I love your questions. If you’re curious about the site, series or anything related, just ask.
What is your “secret project”?
It’s no secret anymore. With a background in theater and music, I’m currently working on a Shelter of Wings Live Production. It may sound crazy, but since the beginning I envisioned this work to be a musical, and to have people sing with the angels in worship and praise. My desire is to bring the musical to the streets and to certain venues that would have us. I also would like to make the script available for schools, churches and communities to use in their own theater groups. There will be updates on the Facebook page so like us! The characters will finally come to life in human form! More news to follow.
Will Shelter of Wings become an anime?
I’ve been asked this a number of times and need to finish the next book to solidify the concept. BUT…what I am doing at this point is writing two OVA’s (Original Video Animations) about 30 minutes each with original songs. You can call these episodes from the main story. We’ll see what God does; we are really praying about this avenue as well as for others to open up.
What is your next illustration?
Like Shelter on Facebook to find out!
Will you collaborate with me on a manga/comic?
Even if a story is spiritually based, as of now I can’t do another manga apart from my own projects. There’s a question that I answered on this page about helping with comics so you can take a look at that below. Thank you for the offers, I appreciate it.
Can I hire you?
You can hire me, but only if the work is short-term meaning a cover, concept art, colors, and any general graphic art work. No long term comic art/commitment. And the pay has to be suitable (unless I know you well and may do something for free!); I negotiate but I’m very nice about it.
Can I find Shelter of Wings in bookstores?
At this point the answer is no although it was originally my intention to get this work out there on the shelves. It is currently being sold online through Amazon and many other online retailers. We had lots of interest to get it distributed through different outlets and had a commitment by a well-known publisher, but that didn’t work out because of time constraints on my part and I felt I needed more control over the product. I’m more satisfied having control over the work, and getting it out there for more people to easily enjoy.
Are angels and demons real?
Yes, definitely. I don’t place angels above my relationship with Jesus, nor do I go around thinking about them all day or praying to them. I want people to know that this world is a spiritual one, and angels play an important role as God’s agents to help us win battles over demons in this life, and to help us move forward into intimacy with our Creator. God is the one who sends his angels for our protection, peace and strength (and so much more), and we have the authority over them as God’s children!
Did you ever see an angel?
Yes, I have, but I want to see Jesus even more in this life. There are different ways that angels reveal their presence. We have to be discerning, wise and careful. I know people who see and feel more of the spiritual so I’m still learning to “see”. I’ve been craving so much more of God’s presence that I want to experience all he has for me, including his spiritual messengers. It’s his power, glory and peace that indwells these spirits and that’s what I want to experience more of in my life.
I’ve felt the presence and harassment of demons early on in my life. It became so commonplace during the creating of this book that at one point I was even expecting them to show up at least once a week. Demons are liars and will disguise themselves as one of God’s own to mislead people so we have to be careful to be discerning between spirits. I don’t want to be deceived, but I also don’t want to scare anyone by saying these things. I actually prayed to God that he’d never let me see a demon because feeling them around can be terrifying enough. After praying against them, rebuking them, and calling out to Christ, I was able, thank God, to finally get rid of those beings from harassment.
I want my thoughts to stay on Christ and my relationship with him. Angels will always focus your attention to God. Demons will not. I don’t know if I had ever come across an angel in human form. Sometimes I think I have. The bible says “Don’t neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.” (NASB translation) So, we know they’re walking around out there somewhere! And I want to be a part of it.
Why don’t you have female angels in your book?
With all the female angels and deities in typical manga, they’re probably expected by most readers. The main reason I haven’t included female angels in the past is because of my convictions. Quite honestly, the thought of placing female angels in the book never crossed my mind when I first wrote it. Scripture depicts angels in power and oneness, bonded by purpose as men going off to war. Their bond is one of strength, protection, faithfulness (Semper Fi) and comradeship. After my recent encounter, however, I began to think differently and was going to possibly include female angels, maybe as background characters. But an email alerted me to stick with my original intent. Here is what I do know from scripture: Although the bible refers angels to be male; they are considered ‘sons of God’ and never ‘daughters’. They’re always depicted as men in the heavens. Actually, there is a spot in Zechariah 5:9 where we see two stork-winged women who transport Wickedness (shown as a woman), but commentaries have suggested that they are not angels but assistants of a false goddess or deity. Some regard these women as agents of evil because storks were unclean animals, but here they seem to do the work of God in sending the wicked woman in the basket back to Babylon. So in another sense it may seem like they should be viewed as God’s agents like angels are.
Whatever the case, I really never had in mind to create female angels while pursuing this book, and I’m sorry if it disappoints people. I tend to think it would complicate things to have female angels as main characters more than help the story plot; in fact, it might hinder what I’m trying to accomplish. Although the story is fantasy, I still need to make sure it’s biblically sound.
Can you draw me a real picture of Michael and Gabriel?
Well, maybe I could. I used to say no to this question too, but again, I’ve changed my perceptions of how angels minister to God’s people and how we are to view them. I haven’t seen either Gabriel or Michael so just keep in mind that anything I draw is NOT what they look like. I have my own worldly mindset after all. Maybe what I could do is draw a cloud of glory! Although there are references in the Bible of angels looking like men and I’ve heard and read so much about what some angels in their spiritual state look like and what they wear (large figures of light with breastplates and swords, etc.) you will see one of the real angels in my next book (Volume 2), but keep in mind, I don’t think that’s what he looks like at all (still, I think I made him rather dashing). Despite all the research I could dig up, I know that it is combined with my limited human perception and creativity. God’s angels are glorious and I know I probably do them a great disservice. At least for now, anyway.
