By Valerie Guy
“All great changes are preceded by tiny bits of chaos.” – Lauren Jade Lately
These wise words paint the picture of what happened during the interview with the talented Lyn Redder. It began with bits of chaos… For instance, the well-intentioned interviewer (myself) failed to remember to press the record button at the beginning of the interview. Further chaos ensued when the first interview (there were two that night) was winding down and Tory pulled in Nico Rhodes to say hi. The events that occurred thereafter have been sworn to be taken to the grave. Lyn’s comments were, “Nico and Tory are either absolute geniuses or absolutely mad or very tired. Probably all of the above. We are just going to pretend that never happened. The universe is not ready to have it recorded.” So following this, it will be spoken of nonce times. Lyn graciously agreed to do a second interview to be recorded. And the great changes unfolded as she shared some of her fascinating artistic background and beautiful insights about the world of OBP.
Valerie: Could you tell us about when you started doing art?
Lyn: I’ve been doing art my entire life. I’ve only been doing the comic style for the past three years. I actually started out as a traditional artist and really focused on portraiture. My mother was my art teacher in elementary school and she has been supportive of my art. When the Lord of the Rings movies first came out, I was obsessed with drawing the characters from the movie. Even though they were terrible, I learned that I loved drawing people and faces.
Valerie: What drove you to start drawing more comic style artwork?
Lyn: I started out showing my traditional paintings online and it was difficult to get a good picture and people were not very receptive to it. I started noticing as I was getting older that digital art was becoming a big thing. So I started teaching myself how to do digital work. I still kept with realism and people still were not interested. Then I noticed that cartooning was very popular. Over the years I’ve slowly been getting better and better. I quit so many times but I kept going back to it. I kept doing it because I liked to do it.
Valerie: Where does your name “TheHolyBro” come from?
Lyn: So, The Holy Bro comes from my paladin who was my D&D character who was a backup to the one I was using at the time. I showed my DM the rough concept of the character and he was like “Oh my gosh! He looks like a total bro!” So that kind of became mixed in with his personality. His holy symbol is the hang loose symbol. I posted him online and made him a webcomic. And I changed my web persona in homage to him.
Valerie: Where is somewhere that inspires you?
Lyn: I decided that I couldn’t be cooped up in my house and I needed to interact with people. So I took a job at the museum that is just down the street from my house. I am a big medieval and history fan. Just walking around the galleries and talking with curators and artists that come in, is such a huge inspiration for me. I’ve got a bunch of books with armor and weapons from medieval times. (After which Lyn shared that she has actually collected several pieces of amour but that she can’t wear them because she is too small. She also was given a replica of a medieval dagger.)
Valerie: How were you introduced into the world of Off the Beaten Path?
Lyn: I never wanted a TikTok but I downloaded the app because my friends kept sending me things on it. I noticed that people were posting their artwork. I thought it would be cool to post some of mine to music and see if people were interested in it. One of my friends applied to something Tory had posted about searching for visual artists and I commented that I had missed the deadline. Tory wrote back immediately, “Do it anyway!” So I went ahead and replied to the art call and Tory slid into my DM and asked if I would do some pieces for OBP. And I said “Okay!” It was Tory’s fault. (It usually is…)
Valerie: How did you come up with the concept for the newest look of the companions?
Lyn: When Tory asks me to make a character, he has an idea of what he wants… sometimes. So, when I had to redesign the companions, I wanted to bring the fans into the design as well. Their thoughts and ideas were helpful in the process and then Tory has the final say. I’m glad the redesign was well-received. I feel collaboration is super important.
Valerie: Who has been your favorite character to create?
Lyn: My favorite character to physically make was Titan-Ka. He was very well received and the memes are a-plenty. He was my favorite to design and it was a really good collab between me and Tory. My favorite design was Khazz because I had full control over what he looked like. Another one is probably Khulgar. He was the first companion that we remade.
Valerie/Tory: What does the OBP community mean to you?
Lyn: The community is something that everyone needs right now. Social Media has changed the way people view themselves and it has become a competition of who can get the most likes or “I’m going to prove this or that.” The OPB group feels like we’ve known each other for years. It’s always been super supportive and empathetic. Everyone is just the nicest person.
Valerie: Anything else you would like to share?
Lyn: I would say just a big thank you to the fans. I love them all and they are fantastic. And thank you for the fan art. It warms my heart. If they have ideas, absolutely send them my way. I love hearing their input on things. They are all lovely people. We want this to be as inclusive as possible. We listen to you and your opinion is heard and valid.