UPDATE: Since originally posting this Traildust has been handily unlocked, and all Patrons past, present and future can get their mitts on 74 pages of additional NTO sketches, doodles and conceptual materials, some possibly insightful, many probably hilarious.
If you haven’t been paying attention to the Patreon, you might not have noticed it’s now at $210/month (at the time of this writing, anyway). That’s just $40 shy of the next milestone goal, which is pretty sweet. At $250/month all patrons (including you, if you kick in!) will receive Traildust, a new and pretty exhaustive (but spoiler-free) collection of NTO sketches and conceptual materials, 90% of which no one’s ever seen. This is a pretty swole tome, too: I haven’t even scanned half of what I aim to include in it and I’m over 40 pages of material already. Help me continue wedging the comic in alongside my hectic mom-life and get something nice for you and your fellow readers.
Support from people like you is the reason I’m able to keep doing this, and it is deeply appreciated.
Hey, when’s the last time you visited the StoreEnvy shop? I know my parent preoccupation has made me less than forthcoming with new merch, but new things do get cycled in occasionally. I just added a few for pre-order, too, that are debuting at Madison Comic Con. Speaking of which, come and see me if you can on February 6, 7 or 8 (or all three)! I’m a weird shut-in but I’d seriously love to meet you anyway.
I just got this very excellent Vane portrait from manifold Art Contest contributor Slinky, who draws funny pictures at A Terrible Mind.
It’s a great capture (right down to the expression, and the unhealed scrapes on Black’s face!) and I was super stoked to receive and share it.
The number of submissions to the annual art contest has been trending downward, and this year’s perfect storm of guest comic and unsurprising prizes has probably not helped. Fortunately the quality of submissions was once again excellent, and even with so few it really wasn’t any easier to judge.
I wish I had time to gush and comment more on these; I deeply appreciate the time and thought that went into all of them.
All images can be clicked and viewed larger (where possible) and I’d urge you to go ahead and do so and check out these folks’ work in better detail.
2013 Contest winner Karyl Lee is a NTO Art Contest superstar, overachieving with multiple, multimedia pieces every year. 2014’s no different – she made good on her 2012 idea for an NTO-themed pumpkin this year with a two-faced Jack-O-Lantern featuring Genevieve’s Author and Demon on opposing sides. Great work as always — I would love to see this lit. You can own some of Karyl’s work be paying a visit to her Etsy or Yessy galleries.
Bethany Joseph draws a uniquely scheming Vane Black; her take on the character is a great capture of her mad scientist aspects. The watercolor background is totally great, too: rosy desert colors and rough-hewn landscape really make the dark, saturated subject pop. Great piece.
Find more of her stuff at her [really quite entertaining] comics blog.
S. Pwyll submitted two great watercolor entries. In his own words, the Vane/Nightmare Before Christmas fusion is only a “speed sketch”; the main attraction is the Sun Prairie Sun flower (which, actually, Pwyll also described as “slightly less than half-finished”; looks pretty great to me). He styled it a la Georgia O’Keefe – cool enough concept for NTO art by itself – but what’s extra awesome about trying to emulate O’Keefe painting a Sun flower is that the NTO town of Sun Prairie is named after the small town of Sun Prairie in my native Wisconsin – Georgia O’Keefe’s birthplace. The coincidence is almost as fantastic as the painting.
More of Mr. Pwyll’s work can be found on his deviantArt. Great work and congratulations!
Jessica Shainker’s study in contrasts is a super clever breakdown of all the thematic opposites at play with Black & Hunter. I love the black and white, positive and negative composition but most especially the strategic splashes of color that call out their eyes – inversions of their elemental characters. Nicely done and congratulations!
Erin Smith’s fabulously melancholy painting of Diamonds and Vane is this year’s winner. Awesome use of negative space finds them looking off into rain-obscured desolation, which is ominous not only for what we don’t see but what we know is coming, since this can’t help but evoke the lead-up to Diamonds’ unfortunate “end” in Wayward. Vane almost looks like she’s just about to swing into the saddle, too, bringing the inevitability that much closer. Great painting!
You can check out more of Erin’s work at her tumblr.
Thank you so much for the most excellent submission and congratulations!
And there we are! Lean year for entries but nevertheless the art contest really remains a huge pick-me-up and slightly late birthday gift for me: seeing folks involved enough in the comic to put in this kind of work always inspires and revitalizes me.
Winners, I’ll contact you soon about prize preferences and mailing addresses!
I’ve been getting a lot of questions about coloring lately, requests for tutorials, that kind of thing. I think the quiet in the NTO blog and the time elapsed since this was first posted in the Patron-only feed are now sufficient to share this, a basic breakdown of my coloring process on NTO’s very first page. This is the kind of thing I try to share semi-frequently (though never enough!) with NTO’s very gracious patrons.
… and hey! Don’t forget the Art Contest! Only 10 days left!