Icthyo Mixup Update

Yo Y’all! Icthyo Mixup, the comic for Jamal Turner the fashion photographer with a keen eye and Dylan Seawell, ocean conservationist with a super secret will commence posting in September!
nautical and fish themed background with large 3/4 view of strawberry blond man with large blue eyes sweating with a hand over the right side of his face while he looks at his contemporary fashionable lover Jamal who is black with stylish hair shaved on the sides with long dreads down the middle dyed with red tips looking to the right as he contemplates his boyfriends super secret

Till then, check out my socials (in the sidebar on pc and at the bottom of my page for mobile) for art updates and Patreon for teasers on the two.

What’s Icthyo Mixup even about!? That’s loaded since the story of Dylan and Jamal has grown larger than the initial prompt, but at its core it’s a love story. To quote Treya “The story is a lesson on how to correct making the wrong assumption lol”. That’s what the comic part I drew will focus on.

(First Sketches I did for them)

It’s a labor of love between @treya_barton and I born from a silly prompt I threw out into the world and she ran with. By our powers combined we brought these two to life. Treya with the written word, and Lady T💜 with the artistic flair bringing many late night talks and texts to 2D life. I hope y’all enjoy seeing these two cuties fumbling their way through confessions, affirmations, and of course luvvvv.

For more on Treya’s wondrous words of romance, visit: https://archiveofourown.org/users/treya_barton/pseuds/treya_barton

Diversity in Comics

Some examples of the characters features in my webcomic MagicalMashup! and all them beautiful skin tones!!

Hi, y’all fellow creatives and musers of the world!

It’s Black History Month, but there is always time to talk about diversity in my book. I make a comic called MagicalMashup! that features a black female protagonist who is also fat or plus size if you prefer, I’m fine with fat as it’s just a descriptor and it is what it is, but I’ve noticed a difference in tags for fat and plus size so yeah… cover all grounds… (body diversity is a whole other can of wigglies that I’m sure I’ll get into at a later date). My cast is also filled with a host of other racially and ethnically diverse characters too with sexualities as beautiful as a rainbow as I draw inspiration from my life. As it is a fantasy setting, the ethnicities are all fictional, but racially speaking I pull from the real world for some relatability and representation. Today I want to talk specifically about characters in our stories and that we draw/illustrate/write that are not white.

As a creator of any racial/ethnic group, do you make black characters or other racial identities that aren’t white and based on real-life people of color for your stories or illustrations? If you do, what leads you to do this? Fill free to share pics of your characters. If you don’t, why not? Are you interested in diversifying your cast or writing?

I think it’s important to look at these types of questions and think about them in earnest and face them head-on as story creators and artists so that we all grow and expand our horizons about each other. I am aware that some folks live in racially homogenous areas so thinking about other races isn’t something that would cross their minds regularly or if you only tell stories based on your life and have never come into contact with someone of another race that would be included in your personal tale, but if you have access to the internet and partake in social media it isn’t hard to come in contact with the diversity of the world and this is about promoting and encouraging that contact.

I thrive in creating works based on fantasy and sci-fi and those two genres are where I like to spread my wings. Growing up much of my exposure to these genres was through white lenses and oftentimes black characters and other racial minorities would be cast as tokens and stereotypes. Even if I didn’t really connect with them, I appreciated them for existing when they showed up in those two genres specifically (Sci-fi had more rep than fantasy for sure though). It’s hard to notice how the things we consume growing up can impact us down the road, but craving representation in the fields that I adore is such a driving force for me that It got me to create art focused around the type of characters I wanted to see (and still do).

I’m not here to accuse or police anyone’s work and I can only speak from the experience I have as a cis black woman living in the USA who is tall, and fat has had a run in with cancer, and often mistaken for a drag queen (no shame in that game as DragQueens are beautiful and extra and I love them, but gotta keep it real as can’t talk about that life from persona experience), but I am curious to know the thoughts other creators have when it comes to racial diversity in their work (which is different from ethnic diversity as racial specifically means physical traits for how people look [skin color and features] while ethnicity is more based on culture. These two tend to go hand in hand, but not always, to be honest, there are more nuances that go into even that so it can get a bit eye-crossing for folks who fall into mixed groups or folks that fall into other groups). For example, my race is Black which gives a basic description for how I look (emphasis on basic), my ethnicity is African American when I fill in paperwork, but I’d put Black American if it were an option as unfortunately I nor my family have had any cultural ties to Africa in generations due to slavery and the loss of any records of where my lineage comes from before my great-grandma. Being Black and American is what I know and there is still more to me than that, but I think you get the gist of what I’m saying.

I started off just doing skin recolors of favorite cartoon characters and making OCs off of them as I didn’t understand the nuances of the differences in illustrating racial groups, but through anatomy studies and people watching (an ongoing learning experience for life), I have been able to apply that to my character designs to make more racially distinct-looking characters. Observation and studies are something I recommend any artist do, and if you are a writer, this also helps when being able to describe your characters with a flair that doesn’t always center around a type of chocolate or food (I love my sweets too, but the verbiage for dark skin is as wide as the sea is vast so don’t be scared to expand form that). There are tons of fabulous resources on writing with color and this is one that I recommend, but there are many more out there, and if you know of any feel free to share 🙂 https://writingwithcolor.tumblr.com/FAQ.

