“Chibi Enthusiast”

post by: Ava Reiss

My bio states I’m an Author and Illustrator. Recently I’ve added that I’m a Chibi Enthusiast. Since then, I’ve been getting this question: “What actually is a chibi?”

Short answer: something “cute-ified”
Long answer: please refer to wiki.

This leads to another question, “What made you a Chibi Enthusiast?”
That’s an even longer answer…
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It started in 2014. While I was working on The Seed of Life
, book two in my Cycles of the Lights series. The main character’s name is Kameclara. I had played around with the spelling, considering Kamiclara, or Kamayclara. However, my husband being a Dragon Ball fan, wanted “Kame.” Nothing against the anime, but I wasn’t too thrilled by the logic. I wanted to be original. However, I did feel the name looked better with an “e.” Hence, it was decided.

Kame means “turtle” in Japanese. On a whim, goofing around with my husband, I made a very crude chibi sketch of Kameclara, with a turtle shell on her back. This image was passed between us numerous times as punchlines, never needing an explanation to elicit a chortle.

Once the novelty of “Turtle-clara” wore thin, I sketched chibis of my other characters. I enjoyed it so much, I went online and offered free chibi drawings to my Facebook friends, for a limited time. I lost count of how many I actually did… It felt like a hundred! They can still be viewed on my facebook page.

After the free promo ended, I thought I was all chibi-ed out. I turned back to writing. A few months later, as I was flipping through my drawing, another spell of inspiration hit. This time, I took up needle and thread. 

Well… I think this photo says loads on what that spell produced…
Ava buried by chibi dolls!

Years passed, and I still draw a chibi every now and then. Mostly, I appreciate other’s chibi-style of art. I’ve been told I should do a graphic novella of all chibi characters. I consider the workload and chuckle nervously. “Perhaps,” is my answer.

For now, chibis serve as a way to unwind. It allows me to stay in my story, even when I’m too stressed to edit. It’s a creative outlet that gives another perspective on my fictional worlds. There’s something charming about Kameclara- a strong, butt-kicking female operative- being illustrated as a cute, bubble-headed cartoon. 

The idea of a chibi graphic novella is appealing to me. However, I’m afraid if I take it on as a formal task, the style will lose its magic to me. For now, I will leave you and my chibi fans with these:

Thank you for reading! Ava hopes to have a new blog post every first Tuesday of the month. Ticana Zhu will be posting on June 18th, elaborating on painting with words.
This is not a sponsored post.

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