M. Sorcier in 50 Questions or Less

Today we have an excellent and informative chat with M. Sorcier, creator of Sacrimony and a number of other neat projects. Read through and check out the links! It will be time well spent.

1. Who are you?
I’m M. Sorcier, I’m a self-taught artist and writer and creator of Sacrimony: A Tale of Love, Life and Death – In No Particular Order.

I also run a website that features interviews with webcomic creators called Ink, Sweat and Tears, which can be found here: http://www.inksweatandtears.com/

2. Where are you from?
The tall abyss, aka: New York.

3. Introvert or extrovert?
I’m an extroverted introvert, if that makes sense? I love talking to people but it’s exhausting and I need time to recharge afterward. I’m a small gathering type of person as opposed to a large crowd person because I value personal connection over general large crowd small talk.

4. What’s your sign? (Interpret this however you wish. Any system or a literal sign.)
I’ve always been a fan of the old skull and crossbones. I don’t even care much for pirates, though being able to show up to work drunk is always a plus. It’s just that I’m an aspiring necromancer and anything associated with having skeletal minions always brings me joy. … I wonder if necromancers can show up to work drunk?? Hmmm….
[I suppose this depends on what kind of necromancer you are. If you’re an undead necromancer can you even get drunk?]

5. Is the above sign accurate or not? How so?
Yes. 100% accurate. It wards off people who don’t like bones and attracts those who do. I have an interesting friend circle.

6. Pets. Do you have or would you like any?
I used to have guinea pigs and they were wonderful pets. I used to refer to them as “fluffy antidepressants” because you could have the absolute worst day, look over and see your guinea pig taking a poop and be like “AWWW THAT IS THE CUTEST LITTLE THING EVER!!” Sadly, my financial and living situation right now prevent me from raising more piggies but I have so many fond, wonderful memories. I had 5 in my entire lifetime and each one was so different from the other.

7. What are you currently working on?
Aside from working on myself and trying to find some form of peace in this world of existential dread and the disease apocalypse, I’m working on a story called Sacrimony: A Tale of Love, Life and Death – In No Particular Order.

Sacrimony by M. Sorcier

It’s a story about a lot of things:
-A demon-winged teen-aged girl trying to find her place in the world
-A single, immigrant mom trying to raise her demon-winged daughter in secret while also trying to “make it” as an actress in the big city
-A fallen god who now roams the mortal realm, seeking redemption for crimes committed against another god
-An idealist who wants to save the world but can’t even take care of his failing health
-A paladin who gave up a chance of a normal life in order to be there for his ailing best friend
-A mysterious, queer, red-eyed enigma who doesn’t quite understand what it means to be loved
-A bunch of selfish and terrible gods

And while all these things seem like concepts that are very “out there,” Sacrimony itself is a very “human” experience. It deals with character relationships, familial ties, unconditional friendship, coping with being dealt a bad hand in life and just… trying to get through life as best as you can, just like all of us right now.

You can find it here: https://www.sacrimony.com/
And on webtoon: https://www.webtoons.com/en/challenge/sacrimony/list?title_no=530256

8. What do you call your work and why? (Comic, webcomic, webtoon, graphic novel, etc.)
I call it a comic. I feel like anything else is too specific for what it is. Sure, it’s a webcomic, but I also want to have it in print and it’s not exclusive to webtoon, soo… Yeah. Comic. It’s a general enough term to encompass all the other things.

9. You have three to five words to convince me to read your work. What are they? (Bonus points if you can do it in fewer.)
[We have a winner!]

10. Are you working with anyone else on the above project? If so, who?
It’s just me all by my lonesome. I love it though, because I love every aspect of the creative process and much like Rick Astley, I wouldn’t want to give any of it up.

11. What comics or other projects have you worked on in the past?
In 2012, I was going through a serious bout of ongoing depression and had no idea what to do with my life, so I began creating a fun, silly comic to pull myself out of the funk and keep myself drawing and making comics. It was called “The Misadventures of Buddy and Friend.” I started publishing it online in the beginning of 2013. You can still read it here: http://buddyandfriendcomic.com/ I had to put it on hiatus to work on myself and life but one day, I’ll pick it up again.

12. Do you have any formal art or writing education?
Nope. I’m entirely self-taught and while that’s disadvantageous in a lot of ways, I feel like there’s still a plus side to it; that plus side being that I’m able to think outside of the box, because “rules” haven’t been drilled into my head.
[I feel like being self-taught should not have a stigma associated with it. I think it’s more about how dedicated you are about what you’re doing. People who really love something will find a way to educate and improve themselves. Having a “proper education” is not the only way to learn in life.]

