Spotlight

Learning to Love Yourself Despite What Life May Throw at You – Stars in Roses

Morghie is the illustrator and one of the writers for Stars in Roses. She’s from Canada and is an artist who likes to paint, illustrate, and make comics. She also teaches local art classes.

Steph is “livin’ in Southern Cali.” She’s one of the writers for Stars in Roses. She works at an aerospace engineering lab and is working towards getting a medical degree while finding time to try and learn a new skill or hobby for fun.

They are the creators of Stars in Roses.

Synopsis Van is just trying to figure out life, but being a closeted trans boy isn’t easy. Being recently diagnosed with type 1 diabetes certainly doesn’t help, either!

Stars in Roses is a story about learning to love yourself, despite what life may throw at you.
Recommended for older teens and up due to some heavy subject matter in later chapters.

Did you go to school for either art or writing? If so, what school?
Morghie has a BFA Visual Arts degree from the University of Regina. Steph has a Bio-Chem degree so, no.

What is the main genre of your comic? What appeals to you about that genre?
LGBTQ+ is the main genre of Stars in Roses. LGBTQ+ is a genre that can mean so many things to so many people, and in our opinion, it’s a genre that needs much more representation! Our stories from the LGBTQ+ community need to be heard.

Are there any other genres that apply to your comic?
Drama, Slice of Life, Romance.

What was your inspiration for the story?
Our inspiration has come from a few different places. Many of the events that happen are based off things we’ve personally experienced, and things our friends have experienced. Some of the characters are based off real people we know. We also draw inspiration from certain games such as Undertale, DeltaRune, Ace Attorney, as well as Morghie’s massive graphic novel collection, Steph’s anime collection, and her addiction to Hispanic soap operas. It’s a mix of things really.

Do you have any favorite artists or writers who influenced your style?
Morghie’s favorite graphic novel artists are Lucy Knisley, Melanie Gillman, Raina Telgemeier, Erika Moen, and Julia Wertz. She’s also an art nerd, and finds much inspiration from artists shown at local galleries.

How long does it take you to complete one page?
Morghie: Once the script is written, I will thumbnail about 10 pages in advance and I’ll work back and forth on sketching, inking and colouring about 5 pages at a time. I’m a multi-tasker and I find it next to impossible to work on just a single page at a time. Because of my multi-tasking, I don’t truly know how long one page takes to complete.

What is your process like for creating comic pages from start to finish? What tools do you use?
Morghie: Steph and I write the script together, make any changes or edits, and then I thumbnail about 10 pages at a time according to our script. I sketch the comics in my sketchbook, and then I scan them onto my computer and I ink and colour them in Paint Tool Sai. I created my own font, and I use Photoshop Elements 7 to add the dialogue. I do all the computer work using my Wacom Cintiq tablet.

Is your comic a finished work? If not, how long do you think you think it’s going to be when it’s complete? Is there a definitive ending or will you just keep going for as long as possible?
Stars in Roses is nowhere near finished. We update once a week, and it will be a LONG time before the comic is completed. We are estimating at least a few years. We don’t have the ending written yet, but it’s so far away we are not that concerned.

How many pages do you have complete at the moment?
50+ pages at the moment.

How long did it take you to plan the comic before even beginning to physically create it?
We had been working on this story for 2 years before the first update was even created.

What was the biggest hurdle you faced during the course of making your comic? 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?
I think the biggest hurdle was just not being happy with certain aspects of the story. It was a growing and learning experience, so I don’t think either of us would change that process.

What is your favorite part about working on your comic?
Morghie: My favourite part is getting to draw some of the shenanigans that the characters get into… well that, and getting to write with Steph and hearing positive feedback from readers!

Steph: I would say bouncing off ideas and dialogue with my bestie! 🙂

What is the most difficult part about working on your comic? How do you overcome it?
Morghie: There are times when I can’t figure out how to portray a certain action visually. I usually look up references and take a break to think about it. I’ll also ask for help.

Do you have a favorite character to write for? If so, why? Tell us more about them!
Morghie: Steph and I write for different characters. My favourite character that I write is Van. I enjoy writing for him because he’s such a little turd and it’s fun to write for a character who seems to be followed closely by trouble.

Steph: It’s between Deanna and Vivi for me. I love getting to write their different levels of sass but Deanna, she is the culmination of women in my life that have done a lot of good for me. Writing her is fun and I get to have her say things that have made an impact with me. I want her to be wise but also see that she’s a person who can still make mistakes.

Which character gives you the most difficulty to write for?
Morghie: For me? Nathan was the hardest to write at first, but we changed his personality a bit and I’ve found it much easier to write for him now.

Steph: Characters we haven’t introduced yet. I’m currently still getting a feel for their motivations, personality, and mannerisms that will correlate well to the story we want to tell as well as make them fit the environment we’re trying to make.

Do you have a favorite character to draw?
Morghie: Nathan and Van are the most fun to draw for me.

Which character gives you the most difficulty to draw?
Mystic! Her hair gives me a hard time.

Where can we find you?
Stars in Roses updates on Tapas and Webtoons. Once we get more traction, we will consider getting our own website.
https://tapas.io/series/Stars-in-Roses
https://www.webtoons.com/en/challenge/stars-in-roses/list?title_no=374569

You can find Morghie on Twitter as PZTigress, and Instagram as PurpleZombieTigress.
You can find Steph on Twitter as Musicalbuns87.
At the moment, we are not actively working on other comics, but Morghie has some in the works.

Anything else you want the people to know about yourself or your comic?
Some heavy topics will be covered in later chapters, so we recommend Stars in Roses for a 16+ audience.