Category Archives: Graphic Storytelling

Status Update

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An experiment in graphic storytelling, 2006-07

So, I said I was starting up Maze of Mirrors again, I posted two new pages, and…then nothing happened.   My explanation is scanner-related.  We have a scanner, but its face is a lot smaller than my sketchbook, and it’s a huge hassle to try to not let the page be shadowed and to, well, get a good scan.  I’m frankly a bit tired of wrestling with it.

My good news is I just found out that I’m indeed getting a drawing tablet for Christmas, which I’ve wanted for about 10 years now so FINALLY I’ll stop having to be completely dependent on a scanner for sharing my art online. (It’s been my main hang-up for the past 5 years.)  So, count this as another hiatus, but in the meantime I’ll be finalizing the script and getting ready to have some art fun.  I really enjoy comics. They challenge me, give me something story-driven to draw, and even if I’m not a great artist…well, it’s still fun.

Two “new” pages!

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An experiment in graphic storytelling, 2006-07

I’m rather upset that WordPress changed their image-file gallery viewing method, so I’m caving and am going to archive my comic images on my deviantART account.  I’ll still post images here, but if you want to see the images larger you will have to click on “Permanent link” once you’re in the gallery carousel.

Page 12 I drew in 2007 but inked and lettered in 2011.  Page 13 I started sketching in 2011 and finally gave up trying to get the anatomy right and inked this week.   (Ignore how the text is a different font per page…)

One of my weaknesses with my illness is I have a much more difficult time visualizing things. This hinders me in my writing (I have to work twice as hard as I used to writing descriptions and coming up with visual layouts and blocking) but especially in my drawing.  The process is much longer and much more arduous with much more erasing and trying again, though I hope the results are at least somewhat the same.

Anyway, neither are perfect, but “imperfect” is better than “never”.  Thank goodness this is just an experiment….

(Don’t remember what’s happened? Click here.)

Script found!

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An experiment in graphic storytelling, 2006-07

I found the rest of the script! So I typed it up into a Google document and tinkered with it as I went.  Though the script is basically the same and ends in the same spot, the world and characterization are much richer with significant additions–and, well, it is much more awesome now.

Yes, I am rather excited about it.  Since my drawing improves when I work on comics more than it does when I’m just doodling, I am going to start drawing pages again. I’m not sure what the update schedule is going to look like, or even if I’ll be able to update on a regular basis or just when I get the whole thing done.  Right now I have a free trial of Photoshop CS5 which is great–but it will expire in a week. After that, I won’t have any art programs at all. I’ll have to figure something out.

I also know I’m going to be rusty. My style will probably have changed some. I was a better artist at the end of 2007 than I am now, but you win some you lose some.

So, yes! Maze of Mirrors is back on the radar.  I apparently can’t do “secret projects” or this would be mine, considering I can’t promise to have anything to show for a while….  *amused*

Maze of Mirrors- Update

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An experiment in graphic storytelling, 2006-07

This is just to say that I haven’t forgotten about The Maze of Mirrors. I found the next page of the script as well as the next page in progress…but I haven’t been able to find the rest of it.  (That’s the problem with handwriting on loose notebook paper. Oy.) I will keep looking, but in the meantime, MoM has inspired me to try an experiment with the blog.  So expect to see more art here in the future….

Also, side note. Remember what I said about ideas and the market? Well, at WorldCon I opened up a brochure and saw this.

Uncanny, isn’t it? Not the same story at all, but it was rather ironic how I had just talked about it…and then suddenly it was there!

Bonus Maze

A few bonus images. One is the screenshot of the simple website I made for the comic on GeoCities, complete with static watermark images and floating text, which I was highly proud of at the time.  And yes, the obligatory angsty-embrace that is needed for all vampire-human romances. *amused*

SO you ask, what now?  Well, there’s a few options I’m tentatively considering.  The first option is also the most likely–and that is that when I get back to the all the things I left behind in Utah I’ll have my script again I was using for the dialogue and pages and I’ll write a short story from that.  Another option is to get back to drawing and finish the webcomic as I originally set out to do. And the third option is to reuse my favorite elements of the story in a novel I have planned to write eventually. But really, there’s no real reason why I can’t do a combination of any of the above. The main problem for doing art again is lack of good scanner access in Utah and my extreme slowness at being able to do a page. I’ve never been a professional artist–and I haven’t done it in ages.  I’m much better at writing, so that’s probably what I will stick to.

Thoughts? Suggestions? Requests? Hate mail?

The Vampire in the Maze

Enter the Vampire. (Mwahaha.) And here we get introduced to the fantastical element of the story. And here we see she is wearing clothes that fit.

And here are the last two pages.

