Category: Blog Posts

Currently Reading: Cassiel’s Servant

EDIT: I’ve added some share links at the end of the article for anyone who’d like to help me signal boost!

My Story Sketcher journey begins with Cassiel’s Servant by Jacqueline Carey! I was originally going to begin with one of my top Fantasy faves, Kushiel’s Dart, after it was very popular on my poll, but Cassiel’s Servant arrived just in time to tempt me to embark on what will be a new, but familiar journey, as Cassiel’s Servant tells the story of Kushiel’s Dart from the perspective of a different character, the stoic warrior, Joscelin Verreuil.

How I could resist a brand new venture into one of my favorite affirming and inspiring Fantasy worlds, especially during Pride month?

(Cassiel’s Servant cover art by Mélanie Delon)

GENRE: Romantasy | PAGES: 528 |  RATING: Mature Audiences, Spice Levels High! Though my art will be no more graphic than PG-13

SYNOPSIS: In Kushiel’s Dart, a daring young courtesan uncovered a plot to destroy her beloved homeland. But hers is only half the tale. Now see the other half of the heart that lived it. 

Cassiel’s Servant is a retelling of cult favorite Kushiel’s Dart from the point of view of Joscelin, Cassiline warrior-priest and protector of Phèdre nó Delaunay. He’s sworn to celibacy and the blade as surely as she’s pledged to pleasure, but the gods they serve have bound them together. When both are betrayed, they must rely on each other to survive. 

From his earliest training to captivity amongst their enemies, his journey with Phèdre to avert the conquest of Terre D’Ange shatters body and mind… and brings him an impossible love that he will do anything to keep. 

Even if it means breaking all vows and losing his soul.

The Journey Ahead

Here’s the plan for my journey with Cassiel’s Servant! For this book, I’ll be creating:

  • My own variant version of a cover for the book, to be offered as a Limited Edition print. All Patrons will be getting a deep dive into my cover creation process! (Limited Edition prints to be offered to Patrons, tier to be determined).

  • A bookmark to commemorate the occasion. All Patrons will get a downloadable version. (A physical bookmark with a tassel will be offered too, tier to be determined).

  • Sketches of particularly inspiring characters, concepts, scenes, etc. that inspire me along the way. To be collected as a PDF for Patrons (tier to be determined) and available to others via my digital shop items.

Once I have a better idea of how much art I’ll be making after this first experimental book art journey, then I’ll make a proper announcement about what goodies my Patrons will recieve at what tiers. There’ll be an announcement and a PM sent out to keep everyone in the know so you won’t miss out on any of the limited or exclusive goodies.

(The variant cover I created for Kushiel’s Dart. Will I be brave enough to do traditional art for a variant cover of Cassiel’s Servant???)

Read Along!

I’ll be doing my own Book Club-style reaction posts sharing my art and thoughts inspired by this book as I read in this dedicated Discord channel. Feel free to hop in and discuss with me! Spoilers/spoiler-y art will be hidden by spoiler tags.


It’s been a few years since I read Kushiel’s Dart, which has me excited to see this familiar world once again, this time through the eyes of Joscelin, who will no doubt have a unique perspective and history as a warrior on a different battlefield than Phedre’s glittering courtesan arena.

I’m also excited to let my book/Fantasy nerd flag fly with this new art adventure. It feels good to get back to my heart’s passion for storytelling and art driven by deep character exploration. I can’t wait to see what comes out of this journey!

– Ang

Share Links

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Introducing My New Patreon Theme: Story Sketcher

We’ve been on a long journey with the Birthstone Goddesses, friends! Today, I’m happy to officially announce the start of a new journey here on my Patreon! As you all know, I’m hoping to indulge more of my Writing Muse in the future, so I wanted to theme my Patreon around my new visual storytelling focus.

What is Story Sketcher?

It’s the name of what I’m calling this multi-disciplinary endeavor to immerse myself in stories and art! So many great new classic Fantasy novels have come out over the years that I’ve missed out on because I’ve been playing video games or reading comic books instead.

