more heartwood doodles

I’m revising Superior and added a scene where Micah makes Ingrid and Lucienne go to Target to get gifts for the Folk and…doodles ensued

And okay so when I was writing the original draft I kept debating whether or not Micah and Lucienne would kiss/have a thing/briefly be together and I opted for this awkward Trial scene where Lucienne tricks Micah into thinking they slept together, but I ended up squeezing another scene in in its place and Micah ends up in Lilydale

So I talked it through with, you know, my monogamous partner, and ended up deciding one one kiss between them

and

GOSH THEY’RE A GOOD LOOKING COUPLE WTF

what a weird little world this trilogy exists in

wedding kiss/first kiss

I’m trash so I wanted to make a parallel kiss pic to Andrew and Micah’s forest kiss from Lilydale. I’m not quite as squealy, over the moon about it as I was about the first one, but I am into the TONGUES hahaha

It gives major Cirrus/Syracrus vibes from that picture I did of them in high school which is hilarious because Cirrus is The Ultimate Badguy in the 3rd Heartwood book. Really there’s visible tongue because MLM manhua has taken over my brain

I had the first flash this day talking to the receptionist about books where I’m like, excited to have some more brain space left rather than terrified of finishing this all-consuming trilogy.

The evil Cirrus + tongue picture in question lol. Kinda looks like Syr’s tongue is like a probiscus hehehahahaha

heartwood wrapping up

I’m not done yet!

But I feel like I’m trying to emotionally prepare for it. Good news is there will be plenty of edits ahead of me I’m sure teheh. And it’s gonna be extra tedious since I wrote both of the last two parts without editing!

But I love them all so much and I’m sad already to be moving toward the first of the last two (large) scenes

Which of course culminate in A WEDDING EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

Gotta throw in one of the OG couple pics of Andrew and Micah from Code: Compromised

An unexpected scene led to Andrew getting a concussion which was very goofy but potentially insensitive to the seriousness of concussions

Bluey and Gravity Falls brought it to my attention that a favorite cartoon trope of mine is eyes facing different directions
I’m sad that the hottest kiss (that I traced from a manhua for practice) turned out so bloody? I guess in that sense this was a practice lol

my soft rose boy

I’m well into the third in the Heartwood Trilogy (Lilydale/Superior/Heartwood) and in Superior Micah makes himself a magical staff which I one hundred percent thought of knowing Myoku’s history as a staff wielder haha.

This truly feels like his most evolved form, although there are places where I’m like, mm I could see him coming across as a bit annoying in that hero tendency. I mean, I’m happy with the choices and missteps he makes and his difficulty owning his power. And anyway Andrew, Ingrid, and Lucienne are all amazing.

Anyway ever since his birchwood staff was born I wanted to do a redraw of his “master of the shadows” arc. I tried a few serious adventure drawings but then I was in a session I think when him reclining in a flower bed popped into my head and I was like WELL isn’t that more appropriate. The design and the skeleton was born in under an hour and I just putsed with it for the next few days.

superior

Well…the worst case scenario has happened. My dad planted the idea in me to turn Lilydale into a series and…well, that’s working out.

So that’s most of the art that I’ve been doing lately, but honestly what art could I possibly need to do ever again tbh, they’re perfect

And THEN…I was getting underway with it and the anthem band for MicahxAndrew, All Time Low, released a new single and IT. IS. A SPIRITUAL. EXPERIENCE for me.

I literally told Ryan that the fact that this song came out while much of the plot of this second one was planned and the new single matched the theme PRECISELY…like something about that is so unreal and implausible that…that’s the shit that moves me.

So here’s an image dump of illustrations since I started Superior.

Don’t worry, this part of their story is only TWO OUTTA THREE hehe

Maybe, probably. We’ll see haha.

Micah’s sad and angry in this one, ft. Sleepwalking lyrics
Andrew on a snowmobile is an image Micah and I mutually find very sexy. But we know how I feel about drawing machines. Anyway, more Sleepwalking lyrics.
This one I did at the tail end of Lilydale and I 100% imagine this is engagement photos for them.
This was initially supposed to be an Inktober prompt but it did not remain on theme, but I loooove the vivid colors and the sketchtasticness
Ingrid goes full mom mode in Superior
Here’s an amusing and super awkward now v then for Micah and Ingrid but now she’s taller than him as a faerie
HHHH I’m choking
Another tail end of Lilydale one, SO KAWAII KYAAAA
Inktober prompt “empty” from Micah’s drunken night out

just a cute micah + a then and now

I was starting to realize how that fancy Micah painting I did earlier this year looks good (kind of awkward though), but isn’t really comparable to other Micah portraits I’ve done over the years. So I endeavored to make a more anime style one that compared better thinking it would take several days plus, but…I did it in like a few hours. It’s super hecking cute. That’s all I have to post about, but I am kind of working on some other nostalgia rot of Andrew+Micah+Ingrid+Lucy how they used to be versus how they appear in Lilydale. I just haven’t gotten it to a satisfying point yet.

