Xemnas (A Sketch)

Yes, I finally got a copy of Kingdom Hearts 3 and started playing it recently. (Don’t spoil anything! I’m still only one world into the game).

Kingdom Hearts is a game series I have a lot of fondness for in my heart, despite all of its issues. It was the series that convinced my teenage self that video games could be an art form because it prompted SO MANY FEELINGS (instead of just rage and frustration at the mechanics of whatever game I was playing).

This was the series that helped me get through high school. Not just because of its cool game-play or its silly character moments, but also because of the fandom.

Yes, I was one of those fans who giggled at the idea of rearranging Xemnas’ name into “Mansex.” Who loved all the crack comics comparing Saix to a puppy and having Demyx and Roxas use a laser pointer to torture him. I even devoured so many hours of a video series called “The Stupid Files” where a fan with a LOT of time on their hands spliced comedic audio samples over Kingdom Hearts cutscene footage. It was like a precursor to all the abridged anime series’ out now.

But.

Kingdom Hearts as a game series has a LOT of issues. I am not a fan of the fact that the spin-off titles, or “interquels,” change the core mechanics of the gameplay. I did not like the card system of Chain of Memories, but I ESPECIALLY hated the Tetris-inventory mechanics of 358/2 Days. I could not finish either of those games because of those gameplay mechanics.

As a fan of the series, I feel like a lot of those in-between games could have just been made into movies and be JUST as effective. Most fans of Kingdom Hearts I know only ever watch the cutscenes of the side games and play just the anchor games (the anchors being games 1, 2, and now 3).

That’s the thing that being a fan of Kingdom Hearts has taught me: that you don’t have to consume EVERY FACET of a property to be a big dork for the thing.

I will never play the interquel games. At most, I will watch the cutscenes. Heck, you can watch videos on YouTube summarizing the lore of Kingdom Hearts so far and – ta-da – you’re now caught up to the series without having to touch any of the crap side games.

(358/2 Days, why did you have to SUCK?)

That said, I’ve been playing Kingdom Hearts 3 so far – on Proud mode! I haven’t touched a new video game in 13 years and I can play Kingdom Hearts 3 on Proud Mode without dying. That…actually might be more a statement on the game’s difficulty than on my expertise. But that aside…

Playing Kingdom Hearts 3 reminded me why I love this game series in the first place. It’s fun to play (at least the anchor games are). The characters are stilted but they’re still fun. The dialogue is cheesy but it works. And GOOD GOLLY JEEZ, the fact that you can play as a character interacting in Disney worlds is great. I’m looking forward to the Toy Story world the most because those were some of my favorite movies as a kid.

It’s a game series made for people who are young at heart, who need a little light to combat all the cynicism and self-awareness that the video game industry is saturated in. And thank goodness for that.

That’s all I’m going to write for now. I could talk for days about this series.

Thank you for reading.

You. Are. Awesome.

Designing a Print for RathaCon, Step 2: Pencilling

After much discussion and user feedback via Instagram, the votes trended towards THIS design shown up top. So I drew it.

RathaCon is host to a LOT of nerdy events, from tabletop gaming rooms to belly dancers and Quidditch. I wanted this design to incorporate the many scenes that RathaCon has played host to.

I even squeezed in some gears for the steampunk elements, because there’s a steampunk contingent that appears every year. Magic: The Gathering cards and comic books will fill up some of the spaces around the edges. Plus the GhostBusters logo is to homage the local GhostBusting team.

There’s still some details to fit in, but so far it’s off to a great start. Don’t ya’ think?

Gods & Spirits: RE-LAUNCHED

On Monday, the initial campaign run for Gods & Spirits: A Sketchbook on KickStarter did NOT meet the goal.

And I know why.

I set the asking goal too high, and I incorporated rewards that should not have been part of the initial asking goal.

So I went back, made some tweaks, and re-launched Gods & Spirits on KickStarter, to take advantage of the demand for the book that WAS STILL THERE.

And within 2 days, WE MADE OUR INITIAL GOAL!