No hate to gamers and comic readers because these are valid story forms I adore too! Mostly, I have personally missed out on so many novels because I felt I didn’t have time to read and enjoyed the ‘quicker’ injection of stories via these more visual formats.

Now, I realize that if I want to write more stories that it’s time I get back into the novel reading habit to increase my own knowledge-base. What better way to do so than enticing my Art and Writing Muses to come together in a flurry of art creation inspired by books?

As I read each Fantasy book in my To Read pile, I’ll be making art inspired by the story, which will tentatively include:

  • A variant cover for the story for my Cover Art Portfolio (the main goal!)

  • Sketches of characters, scenes, locales, etc. that inspire me along the way

  • B&W short comics, should any scenes particularly inspire me to practice this skillset

  • A bookmark to commemorate my journey with each book

(The variant cover for Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey, one of my favorite Fantasy books, that I painted in 2013.)

About the Bookmarks

I have to interject with a story about how much of a book wyrm I was as a kid! I was a lonely Army brat because my family would relocate every 2 years. Books were my escape from the loneliness. Libraries, in particular, were my escape from the bullying of other kids for being the forever ‘new kid’.

Each time I finished a book, I’d commemorate the occasion with a bookmark. Here’s an old one from the Monsters of Mythology series that I absolutely adored because it shared the untold stories of the ostracized monsters of Greek myth. These were lesser known fictionalizted stories of their untold tales before they became the misunderstood beings we all know.

(I wish I could find more of these old bookmarks I did. Alas, they are lost to time! This was the only scan of one I could find for now.)

Making bookmarks to commemorate my journey through a book is a tradition I want to bring back for adult-me. I suspect my bookmarks for Story Sketcher will be colored, but we shall see. It will all depend on how the story inspires me! Sometimes things just look better in black, white, and gold.

What can Free Members & Patrons expect?

Free Members will still be able to see just the art on social media and in monthly compilations, but they’ll miss out on any deep dive art notes and behind the scenes articles I’ll be sharing just for Patrons at all tiers. Patrons will also be the ones to get access to any Patrons-only Merch I’ll be designing inspired by my book-reading journeys.

(Sketches from the deep dive about my Kushiel’s Dart variant cover. An example of the kind of notes & WIPs Patrons can expect to see!)

Upcoming New Merch

I’m currently brainstorming on all the new Merch possibilities for this theme, but will need some time to figure out the logistics and how I’ll offer them to you all. I want to go through my first book’s journey and see what shakes loose, art-wise, before I commit to any particular designs just yet!

But while we’re here dreaming, I’m currently pondering the following new Merch offerings, which will likely be mainly available exclusively through my Patron tiers, which I’m still deciding on once I have a better idea of costs:

  • Limited Edition signed prints of the cover art I make

  • Bookmarks for each book I read (Digital printables or physical)

  • Bookish-themed stickers

  • Bookish-themed pins

  • Pins inspired by the books I’m reading (characters-inspired, symbolic, etc.)

  • PDFs of all the sketches available for a book in a compilation with my notes

Tell me which items get you the most excited so I can gauge your interest and where I should spend my effort!

So what am I reading first???

In my theme poll, many of you wanted to see more of my explorations of the world of the fantastic Kushiel’s Legacy books by Jacqueline Carey! With that in mind, I’ll be introducting the first book I’ll be reading and exploring with art in the next post (though my updated Patreon About page already has a spoiler for what book I chose, hee hee).

How often will I post on Patreon?

It depends? I aim to finish a book per month, which may change depending on the length of the book, how much art it inspires me to do, etc. However, this is meant to be a fun side project, which means if I get busy for any reason, I may post less.

