goodbye ’23; hello ’24!

Happy new year!

Early last year, I rebooted this blog and introduced HON3YPOT, a cyber-fantasy visual novel where you seduce your way through a heist.  I made some goals for the year that turned out to be way too optimistic, but that’s okay – we’re still learning about consistency and work/life balance, around here! In fact, that’s largely the theme of this update! Let’s talk:

  • HON3YPOT: direction and updates
  • Art: some visuals to break up the text
  • Discussion: progressing on passion projects as a full-time adult


I intended to spend last year building a rough proof-of-concept for HON3YPOT’s first date, including a draft of the story/choices, functional code and sketched artwork. Partway through, I discovered that wasn’t the right order to work in, so I shifted gears and I’ve got a shiny new 3-step plan for 2024:

1. User Interface & Layout

This was the big change: I’ll be working on user interface and layout before getting too far into the next steps. As I started drafting visuals like sprites and backgrounds, I realised I needed to set up the “container” first. Here’s a very crusty look at what I’m working on:

The player character (Gideon) medallion will live in the lower left. This will give the player some insight into Gideon’s reactions, mood and tone, without needing to show a Gideon sprite in the same scene as the non-player characters. I feel this is a good middle ground between displaying the player character or not – a decision I’ve been struggling with!

Gideon’s phone will slide up from behind the medallion and serve as the game menu for both in-game and meta options – everything from accessing abilities and character info to saving the game or quitting.

Next up on the UI front is your date calendar and contact list – arguably the most important interface elements! The date calendar and contact list is where players will browse a list of potential dates (marks) and decide which three characters they want to seduce as a means to prepare for the heist.

2. Templates

Once I’ve got the user interface figured out, I’ll create some templates for the content to help me work smarter.

Graphically, I’ve already started creating templates for sprites and for backgrounds so that everything’s sized correctly and so it’s easy(er) to create new visuals. In particular, I started work on my background template last year: this is a drawing file and workflow to help me create backgrounds from plan layouts. This will make it easier – nay, possible – to draw the same room from different angles, which is going to be especially important for the heist! I’m extra excited about this template because it’s something I can share with other artists – it’s not specific to visual novels – and drawing backgrounds is something I see other artists struggling with. When it’s ready, that’ll show up on my ko-fi

From a code/story perspective, getting a few of the dates done will give me a foundation, if not “template,” to work from for the remaining dates. This stuff is important but mostly invisible – like setting up naming conventions for files so it’s easy to find, edit and add new elements.

3. Draft Proof-of-Concept

Finally: my goal for the end of 2024 is to have a playable proof-of-concept with at least three dates and the heist to play through. Graphics will be “draft” versions, but functional. When I hit this goal, we can do a little playtesting!


I didn’t get a lot of pieces “finished” in 2023, but I’m proud of the ones I did! Here are a couple of the more recent pieces that I haven’t previously posted to the blog – plus a recap collage!


In December I started in a new TTRPG campaign with some friends, and we’re playing in the same setting as HON3YPOT. My character for this one is a traveler from the adjacent, more classic-fantasy universe called Khesper. Introducing Twelve – a spy with magic powers derived from the constellations. She’s been in an oubliette for ~50 years so she’s got some catching up to do:

True Self

Every month, ko-fi invites its members to post works related to a theme.  June’s theme was true self, and I couldn’t resist the opportunity to talk about a character aspect that might not show up much in the HON3YPOT game: player character Gideon Glacier is actually a fake identity! Gene-altering cyberware allows this character to change his skin colour at will and in detail – including fake tattoos, scars and more! In a world where normal skin colours include blue, red, green and anything in between or beyond, this ability helps him to disappear/blend into a crowd, or even to pass as someone else. In rare situations, he’s even been known to strip down to achieve a sort of dubious invisibility…

If you’d like to pause the gif, you can find the still images in this post on my ko-fi page. Astute viewers will notice that the “Gideon” version is the one I’m using as a placeholder image for the HON3YPOT player character medallion, above.


