Musing about Creative Goals 2k21

Hey Y’all, I’m Lady T. and I make the New Adult Fantasy Comic MagicalMashup!

Planning up a storm!

We are moving through the New Year and folks are either working on New Year’s resolutions or moving past them. I’m not the biggest fan of resolutions as they sound so do-or-die with little room for adjustment, and when not met exactly as stated just makes me feel like… why should I even bother D: BUT you know what I’m a big fan of? Goals! Making goals any time of the year with strategies to reach them heifers is my jam!

Side passion project I do

Whenever I make goals I try to make them specific to an area I want to improve on instead of being general with them. Like instead of saying “I want to draw more this year.” I’ll say > “I want to complete 1 finished work of art once a month that is either for a friend/collaboration or towards my _Fantastical Lovers collection.”_ a side project that I work on that brings me joy featuring creature and non-creature folks romancing each other with the occasional short story to go with XD. I have posted some on my Insta, but plan to do more on my Patreon down the road since it’s self-indulgent a-f and I don’t wanna worry about censorship :).

This goal takes into account that I am working on a comic and a wedding and I want these goals to be realistic things I can accomplish so I’m spacing them out quite a bit. Being able to reach the goal is such a big part of the goal making process y’all. Being able to reach the goals you set is such a high. It’s Addictive.

These are my creative goals for the new year (had them formatted but the forum wigged out sooo yeah)

Save the dates!

Throw a fun A$$ wedding! That’s on my list bc if y’all hadn’t figured it out yet, I’m pretty extra and I decided that I’d be doing all the Graphic Design work for the wedding and assembled a team of bombastic buddies to help me with the other DIY elements. I Just finished designing, layouts, and printing! I will be cutting, stuffing, stamping, and mailing invitations in the next 2 weeks (pat pat on the back haha). Sneak peek

(It’s adventure fantasy-themed so I’m having a blast with that theme and getting artsy as funk with it!)

Watercolor practice

Participate in at least 2 art challenges. Last year I did #worldwatercolormonth

but didn’t do any others which was a bit of a bummer as I usually do #Inktober or #drawtober and one other like #24hrcomicday (that one is madness, but I did it once) or #folktaleweek. I’m thinking of #huevember for this year and #Worldwatercolormonth again as it was so nice to practice another medium and get immersed in the process of painting traditionally. Huevember bc I LOVE color and exploring the depths of one color a piece should be a great exercise for me and there are always such lovely results posted.
My backup will be participating in at least 3 artist hashtags that last at least 3 days with new original work for them. There was a calendar of # posted a while back (this is rare for me but I don’t have a link to it:sweat_01: sorry y’all, but maybe someone knows it and will share, and I put a bunch of the dates in my planner). I know this year is going to be busier than usual for me, but art is my passion so I will make time for it (outside of my comic that I very much love making :purple_heart: )

Finish drawing and post chapter 2 and start drawing chapter 3 of my comic MagicalMashup! Each chapter is about 30 pages so yeah; I’m in it for the long haul XD. I’ve genuinely gotten faster at making pages now vs 3 years ago (still not Sonic speeds yet lol). The only thing slowing me down is working a full-time job during the day, haha, but it be like that. Maybe someday I’ll be able to contribute to my household through just working on my art, but It’s not something I’d peg our livelihood on any time soon, and that’s ok (as for as capitalist societies go anyway ahah).

Start a YouTube channel called Musing with Lady T. where I post my speed paints and muse about that creative life. This is something I’ve wanted to do for a while, but want to put effort into it so I’m trying to figure out how I want to go about it. I’ve seen some lovely folks on this forum who have YouTubes and I’m inspired! Totally open to suggestions and tips too!

Anywho, I want to know what kind of creative goals y’all have going on or recently accomplished and want to pat yourself on the back for!

TLDR: My creative goals for the year are 1. Throw a fly wedding. 2. Participating in 2 art challenges. 3. Start posting Chapter 2 of my comic MagicalMashup! and getting to work on ch. 3. 4. Start a Musing with Lady T. YouTube channel. Tell me about yours!

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 🙂

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!

And So I talk about that Life…

I come from a long line of Fat black women. Form my grans on both sides, to my aunts, and mother (who only became fat once she had me) I have seen and been a part of being Fat and Black (I get the added bonus of being tall lol) my whole life. Luckily, I was raised feeling normal for my size, well at least until I went outside.

