Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Over the last two years, I've become increasingly interested in the art of telling a story through pictures. I've always loved books with lavish illustrations (such as the Dinotopia books by James Gurney), and I've read a few printed graphic novels (such as Rapunzel's Revenge by Shannon Hale). Then I discovered the online world of webcomics.

Webcomics are unique in that anyone can make one and put it up for the world to read. They don't need to get accepted for publication by Marvel or any of the other big-name publishers. That means that the author(s) can experiment and tell their unique story without anyone breathing down their neck. And usually, they're completely free to read. The drawback is this: webcomics are usually updated one to three times a week, so once you catch up to the most recent page, you must waaaait.

I'm a visual person. Many of my characters and story concepts come to me in pictures. When I found out about webcomics, I was immediately drawn to the idea of making my own someday, but I knew I would need to focus on improving my drawing skills. Since January, that's exactly what I've been doing, and I rediscovered how much I love art. I start college next week as an art major!

Not only have I been practicing my art, I've also absorbed lots of great webcomics. I thought I'd share my reading list, in case any of you are also interested in comics or visual storytelling. Some of the following may have certain elements that I don't like or agree with, but there's something special in each one that kept me reading.

Winters in Lavelle - Fantasy
The Dreamer - Time travel/Historical/Romance
Inverloch - Fantasy (this one's complete!)

Others I like for one reason or another:
The Silver Eye - Fantasy.
Dreamless - Romance/Mystery/WW2/Defies genre... Warning: It's intense. (But it's complete!)
The Phoenix Requiem - Fantasy/Romance. Warning: Rather violent and dark. (also complete)
Between Places - Fantasy. The story is confusing at points, but the art is beautiful.
Girl Genius - Steampunk. Warning: Violence, and some skimpy outfits.
Bardsworth - Fantasy/Humor.
Seed - Fantasy.
One Question - Fantasy.
Earthsong - Fantasy.

... I just realized, there is a lot of "fantasy" in that list.

Do any of you read webcomics? What are your favorites? Have you ever considered making a comic or graphic novel?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Creative Activities, Contests, and the County Fair

Hey, everybody!

Summer is always a busy time for me. In the last few weeks:

-I wrote a Wild West retelling of "Rumplestiltskin" and won a writing contest! My story will be published in an ebook collection. I will give more details once it's out.

-I applied for several scholarships.

-I participated in our County Fair, winning several ribbons in photography and art. 

-I started a personal exercise program, and stuck to it (so far). My secret weapon is audio books-- I can only listen to them while I'm riding my bike, walking the dog, etc.

-I read plenty of books (currently reading Firebird, by Kathy Tyers).

-I wrote a couple thousand more words in my steampunk/fantasy novel.

-I did a digital painting for a contest hosted by the Paper Wings Podcast. You can vote for me! I would greatly appreciate it if you went to this link and clicked "like" on the sidebar. That's it. The entry with the most "likes" in each category will win a Wacom Intuos tablet. The Grand Prize of all the entries will get a live critique of their work with the hosts of the podcast, Disney artist Chris Oatley and Lora Innes, creator of the webcomic "The Dreamer," of which I'm a big fan. Voting is only open for one week!