“Help I’m Alive” – writer’s notes for GOTFB

Before we get started, The Gift of the Firebird is free to read online at the link below:


give it a whirl if you haven’t yet.

A few years ago english subs of Urasawa Naoki no Manben started popping up online.  From the first note of the theme song I felt something strong. As I watched each different artist work and speak, I started to remember what it was like when I used to work and speak. I still had my pile of reasons and excuses not to do anything,  the best life of a comic artist who bears down all their will and every hour of their day on their work is closed off to me. I don’t want to stupidly burn myself out like I did last time I tried to make comics either.  The pied piper melody of the Urasawa Naoki no Manben theme song kept at me though.  Find a way to get back to work.

OK.  Over the years I’ve watched probably way too many things scroll past my face online that I didn’t take part in. One of them being the Comics Workbook Composition Competition, run by Pittsburgh artist Frank Santoro.  In 2015 the contest format was 9 panel grid.  I didn’t take part in that competition, but I wanted to.  I went so far as to print out the grid.  I really thought about it.  The fact that each panel of the grid was the size of an index card stuck with me. But ultimately I let it roll by.  When I found myself on the other side of Manben,  I remembered the index cards and the nine panel grid.

I also remembered that before my burn out, I wanted to make a comic of a story that I read from the copy of Edmund Dulac’s Fairy Book that I got for myself because I wanted to look at the illustrations.  I only read one of the stories in the book –  I put up a pdf scan of the story here:

edmunddulacsfairybook – The Firebird

I’ll leave it up for a while unless it starts to cause a problem.  I’d say it’s worth reading, it has a sweet clarity and sparkling humor at times, I think it’s really meant to be read out loud to someone else for best results.  I wanted to make a comic of this story from the minute I read it, but wanting to do something and figuring out how to actually do something are pretty different.  There were a few lackluster efforts launched, but burn out is real, so nothing ever got rolling.

So it came to pass, when I started looking for a way to get back to work, it was pretty clear what I could do.  But how could I do it?  I don’t want to break my life over comics.  How much time do I really have in a day to work on something extra like this?  How much can I do without hurting myself and others?  As an experiment, I decided to participate in inktober 2016. October is a busy month. There’s parties to go to and costumes to make and fun times to have.  Could I really work EVERY DAY of a busy month?  I guess I could! Inktober 2016 was a full success, and it was fun as heck too.  Now I knew what I had to work with, and I had something to work on.  I found a way to get back to work! Thank you Urasawa Naoki no Manben.

I’m extremely grateful that I was able to make this comic. I do hope I can use this work to make some more work happen. Now that the fire is burning again, I want to keep it tended.  If you’re a writer out there who wants to pitch something to somewhere that pays,  and you like how I draw things, please do drop me a line – there’s a contact section on the site here.  In the mean time, I’m gonna keep working.  Thanks for coming along for the ride!

Ged and Tenar in the Painted Room

Ged and Tenar in the Painted Room. Illustration by Charity Pomaybo of a moment from Ursula K. LeGuin's The Tombs of Atuan

“Ged and Tenar in the Painted Room” is an illustration I made for a scene from Ursula K. LeGuin’s The Tombs of Atuan,  The second book of her Earthsea cycle.  I just wanted to think about Ged and Tenar for a little while, and this moment,  right before Ged’s proof is offered, right before the beginning of everything between them. I think about this moment a lot, it’s one of my favorite scenes in the Earthsea cycle.

Inktober 2016

I was happy to participate in the #inktober challenge this year.  Forcing myself to find a way to fit some solid drawing time into each day felt good.  Happy Halloween!

These images were originally posted daily on my tumblr at http://cherryspaceship.tumblr.com/tagged/inktober