Letters from Somnolescent December 17, 2023

happy five years: a seat at the table

by fiveducks

Hey! This year went by insultingly fast. I’m going to ramble about 2023, entering your mid-20s, collaboration, and goals.

At the time of writing this, I’ve just sent out the last of the somnolians’ Christmas boxes (little late, but you know, we’re only human). I put extra love into these ones. I’m putting less love into gifts for folks that I really cannot be assed to get gifts for. I guess I’m learning to prioritize.

2023 kicked everyone’s asses at different points this year. I’m still occasionally getting my ass kicked, it’s kind of a day-by-day thing. Overall, though? Optimistic. I just got a fun haircut. I’m feeling good.

This Wednesday marks five years of the group being official, and 2023 would have been the ninth year I’ve known Cameron. While I’ve only really been active for the past 1.5-ish years (which I chatted about in last year’s post), it’s wild this has been with me from my turbulent teens into my mid 20s.


While I didn’t meet a lot of my concrete goals in 2023 (didn’t really learn to play the bass, didn’t start taking photos with my vintage cameras, didn’t publish Wisp…), there’s been loads of self reflection, so I can’t complain. Plus I’ve probably written a solid 1000+ pages of Wisp storyboards this year and my art style’s made some big jumps, which helps me feel productive.

I turned 24 on November 8th. Officially mid 20s! Nothing changed, mind you, but I’m also a little ahead of the curve anyways—I live like a woman in her 30s (though I don’t have a doctor or a dentist, like a woman in her early 20s, hmm). Attitude-wise, like anyone, I’ve got a ways to go. I’ve been more mindful of my mood, recognizing when I’m overstimulated and planning ways to curtail it. I’m more aware of what I want from life, from my job, my partner, my creative work, and my home. I know what I want from me, to be driven and confident and nurturing and warm. Work to do in 2024, but I know myself better than I ever have now.

Speaking of being warm, I do hope those boxes I sent you guys feel a bit like a hug. I love my friends, and I love collecting and making goodies to send them. I’ll bake you guys something really nice if you ever come visit.

somnol in 2024

The word that’s been buzzing in my head for next year is collaboration. Somnol’s always had collaborative stuff going on, though when I was a hermit I didn’t really participate. A quest/roleplay a long while ago, but I’d mostly been on my own little island.

The nature of the group has shifted considerably since its earliest days, though. If you want a seat at the table, just take it. And I took mine! Last year it was baby steps, making a few characters for Pennyverse and Pinede. But we’ve got some good things brewing.

Cameron mentioned in his post about infrastructure upgrade plans, but we’re looking at updating the look of Letters and including banners from folks. There’s a bit of chatter about a somnol_v5 and taking it in a more collaborative, dynamic hub sort of direction. We’re working on a shiny (well, probably not actually glossy), physical somnol zine! I’ve been working on the layout for it, compiling content from folks, and I’ve never felt more in.

It feels good. 2023 had its tense, difficult moments, both in and out of the group. But the air feels clear right now.

And I can’t think of anywhere else I’d rather be, honestly. Do you know how cool-slash-haughty it sounds to be able to go “I’m in an art collective“? I mean, I usually just refer to Somnolescent as “my friends and I,” which is where the magic really comes from. But we’re, like, taking the art thing really seriously.

real quick art comparison

Oh yeah! Before I forget, I wanted to do a couple comparisons. This year I did some heavier lifting personality-wise than art production-wise, but I think I’m getting somewhere for my goal of stealing from drawing inspiration from Spider-Verse’s art style.

Here’s Dom’s ref from April:

And his new ref, from September:

Here’s a piece from January

And a kind of redraw from last month:

I’d also switched to Clip Studio Paint this summer and I love it dearly.

I know in January/February I’d been struggling, so it feels good landing on something that feels incredibly solid to me. Better proportions, strong linework, style. I think I’m where I wanted to be for art and I’m not too certain where to go from here, other than getting faster, more consistent, and better at backgrounds and props (though I think I’m doing pretty well there too, just takes effort). Now we make Wisp happen.

All in all, I think we’re in a good spot heading into 2024. As I get older, I find myself becoming more optimistic. There are people who love you, and problems that feel life-ending in the moment look small in the rear-view.

About fiveducks

Canadian writer/artist/hermit. The raccoon living in your basement.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *