Hi! I’m Deven Rue, an illustrator and cartographer here at Rue Ink. Okay, technically, I’m everything at Rue Ink, from artist to webmistress.
I thought I’d update this page and go into a little bit more in detail about me, what I’m doing, and where I hope I’m heading.
About my visual impairment…
I’m asked about this a lot so I thought I’d start off by explaining a few things. First, I was born this way. I cannot, will not, and never have seen the world in the three-dimensional way you do. I live in a two-dimensional world where color differential and shadows are how I tell something isn’t flat or how far it is from myself/another object. Though technically you do the same thing, you do it subconsciously where I have to focus on it in order to see it. If you see two objects overlapping of the same color without shadows, you’ll see two objects. I, however, most likely will not. This makes things a bit difficult and interesting in my life.
However, this impairment and need to focus on such defining colors/shadows means that when I go to create something, I bring that need over to my art. This is the “3D effect” that you see in a lot of my creations. Though I don’t see it quite like you do, creating maps/illustrations in the manner I do brings them to life for me like no other line drawings can. This is why I use so many colors and why they are often bright and defining.
Because I am fully capable of working from home, I feel that receiving financial assistance from the government would be taking it from those in the visually impaired community that need it more than I do. This is why I’m relying on my site & Patreon as means of support.
As to the “what about treatment or therapy” questions/comments, as I stated, I was born this way. I’ve had surgery, I’ve done therapies, I’ve tried treatments. Nothing has worked and so far there’s nothing the medical profession has been able to do for me. Sadly, the vision in the bad eye will only continue to deteriorate until eventually even the fuzzy lights I see out of it now will go dark. I appreciate the words of hope but trust me when I say, I’ve exhausted all avenues.
A bit of background…
I’m originally from Long Island in New York, about an hour or so drive from Manhattan. I am the youngest of six kids; 1 sister & 4 brothers. My mother is an artist and my father is a retired arborist. I was introduced to fine art at the age of 12, and introduced to D&D at 14. I wasn’t an illustrator when I started my art career, I was a painter. I had originally planned to get into creating fantasy art but was told that “unless [I] want to make fantasy novel covers” there wasn’t much call for it. That wasn’t my thing so I moved on to surreal work. Aside from painting, I was also an executive administrator and efficiency manager for most of my adult life.
In 2009, I gave up my corporate job to become a full-time artist. Only… I was a bit soured by the painting world. Galleries, collectors, agents all seemed so very out of touch with each other. There wasn’t a community, there were “buyers”. I felt no connection to the people who bought my art and I wasn’t very happy about that.
By 2011, frustrated with painting, I voiced my desire to take up a new art form that would give me much more diversity in both subject matter & admirers. My partner suggested pyrography (wood burning) and it was a love from the start. Within a short period of time, I found myself mastering the form and burning my way into a new community of like-minded individuals.
Yet it wasn’t until I shared a map I created for my favorite PC game, Skyrim, that things really started to take off. Though I had made several maps for myself or the players of my RPG campaigns over the years, I never thought about selling them or making them for others.
I can tell you the exact moment that I knew I needed to do this for a living. Ed Greenwood, creator of the Forgotten Realms, had received one of my leather maps as a gift. To hear his reaction to it blew my mind. To read of the reaction of the D&D community blew it even more!
In 2016, due to some medical procedures that required I not raise my blood pressure and/or not physically strain myself, I decided it was high time to brush off my pens and take up illustrating on a far more serious level. Especially if I wanted to up my cartography game. I’m proud to say that it worked out nicely and by the end of the year, I was dabbling with Copic markers and really bringing my creations to life.
2017 marks the year of Patreon for me, as my goal is to be able to create freely without worrying about making tangible products to sell on my website. I prefer the “Pay What You Want” system and though I’ll occasionally have someone come on and download every… single… item simply because it’s free, for the most part I’ve had an amazing experience with it so far. Which leads me into the next segment:
My mission in life…
As stated, my goal is to earn enough of an income through Patreon alone to support me as an artist. Though I love creating things with my hands and will probably never get rid of tangible products altogether, it’s nice to not have that as my main source of income. I’m free to spend more time creating original worlds filled with NPCs, cultures, quest ideas, loot, monsters, and more. I want to have a library of “free for small commercial use” illustrations for all those talented creators out there producing an endless stream of adventures, campaigns, and more for the RPG community. I hope to have first time and seasoned DM/GMs roll out one of my maps for a campaign they’re playing and wow their players. I want to feel as if I’m joining in their campaigns along with them.
In other words, I want to give back to the community that had given me so much! From late night dungeon crawls, to weekend long adventures, TTRPGs have created a space for someone with a very wild and vivid imagination like mine, can freely express themselves and be among friends. I’d love nothing more than to give that same sense of belonging, fun, and camaraderie to others in the community.
Eventually, I want to build entirely playable, explorable original worlds complete with everything one would need to delve into a campaign. I’d love to be able to off illustrations, maps, portraits, prop-making tutorials, quest ideas, cultures, histories, languages, religions, and more to any DM/GM who is interested in offering a much more immersive atmosphere for their players without having to spend the time doing all of the work.
Ways to support my art!
Of course becoming a patron of mine by joining the RueStar Membership on this site or on Patreon for any amount is greatly appreciated but there are other ways you can help support me as an artist:
- Like & share my posts. The more you do, the more exposure I get, the more people learn of my art. Find me on Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Google+, and Facebook.
- Buy art! Whenever you like something I created, add it to your shopping cart and offer to pay a little something for it. Even if you don’t use the download or perhaps add it as the wallpaper on your phone, tablet, or monitor. Plus, every time someone adds an illustration or map to their cart, I learn what creations people like most.
- Help me purchase art supplies, groceries, pet needs, & more via my Amazon Wishlist. The less I have to spend of my own funds, the easier it is to focus on paying my bills.
- You can always leave a little something in my PayPal tip jar.
Thanks for stopping by, for reading this far, and for your support in any capacity!