On My Way to Steal Your [Steampunk] Girl

For months now, whenever I’ve told anyone about my concept for a YA steampunk time travel adventure featuring a young female protagonist, ears have perked up all around as people’s faces relax into a smile that’s full of interest and imagination. That’s great – and it’s more than most writers could hope for in response to their book or series idea. It’s a popular concept. As it turns out, it’s so popular it’s kind of already been done before – in a way.

My art teacher encouraged me to look for similar images to what I plan on doing and try replicating that work. For months I didn’t find anything like the story I have planned, but a couple of weeks ago I encountered this.


Hullabaloo is the story of Veronica Daring, a brilliant young scientist who returns home from an elite finishing school to find her father–the eccentric inventor Jonathan Daring–missing without a trace!

Hullabaloo is an Indiegogo project that’s gotten a lot of traction – and even more support from over ten thousand  financial backers. They’ve raised over 500% of their original target, and as a result have made I think 4 short films at this point. They’ve taken this project pretty far, and are still looking for a feature film to come out of this.

The team, which seems to be mostly male and mostly white, are mostly animators looking to save 2D animation from the trash heap of history. So their main goal is to make a feature-length 2D animated film. They are tied more to the medium than the story or characters in that sense, but the characters and story are also the main selling points for their project goals.

For Sophie’s steampunk adventure project, the medium is as yet unfixed and may not ever compete head-to-head with Hullabaloo. And while there are some similarities, the basic storylines are so different that I doubt anyone could ever get them confused. Our young heroine might never hold a ray gun, whereas theirs comes preloaded with one. In their story, the father is the tinkerer; in ours, it’s Sophie herself. While Veronica Daring will embark on a journey to save her father, our Sophie character will embark on a journey whose purpose is unknown to her at the time, but which will lead her to discover some basic truths about who she really is.

But for all the differences in storylines and characters, their visual representations may be quite similar – which is why it made sense for me to complete the digital sketch of Veronica Daring featured in this post. It goes a long way toward showing what kind of character we will be presenting, and the digital sketching process itself has helped to train my hand as well. And although drawing the face was challenging and took about 8 hours, I expect my next effort will take even longer because it’ll be a full body image, and oh those Victorians and their clothing details! I hope I can manage to keep her corset on straight while also not knocking her bustle too far off to one side…

More on that to come! For regular updates about this and my other storytelling projects, follow my blog or hit me up on social media. I have a feeling it’s only going to get more fun as this steampunk project builds momentum.


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