Hello and welcome back to another round of Weekend Sketches!
This past week I took part in a challenge started on Tumblr called OC Kiss Week, which was designed to highlight original characters on a platform that tends to capitulate towards fandom. I personally used it to get better at drawing my characters kissing, and had a lot of fun with some friends in a private server talking about our OCs with each other and sharing our drawings there. This small group of friends has been more fun and supportive than any fandom I have ever been a part of. It’s a delight sharing stories, drawing fanart of each other’s characters, and taking part in challenges together. It feels like the best example of parallel play, where we have our own spaces to play in but will sometimes overlap our creative games or share what we are building with each other.
Anyways, I could gush about this small friend circle for paragraphs, it’s time to move on to the characters kissing. I was pretty proud that I was able to draw OCs for all 7 days. I think what drove me to draw as much as I did is the fact that all my subjects are lesbians. Draw what you love and all that! I will admit, after the first 3 drawings I started to phone it in with forehead/cheek kisses and nose touching. Drawing kissing is hard and, not to make excuses, even drawing forehead and cheek kisses requires coordinating two (or sometimes three) different bodies to connect in a way that doesn’t look weird. I now know what I can do to improve, and I’m looking forward to what I can draw in the future.
My first drawing is of my favourite demon hunting lesbians Sol and Nyx who are from my upcoming illustrated novel Earthshine. I don’t have much to say about these two that either hasn’t already been said or would just be spoilers. They’re in love. That’s that!
The second is of the main characters in a mecha space opera story I’m developing. Their names are Mel (left) and Harmony (right). They are the mechanic and pilot respectively of their shared mech, and they do not get along at first. This kiss takes place after they finally start cooperating and win a war game together. Harmony decides to take a celebratory hug to 11, much to Mel’s pleasant surprise.
These two are also from Earthshine and are Sol’s moms, the God of The Earth and the witch Yarrow. I don’t have much to say about these two either that won’t be spoilers for the story, but I will say that their relationship starts off a little fraught in a similar way to Sol and Nyx’s.
These two are Crin and Wolf. They are the leaders of a band of lesbian werewolf space pirates from a fun little side project I’ve been building called Wolf Star. Their designs and story were conceived when a friend dared me to make OCs based on various wolf and wild dog species while we were watching a nature doc together. The taller one on the left is Crin and she is a Maned Wolf, while Wolf is a Timber Wolf. These two love each other sooooo much, and I think they are so cute.
These three are from another story I’m developing that I plan to keep very close to my chest, sharing it with only a very select few people (though I might share some drawings here in the future). Their names from left to right are Sylva, Angela, and Gem. They are a trio of witches in an urban fantasy setting. The three of them decided to leave their respective covens behind to become hedge witches and go on a magical road trip together to recover from their strict and oppressive upbringings.
These two are also from Wolf Star. The shorter is named Wild Dog and I have described her to friends as “Tetsuo if he was an angry little lesbian.” She has a bit of an inferiority complex and is often butting heads with Crin and Wolf. Her girlfriend, Jackal, adores her and loves to enable her worst behaviours.
Ohhh these lesbians look familiar, hehe. I landed on these two as my final two OCs to draw since I don’t do a lot of Star Trip art just for fun. I’m feeling pretty excited thinking about Ajo and Kagra since these two finally reunite in Chapter 10 of Star Trip, which I am working on right now!
That’s all for this week of OC art. I think I will be searching for future challenges, since this one helped me break out of my shell and gave me a good reason to draw more of my own characters. Also working on this challenge with friends was a plus. Please check out the art that my buddy Dee has be posting of her own OCs. I adore her re-imagining of The Snow Queen and Gerda. Winter is also a part of this core group of OC enjoyers, and although they haven’t shared their OC kiss art anywhere publicly, they do have a lot of posts on their blog about their characters in general. Give it a look!
Hello everyone and welcome back to the return of Weekend Sketches, the first one of the new year!
I’m trying to start this new year with a spring in my step and renewing belief in my abilities, and one way I’m trying to do this is by giving myself a fun little challenge. Inspired by 1coweveryday on Tumblr, who drew a cow every year for 2021 (The Year of the Cow) I decided I wanted to draw a tiger every day for 2022. Some friends in a closed discord server even supported my interest in the project, which helped me go ahead with confidence.
I love tigers and think they are very beautiful animals. I have wanted to get better at drawing them for a while, but I never really took the time to practice. Seeing the dedication the creator of 1coweveryday showed with his blog and the marked improvement in his cow drawing skills, I saw this as a perfect opportunity. I’ve been cataloguing my tiger drawing challenge on Instagram using the site’s new post from desktop feature (long overdue in my opinion).
