Tag Archives: art


In my most recent podcast, I mentioned that I was going through a lot and learning a lot about myself as a person. I know I must’ve said this a thousand times before, but I think it is even more true now. I’m making serious decisions about my health, my lifestyle, and dealing with a lot of emotional wounds, both old and new. As some of you may remember, Halloween is my favorite month, and I have a particularly high interest in the macabre. I don’t have co-morbid idealizations mind you, I just think zombies and werewolves are fucking awesome. Sometimes I feel like a little monster myself. My friend, Aprilfish, will probably scold me later for saying that (check out her awesome hug in my Return to Cali post!) but I gotta say it. At the least, I feel like a ghost in my old life, and a shambling undead in my new life. Where do I go? Where do I fit? Yeah, yeah, yeah, roll your eyes. I’m young and going through THAT phase. Meanwhile, I’m still just a spirit haunting old haunts:

That, however, was not why I wanted a zombie tattoo on my right shoulder, nor was this some sort of plot to piss off my family or my husband (though I still managed the latter by accident). The above tattoo was originally artwork from Bernie Wrightson, an EC Horror veteran who is perhaps best known for his late ’80s comic adaptation of the classic tale of Frankenstein.

The concept for the tattoo didn’t come to immediately. My good ol’ buddy Aprilfish helped me figure out what it was I really wanted. I had all sorts of ideas…another X-men tattoo, a tattoo of my astrological signs (Sagittarius and Dragon), or maybe even a silly tattoo of my favorite game of all time, Team Fortress 2. But among these ideas was one for a sort of old school horror inspired tattoo—something comic book styled that would work well in black and white, something with the supernatural: zombies, werewolves, witches, even vampires (which I’m not a fan of). I wanted something inspired from the 40’s and 50’s EC Horror comics. Given that this is Halloween month, the direction seemed clear, especially given the almost visceral emotions I’d been feeling since returning home. That was when Aprilfish pulled up this little gem:

Not to sound cheesy, but this piece immediately spoke to me. It was beautiful to me. Many people would not use that word to attribute to this artwork, but that’s how I felt. The way the undead rises from the ground, head thrown back, palms up toward the sky, free of the burden of both life and society. This is a beauty based in a grisly fantasy…or maybe it’s the reality. Since coming to California I’ve been struggling with my identity as everyone around me talks about the “real” Illise Montoya. It made me feel alienated and angry. What image was I failing to satisfy? What role was I neglecting? As far as I was concerned, who I was–an open bisexual with liberal political views and a love for horror and fantasy–that was IT. That was the reality! But some people here at home didn’t respond in very nice ways, and it got me thinking…FUCK other people’s “image” of me. Maybe the “ugly beauty” was the reality they needed to deal with.

But to be fair, I’m in a transitory phase. Today’s me could be tomorrow’s Casper. And that very well could be the case. After much drama and debate, I have decided to stop taking my anti-depression and anti-anxiety pills. They are just messing with my mind and my life too much. I want to find a better way to live. Surely some of you have been through this, or have an idea of what this is like?

The last meaning this artwork held for me was obvious. As you all know, my Aunt died last December, and I’ve been struggling to deal with it ever since. I haven’t mentioned it yet, but my grandmother, my abuela, has been having severe health problems after her recent surgery. My family is essentially waiting for her to die. My mother hides her pain well, but it leaks through her “image” like blood through a mask. In the end, what the above image made me feel was relief. A sort of acceptance of death. That despite a person’s demise their “true beauty” lives on in the memories of those that loved them. That’s why I had the tattoo artist, Adam from Creative Visions, put in Latin beneath the tattoo, Venustas Immortalis, which means, “Eternal Beauty.”

Anyway…I hope you guys have a better idea of what it is I’m going through down here. It was also just a nice opportunity to brag about my new tattoo. Oh yeah. My husband…he didn’t like it. I sort’ve forgot to tell him that I was getting it (I’m sorry honey!) But we talked about it, and things have been smoothed over. He’s decided to name my zombie ‘Fred’. I think I can deal with this.

It’s the other stuff I’m worried about!

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I felt bad that I’ve only been posting art on Facebook, so I decided to spread the lovin’ a bit more…but hey–if you guys wanna see more concept art you should totally become a fan on Facebook!

