Category Archives: The Creative Process

Messages to myself about how to navigate impediments which hinder the creative flow in hopes my answers may be a beacon to others.

Jasmine Story – Snippet 15

Notes for The Story of Jasmine continue:

Palace of the Ice King, Thorgall.

“I am drawn by the spirit of the North,” Thorgall said of his kingdom, “and am determined not to be crushed by it. It takes a special people to prosper where nature makes life so difficult.”

“I have chosen to make things hard for myself,” he commented, “because there is much merit in it.”

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This is more representative of the things I would “receive” during the day… often a small snatch of conversation be tween two characters. I usually wrote them on napkins or note cards or whatever was at hand. Of all my written notes, these would probably be the ones not to survive.

Obviously, I did not command the creative process.

© 2018 DARLENE

Jasmine Story – Snippet 14

The notes for The Story of Jasmine continue:

This piece of art is “The Rainbow Maiden” and was created roughly around the same time as Jasmine.

Upon the waning of the Third Age of the Mid-Realm, there lived a King who ruled the great peninsula of UR. The wise rule of Arbethe* and the prosperity of UR was widely known throughout the Mid-Realm. And many traveled South to partake of UR’s hospitality.

King Aranbrod’s* greatest love was for his pale and fragile queen who died while delivering unto him a daughter. And although King Aranbrod grieved over the loss of his beloved wife, he took steps to insure his only child would be strong in body and mind.

As his daughter’s blonde hair shone golden in the sunlight, he called her Flavia,** which means “golden hair.” As the years passed, he marveled at how well Flavia resembled her mother. Because he forgave her mischief far too often, Flavia grew to be headstrong.

It came to pass that on her 10th birthday, her father came to her and said, “the time has come for me to seek a match for you so UR will continue to prosper through me.”

Fearing her loss of freedom, Flavia replied, “Aye, father, this is true — but I am only a child. I entreat you, father, please wait on this until I am a true maiden.”

Reluctantly, the king granted her wish. Thus, year after year, Flavia was able to put him off until her 15th birthday, when it was clear for all to see that she had grown into a fair and beautiful young maiden.

To her father’s satisfaction, Flavia finally agreed to be wooed by the many eligible suitors of UR. But her condition was that she be the only one to decide who would be her husband. So, in this way, all the able young men who came to ask for her hand were turned away.

As time wore on, her suitors became so few that the King invited eligible princes outside his kingdom to come. He did not realize his daughter had resolved never to choose any man for a husband. The last suitor came on her 17th birthday.

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*Finally, the King of UR has a name, actually two of them, in the same snippet: Arbethe and Aranbrod

**Now Princess Arlet is named Flavia. The name is an Ancient Roman name, which does, indeed mean “blonde” (from the Latin word “flavus,” meaning “golden, blonde).

You can tell by comparing this Snippet to the last one that these are woefully out of order.

Jasmine Story – Snippet 13

Notes from “The Story of Jasmine” continue:

From Installment #13, this is Jasmine atop The Great White Throne mountain where she first receives the Staff of Erlkyng.

As Jasmine (“White Flower”) she enters the first stage of Enlightenment as the salvation of the Mid-Realm. To do so, she acknowledges her destiny at the ancient temple atop The Great White Throne mountain. A hidden chamber opens for her and reveals her predecessor’s staff and cloak and other special magical raiment. Still plagued by the power of Bardulf’s ring, Jasmine discovers she must hasten to Thorgall, the Ice King of Tarrant, the only man powerful enough to remove the ring.

Like the eye of her new staff, her mind has awakened, becoming keen and brilliant. As was proven with Bardulf, she is most vulnerable when she is proud and haughty. This behavior was nurtured in the court of her father, the King of UR, who meant to consolidate his power by cementing political relationships through marriage. Her destiny has never been to become the wife of a powerful prince or the Queen of a powerful King. Her life’s purpose would be taking another path.

