This post is gonna require some background so bear with me. Late last year, I held a Kickstarter fundraiser for the latest addition to my comic series The Ballad of Toby & Sara. Among the rewards offered were some commissions for original artwork. My friend Lori was lucky enough to pick up one, and she gave me free rein to come up with a painting.
I honestly had no idea what to do. But I did have an image in my head that I had been meaning to make, which also happened to be a character from the series that had not yet appeared. I made a drawing for Lori, and she gave me the green light to make the painting.
So, this is Sarai. If you've read Track 5, you know that the story has a double-sided nature to it, part of it taking place in present-day Omaha, the other part taking place in the ancient city of Nineveh in Mesopotamia. The connective thread between the two eras is the wandering archangel Raphael, who in the present story goes by the name Ray Azzarus. By the end of Track 5, we catch a brief glimpse of a young man named Tobiah who Raphael has been looking for in Nineveh, which coincides with his meeting of Toby Jasinski in Omaha.
This idea of counterparts is one of the key narrative hinges in the series, but it's taken time to establish. And so Sara Reynolds, the young woman that Toby has a crush on in Omaha, will have her own counterpart in the past in the person of Sarai, a young woman who bears similarities to Miss Reynolds, but has her own unique demons to fight (literally).
Confused? Yeah, it's a lot to understand. It's given me a lot of challenges as a writer and creator, and there are a lot of question marks still to fill in, one of these being where and how to introduce Sarai to the main narrative. But I at least wanted to give her a visual persona to inhabit, to at least bring her out into the world and give her some kind of existence in people's minds.
And one last thing: Sarai's dress was inspired by a number of artistic sources, most of them from Persia circa the 16th century C.E. This is a bit inaccurate since the Nineveh story takes place around 700 B.C.E., but the fashion fits with what I was trying to accomplish in the painting. At the very least, it's a place to start for the her design in the comic.