13. Have you had any education that has unexpectedly proved useful in your work?
Probably just my education in the school of life, which has helped a lot with writing a “human” story.

I like studying things like relationship dynamics between different types of relationships, whether it be friend, family, “more than friends”, etc and thinking about things like cause and effect in emotional situations. Understanding the “why” behind certain actions is kinda the core of Sacrimony, as well as analyzing the “what now?”

14. What do you feel you still need to learn?
Honestly? Everything. I know I know things but I always feel like I want to know more. I am greedy for knowledge.
[This. This is the attitude of a well educated person.]

15. What have you done to educate yourself about art, writing, comics, or life?
I go through weird cycles of reading as much as I can, not retaining anything at all and being frustrated that things don’t “click” right away, then I walk away and maybe months down the road, things start making sense. I guess I’m kind of a late learner in that sense. I don’t like to get hung up too much on things like step by step tutorials, because a lot of the times, the way someone else does something doesn’t mesh with the way I work, so I like to read things about how to rewire my brain itself and change the way I think than how to do exactly what someone else does.

16. What is a quote that resonates with you?
“In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.” ― Douglas Adams
[I concur. Definitely a bad move.]

17. What genres do you most enjoy when consuming entertainment?
I don’t have a genre preference really, but I enjoy character-driven stories that feel deeply personal. I don’t mean personal to ME, but just personal to the characters. I like stories with believable character connections and bonus points if most characters are morally grey. I really hate cardboard cut outs of “good” vs “evil” characters that are set in stone. People are capable of both good and bad.

18. What genre/s does your current work fall into?
It’s a drama first and foremost and a fantasy story second. Even though there’s lots of fantasy bells and whistles going on, it’s still a story about family, friendship and love, at the end of the day. There just happens to be gods and demons and magic and stuff.

19. Why did you choose that genre for your project?
I chose drama because I wanted to write the type of story that I wanted to see and the type of story I know best. I chose fantasy because I enjoy the limitless creative freedom that it offers and I love doing fantasy character designs.

20. What creators, comic or otherwise, do you draw inspiration from?
Some of my main inspirations when I first picked up drawing were Naoko Takeuchi of Sailor Moon, Yoshitaka Amano, Ayami Kojima and CLAMP. There’s not a huge trace of their influence in my art right now as I eventually grew into my own style, but what stuck with me is a love of detailed, graceful character designs.
[Yoshitaka Amano’s work is amazing. I’ve been a fan for years.]

In terms of writing, I’d say Neil Gaiman’s Sandman because it was a huge awakening experience for me. Up until I realized Sandman existed, I thought that comics could “only” be superhero stories and nothing more. Then, I read Sandman and I was like “THIS IS A DRAMA! ABOUT PEOPLE!” and it sort of sparked me to go in the direction I’m currently traveling in.

21. What is your favorite comic?
That’s a tough one. I guess I’d say Sandman, not because I think it’s “the best” but just because there’s such a deep, sentimental attachment to it. Second on the list, I’d say SAGA because, despite the flashy space stuff and alien races, it’s a drama about a family just trying to get by and raise their kid and no one is perfect there.

22. Have you tried to adapt some aspect of your favorite comic into your own work?
I’m so set in my own ways, I wouldn’t even know how. I’m of the mindset of “just because I like this doesn’t mean I have to DO it.”

23. What tools do you use when making your comic?
I use Clip Studio Paint for thumbnails and layouts, then I print out a rough layout and pencil it with a lightbox, then I scan it in and ink and color in CSP. Sometimes I also just pencil in CSP depending on my mood. My brain fluctuates between traditional and digital art modes and I usually just go with whatever I’m feeling that day.

24. Can you walk us through your creative process?
I always start with the text first, because I never know how much space it’s going to take up. Then, I’ll do the rough layout stuff around the text, moving things as need be (thanks, digital art!). Once I’m happy with what I came up with, I’ll refine the roughs a bit, pencil, then ink and flat color as I’m inking, and then go on to rendering. Finally, I’ll give the text another look over and edit the dialogue if I ended up coming up with anything better.

25. Do you listen to music at any point in your creative process? What kind and why?
If I’m drawing, guaranteed I’m listening to music. I don’t have a preferred genre, but I did make a playlist of “Sacrimony-related” songs to keep myself in the mood. Whatever I’ve heard that reminds me of a specific character or scene goes into the playlist. Most of the time, it’s a lot of metal, but there are still a lot of other random genres there, too.
[“… a lot of … random genres …” is just my music collection in general. 😄]

26. What is the best beverage and/or snack while working on your comic?
I love hot beverages so there’s lots of tea involved. Or coffee in the mornings. I don’t do caffeine after 1pm so everything from then on is decaf.

