My name is Alison Turjancik! ~ I am a Canadian (Norwegian-Welsh) digital manga artist, fantasy writer, and voice actor from Vancouver Island, BC!
I have recently released the first initial chapter of my webcomic, “Sea to Sky!” which you can read on Webtoon: (https://www.webtoons.com/en/challenge/sea-to-sky/list?title_no=855356) with plans to be developed into a proper comic dub down the line and produced by my own indie studio; (Open-hearted Reefs of Creative Arts, aka. ORCA)
What initially sparked your passion for creating content, and how did that desire evolve into the work you produce today?
InuYasha, to be honest. When I was around 10 years old, I discovered this beautiful and deep story, and began to teach myself how to draw the characters from the show. Which, it was learning how to draw in the anime art-style and falling in love with the stories within the InuYasha world that sparked my own desire to want to create stories that I could hopefully share with others. I hoped as a young girl, that someday I’d want to produce a story which would impact others the way InuYasha impacted and still impacts my life as a creative.
Your work touches on various themes and subjects. How do you choose which stories to tell, and what do you hope your audience takes away from them?
It’s a cheesy answer, but I sort of let the main characters of my stories tell me within the back of my mind. My IRL friends would tell you that I can whip out new characters with ease and often haha! There are 2 active stories I have in the works right now, and it always felt like the main characters of those stories, Aurka and Aurra, sort of banged on the glass of my mind palace louder than the other characters I’ve created these last 20 years haha!
I hope that people will be able to enjoy the stories and characters the way I felt when I first experienced InuYasha. With my writing, I always incorporate large parts of myself, and I hope people will be able to see themselves in my characters in ways that click with them. That connection, y’know?
In your opinion, what distinguishes independent content from mainstream content, and why do you think the indie scene is important for the overall creative industry?
Every individual is a living and breathing novel.
I always find mainstream content too repetitive in themes and character types, and in most cases, a lot overused tropes are still heavily utilized in mainstream content, despite us in the indie scene wanting something original, characters that are real, relatable in non-exhausted ways, and characters that grow that people feel a deeper connection to and thus feel inspired themselves to create within the indie space.
The indie community is flourishing with talented people with stories to tell, even if they themselves don’t notice that yet. Whether a story is completely just made up within your mind without taking anything from your own life’s experiences or you create emotionally and mentally deep projects in which you do take heavy inspirations from your life’s experiences.
I feel like there is far more freedom to do whatever you want to in the indie scene in regard to your creations, where with mainstream content, it feels almost too cookie-cut and repeated.
A blank canvas with a warehouse of supplies to your choosing VS a bookshelf from Ikea with incomprehensible instructions haha
Apart from your main work, what other avenues do you explore to engage with your audience, such as social media, live events, or merchandising?
Sea to Sky is still very new, but I hope to create merchandise and promote my current works (Artistic, Writing, and even my Voice Over) at conventions someday!
Creating content can be both rewarding and challenging. Can you share some of the struggles you’ve faced along the way, and how you’ve overcome them?
Some of the struggles I’ve faced while developing Sea to Sky, have definitely been both mental and physical. I’m certainly my most harshest critique and have fought with thoughts of, “What if people hate it?” and fearing that I’m wasting my time on something that might flop entirely. Physically, I suffer from carpal tunnel and juvenile arthritis in my wrists from art, typing, and hard labouring work. So often these days, I find my wrists in painful and excruciatingly uncomfortable flare ups from the tips of my fingers up past my elbows. Which leaves me unable to even draw a line on my tablet from the pain, and because of such I’ve had to take several more breaks than I’d have liked to in my artistic endeavours.
For the mental struggles, I try to push those harsh thoughts away from my mind as much as I can by listening to music that makes me feel good, eating something, and going for a walk in nature or by the sea. With my carpal tunnel and juvenile arthritis, all I can really do to overcome that in the moment is by forced drawing breaks and taking painkillers until the swelling and pain goes down enough in which I feel comfortable picking up that pencil again.
Are there any creators, artists, or writers who have been particularly influential or inspiring to you? How have they shaped your creative journey?
YES! Rumiko Takahashi is certainly the first and most prominent inspirational creative I’ve looked up over the last 20 years of being an artist and writer. Rumiko Takahashi has inspired many stories and characters of my own, which IRL friends have made little connections in the inspirations. The worlds Rumiko have created are vast and filled with so much personality in every corner. As mentioned, I hope to inspire young creatives the way Rumiko Takahashi has inspired and continues to inspire me!
Her story, InuYasha, is the most influential for me as there is still, to this day, sooo much potential for her characters within this world to be expanded on. 20 years later, her influence continues to push myself in creating vast worlds, organic and rich characters, and stories that make you laugh, cry, angry, and the many circles of emotion you can feel when experiencing a story.
