Tara in the desert, the beginning

I did promise to make a sequel to my first self published comic, Remembrances from Granny’s childhood, but I also wanted to try something new. So I decided to put that sequel on the hold and start to work out on a web comic instead.

There was several reasons for this, actually. I wanted to really get into digital drawing and thought that since web comic in completely digital, as it were, this would be a good opportunity to just start practicing by making the comic. I was also interested in the form of vertical storytelling that platforms like Webtoons exhibit. I thought it would offer interesting way to approach visual storytelling and building up of the story.

There were several challenges to work on. One was working with digital tools and it is something I’m now somewhat struggling with. The other was the story itself. I wanted to make a story that would have a sort of framework of a setting that could then incorporate smaller episode like stories.

I have for some time been wanting to make a story about a character somewhat like Yuko Ichihara in Clamp’s xxxHolic. Someone quite powerful that would sort of help people in some way. She would be living in the desert and it would be a bit difficult to get to her. I kind of had all sorts of things worked out here that I liked, but I began to have more and more trouble with the storytelling.

The problem was that they way to story was turning out was some sort of adventure thing where people with some problem would turn up to my ”Yuko” and then she would in some way help the person. This meant building up plots and characters…And I did not want to do that! I did not want to make a plot and character driven story that they already are out there bursting from every corner.

I wanted to do something similar I had done with the ”Granny”. Just take up some quite everyday events I show and describe them in a documentary way. Not really offering any explanations or judgements, just showing them in detail. How varied and beautiful they can be.

In the Sarjakuvakeskus comic course that I was doing this project in we had an exercise where we worked on some memory of snow. This got my mind moving. I began to think that instead of looking Tara (my ”Yuko” became Tara) out, she was actually living in a different dimension to which people would sometimes accidentally get lost. In order to find their way back to their own dimension they needed to find Tara and tell her in a detailed way some ordinary but strong memory. Tara would then on the basis of this story weave a scarf that would act as a map to help the people to get home.

This was it! I could concentrate on some event or experience and how to present it in an interesting and engaging way. And unlike in ”Granny” where I was telling about experiences of a certain time and place, in this case people from different times and places could get lost to Tara’s dimension and I would have much more broader scope for my stories. Now I could go forward!