TLDR: Do you create characters that are Black or other racial identities (different from ethnic identities) that aren’t white? if so, how/why do you? Feel free to post examples of your characters of color. If you do not, how come and would you like to? Any resources for creating with diversity in mind are welcomed as well!

Checkout the post on the Tapas forum foe more replies!


Choosing the Date to Post your Comic

Hey, Y’all,

It’s been about 2 months since I started posting my new adult fantasy comic MagicalMashup! online and I’ve been seeing quite a few comic anniversary posts. This got me thinking about what makes folks share their work on the day that they did. I don’t assume that everyone has a DaVinci Code reason for posting when they do, but maybe you do, shrugs.

I’ve been posting my art online ever since high school, but up until last year, I hadn’t posted a long-form comic, even though I had been working on a few in the past. I wanted to make one, but I didn’t have the drive at the time or know-how to do anything that required as much dedication and time as making long-form creative work does. Three years ago I got help with getting organized and was like, “I’m making this webcomic darnit and that’s that!” I really thought I’d have a comic ready to go a year later (lol). I mean I had been musing on the concept of a black plus-size upbeat gal with control over the elements and her standoffish wizard partner for almost a decade at that point, but musing on it and actually planning the comic are to very different things.

Once I got my flow going and all my preliminary setup done, I really wanted to release the comic at a time that would be easy for me to remember. 2020 is the start of a new decade so that helps me keep track of the years I’ve worked on it and then November because, well… because it was the end of the year and I needed to squeeze all the time I could get to wrap up finishing touches on Chapter One, but still counted as 2020 (heh).

So tell me, what made you decide the date you would release your novel or comic and why? If you haven’t yet, that’s ok. When you will post it is fine too!

TLDR: I started posting my comic in November of 2020 because 2020 is an easy year to count from and November is the end of the year without being the END of the year haha. When’s your content anniversary and why did you post when you did (or will if you’re still working)?

One of my release day banners I used to advertise my new adult fantasy comic featuring a plus size fat gal black lead with huge orange Afro puffs!

I Set a Date!

11.2.2020 will kick off my first Magicalmashup! Monday!! That’s when I’m going to do the thing and begin releasing my comic woot! I’m so excited to finally start posting it. Leading up to the date I’ll be posting some goodies on my social media sites to introduce the characters and maybe a bit of the world :).

If you want to be their for when the first pages drop jump up on this hype train and check out magicalmashup.com or follow on Tapas at https://m.tapas.io/series/MagicalMashup/info yay!

To see all the behind the scenes art, and previews, checkout Instagram.com/lady.t.musings or twitter.com/lady_toyano

Here we go!


Putting Idle Hands to Work

Over the last (psha when was the last time I posted…hmmnn) year a ton has happened to the world we live in from a societal view. Things are and will be different due to this Pandemic. I find myself thinking how sci-fi this should seem, but it’s reality. I was out of work for 6 weeks and while at home the anxiety, nerves, fear and worry were a constant nag on my sanity (still are as we are still in the midst of the Pandemic as I write this), but I have been back at work since May 1st, so yeah… Staying sanatised, busy, and masked up.

During the whole 6 weeks away from work, I put a lot of my anxiety and nerves at ease by staying busy. It’s true I spent a ton of time playing video games like Death Stranding, Plants vs Zombies, Borderlands and ahhh that’s not important lol, I mean a gal needs to decompress and get lost in some fictional immersion when it’s at the point where hearing someone cough gets folks jumpy. That’s not all I did, I also spent a lot of time reading and researching about color, light, form, storytelling, and making comics in general AND making my CODEX for my comic. All things that I have been doing, but during this time at home, I really got the time to dive deep into these areas and make some good headway on all fronts.

My pent up energy flowed through my fingertips most afternoons (bc ya’ll know I slept in every day!) and into connecting the lore of my fantasy world Magos to the characters that reside in it. Having my darling as a sounding board, and asker of questions I never would have thought about (extremely helpful when trying to figure out character reactions and motivations fyi) made the days fly by. Finally my reference notes and musings on my Fantasy world, it’s customs, and people is done. Something I had been meaning to refine for years completed within the 6 weeks of staying home and trying to stay safe.

It’s not perfect, but it’s a lot easier for me to understand and see more clearly what I am trying to create in this New Adult Fantasy comic about a fat and black mage gal with a unique ability leaving her hidden home in Faiewood for the first time and making her way to the Institute of Magical, Mystical and Mythical Arts (IMMMA) where here story truly begins in the Heart of Lufiriya; a nation filled with a multitude of beings of magic and technology working and living side by side. It’s a lot to take in for Junah, our protagonist, but it’s also the start of an exciting new chapter in her life (One I look forward to sharing).

