Musing Bout New Comics

Yo Y’all! Ya Faye Baye Lady T. Been at it these last few months. I’m working on a new comic called the Smell of You that’s about Brud, a Lupozas with a keen (even for his fellow wolf folks) sense of smell and Daniella, a Corporean from Wreckie that follows a very strict routine each morning. Both are keenly aware of the other’s presence, but it’s not until Brud smells a disturabance in Daniella’s Routine that they try to connect.

I’m working through some other story ideas that have been burning through my head as I edit MagicalMashup! and working on other comics have given me the space to really enjoy the freedom of experimenting, learning, and embracing the art of telling shorter stories.

My current comic Collab project with @treya_Barton on ao3, Icthyo Mix-up is well under way and will be wrapping up in the next two months too. I hope y’all enjoying Dylan and Jamal working through their assumptions with heart! I’ll have a few art pieces for them once the comic ends too 💜.

Looking forward to sharing some pretty cool things I’m working on, but we can talk about them later once I have more to show. For now,✌🏾!

Musing about Artistic Styles and More

Hey, y’all I’m Lady T. and I make the New adult fantasy comic MagicalMashup!

I’m sure most artists have contemplated what it means to have a style and how it can be developed at one point (or now). An artist’s style is usually easier to notice when it’s someone else’s over our own, but some of us are more conscientious about what we make so maybe not. This got me thinking about when others realized they could characterize their styles as something uniquely theirs and that it includes my own.

Art timeline for me that is all over the place tbh

I saw a quote on Twitter by user @Taijuey who said: “I think part of developing a style is admitting to yourself that you just don’t like doing certain things.”
This got me thinking about my own artistic thumbprint. For sure it’s a combination of things as I started drawing because I really liked anime and wanted to see my own characters brought to life outside my head that evolved into being the change I want to see in the media i consume. I remember how easy it was for me to draw faces, but bodies took me for a loop. As I grew as an artist, I tried to draw more varied subjects and that’s when things started getting interesting bc I realized there were things I just didn’t like drawing and I would be avoiding them as mush as possible to focus on what I did like and that shaped how my style developed over time. I just really like faces and shoulders y’all ok!!

As an artist, have you ever had that moment when someone you’ve known for a while looks at your art compared to another artist and can clearly tell which one you did? That’s style recognition, even if it’s not where you want it to be yet. Then they said something like, “Ah yes, I can tell you made this because it’s totally your style.”? Only to have you realize…OH SNAP, I HAVE A STYLE!? Then you try and figure out what they meant by “your style” and you ask what they meant, and if you were lucky they could form their thoughts into words and you gained some insight about yourself, but if they couldn’t be precise you just scratched your head and tried to reflect on your own? I know my experience can’t be singular lol.

The first time I heard this was in high school from one of my geeky art club bodies who said, “Ah that’s so H-Queen” (at the time my nickname was H-queen, but that’s a whole other thing pft). I didn’t think too much about what he said as I felt like my work was pretty generic in comparison to theirs, but even then there were things I would do in my art that made it pretty obvious that I was the one that drew it, but it took a while for me to notice that about myself.

Did someone say color

Style isn’t just formed by how you draw, but also what you draw and the themes you use in the work you make. I’ve always been into drawing intimacy, cute moments, going against gender roles, and subverting what a main character should look like. Over the years that has turned into my focus on the diversity of women’s bodies in art, though I admit my male forms aren’t nearly as diverse I can at least understand why I developed this way. I made the deliberate choice to focus on the underrepresented ways in which women can manifest in media and bringing that to the forefront of my art as it was hard to find. I saw more diversely bodied males growing up over females in cartoons, comics, movies, and all that good pop culture stuff in between. Though times are a changing abs there’s is more body diversity rep going about, the intentional drive to do my part is engrained in what I like to draw and how I draw. I totally want to keep expanding my inclusion net though, ur my foremost goal is focusing on the change I can make with what I like to create most.

More things change the more they star the same

Other things I’ve learned about my style include my fondness for round shapes. Even if something is supposed to be seen as rigid or at a sharp angle, I always find my hand naturally adding a curve. Another thing I’ve noticed is I don’t draw a lot of bangs on my characters which is interesting considering the foreheads I draw are pretty small in comparison to the rest of the face. I also love larger-than-life hair. Like, c’mon, have y’all seen my protagonist? Totally in line with this observation and the co-protagonist has gained more volume over the years as I started to challenge myself more by drawing shorter hairstyles that weren’t just a bald head.

(back in the day Kaelen’s hair was so flat pressed. Couldn’t be standing next to my girl with hair that bodyless lol). I still tend to go for longer hairstyles over shorter ones as I find those more fun and easier to draw, I admit I don’t like drawing short hair as it’s actually pretty hard for me (don’t even get me started on facial hair).

One psychedelic trip to the future pls

Through analyzing the things I like to draw and what I don’t like to draw in comparison to my body of work there are a few things I’ve come to know about my art style as of today. It’s playful, kind of trippy, filled with organic forms, fluffy, bold, sensual, carefree, and dare I say fantastical!

