I found some old artwork of Mahri and I wanted to share a bit about her history.
She is one of my older characters that I’ve had since jr. high school. While she’s not a gypsy in Anaria, I was inspired by the gypsy foxes in the game Inherit the Earth that I bought around 1995. April Lee’s art in the guidebook was a huge influence on me at the time. It was rare back then to find artwork with anthropomorphic animals outside of cartoons, so it meant a great deal to me growing up. More than art, music inspires me. “Mystic’s Dream” by Loreena McKennitt was one I’d listen to on loop while drawing pictures of her.
I wrote a story about Mahri back then, but didn’t do much with her until 2003 where I drew her dancing with a scarf. It is the only original drawing I didn’t sell from that time period. A few prints were made, but since I was never super into selling prints or going to conventions, the numbers didn’t reach beyond 15 copies.
There was a companion piece to this image that was never started of the precursor to Gavin. He was a scholar like Gavin and had glasses, but I didn’t develop the idea further back then. I don’t know if the sketches still exist.
In 2009 I drew a picture of Mahri. While I didn’t keep it online for long it ended up inspiring others (for better or worse).
In the illustration she was a bit flirtier and “sexier” than she was meant to be, but it was probably due to me working on Gold Digger comics at the time.
It was one of the first digital images I did so it’s pretty rough close up, but this and the older picture of Mahri were published in “Furrlough Color #1” published by Antarctic Press and Radio Comix. It also included an older image of Lilian as well. Both were originally in science fiction novels, but somehow ended up in a fantasy setting in Anaria.
People thought she was a “harem dancer”, but Mahri is an illusionist dancer and a bard. The main reason I rarely drew her or shared images of her was that I didn’t like people taking a character that was important to me and just requesting fan service of her without actually knowing anything about her. If I didn’t have stories of her to share to tell her real story, I wasn’t going share artwork of her.
In late 2013 I started to revisit the stories I wrote in the late 90’s staring Justin, Mahri, and Lindia. I decided to develop Mahri’s love interest from the unfinished picture from 2003. I could only see him as a human so that’s where I went with the idea. A few months later I started Anaria and decided that what happened in Adanya played a part in Kaylee’s story. Later 2014 I began writing a short story where Mahri first meets Gavin, but I didn’t get too far into it.
While I somewhat regret not going forward with the original Adanya story, Kaylee’s story needed to happen the way it did for all of the pieces to fall into place for me. I feel as if I can finally do the story justice. I’m currently working on a book that covers how Gavin and Mahri met and the events that happened there to lead up to Anaria.
For now, you just get cute side stories of them. XD I would say that it’s weird writing a novel where the later events are already published. It’s not about the destination, but the journey.