Some more Seven Years of Tock bonus art!
Here’s an old illustration that I intended to write a drabble for, but apparently it needed to stand on its own instead.
All content © Rachel Terwilliger. Also on Patreon.
(I believe I promised a story about how this all started, as part of Seven Years of Tock, so here we go!)
Once upon a time, a young aimless illustrator submitted various drawings to an indie magazine called “Crossed Genres.” They had an open-submission policy that paid artists when their submissions were for publication, so it seemed like a good deal.
Unfortunately this was many years ago, so a certain….. skill level was lacking, and the illustrator did not get accepted. Still, she tried, and the people who ran the magazine were very nice and encouraging to her.
A while later, this magazine saw fit to hold a competition – seeking webcomics! If accepted, the chosen comics would be published online for their members, one page a week for 52 weeks, and then published in print in one big compendium. Even though I hadn’t gotten any of my illustrations accepted, one particular member of their team reached out to me (whoops, dropping the vagueness) and encouraged me to submit a comic.
I honestly don’t remember WHY I chose to submit – I was actually at a rough patch in my life, so perhaps I thought that creating a comic would fill a certain hole in my spirit. But that’s a different story.
Anyway, I did choose to give it a shot, but then the question was – about what?
My wife is very good at asking questions to get at the root of what I want to express with character and story, so when I came home that afternoon with that decision – the questions began, and Tock was born.
I decided I wanted to tell a story about a Gnome (surprise) who fell in love with an Orc (surprise) while going on an semi-inversion of the Prince Quest – off to rescue fair maiden in a tower, and all. Setting: steampunk, because yay ❤ So that meant airship, and thus a crew, including a pilot friend of her’s and a magic user of some kind, since the Orc would fill the warrior ‘slot.’
I came up with the vague description of the plot, with a couple of character designs and example images as instructed for submission.
However, without realizing it, I had censored myself – as you can see, Tock and Onna look a bit different from how they truly are. Due to my own worries about how the characters would be perceived (by the people in charge of picking the winning submissions, particularly), I thinned Tock out – so much for my size-positive mission. And in my excitement I didn’t think about why a “warrior class” person and a “mage class” person would look the way they do – so Onna’s fantasy armor looks very generic, and I didn’t have much of a reason for why Eunan wears robes like that.
I did not get chosen Retrospectively, I can see why – not only did I hold myself back in character design, but the kind folks who were interested in me enough to encourage me could see that AND that I didn’t push the story as far as I could have. Again, they were super nice about it though, even so far as to say that to me so I could learn from it.
That rejection did hurt, but you know what happened? I did it anyway.
Tock got redesigned – slight tweaks, but still noticeably more well-rounded (both metaphorically AND physically, as you can see!). Onna got the biggest overhaul of all – I actually went and thought about what kind of armor she would have, as an Orc in her kind of culture (nomadic, almost scavengery at that point. The Viking details came later). Bumble didn’t change at all, and Eunan’s robes slowly evolved into a more Celtic design – so still very magey, but with a reason.
The story itself also got expanded. Certain details – like an early idea of Onna getting magically shrunk down to Tock’s size to better accommodate their romance (I know, yikes, right?), and a secondary plot about the current Gnomish princess, eventually got scrapped – I looked farther out than the scope of Tock’s quest to see what else is really going on with the world, and why her quest might have importance BEYOND her own, selfish motivations. The plot of the quest itself was adjusted to incorporate a greater vision – new characters were added, certain old characters of mine were pulled in to give the world history, and voila! A much more solid story slowly began to take shape.
I created this website in March, 2010 to announce the project, with a plan to launch the comic on August 30th that year – which I did, and though progress has always been pretty slow – here we are still ❤
Page by page and bonus content by bonus content, things have still been evolving and growing. The importance of some side characters increased, and another new crew member was added to address the treatment of a certain beleaguered best friend, rounding it out from 4 to 5 (which flows better, in my opinion. I always felt like something was missing at 4. And also thanks to my lovely wife, who is very much inspiring Actia’s creation and actions).