Though I don’t think this is something necessary to do for all comic creators or even story tellers, it defiantly is a helpful resource to have as reference if you are working in sci-fi or fantasy. This probably would have been more helpful to hear during the height of the stay at home business, but here I am now and this info still holds true for anyone who wishes to work on getting their story out their, but have idle hands and don’t know where to direct that energy. Gather your resources into a binder, book, word doc, whatever. Just get it together. It may not be what you think you should be doing but hey, starting somewhere is better than not starting at all.

Now that I am back to work and having to manage my time a lot more efficiently, I’m working to figure out the best approach to maximizing my creative output each day. I’ve started doing 1hr in the studio each weekday save Mondays, as Mondays are MagicalMashup! Mondays and is reserved specifically for working on the comic. I’m also breaking all my notebooks up because having all my notes and markings in one book is to confusing to refer back to late. This is working for me, but also means I have like 3 notebooks I carry around daily. Though I also carry a large purse so HA, I’m game.

Next post I would like to share some of the reading materials That I have found *super effective* and how I plan to use what I’ve picked up!

Stay safe.

A friend of mine that is an excellent photographer allowed me to use her work for ref. She takes excellent fantasy mood photos from real life. @freodywn on Instagram

Getting Cozy with your Written Word

Almost dying definitely put my life into perspective. That experience made me prioritize things that make me most happy in life and what I want to do with the time I have left. I went to college for art, but not the art I wanted to do. I wanted to make comics. I had pages of original characters and one-off neat pieces with cute stories in my head, but I rarely talked about them outside of my closest art friends and I knew that would have to change.

Whenever I feel creatively stomped or frustrated I have art meetups with other art friends. During the time I was I got serious about making a comic, it was my buddy M who I would call on most days. M was also an awesome artist with her own style and tons of stories. We would spend so much time sharing our ideas with each other and it would always give me such a rush. It’s amazing to have someone you can bounce ideas off of who really just gets it.

I’m a visual person. So much so that I’d rather talk through pictures than use my words (Emoji’s were my language before they were a form of language). I know that sounds silly,  but because of that (and the fact that my handwriting is really bad), I didn’t write many of my story ideas down. When I did, I would have a hard time deciphering them (sadly). Getting that old Acer laptop from my aunty was truly the bee’s knees. I could type over handwrite!

I started off by writing blurbs under my pictures to get myself comfortable with writing to some degree. Having folks engage with my characters and asking questions over the years really helped the boost confidence. It’s one thing to write a paper in school, but putting yourself out there to share something personal is a different animal. Writing blurbs helped, but to make the jump to comics, I would have to write a lot more than that.

Well aren't you glowing to see me
Mixed media: alcohol markers and acrylic ink. More on their story on my Instagram!

Draw a story with your words and write a picture with lines.

-Lady T.

What Took You So Long…

I have had the idea for MagcicalMashup! swimming around in my head for over a decade now, and whenever I would get folks asking me for more on the scoop behind Junah and Kaelen I was more than happy to talk about them. Hearing all the interest got me thinking about how cool it would be to make their story into a comic, so I started outlining it out.

Oh boi did I outline..er, more like script it out as the outline is 100+ pages (not even including supporting documents for world building). It’s easy to get stuck at this phase, and I did. For YEARS. It wasn’t until I received the ultimate push (more on that later) from an amazing friend of mine that I put my butt in gear and in the headspace that bringing this comic to life is totally doable.

“Take it in parts lady.” I repeat that often whenever I feel overwhelmed at the task at hand and it helps me see the smaller pieces that make the whole. I had the two leads and I knew magic would be involved. From there I started to flesh out everything else by writing down everything I liked about fantasy as a genre and the types of  characters I liked until I got this:

MagicalMashup! is the story of Junah, an airy fat black gal with the power to compound elements to create new forms experiencing life outside of her secluded home in the enchanted FaieWoods and Kaelen a stoic wizard…of sorts that would rather hone his skills than socializie and how they work together as partners (and eventually more) in a world filled with magic, mysticism, and mythical beings.

It’s pretty much everything I have ever wanted to see in fantasy and it would be brought to life by my own hand!

The writing part started slowly at first but picked up to include word vomit on any and everything about this world that I could think of. Everything from the races, the landscapes, beliefs systems, world history, trees, and everything else I could remotely think of. So many details that I took the time to develop. Sounds great, but ultimately, it just made it that much harder to make a page 1.

So much pretense just made it seem always incomplete and I’ll be darned if I release something incomplete. Well, that’s what I thought. The beauty of making comics these days (specifically indie webcomics) is that all creative decisions are left to the creator. That also means it’s ready when I say it’s ready, completely scripted or not.

There is something refreshing about that. It has just taken a while for me to see that. Not having everything written in stone leaves room for growth, and the ability to watch your world grow organically. I still have my mega script, but I have learned to leave room for improvements and leave stuff open to interpretation.  I’m learning to embrace this more, and I think in the end it will work for what I’m making instead of against it.

Oohh ahhhh


“Give it your best, keep at it, and know that you will get better as you keep creating!”

-Lady T.