I hope to do the same, someday!
For aspiring content creators, what are some practical tips and advice you would give to help them find their own voice and style?
Be open minded and take in media that fills you with ideas and a wide range of emotion!
Experiment with different writing and drawing styles, I know that when I first started drawing when I was 9, the only style I had to go off of was Rumiko Takahashi’s but from there, I continued drawing less and less in comparison as my muscle memory grew and over 20 years, while you can still some similarities, my style is my own.
Practice, Practice, Practice! Grow that muscle memory in your drawings and write whatever comes to you!
(Even if it’s a short story or a long-detailed novel, a comic of shorts, or a manga, just keep practicing. When I was around 11, I was doodling in blue pen ink; a sloppy comic revolving around my Utawarerumono AU characters haha. And while that story never really lived to see the light of day, I still have some scanned images of it somewhere on my computer haha)
Can you tell us about your creative process, from brainstorming ideas to the final execution of your project? How do you stay motivated and consistent throughout?
I’m going to be honest with you all haha — I don’t really have a set-in stone creative process. A lot of the time, my stories sort of just throw themselves at me. With Sea to Sky, for example, I draw and write as I progress through each panel and let the ideas come at me as they choose to.
I know that I try to have my middle arc and final arc as cemented as I can when I’m first hashing out ideas by myself or with my IRL friends, Lunarah and VTuber AstraNyx, in which we’ll often bounce ideas back and forth in private or group chats.
Another honesty moment, I don’t always stay motivated or consistent throughout my process of brainstorming as a lot of times I’ll have an idea and then next thing you know, that idea changes to something else completely. For example, in Sea to Sky, Aurka originally started out with blue and pink ombre hair before giving her, her iconic warm yet soft toned pink hair. Or even how her seashell became a crystal, that wasn’t in my original brainstorming when I first designed her.
I actually took a decently large break working on Sea to Sky, because I felt honestly quite down in the dumps due to several reasons, and left it on the back burner (But I continued to draw Aurka a lot. Like she was telling me to not give up on Sea to Sky!)
Sometimes chosen or forced breaks will help you develop that refreshing space in your mind palace and thus ideas will come soaring in when you least expect it to! (That’s what happened with Sea to Sky!)
How do you stay updated on the latest trends and developments in your industry, and how do you integrate this knowledge into your work?
Haha! Is it bad if I say I don’t? X’D
I try to avoid latest trends within the comic/manga space because I don’t want to just be another repeated theme amongst stories that are already overflowing (ie. Isekai stories haha!)
I prefer to just do my own thing to be honest, and if there are overlaps with latest trends, then that’s merely a coincidence and not intentional x’D
In what ways do you believe the creative industry is evolving, and what opportunities do you see for independent creators in the future?
I’ve certainly noticed a much larger boom regarding indie works. I certainly see more of indie stories being developed by larger studios whether they’re transformed into higher budgeted video games or even animated into cartoons or anime!
I certainly have this dream of having Sea to Sky turned into an anime one day ^_^ <3
Collaboration can be an essential part of the creative process. Have you worked with other creators or artists on projects, and if so, how have those experiences shaped your work?
I have collaborated with other creators in the past, and certainly hope to collaborate more in the future with other creators on projects! (I’d love to have cameos of other creators’ OCs within the Sea to Sky space in little ways down the line!)
It’s a lot of fun, and I find that collaborating helps expand my own ideas and keeps me less and less in such a tightly closed box. I have two characters in Sea to Sky, named Fern and Astra, who are collaborative inserts of my IRL friends & creators: Lunarah and AstraNyx!
There’s always space to grow ideas and collaborating I feel is something every creator should experience. It’s certainly helped me grow as a writer.
What are some personal or professional goals you have for your career? And how do you plan to achieve them in the coming years?
I personally would love to both create my stories and voice act full-time down the line someday, if possible!
Having hard physical copies of my webcomic, Sea to Sky! And I would love to get to the point with my novel, Relics of Hiraeth, in which I can feel like I’ve fully completed that first instalment and self-publish.
With voice acting full-time, I just have to keep plunking along in whatever ways I can to grow my career as voiceover is truly my ultimate love.
With Sea to Sky! and Relics of Hiraeth — I’ll continue working on them as much as I can without neglecting my other priorities, and hope that someday I’ll have made enough money on the side in order to publish the comic and novel (And hopefully see them on shelves here on Vancouver Island!)
Twitter: @ AlisonTurjancik , @ ORCA_indie
Instagram: @ TurjancikVoice , @ ORCA_indie