It’s best to treat this Patreon as more of a Tip Jar where you can enjoy the perks of my already existing archives of coloring pages, tutorials, etc., with new material to come as and when its creation happens. I will make a post announcement to Free and Patron members when I’ll be offering new Merch or downloadables you guys might want so you can be sure not to miss out on it or to pledge as-needed, should anyone need to be more discriminating with how often they pledge.

My account is a Charge Up Front account, so you’ll never be charged less or more than the monthly fee!

WHEW that was a lot of information! I’ll be introducing the first book from the To Read pile in the next post so this post doesn’t run too long. I’m so excited to start this interdisciplinary journey that I have been thinking about attempting for a few years, now. I hope you all will stick with me during this grand experiment!

– Ang

April 2024 – Plz Reboot Artist

Oh wow, how is it the end of April??? This month flew by as I’ve been toiling through taxes and recuperating from the sleepless nights of medical/job worries and deadline crunch that was Jan thru March.

Rebooting My Brain

Things haven’t been all craziness and exhaustion, thankfully! I’ve been hyped to continue my quest to re-tool my skillset from painter to writer-illustrator and have finally returned to my studies now that the dust is settling (knock on wood?).

I’m in a transition period as I figure out how to brush up these rusty writerly skills of mine, but also find a way to combine my writing and art skills for new storytelling possibilities. I’ve picked up some classes to help me figure it all out:

  • Neil Gaiman’s MasterClass – I finished this one this month and it was a condensed shot in the brain of Gaiman’s best practices and anecdotes from his experiences as a writer. It was refreshing to see his scrappy comic script thumbnails. I’ve finished his masterclass with a bit more perspective and feeling a little more confident!

  • Clip Studio Paint Basics – I’ve also dove deep into learning Clip Studio Paint EX! I hope to use this program to utilize its 3D models to inform my illustration, as well as use CSP’s other tools to help in creating complex backgrounds. It also has book layout functionality, which would be useful for so many of my projects! It’s a LOT to take in and I’ve been taking it slow with this one.

  • Proko Presents Marvel’s Art of Storytelling – Getting a little more back in taxes than expected helped me splurge on something more for fun. I’ve always been interested in comics, but never felt brave enough to really make them. This class has been a fascinating glimpse into an adjacent industry and motivation to give some of my fun side ideas a try just for my own personal good, even if I don’t plan to go into comics professionally. My biggest takeaway so far is my comics friends aren’t paid enough for all the things they must master!

Other Patreon News – Last Chance Loyalty Merch!

May is the last month my Birthstone Goddesses loyalty merch will be available! After this month, I’ll be deactivating this merch to make ready for my Patreon’s soft re-launch into a new theme focused on creating work inspired by novels, starting with the Kushiel’s Legacy series.

For a limited time (till the end of May), I’m going to offer all of the Birthstone Goddesses Loyalty merch exclusively for Patrons to snag before it’s gone for good. Patrons who have been here long enough have gotten this merch for free, but those who may have missed out because they’re new Patrons that joined after the merch’s debut will at least have this chance to snag it for a fee before they disappear into the vault.

Stay tuned for the announcement for when these items go live in the Secret Shop. (Should be within the week!)

Posts You Missed in April


I didn’t have too many posts in April, as the inspiration lists take quite a while to compile. I’m hoping to get Part 2 of Movies That Make Me Want to Paint done for May, instead. Meanwhile, prep continues for the grand re-launch. I can’t wait to roll out the new direction for this Patreon which promises to help me read more books and create more art that I love and want to see in the world!

More soon,

– Ang

New Art! “Blue Eye, Silver Tongue”

I’ve been working on this fan art piece ever since Blue Eye Samurai came out and finally had a chance to finish it after wrapping up deadlines, taxes, and Life Happening(TM). Mizu’s story of revenge, betrayal, and growth spoke to me in ways that made me want to drop everything and keep writing my own stories, despite my art block and uncertainty, of late.

I felt a personal connection to Mizu’s struggles as a biracial child who felt out of place and someone who also was not overtly feminine, which made my early life more difficult. My thanks to this amazing show that made me feel like my peculiarities are strengths rather than weaknesses.

I couldn’t resist painting a cross-over piece with one of my early original characters from the Exalted TTRPG setting – Koh the Silvertongued Devil. Koh and Mizu share the same unstoppable conviction towards their revenge plots, genderfluid identity, and taste in sunglasses. Not sure who would win in a fight, but I hope it would end in trading survival tips over tea, at the very least!

Painted in Procreate.

Wallpapers anyone?  If this piece is popular enough, I can add a wallpaper pack for it. Let me know in comments if you want this, Patrons, and I’ll add it to the upcoming Patreon digital shop I’ll be debuting here soon!

Want to help me out by giving this art some love on socials?  I’d be delighted if you all like, shared, commented, on social media. A comment of support really makes my day!

New Upcoming Patreon Theme! + Where to Find My Exalted Art

Thanks to Patrons’ votes in my last big poll, I’ve finally made a decision about where this Patreon will be going after May.  Your insights were a big help in choosing what I’ll be focusing on next, with so much inspiration pulling my muse in different directions!

My top two contenders were, much to my surprise, the Kushiel Concepts theme and the Exalted TTRPG theme.  Color me surprised to see two of my most niche topics be at the top!  I’m so pleased these passion projects would be appealing to you guys.

KUSHIEL CONCEPTS is our winner, which means I’ll be exploring the following once June rolls around:

  • My own variant book covers of the first 3 books, Kushiel’s Dart, Kushiel’s Chosen, and Kushiel’s Avatar (maybe further into Imriel and Moirin’s trilogies, if the muse strikes me and the interest in this theme stays strong)
  • Favorite moments, character concepts, etc, as I re-read the books
  • Designs of the sigils of the Court of Night Blooming Flowers & noble houses of Terre d’ Ange
  • Plus other ideas as we see how the muse inspires me while I read!

I’ll also be designing a new suite of Kushiel-inspired Patreon-exclusive merch, which I’ll announce later on as I figure out what might be a cool thing to make.  Perhaps a series of night-blooming flower stickers inspired by the Court?  Fancy stained glass noble house sigils?  Let me know if you have ideas of things you’d love to collect!

I’m going to think about this and do some planning while we wait on May to arrive.

But what about my Exalted art?

I’m still going to be making Exalted art, stories, and resources just for my own fun and on my own time, but it won’t be shared here on Patreon, as that’d start to get confusing if I tried to mix it in with Kushiel/Fantasy things once that theme revs up here.

My solution? A dedicated place for my Exalted things on Ko-fi.

I’ll be posting all Exalted art/writing/resource updates and future Exalted Character of the Week compilations there in the future, so go give it a follow if you like that particular facet of my TTRPG-related art.  I’ve shared my free fan resources there, for those who need art templates and resources for playing their Solar characters.  

If you like the Exalted things I do, Ko-fi’s set up to where you can leave me a monthly or one-time tip there as well, or just enjoy the project, which is 98% free to enjoy, minus a couple of perks for monthly tippers.  This way, I don’t feel like my Exalted fans are left out of the fun and I have a chill place I can share that TTRPG hobby.  I also like the idea that my Exalted stuff stays free of too many expectations so it can remain a fun and carefree endeavor!

Well that’s enough of my excited ramble!  I hope you all are as hyped for a change in theme here as I am.  I’m looking forward to reading some of my favorite books and deep diving into some really cool imagery!  Perhaps it will pave the way for other fun book series I’ve enjoyed and would like to do fan art for?

Till next time, I’ll keep sharing interim inspiration and art till Summer arrives!

<3 Ang

Exalted Character of the Week Vol 2 + Bonus Valentine’s Comic

Until May rolls around and this Patreon is re-vamped with a brand new theme, I’Il be sharing the fun random arts I do, like the next collection of character portraits for the Exalted Character of the Week challenge I host over at the Forge of Wonders.  It was another adventure in experimenting with different styles and loosening up after so many years of working in a more rigid style.