I did it! But the final product is just Micah and Andy haha.

lilydale dump – it’s brainrot at this point

Yeah so it’s been done for like six weeks at this point but I still can’t get out of the Lilydale brain rot. I did two revisions myself and now my dad has it! And so far his comments have been totally what it’s needed.

I have a good feeling about this project.
Even my supervisor asked about it yesterday haha.

So it’s me so I’ve always toyed with the idea of illustrations in my work and I was thinking how much I usually like it when content I like has candids of the characters. And I realized the likelihood of the characters taking photos of each other on their phones is pretty high, so I did a bunch of sketches to varying degrees of completion around this.

I did this one yesterday during a session and I can’t even. I want to eat him. Cutie.
I designed the chest piece Micah gets at the end of Lilydale specifically to put it into this picture.
Also I find it delightful because Ingrid, Lucy, and Micah. Hearts.
Lucienne is an absolute goblin in this book.
Micah and Arwen <3
Micah’s spiritual encounter with a bobcat. It’s after he takes a piss in the woods.
Mother. I was working on this stupid image for weeks and it’s still not finished. It’s very…creamy? I don’t know if I love the lack of texture haha. WHO AM I I’ve always hated texture tehehe.

I suppose I need to acknowledge in writing how OBSESSED I am with Micah right now. I’ve been on a two month All Time Low kick because Alex’s vocals match Micah’s voice and a lot of the tone in a lot of his songs is very Micah. Fortunately they’re songs I’ve heard after the fact so I know I didn’t accidentally inject them into Micah haha.
But yeah, and fortunately this book would be published with my last name VanAlstine so people don’t start going Micah Stillwater…Mary Stewart…are they…the same
Because yes, and no.

Oh yeah so I got really into mandalas after I discovered the symmetry tool, only the funny part about them is I’m not proud of any of them after the fact. Except this juicy orange.

IT’S FINISHED! (lilydale)

I can’t believe it! Three weeks later, I’m done with Lilydale. It rounded out around 45,000 words.

I think it’s my favorite conjunction of characters forming new relationships. I literally didn’t bother coming up with any new characters except for Sam and Micah’s evil faerie mom. Micah and Ingrid are half-siblings now. Ingrid and Andrew both slept with Erik, but he’s dead for the whole story haha. Lucienne met Ingrid in Lilydale and kind of likes her? But it’s very understated. She’s a badass archer. Also Micah/Julian’s cat Fadil is a fun throwback to that being Julian’s original name, back when he was Andrew/Bakura’s adopted kid he found in Egypt. bahahaa

Micah and Andrew basically don’t have any relationship problems for most of the story cuz I’d say the main theme ends up being Micah’s identity crisis. Andrew isn’t asked to change a whole lot mostly because he started with a very mild animosity with faeries but as soon as Ingrid and Andrew realized Erik fucked them both up, the get past it.

So I have a lot of WIPs for Lilydale art and rather than waiting to post about this being done I was just going to post them all now.

I probably also have to make a page in My Mental Breakdown pretty soon too.

I worked super hard on the two portraits below to make into a sticker. This kissing one took like 5 minutes and it’s one of my favorite illustrations in a long time.
Micah looks a bit awkward and wide and I have a different idea for his tattoo but I love his colors.
I’m still not really sure what I don’t like about this one. I think Micah’s hand and bouquet are the best part.
Bonding over mental health crises before they bone 😀 Ryan will never forget when I kept struggling with Micah’s closest arm and said it looked like a loaf of bread.
The fabulous four, all looking quite sexy if I say so myself
This was supposed to be super dynamic and whatnot but I kept not quite nailing the body positioning I wanted, but his face is so beautifully shaded it’s not a total waste. I’ve been trying to work on an epic cover? or something but remain stuck on wanting it to kind of look like that but not super.
Lucy is a smug, sexual, reckless sonofabitch and it’s a lot of fun. Also ft my trans boy Sam who is based on a 12yo client I have and I told the client lol
Had to go on Pinterest for men’s fashion since Micah likes dressing nice
Andrew gets very nervous out in the wild
I painted the Smith Ave bridge to try to use as a background in one of the portraits up there but it all got covered up ha. My son was super excited about this though as he calls it “the Ronan Bridge.”

So one of my other 12yos saw the kissing picture as my phone background and asked if I was going to post my story anywhere. Honestly it got me thinking, once I finish some revisions, just to put it out in the world myself and see what comes back.

I don’t know.

We’ll see.

Regardless, I’m really happy with how this story worked out. I think it does faeries justice, and it honors everyone’s histories as characters. Except Erik, who was pretty much a dog.