can be applicable to countless parts of our life. We as human beings can be extremely busy, overwhelmed even. However, it’s important to identify what really matters.

I completed my Book Blurb

I decided to stop putzing around and finish my attempt at a “back of the book blurb”, not to be confused with a “synopsis”–which I am also still very much working on as well. I’m not writing a novel obviously, but the need for some sort of way to entice readers to care about my comic seemed necessary. And what better way than a short pithy paragraph or two that leaves the reader wanting more.

Seasons 1, 2, and 3 are outlined

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, so I put together a post on how I approached this task. Seasons 1-3 are completely outlined, Season 1 is written, and 2 is well on it’s way, and it’s been so enjoyable to do this since the outline really helps propel the narrative forward for me. I know what I’m writing towards, and rarely hit writer’s block now. It’s been such an enjoyable experience and allows me to look at the story holistically–that way I’m able to plant seeds in Season 1 that won’t come to fruition until Season 3–and I’m here for that.

I drew so much and enjoyed it that I’m opening an (unrelated to TBS) sticker shop

I’ll be honest with you I did not expect so much art to come out of me this year, I hadn’t even planned on it. But I was so inspired my the narrative I just drew and drew, some of it good, some of it crappy, but all of it enjoyable. In fact, I had so much fun drawing and doodling that I’m launching a sticker shop called Tiny Chicken Island on January 20th, 2023. The Barrier Scroll and its progress has reignited my love for drawing and I couldn’t be happier. Also side note, a new promo image is coming soon (totally not sneak peeked somewhere in this blog post) with all my favorite characters and I am so excited to share it as soon as it’s done.

Recommended Playlist:

See you in 2023. I’ll have much more to share with you soon, thank you for the support. ♡

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. ♡

Character Spotlight: A’zahl Hyra

A’zahl Hyra character design

Next up on our Character Spotlight series is one of our Onyx Guardsmin, A’zahl Hyra. Really one of my favorite characters with how much depth he has and how vital to the narrative he is.

Name: A’zahl HyraCharacter: Support Character
Hair: blackAge: 108 (ehh don’t quote me on this)
Eyes: redJob: Onyx Guard
Height: 6’1”Race: Volga
From: VaalGoal: retrieve barrier scroll 
Orientation: bi-sexualWant: rescue sister
Nicknames: The Magus of VaalWeapon: dark magic
Enneagram: The Enchanter

A charming and quick witted Volga, A’zahl is a member of the Onyx Guard representing the state of Vaal. An extremely powerful magic user he prefers to wear a mask in combat to obscure his spell casting to enemies. He’s secretly in love with Imaris the Cunning.

The Volga have a pretty complicated history with the Federation, especially after a conflict called The Upheaval changes the way Elves view the Federation. However, as centuries pass, stories from generation to generation begin to fade. A new generation of Federation leadership accepts the wrongdoings of their predecessors and condemns the dark history. Opening the door for the remaining Volga to assimilate into society. Some go by way of the Empire, where as others like A’zahl join the Federation.

Check out that eye glowy thing.

A’zahl has his own desires and motivations as well, and one of those is finding his little sister Saphielle.

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. ♡