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Art Update and Some DD World Building

Been working on some art off and on for the past several days. While I got DD72 pretty much penciled, I'm not all that pleased with it but I want to show it to Professor Awesome before I make any final decisions on whether to either give it another go or leave it as is. The weather and roads have been bad  and my gas has been low so I haven't been able to make it back like I was wanting. Maybe this weekend I'll have another chance to get back over there.

So besides a Demordicai Diamonds page giving me trouble, I took a break from it and worked on some other non-comic art instead. I got 3 more drawings penciled and ready to ink and color for whenever I get back to Professor Awesome's house. I don't have a good scanner here and I prefer to at least have a back-up digital copy just in case I goof up on the inking or coloring (happened a few times before). Yesterday I was working on a 4th drawing featuring Dalken's homeland but the little details of that was giving me a lot of problems.

Had a death in the family on my mother's side recently due to cancer. It wasn't really anyone that I knew well but it of course caused a big stir for a while. I don't mean to sound cold hearted but when it is hard for me to get worked up  over someone dying that I didn't really know. The occasion brought some relatives over but the funeral is now said and done with.  

Speaking of relatives, my middle brother has been spending an awful lot of time here and will not stop his ranting, raving, bitching, moaning, complaining, gossiping, and talking nonstop. It's getting really annoying being bugged all the time by him, it's worse than a teenage girl addicted to drama and every "conversation" that occurs is always one way with him. It is awfully irritating how much he loves to hear himself rant on and on and on and it is always when I am in the middle of something, be it art work or house work. I've been plagued with headaches for a while because of this (and other usual family drama of course).

Besides my family frustrations and art endeavors, been working on more Demordicai Diamonds story and world building related stuff. Story-wise, Rune has been busy recovering from her injuries after being involved in an ambush that went horribly wrong while Dalken is attempting to curry more favor and earn a better reputation with his kin. The pace of their lives is pretty much polar opposites for the time being, at least until Rune is healed up and her stitches are removed. For the meantime, she is stuck wearing heavier shirts and other garments to cover the shaved and stitched sword wound around her ribs and under strict orders to take it easy and not overexert herself. It's been rather uncomfortable for her having a bald spot during winter times and while taking residence in high mountainous altitudes. Dalken is essentially filling in for his younger brother, Logan, and taking up his duties and thus finds himself in a small-ish leadership position much to the combined amusement and worriment of those who know him best. Food has been projected to run low until the end of winter, not to the point of dangerous but still enough to raise concerns of a potential shortage as the weeks go on and Dalken has been tasked by the high priestess to see about fixing the problem. Besides the two of them, other characters are busy trying to cope with the continued difficulties of life (dodging spoilers is fun!) and there is a variety of problems to go around, everything from relationship problems to motherhood to winter downs and cabin fever, sickness, hunger, boredom, and worriment over what the future holds.

On the world-building end, me and Professor Awesome have been conversing over the phone for the last few weeks on the issue of putting together another country in the world of Demordicai Diamonds. It's becoming obvious to us that our current story-arc (I believe it is #10 depending on how you cut it) is going to end soon and a new one is going to begin which will probably have direct involvement and exploration of another country bordering the Dalken's homeland of Rahm. So we have been working for a while on getting the country of Romadia up and running and ready for the next story arc as Rune, Dalken and some assorted friends will undoubtedly be making some travels there in the next arc.

Romadia is the parent country of the Relma Isles and it's population is is primarily ikeeri, more specifically felkri (Juna is a felkri the same as most of the residents of Aspen Village that I have done character concept art in the past for). Unlike it's bordering country of Rahm, which is pretty much a drakune-populated theocratic monarchy, Romadia is more of a traditional monarchy that is currently ruled by a feminist queen who was never intended to inherit the throne. Queen Laurabelle was nearly last in line for the throne but again and again, other more prominent heirs and even previous seated royals met with tragedy. Laurabelle was young during all this string of unfortunate events and is not suspected of having any direct involvement of the withering of her family tree but much of the citizenry and nobles alike believe that either foul play was involved or the royal family has become cursed.

Culture and society is much more developed than it is on Relma and the other islands, actors and artists are legitimate professions, crafting guilds are abundant, and trade is prosperous. The drakunes of Rahm have been valuable trading partners with the felkri of Romadia, often trading quarried stone, metals, and other products from their mountains for food, cloth, and anything else that the fields of Romadia will produce. Much of the stone Romadia imports is used for construction and maintenance of various structures, from extensive fortifications to massive aqueducts that funnel water from the Rahmspine mountains down into the provinces or Romadia below. There are many types of food available as farmland is plentiful and well irrigated and many mills are powered by waterwheels either built on to aqueducts or on the natural rivers. Shrines to various fates adorn the countryside, universities thrive in the cities where the sound of fountains can oftentimes be heard . Some cities even have sewage systems to some degree and those that are connected to aqueducts often have fresh water and the population enjoys a life where water-borne illness is uncommon.

