It’s now been a full year since I completed my first major literary work, The Legend of Light trilogy. This has been the longest that I’ve gone without writing fiction in well over a decade. Even when I wasn’t writing a series of novels, I was always writing some kind of story for the majority of my life. My pre-teen and teen years saw me work on all kinds of lengthy fan fiction stories for some of my favorite franchises like The Legend of Zelda, Godzilla, and Gundam. In college I put together several short stories to ease my way into the publishing business, before eventually jumping head first in a series of high fantasy novels.
In some regards, it’s felt odd not spending hours per week entrenched in a massive Microsoft Word document, but at the same time it has also been very refreshing. I needed this break to assess what my life goals are, and what I want to do more than anything else when it comes to my artistic pursuits.
Of course, I’ve stayed very busy with multiple creative endeavors over the last year. If you checked out my last update from 2020, you may remember that I’m slowly translating a few Polish books about Slavic mythology, with the research helping me develop a story I’m hoping to one day draw as a comic series.
Speaking of drawing, you also may remember that I started an in-depth course on character design with Udemy. I’m very much taking my time with the lessons, so I’m only halfway through the entire course (after starting toward the end of December), but I’ve already learned a lot of valuable drawing skills that I never could have attained beforehand just trying to teach myself. These lessons I’m taking are heavy on mechanics and theory, so I haven’t really drawn much in the last few months that I feel like I could show off. It’s been a lot of practice and experimentation; rarely have I drawn a complete sketch. I just recently finished at least one character design, however, which can be seen below. I wanted to test out drawing an original character based on what I’ve learned so far, so I tried my hand at drawing my character I’m currently playing as in Dungeons & Dragons. Meet my Tabaxi bard, Snoot Snoot the Jaunty –
It’s certainly not the best illustration you’ve ever seen, but it represents a very meaningful step for me in my journey to be an artist. This was the first time I drew an original character all my own, figuring out what clothes I wanted him to wear, what pose he would be standing in, what his facial expression would be, all of those creative elements. I was only able to do even this thanks to what I’ve learned so far from my studies with Udemy. A couple of months ago I never could have drawn this without a solid reference. Seeing as how my ultimate goal is to one day draw an entire comic series, this is a baby step, but it’s a super important baby step for me.
I’ve already written a bunch of different pieces for Zelda Universe this year, which just celebrated its 20th anniversary! That’s right, the website was first launched in February of 2001, and all these years later it’s still online and being powered by a massive community of Legend of Zelda fans. I’ve been visiting it since 2003, since I was only 12 years old. I’m currently 30, so that’s 18 years being a part of that community, a fair chunk of which I’ve spent contributing to the site somehow, whether it was writing pieces for the main page, or taking on moderator duties for the message boards.
Be it physical or digital, any place has to be very special to spend 18 years visiting. Zelda Universe will always feel like home to me on the web. I’ve met too many wonderful people there to count over the years, and it’s where some of my proudest written work has been published. In fact, the first article I ever wrote for Zelda Universe was posted all the way back in 2005 when I was just 15 years old! Myself and other members of our site staff regularly laugh at the fact that I have work published there that’s older than a lot of our fans.
One such piece I’ve written this year was a retrospective in honor of the website’s 20th anniversary, where I looked back at how editorial writing for The Legend of Zelda has changed over the last two decades. It was very fun to take that stroll down memory lane and think back to how we covered the video game series in the early days, and what were the hottest topics of debate all those years ago.
Here’s a complete list of my latest published pieces —
The Era of the Wilds is here to stay — examining why I believe Nintendo will make several Zelda games set in the same Hyrule as Breath of the Wild.
Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury Review
Recording the legend: Celebrating 20 years of editorial writing on Zelda Universe — the aforementioned piece for Zelda Universe’s 20th anniversary.
Twilight Princess manga Volume Eight Review
Celebrating 10 years of the Nintendo 3DS — A decade of impact — A look back at how the 3DS handheld kept Nintendo afloat during some tough years, eventually paving the way to their monumental success with the Switch.