Well, this month got way derailed by house repairs and sinusitis (even this newsletter is barely making it in time).
I haven’t finished the new Soft batch or much of anything I had set up for this month… So I thought I’d share at least a little about process.
For Part 4 I started writing scripts on Scrivener. Since my first webcomic I had been writing on… WordPad. Yes, believe it or not. It was all me doing everything so I took the simple route and created my own system with plenty of shortcuts.
Scrivener is awesome though, it was love at first write. Despite trying it initially for prose, I’m enjoying to use it for comics too. And it was time writing a full script became a more effortless task, as I need it for other jobs.
On Patreon, we have completed that western couple and made a wallpaper for patrons. I hope to explore more of their story in the future.
AND I’ve opened commissions as promised.
Yes, this newsletter will now feature interviews! Our first guest is Tikklil, artist of Night Owls and Summer Skies, who was kind enough to answer these questions for us. Enjoy~
Please, tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m Sam (she/they), an artist and illustrator from India. I’ve been working as a creative professional since 2016. I love creating worlds, telling stories, and exploring the mundane joys of life through art.
Going back memory lane. Was there something or someone queer you felt pulled to before you even understood why?
I do remember being super experimental with gender and gender expression all my life, and the fact that I experienced quite a bit of gender envy from boys my age. I would also be secretly delighted when someone mistook me for a boy.
When it comes to my asexuality, I always knew that about myself, although I found out about the label in high school. So it’s no surprise that it all culminated into me currently identifying as a demigirl and ace.
You have an expressive and clean style seeming influenced by animation. What artists did you look up to growing up?
I spent a lot of my earlier years insulated from the internet and other artists, and my source of inspiration was Naruto on Cartoon Network, Jigoku Shoujo and K-on! on Animax, regional Indian animation [channel] and Hindu mythology. I became an artist online around 2014 and I was super inspired by Ilya Kuvshinov, Loish, Qinni (always in my heart) and my newly found peers. Later in life, I discovered Ghibli films and they absolutely changed my life and artistic journey.
Tell us about your journey. Have you always wanted to work in comics? Did you receive formal training?
I’ve been dabbling in comics since my early teens. I would often make comic strips about places I’d travel to. In middle school, I was enamoured with the art style of Tintin, while later I discovered manga and its distinctive style. I’ve never received formal training in comics specifically, but I’m going to! I’m planning to pursue a masters degree in Comics this summer and I’m very excited.
Assuming you made your first attempts in comics as a kid. Do you remember what your first story was about?
My first story was about a bunch of Naruto characters going to the beach together (this is where I laugh). My first serious attempt was about a family on a trip, whose plans keep getting ruined by the rain. The original copy of that was stolen from school, which was tragic.
NO&SS is a delight to read! Are you more of an enjoyer or skipper of outdoor summer activities?
I’m from India, and summer here has a completely different meaning than the West. Summer and outdoor simply don’t go hand-in-hand, and we’re mostly just trying to hide from the sun. We reserve the outdoor activities for cooler weather, and I do enjoy some of them. I love hikes and outdoor walks. Stuff like camping is a bit hard but it hasn’t been bad the few times that I’ve tried.
Do you have a routine process for the pages?
For sure, a well defined process always makes work easier. For each episode of NO&SS, I work 6 days a week with Saturdays off. This is a schedule I’ve devised for myself. On day 1 I finish all the backgrounds. Days 2, 3 and 4 are reserved for sketching and inking the characters and foreground. Days 5 and 6 are for the colors and rendering.
And what about character design?
Character design was my first love, and will always remain my special interest. There’s something about creating a fictional identity from scratch that’s just super fun for me. This is especially true for brainstorming little design elements that give the viewer subtle clues about the character.
In the era of burn out, we have been forced to rethink routines and our relationships to working on our previous hobbies. A long trial and error process. How have you been navigating that?
Burn out is like the final boss that I fight every day, and every day it gets stronger. I guess with experience, I have learned to work through my brain fog when it’s required. The important thing is to set realistic expectations for myself. I can’t expect 100% quality on a 40% day, and I have learned to be compassionate with myself when that happens.
I’ve seen you have the intention to draw your own webcomic at some point. Do you already have a story in mind? Can you tell us something about it?
I have quite a few stories in mind. In fact, the first step for me would be to pick one. I have a slice of life plot about a family vacation, a sapphic love story in rural India, and a child befriending a spirit. Many of these plots I have carried with me since childhood, and I’m looking forward to sharing them with the world someday.
What’s the queer story (in any medium) that has your attention right now?
I’m really having a blast reading the Webtoon Not So Shoujo Love Story by Curryuku. It’s truly hilarious!
What would you like to see more in sapphic/queer stories?
I would totally love to see more stories where queerness itself isn’t the focal point of the story, while still having an authentic queer voice. I think I’d like to see more queer content in genres like comedy and action.
Please, share where people can find more of your work.
I can be found as @tikklil and @_tikklil on Instagram, @tikklil on Twitter, Tikklil on YouTube, and by Samadrita Ghosh on Amazon (‘Get Set Procreate 5’ guide). I also have a portfolio website at www.samadritaghosh.com.
Stuff I read
The Villains Series by Lee Winter
I thought this one was a fresh read. The author takes a villain from a prior series and sets to the task of making her redemption and a healthy love life possible. I thought she navigated her choices well, while raising some very current questions. And I guess, if you agree or not with the choices the characters make, the conclusions they reach and if Michelle Hastings actually deserve redemption, is for you to decide.
6 Times We Almost Kissed (and one time we did) by Tess Sharpe
This was a great YA, more to the angst side of things, but well balanced. Especially great rhythm for a non-linear novel, that doesn’t happen often enough. Also it’s good to point it deals with a lot of mental and physical health issues and mention of an assault attempt.
(And I’m timidly trying audiobooks again, we still have a conflicted relationship, but less so this time. Think I’m finding the ways we can better work together.)
Stuff I watched
I finished Gap?
Inspired by the summer rains I thought this month I’d share about lightning.
Brazil is the country with the biggest incidence of lightning in the world (77.8 million strikes a year). Followed by Republic of the Congo (43.2 million) and United States (35 million) (though I think considering Congo’s size, its numbers are much more impressive). And, these numbers are increasing thanks to climate change, like everything else weather related.
Lightning here has its peak in summer and São Paulo is the capital on the top of the ranking.