Defying Gravity

The end of summer vacation is always bad enough, but this year, Azilie Precalio is starting Intermediate Levels, and that means one thing: grounding. Before long, she and her classmates will be stuck on the ground, having to get rides from grown-ups and take grace lessons to keep from falling on their faces. Sure, there have always been rumors of adults who kept their flight forever, but everyone knows those are just silly stories. Everyone has to grow up sometime, right?

Defying Gravity begins as a lighthearted fantasy for kids who don't want to grow up, but it eventually tries to break down of the definitions of childhood and adulthood, to compare of the postive "childlike" to the negative "childish," to suggest that we can and should keep certain traits generally associated with children—starting with their sense of wonder—in order to become our fully-realized mature selves, but that there are also costs to doing so and things that we don't so much want to keep, although it's painful to let go of them. Though the idea is based on something I started writing in 1994 at age 12, I started work on this version of Azilie's story in August 2007. As of January 2009, I'm about to start the third draft of Azilie's story, and when that is complete and polished into a fourth, I hope to start sending it off to literary agents. For that reason, I don't have any samples of the writing available on this site, but if you think the story sounds interesting and would be interested in reading it and offering me some feedback, I'd be honored and grateful! E-mail me if you'd like to do so. (And yes, if you read and comment on my draft, I will read and comment on yours. See here for details.)

Though I'm not making Defying Gravity into a stand-alone site like my earlier projects, I've done a lot of illustrations for this story, which I'll share with you here.


A basic drawing of Azilie floating, which is now pasted to sky blue construction paper on the wall in the room where I do most of my writing.
Medium: Prismacolor pencil

1994-style Azilie

In the version of this story I made up when I was 12, Coralians had tails and wings as well as the puffs on their heads.
Medium: Prismacolor pencil

Cast/Concept Poster

All of the major characters and several secondary ones, too.
Medium: Prismacolor pencil

Rough Marker Sketches

Right after I got my set of Copic markers, I did this quick sketch of many of the characters to get used to the medium. It's no great work of art, but you can see even more of the characters than in the last picture.
Medium: Copic marker

Scene: At the Lagoon

Azilie and Chihi playing above the Lagoon. This is one of my favorites. I love that the green used for the shallow water is from a marker called "Coral Sea," which is exactly where this story takes place! And where, by coincidence, I went on vacation while writing this story. The color is exactly like that in a photograph I bought.
Medium: Copic marker

Scene: In the Hallway

The kids between classes at West Bay Intermediate. For some reason it seemed like the locker contents are what really brought this picture to life. You can tell a lot about the characters from how they look here, I think.
Medium: Copic marker

Scene: Electric Storm

I imagine the cover to the book could look something like this.
Medium: Copic marker

Profile Book: Azilie

I have a sketchbook that I'm using only for these profile portraits, focusing on one character and one appropriate background at a time, and I started with Azilie. This picture captures her attitude really well.
Medium: Copic marker

Profile Book: Questri

And this one does the same for Questri. I was pleased with how well I got both of their personalities down in these pictures.
Medium: Copic marker

Profile Book: Chiharrie

Chiharrie's feet obviously would not be on the ground here, but you can't see that, so you'll just have to take my word for it.
Medium: Copic marker

Web Avatars: Azilie · Questri · Solar · Chiharrie

I found this avatar maker while I should have been working on the story and put together some of Defying Gravity's major characters. Of course I had to add the puffs on my own afterward.
Medium: CG

There is also spoiler art, available only to those who read the story so no one can accidentally look at it and have it spoiled to them. I've you've read the story, I've probably sent you the link, but if I haven't, let me know and I'll send it straight to you!

And there is also gift art!

Azilie by Ivy

Here is a drawing that my friend Ivy did for me of Azilie for my birthday in 2009. In the words of the artist, "I don't know why the music notes. Just seemed to need an extra personality dimension at the moment." :-)
Medium: Copic marker

Azilie and Ivy by Fred

Fred drew this picture of Azilie at the food court with Ivy (the character of the previously mentioned Ivy). Azilie does enjoy sprinkles on her ice cream!
Medium: Copic marker

If you'd like to follow the progress of Defying Gravity, subscribe to my writing journal—please send me a note to say hello when you do so. If you're subscribed to the update list, I'll send you an e-mail when I add new artwork or if I offer sample chapters publicly.

One last note: I do know that Defying Gravity is the name of arguably the most famous song in the popular musical Wicked. I knew of the song when I came up with the title, but I hadn't heard it. I later sought it out and listened to it and loved it—and it could almost be Azilie and Questri singing! So if the song title already has an image attached to it for some readers, it's an image that works. I'm not sure I'll be able to keep this title if I ever get this book published, but for now, that's the working title, and it works pretty darn well.

Stories / Home