Stars Burn Out – A Fantasy Tale of Self-Love and Acceptance

Ky is a writer and illustrator from New York and the creator of Stars Burn Out.

Stars Burn Out is the story of Ryker, a trans prince, going through the coming of age process. In addition to understanding that there is love and acceptance within his friends and family, he needs to move towards loving and accepting himself. The story is high fantasy and takes place within a world of elves, faires, monsters, and so on. Ryker is expected to not only go on an inner journey, but a literal quest to recover the balance of the four realms.

Did you go to school for either art or writing? If so, what school?
Ive been attending college since 2014 I’ve attended 3 different schools, Suffolk community, The Art Institute of Nashville, and A third that id rather not mention. I graduate this December!

What appealed to you about the fantasy genre? Do any other genres apply to Stars Burn Out?
Fantasy has always played a role in my life. From the books I read to the games I currently play, fantasy of any sub-genre has caught and kept my attention. There’s something so mystifying about being able to close you eyes and say “today I’m storming the kings castle to free my village from his tyranny”. For Stars Burn Out, you can classify it as suspense, horror, drama, or even romance. It touches on each of those subject in a way that i had wish I’d seen coming up.

Why did you pick the title “Stars Burn Out”?
Other than the literal meaning, I chose Stars Burn Out as a metaphor for Aiaa/Ryker growing into something new and bigger than themselves. When a star dies they completely explode changing forever. It fit as Ryker comes to terms with who he is, he is inevitably changed forever.

How long ago did you start Stars Burn Out? Do you have an ending in mind or will you keep going for as long as you can?
I started Stars in 2007 or 2008. Originally it was meant to be story about myself and a few friends getting sucked into a fantasy realm but as I grew, so did the story. It morphed and created itself into a story with a deeper more powerful meaning. I have a plan to complete the story in about 50 chapters, originally 30, but if I have to continue to buff out any story details I have full intentions to do so.

Do you have any favorite artists who influenced your style?
I have tons actually! I find myself circling back to artists like DJ Kirkland, and Kris Tafefanka, and StarPyrate, and Reapersun. The influence is there but I also study life a lot.

What is your process like for creating comic pages?
I try to keep my process pretty linear. I start with thumbnails on paper, then I recreate the layout in Clip Studio Paint, Sketch, Ink, and Color. I used to do them all on paper just because but I found my productivity was lacking, I didn’t feel the want to finish them, so I switched completely to digital to get that feeling back.

How long did it take you to plan the comic before even beginning to physically create it?
I actually worked backwards! I started by illustrating the first chapter, getting incredibly frustrated, scrapping it, and starting over. Eventually I caved and sat down to write the story and plan the comic and I haven’t stooped since, I am honestly having a blast writing the characters and the situations rather than brute forcing my way through.

What was the biggest hurdle you faced during the course of making Stars Burn Out? If you could go back in time to the point where you just started making it and give yourself a pep talk, what would you say?
The criticism, there was (and still is) a lot of criticism that I as an artist find hard to take in and consider. Mainly things about my comics style consistency. I would honestly go back and tell myself to keep pushing, make each page better than the last because no matter where you start, making a comic is a journey with hurdles and a crowd of people watching. Just smile hard like you found the treasure you’ve been searching for.

What was your favorite part about working on Stars Burn Out?
Finding Aiaa/Rykers true design. There were several very uncharacteristic versions of them. It was very much a reflection of myself and accept who I am and the culture I’m part of. Giving them natural hair, and natural features was a great accomplishment for me as a creator and artist.

What was your LEAST favorite part about working on Stars Burn Out?
Mmm I want to say layout, figuring out which layout for the panels would work for the flow of the page is always a pain. I find myself dashing to my comic collection to see different layouts and find some inspiration!

Do you have a favorite character to write for? If so, why? Tell us more about them!
Alecks! He’s just a very interesting character all together, writing him finds me tapping in to my inner dad and making up terrible riddles and jokes. He is pretty much the Cheshire cat of the story, he pops in and out making his presence known while attempting to guide or confuse Ryker. His depth and shenanigans definitely come in more when the story escalates.

Do you have a LEAST favorite character to write for? If so, why? Tell us about them!
There is a character that appears in Chapter 6 or 7, she is a royal pain to write. Shes very much the opposite of me in every way. She is supposed to represent the selfish, and manipulative, abusive behavior I’ve experienced in my own life.

Do you have a favorite character to draw?
I love drawing most of the characters, they each have interesting designs that I’m attached to and individual styles that speak to their personalities!

Do you have a LEAST favorite character to draw?
I struggle with animals so any of the anthropomorphic characters I know I’m gonna have a rough time with. I haven’t designed them just yet because I want to beef up my animal skills.

Where can we find you?
Heres my linktree, it goes to several different socials as well as my comic:

Anything else you want the people to know about yourself or your comic?
I’m always open to talk! I love sharing my knowledge with other and I would love to hear what others think of my work, it’ll help me adapt more to critique!


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