Can you tell us a little about your comic? How does it speak to the theme of the anthology (point of no return)?
My comic is about a high school student named Nova, who is a survivor of a recent fatal car accident where she was the designated driver. Her friend Bailey, a popular student, is killed in the wreck and Nova is left emotionally damaged and ridden with guilt as she believes it is all her fault that Bailey is dead, all while sporting a graphic eye injury from the accident and haunted by the rumors of her peers. We follow Nova as she struggles with PTSD and the occasional bullying from fellow classmates and eventually see her begin to heal, starting with the gradual entrance of a new friend, Andy. This of course ties into the theme of the NO REFUNDS anthology because death is permanent. Nova is never going to be able to bring Bailey back, and she may never fully recover from her death. But just like her injured eye, she is on a slow bumpy road. Healing takes time but at the end, she can see clearly out of both eyes and mind.
What was the inspiration behind your story?
I myself struggle with PTSD and mental illness.There have been many moments when I felt that I was never going to heal, that I was never going to continue living normally when horrible memories were flooding my head at all hours of the day. Eventually I realized that I wasn’t allowing myself to heal, or reaching out to find ways to recover. While I still have moments or days when I just want to completely give up, asking for help was a step forward and I can only keep going forward from here, just like Nova reaches out by accepting Andy’s friendship and eventually agreeing to start therapy. Mental illness is no picnic, but I want to use Nova’s story to show the audience that show that death is the end. There are no stops past it. It may seem like the answer, but you can’t ever go back for the chance of recovery.
What challenges arose during the course of this project? Takeaways?
While I am passionate about character design and narrative, settings and environments are still fairly new to me. It’s all about mapping out and measuring and drowning in thumbnails. I also tend to get too excited and make my characters talk way too much so having to cut down a lot of dialogue to have room for illustrations was challenging but in a good way! Also time management. Face the facts, thinking you can get all your sketching or inking done in one day is you forfeiting your sanity.
Can we expect more comics beyond this point? Where can we find more of your work?
Absolutely. Comics are challenging but when the passion is there it’s completely worth it to see it all finished in the end. I love telling stories but I found that just writing them out wasn’t enough. I hope to eventually build entire worlds with comics. You can see more of my work at my informal art Instagram @spiralnightshade !