I love this hashtag. It’s always been a challenge for me to find 8 pieces I want to show off – especially since becoming a parent – and my collages are never cohesive in style or media, but it’s fun to look back at what I did through the year, at what my personal “trends” were and to acknowledge what I need to improve or what I did improve. Browsing the hashtag is also a great way to find new artists to follow 😊

If you’d like to follow my image posting, give me a follow on instagram!

oth3r: work*/life balance

(*whereby “work” I mean creative work)

It’s January (surprise!) and new year’s resolutions are everywhere. But I’m also seeing a lot of discussion about how it’s okay not to stress about resolutions; we shouldn’t feel pressure to change ourselves or work harder; etc. And all of that is true. But if you’re a creative type and you want to make progress but you struggle because of a perceived “lack of motivation,” shake off that feeling! It’s probably not a lack of motivation – it’s probably because you’re tired and busy, and you need to make things easier for yourself rather than working more. It might just be that your office is cold. Read on – this discussion is for you 😊

I posted briefly about HON3YPOT on instagram last year, and a friend messaged me to ask HOW(?!?!) I found any time to work on things like this.  As evidenced by this update, I don’t find a lot of time and I don’t make a lot of progress – but I do make some, and I’ve been figuring out how only recently.

I find a lot of productivity advice annoying and unhelpful – examples below – but I want to share what’s been working for me, because rather than working harder, it’s about making the work easier: I’ve been eliminating barriers and finding effective workflows.

On “making” time: A lot of productivity advice tells us to find or make time.  Get up early in the morning; use your lunch break; get something done on your commute; squeeze in a few hours before bed.  I always bounced off this kind of advice for two reasons: (a) it made me feel guilty – like maybe I didn’t want this badly enough to fill every spare moment with it – and (b) because finding/making time is rarely a sustainable practice, and it’s even less sustainable the busier we are (or, the more people who depend on us). 

When I was single and childless, maybe I could have got up at 05:00 to write, but now?? By 05:00 most mornings, I’m getting ready to take a toddler to the park so he can exorcise exercise his demon energy. By 19:00 – the start of my “free time” – I’m cooked, and any fun stuff I might want to do has to compete with chores, working out and other things I need to do in order to function under capitalism.

And then the toddler wakes up. “Making time” simply isn’t realistic.

On task breakdown: Other productivity advice tells us to break down big tasks into manageable chunks. This is so obvious that it’s useless – no one is expecting to write a novel in one sitting – but what’s the best way to break it down? Maybe I decide to write for 30 minutes each day – great! – but then I get stuck because I need to look up how to treat a gunshot wound; or, maybe I need to go back and edit a section before I can continue with my next chapter – or maybe I’ve just been sitting at a desk all day for work, and I just don’t feel like using the keyboard anymore. I end up writing nothing because I can’t get past motivation barriers, and because I’ve broken the task down wrong – my workflow is wrong.

So, instead of breaking my work into chunks of time, I’ve been categorizing it by type and slotting in different types of work where I have capacity (read: energy, time, resources, tools, etc). This saves me energy (or motivation, or spoons) to accomplish tasks that are more difficult or that require specific resources or tools later.

For example, writing a novel isn’t just about writing – I might also need to research, edit/revise, manage a story bible, create a timeline, plot/plan, AND actually sit down to do the clickety-clacks. But maybe I could plan in a notebook on my lunch break, no computer necessary? Maybe I could research on my phone during my commute? Then, with my planning and research done, I could sit down to type later, and actually get something written.

So… if you’re like me and you struggle to “find time”, try these two things:

1. Remove barriers: if there’s something stopping you from working on your project, think about how you can make progress without having to overcome that barrier. For example, I often don’t want to sit at my computer in the evening – my shoulder hurts, my eyes hurt, the office is cold – so on those nights, I sketch on paper. This adds a step when I eventually need to scan and move to digital, but the digital work goes so much faster, and I can choose a better time to do it. All the faces in my “True Self” gif above were sketched on paper, first. I can sketch on paper in front of the TV or even outside, which means I can get some mental rest, sit somewhere comfy, and still get something “done”.

“Removing barriers” can also mean investing in the right tools or changing your work space/time so it’s more inviting. When I do work at my desk, I turn on the heat and wear slippers. The idea is to make your creative pursuit as easy and inviting as whatever else you’d be doing to relax.

2. Create an effective workflow (or, break big tasks down into types of work): per the above, there are some tasks I can get done on paper – like sketching. There are lots of others I can get done on my phone – I take notes, I write, I read/watch tutorials, collect drawing references and even edit images. I can do that anywhere! It may not be as efficient, but it’s effective: minute-for-minute, I can edit images or type faster on a computer, but if I don’t get a chance to sit at my desk (or, if I can’t convince myself to do it), I’ll make more progress overall if I use my phone.

Let me know if this helps you, and until the next time, stay cool! ⛄

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