 While society may be more affluent than on Relma, so is the legal system. Law enforcement is more present and the legal system in Romadia is full of loop holes, technicalities, and oddities to the point that a trusted lawyer is always a good friend of the family. It is in dire need of a clean up but despite its bureaucratic bulge, the laws of Romadia are often considered fairly lax for the average citizen on certain topics.While this is liberating for some, others think of it as too lax for their own good. On top of the law, there are plenty of society do's and don'ts to keep in mind as well. Not everything that is legal is necessarily tolerable by the society itself, minding the details both legal and cultural is very important and can save a traveler a lot of legal trouble and/or embarrassment.

The residents of the Relma Isles and the residents of Romadia both speak the same language though the accents are different and a more expanded vocabulary is much more common in Romadia. They can understand each other well enough but the Relma accent is considered more rustic than socially trendy. Romadians, more particularly the wealthy upper class can get a bit weird and extravagant with their tastes and often don't see eye-to-eye with the more simple and traditionalist drakunes of Rahm but it's more of a cultural disagreement than a cultural hostility.

The queen of Romadia has recently initiated a slew of social reforms that have been either graciously applauded or vehemently objected to. Queen Laurabelle is said to be very much the feminist, to the point of having a definite bias when it comes to gender, turning the Romadian court culture upside down. An all-female honor guard is often present with her while the traditional honor guard has been "retired". Much of her social reforms deal with female social roles and the granting of equal privilege, both legally and culturally (attempting culturally that is) to female citizens. Many other noble houses have seen this as preposterous and relations have soured as a result. Laurabelle finds herself with an odd array of political allies and enemies and it seems that more and more as time goes on do her enemies outweigh her allies as her rule is considered to be growing more radical and showing of her inexperience. Court rumors abound that the queen is in fact homosexual (not illegal in Romadian law but still can cause a public stir) and while that issue is an odd one culturally, the weight of the rumor lies on the fact that she is the last direct heirs to the throne and has not produced an heir herself. Considering the trend of untimely death in the royal family, this is a grave concern and rumor as her death would create a power vacuum and throw the country into chaos.

The fact that Laurabelle has refused to take a husband after many a suitor is also troubling. Many see this as an excellent and most rare political opportunity to imbue their own family with wealth, land, and power as they marry into the royal family. Many also see this as the dying gasps of a monarchy, not tragic death as from plague, famine, war, or other disaster but an idiotic demise akin to choking to death on sweet candy becuase one was too lazy to chew it. Should there be any truth to her sexuality and her supposedly adamant defense of it by refusing any potential husband, Romadia could be heading for an even greater era of change. Of course some say the queen is simply moody and suffers from a broken heart that was repaired with jealousy and bitterness after she fell in love with a foreign male diplomat and had her affections, complete with her wealth and power bundled with them, was denied and the diplomat married soon after to a commoner but a darkri/felkri crossbreed at that (most darkri tend to be very savage and tribalistic and are considered very uncivilized and dirty if not properly "groomed").

So Rune and Dalken will most likely be going into the thick of that  and I'm getting a feeling that the story for Demordicai Diamonds is going to take a turn for the political drama come story-arc #11. It will probably be a month or two before the story gets that far but I'm looking forward to it.

And of course the comic gets further and further behind. I wish I was better and more efficient at comic work, it certainly isn't easy. Honestly, I find the story creation far more fun to do than draw pages as they often frustrate the heck out of me but it's pretty cool having story materialized like that. Don't worry, I may be behind schedule but I got new pages coming up and new art coming up soon.

While I'm doing some artwork at my house, Professor Awesome is FINALLY compiling and alphabetizing all the names he has been coming up with and writing down for the past several years in notebooks and scrap pieces of paper. We both REALLY SUCK at coming up with "good" names and applying them to things that need a name. Part of the problem is that we are both very picky and careful in naming things, like not wanting to waste a good name on something that might not be all that important. Hopefully his list will help us be able to give some names to all sorts of things in Demordicai Diamonds, even the world itself which has been without a name for at least 6 years. It would be around 12 years if you count all the stories we made before Demordicai Diamonds that was pretty much set in the same unnamed world though the world itself didn't solidify until about 7 years ago during the story before Demordicai Diamonds (Romadia is actually a country idea dating back to that time but we decided to give it a major facelift).

Got some more snow tonight while I have been typing this and the roads are a mess. Hopefully they will be clear enough for me to drive on by this weekend. Sorry for the delay in new comic pages and art but I am getting a healthy pile to bring over to Professor Awesome's house when I get the chance. Since I may be stuck here a little while longer, is there anything Demordicai Diamonds related that you'd like me to illustrate while I got a good chance? I'd certainly appreciate some feedback on that, whether it be particular locales, art of a particular character(s) (some of them I haven't drawn in years), or anything else Demordicai Diamonds related.

Hope all you journal readers out there are doing alright and staying warm for the winter!
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