Mariko and Keiko
Mariko and Keiko
Mariko and Keiko

Mariko and Keiko

Apr 22, 2023, 5:55:04 PM


I didn't post last week since I was busy tabling at the PLCAF Small Comic Press Expo up in Burlingame. It was, as the name suggests, a small comic press expo. I got to put my wares on display and sell some graphic novels, so it was great.

I'll be doing another show down in San Jose this June. More details to come about that later.

In the mean time, today, new sketch post. I know I draw so much that it really begs the question, when does the next Magical Girl Kamiko start?

Well, I'm not sure yet. Part of this is due to work -- we're in crunch mode to finish a project. So the most I can do is some drawing. Not all for naught. It's been great practice. I wanted to draw with cleaner lines, which yes, isn't necessary, but it seemed like a fun challenge for me to take up.

In today's post, the sketches are focused on two characters I created a long while ago (maybe I've mentioned them on this site, but I don't remember).

This is Mariko and Keiko. I created them for a fanfiction I wrote years and years ago based on the anime series Maria-sama ga Miteru. That anime/light novel series by Oyuki Konno focuses two girls, a first year, Yumi Fukuzawa, and her "older sister" Ogasawara Sachiko as they form and navigate a relationship together become closer to one another. Instead of making a fanfiction directly about them or any of the other characters from the original work, I thought it would be fun to take the setting of Maria-sama, Lillian Academy, and invent three new characters that inhabited the same school and time frame as the TV show.

Mariko and Keiko's relationship is, shall we say, more combative. Mariko's often blunt, hot-headed, and sarcastic, and it gets her in trouble. Keiko lives off in her own world often aloof and strict in her own way. The third character Aoi is a stand in for Yumi, a first year, naive and looking for romance, but in all the wrong places. Whereas Yumi runs into Sachiko and has a Cinderella story unfold, Aoi runs afowl of Mariko and has a nightmare unfold until Keiko steps in and rights both of the younger students.

It was fun to write the fanfiction and taught me some things I still use today when I write (or at least things I should use more often). I had started writing it in bits and pieces, and collected notes for a year on who the characters were, how they spoke to each other, and scenes I wanted to play out. I never seriously thought I'd write it, but for NaNoWriMo one year, I ended up writing 125k words and it felt like a complete story, even if there were moments that weren't quite solidified.

There were no stakes and no audience so I felt I could indulge in making it for myself and keeping it that way. In some ways it was a strange lightning in a bottle that I haven't been able to full capture again, but hey, sometimes a piece of art clicks and sometimes it doesn't.

Magical Girl Kamiko actual owes a bit of this to that fanfiction I wrote. Natsumi and Catherine's relationship is meant to be combative similiar to Mariko and Keiko's. In Magical Girl Kamiko, the giant eyeball character's voice is written in the same voice as Keiko's (yes, she's very dramatic).

When I finished writing the fanfic, one of the prizes for finishing NaNo that year was to get 5 free books printed from Lulu. I formatted the manuscript and did that, just to see what it would look like, and so I do have a few physical copies of the book along with the original digital files. Yes, I have read it again over the years. Maybe that's a bit narcissistic, but the part of me that forgot who wrote it and how I wrote it, is often surprised by how well I pulled off parts of it.

And I wonder if I'll be able to do it again.

Anyhow, that's my ramble. Have a great weekend!

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