Category: Blog Posts

Ang's NaNoWriMo 2022

NaNoWriMo 2022 Wrap-Up: Flame of the Sultana

We’re at the end of November and I’ve wrapped up my journey with National Novel Writing Month!  Thanksgiving, post-house move vacation, and the distraction of a new home/studio desperately in need of unpacking proved too much for me to reach the 50k word goal, but I’m excited to have spent some time writing, which has been a personal goal of mine for a long time now.  I wanted to share a bit of the NaNoWriMo journey with you all with some thoughts, excerpts, etc.

My Final Word Count: 6,534

Despite not making the word goal, I’m still jazzed to have written as much as I did!  I loved spending time with Rabs and her horribly loving and (at times) just plain horrible family. I loved indulging the D&D nerd in me who had an awesome time roleplaying this character and exploring her more through writing, while also getting some excellent practice.  TTRPG games have always been a pathway into writing and inspiration, for me!  This was just the Muse Vacation I craved before I return to the serious business of Birthstone Goddesses next year.

Writing With Campfire

I also got a chance to play with Campfire’s worldbuilding management tool this NaNoWriMo and I’m absolutely in love with it now that I’ve spent some quality time with it.  Not only can I manage all my world and character notes, but their manuscript and research modules help me keep everything all in one place so that my notes and chapters can be stored together.  

I’ll be jumping ship from Scrivener to Campfire, as it’s always bothered me how I’ve previously spread my files across Scrivener and Google Docs.  It’s too easy to lose things that way!  Now, I can point beta readers to a shareable link where they can also leave comments if I grant them permission. This will be SO invaluable when I’m ready for that!

I hope to write a full review on Campfire later once I’m done polishing this story’s entries.

(A peek at my story’s info in Campfire complete with a custom theme I tweaked to match the mood/palette of my story.)

(The entry for Rabs’ sisters.  Featuring inspirational images from left to right: Kii Weatherton, Minttu Hynninen, Ashima-Leena, art of Rabs by me, Rachel Denton, and Wabi.  These are just placeholders for right now until I can draw my own versions of the sisters, which are bound to look vastly different, as these images were used more for vibes than direct lookalikes.)

My NaNoWriMo Journey

To be quite honest, I didn’t actually write anything of the novel I had pitched in my synopsis, but rather let myself explore the fictional Genasi kingdom my MC hails from with worldbuilding notes, while also experimenting with a novel-planning method from Lisa Cron’s Story Genius book on writing.  

The Story Genius Blueprint method tasks you with finding the ‘third rail’ that brings your story to life through emotional resonance and challenges you to explore the internal and external influences on your protagonist in a very in-depth manner through prompts.  I’ve always had a problem with pantsing my way through stories, only to result in several rewrites because I didn’t really understand what I was trying to say with my stories, so I’ve been very curious to try this method which purports to save me from my own meandering!

Here’s the list of what I wrote for NaNoWriMo.  The links should be clickable if you want to read my raw, rough musings in their imperfect states.

Story Spine for Flame of the Sultana – Exploring the overall view of where I think my story should go and how it should resolve.
My Story’s Thesis: Who you are is not your fault, but it is your responsibility.

Story Genius Blueprint Questions (Incomplete) – As I worked through Story Genius, I kept my explorations of the answers to the prompts from the blueprint exercises here.  I wasn’t able to make it entirely through, but I really enjoyed how the exercises suggested in Story Genius prompted me to dig deep into my character’s motivations and my story’s themes, rather than getting too caught up in the plot over the emotional ‘meat’ of the story.

– Worldbuilding Notes – A good deal of time was spent fleshing out my MC’s large family, how they’re related, what elements they represent.  Seriously, HOW does anyone write a novel with more than 3 characters?  Figuring out Rabs’ 4 half-sisters, their moms, and their associated elements took some real brainpower!  

I also figured out the core tenets of the humanitarian organization, the Burning Saints, which Rabs joins as an adult to help atone for her family’s sins. The Burning Saints believe in proper actions over proper thoughts and allows those convicted of crimes a second chance by giving up titles and riches to become humble servants of the people.  For Rabs, they’re a second chance to divide herself from her past and become a worthy warrior on her own path away from the palace.

The Origin Scene – A scene exploring the most dramatic moment in the past where Rabs’ core misbelief took shape.  A young Rabs experiences a moment of rage that ruins her mother’s carefully planned assassination attempt of their corrupted father, the sultan.  This moment of rage costs her mother’s life and haunts Rabs in the years afterwards that lead up to our main story.  In history, this night would be known as The Night of Five Blades.

CW: Graphic violence/fight scene.  My baby D&D Barbarian’s first Rage as a teenager was a nightmare for her!

The Misbelief Scene 1 of 3 – The Witness – A scene that reveals an early childhood experience where Rabanne witnesses her birth mother murder her aunt for threatening to reveal their planned coup against the sultan.  This terrifying incident informs Rabanne’s misbelief as an adult that she is bound to her family’s history of violence even as an adult. 

I ran out of time before I could write scenes 2 and 3 for her Misbelief, but you can read the paraphrase for those incidents in the main Blueprint.

CW: Brief non-graphic violence, psychological trauma


Even if this year’s NaNo experience equates to nothing more than skillbuilding, I’m excited about the epic amount of imagery I have for future art fodder, on top of everything else!  It’s my dream to get at least ONE story done in my lifetime and I feel like I’ve taken one more little baby step in that direction after giving myself that permission this month.  I’ve written plenty, but have finished very few to a state I’m satisfied with and that’s something I want to change!

Did any of you take on the novel-writing challenge this month?  Tell me about your stories (or other crazy dream projects)!  Making our dreams come true always starts with voicing them aloud and giving them power.  Ramble away, dear dreamers!


* This affiliate link gives me a little kickbick, if ya like!

Exalted Art Challenge 2022 Collection

Happy Halloween, everyone!  I have a treat for you today in the form of the completed collection of challenge pieces for this year’s Exalted Art Challenge!  We moved right in the middle of this challenge, so I only had time to partake in the weekly topics, instead.  Still, this challenge is always a lot of fun and a great excuse to experiment with different methods and styles!

I created all of these entries in Procreate.

Week 1: Your PC (Player Character)

Rather than draw the same old characters I’ve been drawing lately (cough Kalara), I thought I’d shine the spotlight on Laughing Fox, a trickster Kalara has met in her travels as a young demigod.  Laughing Fox is a Lunar, chosen of the goddess of the moon in the Exalted RPG setting.  He prefers seduction over murder and prides himself on his clever schemes and collection of secrets.  His Tell, or the characteristic that marks him as moon-chosen, is the white tips of his hair which is reminiscent of a fox’s tail.

He wanders in and out of Kalara’s tale as he pleases!  You’ll no doubt be seeing more of him before too long.

The inspiration for Laughing Fox’s animal shape is the gorgeous cross fox.  Just look at this majestic creature!

Week 2 – A Meal In Creation

Next comes a fun topic featuring food from the setting!  This meal comes from the celebration of Plentimon’s Day, the god of gambling.  Inspired by the real-world King Cake from Mardi Gras, those who find the Plentimon’s dice in their serving of cake will be crowned royalty for the day and have the god’s blessing for the next year.

Plentimon Day’s feast consists of goat kabobs marinated in yogurt and spices, with a almond-based cakes in the shape of a D6 die with slivers of almonds to represent the numbers.  The dice cakes all have different flavors stuffed inside to emphasize the Plentimon’s theme of gambling. You never know if you’ll get bitter or sweet flavors!  Finally, you can’t have a feast day in Gem without an alcoholic drink, in this case, date wine.

I’m a big fan of the aesthetic of the food in Monster Hunter, which definitely shows in my choice of design for this dish.

Week 3 – Fave Charm

This one started off as a Fave Charm (or magic ability), but quickly got off-topic with drawing FX for Kalara’s anima aura, the glowing halo of energy which appears when she channels divine energies at different levels of intensity.  When she’s at ‘fall blast’, a phoenix appears rising behind her, an animal that is part of her personal symbolism as someone who rose from her near-death to take on the world.  This will be my first time drawing an FX sheet and it was quite fun. I will definitely be adding them to Kalara’s proper reference sheet!

Week 4 – Fave Fashion

For the final topic, I was going to keep it ‘simple’ and sketch a concept for glass armor, but the topic ran away with me and I ended up with a full portrait!  The glass remnants of the magnificent buildings of old Chiaroscuro magically retain their luster and strength and are usually used for sturdy, but sleek armor.  I figure why not armor AND a gown for Kalara?

This portrait also provided me with an opportunity to paint Kalara in a more realistic style, as well as test out a new style I’m currently evolving which combines a soft and painterly look with hard-edged elements for a look inspired by Klimt and tarot cards.


Fave Fashion was undoubtedly my favorite topic from this year!  Which one is yours?

As ever, if you like Kalara or any of the imagery I put out for the Exalted Art Challenge, check out the Exalted tabletop rpg from Onyx Path Publishing and Kalara’s stories and art at The Uncrucified or check out the older Exalted Art Challenge collections for art you may have missed!

Now that the EAC is done, I’m turning my attention towards some fun surprises I’m working on for this Patreon’s re-launch and the topic you all chose for me for NaNoWriMo (Flame of the Sultana).

Till next time!  Stay tuned for more writing and art peeks from Rabs’ NaNoWriMo adventures.

♥ Ang

Our New Home (Finally!)

It’s been a long journey, but we finally made it to the new house!  Consider this the pre-tour, since right now all of our stuff is currently in a ‘thrown on the floor’ state.  We got very lucky finding this place since our first contract fell through, leading us to take a peek at this house instead, which was incorrectly listed, making it quite a lucky find!

We learned a little bit more about the place, which has had some custom renovations which made us fall in love with it.  In particular, the garage has been converted into a fully heated and insulated workshop where the previous owner used to make bullets.  Now, it’s the perfect studio space for me!  

It’s SO much space, enough to have a corner for my computer desk, a nook for traditional painting, another corner for model photography, and a dedicated shipping/fulfillment station to help with future crowdfunding endeavors.  We have literally combined about 2 and a half rooms worth of art junk into this one giant room!

The view from the studio! I love these shady trees in our front yard at the end of a quiet cul de sac.  All the sunlight and windows were the major reason I fell in love with this home in the first place!

The reading room, which will also double as the guest room!  I’ve been collecting art books for years and I’m ecstatic to finally have a space to fully enjoy them.  On the left, my mannequin is putting in work scaring people for Halloween.  She’s already made one set of delivery folks immediately walk out of the house and ask questions because she scared them hah!  Sorry, guys. Not an axe murderer with a wrapped-up torso. Just an artist with display things!

My other favorite place in the house is the sun room overlooking the pool, which almost became the studio, if not for the easier to clean tile floor of the workshop.  A part of the reason why we got such a good deal on this home was the fact the pool was a horrible mess we were going to have to have to fill in because it cost too much to repair and it absolutely tanked the home’s appraisal.  As you can see, however, by some fluke of fate and red tape at the real estate firm, it was actually repaired before we moved in, much to our shock and surprise!

Honestly, after the hell that’s been our past few years (from cancer to COVID to shoulder surgery and the unrelenting burnout of it all), we’re happy to see a little kindness from the universe!  We’re going to enjoy the rest of 2022 settling into this new place for the holidays as I work towards tentatively relaunching this Patreon in early 2023.

In the meanwhile, I’ll still be sharing smaller endeavors here in the blog, like the sketchbook posts and the fruits of my NaNoWriMo story in November.  I’ll have some compilation posts soon!

PHEW!  Thanks to everyone who has chosen to stick around my Patreon to support me, even if I don’t have a lot of new material to share lately.  It’s done me good to take an extended break and I look forward to returning fully to my ongoing projects next year with renewed vigor!


♥️ Ang

September 2022 Sketchbook – Rabs & Kalara Character Designs

This weekend, we put the first boxes in the new studio and I’m so excited!  Studio pics to follow in the near future.  In the meanwhile, I’ve been using the time between the seams to chip away at the character designs for Rabs and Kalara.  Character sheets have been my happy place lately!

Rabanne Arore, Big Muscles, Big Heart

I wanted to challenge myself with Rabs’ design with a muscular body type and her glowing hair. She’s really captured my muse with her fun tatts, color schemes, and themes, so you’ll definitely be seeing more of her in my sketchbook!  This particular piece was meant to be in the style of a more traditional ttrpg rulebook style source book image, as well as a base for me to put different clothing on.  More fashions are sure to follow!

Watch a time lapse of how I created this piece, along with Rabs’ tattoo sheet here.  She was painted using the Acrylic brushes in Procreate on the ipad.

Kalara Vadras, The Uncrucified

I meant to save this image for a proper release with a full sheet of FX and turnarounds, but our house move is taking forever, so I thought I’d share a WIP!  You guys got to learn a little bit more about Kalara last month via Fantasy Indies August.  She’s been inspiring me for years since our Exalted ttrpg game, so it was about time she got a new look!

This new look captures more of the elegant merchant negotiator she becomes after her years on the run from the Guild.  

Kalara’s old look as a reminder:

More to come when I explore the rest of her character sheet!  I’m especially excited about drawing the phoenix on the back of her jacket.  The redesign was also created in Procreate using the Studio Ink Pen for color flatting to achieve a comic book feel, as this design is meant as a precursor to a prospective webcomic for the character.

Both Rabs and Kalara utilized helpful stock poses from the awesome Jookpubstock, who has been an excellent resource for inspiration!


Art is going to slow down even more over the next month while we move our small boxes over to the new place ourselves, with the big stuff being handled by the movers.  There’s a light at the end of the tunnel finally and I’m excited to really settle properly into a new permanent studio art cave!

♥ Ang

Time Lapse - Kalara's Shirt Cut Meme

[Narrated Time Lapse Video] Kalara’s Shirt Cut Meme

Sharing this a few days early for my Patreon fam!  This article doubles as a transcript for the narrated video I did for this collection releasing to the public next week and a tour of each piece in the meme.  Enjoy and let me know your favorite outfit in the comments!

It’s been a long time since I’ve shared much art (or videos for that matter).  Life has been a little crazy with the house move and a pandemic, but here we are!  I hit a bit of art block along the way, but you know what drew me out of it?  This silly cheesecake art challenge – The Shirt Cut Meme.  Curling up with the iPad to paint this image in Procreate was just the therapy I needed during a stressful time!

What is this challenge, you ask?  It was started by @druzsea on Twitter and challenges artists to create different types of shirt collar cuts for your characters (aka. It’s a boob-drawing meme).  Not something I usually draw, but this seemed fun and different and I liked the idea of showing more of my character, Kalara’s playful and elegant sexy side!  Without further ado, enjoy a tour of each entry topic!

Outfit 1 – Sideboob

For those who are new to Kalara, she’s my Exalted tabletop rpg character, a smooth-talking diplomat and merchant who rose up from the slums of a desert town.  She was chosen by the sun god to bring nations together with her words, but she chooses her own path of revenge, first.  If that sounds up your alley, you can see more of her over at

Another purpose of this challenge was to get to know my character in a more realistic style. Up until now, I’ve drawn Kalara in a more anime-inspired style, but now I want to match the art style of the more recent edition of Exalted. Anime doesn’t always translate to realism well, however, so it’s been a bit of a struggle for me!

All that aside, my gal loves to dress up! This first outfit was inspired by the sheer fabrics and inlaid turquoise of ancient Egyptian fashions.

Click here for more sketches, inspirations, etc for this entry.

Outfit 2 – Inner Sideboob

This second outfit was inspired by a less traditional star collar shape I’ve spotted in modern haute couture fashions. Kalara wears a woven waist sash with golden threads and chandelier style gold wrought earrings to pay homage to her homeland in the South, a desert region in Exalted. She sports small swirls of fire in her jacket trim showing her kinship to fire, the ruling element of the South. I’ve also hidden an Eclipse Caste symbol in her jewelry, which is a scandalous thing to do, considering Solar Exalted like her are seen as anathema by the ruling kingdom.

This pose is my favorite of the bunch! I’m so pleased with the perfect pose reference from Adorkastock and the fun I got to have with her layered eye makeup.

Click here for more sketches, inspirations, etc for this entry.

Outfit 3 – Boob Window

I call this third outfit Kalara’s “Merchant Queen” look.  I had more trouble with this pose, which you can see in the time lapse where I drew two alternate ideas.  In the end, I went with a different pose so I wouldn’t have too similar of a facial angle to the other poses and a concept that had a more comfortable wrist angle for the gun she’s wielding in this entry.

I leaned harder into a desert-inspired design with her head wrap and layers for this outfit.  I imagine she might wear this outfit when she’s dressed to impress high ranking merchants at important meetings on the route.  The circles in the trim are a call back to her hometown of Gem, which specializes in the export of precious gems. 

In my headcanon, I like to think Gem clothing leans on circle motifs that mimic the look of gems (or actual embroidered and embedded gems for the truly fancy outfits).  I took a chance on an unexpected color palette that once again harkens back to Kalara’s homeland kinship to fire with the bright colors of a hot and cold flame and the little flame buckle in her sash.

Click here for more sketches, inspirations, etc for this entry.

Outfit 4 – Underboob

Kalara’s fourth outfit also has hints of the swirling flame motif in the collar and a bright sunny fire color scheme balanced by a complementary blue-green accent color.  Her belt buckles also swirl in a shape inspired by stylized Chinese motifs in the form of a flame.  Once again, Kalara’s all bling in this one with gold lipstick and shimmering eye makeup!

You can also spy her crucifixion scar in this pose, something she usually hides behind gloves when she’s in more proper meetings where she doesn’t want people to be distracted by the question about its origin that the scar tends to raise.  I like to think she might also leave it exposed when she’s intimidating certain parties who know that the scar symbolizes her survival of an execution her adversaries in the Guild tried to engineer.

I also had help with this pose from Grafit’s amazing photo reference packs on ArtStation. Highly recommend them if you’re looking for affordable, well-lit, and inspiring refs for your art!  I’ll link all the references I used in the description of this video for those who might be interested.

Click here for more sketches, inspirations, etc for this entry.

Outfit 5 – Free Space

For the fifth and final outfit, I was originally planning a more revealing lingerie Kalara might wear to one of the sexy celestial parties she attends, but I ended up exploring a completely different idea instead.

Meet Koh, the male disguise Kalara donned to evade her Guild pursuers at the beginning of our tabletop campaign.  Koh was known as a dangerous dissident, a smooth-talking criminal, and a master thief…all things Kalara wasn’t necessarily good at, but she had enough charisma to convince everyone through rumor and charm she could do these things! In this pose, she’s letting the look slip a bit with her shirt open to reveal her chest wraps and the dye covering her fiery red hair fading out.

I spent a lot of time on the Prayer Piece guns in this one, as they’re the high level guns Kalara spent a lot of time with in our campaign and I have somehow never drawn them before now!  So it felt really good to finally solidify a look for these weapons.  These jade and orichalcum weapons contain miniature shrines to small gods that speed the gold prayer inscribed bullets to their targets.

