About Me

My name is Rusty Hearts, I’m a married lesbian in my mid-twenties. I live with my wife and our many pets in Australia. I’ve been involved in online radical feminist/gender critical spaces since 2016, and started making Lease Bound in 2017.

I’ve always loved to draw, and had a dream of publishing picture books/being an animator when I was young. I even dabbled in trying to animate my very own ‘anime’ in my teen years with nothing but MS Paint and a boatload of ambition (didn’t get far, lol).

I’m a firm believer in action informed by theory, when it comes to radical feminism, so it felt like a no-brainer to marry this desire to do feminist action, with my passion for creating art and telling stories.

I’d also noticed a rise in homophobic trans rhetoric in many creative circles I was running. Noteably indie webcomics. Suddenly it was all heterosexual couplings where one member pretended to be the opposite sex, and the other pretended they were homosexual – and many you wouldn’t find out about the surprise penis-haver until getting invested in the story.

Long story short: I wasn’t seeing the representation for lesbians (or women in general) I wanted, so I set out to be what I wanted to see. This is why Jaden and Riley state explicitly that they’re lesbians right in the first chapter, I didn’t want any confusion or vagueness about their sexualities.

The infamous AGPgang trio from Chapter 3 were also devised with a similar mindset. For every piece of lesbian media that pulled a ‘surprise one of them is actually a bedicked individual with she/her pronouns’ on me, I pulled a surprise on them.
You thought this was just a cute lesbian romance? It is, but also there will be NO tolerance of men who call themselves lesbians. Surprise. Hope you like the taste of your own medicine <3

And here we are 5 years later!

About Making Leasebound

Lease Bound currently updates one page every Monday. I also run a patreon, where patrons can be up to 2 pages ahead of the public update schedule.
Time is taken between each chapter to script the next chapter.

It is a more lengthy process than one might think! As a one-woman show, I wear a lot of hats. There’s a lot to be done, before I can even put down the first line of a picture.

Lease Bound has an ending written, as well as some large plot points errected between now and the finish line. Not all the gaps have been filled, but I’ve got many folders with future plot threads, and fleshed-out ideas.

To make sure I don’t get bogged down, I don’t start refining these ideas until they’re set to happen in the current chapter. I focus on one chapter at a time. After I’ve finalized all the scenes/events I’d like to happen in it, I write up a full script, as though I’d be giving it to actors in a play. It has dialogue, actions, and scene descriptions within.

Once the chapter is scripted and I’ve parsed what events will be sharing pages together, I use what I’ve written to plan out visuals for each in thumbnails/mirco sketches. After that,initial sketches, cleaning those sketches into nice lines, adding colour and shading, and then finally dialogue.

While each page doesn’t always take the FULL week to complete, I like to allow some wriggle room incase something IRL comes up, and so I can also take breaks.

Prologue, Chapter 1 & 2:

I drew everything out on actual paper, and lined it with cheap pens lying around. I then scanned in my pages, and cleaned them up (to the best of my ability) and coloured them with GIMP 2.6.

Chapter 3:

I sketched the entire chapter out on paper, and then scanned my pages onto the computer.

Pages 1-7: were lined and coloured entirely on GIMP 2.6.
Pages 1-8: were lined and coloured on the Windows XP version of MSPaint (a program many decry, but I hold close to my heart U_U)

Chapter 4:

From sketch, to completion, Chapter 4 was done entirely in MS Paint.

Chapter 5:

Hot off the heels of Chapter 4, my graphics tablet of 8 years, finally kicked the bucket. Without the financial means to replace it, this chapter was once again sketched and lined on paper.

I didn’t have a lot of confidence drawing with the mouse, so after scanning in my lined pages (and trying to keep fixes to a minimum), I also scanned in several different blue coloured paper. Using layers, I set the coloured paper underneath the lines I created, to give each page colour, which is also why chapter 5 looks so grainy!

Chapter 6

Pages 1 – 34: Still unable to fix the tablet, I soldiered on with sketching and lining pages by hand and scanning them in. In terms of colour I’d gotten a little more confident with the mouse, and coloured using it and trusty ol’ GIMP 2.8

Pages 33 – 69: I continued sketching and lining by hand, but was graciously gifted a tablet, and started using it to colour instead of tedius mouse process.
Pages 70 – 98: Were produced entirely in GIMP 2.8 and my tablet.

Chapter 7

Gimp 2.8 and tablet.

Chapter 8

Gimp 2.8 and tablet.

Chapter 9

Pages 1-14: Gimp 2.8 and tablet.
Page 15-20: I was gifted a new art program, Clip Studio Paint, by my absolute breastie @arbustorum on tumblr.

Chapter 10

Continuing to learn and grow with Clip Studio Paint!

