The Realm Ethereal is a creation of fantasy themed art and stories. It is an ongoing project that explores the creation of new, fantastic characters set among fantastic worlds and realms. A blend of imaginative realistic art and storytelling are the hallmarks of this project. The characters and worlds in The Realm Ethereal exist as the storytelling vehicle for me to share the art and stories that emerge from this blend.

Q: What is this all about?
This is a web comic and it is free to read online. I envision this storytelling journey as a cosmic fantasy adventure. I’m creating it graphic novel style and releasing between 2-3 pages a week (sometimes more!) The plan is to offer a printed collection edition once certain story lines have ended and after a number of pages have accumulated.

Q: Who is creating, writing and illustrating this thing?
A longtime comic book fan and artist who has always had some kind of comic-book-making-hustle going on. 2019 is the year I finally went full-time making art. I literally just plunged right in. My name is Rene Arreola.

Q: How often do you update the website with new comic book pages?
The plan right now is twice a week, on Tuesday and Friday evenings. You can gain early access to artwork like previews and such  by checking out my Patreon. If you really like what I’m creating here and wish to support me, Patreon is a pretty nifty way to do so.

Q: Why is this called “The Realm Ethereal”?
A couple of reasons:
1) Drawing is like the easiest thing that comes to me, by far. When I’m really getting into my groove, I feel like I’m on another plane.

2) Drawing real life stuff like trains, planes and automobiles and such is cool, but drawing fantasy, sci-fi, and comic book art with a flair for imaginative realism is better. Being able to do so seems so ethereal.

3) Sometimes when I create, I work in a vacuum. When I do so, I can only explain the process as coming from some place only I can tap into for myself.

Q: Making comics takes a lot of time and energy. Why are you giving it away for free?
I’m not giving it away for free. I like to think of it as allowing people to become exposed to my work.

If you have any other questions, feel free to send me an email.
-Rene Arreola




I love drawing in ink. Ink is a lot more direct than pencil. It’s also less forgiving which is what I really like about it. I start with small ink sketches, mostly using some kind of ink brush. I have my favorite natural hair brush, the Winsor-Newton Series 7. I’ll use that for when I do my tighter ink drawings. But for  preliminary sketches, I’ll work with cheaper pen brushes.

Once I have the character design down, I’ll work out thumbnail sketches, often on the same page of the character design. I may add some gray marker tones to help with values, but I pretty much work to final drawing on one sheet of 8.5″ x 11″ paper from my sketchbook. After this, it’s time to capture the drawing digitally for preparing to paint.

From time to time, I will draw in pencil. For pencil preliminary drawings, I scan them in using an 11″ x 17″ scanner. Or, if it’s a smaller pen sketch, I’ll take a picture with my iPhone and save it for the next stage in my process. I find I don’t have to scan inks since they are darker than pencil drawings.

I “paint” digitally working on a 12.9″ iPad Pro using the Apple Pencil. The application I use is Procreate. Early on, I learned to paint using traditional mediums: watercolors, gouache, acrylics, oils, etc. Since February of 2018, I have been creating full color illustrations on the iPad (with some final editing and tweaks using the venerable Adobe Photoshop.) I’ve gone digital and haven’t looked back since.

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