She has been raised as the Princess Arlet* of UR and does not become Jasmine until after she flees the castle.

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*This name would change again.

© 2018 DARLENE

Jasmine Story – Snippet 12

The Story of Jasmine Notes continue:

Two cards from Jasmine: The Battle for the Mid-Realm collector card game.

Thorne, “Protector of the Flower”

Since Melantha had taken Thorne’s people into slavery, this powerful and stern battle-maiden sought military assistance to free them and was on this mission to UR. However, when UR was suddenly taken over, Thorne was forced to change her plans.

To undertake the treacherous journey northward, Thorne will swallow her pride, until she can talk to the Ice King, Thorgall and make a deal. Therefore, Thorne swore her sword and allegiance to Jasmine, though she does not respect her. Thorne only tolerates Jasmine as she perceives her to be weak and faint-hearted.

Thorne is tireless, disciplined, glorious and stoic in the face of death. She has never known defeat. She persistently hones her abilities.

© 2018 DARLENE

 

Jasmine Story – Snippet 11

Notes from The Story of Jasmine continue:

Rogan The Red as pictured in Installment #13.

Accepted into the Companionship as a Guide to the north is Rogan the Red.* His stately mannerisms are annoying to the rest of the party but amuse Jasmine. When asked about his past, he becomes evasive. He is an excellent horseman, as stealthy as a thief, and is quick and accurate with a knife. Although his interest in Jasmine is more than just passing, he keeps a calculated distance.

As Thorne’s friend, Rogan advises her to join Jasmine and Glynn on their journey northward. He conceals his fascination for the blonde magician. Thorne, handy with a sword, offers protection.

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*Other names considered for this character were Kayne, Macklin, Red Burkhard and Rowan.

© 2018 DARLENE

Jasmine Story – Snippet 10

Bardulf-Thaatur “Axewolf of the Darkness”

Bardulf is the main vilan of the story, at least at the very beginning.

Through treachery and a touch of magic, the dark prince used the mysterious Ring of Emeth to bewitch UR’s princess, whose proud beauty fascinates him. By placing the ring on her finger, she immediately fell under his spell. Intending to marry UR’s princess himself, he planned to secure the rich kingdom of UR for himself, With ambitions to conquer the whole of the Mid-Realm, the subduing of UR through political marriage was only his first step towards this goal.

Although he lost the princess due to the incompetence of his soldiers, he knows the loss is only temporary. He can always find her with help from the ring of Emeth. A dragon-lizard named Gryth is attracted to the ring. Through the dragon-lizard’s connection, he is able to “watch” Jasmine’s progress from afar. Jasmine cannot remove the ring. In the meanwhile, Bardulf pretends to the King of UR, pretends that the princess is in his stronghold, and that she has already consented to be his Queen.

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I would have said that the above text is also from Installment 13. But after comparing it with the actual panel (below), I find that it is not. There is more and better information in my notes. I think space limitations caused me to abbreviate the ideas stated above.

This is the text accompanying Bardulf’s illustration. It’s from the 1st panel of Installment 13.

© 2018 DARLENE

Jasmine Story – Snippet 9

This share is not technically a “Snippet,” at least not in the way I’ve been defining it.

For clarification, the snippets I’ve shared thus far have been notes to myself, mostly recording the plot elements I needed to remember. There are some nice phrases, but not much actual attempts at writing.

As I’m in charge of my own rules, I share this panel of finished art. I’m allowing it because no one has seen it before. It’s from the 13th Installment of The Story of Jasmine, which was not published. I love this particular page design.

The third page of the unpublished 13th installment of “The Story of Jasmine.”

The previous two pages in this recap installment were both designed as two column pages with illustrations at the top and introduced the major players, two to a page.

The design of the entire 13th “Story of Jasmine” Installment was symmetrical. I felt choosing this type of unifying layout would aid readers who first encounter the story. To more easily grasp a sense of the plot, the text introducing the characters together with their portraits, provide a stable visual foundation.