For Koh’s outfit, I went with a leather and woven threads aesthetic for Koh, who is more earth tones for her life on the road traveling with bandits.  The little bottles on Koh’s belt hold reserve firedust for her other guns, while you’ll also notice one single golden bullet around her neck, just in case she comes down to needing that one last shot.  Finally, Koh’s spectacles were inspired by designer Francis de Lara’s amazing snake and apple glasses.

Click here for more sketches, inspirations, etc for this entry.

Sometimes we get inspiration in the most unexpected places.  I’m excited to have gotten the chance to try something different and have such fun with my character before I return to working on more serious projects.  I hope you’ve enjoyed this booby costume exploration as much I enjoyed creating it! 

I’ve been exploring a new format for my time lapses with the debut of this video and am really excited to bring you more!





  • “Lift Motif” by Kevin MacLeod
  • “Mystery Bazaar” by Kevin MacLeod
  • “Eastern Dreams by Tom Kent
  • “Vadadora” by Kevin MacLeod
  • “Jalandhar” by Kevin MacLeod
  • “Feral Angel WaltzFeral Angel Waltz (feat. Alexander Nakarada)” by Kevin MacLeod
  • “Inspired” by Kevin MacLeod

Help share the love!  If you enjoyed this piece, help me get the word out about my art by sharing it:

Fantasy Indies August 2022 – THE UNCRUCIFIED

I took part in the Fantasy Indies August event during August, so I thought I’d share a little bit about that here with folks!  While you all mainly see the Artist side of me, I also love to write and have been dabbling with several novel ideas between the margins of life over the past few years.  

The Uncrucified has been at the forefront of my endeavors as a Writer and you all have probably noticed the muse inspiration overflow with all the Kalara art that’s flooded here lately!  She’s been the comfort subject for my muse while I’ve been on this long hiatus for shoulder surgery / burnout / life chaos.

The topics for August:

Rather than bombard you guys by pasting all of these topics in, I figured I’d tease you with some of my favorite topics I answered during the event and invite you to check out the full thread.

Introduce Yourself & Your WIP

I’m currently working on The Uncrucified, the tale of an upstart from the desert slums named Kalara. She was chosen to lead a world in chaos, but she has scores to settle first!

Yup, it’s a TTRPG story inspired by the Exalted RPG, but I hope to make it readable for more than just Exalted fans!  There’ll be romance, grudges, gunslinging, & more.

WIP Mood Board 

I’m an obsessive board maker! These are just a few of the images I’ve drawn of my MC Kalara plus location inspo for the stained glass ruins of Chiaroscuro, the magitech desert of Exalted’s South, & her hometown, the underground city of Gem.

If you’d like to see more of THE UNCRUCIFIED’s in-depth mood board, I host it on  Pinterest where I’ve been adding to them for literal years. Sub-divided by character, locale, etc. because this soothes my artist brain!

Book BFFs

I’m open to suggestions! A beta reader for my story has told me Kalara gave them NAME OF THE WIND vibes (which I haven’t read). I’d love for my chars to have the same larger than life charisma of the chars in THE LIONS OF AL-RASSAN (which I have read & loved).

I have a much easier time comparing THE UNCRUCIFIED to anime instead. Sinbad from MAGI mirrors Kalara with his wish to build a trade network & navigate political waters using his amazing charisma, while trying not to lose himself.  Not to mention MAGI’s combat is VERY Exalted!

I’m also looking to Fog Hill of the Five Elements for combat vibes. It oozes over the top stylish badassery!

BLOOD OF ZEUS also strikes me for being very Exalted with its sexy elegant character designs, warring gods, interpersonal drama, & pissed off ancient imprisoned deities.

Toss me more inspiration suggestions, fam! Especially my long-suffering beta readers. What does THE UNCRUCIFIED make you think of, as far as inspirational book/media BFFs?

I’ve already gotten some amazing suggestions from fans for Book BFFs for my story, so I’ve gathered them into a wishlist. Feel free to mine it for inspiration and good reads!  Featuring clever protags, underdog heroes, geopolitical drama, & more.


Read the full topic list + my answers here for the full effect of posts, memes, and animated GIFs.  I’m sure this won’t be the last time I talk about my stories here.  I hope you all enjoy this glimpse at the other Muse in my brain!

♥ Ang

August 2022 Sketchbook – Tattoos, Persephone, & more + Moving Update!

August has been another hectic month of negotiating house contracts, inspections, and more after losing multiple bids.  Things are looking up as we finally close on a house we love in just a few days!  That means, barring any last minute disasters, we’ll be relocating to our very own place with room enough for a studio, game room, and more over the course of September.  It’s been an unexpected dream come true to find such a big place within our budget!

We’re so relieved and excited!  I can’t wait to have space again so I can resume my big plans for my Birthstone Goddesses.  It’ll be time to wrap up this project which has been on hiatus during this whole process.

