world-building and graphic novel in-progress

Posts tagged “world building

In the beginning…

 

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(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.

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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.

"Tock the Gnome," page 48

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.

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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 ❤

"Princess?" ink and colored pencil on paper

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!)

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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!)

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Gratitude from the bottom of my heart once again, dear readers! And happy Seven Years of Tock!

~

All content © Rachel Terwilliger.

 

 

 

 


Sketch – At Boundary Market II

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A little bonus work, also available on Patreon with bonus information and Dwarf/Gnome culture notes!

Page 74 is coming along slowly but surely. Lots of wee detail work.

~

All content © Rachel Terwilliger


Glimpse – At Boundary Market

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Part of the gift I drew for my wife for this lovely Valentine’s Day<3

A Tockverse Gnome and Tockverse Dwarf sharing a sweet kiss. The rest of the piece is about the gems and minerals market where Gnomes and Dwarves have the vast majority of their interaction, and why that is. But that’s a tale for another time.

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone! May we all be grateful for the Love in our lives, whatever forms it takes.

~~~

All content © Rachel Terwilliger.


Sketch, Goddess Anosmia, as the Lady at the Gate

Pencil sketch - Anosmia, the Lady at the Gate

One of the religions that features most prominently in Tock’s life is the worship of Anosmia, the Gnomish Goddess of Destruction (Bumble’s family works with Her at least occasionally, as indicated here).

Anosmia has a lot of features and roles, and in this sketch, appears as a Guardian of the afterlife – guiding Gnomish souls from the physical world to the beyond. Which would indicate that in general, Gnomes belief in a world beyond after death that signifies eternal rest and may include reincarnation and/or punishment, depending on the value of their soul and what gods they served in life, etc.

More on part of the Gnomish pantheon here.

All content © Rachel Terwilliger. Do not use, alter or redistribute without permission.


Sketch – Priestess of Fizzlebott

Sketch, Priestess of Fizzlebott

Empowered, that is, using the magic of her god. Half of an unfinished sketch showing her and a priest of another deity. For more on the religion of these Gnomes, see here.

All content © Rachel Terwilliger. Do not use, alter or redistribute without permission.


Change in nature

I’ve been working on this comic for just over 3 years now (wow), and as you might have noticed, I’ve been struggling to keep any kind of a regular update schedule the whole time.

This has gotten especially difficult over the past year, due to health issues and other Real Life time demands.

I know this sounds like a comic cancellation notice, but its not. I just need to rethink how I’m going about this. Tock, Bumble, their friends and all their stories are still VERY important to me. But I need to do them justice, too.

So: From now on, “Tock the Gnome” will no longer function as a webcomic. I just can’t meet the kind of assumed schedule webcomics have to meet.

Instead, I’ll be looking at it as more of a graphic novel in-progress, and spending more time focusing on world building as well. This will, I hope, be for the best, since that will make a much more solid foundation for Tock’s story.

Updates will continue to be random, but I’ll hopefully be posting MORE of them (with the focus on world building, that is). Pages will be posted when I have time to do them – I hope to find a comfortable balance between spending time planning and spending time drawing. Luckily, some of that planning will involve sketching, so again, hopefully that means more posts. We’ll see.

IMPORTANT: This also means that some of the world building material will contain spoilers for the comic. I will tag them properly, but still. Be forewarned.

If you prefer to just watch for the pages, I’ll be posting those and canon-only illustration over on my deviantART page.

Thank you, so very much, if you choose to keep following (and for keeping an eye on this project so far). I still have big plans, and I hope to see them through, even though its happening differently than I planned when I started this site in 2010.

I hope you stick around to see what becomes of Tock and Bumble 🙂

All content © Rachel Marsh. Do not use, alter or redistribute without permission.