27. How long did you spend planning your project? Is this normal for you?
Considering Sacrimony is the only project I really “planned” (Buddy and Friend was spontaneous and made up as I went along), I can’t really tell what’s “normal” for me.

I probably spent over 23 years planning Sacrimony because I’ve had all these characters for such a long time. As I grew and changed, they grew and changed with me and evolved out of their 1990’s/early 2000’s edgelord phases into something way more palatable.

I mentioned a huge bout of depression that lasted from probably like 2009-2013 where I barely did anything creative at all and I was just trying to figure out life in general and what to do with myself. I had totally given up on Sacrimony at that point because I just couldn’t think clearly. In late 2013, I picked up Sacrimony again in late 2013 and that’s when things started REALLY coming together in a much less haphazard way.

So long answer: over 23 years
Short answer: 3 years and then I started publishing in late 2016.

28. What is your favorite part of your comic?
Being able to meet new people who enjoy what I do and form genuine connections with them. I’ve made so many wonderful friends just through the comments section and my Sacrimony discord server and I’m really grateful for that because their support and awesomeness keeps me going.

Also, I love watching my babies grow. As every scene wraps up, it’s amazing what I end up learning about them and I get so many ideas on how to proceed with future scenes. Just seeing them actually out there, doing things brings me so much joy.

29. What do you feel your strengths are as an artist?
That’d be character design. I love drawing outfits that reflect a character’s personality or situation and things like this keep me up at night. Like “oh man, I gotta draw this outfit or I’ll never fall asleep.” Everything is carefully thought about from color palette to little details and it’s one of my favorite parts about putting my characters “on screen.”

Sadly, because I’ve devoted a lot of time to character design, it’s left me weak in some areas, namely environments and backgrounds and I’m working really hard to change that right now. It’s not that the ones I do now are “bad”, but it’s just a struggle and takes me a long time to figure out what needs to be done. I’d like to get to a point where it comes across more naturally to me.

30. What do you think your strengths as a writer are?
I know how to write characters that act and feel like real people. It’s the thing that my smol cult following of readers always praises me for, so I’ll take their word at it.
[Yay for readers!]

31. What do you want people to get from your work?
I want people to look forward to seeing what a character is going to do next with the situation they’ve been given. I want people to root for my characters or deeply, passionately hate them. I want to see heated debates on whether certain characters are a**holes or just victims of circumstance. I want people to sit around and psychologically analyze character behaviors like this is some kind of twisted social experiment.

But also, I just hope people are entertained enough to want to see more <3

32. How do you decompress when you need a break?
I’m very big into self care nowadays so sometimes I’ll just lie on the floor for a half hour with my eyes closed or I’ll do something fun and novelty-ish like a sheet mask. I also love cooking and I do that as much as I humanly can. I’ll also play games with friends (shout out to IST jackbox games!) or I’ll just chill and talk to people.

33. How do you define success for yourself? What is your goal?
It’s hard because it’s human nature to shift the goal post further and further back every time we hit a milestone and we also constantly compare ourselves to others who we consider to be more “successful” than us.

Would I like to make a living off of Sacrimony full-time? Absolutely. Do I think it’ll happen? Probably not, because that’s like winning the lotto. There’s so much great content out there and it’s easy for my own comic to get lost and not gain traction so I try not to think about that.

Nowadays, I’ve brought the goal post much closer to me and really, as long as I still love what I’m doing and there are others who love it too, that’s the best I can hope for. Anything else.. well you know. Cake. Icing.

34. What is your favorite dynamic between two or more characters in your story? Describe it briefly.
The dynamic between Ankhiel (the “main” god/dess who rules over heaven) and Zennet (technically the devil, who rules over hell). They don’t get a lot of screentime, but guaranteed if they’re onscreen, it’s going to be memorable, whether it’s because of their outlandish costumes or their dysfunctional dynamic.

35. Why does the above dynamic appeal to you?
Sure, there’s the god/devil thing going on the surface but that’s such a small, superficial thing in comparison to the bigger picture. When you look past the heaven/hell aspect, it’s actually a story of a mother and her estranged son, wherein the mother is constantly trying to win back the son’s affection, only to have the son go “I HATE YOU MOM! YOU SUCK!!”

It’s implied that Ankhiel did SOMETHING to make Zennet hate her so much but we’re not at the point in the story to reveal it.

