Full Oath comic, “Darkling”

Here’s “Darkling”, the comic that I co-created for the Oath anthology of new heroes!

I wrote it way back in early 2015, then the amazing Carey Pietsch (you may know her from Adventure Time: Marceline Gone Adrift, Lumberjanes, or the upcoming Adventure Zone graphic novel) drew it! Gosh, it’s such an honor to be her friend and to have had the chance to work with her.

You can get a copy of Oath here if you want more queer superhero comics.

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Sparks graphic novel announcement

Spike over at Iron Circus Comics has announced that she will be publishing Sparks as a graphic novel in 2018!

For those unfamiliar: Sparks is an Edwardian era erotic romance about two women who meet and fall in love while working in service, and their subsequent journey toward social and financial independence as they try to make a real life together.

If you like Kaoru Mori’s Emma but wish it had steamy bits and ladies kissing, or if you like Downton Abbey but wish it had better queer representation and was nicer to its characters, this book is for you!

And if you want to read it right this moment and can’t possibly wait two more years, it is currently serializing over on Filthy Figments (note: that link is very not safe for work).

Sparks

Featured on the Huffington Post

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Huge thanks to Priscilla Frank from huffpo for this feature on my work in erotic comics! I was really glad for this chance to discuss erotic comics as a genre, as it’s a great passion of mine and often isn’t given the credit it deserves.

When creating a sex scene, what are the main things on your mind in terms of what you’re trying to convey and communicate? 

I go in with the mindset that sex itself isn’t the point of my comics, but rather it’s natural progression of a greater story. Even if it’s a vignette where we only see that particular kind of moment between the characters, there are always ways to weave in context and add depth. Sex offers opportunities for character development and growth that are really unique and special. After all, when else do we see them vulnerable quite like this? And I want to make the most of that.

Read more here! (Warning: minor nudity and sexuality in the sample illustrations, may not be work appropriate.)

Sybil’s Sigh, 8 hour comic challenge

I participated in a challenge run by 24 Hour Comics Day Perth today where we had to draw an eight page comic in eight hours! This is what I came up with and, honestly, I’m proud of it, probably because I’m amazed I remember how to draw with a pencil after having an all-digital workflow so long!

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1001 Knights!

Here is my spread illustration for the kick butt 1001 Knights anthology/art book collection, now on Kickstarter! It features Kaspar and Grizel, the main characters in the comics I wrote for the Vertoscope and Other Side anthologies. Other contributors include Ryan North, Steven Sugar, Victoria Ying, Loish, Josh Tierney, Meg Hunt, Molly Ostertag, and over 200 other awesome people. Check it out!

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Illustrations for the A.V. Club’s best TV of 2015 list

Huge thanks to the A.V. Club for having me illustrate their best TV of 2015 list! It was massive fun.

AV Club best of TV 2015

Part 1 left to right: Tom Haverford, Bob Belcher, Leslie Knope, Lindsay, Brienne of Tarth, Ilana Glazer, Steven Universe, Louise Belcher, Eddie Huang.

AV Club best of TV 2015

Part 2 left to right: Rick and Morty, Kimmy Schmidt, Evie Murphy, Jessica Jones, Elliot Alderson, Bojack Horseman, Dev, Forrest MacNeil, Jane Villanueva, Hannibal Lecter.

Dark Horse publishing Secret Loves

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Dark Horse is publishing a new edition of The Secret Loves of Geek Girls in 2016, featuring a fancy new cover by Noelle Stevenson and a foreword by Kelly Sue DeConnick! I feel pretty darn honored to be in a book alongside these ladies, many of whom I’ve admired and respected for a long time.

You can still read my story here!

Entertainment Weekly feature + Vertoscope Kickstarter

The Vertoscope Kickstarter has launched just in time for Halloween and Entertainment Weekly has featured my story! “Breakfast in Bed” is a tale of haunted armor, unfortunate mistakes, and true love. Story and layouts by me, art by the amazing Hannah KriegerRead it all here.

Gorgeous Vertoscope cover art by Lynn Nyugen.