But, by far, the third page, which mimics a cross, is visually satisfying to me. The text within the blue central panel states the essential purpose and objective for these characters to unite as companions of Jasmine. Both conceptually and visually, the central square unites the elements of the story and the page.

I like how the landscapes indicate something about each character and I’m especially fond of Ahearn’s illustration. But I do remember struggling with Thorne’s miniature painting.

This panel was created before the days of computers. Today, using software like Photoshop, editing an image is no big deal. However, everything drawn and written on the above panel — all images and calligraphy — were created directly on the illustration board, leaving no room for mistakes. At that time, I had to be careful because the production camera picked up any attempts at corrective measures, such as in the case of changing misspellings. I believe the illustration board was at a size, close to 100% reproduction size.

By the way, the text from yesterday’s share turned out to be from this panel. Should any other text that belongs to this page be found, I shall endeavor to point it out.

© 2018 DARLENE

Jasmine Story – Snippet 2

Thirty-year old photo of my driveway in the fog at night when I lived on Curtis Street in Lake Geneva.

A silhouette of trees were visible against the night sky. I watched their actively swaying branches from my bedroom window. The house would sigh and creak and the windows rattled unceasingly.

Tonight the spirits were active. I felt energized and ion-charged. I was swept in my imagination to a grassy knoll, feeling the wind untie my hair. Anticipation, mixed with a strange sense of foreboding, excited me and sharpened my senses.

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I don’t know precisely if this belongs in the The Story of Jasmine narrative, but it was among the notes I found. I include it because it sets a tone of where I was in my head space at the time …  imaginative, moody and poetic. As a 20-something wisp of a thing, I was open to the unseen, the strange, and the mystical. In this regard, not much has changed.  😉

Photo available here.

Creative Spaces

Wow, I finally hit upon a solution to a problem I did not know I had!

My mind usually gets all jumbled up when it comes to working on outside stuff, like art marketing. I often find myself bouncing back and forth between different ideas while attempting to focus on creative work. It’s a struggle to create. Anything.

The solution I hit on is spacial. Instead of mixing business stuff with creative stuff, I simple segregate the tasks by where I choose to be in the house. I now do my creative art projects upstairs, in my art studio, which houses my unconnected handy-dandy ancient computer. From now on, I shall refrain from using my i-pad to taint my creative space with business transactions…

It would be far better to save that for the downstairs. Then all the necessary tasks, which require my attention–business-related email correspondence, paying bills, health-care or official or social stuff to keep up with, etc.–will not interfere with my creative process.

Perhaps that is why I’ve always found myself physically cleaning up a spot before I start a new artistic project. Artists like me are sensitive enough to pick up on the energies of different environmental spaces. The space set aside for creative endeavors needs to be energetically pristine, inspiring, and open. If the space is murky, mucky, polluted with the oily residue of heavy emotions, depression or weariness, this definitely affects the creative process. It’s essential to clear such spaces, whether or not you are an artist.

I find that physically reorganizing a room is therapeutic and the end result is happy and welcoming. Putting away the books, reference materials, paper or food debris associated with the room’s prior use is usually enough. But in cases when it is not enough, I aid the clarification process by smudging a room.

I simply light a sage smudge stick (sold for this purpose) until it smolders and produces smoke. First, I smudge myself, starting from the top of my head and working down. Then, I begin in one corner (usually east, because of the sunrise) and work my way clockwise around a room, saying a prayer while I waft the smoke through the air.

Such a simple thing as this gets rid all of the sticky, nasty, lingering negativity–even serious negativity–as it renders a space energetically neutral. It is so much better to work in a cleaned space–both upstairs and down. Without the mind-fuzz, I can think more clearly when I’m performing left-brained functions but can also access my intuitive abilities better when I am doing right-brained activities.

Be that as it may, the point is that I’m becoming more aware of how important environment can be when consciously separating tasks. Where does one thing end and the other begin? The answer is as simple as moving up and down the stairs.