So now Gods & Spirits: A Sketchbook WILL be going to print once the campaign wraps up.

Now the next goal is to raise extra funding to get stickers printed.

There are 3 designs available, plus new reward tiers that include stickers as part of the package.

If you haven’t pledged to the KickStarter yet, I hope you take the time to check out the rewards and claim the one you like.

Thank you if you pledged to this campaign (again) – your support for this project is MARVELOUS!

Broke? Share this campaign with your friends and family searching for unique gift ideas!

That’s all for now. Thank you for your support!

You. Are. Awesome.

Big Changes Are A-Coming

Holy banana pants, I have so many announcements! So let’s break it up into parts.

SLEEP-OUT

This Friday I will be with Mel, co-founder of our local LGBT advocacy group, Beyond the Rainbow, to participate in the Wheeling Sleep-Out.

The Wheeling Sleep-Out is a charity event where groups of people compete to build the best cardboard fort, and then they must spend the night in the cardboard forts. The event is to raise money for Youth Services Systems, a Wheeling, WV-based non-profit working to end homelessness in the community.

Here’s where you can donate! Be sure to use this link, because teams who raise the most money get recognition.

PITTSBURGH WITCHES BALL

Literally the day after the Wheeling Sleep-Out, I’ll be at the Pittsburgh Witches Ball to sell my wares. Find the ball at the American Serbian Club.

Unlike most events, the Witches Ball runs from 5 pm until 10 pm. I hope you can make it – I won’t hold it against you if you’re only there for a short time.

Also, one of my pieces will be available at auction. Wink wink.

ONLINE STORE

Storenvy, the platform I used for my online shop, is going to get re-purposed. Because I’m moving all my comics, prints, and other convention products to my own little store!

The new store is still a work in progress, but you can find it at shop.kelcidcrawford.com. Some of my patrons from Patreon have tested it and it’s working well.

So the comics and art are moving to shop.kelcidcrawford.com, which means Storenvy is getting retooled – it will now be home to handmade crafts and one-off products, like the paper bead bracelets, handmade journals, and (coming soon) watercolor greeting cards.

KICKSTARTER

Now that the Validation’s Final Push campaign has wrapped up, it’s time for a new campaign.

This time, we’re looking to get Gods & Spirits: A Sketchbook to print! This book collects all the sketches done during Inktober this year, PLUS includes new illustrations and never-before-seen sketches.

Expect it to launch this coming Monday, November 5 – email newsletter peeps and patrons on Patreon will be the first ones to hear the news. So sign up for one or the other to jump on those early-bird tiers (because there will be at least one early-bird reward level) (Also Patreon peeps get bonus goodies).

COMMISSIONS

Well, I’m now making comics full-time – I WAS working at my local comic shop. NOT ANYMORE. (Long story.)

So now I have time to make commissions. These will make great gifts for the holidays (hint hint, wink wink). Rates start at $20 for a black-and-white character sketch, and varies from there.

Here’s a link to the full listing.

BLOG POSTS

Expect Review Day Tuesdays and Featured Artist Fridays to come back soon…

THAT’S IT.

Thank you for reading!

You. Are. Awesome.

The Legend of Jamie Roberts’ Newest Print

Awwww yeah! This print got finished not too long ago to showcase my new upcoming webcomic, The Legend of Jamie Roberts. (Coming online mid- to late-November.)

Illustrated here, from foreground to background, is Jamie Roberts, Ragun Ranki (pronounced Rah-Goon Ra-N-key), and the dragon shape of Ragun Basho (pronounced Rah-Goon Bah-show).

This took a little while to illustrate, especially with the waves of The Way in the background. The Way is the spirit world, where souls rest after death and before birth, and where Ranki was banished after The War of the Leaders 500 years before the start of the Legend.

Here’s some clips of the progress of the piece:

The colors of the background and Ranki were done in Clip Studio Paint to save me some marker ink.

This image will do double-duty as both a print and as the cover art for Chapter 1’s online serialization.

That’s all for now. Thank you for reading!

You. Are. Awesome.