So the comic “serialized” for a grand, small total of 11 weeks before I reached an unfortunate end.  There were many factors involved in why I couldn’t continue. One of them being the simple fact that scanner access was rather awkward to obtain in my situation in France.  I did a few pages before losing the courage necessary to push myself on other people’s computers, scanners, programs.  Instead I took to digitally fingerpainting pages to pass the time until I could return to the States.

But my last months in France were exceptionally hard for me, emotionally.  I found myself in a dark place that lasted months, if not years after I’d returned.  And because of all the struggles I was facing, I found myself unable to return to a lot of the projects I was working on at the time of the trauma.  The reminder was harrowing. I just couldn’t deal.  But even as I found myself forced to abandon things, I couldn’t understand why it was too hard for me to continue.  I gathered up the last strength I had, finished my degree, though all the skills I was using on a daily basis to do so were every bit as painful as the rest.  I guess I streamlined and got through, finding new, unrelated projects to carry me through the difficult days.

It’s fascinating to me now, how creating can both bring bright joy or bitter pain. Life is so complicated–and yet so simple.  And all of that is contained in just a few pages of amateur art.

The Maze of Mirrors

If you want to see page 07 in digital fingerpaint, it’s here. I can’t find it on my computer, hrm.

I was so happy with these pages when I finished them.  I learned from my earlier mistakes and tried to keep my inking simple and not use too many lines.  I realized I couldn’t draw straight lines and tried harder to compensate for that.  I remember being really worried about the mirrors, but I think I did a good job on the reflections, all things considered.  The top hat on page 08 still makes me laugh, and though these pages have a lot of mistakes, I’m still proud of them overall, years later.  The earlier pages make me cringe–these I can at least rest easy when I show them to you.

Clothes + Adventure!

Mmm. Arguing about clothes, wearing hand-me-downs, and little girls who don’t care about all that and just want an adventure!

I added a color version of page 6, as well.  In France I did not have much access to a scanner. I also had loads of free time. So I used said free time downloading a new one-month free trial of a different art program each month…and then I finger-painted. Yes, digital finger-painted, since I did not have a mouse or tablet and just had the touchpad on my laptop.

(Around these pages I realized I could not draw a straight line to save my soul. Apologies that I did not realize this sooner!)

Dream Maze

As many stories do, this short story started as a dream. I didn’t keep the date of the dream, but I had it in 2006, then wrote about it in my dream log. Here’s the first paragraph of that,

I don’t remember all the specifics, but I was going through a room that was like an Arabian palace–close to it. To my left there were two or three people talking–people I knew, but who did not know I was there. They were sitting on creamy silk with a floral design. I think they were talking to me. I think this was one of the many rooms. I was searching for something, yet leisurely, as if exploring. But what I was heading into was a collection of mirrors–a maze of mirrors that rotated at random, opening and closing into themselves except for the path where I was. There was no danger of being hurt by the large shining, glass-like mirrors. I was still aware of the people in the adjoining/open room to my left. I was following a crystal–a pendant at one point in my hand, the next moment it was in the corridor ahead. But either it would twist or I would, and the mirrors would rotate again–shifting, turning. Sometimes those outside could see me, sometimes the reflections reflected only inside/into themselves.

The dream went on and became a vampire story, which I won’t spoil.  Yes, this was before Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight was hugely popular and before the massive vampire influx into pop culture. The generation growing up on Joss Whedon’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Anne Rice’s Interview with a Vampire had yet to start publishing.

But anyway, so here I had this vampire dream, set in a mirror maze in an Arabian palace, and other elements to the plot were very Jane Austen-like.  So I set down, wrote out a script, tried my hand at some character designs, and then began producing a page per week.  Here are the first three pages. Don’t worry, my art improves! As with the start of any project, the beginning is always the roughest. You still have no idea what you’re doing.

The End of the Maze – Introduction


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An experiment in graphic storytelling, 2006-07

GeoCities’ death in 2009 interfered with my schemes to archive my life on the Internet.  It came at a very unfortunate time when I was racing to prepare for my mission in Armenia, struggling to finish my translation projects before I left, not to mention saying goodbye to everyone under the sun.  When I found out, the first thing I did was archive as much as I could of one of my best friend’s work. She had passed away in 2008 and I was expecting to be able to read or look at her legacy whenever I wanted, but GeoCities had other plans.

The one good thing to come of the mess, is that now I have the chance to look back and analyze the story, why I started it, what drew me to it, and why I found myself screeching to a halt, suddenly unable to even look at let alone touch the project.  I never realized how emotionally raw something so supposedly innocuous as art could make you feel–even your own.

But now, 4 years later, I’m going to revisit it.  The short work has one very devoted fan, and I thank her for her loyalty to the story and for her patience with me.  For her sake and for my own, I’m going to take a deep breath and plunge in.

Welcome back– to The Maze of Mirrors.