That is when I started to see just how different I was. Going shopping with friends and other family members was often dreaded bc I knew my clothing options were going to be abysmal or just inappropriate and ranging between looking like a bag of Skittles Tropical Burst, or a burlap sack MooMoo, oh or lingerie. I could not fit anything displayed in girls or women for that matter, and trying to find a visual que on where I should look based on models was pointless (thankfully, that has changed a ton!).

Age appropriate clothes for a Fat gal that were affordable and could be washed and wouldn’t fall apart was hard to come by for me, so I just became a tomboy. I could at least get appropriate coverage and the clothes were affordable for my size and they fit!

Men’s clothing also made me feel more secure about myself too when I went out in public, I’m pretty sure this had more to do with the fear of being sexually assaulted than anything else, though when it comes to that, clothing doesn’t really matter… How my blackness impacts my weight is a whole other can of worms that deals a lot with opportunities available, fear, and doing what you know vs what you should know.

I remember growing up in public housing and my mom being deathly afraid of not being able to feed us, so when there was a program for food or food bank, she signed up and went out to get what she could. She never wanted her kids to have to deal with anything she did growing up, so we always had plenty to eat. Was it the best stuff we could be eating? No, frankly most of it was incredibly unbalanced nutritionally and loaded with salt, but as a single mother working with kids to feed she did what she could as best she could with her resources being what they were.

A balanced meal wasn’t something I learned about how to make until after high school, and even then I wasn’t actually using what I had learned until I got a better job and could afford to buy good ingredients to make better food (well into my 20s). My food habits have improved a ton, but it has definitely been an experience adapting recipes to my pallet and health while accruing new tastes. I have taken to writing recipes that I have adapted and altered so that I have options that I know work for me when I go to cook and don’t know what to make to keep from falling back into bad food habits (Top Shelf Ramen, talking about you). I’m still not as well off to do as I’d like in regards to my health, but my reality is I’ve always been fat. Even when I lost a ton of weight due to cancer, I was still fat. Is it possible I won’t be fat in the future? Maybe, but that’s not what I’m focused on or care about.

My being Fat and Black is just another part of who I am. With being black impacting so many parts of my life on a micro and macro scale, I was at least ignorant to a lot of that in my youth as I didn’t quite understand how my being black affected me in ways I could word. I mean I knew there was something different, but I just could not put my finger on it. At least until I moved down South (story for another day). I spent a lot of time in my life being insecure of my stretchmarks and wanting to cover myself, but having a woman as confident and big as my Aunty living un-apologetically got me to reevaluate how I presented myself….well once I got to college anyway (life is a journey you know).

It’s one thing to hear you are beautiful or worthy, but it can be hard to believe it when you don’t see it when you look around you. Form the media I consumed to the people in my community that I would observe how they carried themselves to see how I should. The message was clear that my Fat Black ass did not fit in. I tried hard to fit in at first, but then I just was exhausted and decided to be ok with being the other.

Thankfully, I did have amazing people in my life that nurtured my passions and talents which did wonders for my ability to get lost in creating, but even that was impacted by my views on myself. Here I was this fat black gal, but I never drew fat people. I drew black people as dark skinned versions of characters that already existed, but as I ventured into making art for myself more, fat people were not included in anything I made and original black characters were not exactly abundant either.

It wasn’t until my Aunty invited me to visit her in Pittsburgh right as I was about to go to college that I had the big Ah-HAAA moment. My aunty was very proud of me and wanted to spend time together before I started College. I had a blast seeing the other half of my family and enjoyed the shopping trips where she showed me where I could find clothes for my body that fit. That makeover that she did for me really did wonders for my confidence. When we got back to her place she told me to go wild in her closet and I could take whatever I wanted. Ya’ll I got on the Greyhound back to Alabama with 2 garbage bags filled with clothing and my carry on. I clutched those clothes to my body as if they were gold bars.

That summer changed something in me and from that point forward, I started giving more of a damn in how I presented myself when I went out. Putting care into how I dressed myself got me into makeup and built my confidence even more. The last time I visited Pittsburgh when she was alive, I brought my makeup kit with all the makeup I had tested and scoured for that complimented dark skin and gave all the women and guys in the house that wanted one, a makeover. It was a truly beautiful and inspiring moment to see their faces light up at how makeup can be used to highlight what’s already there and that there are options, but it does take some digging to find them.

