First some context. My friend Claire and I host Talk FE to Me a Fire Emblem Podcast where we discuss anything and everything to do with the series. For our first guest, we knew we wanted something special and the Fire Emblem Compendium Project caught our eye.
The aim of the project is to draw every single major Fire Emblem character. And it became wildly successful within the fanbase, with a growing community sharing and helping each other with their work. The project is also intended to be very inclusive; artists of any skill level were invited to take part, and show their appreciation for their favorite characters. It really is incredible.
Very recently the Compendium began selling Emblem Arcana, a collection of 78 tarot cards (and one booklet) featuring beautiful artwork of multiple Fire Emblem characters with ALL the proceeds going to charity! They are going to be donating any and all profits to CURE Childhood Cancer.
Yayster is the one who started it all! But she didn't do it alone, she’s backed by a wonderful team of mods, artists, helpers, and friends. So now that you know what’s going on here are the highlights!
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Fire Emblem 16
Claire: What do you want to see in Fire Emblem? 16. And what are some of your favorite elements of fire emblem that you hope that they keep and just in general what you’d like to see in fire emblem in the future?
Yayster: I think for me, my favorite Fire Emblem Game is Shadows of Valentia. I absolutely adore it. It’s probably in my top five greatest of all time. I think what I’d like to see something with the kind of the storytelling and the presentation and the voice acting of that game, which was absolutely stunning. Mixed with the gameplay of something like Conquest. I liked some of what echoes did, but it was a bit on the easy side and there were some odd map decisions because they were keeping it so faithful to Gaiden. But I think, you know, combine that kind, the gameplay of some of the harder Fates stuff. I mean chapter 10 is so good, that defense map, the satisfaction you get when you beat itis amazing. So something like that with the kind of systems in echoes with the storytelling and presentation. I think that would be my perfect fire emblem game.
Art in Fire Emblem
Claire: When it comes to the art style of fire emblem games, what do you think they’re going to go with? Which artist are they going to go with Kozaki, Hidari? Who do you think or who do you like to see for the artist on Fire Emblem 16?
Yayster: I absolutely love Hidari’s style. I think it’s really earthy. I love the use of color. It’s not too extravagant and I just think it’s got that extra kind of element of realism; as much as you can be realistic in fire emblem. I’m interested to see kind of what someone else can do with it. I know there’s a lot of Cipher artists which people that are massive fans of and I would be interested in seeing, but to be honest, I mean I’ll probably be happy with anything they do. I’m just excited to get stuck in again, really.
Claire: I love the feeling of exhilaration that you get when you watch a trailer for the first time. Especially when at It’s at E3. That’s what captures the magic of fire emblem. I think I’ve talked about it.
Chris: I think it captures the magic of video games in general. With announcements and stuff like that. All the hype of these events and things like that and you see things about it and you’re learning about it and you’re so excited to get it and play it and all that. Even though I feel like games rarely ever live up to the expectations you give them, it’s still very fun. I still enjoy being in that cycle.
Claire: Oh yeah, so you like Hector, you like Ike. who is your favorite husband in fire emblem of all time?
Yayster: If anyone’s listening to this from the discord or for big compendium that going to be laughing at this, but it’s time for me to gush about foresight.
Yayster: I don’t really have a kind of a, the whole husband thing. But yeah, he is my favorite character. I think it’s so difficult to describe why you like a character, but I just find him incredibly endearing. He’s happy, he’s positive. He’s funny and I think he’s totally underrated. In the Choose your Legends pole python got 107th. I think Lucas, he’s already in the game, got 102nd and it’s like, no! Why do people not see how good he is?! I think probably because he gets virtually no screen time. He gets like a memory prism and his recruitment conversation and that’s it. Unless you get the DLC where he really, really shines and I recommend the Rise of the Deliverance DLC to anyone if you want to explore the RGB trio in more detail. Um, but other than Forsyth yes I like Hector, I love Python as well and I really liked Berkut. They’re all guys but I do like some female characters too. Don’t worry!
Claire: That’s okay. Um, yeah, I guess we should have made the question husband and wife and everybody else we love. We love ladies. Please. We kinda had a feeling you would talk about Forsyth.
Yayster: yeah, it doesn’t take much.
Claire: He’s a lovable dork character.
Yayster: Oh, absolutely. If he was in modern day he’d wear socks with sandals, no question.
Claire Well that’s fashionable when you’re talking about?! He’s kind of like Chrom. Chrom is such a successful character. I feel like Forsyth could have very easily been like a main character in the game and people would have really liked him.
