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.

Why Freelancers Should Have AT LEAST One Day Off Per Week

sleeping dragon sketch for blog post about why freelancers need one day off a week

I’m inspired to write this as part of my Freelance Lifestyle blog series for one big reason: because I think all freelancers should have at LEAST one day off per week.

The inspiration came after I watched a video from The Personal Philosophy Project about freelancing. I liked her other videos, but I wanted to see if there was something new in her approach to freelancing that I hadn’t thought of.

Unfortunately, in her video, she says, “freelancers never have a day off.”

NOT. TRUE. AT ALL.

Freelancers ABSOLUTELY need days off. The difference is that freelancers have to plan for them.

I have always made it a personal point to keep one day off per week. Even if I had to take a part-time job working retail or (most recently) at a gas station, I made it clear from the start with people that I keep ONE day of the week off. No exceptions.

(Part of the reason I left the gas station was because they were beginning to break that. They kept trying to call me in to work on my ONE DAY OFF. I repeatedly had to tell them no.)

I’m so dedicated to keeping one day of the week absolutely work-free because of one super simple reason:

To avoid burnout.

When I had the “freelancers work 24/7!” mentality, I burned out frequently. I had high anxiety and nearly had panic attacks. I would be irritable with everyone around me, client, friend, or otherwise.

It’s not the best way for you to shine.

Also, working 24/7/365 is the best way to make your home an absolute mess that you never clean. Working constantly is also a good way to never cook for yourself, or make time for your friends or pets or family.

You. Need. A Day Off.

What day of the week should you keep off? That depends on the work that you do.

My recommendation is to find the slowest day of the week in your work schedule, and make that your day off.

For me, for the longest time, that was Sundays. But now that I’m back to freelancing full-time (and a surprising amount of work is only available on the weekends), I’m considering changing it to Wednesdays.

But whether it’s Sunday or Wednesday, I fully plan on keeping a day off.

Because dammit, I need a rest and a recharge.

In this way, we are like phones: if you keep your phone running 24/7, it WILL overheat, slow down, glitch, and run out of battery FAST.

Same goes for you.

So I urge you, if you truly want to embrace the freelance lifestyle: Give yourself one day out of the week to just shut off and recharge. You’ll thank yourself for it later. I promise.

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.

King Luxon IV – A Sketch

king luxon iv original character dungeons and dragons warlock pact with the raven queen

King Luxon IV was a good king. Many in his land would say he was the best leader their kingdom had ever known.

However, one day, King Luxon welcomed a stranger into his palace. This stranger revealed himself to be a vampire – and the vampire killed everyone in the palace.

Almost everyone.

A loyal advisor to the king led Luxon out through the secret tunnels, allowing Luxon to escape. Luxon attempted to return to the palace, but discovered too late that the vampire had taken over the kingdom completely. The vampire’s legion of monsters overran everything in less than a day.

So Luxon wandered through the countryside, lost, confused…and hurt. Until he came to a graveyard. There, he saw her:

The Raven Queen.

The Raven Queen watched over the souls of the living, ensuring that their transition into the afterlife was peaceful. Luxon soon learned that the Raven Queen hated the undead, and those who would raise the undead, as they are a violation of nature.

So Luxon swore his loyalty to the Raven Queen. She gave him the power he sought to fight the undead – and now he fights to reclaim his lost kingdom.

…So this is an original character I cooked up for Dungeons & Dragons.

The origin for the idea of this character is a long story, but it boils down to this: ultimately I asked myself, “What if an actor, who’s known for playing melodramatic characters, created a character of his own for a Dungeons & Dragons campaign?”

I was surprised that Luxon IV came out. Because I normally don’t play dramatic D&D characters. And I ESPECIALLY don’t play magic users.

Luxon is actually the first warlock I’ve designed.

If you’re curious, I’m using the Unearthed Arcana version of Warlock, specifically the pact with The Raven Queen. This particular subclass gives you benefits that the usual Warlock doesn’t get, and acts a bit more like a cleric with a vengeance.

However, unlike cleric, this is a Charisma-based build (because it’s not like we have a lot of charisma-based magic users in D&D, BWAHAHAHA). This makes sense for his power to be based on charisma, given his background.

As far as the sketch? I’ll polish it up a bit more eventually, but I wanted to share it as-is. I’ll post again when I ink (and maybe even color) this bad boy.

Thank you for reading!

You. Are. Awesome.

MatsuriCon: or, Why I Want to Sell at More Anime Cons, but Can’t

artist alley table layout

These last couple of weeks have been bananas for travel, from personal vacation time to selling my work in artist alley at MatsuriCon. My first anime convention in over 5 years (as a seller).

First, I was in Philadelphia for a personal vacation with my mom. My 30th birthday is this month, so we wanted to celebrate by going to a city neither of us had been to. We had a blast!

After the train ride back home, there were a couple of days for me to get ready for the next thing, MatsuriCon over in Columbus, OH.

So the headline of this post might make it sound like I had a bad time. This is not true.

MatsuriCon was freaking GREAT! For an anime convention, I was surprised how many people wanted to see original stories and art. I was a bit concerned, because of my 20+ products, only 3 things on the table were fanart.

Ok, I’m going to have an aside about selling fanart, because this is a hot-button issue among creatives wanting to sell their work.

Here’s the thing: if you can do something new and put your own spin on the fanart, then by all means, do that. I actually did that with this piece, taking a Kingdom Hearts bad guy and drawing him as an incubus:

incubus xigbar from kingdom hearts
Also on Tumblr.

The problem with fanart is when an artist does something BORING and makes money at it. Portrait shots of a character would fall under the “Boring” category…for me, anyway. If you’re new to artist alley, a portrait rendition of your favorite character from another artist might be exciting for you. But go to enough artist alleys, and you’ll begin to appreciate the artists who do unique things.

(Also a few of the portrait artists/people who do boring fanart are actually plagiarists. So keep that in mind, too. I’m glad some artist alley organizers are catching on to this.)

MatsuriCon actually had a rule in their Artist Alley contract that fanart could only take up 50 percent or LESS of the table. Any more, and that was considered grounds for having your table revoked. So there was a refreshing amount of original stories, products, and ideas in artist alley, which is REALLY FREAKING NICE.

Here’s a peek at the stuff I found in Artist Alley. Keep in mind, these are just what I traded for/bought:

matsuricon artist alley convention haul

Regarding sales of my own work, I made back 3 times what it costs for a table…or rather, half of a table. I was splitting a table space with my comics buddy Ben. We also stayed at his house, so we didn’t have to spend on a hotel room. And the both of us packed lunches, ate breakfast at his place, and just in general shared food. So all of that kept costs down for us.

I can’t speak for Ben because I don’t know how much exactly he made, but it’s fair to say the both of us made it in the black.

Plus, nearly everyone at the con was just a LOT of fun and very cool.

10/10, would go again…except…

Here’s where the headline of the post becomes relevant: the thing about artist alleys at anime conventions is that applications fill up FAST.

As in, within half an hour of opening, all open table spots are filled.

So, by the time I find out about a convention and check for artist alley spots, none are available. You either have to have that shit bookmarked so you can jump on it the INSTANT the alley applications open, or know the organizers of the con personally in order to get a spot.

As much as I want to go back to MatsuriCon next year, I’m just not sure that I can. We’ll see what happens.

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

You. Are. Awesome.