Welcome to my latest project! Find out about The Forest Year.Read More
My bags are packed and I'm headed into the mountains!
I've never done this before, but I decided to book a little cabin in the woods for 72 hours of remote inspiration devoted purely to writing!
I'm hoping to come back with a rough draft of a few chapters, maybe some sketches and a layout for my first email newsletter!
Sorry the blog has been so quiet lately - as I mentioned in the last post, I've never been more busy.
Here are some photos from last summer - the same location I'm headed today!
It's official. I am writing and illustrating a book.
You may have heard me talking about it over the last 6 months, and referring to it as "The Wanderer" series (which was a placeholder name). Many of my most popular fantasy landscapes have come directly from the story (see below).
Well, this horse has left the gate, and is not going to stop until we cross that finish line!
So what is this book about?
Oli Oru, a galactic cartographer, explorer, and all around adventure-addict, has spent over 2,000,000 years traveling to unimagined reaches of the universe. Her prime objective: to discover alien cultures, create maps and indexes, and along the way, find meaning in a seemingly endless existence. As far as she knows, she is the only one left of her kind; a magic-wielding descendant of the human race.
Earth is long gone. The Elder, a group of highly advanced (and very old) humans, are in total control of the remaining humans. The entire race is part of a massive ongoing experiment, constructed and controlled by the Council which is made up of the most powerful Elder.
Oli, despite being more of a rogue agent, feels a moral obligation to protect the human race. It is forbidden to interfere with the Council’s experiments, and especially to inform the humans of it. Does she go against millions of years of protocol to save innocent people caught in the Elder’s power struggles?
How can she do it alone, if at all?
Do you want to know more about Oli, her magical adventures to catalog the universe, the Elders and the mischief of the Council, or the humans who have been deceived into living on man-made planets as experiments? Make sure to sign up for my new mailing list - where I will share the exclusive details, illustrations, and project updates!
(I highly recommend listening to an epic soundtrack while reading this, it makes it more fun!)
Excerpt (Teaser #2)
The vast council room stretched before her as she passed the guards. Tall pedestals of glass loomed upwards, barely visible in the star light filtering down from the dome above. It was the third time this quarter that she had been summoned to the Council, but this time something was different. They had broken protocol, sending a ship to retrieve her during her Sleep (not like the sleep you and I experience at night - this was a meditative rejuvenation required by her species every few months to maintain her powers).
The urgency of the summons worried her, though she was no stranger to disaster.
As the echoing of her footsteps finally faded, Oli stood staring up at the Council. The faint sound of a gong was heard yet no one spoke.
She could sense a tension in the room, and began to feel restless as she waited to be addressed. As her senses heightened in the dim light, she began to hear whispers from above. She closed her eyes, focusing on the sounds.
“It’s only right that she hears it now -”
“Do you want to risk upsetting her?? Do you remember what happened last time?”
“Well I certainly won’t be -”
Suddenly the Council stopped talking and looked forward, realizing Oli was levitating in front of them despite having set their seats to maximum height during their meeting.
She sat there, legs crossed, casually floating before them and wearing a big grin. “You rang?” She said in her typical cheeky fashion.
Melda, the elected Lord of the Council, spoke first. “Miss Oru...I don’t know what you heard, but-”
She shifted uncomfortably in her chair before continuing.
“We’ve received word that… that Blod Elding has been destroyed...”
Oli sat speechless, her grin suddenly giving way to a muted stare.
Melda moved to speak again, but was suddenly silenced by a dense smoke that was dripping from above. The council looked about, coughing as it filled their lungs, growing fearful of the mysterious substance. As the billowing gas grew heavier, it turned into what looked like crimson lava and began swirling towards Oli. Her eyes were glowing a pale orange, and in an instant a mighty tornado of lava and sparks engulfed her, and she was gone, leaving behind a faint hiss.
20 light years away in the vastness of space, a burst of light appeared out of nowhere. Thick ripples of lava gave way to a web of sparks, and Oli’s figure suddenly appeared motionless in the center.
