UPDATE 10/15/17: It turns out I need to push the update to next week after all. Sorry, I had a bunch of real life stuff to deal with over the past few weeks, and didn’t make the progress I needed to. But page twenty-three will definitely post on 10/22/17. Thank you so much for your patience.

A sampler of some of my favorite sketches from the past few years! Some of these may be familiar to you if you follow my Tumblr, but there are a couple never-before-posted, too.

A) I think this batch of red sketches from 2015 were from a period when I was trying to nail down Leandre’s backstory and Sylvan’s relationship with Margot. (Sylvan will show up in chapter three, FINALLY.) Sketching like this helps me explore characters and figure out story — honestly, though, sometimes my process is no more complex than 1) draw something cool and 2) try to figure out how to make it fit into the larger narrative. >.>

B) Lately, I’ve been sketching horses from screenshots to get a better idea of human/horse size relationships. (Seriously, I’m pretty Lucille Bluth about horses, how tall is a horse anyway? Eight feet?)Β  The tiny sketches are revisions on Leandre’s formal alchemy attire, very heavily based on northern Renaissance men’s fashion. (ngl the alchemy society’s gear is just an excuse to have my cake and eat it too by having renaissance AND baroque costumes in the same story)

C) A small Margot from an 2014 Christmas-themed sketch page. While her College robes design has changed a bit in the past few years, I’ve always liked the emotional intensity of this.

D) Some early Orianes from 2014! I think this was another batch where I was trying to figure out who, exactly, Oriane is, and doodling until I arrived at something that felt right. There had been a long time before this when I just could not for the life of me figure out what I wanted to do with her facial features, but I remember thinking these three had something I liked.

E) SOMETIMES U JUST GOTTA PUT ON SOME BON IVER AND DRAW UR CHARACTERS LOOKING SAD AND/OR WISTFUL

F) One of a few sketches from 2015 of weapons of choice. You can see the rest here and read some backstory, but some of the names and titles and stuff are out-of-date and have since been revised.

G) I was working on this this time last year, and I kind of want to finish it! It was going to be a couple costume ball pics with a bird theme: Oriane as a swan, Leandre as peacock, Margot as an owl, and Sylvan as a raven. :3

H) Hahahahahaha … okay. I played FFXI for five years, and was pretty hardcore — was in a big endgame LS, had bard/white mage/black mage/red mage/scholar/ranger all at the highest level (I think that was 80 when I quit? Maybe 90?) as well as a stockpile of pretty decent gear. So of course I had to figure out everyone’s jobs! Margot is obviously a scholar/white mage, while Oriane is a red mage/ninja. (Definitely one of those flashy red mages with the great gear and the bravura to solo anything.) Leandre is a blue mage/… something (probably ninja?) due to his interest in botany, and while I drew Sylvan as a red mage, upon reflection, I think he’s probably a ninja main.

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I’m still not sure about next week’s update; while I’m done with the next page, I’d really like to see what kind of progress I make on the last page of the chapter before I say for certain that the comic will resume updating next Monday. I’m sorry to leave y’all hanging like that! In the very least, even if next week isn’t a new page, it will definitely be the last week of hiatus. (… Though I will go on a hiatus after the next two pages in order to get some sweet, sweet new chapter buffer in the can. SORRY IN ADVANCE.)