And yes!  The review marathon is done…so what have you guys earned?  A bonus update at a minimum of 4000 words!  Thank you to those who reviewed.  The bonus poll is closed, and the winner was option #2, “Nyx’s time as a spy for the resistance”.  You guys will recall that in Chapter 9, Nyx mentioned she did some cloak and dagger stuff for an anti-war faction.  The bonus update will be exploring that in detail.  Expect it sometime next week.

So…Did you get what you wanted?


Hopes and Plans.

Hello all.

At the risk of jinxing it, I think this is the most consistent I’ve ever been with updates.  I’ve been making a real push to stay focused.  It seems almost backwards–before, when I had no job and was not enrolled in college, I just sat around and couldn’t write.  Now, when it seems I’m busier than ever, I’m making it.  It’s insane.

Of course that doesn’t speak for the quality of my writing, but let’s not get into that.

So if you haven’t already, please check out Chapter 9.2!

You guys might be surprised at the length of it.  (4000+ words?  Really?) But there’s a reason for it.  You see, this coming Wednesday is September 9th.  Translation?  9.09.09! So I wanted to do a special update that day, and finish Chapter 9.  It’s going to be an incredible Wednesday (a nice vacation from my usual Wednesdays, which equal complete and utter madness).  Not only is that day practically destined to be magically charged, I’m going to Oakland to see the Yeah Yeah Yeahs in concert, and I’ll possibly make a bid to see the new film “9” which also comes out.  Awesome, right?  But I figured I needed to share the wealth of my joy–thus the special update.  I’ve already started Chapter 9.3, so I should be able to make the deadline, especially since I covered so much in 9.2.

In other news–I have WAY too many work-in-progress’ art for Eikasia.  I swear I’ll get some of it done (and colored) one of these days.

Here’s a preview of one.  Future character sneak peek, yay! (actually, I hate how Nyx looks, but that’s why it’s a WIP I guess)

I’ll leave all of you with this.  Till next time!


Challenges are meant to be conquered.

A drawing of Elmiryn at the river guardian’s cave, when she’s facing down the demi-god (I was going to add a looming shadow to indicate that).  This is a work in progress.

Still working on that expression of hers.  Elmiryn’s face is angular, so I have trouble getting that across without making her seem ghastly or outright manly.  Her outfit really is ridiculous.  It’s the kind of thing you realize when you take prose and transfer it to image.  It’s like seeing Patrick Bateman drawn straight from the book.  He’d look like a goddamn clown (even his creator, Bret Easton Ellis, admits that).  Like Nyx, she’s going to be donning some new threads soon.


Oh yeah!

Whoops.  Forgot to post this here.  Did a drawing of Nyx in her new tunic a few days ago.  Nothing too grand.

Hope you guys enjoy the new chapter.  As I said in Twitter, I made a lot of last minute changes, so if you see something odd (grammatical or otherwise) just tell me so.


Going to my happy place.


As unadmirable as it may sound, I just nearly broke my $1700 laptop in a sudden fit of rage that had me slamming my fist into the walls and screaming all seven deadly words irascibly. I had to take a cold shower to calm down. Now I just feel dejected.

You see, I just lost about an hour-and-a-half’s worth of writing to an accidental keystroke that took me away from the Blogger post editor. The real issue wasn’t even that. It was that the auto-save feature, for whatever reason, failed to do its job. So the two new scenes, the new dialogue, and the grammatical and editorial changes for Chapter 2.3 have all been lost.

Frustration, as many writers will say, is understandable in this situation. “What you really need to do,” they’ll tell you, “Is think about it in a positive light. You can rewrite whatever you did, and perhaps even better.” I’ve had this happen to me before, so I know this. I’ve lost more work to silly screw-ups like this in the past.

It still sucks though.

Anyway, I apologize that this is all taking so long. I forgot how long it can take to put edits into effect, even with notes in hand. I guess part of the reason I’m so determined to get this done first is so that I can create a stronger base to build off of when I move to finish “Tributaries”. Generally, writers wait till a work is finished before editing the whole thing, but I think it’ll be better if I do things this way. My issue is that, despite having an outline and notes and all that nonsense, I still tend to write solely with the last chapter in mind.

Now this may not sound bad, but just imagine it like building a jenga tower. Each level has a piece missing, and you place pieces with consideration to those gaps. But as you build, you only take into account the level you are building off of. So as you go further up, the tower starts to tilt more and more to the side, until it falls over. I really was feeling like the paths of Nyx and Elmiryn’s character were beginning to stray a little from how I introduced them and how I intended them to be. The same went for their adventure.