In the meanwhile, I’ve let the muse off the leash to explore whatever helps soothe my brain during all of this chaos.  That’s included more D&D character exploration, a Persephone concept, character class homework, and more.  Join me for an August sketch dump of wondrous variety!

More Fire Genasi Gal!

You might recall the sketch of my Barbarian gal, Rabs, from last month’s sketchbook.   I’ve decided to render her in a more painterly style to match the overall mood of official D&D art.  I usually work in a more line heavy style, so this is a challenge, especially in Procreate where I’m still somewhat unfamiliar with the painterly tools.  I’m getting some great results with the Acrylic and Gouache brushes, thus far!  I love the blending and subtle texture of them.

Before I could finish up Rabs’ armor base, I figured it was a good idea to actually define her tattoos in a template so I’m not always drawing them by hand every time. Radinsky’s template provided an amazing resource for this!  Here are all of Rabs’ bits and bobs shown together.  Hooray for being able to copy and paste these tatts as needed from here on out!

Sidenote:  The emergence of a hibiscus flower was accidental as it came about from mirroring her forehead sigil 5 times. I love happy accidents like that!

The captions read as follows:

Rabanne’s Tattoos

Limned in glowing ink that appears like molten lava in Rabanne’s skin, these tattoos symbolize her accomplishments & the decorative flare of noble class Genasi from their oasis city-kingdom.

Back Tattoo – Symbolizes the 5 ruling sisters of the Arore family, with Hibiscus as their symbol of state.

Arm Tattoos – The V-shaped emblems of the Tempest Heart Barbarians

Dread Queen Persephone

Over in the Fine Art section of my brain, I’ve been chipping away at a portrait set of Persephone to practice my traditional methods once I have a fully unpacked studio again.  I’ll be doing a portrait set of Persephone’s Summer and Winter forms showing her changes from Summer Maiden to Dread Queen.  

Of course, I wanted to work up her spooky Winter look first!  These thumbnails play with the concept of making parts of her form skeletal and translucent through her clothing.  I have my favorite right now, but what’s yours?

Hoping to work this one up in acrylics, color pencil, and possibly gouache in the hopefully not too distant future!

Character Mentor Doodles

I’ve been dabbling in character design as a supplement to my illustration, which brought me back to reading Tom Bancroft’s Creating Characters with Personality*.  His book challenges you to design a cast of characters from an old west setting and this was the first lesson where we define the overall silhouettes utilizing our understanding of shape language to give them each their own look without the details.

This was a fun diversion and a good way to test my comfort zones! I’ll probably circle back to this book later on after Even Amundsen’s Character Design Class.

*(Clicking the book link gives me a little kickback, if ya like!)

Fantasy Indies August

Finally, joining this month’s Fantasy Indies August hashtag event on Twitter allowed me to share a little bit of my writerly side!  I’ve been sharing snippets, mood boards, and more about The Uncrucified, a ttrpg inspired story I’ve been writing for the past few years (and that has inspired much of the side project art you’ve been seeing around here lately!).

Feel free to check out the full thread to learn more about this story and more.  I’ll be sharing an article gathering all of the posts in one article for your convenience once the event wraps up.


That’s all for now!  My muse has been in overdrive all over the place, as it usually is with stress and chaos around our living situation.  Here’s hoping that by the next post, I have some good news about the new digs and future prospects!

Catch ya then!

♥ Ang

Making Art Work by Emily Jeffords Review

Cross-Posted: Review of Emily Jeffords’ Making Art Work 2021

I’ve mentioned the Making Art Work course several times in my posts here over the past year while I’ve been embroiled in moving, re-structuring my biz, and surgery.  You all might remember the website redesign and shop redesign Behind the Scenes posts, for example, which were directly inspired by the material I was learning in this course!  

I’m happy to report that I’ve finally gathered all of my thoughts on this massive course into a detailed review to help others who might be interested in taking it themselves.  

Here’s the TL;DR from my full review:

Emily Jeffords’ Making Art Work offers an info-packed review of the basics of marketing primarily geared towards fine artists, with actionable advice, introductions to various income streams through guest experts, and suggested paths for building future marketing strategies.  This class relies on Facebook, which may cut non-FB users out unless they’re willing to join up to the platform.

If you are hoping to learn more about licensing, wholesale, etc. this course only scratches the surface of these topics so you may want to seek further education from individual courses dedicated to these topics.  Aside from a few inefficient apps used for extracurricular communication, the class material presented through Kajabi was easy to follow and allows for tracking of your progress.

For more advanced entrepreneurs, this course offers a great review of the fundamentals with actionable strategies for assessing your business and best practices for planning for the future.

Enjoy the article and feel free to let me know if you have any other questions about the experience there!  I’ll be updating the article as needed.

