UT alumna works to publish first original comic book

Stephen Acevedo

UT alumna Yasmine Pirouz has been crafting the lives of her comic book characters since she was 12 years old. From a manic musician to a temperamental princess, 

“[The comic] is very much based on my personal experiences,” Pirouz said. “The story has a lot to do with the struggle of taking your creative abilities seriously and following your dreams.”

After finishing graduate school in Scotland, Pirouz began working on the release of her comic book, “Torus Link.” She recently launched a Kickstarter campaign and, with three days left to raise money, Pirouz’s ultimate goal is to release the entire first volume of “Torus Link” by the end of 2016.

The story takes place in two dimensions, following the adventures of protagonists Hazel and Azalea. Throughout their journey, the pair come across six other artists and unite to save creativity itself. Currently, only the prologues and first few chapters are available on Pirouz’s website.

“‘Torus Link’ is at a starting stage,” Pirouz said. “The first step is for people to know about it. Then, hopefully it will become bigger and bigger, and I can release it as a solidified volume in a series of volumes.”

Although Pirouz has only recently begun work on her multi-volume comic, she said has been passionate about comics and illustration for as long as she can remember.

“I’ve always loved drawing, illustrations, storybooks, comics and cartoons since I was a kid,” Pirouz said. “I always drew cartoons and comics mimicking Garfield books and Sailor Moon illustrations, jumping at the chance to draw cartoons in my school assignments growing up, even joining comic clubs in high school.”

She said as she grew older, her lack of self-confidence lessened her motivation to share her creations. Once she decided to attend graduate school at the University of Edinburgh, her dreams began to take shape.

“During my last year at UT, I had an incredibly vivid dream telling me to study illustration in Scotland,” Pirouz said. “Going to grad school and being around such artistic people is what inspired me to realize that I was capable of taking my characters off the shelf and making this into a story.”

Pirouz’s friend Shane Lu, who has read the comic, said “Torus Link” brings a fresh and entertaining take to the comic book genre with its combination of adventure, comedy and romance.

“Fantasy elements being mingled with the stories from real life is what I find most attractive of Yasmine’s comic Torus Link,” Lu said. “The vivid art style and her humor also make the comic much fun to read.”
Aside from “Torus Link,” Pirouz previously wrote an original comic series “Chronicles of a Shy Girl” during her time working at The Daily Texan. While “Chronicles of a Shy Girl” was completely autobiographical, Pirouz said “Torus Link” has a more universal appeal.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

“That comic delved more into just being shy and socially anxious,” Pirouz said. “I kind of took the feeling from that comic and brought it into ‘Torus Link’ to touch on what it’s like to be an artist, and shy, and female and, quite frankly, black, and then exploring different facets of humanity with other characters.”

Pirouz’s friend Laura Kandle said she is eager for the next “Torus Link” chapters to be published.

“[Pirouz’s] comic is a beautifully drawn and wonderfully promising tale that turns the wild “four elements” human, and brings them together through adventure,” Kandle said. “I am looking forward to reading it and seeing how the story continues to develop.”