Hi internet, my name is Keri. I’m a writer, illustrator and graphic designer with two basic categories for my fans and patrons. You can read more about me below.
I’ve been creating for a very long time. Some projects have grown from a cathartic exercise to more passionate projects. Others are brand new ideas in formats I haven’t played in for a long time. As an exceedingly creative individual, the list is likely to grow. I find satisfaction from the creative process and enjoy sharing my work. At MuShinGirl.com you will find samples of my work, commentary on the process and links to the various other platforms I share my work.
I am also available by commission in the areas I have some facility. In my long professional life, I have honed my skills as a writer, illustrator and graphic designer. At MuShinGirl.com you will find a list of the services I offer and the starting quotes for my flexible rates.
I am a proud member of the Crystal Heart Imprints staff. I offer a variety of services designed to assist new authors in the production and preparation of their books. For a full list of the author services I offer, and my rates click here.
I am versed in all facets comic book creation and production using both traditional and digital media. I am available to hear your ideas for utilizing my services for your comic book project or collaborating on a shared work. For a full list of the comic book production services I offer, and my rates click here.
I have over 30 years of experience in graphic design using both traditional and digital media. My studio time is limited by demand, so not all commissions will be accepted. I am currently receiving graphic design commission requests. To learn how to submit your commission request, and for a list of my design rates click here.
Keri has been writing and drawing as long as she has been able to hold a pencil. Creativity and artistic expression have been an integral part of her life from the beginning. She was producing art for various freelance clients and teaching art to underprivileged children prior to graduating college. She attended Eastern Illinois University and walked across the stage to receive her degree in 1992. If you were there, she was the one with a smiley face on her mortar board.
After college Keri continued to work professionally in graphic design, traditional art production, and illustration. For 13 years this was with established production businesses such as WhiteCo MetroCom, Heroic Age Studios, Dynamic Graphics and the Decatur Herald & Review. She launched mushingirl.com in 2001, and since 2005 she has been accepting only select commissions for graphic design and illustration work, spending the majority of her time on family and a handful of personal projects.
While Keri was at the Herald & Review she began to write in addition to producing art. She had the great fortune to write play reviews, interview professionals for the business journal, write restaurant reviews and various lifestyle pieces for Limited Edition magazine. It was her friends and peers at the Herald & Review who inspired her to further develop her writing skills.
Most recently she been working with Crystal Heart Imprints to help encourage, develop, and promote local authors. They hold regular workshops for writers to share their work, brainstorm and flesh out projects, discuss publishing strategies, and just write. Keri is among the talented support staff of Crystal Heart Imprints, who offers a variety of author services at affordable rates for local authors.
What started out as a cathartic exercise to heal my heart, mind and soul through personal creative expression has become a passion to tell stories from this setting. Appalachia was originally approached as a writing hobby with heavy illustration. As I have grown as a writer it has evolved in positive ways, but I have never really given it the time it deserves to become something more.
I am proud of the in-depth world and setting for the story as well as the mechanics regarding how things work, and societies came to be. There are also several deep and developed characters interwoven into a history of events in the setting. My original approach was to provide myself with as much detail for the components of my story ahead of time so I could concentrate on telling the story well as I write it.
Being overly critical of my own work has been a life long hurdle I continue to trip over. My goal is to unlearn this restrictive behavior by sharing short stories online to introduce people to characters me, my friends, and family have come to love. The hope is that this practice will lead to a free and inspired approach to completion of the first novel. If that goes well, more may follow.
To begin your journey into the world of Appalachia, click here.
Shortly after graduation from college my goal shifted from working in the comic book industry to working for the artist bullpen at TSR. I have a deep love for epic fantasy and am a fangirl of LOTR, Dragonlance, the Alera Codex, Iron Druid, and far too many more to list. Dungeons & Dragons had been a presence in my life for over a decade at the time (over 4 now) and I worked hard in 1995 to prepare a portfolio and some material to pitch to the TSR artists at GenCon 1996.
I scraped together my pennies to have 1500 18 x 24 posters for giveaways. I drove the six hours it to get up to Milwaukee and hit the floor. A friend from college and I attended the convention and handed out all but a few of the signed and numbered posters. I also had the great pleasure to meet Larry Elmore and Jeff Easely. The latter told me something that crushed my bullpen artist dreams.
He told me about a little company called Wizards of the Coast who were putting together a bid to buy out TSR. He said they would not use a bullpen, rather, they would only be taking independent submissions. In reality, I would have probably had an easier time getting a submission used than being hired for the bullpen, but at the time I was crushed.
That didn’t avert my love for fantasy. I still play D&D with my family every other weekend (we are 2nd edition users) and I love every minute of it. I like to draw the characters they play and the NPCs I introduce. My fantasy art style has an obvious comic book lean to it, but I have a lot of fun doing the pieces. My son is a talented young artist and it is fun to share this passion with him.
For a look at some of my fantasy work, click here.
I won’t go into detail about it, but prior to 2015 there were a series of unrelated events that took a toll on me emotionally, physically, spiritually and eventually mentally. I was in a very dark place in the summer of 2014 and the place I withdrew to for escape was the universe I had created for my Appalachia stories. My family and friends were a tremendous support during this time and as that year progressed I came back to a healthier place mentally and physically (to some degree).
In 2015, and since, things have continued to move in a positive direction. It was mid-January when my now wife and I began to date. Her youngest son and his friend were working on their novels and invited me to join a fiction writers group. The group met (and still meets) regularly to share work and updates as well as provide feedback and support for each other. I was elated to join.
I found, however, that trying to write any Appalachia related materials brought back the hurt I used it to escape from so recently. I had a hard time finding a flow with any of those storied again at that time. The work I was reading and the fiction I was enjoying on screen had a very modern fantasy element to it and I decided to take a dip into those waters. I drew inspiration from personal beliefs and interests that have grown into spiritual devotion.
MMXVII has grown to be a project I enjoy revisiting from time to time. My plan is to share short stories and artwork as I produce it. Perhaps, one day, it will grow into a book of its own. To learn more about MMXVII and what lies beneath the veil of our world, click here.
Excitement abounds as preparations for the site launch continue. I have been teaching myself HTML and CSS code through tutorial, trial and error. The result is the site you are reading this very moment. If you are here, you are either a friend, family or one of the very cool people I follow on Patreon. However you landed here, welcome, and thank you!
The site is still under construction for the official August 1 hard launch date. Throughout the remainder of July you will see other links on this page go live and secondary materials for the site publish. If you see any glaring errors in grammar or spelling, or if there is some odd image or link quirk, please reach out when you can. If you are here pre-launch, you likely have a way to reach me quickly.
In other news, Sketchbook Summer is in full swing. I am a little behind, but I am confident I will be caught up by the end of the month. There are a ton of prep items in my task list, so some nights the sketchbook has to take a pass. Nevertheless, Brandon Dayton’s summer art challenge is one I aspire to complete. Thank you, Brandon, for your wonderful challenge and inspiration.
Lastly, I had a fangirl squee last week when Jerzy Drozd mentioned me on the Patreon Lean Into Art podcast. He and Rob took a week off and posted re-broadcasts for us all. As if reading my mind, he selected a podcast from 2014 with guest host Brandon Dayton that addressed some of the very issues I am contemplating right now. So, HUGE SHOUTOUT to the Lean Into Art Guys and a GIANT THANK YOU to Jerzy for the perfect topic. If any of you are on Patreon, go check them out.