And as sad as it is, there’s just something so… funny about it. I kind of picture like… a mom trying to win over her angsty, teenage edgelord son with a shiny new game system and the son being a complete and total hateful little sh*t and I can’t stop myself from laughing.

They’re gods, but it’s such a stupidly human relationship and I love it so much.

36. Who do you think your audience is in no more than ten words?
People who love drama and gossip.

37. What, if anything, would you like to get from the/a comics community?
I love seeing the community being supportive of each other. That’s it. Like, we’re all friends here so let’s uplift each other as much as possible, even if we don’t have time to read each other’s comics.

I love being able to meet new creators and exchange old war stories of our experiences with art and writing but I also love just being able to get to know more about them as people.

I also want webcomics to be taken seriously as a whole and make people realize there’s more out there than just stuff on Webtoon.

38. What is the most important thing you’ve learned? (Comics related or otherwise.)
I’ve learned to separate myself from my work. My comic isn’t a reflection of me or my worth as a person and it’s not what defines me. As much as I love it and as much as I love my characters and as eager as I am to continue telling my story – it’s just a story and there are many other facets to me as a person.

Having one’s worth intertwined with their project is dangerous and toxic because if your work doesn’t take you to where you want to be, it kills your self-worth and you end up feeling miserable about everything. I was losing sleep working on it, I was neglecting my health, I lived in constant anxiety over whether or not I would “make it” and I barely talked to my friends because I felt so much pressure to keep working and MAYBE something good would happen.
[I feel this so much it hurts.]

I only realized this when I was keeping track of my feelings in my personal journal and night after night, there were only anxiety-filled entries about how hard I work and how I seem to be going nowhere. It was then that I decided that I needed to set some serious boundaries with my comic and only work on it at selected times and no more than that.

The moment that I stepped back and disentangled myself from the comic, I felt so much better and so much more like a whole person.

39. You can choose one person to be your mentor for a day. Who do you pick and why?
Stone Cold Steve Austin. I dunno why or what he’d mentor me in but he just seems like a cool guy.
[Seems legit to me. You never know what someone may have to teach you.]

40. You can hire anyone in the world to create an original soundtrack for your project. Who do you pick and why?
Kamelot. So many of their songs are already on my “Sacrimony playlist” and their operatic/dramatic style of metal fits with the whole story so… why not??? It’s such a good match.

IN FACT, the title “Sacrimony” was taken from a Kamelot song because the word just fit my comic so perfectly. “Sacrimony” basically means a pointless customary sacrifice and it’s just… it’s so good.

41. Early bird or night owl. Why?
I used to be a night owl with bad sleeping habits but now I consider myself a “moderate daylight person”, sleeping from midnight to 8am. The bad sleeping habits were attributed to literally losing sleep over my comic and once I dealt with that, my sleeping habits just kind of fell into place.

42. Pick a card. Any card. (Standard playing card, Tarot, Pokemon. I don’t care.) Why that card?
TRAP CARD!! Just because I like saying it.

43. What is your favorite tabletop/board game?
Definitely Dungeons (and Diners) and Dragons (and Drive-Ins and Dives). There’s so much freedom for storytelling there and it’s amazing.

44. What is your favorite video game?
Final Fantasy Tactics. I love me some tactical strategy games and I also love the entire story concept and how elaborate it was.
[A classic. I have the later GBA games.]

45. Do you have any hobbies that have worked their way into your comic?
I have a character that’s just begun realizing she likes to make up stories, if that counts.
[Sure. I’d say that counts.]

46. If you were going to recommend one comic aside from your own for us to read, what would it be and why?
Monstress. It’s beautiful and there’s so much good world-building there.

47. Where can we find your work?
Sacrimony Main Site: https://www.sacrimony.com/
Webtoon: https://www.webtoons.com/en/challenge/sacrimony/list?title_no=530256
Twitter: https://twitter.com/metalsorcery/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/metalsorcery/
DeviantArt: https://www.deviantart.com/msorcier
Ink, Sweat and Tears: http://www.inksweatandtears.com/

48. Do you have a Patreon, Ko-fi, or any other page you would like to point people to?

Most people go for the “Director’s Commentary” tier because it’s fun to read my ramblings on why I did certain things.

49. If it has not already been revealed, what is the most important thing we should know about you?
I don’t have rabies (as far as I know). Also I want to give a shoutout to all the wonderful people I met through Ink, Sweat and Tears. You all are the real MVPs <3
[You are too! 💪]

50. What, if anything, would you like to ask me?
What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?
[African or European?]