world-building and graphic novel in-progress

Posts tagged “inspiration

Sketch/WIP – Resurgam


So in addition to today’s Patreon Ranger bonus post being appropriate for International Women’s Day, here’s this too.

This feels like a follow up to my older piece, “Purity,” even though they are technically about different things. And regardless of what inspired them, I hope this inspires all of us – but especially those of the lady persuasion – to live free in our own delightfulness. We are beauty, and grace, and stardust, everyone.

Happy International Women’s Day, all ❤


All content © Rachel Terwilliger.

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“Tock the Gnome” Q&A time!


(And look! Bonus art 😀 Piece title – “Crew Means Family.”)

Here we go! Thanks so much to everyone who sent in questions! Anyone who wished to remain anonymous will be marked as ‘ — ,’ otherwise you all get credit. Everybody go check out their work too, they’re wonderful!


(From Murasaki99I’m curious about the history of the gnomish lands Tock calls home – it’s history and government.  Is it a hereditary monarch?  A democracy? 

Well, much of the far, far past of the Gnomes has been lost – but it seems, at least, that it has always been a hereditary monarchy. It still is to this day, currently ruled by a Queen, and she traces her own lineage as far back as the start of their technological revolution – which has been going on for a few generations. It is likely that she is of the bloodline that came before that, too, but that was such a shift in their culture that her own claim to power relies on that association.

The monarch is advised by a council of other noble-folk, of course, and the day-to-day running of the nation is delegated to many individuals down the line (from the capital, to other cities, to smaller communities within those cities, etc. etc.).

It also seems that the Gnomes have always lived up on the mountains, atop the plateau, and have a long history with the Dwarves – who live further within the mountains and deep into the plateau itself. Much of that history has also been lost, though there are records of some wars, and what knowledge does remain makes everyone cautious enough to limit contact between their cultures (noted here and here, previously).

Currently, at least, most Gnomes live within the cities – which are carved into the mountain itself, with maybe 10 to 20% on the surface and the rest inside the earth/stone of it. A few towns do exist on the mountainside, mostly farming and shepherding communities.

Just enough to sustain the population – as time has gone on, more and more Gnomes have moved within the mountain. Hmmmm….

(From GiantPandaHow did Tock meet Eleanore and Bumble?

Tock met Bumble when she was very young, by happenstance – literally running into him on the street as she was trying to get out of one scrape or the other. She was the equivalent of a human 11 year old, age-wise, and he was like a 10 year old. Since they live in the same neighborhood, she started hanging around him more and more – realizing, of course, that he was never going to get into any fun by himself – and he let himself get pulled into her adventures very quickly in order to escape the rigidity of his family life.

She met Eleanore a little later, when she was like a 13 year old. Eleanore is older – at the time, more like a 17 year old to Tock’s early teenagehood. The shop where Eleanore lives and works (and did then, too) is nearby Tock’s neighborhood, though not technically the same community. Still, her curiosity had taken Tock all around the city, and she happened upon that store eventually as well. She saw something in the window that struck her fancy, went in, introduced herself, and their friendship grew from there.

Eleanore was charmed by Tock’s openness and zest for life, and though Tock’s parents had hoped that an older friend would be a calming influence on their daughter, the opposite is true – she tends to bring Eleanore out of her shell more, just like she does with Bumble.

….well, maybe less destructively. But same concept.

(From DrMistyTangWhat was the inspiration behind Tock’s outfit design?

Victorian fashion in general, especially the 1880’s, more traditional/medieval fantasy design AND, honestly, a bit of Sailor Moon and floofy fantasy dresses like the one from Labyrinth 😀

As for her clothes in comic-canon…


Her first outfit includes a lot of basic steampunk design. I was just getting started, so I took a lot of inspiration from what I’d seen so far in studying/obsessing over/worshiping steampunk in general. That and her work clothes come from that basic understanding.


Her second outfit comes from a bit more exploration of what works there, what is more practical steampunk-wise, etc. It definitely gives me a strong “Alice in Wonderland” vibe, too (I picture it blue, if the comic were in full color), but that was more of a happy accident than actual planning.


Also, the shoes – I secretly love shoes, and apparently Tock inherited that. So no matter what level of practicality the situation demands, Tock will do her darndest to wear heels. She thinks they’re prettier.

(That didn’t come about until recently, design-wise, so her earlier designs feature flat boots. She still wears those kind of boots for her work in the airship.)

That’s all we’ve gotten to see her in so far, but we will get to see her in two more gowns soon – her own finery, and a more fantastical dress she’ll be wearing in an upcoming dream sequence (SO excited for that, btw).


Her actual gown I designed with the idea that it might not be as up-to-date, fashion-wise, as the things she tries on in the shops. I imagine she had to create the bustle herself, on top of an older, wider skirt frame, and it has wider, floofier sleeves than some of the more modern dresses (what Eleanore’s wearing is a good example of current Gnome fashion).