Yes! A printed copy has been in the works for several years now. I’ve been slowly going back through old pages to make sure quality is up to par, but it does come secondary to getting new pages of Lease Bound out. here is an example of the amount of change that some of the earlier pages have undergone:

Original Page ➡️➡️➡️ Page On Website ➡️➡️➡️ Print-Ready Page

Yes! Currently I am working alongside several incredibly generous volunteers, who have offered their time to translate LB pages. It’s a slow process as it’s entirely free, and is secondary to continuing to get more pages out, but translation options are definitely coming in future!

Yes, absolutely I have! I just currently dont’ have the means to sustainably pay anybody to help me. My dear breastie (female bestie) @arbustorum on tumblr has been absolutely invaluable as an unofficial assistant, offering up guideline help with poses and panel composition of numerous occasions. I would love to be able to hire her and other women on to help with the project, and possibly see it get out faster than it is currently, but until it’s financially feasible it’s gonna be the one-woman show.

About The Story/Cast

Here’s LB’s summary for you to make of what you will:

“After a mix-up with their leases, two Lesbians, Jaden and Riley, must learn to share a small, one-bedroom apartment. Friendship, and eventually romance ensues.”

Yep! I’ve got backstories for most of the main cast that I’m interesting in including in the story. Stay tuned!

I love how invested readers are in Blaire as a character, and all the speculation that has come with it. My advice is to wait for her to actually take action, before you ask if they’ll be redeemed. I have a lot planned for Blaire as a character, so let us burn that bridge when we come to it 🙂

My main goal with LB, has always been to create the representation *I* as a lesbian wanted to see: and that’s lesbian romances that aren’t wrapped up in femininity BS, gender ideology, or involve past hetero romances, as well as female characters in general, with cathartic, relatable character arcs. That’s always going to be my focus.

Before my tumblr termination, I got a lot of asks about what readers could expect representation-wise.

“Will there be any intersex characters?

“Will there be any Jewish characters?”

“Will there be any Latino characters?”

“Will there be any disabled a characters?”

“Will there be any mentally ill/disordered characters?”

“Will there be any detransitioned characters?”

“Will there be any happily transitioned homosexual characters?” (no, fuck off)

“Will there be any feminine lesbian characters?” (no, fuck off)

While I understand, and even sympathise with the intention, receiving questions like this was kind of frustrating, and very disheartening, because it felt like the quanity of representation boxes I could/ would in future tick, was more important than the quality of my current characters, or the story I’ve chosen to write.

I feel like this mindset has gotten a little out of control, and tumblr is an absolute breeding ground for valuing the fact there is representation, over the quality of it.

There’s a level of entitlement involved in asking this of creators, especially those of us who are single-person teams.

I am not a huge company with the finances, time and resources to create accurate, and vast representation. I started Lease Bound to BE the representation for lesbian romance/female characters I wasn’t seeing.

I have deliberately constructed a story around what I want to see. Many of the listed XYZ representations would require a lot of development to be done respectfully, that just simply don’t fit in with the story and characters I have planned.

Using a detransitioned character as an example – this is a deeply personal, and often varying life journey that I have no personal experience in. Unlike with something like, race, or body type (fat, muscular, ect) I can’t just use visuals to depict this, because there’s no one way that all detransitioned women look.

I also don’t have a lot to say about detransition that I feel would fit in my story, nor would be more valuable than an detransitioned women could tell herself.

So that’s where I stand on it. I appreciate, and hold no ill-will towards the readers who have asked me this question, but don’t particularly want to be asked again.

Stories are not meant to represent every experience, and that’s okay. I strongly encourage anyone yearning for it, to also, BE/create the representation they want to see.

Male characters in Lease Bound only exist as vehicles to further develope the important (See: female) characters. It is a deliberate reversal of the plethora of male creactors who waffle out excuses as to why there are little to no female characters in their works. While they try to save face with “I just don’t understand women’, I am honest in saying ‘I do not want to humanise men, there already exists countless pieces of fiction that serve as propaganda to men’s humanity, I am choosing not to participate.”

This is also why I’ve avoided showing any positive heterosexual relationships in the story, I think it sets up an unrealistic expectation of partnering with men. You might notice as more LB cast member’s familys come into the story, that fathers are either, absent, deceased, or overtly shitty. I feel this most realisticly depicts what a woman can expect from partnering with a male.

Patience is a virtue. We will be getting to it, I promise.

Time will absolutely tell. Stay tuned :3

Her mum, Josephine, knows her way around a set of clippers, and cuts it for her.
With regards to Jaden’s emo-hair specifically, she didn’t dye it, but just braided in red extensions/fabric to acheive the look.

Didn’t find the answer you were looking for here? Feel free to submit your question below or using the anonymous ask-box feature, and I’ll be happy to answer it!