Bottom line: I felt like I was losing perspective, so I wanted to regain that before I went on toward the finale.

To me this is extremely important. So important that I’m willing to put the story on hiatus for a while. I’m tempted to do fillers and/or side stories in the meantime. Maybe post up excerpts from the book Tobias gave Nyx, or do abstract ‘backstage’ skits with the characters in the story. I’m not really sure. These won’t be posted on a regular schedule and they likely won’t be long pieces. If I can get the help, I might ask a guest writer to share their work on the site.

So will there be an update Friday? Probably not. Maybe a filler, but it’ll be posted on THIS blog, under the appropriate category.

I’m feeling a bit better. Writing this post was a little cathartic. I’ll stop now, as I have to go get ready for a lunch meeting, but know that I’ll resume work (maybe not today) and the story will continue.

Till the next update, hope everyone takes care. I’ll leave you all with a colored pencil drawing I did while I was in Panama. My only wish was that I didn’t do it on lined paper.

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Bingo, bangle, bungle, I’m so happy in the jungle, I refuse to go…

Okay, the title has nothing to do with this post, really. I just have that song from Fallout 3 stuck in my head.

Anyways, the story has been updated. These last two weeks were weird due to holidays, birthdays, inescapable events, illness, and general female wackiness. I keep reminding myself that I’m doing this for free, but I want everyone to know that I really do try to keep up with my schedule. I’m starting to think I’m going to have to make a routine of it, versus just writing whenever it strikes me.

I started a new digital drawing (separate from the last one I mentioned…I did mention it right?) It’s a lot more cartoony than some of my other works, but I mean to clean up the lines on this and color it in full.

Some proportions are off. Like Elmiryn’s right arm, but I’ll fix that.

And tomorrow’s my birthday. I turn 20. Yes, I’m an old, old hag.


…this is what you get

Did this today.  Started another digital drawing as well, with both Nyx and Elmiryn.  Hopefully I can manage something full scale like this.

Well today was…uncomfortable. It started at 2 AM when I woke up and found my tonsils were so swollen I could feel my breath whistling past them. They were so damn big, I kept swallowing reflexively, and every time it hurt worse than if a cheetah were to use them for speed bag practice. Somehow I got to sleep and woke up the same way later. Couldn’t eat any more than yogurt for breakfast. Thankfully the swelling went down after I took some antibiotics and drank lots of water, but its evening and it is still difficult to talk.

It was REALLY odd then, feeling this way, and watching Apocalypse Now: Redux. I also managed to see Hardware (finally!) and I really enjoyed it. The last movie I saw on my list of surrealistic, dark films was Videodrome. I drove 40 minutes to get these (including Blackula, and Eddie Murphy’s elusive ‘Delirious’ special). Hollywood Video and Blockbuster both bite sagging nuts because they don’t carry a wide enough selection of movies. Netflix–though they offer more–still didn’t seem to have either Apocalypse Now or Hardware for some reason. I enjoy these wacked out, stylistic forays into the human imagination. The bonus was that it’s given me a few ideas for Chapter 4.2…which will be interesting.

Prepare for heavy linkage!

Apocalypse Now: Redux
, originally premiered in 2001, was just an extended version of the original film, which came out in 1979. Though I’ve never seen the original, I really enjoyed this version a lot. There were a lot of powerful images, and I felt the acting was pretty spot on. The only part about it I’d have to say I didn’t like was the plantation scene, which dragged on and on–I literally fast-forwarded through it. Aside from that, it was all just great. Marlin Brando does an amazing job as the disturbed Kurt, and seeing the final scene with him and Martin Sheen was pretty excellent. I’m not a history buff, but the Vietnam War has always fascinated me. Seeing this movie made me want to watch Full Metal Jacket again…then maybe Rescue Dawn. (and just because the last film would have Bale in it, I’d probably run to find American Psycho…which is such a deliciously demented movie)

After that I watched Hardware, which I mentioned on the blog a little while ago. It seemed to parade around its soundtrack a little bit here and there, but for the most part I understand that it was a film mired in alternative culture, and I think the music really lended to the post-apocalyptic setting. I somehow missed ever hearing about Iggy Pop doing a voice cameo, so it was a surprise to see his name come up in the credits. Given the film’s budget, Richard Stanley and Steven Chivers did an EXCELLENT job with direction and cinematography. You can see the financial restraints whenever the killer robot, M.A.R.K. 13 is onscreen, but the sonuvabitch is actually pretty creepy in my opinion. The use of color and lighting sucked me in pretty well, so this easily joins my list of cult favorites (right next to Repo Man and The Warriors.)

