30 November 2015

NaNoWriMo - An illustrated look at my Novel Writing Month

November is National Novel Writing Month. I hadn't known about that little fact up until last year when I promptly decided to take part in it.

I'm not an author, strictly speaking. I have written, drawn and then gotten published comic books, but never before attempted to tell a story only in writing. So, on to new things!

Of course, I had to draw some character sketches on the by...

In any case, I used November 2014 to get going with a story idea I'd been playing around with for some years. Normally, when doing story concepts for comic books, I'd only write summaries, scene descriptions, portions of important dialogue and character studies before then heading into a detailed script mostly comprised of sketches. This works well enough, but every now and then, plotholes remain uncovered, or something from the beginning doesn't quite add up with the following narrative. And, with the publishing world being what it is and drawing being a run against time, changes become nearly impossible if one doesn't want to redraw the whole book once one reaches the end. Being into whimsical, complicated, sometimes overly crowded storytelling doesn't make it any easier.

So for that particular story idea, I wanted to do it right. I wanted to have the time to edit, to adjust and to polish before even sending the concept to my editor.
Writing came surprisingly easy. Not that it's good writing - but I was surprised at how naturally the scenes I'd imagined drawn came to life with just words. The 50'000 words were over way too fast, and the story only about a quarter done.

I had to focus on some other stories (Lost Ctrl was published in 2015, text editing had to be done, and then I started freelancing as an illustrator and working on a Korean fairytale retelling) but with NaNoWriMo 2015 rolling around, I was ready to dive into that little beast of a story again.

Trying to sort out some timeline issues...
I have some kind of mad scientist approach to story planning.
This is only the mindmap of the second quarter, most of the overall planning was
done back in 2014.
Fantasy is a genre I love, especially if religion, magic and mysticism take a front-row seat. But it's also a genre that's not forgiving to half-hearted worldbuilding and haphazard plots. Writing scenes, plot points and dialogue ahead of bothering with even the roughest of sketches helps me to find my way through the maze of my ideas and to bring them together. Adding in scenes from the point of view of secondary characters helps sort out some inconsistencies I wouldn't have noticed otherwise. Writing action scenes (hopefully) will help me to draw them as more engaging later on.

Hit 50k on day 26 - YAY!

I tried, and managed, to write more than the required 1667 words a day, never slacking off even when ahead of wordcount. As I was quite busy working at the restaurant, drawing commissions and freelancing, I forced myself to only start writing once all of the day's work was done, which often meant 11 pm or later. By that point, I was looking forward to an hour of concentrated writing so much that it was hard to stop myself from just keeping at it all night long. I reined myself in and wrote an average of 2000 words a day.

I can really recommend using writing during NaNoWriMo as a reward after the rest of your to-do list is checked off - it makes writing a treat instead of a chore.

Another character concept illustration I'm still in the middle of drawing...
I did squeeze in some quick character illustrations during October and November (can't quite stop myself from drawing after all...) and am now looking forward to keeping on writing in December. I'll be visiting my family in Switzerland, and as I have neither a scanner nor all my materials over there, the amount of drawing commissions I can do keeps itself in check. Which means: Forced Freedom. Vacation. Time to write during the days, hopefully.

I've got three main characters, three women that grew up in the same temple and have the same name. They were like sisters once, but the story starts years later, when they're all at very different places in life. 
I'm really looking forward to drawing their very different points of view. Especially the viewpoint of the blind priestess will be a challenge when it comes to depicting it.

I'm also experimenting with a more realistic art style mixed with my normal manga style, to fit the more sombre mood of the story I want to create. Maybe something like this? Still struggling.

This would be more typical for me (and easier to keep up over hundreds of pages, mind you), but I'll keep doing style tests until I've finished the script.

Did you participate in NaNoWriMo? Would you like to try? What were your experiences?

20 November 2015


Another one!

No, really, I hoped that I would be able to create another album cover in the future after I did the last one, but I wasn't expecting it to happen this fast!

어쩌면 아티스티 is coming out with a new single, and I was asked again to create the illustration for it. Still watercolors, still Jeju-themed, but a bit more playful.