More and more the cultures of the world have been developed, the perfect match of Vikings and Orcs eventually smacked me upside the head, Gnome culture and religion grew to encompass a fuller pre-quest life for Tock and Bumble – and also to point out problems with how the Gnomes view life, in addition to the wars and conflict that have already been mentioned world-wide.
(Psssst, there’s trouble with how ALL the races are acting, but any more details would be spoilers!)
My own spirituality has been informing the comic more and more, too, so how very Faerie the world is has drastically shifted – I didn’t plan on actually addressing how faerie-natured all the creatures of Tock’s world are, originally, but now that has become a huge part of the story and an informing factor of any of the foreshadowing we’ve seen so far.
I guess all I can say in closing is that I’m very grateful for how far the story has come, that I didn’t just give up on it – and even more importantly, that you all have stuck with it for so long!
Thank you so much for continuing to read the new pages as they come, and for your comments and likes and feedback on the bonus content I post. And especially to those of you who support it on Patreon – every cent gets us closer to more frequent updates! (And for those of you unfamiliar, there’s even more bonus work and world-building info up there, so please consider taking a look!)
Gratitude from the bottom of my heart once again, dear readers! And happy Seven Years of Tock!
All content © Rachel Terwilliger.
Over at my Etsy site! In honor of “Seven Years of Tock,” all Tock-related related art prints 33% off from now until Sept. 4th!
As it says on the tin – on August 30th, 2010, this project was officially launched and “Tock the Gnome” was born ❤
I am so very grateful to everyone who’s kept an eye on the comic and everything else related to Tock’s world – and as such, this month leading up to her ‘birthday’ will be filled with lots of bonus content! Stay tuned for more bonus art, bonus story snippets, a look back at what got this project started in the first place, and a special surprise on the 30th itself!
If there’s anything that you’re curious about or would like to see, please leave a comment or send me a note. Also, page 78 is well on its way and will certainly be part of the celebration. And in the meantime, lots of existing goodies are available already over on Patreon.
Thank you, always, for your support dear readers! I hope you look forward to what this August brings.
All content © Rachel Terwilliger.
Sooooooooo even though this site has functioned as the main Tock website for some time now, and before I ended up over on Patreon (where you can still support me for extra goodies, if you like), I eventually posted the comic over on deviantART. I’d been a member there even before I came on here, and am happy to say we have a good number of readers there now too.
I am delighted and bewildered to say that on Friday, page 75 was chosen as a Daily Deviation!!!
(insert several panels of me freaking out and bouncing with glee here)
So, that page and some other Tock works have gotten some new attention! So this is a welcome sketch for my new Watchers over there.
All content © Rachel Terwilliger
“I want to live like animals
Careless and free like animals
I want to live
I want to run through the jungle
The wind in my hair and the sand at my feet”
– Savage Garden, “The Animal Song”
Happy Pride Month everybody! This was done for a project/kinda-contest over at deviantART, where I have done much much much of my networking and fanbase-building over the years. I am very grateful for all the acceptance I’ve found and the friendships I’ve built there, and though nothing’s ever perfect, that site has been a haven for me during many frustrating “real life” art conflicts. So, despite the usual life/comic/commission busy-ness, I had to join in the celebration!
(Also, selected submissions will be featured in a new Pride Flag widget on the website, so cross your fingers for me!)
The submissions had to be centered around one of the Pride flag’s colors and the meaning of that color. Of course, I had to pick green (for nature), and it had to be Tock and Onna ❤
(By the way, I hope none of you think this is a big big spoiler – I have intended this attraction to be obvious from the start. I promise there will be lots of fun story goodness in watching this play out against Tock’s quest. Ohohoho.)
This was inspired by the same-sex relationships found in nature. I wanted to do something a bit different though, so I chose lesbian does, gay male goldfinches, and non-binary pangolins (because….pangolins). And Tock and Onna together as a queer representation of Faerie.
Thank you all for continuing to stick with the comic – Tock and Onna and Bumble and all of their magical, messed-up world. If you’re celebrating this month, I send you SUCH love and I hope you have a fantastic time being truly you!
And again, thanks dA, for being a place for me to express my big gay self for so many years, now.