Vertoscope cover

For everyone who likes to explore the dark side, VERTOSCOPE is an all-new original comics anthology that specializes in beasts, villains, and shadows. From the ravenous werewolf to the schoolyard bully, VERTOSCOPE seeks to tell stories that bypass shiny heroes and get behind the lens of those who do wrong. Editors and comic artists Nechama Frier and Ten Van Winkle are proud to unveil this graphic novel anthology featuring twenty-two creators presenting sixteen psychological shorts focused on the theme “antagonist as protagonist”.

Creators are often encouraged to the point of tedium to create protagonists that are likable, relatable, and possessed of redeeming qualities. Those are the basics. But sometimes, having a complex, realistic character takes you in a direction opposite of “good guy”. VERTOSCOPE is for a particular kind of reader that chases that complexity. This anthology is brought to you by creators who have sat through dozens of movies, books, and comics falling in love with the despicable characters. We don’t hate the hero or happy ending, but straightforward stories about a good person are easy to find. VERTOSCOPE is for readers who crave the challenge of understanding someone immoral, and who exorcise their own demons by watching someone else live them out. They allow space for the darkness inside of them and grow from investigating it through fiction.

The VERTOSCOPE anthology will be a 200 page softcover graphic novel that intimately explores a diverse set of villains from a range of genres. There are countless stories for readers who want to watch a hero become the best version of themselves. For those who want to see the best of the bad, there’s VERTOSCOPE.

“A Lonely Line” Preview

Carey Pietsch is drawing the story I wrote for the second volume of Colonial Comics (remember the first?), and I am so excited to see how it turns out! Here’s a preview from Carey’s pencils.

Molly Ockett

On this Indigenous People’s Day, I’d like to share some pencils from Sarah Winifred Searle and Carey Pietsch’s story about Molly Ockett, an Abenaki woman who was renowned in the English colonies as a healer and sage. Sarah wanted to do a story about Molly from the day I first spoke to her (about three years ago – how time flies!), and we finally get to include her early history in the upcoming second volume of Colonial Comics. The page I’m sharing carries with it a great message that seems particularly relevant today. –– Colonial Comics

Vacation

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Just a heads up, email responses and communication in general may be slow between August 19th and September 6th! I’ll be on the opposite side of the planet for reasons that may have something to do with my Secret Loves comic. Thank you for your patience in the meantime! This animation from my sketchbook expresses just how gleeful I am at the prospect of this adventure.

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So excited.

Process: Lighting for Ruined #3

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Indoor nighttime Regency lighting is tough! They pretty much relied on fireplaces and candles, and since wax candles were so expensive, even those were at a minimum. It’s a challenge to portray those limits while keeping the characters and environments legible so Sarah’s scripts shine through.

This worked to our advantage in issues three and four, thankfully. I looked at it as “mood lighting” to visually enhance the emotional rollercoaster Catherine experiences on her wedding night. Exaggerating the dark corners of the Davener house only adds to its mystery. This draws our attention back to the characters, whose facial expressions and body language are a key part of these scenes.

The obvious solution from art training is to go cool with bluer tones through most of the art, then use yellow highlights to insinuate the warmth of the lighting. I wanted something more sensuous than that, though –– after all, we’re waiting to see how the consummation of their marriage goes –– so I gave her room deep pink wallpaper. The characters are enveloped in this rosy warmth, but it’s deepened and desaturated, so the golden firelight both maintains its cozy allure and draws our attention back to well-lit areas with its higher saturation and contrast.

I do line art in Autodesk Sketchbook Pro, then color and finish in Photoshop.

Technical steps:

  1. Get flats from color assist Justin, and they look great! I tweak the palette and clean things up a little.
  2. I add background lighting…
  3. Then foreground lighting in two steps: one to account for the glare of the candlelight on the vanity’s mirror, then another layer for the general environment.
  4. I add a radial gradient that deepens the corners of the panel, adding contrast and mood that draws our attention more intimately into the moment.
  5. Then I overlay some texture and adjust levels, which smooths out the gradients and reinforces an antiqued feeling in the art.

If you like this sort of thing, I share a lot more process posts over on my Patreon!