Anywho what are some observations y’all have made about your own styles you can dish on mine if you’d like too? Can you describe your style if asked or are you still trying to figure it out? Do you consider your self style less? Are you interested in hearing what others have to say about your style? Feel free to add a small collage of your work (preferably one image with a few pieces of your work pasted next to each other, but if you can’t do that, posting 3 or 4 pics should do fine too) and indicate that you are interested in having your style described by anyone in the forum.

TLDR: Through thinking about artistic styles and being told I have a style after trying so hard to define my style, I was able to learn the components of what my artistic thumbprint is that makes up my style. For me, it’s the inclusion of subject matter, what I enjoy drawing vs what I don’t, and how I found ways to accentuate what I like. Tell me about where you are on your stylistic journey and if you don’t know, post some of your work and see what others have to say.

💜Lady T. 💜

Let’s Talk about the Technical Side of Creating

Hi Y’all!

TLDR at the bottom 🙂 as I like to talk and am very aware.

As MagicalMashup! is my first long form comic (that I’ve posted online) I’m constantly learning new things about making comics and the most effective ways to use my time. I started creating my comics in ClipStudio (drawing and layouts), Adobe Photoshop (color correcting and formatting), and Adobe Illustrator (text placement and word bubbles) on my The Panda City Yiynova MSP19 Tablet Monitor hooked up to my PC at a desk. The Yiynova tablet screen monitor was my answer to Wacom’s Cintiq back in 2012, as I didn’t (still don’t) have the cash money to sink into a high end graphic display tablet. Options were still slim for anything that wasn’t Wacom for graphics tablets, but some competition had started to show up. I jumped on the research wagon and decided to go with the the Yiynova display tablet from Panda City bc price and reviews by a few artist bloggers at the time.

Once I figured out how to hook everything up and got the correct drivers installed, it worked like a charm (still up and running now actually) for almost a decade (baring a few minor hiccups with updates that were sorted out through reading a few forum posts). The only thing I missed that Wacom had was the tactile feeling the screens have that makes drawing on the screen not feel like you’re drawing on slippery glass :V, butttttttt a large screen protector can help with that. The other thing I would have liked was having the customizable side buttons on the Cintiq display mirrored on the Yiynova. The Yiynova pen also wasn’t as sturdy feeling in the hand and needed a battery to operate, but I got used to it and I only changed the battery like 5 times in the time that I’ve had it so eh. For the price I paid (sub $600) those things were just slight QOL things and I was too busy being mad excited for being able to draw directly on a surface I could see my hands doing the work.

My messy work area but you see the setup

(Not the best pic of my setup, but I forgot to take a new pic for the post at home.)

As much as I love my tablet screen monitor set up at my desk and swivel arm attachment, I work a day job and spend about half of my day not at home. Once I started getting serious about making my comic and planning my time out accordingly, I just kept lamenting on how much time I could be spending between breaks and when I’m not at home getting more work done if I could travel with my tablet screen. I was chatting with a techy friend of mine who told me about the 2018 iPad and how it was a cheaper model of iPad that had access to the Apple Pencil. I went over to a tech store, tried out one of the displays, and fell in LOVE. Bought it my next paycheck. It is so dang neat and portable and I can go on, but yeah.

I loved it, but after drawing on a tablet screen that was 3x bigger than the new tablet it was a bit rough. Not to mention the main program I was using at the time ClipStudio does not have the best interface for small screens, so I Iooked around the App Store and that’s when I found Procreate. It’s not specifically geared towards creating comics like ClipStudio, but I’ve been able to use it for that purpose just fine. The creators of the Procreate app release updates with new features often enough to make a difference too and it’s a one-time buy app as well. Since using the app, they’ve added a text tool and animation assist and I look forward to what new things they decide to roll out as well. They have a community tab that has a forum and gallery too!

Since the text tool wasn’t around when I first started making the comic in Procreate, I needed to find something else besides Adobe Illustrator as I was not buying that again. That’s when I found Affinity. Affinity is comparable to the Adobe creative suite at a fraction of the cost. They have tablet and desktop versions of their apps Designer and Photo with Publisher that’s just been released for desktop. Affinity Designer was exactly what I was looking for to edit my typography for word bubble typesetting and branding. It also has vector tools as well!!! I could go on about them, and just might at a later date haha.

Even with the program switches to software with a better interface for a tablet and using the 2018 iPad, the screen was still to dang small for me. I looked into upgrading and was fortunate enough to find an Ipad Pro 2017 within my budget on Swappa (I love this site for finding used tech for resale by owners as they authenticate merchandise and allow reviewing).

Upgrading to the Ipad Pro line was such a shift for my productivity. I could work on larger canvas sizes with more layers, everything loaded faster and crashes were a thing of the past. The biggest upside was of course the 12.9in screen size and amount of gigs the tablet came with, but I was also pleasantly surprised with the number of applications available for content creators that have good design and work well.

Working on iPad Pro, laying out ch 2

(can work on the comic like anywhere now)

There are a ton of options for creator setups and I have no idea what mines will look like a few years from now, but this is working out so far. What kind of setup do you all have for creating and what programs or tools do you use for making your comics or novels?

TLDR: I started off tied to my desk using my budget graphic display tablet with ClipStudio and Adobe products and then switched to a mobile setup using the Ipad Pro Procreate and Affinity Designer. What’s your content creator setup and what programs/tools do you use?