The Cultivar of Bloodied Sunsets for Kess 

At the same time that The Cultivar was chosen for the next Challenge, my husband started playing Persona 3 Reload, which put a whole new coat of paint on top of a game that he loved growing up.  I’ve always enjoyed the sleek and appealing designs of ATLUS’ games and wanted to see if I could try to bring that visually stunning nature to a portrait of The Cultivar.  How did I do?

Apparently I subconsciously matched her outfit with her girlfriend’s outfit from an earlier challenge, which is a fun bit of accidental serendipity.

Fia for Morpheous XO

Next up, we have Fia, the No Moon Lunar witch.  I was originally going to keep this portrait as a simple pencil portrait, which I’m quite pleased with Procreate’s graphite simulation.  But then the color tempted me!  I tried to keep it subtle with the pops of her dramatic red hair tips.  I ended up with a look very close to what I can do with copic marker, traditionally, which is neat!

Moira for MissSunnySweden

Lastly, we have Moira for MissSunnySweden, a kickbutt Dawn Caste with a tiger theme.  I’ve long considered smiles my weakness when drawing people, but I was able to capture a delighted bloodlust smile without too much trouble.  I didn’t have much time to draw Fia and Moira, so I aimed for more simplified ‘token-style’ portraits.

All the portaits you see here were painted in Procreate, which has become my mainstay of late since it let’s me curl up in a comfortable spot on the couch to work.

Bonus Valentine’s Day Exalted Comic

I created one last bit of fun Exalted art in February where we were challenged by another member of the Forge to draw our characters on a date.  My character, Kalara, was paired up with the Abyssal, The Cultivar, for a date, which triggered a fun idea for a whole mini comic I could practice my visual storytelling skills with.

I wasn’t able to finish the mini comic with everything happening with health and job woes last month, but I’m hoping to clean this up at some point for practice.  For now, enjoy the sketches for the comic and the quick final panel I did work up just for fun!

Premise:  The Cultivar and Kalara go on a date!

Kalara shows up to the cafe, where the Cultivar awaits, the two of them competing to show off who has the highest Resources rating (basically means how rich they are in this setting).  They ‘battle’ through various things, from fancy tea vs coffee, to fancy favorite foods, to the final battle – Who will cover the check???

Eventually, Kalara wins the wealth battle, but The Cultivar gets the upper hand…which my gal is actually pretty okay with.  There are worse, more boring ways to die, right? 

The final panel:

(This one was drawn on Procreate, but word bubbles added in Clip Studio Paint)


I hope you’ve enjoyed this little art diversion!  I have more serious projects to finish up by the end of the month, but these character challenges are always a fun way to stretch my legs between more intense projects.

– Ang

March 2024 – Happy News, Patreon Plans, & New Tarot Preview

March was both the worst and best month, all at once. I’m so happy to report that after the bombshell February we had in which my husband was laid off from his job and suffered some possibly-cancerous symptoms that his test results are in. While some things aren’t normal, cancer has been eliminated as a possibility!

The ghost of this bad news has been hanging over us since early February and we’re both so relieved to hear it’s not the worst case scenario. He’s still got some challenges ahead, but they won’t be as nasty as cancer.

Knock on wood! Now, can cancer and serious illness leave us both alone till we’re at least 80? Please and thank you!

Once my head stopped spinning from all the life chaos, I had just enough time to catch my breath and dive headlong into finishing the X of Swords piece for the Stained Glass Tarot deck coming this year. Patrons got a deep dive into this process, as well as a look at a detail of the final painting. I can’t wait for you all to see the final painting once the deck debuts! I’ve been peeking the art from the other artists and it’s gorgeous stuff. I’ll be sure to let you all know here when it goes live on crowdfunding.

Meanwhile, the poll results have come in and I was really surprised at the results! There’s more love for my niche interests than I thought there’d be, which makes me very happy. Once this Patreon resets themes in June, expect that theme to be all Kushiel’s Legacy for awhile! Prepare yourselves for angels, masquerades, and fantasy fashions.