Patreon Launch

Patreon

I now have a Patreon where you can subscribe to secret-for-now comics and a behind-the-scenes blog that will feature special sneak peeks of current projects!

The Secret Loves of Geek Girls

Secret Loves

Did you know that Margaret Atwood draws comics? Neither did I, but apparently we’re in a book together! The Secret Loves of Geek Girls features comics, illustrations, and prose by so many ladies I admire and respect that you should probably just go ahead and check out the contributor list. It features Trina Robbins, Mariko Tamaki, Danielle Corsetto, Irene Koh, and Jen Vaughn, to name just a few.

“Better Than Fiction” is somewhat of a sequel to my Chainmail Bikini story. It describes my journey from relying too heavily on escapism through fiction to finding romantic fulfillment in reality. Here’s a preview of my rough-rough draft (yes, that’s Sailor Neptune and Sailor Uranus, and preteen-me’s terrible attempt at imitation):

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Busy Summer Ahead

Still very busy! The first issue of Fresh Romance (featuring Ruined) is on the verge of release, I’m steadily at work on the next issue, and it’s scripts and thumbnails galore as I plan my next few anthology contributions.

I’m also finishing up my comic for Dirty Diamonds‘ next issue, which focuses on the theme of beauty. My story is about my evolution as a person as reflected through the evolution of my hair.

Dirty Diamonds

I’m working on some other things, too! You can check out a frequently-updated list of all past, current, and upcoming projects over on my bibliography page.

Food Porn Anthology

Food Porn

Food Porn is the first print anthology by Filthy Figments (nsfw)! If you enjoyed Smut Peddler, this would be right up your alley. The content consists of lady-made, sex-positive, queer-friendly erotica, and this book has the added bonus of recipes with each food-themed comic. Cute, right?

My contribution’s called Seaside Sweethearts, and it’s about a couple who go on a beach picnic… but they’re more interested in each other than the scenery.

Seaside Sweethearts

And here’s my “foodsona” (a fluffy pink cupcake, of course, and probably the sexiest I’ll ever draw myself):

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Fresh Romance

Fresh Romance

I’ve barely been able to contain myself as I’ve worked on this over the past month! Fresh Romance is founded by the formidable Janelle Asselin and will feature Ruined, a no-nonsense Regency romance for the modern reader co-created by amazing writer Sarah Vaughn and myself. Alongside it will run two other stories by people I really admire, including queer content. I really look forward to Rosy Press’ future as an outlet for diverse creators and stories.

Check it out on Kickstarter!

Ruined

Ashcan Comics

Did you know that I do cartooning workshops? Well, I do! Here’s a quick ashcan comic that I made as an example in a session I did with some kids a few years back. It’s about my dinosaur BFF.

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Kind Words

Seeing this interview over at Diamond Previews made my day and I just wanted to share these kind words that Kathryn Immonen had about my work. Moving Pictures was a big deal to me when I started to pursue comics really seriously –– historical fiction in particular –– and it means the world that she thinks highly of what I do!

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Chainmail Bikini is alive!

Chainmail Bikini Kickstarter

We’re live and almost funded in just the first couple days! It’s a really fantastic book, I’m proud to be a part of it and I highly recommend checking it out. Here’s a preview of my contribution:

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Witchsona 2015

It’s becoming an annual thing that a bunch of cartoonists/illustrators ’round the web draw their “witchsonas” (witch personas). I’ve leveled up since last year as a person and wanted to make sure mine reflected that.

Witchsona detail Witchsona

My witchsona specializes in the magics of love, creation, and renewal. Is spring here yet?

Chainmail Bikini & Filthy Figments

Figured I’d share a couple panels from current projects as teasers!

Chainmail Bikini is an anthology about women gamers. Keep your eyes out for a Kickstarter in the next couple months. My contribution is about play-by-post roleplaying, how it’s prepared me for a career as a cartoonist, the wonderful friends I’ve made through it, and despite how much I love it, how dudes are still gross on the internet sometimes.

Chainmail Bikini

And this is from First, which is debuting over on Filthy Figments (nsfw) this Tuesday! It’s a very sweet lady love story.

Filthy Figments