Hi internet, my name is Keri. I’m a writer, illustrator and graphic designer living in central Illinois. You can learn more about me below. For more about what I do, read on my friend.
I find satisfaction from the creative process and enjoy sharing my work. Here, I will share my work, commentary on the process and links to the various other platforms where I share my work.
I'm also available for commission or colaboration. If anything I do fits with your needs, hop over to the contact page and drop me a line.
I'm a proud member of the Crystal Heart Imprints staff. I offer a variety of services designed to assist new authors in the production and publication of their books.
I create comic books using both traditional and digital media. The rates I list are very flexible. I'm eager to hear your ideas about working with me on your comic book project.
I have over 30 years of experience in graphic design using both traditional and digital media. I'm pretty picky about what commisions I accept, but I'm happy to discuss your needs.
Keri has been writing and drawing as long as she has been able to hold a pencil. Creativity and artistic expression have been an integral part of her life from the beginning. She was producing art for various freelance clients and teaching art to underprivileged children prior to graduating college. She attended Eastern Illinois University and walked across the stage to receive her degree in 1992. If you were there, she was the one with a smiley face on her mortar board.
After college Keri continued to work professionally in graphic design, traditional art production, and illustration. For 13 years this was with established production businesses such as WhiteCo MetroCom, Heroic Age Studios, Dynamic Graphics and the Decatur Herald & Review. She launched mushingirl.com in 2001, and since 2005 she has been accepting only select commissions for graphic design and illustration work, spending the majority of her time on family and a handful of personal projects.
While Keri was at the Herald & Review she began to write in addition to producing art. She had the great fortune to write play reviews, interview professionals for the business journal, write restaurant reviews and various lifestyle pieces for Limited Edition magazine. It was her friends and peers at the Herald & Review who inspired her to further develop her writing skills.
Most recently she been working with Crystal Heart Imprints to help encourage, develop, and promote local authors. They hold regular workshops for writers to share their work, brainstorm and flesh out projects, discuss publishing strategies, and just write. Keri is among the talented support staff of Crystal Heart Imprints, who offers a variety of author services at affordable rates for local authors.
What started out as a cathartic exercise to heal my heart, mind and soul through personal creative expression has become a passion to tell stories from this setting. Appalachia was originally approached as a writing hobby with heavy illustration. As I have grown as a writer it has evolved in positive ways, but I have never really given it the time it deserves to become something more.
I am proud of the in-depth world and setting for the story as well as the mechanics regarding how things work, and societies came to be. There are also several deep and developed characters interwoven into a history of events in the setting. My original approach was to provide myself with as much detail for the components of my story ahead of time so I could concentrate on telling the story well as I write it.
Being overly critical of my own work has been a life long hurdle I continue to trip over. My goal is to unlearn this restrictive behavior by sharing short stories online to introduce people to characters me, my friends, and family have come to love. The hope is that this practice will lead to a free and inspired approach to completion of the first novel. If that goes well, more may follow.
Shortly after graduation from college my goal shifted from working in the comic book industry to working for the artist bullpen at TSR. I have a deep love for epic fantasy and am a fangirl of LOTR, Dragonlance, the Alera Codex, Iron Druid, and far too many more to list. Dungeons & Dragons had been a presence in my life for over a decade at the time (over 4 now) and I worked hard in 1995 to prepare a portfolio and some material to pitch to the TSR artists at GenCon 1996.
I scraped together my pennies to have 1500 18 x 24 posters for giveaways. I drove the six hours it to get up to Milwaukee and hit the floor. A friend from college and I attended the convention and handed out all but a few of the signed and numbered posters. I also had the great pleasure to meet Larry Elmore and Jeff Easely. The latter told me something that crushed my bullpen artist dreams.
He told me about a little company called Wizards of the Coast who were putting together a bid to buy out TSR. He said they would not use a bullpen, rather, they would only be taking independent submissions. In reality, I would have probably had an easier time getting a submission used than being hired for the bullpen, but at the time I was crushed.
That didn’t avert my love for fantasy. I still play D&D with my family every other weekend (we are 2nd edition users) and I love every minute of it. I like to draw the characters they play and the NPCs I introduce. My fantasy art style has an obvious comic book lean to it, but I have a lot of fun doing the pieces. My son is a talented young artist and it is fun to share this passion with him.
I won’t go into detail about it, but prior to 2015 there were a series of unrelated events that took a toll on me emotionally, physically, spiritually and eventually mentally. I was in a very dark place in the summer of 2014 and the place I withdrew to for escape was the universe I had created for my Appalachia stories. My family and friends were a tremendous support during this time and as that year progressed I came back to a healthier place mentally and physically (to some degree).
In 2015, and since, things have continued to move in a positive direction. It was mid-January when my now wife and I began to date. Her youngest son and his friend were working on their novels and invited me to join a fiction writers group. The group met (and still meets) regularly to share work and updates as well as provide feedback and support for each other. I was elated to join.
I found, however, that trying to write any Appalachia related materials brought back the hurt I used it to escape from so recently. I had a hard time finding a flow with any of those storied again at that time. The work I was reading and the fiction I was enjoying on screen had a very modern fantasy element to it and I decided to take a dip into those waters. I drew inspiration from personal beliefs and interests that have grown into spiritual devotion.
MMXVII has grown to be a project I enjoy revisiting from time to time. My plan is to share short stories and artwork as I produce it. Perhaps, one day, it will grow into a book of its own.
Being me in this hectic and ever-changing world is a great deal of fun. I’m a planner, you see, so I block out the framework of a plan and schedule my time. I set deadlines, track my progress, journal the details and then plan some more. But I am also a leaf on the wind and will change direction on a whim if it so strikes me. Therein lies the rub.
The Launch went great! I made goals at the beginning of July, stuck to them, modified them, stuck to them some more and then finished on time. Sure, there were some hitches, because there always are, but my plan helped me to get around and over them without a major negative impact. So now, post launch, I am in full swing production of the first Appalachia Tales comic story. The plan was to have this 8 page mini story ready for Archon in October.
Enter my buddy Dave. Dave is another comic book creator in the region and someone I routinely share ideas and progress with. You can see some of his stuff here. So, we’re talking about our plans and what is next and I find out he is preparing for a micro convention right here in Springfield. And my brain starts doing it’s thing.
If I can finish my 8 pager in 3 weeks, I can be ready for THIS con. So now, revision of plans, restructuring deadlines, and lots of work to do. It’s possible I won’t have the 8 pager ready for the Springfield Mircro Con, but I will still be there with plenty of prints for sale. I’ll also share any progress I have made on the 8 pager in hopes of getting some feedback. Archon is still on the calendar too, but now the Springfield Micro Con is next on the horizon.
I’ll be sharing some progress and commentary as we approach the con on Facebook and Tumblr. I’ll be sharing even more for those who follow me on Patreon, and even MORE if you are a Patron. Keep an eye out here, too, as I will be getting the gallery for some of my older work set up as well.