Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Kitsurada - Land of Foxgoyles

One of the many new projects I'm determined to set time aside for this year is the developing of a few pieces of the larger fantasy world I have been creating. Fleshing out characters, timelines and histories, locations etc etc so that, in the not-too-distant future, I can create more stories and, hopefully, complete books about them. From children's books to fantasy shorts and perhaps one good full length book/novel or two somewhere down the merry road.

I began diving into this idea at the end of 2015 to allow myself a "running start" at the mountain ahead this year. :)

The first project I chose, though I was already strongly leaning towards it in November an December, was decided by a few lovely reviews and a message I received about my gargoyles in Bewilder and Pine. The review was from a customer who purchased a Fennec Foxgoyle and custom ordered one other Catgoyle to go with it.

The note was actually from a customer who purchased one of my very first Bewilder and Pine Foxgoyles almost a year ago and who kindly wrote to let me know that she not only loved it when it arrived but, that a year on, she still looks at it every day and smiles when ever she sees it in her home.

That note came just as I was beginning the long process of creating the map you see below and, with just a bit of doubt creeping in as it tends to on any new. . . and large. . . project, it was the last little "push" I needed to allow me to dive in fully.

Kitsurada is the mythical home of the Foxgoyles in my fantasy world. I have so much to flesh out so I cannot tell you much more right now but I chose this project to begin with for two reasons. One, I LOVE maps! Old maps especially and most games I played or made up as a child included some sort of treasure map, star map, forgotten world map etc etc.

I've always made them, even in my 20's and 30's I'd doodle them here and there on napkins or scraps of paper. And I cannot fathom a fantasy novel that does not include a good, informative map! And as I may have mentioned before, the series that brought me back to rediscovering my love of comics and really, my desire to delve deeper into the makings of childhood too, "Mouse Guard" by David Peterson, first captured my heart with the lovely map of that small mouse-centered world.

The second reason is my love of the many varieties of Foxes. And the idea of making the mythical creatures of this part of the world something based on "stone magic" appealed to me greatly. 

Of course, the mythical creatures have their very own mythical creature too. . . ahh so much for reality. :) 

But this is Kitsurada. . . still very much in progress itself.

Part 16th Century Map and Part Digital art and a Lot of Imagination
This project began with an old 16th century map. Though I altered the main island, the form of it just seemed perfect and, being in the public domain, I borrowed that main landmass.  wiping it clean of it's interior, I set about adding the forests, the lakes and towns, the ring of volcanic formations, the portolan lines, compass rose and scrolls. . .  and the Japanese inspired wave pattern that runs through the oceans was what really brought it to life for me. The whale and ship are from another 15th century map and I created the Kitsu Isles to the right arranging them in a somewhat fox-like formation. :)

The volcanic spires in the sea that surround the land protect it from raiding parties of ogres and trolls making it an almost insurmountable defense. . . almost.

Each of the seven forests are named for one of the Foxgoyle Breeds that inhabit/protect the populated central part of the island. Fennec, Kit, Swift, Red, Corsac, Azaras and Sechura. There is also the mythic tale of a nine-tailed creature living on the Kitsu Isles. . . very much like the modern Kitsune Foxes.

There is a developing backstory to the foxgoyles origins and their purpose.  But what is most fun for me is that the story grows with each iteration. I just finished the first of the Fennec and Kit foxgoyles for the shop this year (see a few posts ago) and just making those has given me a whole added dimension to the story as I went along working on them.

In the end, later this year, I hope to have the Foxgoyle story as a stand alone mini-book, hand-bound and printed with map included, to offer thru the shop or as a special addition to a Foxgoyle figure.  Perhaps the book will have a mini-mini Foxgoyle to go along with it? Who knows!

Anyway, welcome to another part of my world. . . I hope it inspires and delights!

Thank you for looking!



  1. Yes, it totally inspires and delights! I am always pulled in by any book with a map of the area or story! And what a beautiful map you have created!

    Oh and i hope you like your alice Hoffman book. I have not read that one yet, it's in my 'want to read' list. But i have loved every book of hers that i have read, at least 10 or more, so far.

    1. I LOVED "Foretelling" It really reminded me of "The Mapmaker's War" (which I think I mentioned to you long ago) and I finished it in two days (not my usual pace by any means). I will definitely be looking for more of her work in our county Library system.

      And I am so happy you liked/commented on this post. You know I was completely inspired by your story and map you showed us a peek at in your blog last year (any plan for that to go forward?) and yes, I also completely fall for any book with a map of an unknown land. :)

  2. Oh yes, i have so many ideas about the second of the 3islands, and how it all ties together in one sketchbook, but i keep putting off work on it because i am so close to finishing other things... I will get there someday soon though...

    1. Well, I look forward to seeing it grow whenever it is you do get to it and are ready to share it! :)