This place - this exact position, was once a lush forest, stretching as far as the eye could see. Below her was supposed to be a blanket of cool dark red moss. Above her were once great trees with vast boughs full of red leaves. Where once lay a crystal clear lake and the great Asking stone, there was now nothing.
It was all...just...gone.
The last connection to her mentor and the only place she had discovered an Asking stone was gone, and she was left gazing into the void.
This is my passion project. I’ve been dreaming of this story for nearly 10 years - I mean literally DREAMING. Nearly everything I have written and painted of this story has come to me during dreams.
Thank you for taking the time to read about this project! I will continue to provide updates as it develops.
To get deeper into the story, you'll need to sign up for my mailing list.
(Your email will not be shared with third parties. This mailing list is strictly for the use of staying informed about my project. I will not spam you.)
Note: The writing, visuals and original ideas contained here are my own intellectual property and sharing or using them elsewhere is not permitted.
Note: The Wander Series, visuals and original ideas contained here are my own intellectual property and sharing or using them elsewhere is not permitted.
One of my lofty goals this year was to start writing my fantasy story (novel?), which I refer to as The Wanderer series. That is just a working title, a placeholder for what will surely become a brilliant and intriguing title later on.
So today I thought I would share the general idea of the story, and the background to how it came about.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been enthralled with fantasy writing - and especially the visuals that go along with it. As a child, my father read me the Lord of the Rings. When I was 10, I was gifted the illustrated book Dinotopia: A Land Apart From Time, by James Gurney.
I also had a giant poster hanging in my room, Ecstasy by Maxfield Parrish.
Works like these, a combination of realism and fantasy, drove my love for art. The seed of fascination with fantasy was planted deeply within me. I was drawing from a young age, and I dreamed of someday being able to create imaginative realism and evoking a sense of wonder in the viewer.
It wasn’t until very recently - when I joined Twitch and began streaming my artwork (January 2015), and more importantly painting DAILY, that I took real steps towards this goal.
Last fall, I began a series of fantasy landscape paintings, based on an idea I had for a story. The story follows a “wanderer” - in fact he is a galactic cartographer - through many fantastical worlds. Each painting was a different setting from a different universe.
The goal was to practice my ability to paint imaginative realism, as well as begin to understand the story.
Book one introduces and follows the protagonist through epic adventures in countless galaxies. His burden is to map out the mysterious worlds, continuing the work of the previous Wanderer*, cataloging them and taking notes of the cultures within each. The magic he possesses enables him to build a living index within his body of anywhere he has explored. He may access and teleport to any coordinate within the index. A mysterious phenomenon wherein some of the older indexes are vanishing leads him on a quest to uncover the truth, along the way avoiding capture by the [insert evil name] clan who wish to use his abilities to access and destroy the seven sacred places.
The story comes to me visually before words do. One of the goals of this blog is to help me feel more comfortable writing and expressing myself, in the hopes that it makes writing my story possible.
For now, I have little to show of this project, considering it’s been brewing inside me for over 10 years. But we all have to start somewhere right?
Below is a short glimpse at what I've written so far. It will be a long process, but I'm enjoying it!
As far as he knew, he was currently at the highest point of this world, and it needed to be archived. Standing on the precipice, staring out over the vast Cloud World, he lifted his staff in front of himself and started the chant.
The words began as they usually do, a deep guttural sound, spilling forth into purrs and hisses. Every seven syllables, his staff drove sharply down onto the surface of the bluff at his feet, sending an invisible energy pulse into the air around him.
Deep within, his spirit engaged the spell, and he turned his gaze skyward. From afar the Eagles could see the setting sun refracting off his glassy pupils.
His third eye gazed upon the galaxies, noting the precise coordinates of his location. The pulsing energy around him was suddenly drawn inward as he muttered the final charm needed to complete the spell.
The smell of burning skin wafted around him as the coordinates were eternalized upon his skin, burned into their rightful place among the others he had already collected that day.
Here are some preliminary sketches of the main character, aka The Wanderer, aka Awesome Name That I'll Eventually Come Up With