Yayster: Yeah. Actually, I think that’s a really good comparison. I think he is quite a lot like Chrom. Chrome is very trusting, very kind and a little bit naive but really courageous and brave and like fights for his friends and everything like that. I think with Forsyth, there’s actually quite a similar characters.
Fire Emblem Compendium future projects?
Claire: Going into that, you obviously do a lot in the community. Some things I didn’t even realize. So you’ve got final smash. You’ve got the compendium, you have the Zine about the three good boys. Do you have any other projects going on right now that, that maybe we didn’t know about?
Yayster: Not presently. I think, we’re going to be doing more with the compendium, but at the moment I think everyone who’s been involved in the project is pretty much exhausted or we’re taking probably a month or two just to kind of recuperate and come up with exactly what we want to do for our next idea. We’ve got a few concepts in mind, but we’re not quite sure which one we’re going to go for next. At the moment, for me it’s about finishing off the Tarot and about finishing off the Zine. And then who knows what’s going to be next. We’re going to be reopening the compendium for fire up 16 and Book 2, so that’s coming, but only when Nintendo decides they want to actually reveal anything. So that’s gonna be a while, probably.
The Fire Emblem Compendium / What it is / How to get involved
Claire: How would you describe the fire emblem compendium, what you’ve been doing and how even people can get involved.
Yayster: So to start with I kind of made a jokey tweet. It said like three things that would be impossible. So I started with, first of all not too difficult would be to just draw every smash character because there’s quite a few. Next would be to draw every Pokémon because although are loads of them, some of the designs are very simple. They’re not going to take that long to draw. And then I said the impossible thing will be to draw every single Fire Emblem character because of the amount of detail that there is on them and there’s over 700 of them. And that would be insane for one person to do. And then I kind of thought actually, you probably could do it as a community effort for a couple of reasons. I just thought it’d be really cool to actually see something like that and see what the community came up with. Also, it’s not the most cohesive of fandoms.
Like it’s kind of fractured in some ways and I think it was really cool to bring all these games together into one project. So you’ve got old fans, new fans and I think that’s something I really wanted to achieve from it. And then it was never really meant to be anything else, but after that it just kind of expanded. So we started thinking, oh well we’ve got this group of people now and they all seem to be very keen, um, that we kind of kept things going. So what can we do next? And it’s just kind of evolved from there. It’s very organic thing and we’re always trying to change and improve based on what people tell us. So we try, we’d like to get a lot of feedback in terms of people who want to get involved. We’ve got our twitter, so following that it’s very easy we post an art challenge every week. An art challenge can be a different thing. We’d do a random generator or draw a class or draw a particular character or do an alphabet challenge and we’ve got our discord. There’s lots of ways to get involved and anyone is welcome. You don’t even have to be an artist.
How to run an online project
Claire: There are a lot of young artists out here, young people who are just getting into their first tastes of fandom, starting to post things on DeviantArt. If people use that still, I don’t know, a tumblr, all that. When seeing big projects like this. I know myself when, when I would see stuff either online or even when I was at a convention, I thought, Oh yeah, I can do this, but I didn’t really know the actual work that went into it. So do you have advice for people really have any age that want to do something like this? Um, tell them a little bit about how much work actually goes into it. And, and if you have any budgeting tips or tips on just how to actually get a product for fandom made into an, a big project like this to actually come together.
Yayster: Okay. So I think the most important thing to remember is don’t dive into it because the temptation is to come up with an idea. And you get really, really enthusiastic about it. And then the next day you’re setting up a twitter. You’re setting up a website or the things around it. Really think it through before you start, don’t just try and, you know, get out there really quickly and then find that maybe you don’t have any interest or people are asking you questions that you are not prepared for. And I think that’s a big pitfall that, you know, it’s pretty easy to avoid. Just think it through, get feedback. That’s very, very important. One thing I did before I started the compendium was I created a a tweet with a lot of information about how I was going to run it.
And I said like, please give me your feedback on this. And I worked based on that. It took me a few weeks before I had everything ready. Part of what I was saying earlier is don’t do it alone. Make sure that you have a team, even if it’s just one other person, if you’re only comfortable with that, but make sure you have a team who always enthusiastic as you are. That’s very, very important. You’re going to need them to rely upon. I will say that something the size of the Compendium for me was incredibly stressful. At the start I was waking up to maybe 50 messages each day from people on twitter, and everything was just a bit crazy to start with. It’s obviously much calmer now, but just make sure that you’re in a position where you can kind of handle that mentally.
