Since about January 2016, I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know a lot of different talents. Concept art has had a way of taking the worlds of indie authors, publishers, artists, game developers and production crews and spilling them all into my lap like one big artsy soup.
One of the indie developers that happened to stumble upon my world was Unfold Games.
This is from their game DARQ.
You can see why it pulled me directly in.
The visuals. The atmosphere. I instantly fell in love.
I hear there’s set to be a release date for this beauty soon.
Zombies have been such a massive force in our pop culture over the last thirty years or so, we see them everywhere. Everything from our favorite video games and television shows, to movies, merchandise, and more, has been given the zombie treatment.
There is a man that can largely be credited with setting up this genre and creating a new lane for it. That man is none other than Mr. George A. Romero, and sadly we lost him earlier this July. Although that loss has surely been felt, Mr. Romero’s impact on the horror genre is undeniable, and isn’t going anywhere.
With hit shows like The Walking Dead now running mainstream entertainment that has been made loud and clear. There are countless games, most notably, Resident Evil, along with more current like Minecraft, and Killing Floor, that have all touched on the now vastly popular sub-genre.
I don’t see this genre fading despite seeing some complaints over the years that it’s been overdone. Not when there are still new creations that keep pumping on out and continue to do well.
Some of the screenshots used in this installment of 31Nightmares feature zombies in the game Minecraft. This game is still going strong well into 2017.
This week we’ll be touching on many other Master’s of Horror and their influences.
Truth is I’m long overdue for one of these things. So-much-so that I don’t know where to begin.
With that said, like a wise friend once told me,
“Start at the beginning.”
Since the tail-end of 2015, I’ve been wrapped under ill health. I’ve hinted at it here before, but never blatantly stated there is something very wrong going on in my body that could possibly cost me my life.
I guess I didn’t want to worry you.
I didn’t want to add to your stress.
I could barely accept it myself.
After all, I am a mother.
Months of Work With No Reward
Book covers and album art might seem like easy work to someone outside of my field. Until they try it themselves and see just how grueling it can be. Most quit within the first year.
It takes a trained eye to be able to determine what is going to pull a person in. Concept artists are in the business of bringing your visions to life. This sometimes involves an almost spiritual gift to “see” into someone’s head.
I’ve been at this now professionally past the year mark. The job itself has come with countless rewards. These past few months have been different, though. It seems nothing I’m working on is getting off the ground.
More Hate (As Usual)
Riding off to run errands one morning I hear a distinctly familiar voice on the radio. He was being interviewed by a popular shock jock around these parts (and nationally). The man went on trashing some female that he only referred to as “some chick on Instagram.”
Needless to say that “chick” was me and that interview cost me some clients. I’ll spare you the details. This person doesn’t even know me. They only know of me, due to the fact we move in similar circles.
It didn’t stop there.
After the atrocities going on in my country, I could no longer allow myself to stay silent on certain topics sadly deemed “political” issues.
This has gotten me labeled, attacked, and ultimately shunned. All because I am sticking up for people who’s voices get silenced daily. But, this is not new to me. I had the same role growing up in school. I’m used to standing up to bullies in defense of my friends. Though just like then, sooner or later, I expect to be attacked or silenced—just like them. This does not mean I’ll stop; no, much to the contrary. I simply acknowledge that this is a tough fight, that will probably still be going on long after I meet my end.
The hardest part about writing this isn’t publishing it.
It’s the knowing that most of this will go over people’s heads.
It’s the knowing that the same people who slashed me up for being “too positive” all the time will criticize this for being “too negative.”
It’s the feeling that this could possibly be the last thing I write.
It’s the knowing that no matter what I do, I can’t fix any of it. (And I’m a control freak.)
It’s the knowing that no matter what height I reach, someone will always be there to knock me back down.
Though despite all of this shit, I will not give up or give in. Heaven knows I’ve been through worse.
As long as I’m still here there’s a chance to spin this all around. After all, I’ve got things planned and that doesn’t stop just because I’m ill.
Family & Friends
My sister is having a baby. I’ll be an auntie this May. I wish I could say this is cause for celebration but, sadly my relationship with my sister is becoming strained. I want to be there with her when she delivers. I want to help solve all of her problems. But I can’t. I’m not always available when everyone needs me. Some people in my life understand that. Most don’t. I have a demanding job, an even more demanding side-job, and I’m the mother of a child that needs extra care. Some people misinterpret this as me not caring for them. Now, I can add my own flesh and blood to that list.
