Darklaw is Complete: A Look Behind the Sequels and Illustrations


I started posting my previously published novel, Darklaw, in episodes on my webfiction blog last year. I posted the last episode this week, along with the epilogue.

My goal was to post an episode every week and finish in about a year. I had no plans to make each episode the same length but cut them off where it seemed logical or convenient. The episodes came from a completed novel, after all. The 150,000 word novel didn’t easily lend itself to metered 1000-2000 word posts. My goal was largely followed. Some weeks, I posted nothing, others multiple.

I’m persistent if not consistent, just ask my partners.

I track web statistics. I can’t see individuals — no way to know who visited or exactly where someone visited from, but I can see general trends. From the wide range of page hits, I can tell a few of my Darklaw episodes are posted somewhere for people to click on. I appreciate your sharing links to my work!

Yes, I write primarily for my own pleasure, but sharing makes everything more meaningful. Again, ask my partners lol.

Website Statistics and Observations


First post August 1, 2020

Last post September 1, 2021

EPISODES

Most popular episode #42 – Because the number is also the answer to the “ultimate question of life”? LOL Sorry for any of you stopping by expecting to read Hitchhiker content.

Least popular episode #45 – This is terrible because it has one of my favorite interactions in the whole book, when Avestar (Avestine’s brother) is trying to get Kami to hate his sister and devote herself to him:

“She’s in Ureth Mourning,” Avestar said. “She’s taken the kingdom and executed the royal family there. She’s building an army and ships, starving the villages with unbearable tribute. She impales anyone who speaks against her, even hungry children and their desperate mothers.” He reached a finger to Kami’s chin. “She’s even established a harem. Those poor women must be terrified, and we doubt their parents know what they’ve sold their daughters into.” He smiled at her. “Our sister has a certain perversion. Doubtless you know it well. You’ve never been anything but unsatisfactory to us, but you serviced her for a year. What did she find so enthralling about you?”

“She loved me.”

His smile dimmed. “Love? She doesn’t love. We once watched her deflower a temple virgin with a whiskey bottle. Then she drank the whiskey while three of her soldiers took turns sodomizing the girl.”

Kami knew Avestine was capable of such cruelty, but she also knew that Avestar was capable of convincing lies, so she said, “You watched her rape a temple virgin and think she’s the one who doesn’t feel anything?”

Avestar seized her hair and shook her. “She likes to frighten girls. Hurting the weak makes her feel powerful. Since that’s what matters to her, you must have provided it. We want to know how you did that.” He shoved her away. “Why did she keep you around? What are you good for? We don’t even enjoy beating you.”

GRAPHICS/ILLUSTRATIONS

Most popular World Map – I once had a friend ask to borrow a copy so he could use it for D&D inspiration. I imagine that’s what a lot of you are doing. I get inspiration in all kinds of places. One of my favorites is Oleg Dolya and his generators. You can support him on Patreon, too.

Least popular Pahgol Revelations of the First World – I get that this isn’t a splashy image for the hit-and-run viewers, but if you’re interested in the depth of this world or creating depth in your own, maybe spend some time perusing this document. It is the underpinning of the religion and philosophies of all the characters, and not in some esoteric way. Avestine is the god of order, control, of Man. Kami is the god of chaos, freedom, the Wild. Both are radical in their approaches. Rook is the god of transformation, judgment, the Divine. He is temperate and dutiful in his approach. The minor characters fit into this circle, as well. As Darklord takes shape, you’ll discover how demons and monsters fit into a world with six gods and no true “devil.”


The Illustrations

DARKLAW | Original Cover

The original novel was published in print in 2015. The 2nd edition was published digitally in 2017. Both editions had a bonus story and a map. The print edition had some illustrations. I’ve posted some of those on my webfiction site. I’m currently putting together the 3rd edition for print. This will have revisions to the original text, added short stories, and more illustrations. And a new cover with new portraits of the characters.

I want to say something about the evolution of the character artwork.

The first novel cover was a digital painting. I painted it on desktop with a mouse using Adobe Photoshop. I’m not fucking kidding: a mouse. Digital illustrators were using wacom tablets and I never could get used to using one. I mean, you had to draw on a screen on your lap/desk and watch it on the screen. And set up hotkeys, etc. Way technical and not intuitive. I can’t draw well when I’m getting distracted and losing concentration. Using a mouse was about the same thing, it’s true, but much less expensive, so I made do.

DARKLAW | New Cover

Then the iPad Pro came along. You draw directly on the screen and the image shows up there. It’s nearly like drawing on paper, especially when using Procreate as your program. I wasn’t able to create my characters quite the way I imagined them those ten years ago with a mouse, but now I can with an Apple pen and iPad Pro. Thank god for technology. Photoshop is where I started because I was a web developer and designer for years and have used Photoshop since before it had layers or text lol. OMG I recall the days of creating metallic effects with alpha channels and importing text from Adobe Illustrator.

I’ve been drawing and painting all my life with traditional media. I enjoy returning to it now and again and have great appreciation for artists who use traditional media. But I’m not an artist. I’m an illustrator and my interest is to make my world as real as possible. I do that best in digital, where I can build up detail and edit without destroying the paper.

The Webserial

DARKLORD | Episode 8 Illustration

Darklord is the sequel to Darklaw. I’ve already started posting episodes on my webfiction site. Darklord is a webserial. That means I’m creating it entirely online. It wasn’t a completed novel first. In fact, it’s not complete now.

You read it as I write it. I’m having so much fun with this. The immediacy is wonderful. The mistakes not so much.

Since I post days after I write an episode, I sometimes find errors later, little things like spelling and big things like mentioning Kami’s hands lol. The other difficulty of writing a webserial is not being able to do long range planning. I mean, I DO have long range plots, but when I wrote the novel I was able to go back and rearrange things to connect events and foreshadow better. This sort of editing is not possible with a webserial, although I do make edits to previous episodes occasionally.

The Webcomic

DEMONRISE | Episodes 15-17

Demonrise has been on pause for awhile. The events of Demonrise are concurrent with Darklord, and both stories are at an intersection that I’m trying to figure out. Nevertheless, Demonrise will be posting soon along with episodes of Darklord. I’ll also be posting illustrations as I’m motivated to draw them.

Darklord Episode 8 is a good example of what you’ll see: it includes a black & white ink illustration of the episode’s scene. I’m practicing with ink brushes in Procreate and Clip Studio Paint (CSP). I started the illustration in episode 8 in Procreate and finished it in CSP. Procreate allows exact and smoother strokes as a program but CSP has a wonderful nib-like brush. I’d like to stick with one program through the whole process, so we’ll see what I can get each program to do.