Sailor Mercury: A Sketch

sailor mercury fanart sketch made with brush pen and copic marker

I didn’t grow up watching Sailor Moon – unlike apparently 99% of other Millenials. I knew it existed, but I didn’t watch it regularly.

But when I DID watch it, I watched it for Sailor Mercury.

Mostly I watched for her because Mercury (the planet) rules Virgo, and that happens to be my astrological sign.

But also she’s smart. I REALLY liked smart girls in my cartoons who were also cute as heck. Surprisingly, not many girls on TV at the time were smart AND cute. You were one or the other. But Sailor Mercury dared to be BOTH.

So yeah. I drew her.

She’s available as a hi-res download now, too, on Ko-Fi and Patreon for just $1.

The original sketch will be listed on Storenvy soon.

Thank you for reading!

You. Are. Awesome.

The Witch and the Demon: A Sketch

The Witch and the Demon has been sitting in the sketchbook, the short story file, and my brain parts for the better part of two years now.

The above sketch came first…I think.

Then I wrote the short story. And…ok, to be blunt, it’s pornographic.

There’s a part of me that would love to adapt this into a wordless comic one-shot. But there’s also the logical part of me that says that 99% of printers out there would not print porn comics.

The paradox of America: American comic printers will happily run a comic with a dude getting his dick ripped off by possessed animals, but they WON’T run a comic with someone getting head.

There are oversea printers – even one or two in Canada that could do this – but I want to be positive before I move forward with it.

The other issue with doing an x-rated comic is: there are a LOT – and I mean A LOT – of readers who think my work is all kid-friendly because of the art style I draw in.

On the one hand, I get it. It’s cutesy.

On the other hand, the subject matter is not child-friendly most of the time.

Case in point: Thoughtful Dinosaur.

Anytime this book is spotted on my table at shows, parents think it’s a book aimed at kids.

It’s not – it’s the story of a college student learning how to adult. While there’s no sex or cursing in it, it does tackle ideas that kids won’t understand, like existential dread and the meaning of life.

And I have to explain this more often than you’d think.

So because of all of those factors, The Witch and the Demon have been sitting in the rafters. And odds are high they will continue to sit there indefinitely.

We’ll see what the future holds for these two though. Auxaton as a story concept sat on the sidelines and was briefly abandoned… until I revived it for NaNoWriMo two years ago.

Who knows what will happen for the witch and her demon?

Thank you for reading.

You. Are. Awesome.

Ollie the Half-Orc Druid

ollie the half orc druid dungeons and dragons 5th edition character sketch

Ollie (short for Olive) is a half-orc druid I’m currently playing in my D&D 5E group.

And BOY is she a lot of fun to play as.

(Everything she says in the sketches above are things I’ve said in character as her. Like I said, she’s fun).

The thing about Ollie is: she’s wise…but she’s not smart. Her wisdom HAS to be high to be effective as a druid, and it IS high. Currently her wisdom score is at a 16.

Her intelligence is 8.

For the uninitiated, if your skill score is below 10, that means that when you roll a dice to determine how successful you are, you have to subtract a number from what you rolled. If your skill score is ABOVE 10, you add a number to what you rolled.

So any intelligence-based check Ollie makes, I have to subtract 1 from what I roll. Any wisdom-based checks I make, I get to add 3 to what I roll.

This not only makes the mechanics of the game more interesting… this also means more fun in my roleplay.

Imagine this scenario: you’re in the woods, and you see a pack of wild dogs running off a cliff. Only, there’s something magical happening: the dogs are floating down, their paws still kicking in the air, and then they touch the ground below, unharmed.

What does Ollie do?

She runs to the top of the cliff and runs off the edge to see if this is an area-of-effect spell.

(I learned the hard way: no. It is NOT an area spell. The dogs were just magical).

But this is the kind of personality Ollie is: she learns from experience, not from books. In fact, if anything, classes put her to sleep.

She is also charismatic as heck. Her Charisma score is at a 16. So that means she’s REALLY good at making friends with people. Her typical greeting anytime she enters a room is, “MY DUDE!”

She calls bullshit when she sees it (hence the “passive aggressive” quote above). And she’s handy to have around to diffuse a tense situation.

More often than not, though, if something gets too tense, and she thinks people are going to make a fatal, terrible decision, she will physically pick them up and carry them out of the room.

(Hey, she’s still a half-orc. Half-orcs are strong, yo).

I hope you enjoyed Ollie as much as I enjoyed sharing her with you. I hope to draw more of her soon!

Thank you for reading.

You. Are. Awesome.

Notre Dame Cathedral, Chaco Canyon, and Historical Preservation

Notre Dame cathedral in France caught on fire. And that got me thinking.

Specifically, it got me thinking about the importance of cultural preservation, how we got to caring about Notre Dame cathedral so much, and how we can carry that attitude moving forward.

We as an American/European culture got to caring about Notre Dame cathedral mostly because of Victor Hugo’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame – or, in the original French, “Notre Dame de Paris.”

Believe it or not, that book has nothing to do with the love “triangle” of Quasimodo, Esmerelda, and Frollo. That dynamic was more due to later interpretations and adaptations of the novel to the movie screen. (For more on that, check out this video by Lindsay Ellis if you haven’t already.)

No, the original book is a lengthy essay about the importance of architecture to a culture and how architecture outlives and outlasts the people who live around it.

So, if you ever read the book and wondered, like teenage-me did, why the characters are so unlikeable and why there are entire pages devoted to the flying buttresses… well, now you know.

