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 Muse: Colors

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

One of the core elements I decided before starting the comic is that it would be in color. I choose to go this route because, well for one, I LOVE color, but also because it would be a way for me to get in the habit of thinking about color and studying how using color can impact a scene.

A blind oc named Luel with long blue dreads that he keeps tied up a top his head. He is also a mage with a neat support skill.

Coloring a comic that I work on by myself is defiantly a whole extra thing, but I enjoy it and love to see my blackish (I don’t use black in the art for the comic as it’s a very stark and powerful color that commands too much attention in my bright magical world lol) lineart come to life!

When I first started drawing the comic I had a time trying to decide on the character and world color pallets. Due to how expansive fantasy worlds can get I quickly realized I’d need a way to organize my color choices. That is once I figured out what colors I’d be using that is…

Color is such a mindblowing thing that is as complex and vast a subject as it is beautiful. Up until I decided to make the comic, I had no need to keep track of color palettes, even for reoccurring characters. I could just fudge it and guess close enough and be good. That wouldn’t fly with a whole comic though. I started crafting my colors with the characters in mind first and thinking that the colors for each character should tell a little about their personalities.

Junah leaving home to start that independent life

Junah is an overall optimistic person that is very open and excitable, maybe too much so, but it is what it is haha, so I choose upbeat colors for her.

Kaelen on the other hand is more of a grounded person with a more reserved personality and so I choose colors that are more mature.

I had a lot of fun picking their colors, but then I had to think about shading and highlights… that’s when things got really interesting.

An introvert amongst extra extroverts.

When it comes to shading I used to just color pick the base skin tone and just use the color slider in ClipStudio to go down (add black) for shade and up (and white) for highlight.

(Original page from my practice comic MagicalBeginnings! ).

The old practice pages I did foe the comic. Still cannon, just changed my coloring approach to be more lively and magical feeling.

This works aight’, but I found that it felt flat in my newly designed colorful world. I was thinking of ways to improve on this when I found a Twitter thread started by a comic colorist names Marissa Louise talking about resources for learning about color for artists.

Now I thought I was color literate before, but wow did my eyes get opened to the possibilities I hadn’t thought of when it comes to color. I checked out all of the books and resources from the list I could and watched the videos recommended. Afterward, I revised my character sheets and started to look at where my colors were placed on the color wheel using this online Color Wheel. Being able to easily see the different color harmony rules affecting my color choices live was (is) so helpful for deciding what can work with your base color selections.

One way of keeping track of colors

Once I got my colors selected and was happy, I had to figure out a way to make them easily accessible as I’d be using them often. At first, I just made color dots on each character sheet from print screens of my color pics that I could reference, but copy-pasting them onto each page to color pick form was annoying (even if it looks cool).

Another way I used to keep Track colors, way to much going on though …

I then found out about saving color swatches into palettes in ClipStudio and BOOM!! Game changed.
(ClipStudio palette, admittedly not as organized as I wanted).

Clip studio swatches!

I would have stuck with ClipStudio if I hadn’t started using an iPad to give myself more time to work on the comic when not at home, but switching to Procreate offered the same options for being able to color swatch and the color picker tools were a bit more intuitive for me since I knew how I wanted to approach color for my comic.

I really like the snappy ness and convenience of working in Procreate. Keeps me from getting to buck wild.

The main difference I found was that CipStudio offers more spaces in their swatch palette for more colors than Procreate, but honestly, I’ve found simplifying what I have to be the better option for me. Keeps things manageable and I’m able to work faster this way.

Ahhh yes name codes color pics <3

You still get a good bit of options and you can also make a secondary palette to the main one in Procreate, so if you must have more you still can.

Anywho I’m curious about how y’all do your color crafting. Do you use color in your work or stick to monochrome? Fall somewhere in between? What made you decide to go this route? How do you keep track of all of your colors or values that are used repeatedly in your work? I’d love to hear your thoughts/process!

TLDR: There’s a lot that goes into the decision to work in color. I talk about my process from starting with flat color to learning how to incorporate harmonies in my palettes thanks to a few resources and how I use said colors as references in my work. I’m curious to know y’all’s thoughts on the subject.

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!

https://forums.tapas.io/t/diversity-in-comics-novels/54792?u=lady_t_musings