It's been a long nine years since I'd first came up with Raziya, back when she was still called Rachel the Ravenous. Heck, still a long seven years if you count when I really started using her with some semblance of her final design. In those seven to nine years of her existence, she's grown alongside me and became her own thing. Originally she was a Nala or Kiara expy for a Lion King inspired RPG Maker project, and originally more an Arcane Trickster by D&D terms.
But these may or may not be bits of behind-the-scenes lore you already know, and maybe you've seen her grow up alongside me for nearly ten years. Ditching the dagger for a quarterstaff (or a clawed gauntlet); retraining from illusory magic to fiery chi powers; losing the wrap on her upper arm and her necklaces; exchanging guileful skill for a faith in fire; realizing she had been born in the body of a he. Even trying on blonde hair and a vastly different outfit!
It's been many years that I've poured into building this girl from her base materials. It's been many years that I've been an adult and discovered more and more of myself, healing from and fighting against my personal traumas. It's true that many, many characters and ideas of mine have come and gone, having fulfilled their roles and lifespans in my imagination both internal and external. It's hard for me to use Raziya sometimes, but it's also harder for me to let go. Maybe there might be a day when this lion falls out of favor, and is fondly remembered like my other creations. But as it stands, I don't feel I've done enough outside of my private works and countless times fantasizing about her and her world.
I truly have a love-hate relationship with this favorite child of mine, but much of the hate isn't her fault. In many ways Raziya is a self-insert; the issues I have with her come with self-loathing and trying to redefine myself. I'm not the same person I was when I first created this cat, and I never will be. I can only keep going forward, and if Raziya is to have a place in my works I must stop letting perfectionism get to me. I must let her evolve as I do, and I must challenge myself to let her do her thing instead of bloating her canon with an excess of lore. Above all, I must have the courage to tell whatever stories spring from my mind about her.
A good friend of mine taught me how to do a new style of character drawing, the "construction" method. While it's hard to tell from this finished picture, I challenged myself with this new style for an hour or two to complete this one. He did so in the hopes to rekindle my desire to work on Raziya stuff, for I was upset and wanted to give up on this whole thing yet again. And this, after this spilling forth of my thoughts, is why I gave this picture its title. And why I decided to share this picture on the art sites I still use to any real capacity, even ones I'm not sure when I'll draw Raziya for.
I should be more grateful for the journey my life's given me, in so many ways outside of this silly cat-girl's existence. For those who have seen me get older with this feline beside me, thank you for taking the journey with me, and for indulging me one more time.
EDIT: The step-by-step I used to draw Raziya can be found here if interested -- sta.sh/01uuqhr33onn