I think that’s something you really need to bear in mind if you’re going to do something like a Zine, there’s going to be moments where you’re going to need to reject people. That is not very nice thing to have to do. So just be aware that, you know, you’re going to have to send these emails out and you know, it, it might weigh on you a bit. It was very difficult for me with Tarot because we had 450 applications for like 79 places. That was hard and I actually had to step away for a bit because I was actually getting myself a bit upset about the number of people were having to turn down. So just make sure you’re there kind of mentally. In terms of budgeting, I think just make sure that you’re keeping track of everything you spend. Do your research first to find out how much these things are gonna cost. If you’re going to do merch, charms are actually quite a big investment. So I would recommend starting with something smaller. Perhaps stickers or pens. Are there things people still enjoy but they don’t have that kind of investment? Also I wouldn’t just say look online and find the first printer you see. You can check the local printers, you might find someone who can do a decent price for you locally. So yeah, just make sure you’ve got your stuff together, make sure you do your research and make sure you have the support network that you need to get that project off the ground.
Being an online artist / content creator today
Claire: Also while being a prominent person in the community and online. What has your experience been from, from the start, up until now with being a content creator, and it doesn’t mean just within fire emblem fandom, but within Smash, Nintendo, Doctor Who all the different fandoms you’re in. Be it on twitter, tumbler, all of those social media platforms. What has your experience been? In general, you know, I feel like online creators are pushed to no matter if they’re an artist or a Youtuber to have you create, create, create nonstop in order to stay relevant and sometimes slumps come. So how do you from that get past it as well as keep sane?
Yayster: I think, um, I’m not really the best example because I’ve almost let that take a back seat because the admin of things really does take up a lot of my time. I’m like, I’ve spent hours just going through excel spreadsheets and you know, things that are too boring to talk about right now. I struggled to get one piece done per month, but there are some people whose output is just incredible and I just love watching them. I do feel there’s a lot of pressure on content creators and sometimes, especially when people want to move into different fandoms, it can be a bit demoralizing because I might not get the feedback that they want. But in general I enjoy it, I enjoy drawing when things go well, when things don’t, it’s maybe not so fun, but the most of the time I enjoy it.
I’m quite a perfectionist, which means I do have a lot of WIPs that just kind of sit there and I work full time so that kind of leads me bit exhausted in the evenings so when I get home I just nap. I’ve rediscovered the art of the nap. So that’s something I’ll often kind of do. But when you really kind of get going on a piece and you’re feeling it and you’re in that mood, that’s such a great feeling. I have been reading up on some of the ways to avoid creative slumps. And one of the things I read about was just doodle anything. So just, you know, get a page and scribble until you’ve kind of got into that, that vein where you can, you can just start working on a bigger piece. So I think I’m going to try and try and do that, try and force myself to turn my tablet on and just rather than sit in front of a screen and not think about what I want it to look like actually go and draw it.
But I think I still have a lot to learn and I think anyone who is an artist knows the artistic journey and we’re all in it together and I think as long as we’re kind of bouncing ideas off of each other and improve alongside each other, that’s the most important thing for me. I get a lot of satisfaction from seeing people excited about these things. So, you know, even though I might not be producing that much art, I’m still doing something and that’s important.
Yayster: I want to use this opportunity to say a massive thank you to anyone who’s contributed in any way to our projects. I don’t get the chance to talk to everyone because I’m a little bit of an introvert myself. I might not be the most outgoing, so thank you so much from the bottom of my heart. I really appreciate what you have kind of done for us as a group and what you have bought to the fandom.
In order to keep up with us. Probably the easiest way is just follow our twitter. Any new projects that we, that we do will be announced there and on our discord. So yeah, we’ve got more coming. Make sure you’re staying tuned for Fire Emblem 16. And we have a couple of projects in the pipeline that I hope people will be excited about when we do compendium things. I like them to be slightly different from the norm. Slightly odd projects or something that you might not be expecting. So just look out for it. That’s all I’ll say.
Claire: Thank you from Talk FE to Me, Chris and I to both Yayster and also to everyone who worked in the Fire Emblem Compendium you are doing Naga’s work. I think it’s something that not everyone really understands, you know, how much of an impact, a positive impact you have made on the fire emblem community. Again, transcending opinion and bringing everyone together. I see talk of compendium all across social media. People saying, Oh, you know, here’s a cosplay photo I took. It’s inspired by a fire emblem compendium drawing because I never thought of this character this way and now I really like him in so here’s my take on it. It generates more creativity and that’s something very special and amazing that you guys have a created for us. So really, thank you.