The unfortunate thing about deciding to draw tigers for 364 days is that unlike cows, which have many different interesting and unique breeds, tigers only have a handful, and they all more or less look like a big orange cat with stripes. I hope that as I draw more of them I will be able to notice the subtle differences between a Malayan Tiger and a Bengal Tiger, but right now my eyes aren’t as trained.
I’m sustaining my interest in this project by messing around with different poses, art styles, and colours. I’m sure I can keep myself occupied despite the lack of tiger biodiversity.
I’ve already made it to the end of January and into the Lunar New Year, which is officially when The Year of the Tiger starts, and I am proud of that. I could stop here, but I want to keep going and see how far and how much better I can get at drawing these beautiful animals.
After completing January I already compiled all the tiger drawings I did into a PDF which I uploaded to Patreon for my patrons. I think this would be a nice thing to do for each month if I can manage it. Fundamentally though, I’m doing this for me. It’s fun! And it’s reminding me again about what making art is all about.
Tyger Tyger, burning bright,
In the forests of the night;
What immortal hand or eye,
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?
In what distant deeps or skies.
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand, dare seize the fire?
And what shoulder, & what art,
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? & what dread feet?
What the hammer? what the chain,
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp,
Dare its deadly terrors clasp!
When the stars threw down their spears
And water'd heaven with their tears:
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?
Tyger Tyger burning bright,
In the forests of the night:
What immortal hand or eye,
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?
He destroyed his cage
The tiger is out.
- Nael, age 6
As I move towards the end of my long running webcomic, Star Trip, I find myself thinking back to the ways this story has evolved from its beginning to its end. Star Trip is a laboratory where I learned the craft of making a comic, as well as how to be flexible in my writing and art so that I could survive doing so.
One thing that working on Star Trip really taught me, along with writing and drawing, is editing and how in order to write a satisfying story I would need to learn how to let certain things go. Past ideas that I thought were great no longer meshed with the type of story I was telling. What more, I needed to take my energy levels into consideration. How long could I keep working on this story? Could I finish it before I got tired and/or lost interest? The last one was an especially big question that needed a big answer. I wouldn't be able to keep working on Star Trip for another 2 or 3 or even 4 years, which was my projected end time with the old script that included Act 3.
Act 3 of Star Trip was interesting to say the least. It stretched out the story line into a whole new world with a whole new set of characters and new questions that needed answers. I thought Act 3 was very cool, and I was emotionally invested in it when I thought it up a year after I started the comic. But as I got older, read more books, and got to work more in comics editorial, I saw how clinging to that story line would be both unhealthy for me and the comic as a whole.
Webcomics are such a tricky and beautiful thing. They are the pulpiest of pulp media (in my opinion), allowing creators to play with ideas and storytelling structures that wouldn't normally fly in traditional print publishing. The pulp nature of webcomics is also what allows creators to construct thousand page long behemoths without any roadblocks, and this is supported by the fact that webcomics are digital publications.
But for me, revelling in this pulp with Star Trip, I couldn't help but bump up against what I was becoming as a creator. In creating a pulpy story that spanned almost 1000 pages and 10 years of my short life, I couldn't keep myself from changing. I'm no longer in my early twenties, dealing with student loans and joblessness, and living with my mom. I am not the same person who started Star Trip, but I became the kind of person who could finish it. Just like how I used Star Trip as a lab to practice my comic making skills, I now want to use it to learn how to finish one.
In changing I've also begun exploring the other kinds of pulp media I want to make. A long form story shared as a webcomic is fine as one path, but I now want to try others. I want to make multiple pulp stories. In particular I want to give illustrated novels a go as an alternative to this kind of long form storytelling, since it doesn't require the same level of labour a long form comic demands.
I have finished shorter comics in the past, and I have even left a couple unfinished, but finishing a comic that has been a part of a third of my life definitely feels like something else. As of typing I have been approaching new ways of colouring the comic pages to make the process even faster and hopefully get back to consistent updates. I have been trying to let go of overthinking my colours and just run with it. In fact, finishing Star Trip requires that I approach it with the same mentality I did when I started it. Be free with it. Let go. Reach that ending no matter what, just like how I took my first step at the start.
I had originally wanted to have this post up for the 20th of January, which is Star Trip's birthday, but I was caught up with other projects and day job work. The feeling of letting Star Trip down by not being on top of its birthday hit me like a brick to the chest, but then I took a moment to understand that this was simply the fact of my life now.
Star Trip isn't, nor has really been, the core aspect of my life. I have always had other projects going on, Star Trip just happened to be my longest one. Missing its birthday by a day or two isn't a problem, and regardless I will always remember that I posted my first page of this comic on that fateful day in winter. I will have so many other first pages for other stories posted on other days of the year.
Happy Birthday, Star Trip. Hopefully this will be your last.
Hello, my name is Gisele! I'm a cartoonist, editor, and writer living on the cold shoulder of Canada. You can support me and my work through Patreon.