More vector dragon

Here’s how my vectory dragon is progressing. Doing big chunks of shading inside the lines is tricky. However, vector drawing makes scales and spikes easy! Draw a few, copy and paste over and over, and you’re done! I’m resizing spikes and scales a little as I go, so they don’t look too obviously copied.

It’s still very rough, but you can see where I’m trying to go with it. I don’t want it to immediately look like a vector pic. Those hard lines, though … those are what give it away.

Runaway dragon sketch

I’ve had a picture I’ve wanted to do for a while, but I’m gimped without my tablet. I wondered if I can make it look painty in Illustrator instead.

So here’s my crappy mouseart sketch.

A dragon running away from a sword-wielding knight of some sort.

Here’s the beginning vector trace:

My dragon started out green, then I put the trees in there and he vanished. So he’s orange now. I haven’t messed with the knight yet because the dragon gave me such fits. See that fold on the back of his knee on his near back leg? That took like fifteen minutes.

We’ll see if I can make this look as cool as it looks in my head. It definitely has promise at this point. Also, laugh at my crappy trees. They’ll be better later on. I just scribbled them in so I could see how the composition would go.

Tiger

A tiger in vector. I traced over a photo and felt like a terrible artist for doing it. Usually I trace my own sketches in vector, but I was too brain-dead to do that tonight. Also thunderstorm. Makes me leery of pouring my heart and soul into artwork when it’s stormy and my compy might fry.

So here’s a tiger. He’s kind of spiffy looking.

Why Christian spec fic writers shouldn’t include Jesus

CONTROVERSIAL POST AHEAD.

I have so many things bouncing around in my head tonight. Life and all its little stresses.

One thing I’ve been pondering on is this argument that goes on in Christian fiction writers circles: the question of How Much of the Gospel Do We Include?

Some people take Jesus’s command to spread the gospel to its extreme, and say that every story has to have Jesus in it, or a Jesus figure who is a redeemer.

Other people go to the other extreme and recommend no religion at all, unless the story absolutely has to have it.

Seeing as this argument goes on between writers of fantasy/sci-fi/paranormal etc., it does raise interesting questions of how you have Jesus when you’re writing about elves fighting aliens on another world. I’ve toyed with writing Christianity in fanfiction for years. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. (The only time it seems to work is when it’s laid in with a feather touch. Anything heavier and it just goes into a sermon, or worse, Bible verses with the nouns changed to something more ‘fantasy’ sounding.)

I’ve been reading from the Amplified Bible every night. I’m enjoying it hugely. Anyway, I came across Luke 12:8:

And I tell you, Whoever declares openly [speaking out freely] and confesses that he is My worshiper and acknowledges Me before men, the Son of Man also will declare and confess and acknowledge him before the angels of God.

Notice that Jesus doesn’t say “whoever declares me in all of his stories, or at least has an Aslan.” He says “Whoever declares openly … that he is My worshiper”. Like, in person. To real people. Face to face.

Think about the life of an author for a minute. Once they write books and people start reading them, they start getting fanmail. People want to meet the person who delighted them with a good story. That’s the place for the author to make a statement of faith. I know that I’m always appreciative when a person of a different faith says so on their website, but keeps it out of their book. I feel like that writer respects me as a reader.

So why do Christians think we can save people by sneaking “Jesus saves!” into our books? We can’t save anybody. Only the Holy Spirit can do that. But we can tell darn good stories. We don’t even have to have Jesus (or any religion at all) in them. I think it’s more respectful for the author to drop the “get people saved” agenda and just tell the darn story.

Book review: The Thief (Attolia)

I’ve been reading that these books by Megan Whalen Turner are really good. Particularly The Queen of Attolia. But it’s book 2, and to understand it, I had to read book 1, which is The Thief.

Gen is the best thief in all the land, and proves it by stealing the King’s seal and showing it off in a wineshop. He’s promptly smacked into prison. But before long, the King’s magus pulls him out, and takes him off on a trip to steal a mythical item hidden so well that people don’t think it exists.

It’s told first person from Gen’s perspective, and he has enough wisecracking snark to carry us through what would otherwise be a dull book about hiking. Because these guys hike a lot. They’re trying to sneak into a neighboring kingdom to steal this item, and we ride with them through the valley, up the mountains, down the mountains, and out to the coast.

Fortunately, the hiking is interspersed with interesting character revelations about Gen, the Magus (who turns out to be a really nice guy) and growing tension between the Magus’s two apprentices and their bodyguard. Finally there’s a mysterious labyrinth that fills with water after a few hours, appearances by gods and goddesses, sword fights, capture, escape, and chase scenes.

There’s also a twist ending, but if you read the summary for book 2, it gives pretty much everything away about book 1. I wished I hadn’t done the research. I’d have been much more surprised.

Anyway, I enjoyed this book far more than I expected to. Especially with all the hiking. Now I can read the second book that everybody raves about, and see if it deserves the praise.