I really can’t wait and I’m currently plotting on what other themed Patreon goodies I can roll out for the event! Read more about the poll results and my plans for this grand relaunch theme here.

In that same post, I also mentioned that my Exalted art will be moving to a new space in the future. Rather than have Exalted art sneaking in here making a confusing mess of my Patreon in June when I start talking about more book-inspired art, it’ll have its own tidy home on Ko-fi where everyone can follow it for free (or pitch in if they want some small perks).

Posts Planned for April (Tentative)

  • Blue Eye Samurai x Exalted Fan Art

  • Movies That Make Me Want to Paint Part 2

Posts in March


Even though life doesn’t seem to want to slow down and let us breathe, I’m happy for the Spring here, which has been flowering with beautiful dogwoods. They’re a good reminder to slow down and appreciate the beautiful things for a few fleeting moments before I get caught up in the chaos. I hope you all found some little bits of happiness this month too.

– Ang

February 2024 – Our No Good, Very Bad Month + Final Poll Reminder!

My husband and I keep wishing for a very boring time in which nothing interesting at all happens.  We had finally started to get used to that kind of pleasant monotony in January.  There was no house move on the horizon.  Nobody had an ER visit or even a bad cold the past few months.  Only one small-ish tree fell on our garage and was eventually repaired by actual, working homeowners insurance.  We also celebrated our 7th anniversary this month. It was amazing!

All at once, the Powers That Be thought we were too bored this year. My husband lost his job early on in February and also started showing some concerning symptoms that may be pointing to cancer (this will be his 2nd bout with cancer, but a different, hopefully very treatable kind, this time around).  As of this writing, we’re still waiting on test results so we can know what path life is going to take us on next.  Either way, it’s going to mean surgery for him, whether it’s cancer or not.

I know. I know. Didn’t I just get over a cancer scare, myself? Well, now it’s Kev’s turn because we enjoy taking turns terrifying one another with revolving health woes. (Don’t mind me, dark humor is how we’re surviving right now.)

Thankfully, we’re not at DOOM level on the OHSHIT scale yet, as at the very least, his job very kindly offered him a severence pay that will give us a few months to survive and figure things out.  

Meanwhile, February has been all about scrambling to find new medical coverage, forming an action plan to deal with these layers of OHSHIT, and to trying not to give in to that most unhelpful habit of my brain to think of every catastrophe that could befall us at 3am in the morning.

It’s meant little sleep for me and barely any art getting made, which sucks because I would’ve loved to share some of the cool fan art I’ve been poking at and also finish up the Tarot piece I’ve been teasing for a couple of months now, which I’ve now had to get an extension on because painting was not happening during this anxious scramble.

I at least got to discuss some of my favorite movies with you all, which drew many of you quiet lurkers to share your favorites, which I’m so delighted to see.  I’m happy to have new things to fuel the inspiration tank, so thanks to everyone who dropped me a response with their own inspiration lists!  Stay tuned for part 2 with MOAR movies I love that make me want to art.

Today is also the last day you all can vote in the Very Important Poll to help me decide what I’ll be doing with this Patreon next, so go do so, if you haven’t yet!  I’m going to be announcing the results and what the big plan is in March after I’ve ruminated on the numbers a bit and see how Life (TM) is going to affect my ability and time to create.


Tentatively Arriving in March

  • Poll Results + A New Patreon Theme Announcement!
  • Blue Eye Samurai Fan Art
  • A new Exalted Character of the Week portrait compilation
  • Part 2 of Movies That Make Me Want to Paint
  • Final Art for the X of Swords

Posts You Might’ve Missed in February


Here’s hoping the next time I write up a monthly digest that I’ll have some happier news to share of how everything is moving back towards an exceptionally long-term and incredibly, mind-numbingly boring normalcy.  Till then!

– Ang