My Aunty Towanda may be gone now, but she was one of the most empathetic, strong willed, and soft hearted people I ever knew. She was hard on the outside, but she truly cared hard. I’m thankful for having her in my life when I did because she helped me to fill comfortable in my own fat skin which then added to the growing pile of self worth that got me to start being more inclusive of the characters I created and the stories I wanted to tell.

I Want to Talk…

I want to talk about being Black
I want to talk about being Fat
I want to talk about being a Lady
I want to talk about Art

All four of the taglines in that header represent my points of view and what you can expect to find highlighted in my art and writing. Is that all of me? Of course not, but it sums up my identity in a nice and easy to identify package. It’s taken a long time for me to be able to be ok and shoot, PROUD to even describe myself as any of those qualities, let alone all of those together as each one carries its own bias and prejudices attached to it. Through my blog post I mainly talk about the steps I’m taking towards making my comic, but I also talk about my experiences, inspirations, and motivations. This is me sharing my life and experiences. I’m breaking down these tags that I use to describe myself and how they relate/impact the other over the next few post and want to discuss what they mean to me.

On being Black.
I remember there was a time where I wanted nothing more, but to be seen as just another person over being seen as my race. It seems silly to me now bc I am a person, I am also Black. I used to think it was such a great thing to hear someone say, “I don’t see race, I only see people.” In theory, that’s a beautiful statement, but in reality it’s actually erasure. Don’t you see, I am a person, I am also Black. Ignoring my skin color also ignores my history and what having my skin color means.
I would love to say that being Black

hasn’t changed anything about my journey as a human being, but that would be truly indulging fiction when the reality is my art, media consumption, hair, skincare, makeup, food, and the list goes on, have all been impacted by being Black. My art from the subjects I primarily chose to focus on (a journey I have discussed on this blog and still have many words to say about). My media consumption through trying to find and latch onto anything with portrayals of black people with my life experiences that made me feel represented and seen in the shows I loved (as representation does matter believe it or not, it does). Through my hair just existing in its natural state and being viewed as inferior or unprofessional. Through my skincare trying to take care of it without having to lighten it, but also deal with hyper-pigmentation in spots and shaving while black and what trauma to the skin looks like (big YIKES). From trying to find makeup that does not make me look like a clown because the color matching systems in makeup have been known to get real funny once you are darker than a light suntan. To the foods, I have had available to me growing up Black and in poverty that I am still leaning to adjust to accommodate my pallet and well being.
The list goes on and I could go on, but I think this should help with understanding how saying things like, “I don’t see color.” can be hurtful. You could instead say, “I see you as you are and I love you.” In saying those words instead, you validate my existence as I am and show that you care. That means so much more to me.

Saying the other phrase is just… ignorant.

College End and a New Begining

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by college when coming straight from high school. I can tell you this though. I am so glad I was as dedicated as I was during my sophomore and Jr. years because at the end of my Jr. year I was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer.


Sudden right, well that’s how it happened to me. It was a hella taxing experience I mean between surgery, chemo, the pain, and medications I thought I would have to drop out of college and just quit everything. It was a pretty bleak time for me. It all literally came to a head during the last few weeks of school. One of my best friends at the time had taken me to the hospital and tried her hardest to help me when she could. I didn’t have insurance and even when I told my symptoms to the doctor I went to see, he didn’t believe me. He Just swore I was probably having “crazy sex” that made me shat my insides out or was pregnant.

What a turd.

Once I wrapped up finals and made it home I fell to the couch. I couldn’t move. My mom came in from work and saw me balled up on the couch holding myself while sobbing on my second day home and knew whatever was hurting me was something bad. She rushed me to a different emergency room and they took everything I told them seriously and immediately started to run tests. The tests were awful but worth it. Because they ran everything they could think of. Thanks to that they eventually found the tumor and were able to get it out.

That’s the short and sweet. That’s how I thought it would all go down. I remember thinking that we are in the future and the surgery would be done through tiny tubes and robot hands. That’s definitely not what happened. I was split from under my chest to past my navel. When I woke up a few days after the surgery I had a franken-belly. Staples traveling down my torso, drainage tubes off the side, one in my mouth (the F*n worst) and a Colostomy bag. That last one was the kicker. I’m sure somewhere in my drugged up haze the doctors said something about cutting my colon up and pulling my intestines through my tummy and needing to go in a bag for a while, but it really doesn’t hit until you literally see it sitting there.

