This is part of a celebration I’m doing called Sketchtember. Everyday this month I’ll post a new sketch for sale on Storenvy. Each sketch will be $10 (with free shipping). So support an indie artist and the post office!
The Woman of the Woods is a character I created for Rosetta and the Swan, my retelling of Swan Lake. (The version I’m working on is set around a fictional equivalent of the Baltic Sea. Also it’s the prince who is turned into a swan).
In my retelling of the story, the Woman of the Woods is one of many countless wise women who reside in The Woods. The Woods themselves are enormous and ancient. The people who live in Rosetta’s kingdom know of ONE Woman of the Woods – the one pictured above. She is hardly ever seen in her human form. Usually she is only spotted as a bear.
However, this particular Woman of the Woods has close ties to the royal family. And it’s she who blesses Rosetta with the ability to talk to animals.
All of this is to say…she’s available as a hi-resolution download. Check it out either on Patreon or Ko-Fi (she’s available for download on both platforms).
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!
A long while ago I wrote a post about my inspirations. Some of those still hold true (looking at you, Paprika). Some, however, have moved to the shelf so I can focus on some new inspirations.
Here’s what been getting my creative juices flowing recently:
KINGDOM HEARTS 3
I loved this series as a teenager. Then I hated it. Now I’m back to enjoying it.
This series is NOT flawless. But it’s like a cup of tea with a bar of chocolate: the best self-indulgence you can get without thinking too hard about it.
Really, the series is at its best when you’re not thinking about the plot. Though, as SuperButterBuns put it, the plot isn’t that confusing: it’s just a lot to remember.
(I also do the Crash Bandicoot logic of boss fights, in that the bosses in the previous games didn’t “die.” They were just defeated once and then came back for Kingdom Hearts 3.)
So what about Kingdom Hearts 3 has been getting me inspired? Well, I’d be lying if I said anything other than “The Organization.”
Or seeing Woody from Toy Story tell one of the Organization members to piss off. That scene gave me SO MUCH LIFE.
Also, Kingdom Hearts fans will get this reference: Yeetas Vanitas.
There’s tons of silly, charming character moments in Kingdom Hearts 3 in particular. Is the voice acting as good as the Union Cross: Back Cover movie? Nope. But the character banter is on point, more so in this game than in any other Kingdom Hearts installment.
And, well, the Organization and the mystery behind each member just intrigues the hell out of me. Not to mention that the characters themselves make good warm-up sketching material. Every character looks and acts differently. And I appreciate that.
Ok, I’ll move on to the next piece of inspiration before I gush anymore:
FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST: BROTHERHOOD
From Kingdom Hearts’ absolutely bonkers plot to a story with a damn-near flawless plot. Yes, FullMetal Alchemist: Brotherhood’s story is so expertly woven that it’s really McFreaking Hard for me to find a fault with it anyplace.
Every character has a purpose. Every motivation makes sense. And the action of this series is driven by the motives of the characters, not some invisible hand dragging them by the nose under plot contrivance.
Also, much like Kingdom Hearts, the character designs for FullMetal are just superb.
Really, though, it’s the writing and how the story moves forward that’s been inspiring me the most. It makes me want to write.
I doubt I will ever write anything like Brotherhood. But it gives me something to aspire to, and a benchmark to look at whenever I lose focus.
Above anything else, the humor (and one other thing) of this series has been inspiring me the most lately.
The other day I was marathoning this show in the background while I was doing studio work. And yet the show still makes me laugh, even when I’m not watching it directly.
There’s a soft spot in my heart for any character who fulfills the Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass trope well, and Vash the Stampede is the best embodiment of this trope.
Also, the very first episode of this show is the best introductory episode of any anime I have seen thus far. Period. Don’t believe me? Watch it for yourself. You’re welcome.
Did you know Studio Ghibli (yes, THAT Studio Ghibli) did the animation of some episodes of Trigun? When I learned that, it blew my damn mind.
This is also another series with some damn good writing to it. But for a different reason: FullMetal’s focus was on the characters and motivation. Trigun’s focus in the writing is on the world-building, and Vash’s connection to it.
Once you see the conclusion of Trigun, you will realize there’s no other story like it. And that’s what inspires me.
That’s all for now. I’m gonna’ get back to drawing.
Thank you for reading!
You. Are. Awesome.
P.S. Another fun fact that blew my mind: the English voice actor for Xemnas in Kingdom Hearts also did the voice of Detective Konakawa in Paprika. Now I can’t look at Xemnas half the time without thinking about Konakawa’s dream antics.