Note – though we’re not going to see it in canon very much, older Gnome fashion design was more along the typical fantasy lines. The Victorian/Steampunk elements didn’t show up until the technological revolution. Good examples of what the clothes looked like in the past can be seen in any images featuring a certain long-haired, often sad-looking Gnome woman wearing a crowned hat.

Which, you know, may or may not mean anything 😉

I do also feel like I get to play (with the imagery from things at the end of that long list I started with) more in the illustrations for the comic than the actual pages. Good examples of that are “Princess?” and “Only Natural.”


In “Princess?” I was heavily inspired by the dress from Labyrinth (without really even meaning to) and lots of moments from “Sailor Moon,” both in the actual manga and some of Takeuchi’s illustrations for the series.


In “Only Natural” I tried consciously to blend steampunk elements with more traditional fantasy elements, which hopefully will be more and more a theme in Tock’s wardrobe as things progress.

(From — ) What would each character’s favorite fairy tale be?

Gonna do these for just the main crew**:

Tock – The Twelve Dancing Princesses (unexpectedly, right?)

Bumble – The Maiden Without Hands

Onna – Toads and Diamonds

Eunan – The Nightingale

Actia – The Prince with the Golden Hand

**And a note – as I’ve shown with Wednesday’s post, versions of these stories in Tock’s world may vary from what we’re familiar with. The links above go to the more traditional, human tellings.

(From my dear friend H.M. Barone) How did you first get into steampunk?

I think it all happened very gradually around early 2010 (actually had to go back into my older artwork to see what I was drawing back then, for clues!). It was popping up in different things I was already into, like DragonFable, and I just felt drawn to it. I really enjoy Victorian culture anyway, especially the fashion (as already noted). The addition of alternative-thinking as to the technologies and attitudes that could come from such a setting really, really inspire me. Clearly. At whatever struck my interest in the first place, I just started slowly learning more and more, until I was hooked! My wife also got me an Abney Park album, “Lost Horizons,” early on in my interest and that definitely encouraged me to keep pursuing it.

I just think its so beautiful and so creatively expressive. Who wouldn’t want to play in that world?

(From my friend Susan) How did you come up with the name Tock?

I honestly don’t remember! I imagine it was something like ‘tick tock,’ and how Clockpunk and Steampunk share really similar elements.

Her last name, Corrigan, comes directly from Faerie lore though.

(Also from Susan) How did you come up with the story?

I touched on this in some detail in the “In the Beginning” post I did, but I also want to share about my inspirations – the reason Tock is on her quest, for example, is because of my own love of fairy tales and how I like the idea of inverting the Classic Prince Quest. I wanted to tell a fairy-tale story that played with those themes in unexpected ways. And since I was just falling in love with Steampunk, I had to pull that in too, as well as my love of the fantasy genre in general.

The dynamics of the characters beyond those overarching themes are heavily influenced by my experiences playing table-top roleplaying games (especially Dungeons & Dragons, and a bit of World of Darkness too). With that, and my tendency towards family-like team dynamics (among my favorite shows are “Firefly” and “Avatar: The Last Airbender,” btw) the setting of the story and the way the characters live and move in that world came together very easily.

I must also mention that my amazing wife was extremely helpful at the start of it – I’d decided I wanted to do a comic, but I didn’t know what about, so she asked me questions about what the characters and the world would be, etc. that drew the story out of me. She’s really good at that ❤ (She also is responsible for certain elements of the story, like Actia’s being/backstory and how dragons will work, once they show up.)

As things have developed from there – more and more as my own spirituality has developed – telling a story about Faerie and bringing Faerie back into the forefront of fairy tales has become important to me as well. So expect to see that grow even more as Tock gets to explore and learn about the realm she lives in 🙂

(From — ) Why do you think its important to tell these stories?

At first, I started this comic just for fun. But as things have progressed, Tock’s story and the importance of her quest has grown tremendously in meaning (even if she doesn’t know it yet) – partly from inspiration, but also partly because things are very dark in the world right now and I think its important to tell stories about Light and Love, to put more of that kind of energy into the Universe. Our Universe, AND other realms.

I believe that what we’re doing to each other and the planet – the hurt, the violence, the complete disregard for each other’s personhood and refusal to protect the natural, gorgeous, vital world in which we life – is having an effect on all of us AND things we can’t see (yes, like Faerie).

So in telling these stories, I hope that the troubles in Tock’s world and how her story plays out among them will put more positivity to that negativity and inspire others to be more Aware.


Thank you all so much for your questions, and for reading!

Stay tuned for one more bonus tomorrow. And remember that the Print Sale and the Crossword Puzzle Contest are still going on, too!

Right Sized (or, Keep to the Forest)


A statement of intention. (Also missing at least one crew member, as I have been working on this for years and it was drawn before everyone was created, so whoops. Perhaps there will be a follow up ❤ )

I have hopes and plans for Tock’s story, but at the heart of it, I seek to remain true to Faerie. So, this is about that.

Read the story from the beginning here, or here on Patreon.

Thank you, and bright blessings!