2009 was the hardest year I have ever lived through, but I did it. Thanks to my amazing friends who went out of there way to make me feel awesome and gave me all the support and humor a gal could ask for and a mom and sister who went above and beyond to take the best care of me and keep my spirits high. Above all else, I am grateful for the love and understanding I received from the college community, friends, and family #blessed.  Last but not least I am thankful to me because I’m a trooper!

I finished college on time in 2010 after assuring the school I would be able to complete my work. My plan had always been to get all core classes done and take as many hours as I could from the start so that senior year I could art stress-free. Again, I’m glad I took most of my intensive writing and logic classes before senior year. I didn’t put out as much art as I wanted my senior year since I wound up spending huge chunks of time in dreamland escaping the ick that chemo gives, but I did complete what I needed to get done.

My art took a pretty decent turn for the dramatic I’ll say. I had most of the pieces I wanted to show for my Senior Gallery, but I needed a few more. I won’t say everything went smoother because it’s harder to say no to a student who is doing chemo while attending classes, but I was able to push through and get my digital works in my Senior Art Exhibit. The compromise was that I had to have some traditional pieces mixed in with the digital. I could do that. I just had to do some more traditional painting.

Instead of trying to find inspiration outside of myself, I looked towards my current situation. I started to paint my current situation. It was a raw experience that was pretty therapeutic actually. Before the surgery, I wouldn’t have dared showed my belly to anyone. After, I was like:

“Well dang, why not? Every doctor and trainee in the hospital has ripped my clothes off and seen me at this point.”

After having people literally see your insides, having someone look at the outside shell just didn’t seem as much of a big deal to me anymore. Don’t get it twisted though, I’m not flashing the goodies just because, but I’m more at peace with myself now.

Opening day the response was a bit surprising, but not entirely. I had all of these large Afrocentric ladies being beautiful and in the buff alongside these emotional pieces illustrating how I felt using oil paints in various techniques. (pics later). I was having a hard time learning to love what I looked like all over, so it took a lot of me to put myself out on display like that. It felt right though, and it got a lot of folks talking, so I took that as a win. Afterward, I gave a presentation on my work to a packed room and boom. Lady T. completed her four years and got her BFA.

I know that was a long detour to hit when talking about what it has to do with anything, but due to it, I was able to get to where I am now. That year of my life provided the biggest change in attitude I have had since I started middle school and decided that I was going to be more outgoing and outwardly confident.

During everything I went through that year I had large stretches of time to just think (well when I wasn’t on antidepressants [which made me kind of just zone out] or pain meds [which just knocked me out). I thought about everything I wanted to do and would do once I felt better and could do it. I thought about my mortality more intimately. I thought about what makes me happiest in life and how I could do it more often. Turns out the most important thing right after recovery was “me time”.

The following few years I spent my time focusing on myself and getting my priorities together. I tried some online dating, I went on more road trips, hung out with friends more, did temp work to try new things, and got caught up with video games again. Before I knew it I had entered “official” adulthood and had a stable job.

Almost dying totally sucked, but it also was an eye-opener. It made me realize what I wanted to do and what is most important to me. Not what I should be doing based on outside expectations. I’m grateful for that. Once I got the wanderlust out of my body I was ready to get back to doing what my heart yearned to do. DRAW!

Sneks are cool
My DnD Gorgon I didn’t get to play for long, but designed her anyway

Take time for yourself to be yourself.

-Lady T.



Making the Most of College

It’s been almost 10 years now since I said I wanted to turn the drawings of my OCs into a full-blown comic. Since then I have countless doodles, notes, illustrations, and even a few character sheets to refer to. I’m a visual person so of course, it was hella easy for me to just start drawing and make pieces fit into the world, but that leads me to a dead end after a while.

I had all of these awesome pieces floating around, but they weren’t connected. I had all of these loose ideas for how everything could be related, but without written guidelines, it all just spiraled into piles of papers and one-off posts with long-winded comments on my DeviantArt paged. I started to make a ton of continuity conflicts that made my head spin. Naturally, I just stopped pressing the issue and took a break. I was in college at the time and I had to focus on my degree: Studio Art with a minor in Graphic Design.