No Time to Wallow in the Mire
Even with all of that heavy muck, I have no time to stop. There’s a client waiting on my work as we speak. I have three days to make magic happen. There’s a Sleepy Sundays piece of artwork waiting to be published for you bright & early. My son needs me 24/7, and that doesn’t stop when I’m sick. It’s open season on every single person I love, so you know I’m not going to shut up about all that anytime soon. Not while people I care about along with myself are persecuted, ridiculed, labeled, silenced, and shoved away.
I could just shut down. It would be easy. It would feel good. I’d get some much-needed peace.
But what fun would that be? I’ve been sent here to create—to heal.
Someone I care deeply about that has been somewhat of a mentor to me this past year and well into 2017 recently said,
“I can’t live in a world without art.”
So why in the world would I let that happen? As long as I live and breathe here on this Earth, why would I ever stop?
Then one of my biggest influences passed away, and my life took a turn to carry on old paths and forgotten dreams…
These are the moments that made, (and almost broke, but ultimately…well, you’ll see) CardCastles in 2015.
CardCastles 2015 Highlights
We started off small and quietly. I shared about fears in Ashes over at Stories That Must Not Die, and reposted it here since the story tied in to some past thoughts shared.
There was a l o v e theme.
Then, I was blindsided by change. The future of CardCastlesInTheSky hung in the balance. A former large part and driving force of my site used to be the gallery. By clicking on the gallery you used to be taken to my Twenty20 Store where my designs could be purchased in many forms. Just shy of three years I decided to part ways with this company due to a shift in ideals.
That new variation of an old design brought some more attention to my artwork than ever before. It started to shock me, really. It brought in a lot of art lovers and new followers and readers to the site. By the end of the month, we even had some celebrity readers and fans in the music industry.
I felt like I was in some strange dream.
We spread acceptance.
My dear friend and Stories family member Matticus shared an important discussion topic over at Stories and we shared it here as well. You can read that post here~> in the end, it’s just an opinion
There was a photo journal of a trip to NY and you all loved it. Those were among some of the most popular posts that month.
Soon after the stats jumped even more.
This was only mirrored in other posts throughout the months. We shared more at Stories and I passed it on here. Now it was just a matter of waiting for our friend to return home and join the rest of her friends.
New readers poured in all finding me through common interests. I started to make detailed reports combining the Statistics here with the CardCastles Twitter and Google Analytics. The results gave me insight on what people came here for and how to plan for the future of things here.
Then some hurtles started to show themselves, and it was almost like something could be felt in the air.
We had lost somebody dear to us, and for a while, it all didn’t make sense.
Friends along with the Stories team mourned this loss and gathered together.
We wore blue to stand with our friend in some form. I wrote about my own experience the day of the funeral in Sleepy Sundays: Old Friend. The piece remains one of the most complemented renderings this year.
I lent my artwork over to Stories so Matticus could vent his feelings of grief. He was the mouthpiece for the rest of us that only echoed his feelings.
Then something happened through that grief.
A family was solidified. A community rallied around that family, and they slowly lifted us up.
The request for this piece set into motion the beginning of self-employment. My first steps out on my own as an artist, free from any former companies. You can read the story behind that here. ~>Paint On the Walls
From that point I was fully and officially out on my own with this art business. This freelance thing has been uphill (and stressful, but mostly uphill) ever since.
I started getting more interest and emails asking about features and guests, so we set plans in motion for July.
Myself and guests shared horror-inspired works in honor of film legend, Wes Craven.
New York Comic Con
I took a trip to see friends and ended up with one of the greatest experiences of a lifetime. This group of buddies that have become some strange family, all knew each other for close to five years. There’s a few crazy stories how we all got to know one another and they all involve gaming, of which we are avid fans.
The stars must have aligned because the one year I was able to go, the developers of one of our favorite games were hosting a panel.
The entire time blew my mind. Warframe liked our tweets about it too!
October was liberating and therapeutic any many ways. 31 Nightmares brought in so many new people I’m planning on resurrecting it next year. Here’s how crazy it went with numbers:
October yielded 11.7 thousand impressions. I’d say we left quite a mark!
Out of nowhere I started getting requests for my services. Book illustration, logo design, book covers, animation, intro videos, website design, you name it. I was so excited and overwhelmed by it all I may have said yes to too many things.
This was all, however, a blessing in disguise. It’s teaching me to plan better & manage anxiety.
I got to joke around with one of the stars of one of my favorite shows.