In short, Victor Hugo’s book was written in an attempt to preserve Notre Dame cathedral at a point in time and history when cultural preservation wasn’t even a concept. Keep in mind, too, that when Hugo wrote the book, Notre Dame cathedral was practically a shell, having been looted and torn apart multiple times until he wrote “Notre Dame de Paris.” This book was written with the intent of telling people why this cultural edifice was so important, and urging people to restore it and preserve it.

I’m glad we now live in a world where historical and cultural preservation is a thing. And I’m glad to live in a world where the burning of Notre Dame Cathedral is considered a tragic event because of the historic significance of the landmark.

That said, don’t worry too much about Notre Dame Cathedral. Now, I’m saying this as an American Pagan and not a French Catholic. I’ve never seen the cathedral in person, and my only visual memory of it is the Disney adaptation of The Hunchback of Notre Dame. However, Notre Dame Cathedral has the Catholic Church and the support of millions of Catholics around the world to restore it. Notre Dame cathedral will be fine.

My hope is that we remember the significance of cultural landmarks like Notre Dame Cathedral, and we carry that attitude with us towards monuments and landmarks that are at risk.

Like, here in the United States, we have a lot of cultural parks at risk at the hands of our current government administration, who are more focused on resource extraction than on cultural or historic preservation.

As an example, let’s take a look at Chaco Culture National Historical Park in New Mexico. This site is not only a culturally significant site to MANY Native American tribes. It’s also the home of the oldest Pueblo ruins in the United States.

And the problem? The largest of those ruins, Pueblo Bonito, was excavated, but nearly half of it was buried again under a landslide. All of that work, and all of the artifacts left to excavate, was lost.

And my concern? Right now there are fossil fuel companies looking to build mines, or god forbid, go fracking, in the lands in and around Chaco Canyon. The earthquakes that those operations cause could bury more ruins and make us lose more history.

My hope? I hope we remember the example of Notre Dame Cathedral and we carry that momentum forward, to protect the cultural landmarks that contain our history.

Chaco Canyon and Notre Dame Cathedral mean different things, depending on your religious outlook. But they are both significant landmarks that have outlasted and outlived the peoples who originally built them. My hope is that we remember the significance of places like Chaco Canyon and we treat it with the same care and respect as we do Notre Dame.

Thank you for reading.

You. Are. Awesome.

P.S. If you would like to find out more about Chaco Canyon, here’s their official website (if you have the means to, they also accept donations). And be sure to check out (and if you can, support) The National Park Service, the organization that protects sites like Chaco Canyon nationwide.

How I Made the RathaCon Limited Edition Print Art

This post does contain affiliate links. Bear with me.

So this started, initially, as a multi-part blog post series.

Then it got complicated.

Specifically, the art got complicated, and I wasn’t able to make a new blog post each week to detail the process of making this thing.

Let’s go into the details, though, so I can show you WHY this art took so long. And also how I make big illustrations like this one.

STEP 1: THUMBNAILS

Thumbnails are what I like to call the really rough sketches of an idea. It’s something I borrowed from animation film language.

I already wrote a post about this step, which you can read here.

STEP 2: PENCILS

I wrote about why I choose this design, as well as the details of it, in the second part of the blog series. Now I’m going to get into the how.

It took a little while for the email chain with the convention staff to start (another reason that the weekly blog post idea had to get pushed). But once it got going, I was able to get feedback and get to work.

Pencils – or, the sketched the version of a thing – is something I do with just one pencil in one go.

When I first started in comics, I USED to do the undersketch with one pencil (usually a 2H), then the top layer in a darker tone (like B).

Now, I do all of my pencilling with just one pencil. Usually a mechanical one. I believe the RathaCon art was drawn with my Tombow monograph mechanical pencil, but right now I am in LOVE with the Zebra DelGuard mechanical pencil.

STEP 3: INKS

This step takes a deceptively long time.

It takes a long time for me because I try to control the line weight as much as possible: making some areas dark with a bolder line, but light with a lighter line.

Inking is also the stage where I have to squint at my pencil drawing and determine what lines will look the best when inked.

Because pencils are when I get real loose. Inks are where things get tight and snappy.

STEP 4: COLORS

Depending on the piece, I’ll make it either traditional-only (usually with Copic markers). Or I make it a combination of traditional and digital. Or I have all the colors be digital.

For the RathaCon print art, I opted to combine the traditional and digital modes. So I colored with my Copics first, then scanned the art, to start the next step…

STEP 6: DIGITAL EDITS

At this stage I go back over the art in Clip Studio Paint and erase any stray marks, fix any color bleeds, and generally just clean the piece up.

I also like to adjust how much the colors pop at this stage. So I play with the levels a little.

STEP 7: DIGITAL COLORS

With the RathaCon art, the only digital color I needed to add was the background tint.

In almost any other piece, I’ll add a layer over the art in Clip Studio Paint in order to add shadows. These make the art pop even more.

STEP 8: FORMATTING

I originally made the art for this print at 11 x 17 inches.

About a week ago, the RathaCon staff asked if I could make the piece an 8.5 x 11 inch one instead.

Pro tip: it’s WAY EASIER to shrink an illustration than to enlarge it.

It took a little wiggling to keep the scale of the piece consistent and not accidentally cut off bits of it. But a new scale was figured out.

And there you have it!

As I mentioned, this art will be available as a limited edition 8.5 x 11 inch print at RathaCon, for $10 a piece.

So if you’re in Athens, OH on April 27, I hope you get it! This is a limited print run, so once it’s gone – it’s gone.

I’ll have these beauties for sale at my table, and they’ll also be available at the RathaCon official table.

Thank you for reading!

You. Are. Awesome.