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Not Here : Not There

The first three chapters of the novel, written and illustrated by the artist, took the course of one year for senior year thesis at the Maryland Institute of Art (MICA). Throughout the year, she designed the concept art of the characters and story, wrote three chapters of the novel, illustrated all three chapters with full page illustrations, and designed the novel for print. 

Documentation of the character designs and blurbs, the process of creating the illustrations, the gallery show, and a web-exclusive chapter of the novel can be found below. 

Initial Character Design, from Left to Right: 

Eoin Moore: Irish-English 21 years old.

Gets annoyed that everyone thinks that he has a girl name. When people don't tease him about his name or his ginger hair, he's the nicest man you'll meet, and the heart of the group. He''s gone from blue collar to high class society, thus he appreciates the opportunities he has now. 

Pet name: Eowyn. The name was created when they all got drunk and thought it was funny that when you shout "Eh Eoin', it sounds like the Lord of the Rings name. Somehow this stuck.

Gabriela Rivera: Latina-American 21 years old.

Got to go to private school after her mother in the military moved to Britain on a base nearby. Biggest pet peeve is people speaking like a "cowboy" to her, and tends to groan at the word 'Murica'. Otherwise, she's the kid and life of the group

Pet name: Gabby. She says it sounds like a name from some Disney show. It likely is. 


Katarina Nowak: Polish. 23 years old.

Hates most sports because she doesn't like the "aggressive-nature" it causes in people. Tends to spend an hour at least every day picking out what she wants to wear, and shivers at the thought of those "scratchy awfully fitted" uniforms in college. Tends to be the most logical thinker of the group, and keeps them out of trouble. 

Pet Name: Kat. *sighs* Of course it's Kat, how original. 

Ji-Hun Kim: Korean. 22 years old.

Technically he is still in college due to having to serve back in Korea for two years. He's always been the most relaxed of the group, lounging around the dorm room couches, smoking, and doesn't seem to enjoy anything other than museums and good music. While his parents still want him to pursue a more academic career, he just wants to paint.

Pet name: Ji-Ji. He tends to act offended that it sounds girly, but usually he's more offended that it's the Korean word for 'dirty'. 



Process of the Illustrations in 'Not Here : Not There':

1. Sketch several ideas for a couple of 'scenes' in each chapter. Use a small notepad and ballpoint pen that you can bring anywhere. Select the images that you enjoy the most and scan.

2. Scan the image in high resolution and use Photoshop to reduce the image to just black and white lines. 

3. Keep the resolution high and scale the size of the canvas up so that you can draw digitally in high detail. Use a basic line brush in Photoshop and tweak the sketch as you progress on. 

4. Add color and edit it so that the red leads the eye to the focus of the image, leaving the blue as a place of rest. Transfer image to Indesign and you're finished!

The range of time for each image was varied on the amount of detail and complexity of subject matter needed to portray in the image. 

Documentation of the opening show I had at MICA's Artwalk May 11th in the Fox 3rd Floor for 'Not Here: Not There'

A copy of the first chapter of the book can be found here as a pdf. Feel free to read the text, and send me an email of what you think through my contact tab!

In 2020, I started to rework my thesis book once again, realizing how much I loved to write, and and how much I love the story of Not Here: Not There, and wasn't allowed to explore the story as much as I had intended to due to the limitations of the University I attended. Not Here: Not There was always intended to be a choose your own adventure that dealt with time travel, dimension hopping, and old world deities, so I decided that I would actually begin work on the series, and flesh it out so that I could finally publish my book properly . Below is some of the work that I have done in the meantime that is art-focused. Most of the work created since then has been research, writing, and so on- such can be delved into a later time -- Enjoy!


One of the biggest projects to work on are all of the various character designs, now that the books will be fully realized as a choose your own adventure series. Kat was easily one of the characters with the most diverse designs, so she was of course, first. Once designs were created, I kept a line of them all side to side to make sure that the character would be recognizable in all forms.


This character line up applied to all characters - Eoin was the hardest to decide on a design - his character design here is still disjointed The above digital sketch is the most up to date version of the character.


I used the program inklewriter to map all of the branching choices, and also drew the map on procreate, so that I could visually see the map and how each choice left the audience to an ending. The draft form of endings and choices are in inklewriter.


Design for the deity 'Wheel of Fortune' was also particularly difficult to design- all deities need to be non-binary, and this deity needed to be a mix of roman and egyptian roots, so I did many sketches to get that balance right, and ended with the final character design to the right.


There will be many more deities introduced in the series, some with more significant roles than others , such as The lovers and Death . All deities are based on the Tarot Cards and old civilizations of people. Needless to say, there is a great deal of research needed for each character, especially when reference material for places like Babylon are severely limited! Further designs for Gabby and Kat are below, showing my process for designing the characters, and what inspired each design.

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