We write a lot about journeys and exploration here at Blue Cat Co. But a few years ago, I went on a journey of my own. A quest for personal illustration style. What should I study? What did I even like? (Hint: The answer to that involves art nouveau and illustrated manuscripts)
So took a quest and made a 26-page comic about it:
And then thought, “why not share what I learned?” So I added 10 pages of text to help you go on your own style quest.
We have revived Style Quest and it is now available in the Trading Post Shoppe!
As you can see above, our head archivist his having a bit of upper respiratory trouble, so updates this week will be a little sluggish. I’d like to take this opportunity to step in and speak about being gentle with yourself.
Everyone loves a good training montage. We get to see the hero pushing their bodies to the limit each day and eventually meeting their goals. We even make peace with the fact that it will take a while and that we’ll have to work hard.
What no one talks about is the fact that you don’t get steadily better. At all.
One day you’ll be doing 50 push ups and the next day you get up and you’ll only be able to do 10. And the next day you’re even worse. Improvement isn’t steady by a long shot. You’re going to spend most of your training time being absolutely awful.
Which makes you wonder… If you’re going to spend a great heap of the time failing… Why beat yourself up? Why not take the path gently and take the progress as it comes?
Give yourself time to heal and absorb the knowledge you gather. Take the path slowly but keep moving forward. Progress doesn’t have to be a constant torture. Sure it’s hard to learn new things, but be patient with yourself and your body as we head into a new year and toward accomplishing our goals.
Everyone loves a good sweat.
Still running the #shareyourworld game on Twitter. You get to tell me, in a tweet (if possible), what your world is about. I’m noticing two trends:
- We confuse story with world.
- We don’t know why we’re building.
Sometimes I’ll get replies that tell me plot. “Scott the magical dog goes on an adventure to Doom Mountain” is a plot (can someone write that please?). “Set in the modern day where magic infuses the land and gives animals powers,” is a world description. If you’re in the Oatley Academy, you probably know this as the One Big Lie. The one over-arching point of your world.
I think we find it hard to summarize our worlds because we haven’t spent time building them, just time on making the narrative. Your world is a living organism. Your world is telling its own story. That’s where the story you’re telling came from. Every time you write an establishing shot, your world is telling a story.
So take some time to listen to your world and give it some life. Then comment on this post or on social media with #shareyourworld and tell me what it’s all about.
I’ve listened to this song dozens of times and thought it was a great tune inspiring a lady to be with the guy she loves. Until last night, I didn’t hear it as general advice. I just realized that the beginning of your journey isn’t working toward a dream, but searching to discover what your dream is.
That is why I love exploring worlds.
Have you shared your world with me yet? Comment on this post or on social media #shareyourworld.
Sadly we’re missing the transition between the first and second image. The ram horns phase…
I came upon a note in my list of project questions for Woolmancy: “Character design, how many iterations?”
I laugh at this, and kind of laughed when I wrote it. No matter how many times I refine my design, it’s going to change once I start placing the actors on their stage (drawing the real deal comic pencils). That’s when I see them delivering their lines and playing their parts and that’s when they come to life!
Also, I just made a Patreon-exclusive video available to the public to celebrate the opening of this website. Have a look!
This weekend I posed a question on Facebook and Twitter:
Are you a worldbuilder? Share your world in a tweet and tag !
I got some great replies and had the opportunity to discuss people’s worlds with them. I plan to continue using the tag, so if you have a world, please share it! If you also want to mention me directly that would assure I’ll respond (Abrian Curington or @AbrianCArt).
I noticed something from the responses though: A lot of people don’t feel qualified to be worldbuilders.
There is a stereotype. I get it. Worldbuilders are people that play Role Playing Games and paint miniatures. They’re into linguistics, cartography and/or history. They’re somewhat anti-social, their biggest event of the year being cosplaying at conventions. They’ve been working on their world for 15 years and have 10 binders full of notes, collecting cobwebs as they are top secret, never to be viewed by anyone ever. And the biggest one of all: They write fantasy.
Do you write fiction of any genre? Congratulations, you’re a worldbuilder. In fact, I could possibly make an argument for some non-fiction too.
But really. Even if you write slice-of-life novellas, there is some invention going on. You’re making things up!
To prove my point, here’s me in a nutshell as compared to “real” worldbuilders:
- I have never played Dungeons and Dragons nor touched a Warhammer miniature.
- But I’m totally down with papercrafting and scale models!
- I don’t cosplay and I’m actually not easily sucked into fandoms
- I eat well and exercise. I love winter hikes.
- I do like video games but I couldn’t tell you a single release date or company fact
- I like Disney and musicals. YES MUSICALS.
- I make maps but am not a certified geologist, so they are imperfect
- I like languages but I’d be hard pressed to accurately recite the lingusitc family tree or even part of it
- I don’t have nearly enough investment to write “high” fantasy, sci-fi, etc. because it would involve actually caring about the intricate workings of every single thing. Just in it to have fun
- All my stories have a light-hearted feel
- I like to explore and write about new worlds
That last fact makes me a worldbuilder. If you’re a writer, you’re probably a worldbuilder too.
So comment on this post, or use the hashtag on social media and tell me about your world. I bet you have one!