The last movie I watched today was Videodrome, from good ol’ David Cronenberg. It’s your basic “body horror”–a kind of niche genre of story and film that deals with severe abnormalities with the body (mutation, parasitism, general gore.) I was glad to see it wasn’t as contrived as Scanners, another one of Cronenberg’s films, but the man does seem to have a penchant for stories with opposing forces…not so much one character versus another, but one faction versus another. Like in politics, religion…or comic books. Even in his recent film, Eastern Promises, that still seemed quite apparent…but I can’t really hate the guy for it. It’s pretty common in stories.

Anyways…the film I felt was pretty disturbing in places (which not many horror movies manage to achieve) but around the end it started to lose the creepy feel and gained more of a forced ‘epic’ feel. The whole ‘snuff video making people go insane’ was pretty good (just seeing little clips of it made me nervous), but they lost me at the sudden conspiracy theory BS. The special effects, again, were VERY good, making me miss the days when movies didn’t leave it all up to computers to make things look cool. I think my favorite scene was when the main character tries to stick his head into his television set…

So hopefully I can come up with some interesting stuff to write for this coming chapter, considering the bizarre things I’ve seen today. Tack on the fact that I’ve been feeling exactly as Nyx and Elmiryn have in the story, and the only way I could fail to do a satisfactory update is to put my pants on my head and light it on fire…

…While falling off a building into chopper blades.


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The next installment is proving to be quite long. ‘Aftermath’ portions are always a little easier to write. I’m wondering if I should just split the thing into two smaller updates. One for tonight or tomorrow, and one for late Thursday or early Friday? I like to stick to my schedule–it gives a good sense of rhythm–but I also hate to sit on so much when it’s practically done.

I guess I’ll keep thinking about it…

Here’s another little concept sketch of Nyx. She’s a thousand times easier to draw than Elmiryn. I CAN do something more ambitious than these, I just haven’t find one drawing worth the effort of coloring yet. Cleaning up scans can be annoying. I should really use my tablet more, I think it is collecting dust….


When you stare into the abyss…

Did a new sketch for Elmiryn. She’s looking a little short, her face is a bit too broad, and to be honest her boobs aren’t as (ahem) generous as I envisioned them, but so far this seems to be the best sketch I’ve done of her. And this time, I did a bustier instead of a silly corset. I SUCK AT MEDIEVAL FASHION. Sue me.

Went to some haunted corn maze on Friday. This year the production at Scream Works was the best I’ve seen, even though there were a lot of squeaky voiced kids volunteering. Despite my feigned bravery, I managed to squeal and scream more than once. One of my friends managed to push me into one of the actors. Fortunately the guy knew it wasn’t my fault so they didn’t put a halt to things to report my ass. I socked my friend in the arm. Numerous times. After that we went to his house and I spent the night. Stayed up til 5 AM watching cheesy Italian horror movies. Zombi 2 (which I DID spell right) and Suspiria. We also saw this really ridiculous film called Hatchet. After that, I think we watched the first episode of True Blood, which makes me wish I had HBO so I could continue watching it.

I’m still on a quest to find a DVD copy of Hardware. I hear it is insane. The story (and I guess the acting) is apparently lacking but the cinematography, ideas, and overall atmosphere have kinda made it a cult favorite. Silent Hill was one of those movies that, despite a stupid story, still managed to actually scare and disturb me. They did a super job on the monsters. I had nightmares after I watched it last Wednesday.

I’m getting into all these creepy things because, well heck, it’s October. I’ve been listening to bands like Slipknot, Disturbed, System of a Down, Bauhas, Horror Pops, Sisters of mercy, Koffin Kats, and Siouxsie and the Banshees like nobody’s business. I’m in the mood for scary things and dystopian settings. I’ve downloaded a ROM of Shadowrun and have been considering running a game of Werewolf the Forsaken with my friends.

So if you see my writing at some point in time take on a dark or sinister tone, then you know why. @_@

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