And for those who are new to it, The Muse’s Library is where I stash all of my reviews, stock photos, and other resources for artists.  It’s a side project that I update every now and again when I have time.  I’ll soon be moving all of my stock photos there to a free model (with a few exclusive paid packs).  I’m hoping it will help the community the same way generous folks like Adorkastock and Jookpubstock have helped me.

More soon!  I have some big house/studio updates I’m excited to share next time!

♥ Ang

July 2022 Sketchbook – D&D Doodles & Kalara’s Sigil

It’s been a tough journey so far with house-hunting.  The market is crazy right now and we’re still on the hunt!  And so I’ve been channeling my woes into various comfort projects, mainly my D&D and Exalted TTRPG characters.

D&D Doodles

Ever since The Unmerry Band‘s adventures in the Black Pits wrapped up, I’ve been meaning to mine our campaign for practice, starting with a level progression chart of all our characters showing how their armor and wardrobe evolved over time.  This will feature our characters from their wee fragile Level 0 forms all the way up to Level 8 where our story ended (for now).

(The Unmerry Band lineup!)

I started off with the character I played in the campaign, Rabanne, a Fire Genasi Barbarian with a big heart and a big hammer!  I had some excellent pose help from Jookpubstock that acted as a base for her hammer pose.  Rather than stick with the Vox Machina inspired style of the party banner, I’ve returned to my more default semi-realistic style which is the one I want to nurture should I ever submit a portfolio to Wizards of the Coast.  Sketched in Procreate on the ipad with the Peppermint pencil brush in the Sketching category.

Rabs has been bulked up a bit for this image, as I wanted to accentuate her tall and imposing figure more than her initial rendering.  The pose on the left is going to be the base ‘paper doll’ pose I’ll be repeating for Levels 1 – 8, while the gesture sketches on the right represent an exploration of her younger level 0 self where she was training in secret as a gangly teen in the harem.

PROTIP!  The rectangle under her feet helps me to ground the figure and keep the perspective plane in check, as it’s easy to lose track at what angle the feet are supposed to be at if you don’t ground the figure somehow.

The rest of the characters will get this treatment too and will most likely follow the poses of the party banner, with the exception of Calumny (the Tiefling), because booty out does not make a good pose for showing off most clothing, though usually I wouldn’t have Cal any other way!

I also want to shine a light on the art that inspired me to do this.  How cool is this classic party line-up from Frida Bergholtz?  I hope mine will come out this fantastic!

Kalara’s Sigil

My gal, Kalara, has popped up on here a LOT lately.  She’s definitely a comfort to my muse with her story of overcoming adversity and working towards goodness in the world!  I’ve been working on and off on a novel featuring the events of her life from our Exalted RPG campaign for years now.  I’ve been pushing for a return to this endeavor while I have this nexus of ‘in-between projects till the move’ and so it occurred to me to finally put an official ‘label’ on her project.

It was time to make a brand guide and a logo!

Not every project needs this, mind, but I wanted to do this for The Uncrucified since I have larger plans for its future, including art packs and Storytellers Vault resources for players inspired by her story.  And thus, The Uncrucified needs a logo so I can elegantly tie all these parts together!

It also works so beautifully because this symbol will serve as Kalara’s in-world mark of her Guild as well.  I’ve shared a deeper look at this story’s brand guide in my Patreon’s Discord server, for those who might be curious.

For now, enjoy the many iterations I made as I attempted to channel Kalara’s themes of the Eclipse Caste mark (the glowing symbol that represents her magical abilities), the phoenix feather which represents her resilience, and the flame which represents her cultural identity and rebellious personality.

For me, logo design is a bit like obsessively writing all over your walls going slowly insane until the secret verse is revealed.  I don’t enjoy it much, but I wanted to design this one, myself, and so I was happy when I finally arrived at something that felt close to the ‘truth’!  More often I know what I don’t want than what I do when designing logos, and so the process is more about exploration and elimination.

And here we have the 3 semi-finalists!

I’ve already chosen a final, but I’d be curious which one resonates most with you all! It’s always fascinating to see what shapes others interpret in these mutable symbols.

That’s all I have for today!  It’s been a slow month as we tour houses as often as we can and try to plan these important next steps. I hope you all don’t mind my randomnness here!  I’m always worried it makes this a very confusing Patreon to be at hah.

Till next time!

♥ Ang

Ang’s Art Journey 2022 – Finding My Art Style

Life continues to be chaotic as we push forward with our hunt to relocate to our first home!  My art has also been in flux as I indulge in my high Fantasy pursuits while my Fine Art pursuits hang in stasis until I have proper access to my trad space and inventory again.

It seemed a good time to hunker down and figure out just what DO I want to do with myself once the Birthstone Goddesses wrap up?  I’ve been getting closer to the end of the Birthstone run and while I intend to do more general Gemstone Goddesses, they may be in a different style than Nouveau entirely!

As much as I enjoy Art Nouveau, I want a style that represents more of ‘me’ than of Mucha.  I want to take what I admire about his style and evolve it to my own tastes.