Where did you learn how to draw?
It just came naturally. I always loved to draw. When I was four, I remember taking a crayon and drawing life-sized people on the side of my white basement wall! My mom wasn’t too happy, but I started drawing everyday. I would look at something or draw from my imagination. I think it relieved stress. I started using watercolors and paint at an early age. When I went through school, I was always the best artist, but I was very shy about it. I took out some art books once in a while and highschool courses really helped. I eventually went to a local art university and majored in graphic design. People found it amazing that I never went to a museum until that time! But art has changed so much since then, especially with the use of the computer. I had to learn how to illustrate from scratch. In the past, I did lots of freelance art using acrylics and watercolors, but I found it very heard to translate color digitally. I’m slowly learning, though, and am working very hard to get better at it. Sometimes I feel like I’m in school all over again!
Are you anything like Jenna?
There are some aspects of Jenna in me, but we’re mostly opposites. I’m sure when she grows up we’ll become more alike! We’re both artists, hard workers, insecure and scared sometimes, although with God’s help, we can be very confident. I know I’m much more confident than I used to be. When I was younger, I used to find it hard to cope with situations, just like she does. But, unlike me, she’s used to getting her way so she can be very stubborn and demanding, even selfish at times. I think we all tend to be selfish until we let God deal with us on the inside. Although Jenna has a selfish side, she’s going to develop a beautiful, inner quality, which you can only get by growing in God! I’ve been walking with Christ for about 20 years now and that’s a good thing.
Do you have a favorite character?
I have lots depending on the mood I’m in! But since I created my characters, I like aspects of all of them. My favorites are: Verik because he’s loves worship and is such a complex character (he’s also a great martial artist!); Mosirashek because he’s fearless but at the same time a playful pussycat (you’ll see more of that showing up!); Ramvis since he’s so soft-spoken and gentle like a big, walking teddy-bear :); Temus because he’s a practical joker and very fun-loving (life has no dull moments around him); Eben because he’s the most child-like with a gift he’s not even aware of yet!; Sam because he’s so positive, watches out for Jen and sees the best in any situation.
I want to learn how to draw manga! Can you teach me?
I don’t know how many times I’ve been asked this question! I wish I could help everyone who asked. I’ve helped teach a few comic workshops so I’ve already put together some lessons. But at this point my time is sooo limited. And I’m old school. I’m just learning now how to do everything digitally. Go search the internet!
Will you help me with my comic?
I wish I could help everyone, but because of my lack of extra time, I can’t read scripts or look at tons of pages. I don’t even read web comics. What I can do is look at a small sample, maybe a few pages, and from there I can tell you if it works or not and provide helpful solutions. Just make sure you tell me before you want to send your entire graphic novel 😉
Where do you get your ideas?
Sometimes from what I see around me, reading books, looking at illustrations, or just plain daydreaming. I think about what I’d like to see happen in my story. Sometimes I even get ideas while I’m singing in church or on a sleepless night. I have so much I’d like to share, but thinking about something and putting that into a story format is challenging. You have to know how to organize and choose what’s important. I’m still learning how to make the best decisions. I think at times I’ve failed miserably but you just have to get up, figure out your mistakes and move on.
How do you come up with your character designs?
That’s the fun part! By thinking about the inner traits of that character first. After you know what you want inside that person, try to match that with the exterior. For example, Temus is extremely fast and fun so I made him shorter than everyone with large, wide eyes. a big smile and goofy hair. I try to make characters as different as possible. Some artists draw characters much in the same way, which is easier in the long run, but I like variety and details. If you look at your group of friends, they’re not the same, are they? So, when you draw characters, you have to picture them next to each other and you have to contrast them. Make some short, some tall, some with dark hair and some light. Make their bodies different as well since not everyone has muscles or a slender frame. Try to vary the features of the hair and face. When I did the concepts for the Virtuous Ones, I wanted to make their hair and clothing unique. They actually went from “unique” to “strange”, but I thought that was okay as long as I got my point across. 🙂 Just be as creative as possible!
Was the book hard to do?
I have to laugh. This book was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life! Well, aside from delivering a baby (or three)! It probably would have been easier if I actually practiced first. I never even read manga, so that made everything a bit more complicated story-wise. Since I started doing this comic through experimentation, I ended up changing not only the character art, but script as well. I must have cut 25 pages of beautiful art and changed tons of dialogue! (Wow, maybe I should post these “deleted” pages!) And I had never worked with digital toning before. We really put lots of effort into this book, and I have to commend all the artists (and office people!) who helped a few years back. As I made lots of changes for the Expanded Edition and created more manga, I became more confident and much faster. All it takes is practice, practice and lots of prayer.
What programs and tools do you use?
.5 Mechanical pencils for sketching/layouts and some transferring, lightbox, Micron pens of various sizes from .005-.08, B4 comic paper (about 10″x15″), A3 scanner, Photoshop CS5 with an Intuos 2 tablet, Manga Studio Ex for tonework. I’m still learning how to digitally ink but I easily make corrections with a tablet. I can’t get the nice linework and details like I can by inking traditionally like other people. I still do things the old way, unfortunately. Maybe one day I’ll be able to completely ink digitally if I have more time to practice (don’t take this statement seriously, plz).
When will the next book be done?
I’d love to say, “Tomorrow!”, but sadly I work for a living, have family stuff to fulfill and can only do so much in a day while working on other projects. I’ll keep you posted on the progress. I’ve posted part of Vol 2 Spirit Song online in the Manga section and will post pages here and there to hold people over until Vol 2 comes out in print and digital format. Thanks for asking!
DO YOU HAVE A QUESTION? JUST EMAIL ME AND ASK!