The new single is travel-themed, but more light-hearted than Jeju Baram / Wind of Jeju.

You can take a look (and listen) at a part of the song. It's being used as the promotional song of Jeju Air, so it's been playing on television for a while before it was now officially released by 'Maybe An Artist'.


And the promotional video for Jeju Air. Someone please give me some money for sharing this.

As for the illustration itself, I was given a free hand and could do whatever I wanted. As the music is playful and light, I wanted to give a similar feel to the drawings and the overall layout. In the end, I went with a grid-layout, reminding of pattern games like tetris or puzzles (I hope haha).

Featuring a selection of individual images that remind me of a, well, refreshing vacation on Jeju - with the famous oranges and clementines giving the color scheme.

These pictures kind of scream to be reused for stickers or post card motives, but I have to hold myself back or I'll single-handedly fund that printing company with all my orders recently.

Actually, I did a lot more illustrations, because I'd originally planned to make the pattern much smaller overall. That turned out to look way too convoluted and even plain unreadable. So here's some of the B-cuts!

Here's some sort of island that could be Sanbangsan, or just good ol' Jeju Island itself.

And of course the traditional houses of Jeju. There's a LOT of these around where I live ('cause I'm a country bumpkin) and they look plain adorable with their red, blue and green roofs.

8 November 2015


If you've been following my blog since its creation not too long ago, you may have noticed how my initial 'daily drawings' evolved into makeup sketches and have gotten more detailed and elaborate along the way. Now I've finally gotten around to printing some of my works onto gift cards, textiles, hand mirrors and stickers!

Update 2016: You can find the prints and stickers in my Etsy Shop, too.

From the beginning, I had lots of fun doing these little beauty drawings. I started to use them for makeup reviews and, through this blog and instagram, even got several art commissions!
I wanted to introduce some of these projects to you. I'm experimenting with slightly different art styles for each of them, so hopefully this will be interesting.

First, my collaboration with Bisou Beauty Bar. Bisou is an online store, selling an interesting selection of both high- and low-end Korean brands in Canada.

Since we've started working together, I've created several product illustrations (for the cutest promotions ever??), as well as their business card and additional illustrations like the Pop-Up Shop below.

For these, I tried to make the overall feel of the illustrations more 'professional' - not as cutesy and simple as the ones that I'm using for my own reviews, but still colorful!

Then, I got two Blog Header commissions in short succession. For them to not look similar, they were created with a different atmosphere and, of course, color scheme in mind.

Shia from 'Shiaswelt' contacted me first, and to fit her new blog design I've included soft brown linearts with a mostly rose color palette. While the individual products are quite cute in their packaging, I tried to give the overall illustrations an elegant vibe!

She even uploaded some of the sketches and wips from this project! Way more dilligent than I am myself... haha...

Sooyoona from 'Something Beautiful' was up next, and I worked on both illustrations more or less simultanously. Her color preferences were blues and greens, and as we included not only makeup products, but a variety of other personal favorites of hers, the header became more and more colorful! The result was a playful, vibrant illustration with lots of whimsical details.

Check out both of their blogs to see the header images 'in action' and, of course, have a look at the blogs themselves! It was fun to work with K-Beauty Bloggers from my home country Switzerland and neighboor Germany! :)

So, what now? Now it's time for a little online store!

I really want to pursue this direction with my art. While I love drawing Manga and Children's picture books, and of course have to do my monthly share of bread-winning freelance illustrations, I really enjoy combining my love for drawing, watercolors and makeup!

Now that I'm done with printing, I'm really excited to show you some of the pictures!

I've made a Google Form to function as an online store - it's always been the easiest way to keep orders in one place!

So, I'll mostly do a blog sale here during November (I'll start shipping out items on the 16th, but orders can already be made!), pause during December, and then do the full-scale Etsy launch in January. (edit 2016: Well, it happened in February)

The stickers were made primarly because my cushion cases are old, battered and ugly, and I wanted to decorate them! There's been so many limited editions of cases released this  year in Korea, but I resisted hah...

...I'm really happy with how these turned out! :)

Additional, higher quality images of all products can be found in the order form!