That’s where this wonderful exercise from Sam Hogg comes in!  I think a lot of times, artists get overwhelmed by all the gorgeous art barraging us on the internet. We think “Oh that’s so lovely I want to draw this anime surreal fairy series BUT ALSO I want to make a deck of highly polished flower mermaid playing cards in graphite and gold.”

It’s so easy to mistake what we love for what we should draw as artists!  I’ve been falling into that trap a lot lately, which is why this exercise really spoke to me.  Breaking down what I like, what I felt succeded, etc. helped me to think more critically about what direction I actually want to move in.

Behold my attempts to harnass the chaos of artbrain transcribed here for your convenience!

Observations About My Work

My Work (Faves vs Recent)

The Faves and Recent sections allowed me to indulge in self-reflection to choose my personal favorites that I’ve created.  Which pieces do I love that I’ve done?  What have I done recently and does it match my vision of where I want to be?

My Faves rely on semi-realistic rendering, bold colors, & harsh transitions in shading.  My Faves also look more like the work I want to do than my Recent Work, which relies on line art & stylization, though there are hints of my style being in transition with my more painterly pieces.

It seems like my current work isn’t really hitting the mark of where I want to be, stylistically!  I’m not surprised at all because I’ve been having fun experimenting to see what I enjoy doing.  Enjoyment is half of the process!  If you create great results that you did not find enjoyable to execute, you may be contributing to your own eventual burnout.  This is a tough lesson I’ve learned working with the intense detail of the Art Nouveau style!  I really enjoy the results, but it has been some agonizing blood, sweat, and tears to bring to life.

Art I Love & Want to Do More Of

This section was about identifying the art that really speaks to me and also represents the kind of work I want to do more of in the future.

The art I want to do more of has surreal lighting/mood, subdued or analogous colors with a strong complementary accent, and soft rendered figures with sharp graphic geometric elements.

Artist’s Credits:
Doe, Exellero, Sachin Teng, Qistina Khalida, Dominik Mayer, Tran Nguyen, Mona Finden, Jason Chan, Sam Weber, James Jean.

What Isn’t Me

This section is so important!  This is where you get to figure out what kind of art you enjoy that isn’t the kind of art you want to create.  If you have trouble with this section, it helped me to think about what kind of art you love that you’re creating that isn’t a pleasurable process for you.  Just because you like a certain style doesn’t mean you have to do work in that vein either.  There’s room enough in the art world for all of us!

For me, I noticed the things I have trouble with are extremely sketchy work, overly exaggerated proportions, anime style, photorealism, and shading with solid transitions.

Artist’s Credits:
Phobs, Guweiz, David Mack, Neithy, Dan Dos Santos, Becky Cloonan.

Specific Elements I Enjoy

Now to put it all together!  How do the artists you like use color?  How do they arrange compositions?  Do they rely on line or painterly aspects?  It’s time to really dig in to the nitty gritty details!

For me, I observed that Chan’s work brings in narrative setting, while still keeping things loose, painterly, and iconic. Teng’s work utilizes surreal arangements while still being grounded in realistic proportions and rendering. Khalidah combines soft and symbolic elements perfectly with strong, unexpected colors.

Next Step Plans

And now to take all of the introspection and analysis we’ve been doing and define some specific tasks we can do to hit our style goals!  For me, my next steps include:

Embrace Surrealism
Go dark, bring surreal, symbolic & narative elements into comps.

Be More Expressive
Try sculptural expressive mark-making & lines. Try shading without black in shadows.

Use Strong Visual Motifs
Bring in visual motifs to unify colors & elements. Try more subdued or analogous  colors with complementary accents.

Prospective Projects
OC Tarot Portraits, Mock Book Covers for Kushiel’s Legacy & Personal Projects

Word Inspiration

This section was fun, as it tasked me to identify more specifically what kinds of elements I could use in my work.  Do I like certain symbolic objects?  Does anything repeat in my work that I want to do more of?  What themes and aesthetics do I want to show in my work?  

I came up with the following:

Dreamlike – Elegant – Painterly – Dark – Shimmering – Surreal – Narrative – Regal – Dramatic – Ethereal – Mature – Tarot – Stained Glass – Mythic – Goddess – Butterflies – Birds – Wings – Nature – Ghostly – Gothic – Silhouettes – Folk Horror – Locks/Keys – Spider Lilies – Eyes – White Roses – Damask – Cthonic

NOTE!  I should also note that this particular exercise also assumes that I’ll be focusing on illustrative cover work.  If I were creating a template for concept art or any other creative field, I would have tailored this differently.


It looks like I’m going to be experimenting with the next major paintings I do!  I hope you all will enjoy the ride.  I know I’ll be happier to finally be expressing myself more in my art in an interesting, elegant, and beautiful way!

Blank Template Available!

Sam has graciously allowed me to share a blank of this template, which I have attached to this post.  You can find more of her work here!