The college I attended was great for many things. Friendships that I still value, memories I cherish, Art History (the only history I have ever enjoyed), and knowledge in general, but for what I wanted…kind of mixed. I figured art would be a subjective thing and open to interpretation, but once I started classes I began to think a private liberal arts Jesuit college was maybe a bit to high brow for what I actually wanted to do.

It didn’t take long for me to get a clue. After a few traditional art classes, I had a dawning realization while stretching a canvas in a room smelling of mineral spirits with tubes of paints that cost more than the clothes I wore and abstract paintings adorning the walls that this was not really me.

I love that I learned classical skills and wouldn’t trade them, but painting on canvas isn’t cheap, and I come from humble origins. The price tag on everything made it hard for me to dive in and create, so my pieces never had that “Thick painterly look” and that was a pretty big critique I would receive in my reviews. I also had it in my mind that the only thing I could paint on canvas had to be a masterpiece, but since “I thought” we were discouraged from drafting on the canvas in pencil I spent a ton of time lost since I didn’t want to F* up the canvas. When I did paint, everything was always skewed to one side, didn’t fit on the canvas, or painted over so many times before drying that it turned to mud.

I would have felt lost if I didn’t know about digital art. DeviantArt was still the rage back then and I had a page since high school ( )it’s still up, but I don’t use it as much as Instagram). I got reimmersed into the digital art world and after seeing all the amazing art being created I knew that’s the scene I wanted to be in on. I bought a rinky-dink “my first tablet” and just started to draw.

It was weird not looking down to draw and that tablet I used was way to slick. I was bent on making it feel natural though. I knew that digital art would be the way to go in my foreseeable future since, after the initial deposit of money, it would be cheaper in the long run and offer a ton of versatility depending on the program I used. Thinking of it like that made it feel like a worthwhile investment to my broke ass.

I started to bring my off-brand graphics tablet into class and the professor (the hippest old lady ever) loved it! She immediately ordered tablets for the computer lab and boy was it an upgrade. Wacoms were game changers. Drawing on it was more fluid and the pen control… it was just awesome. My artistic friends and I would just gush over them. I started spending more and more time pushing digital art into my design work over using stock images. More and more classmates started to use the tablets as well. By my sophomore year, the Graphic Design department went all out and made a unique Mac lab filled with Intuos Graphics Tablets. I thought I had seen the height of digital art equipment, but I was wrong. Drawing directly on the screen beats everything else!

College is a marvelous time to single-mindedly devote yourself to your passions. I had to work and do classwork of course, but when I wasn’t having a social life I would learn as much as I could about digital art, Mostly independently since there weren’t any digital art specialist to teach me what I wanted to know. I mean,  my class being the first to have a legit Design Lab with tablets. Even if my design professors weren’t as knowledgeable about digital art, they were incredibly encouraging of what I created.

I received a fine understanding of Graphic Design and Typography from the design classes I took and I soaked those lessons up. My typography professor was a sharp dude and was the real deal. He did not play. He could take your designs apart from the core and critique them. It could be hard to hear, but he was always constructive. I’m glad he took his lessons as seriously as he did (even if they could be stressful). I spent more time putting in extra hours to learn Adobe products for there design uses as well as art then I did in the Artist Studio painting. I should have just switched to a Design major, but I had my reasons. Two words: Senior Artshow. 

By sophomore year I knew that I wanted that Fine arts gallery showing over the Graphic Design one for my senior project. The tricky part would be convincing my fine arts professors that my digital works would qualify for a gallery showing. I figured I would approach that bridge when I hit it, but in the meantime, I would keep making art and learning all I could. Who knows, I might get hip to the traditional stuff.

It didn’t happen. Even when I tried to be open to it. I completed my lessons, but most of my pieces were pretty meh. From painting to sculpting, everything fell kind of flat.

To this day I am 3-d challenged and my mind doesn’t comprehend sculpture. Like my faces are always flat and I just cannot make dimensional forms from clay.

The only somewhat ok pieces came from when I got to work in mixed media. I love mixed media! I never got the nude figure drawing class I was promised, but heeyyyyy, thanks to the Internet and having other artist friends, I have made do.

Procreate on iPad is pretty fun and convenient to create with!

What you have may not be the best, but you can make the best of what you have.

~Lady T.