Elves and dragons (artwork)

I haven’t updated in a while, but I’ve been working furiously on a pic that a friend wants to use for a book cover:

valors-worth-color1

Becky Minor drew the lineart, and I’m coloring it. I’ve been having an absolute ball with it. I added the background and the dragon (who will be white, I’ve just been modeling her shadows).

I’ve been coloring it with an interesting technique outlined in this tutorial. Basically, you spend a long time making the black and white shading perfect, then the color goes on really quickly. I’m really enjoying it. Anything to make stuff look really awesome with minimal effort, you know?

Anyway, I’m hoping she does more artwork for her other books, so I can color those, too. 🙂

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Sonic characters and story motivations

The kids have been playing Sonic Adventure 1 and 2 lately (chao!). I’ve been helping them along, and watching over their shoulders. And enjoying the music. 🙂

It’s been funny to observe the ways the various writers have handled these characters over the years. But I think the most drastic (and saddest) change has been what’s been done to Knuckles.

Sonic, Tails and Knuckles
Sonic, Tails and Knuckles

Each character has a motive that they carry from game to game, or cartoon to cartoon. Sonic’s goal is to save the world. Tails’s goal is to be like his hero, Sonic (and help him out in all kinds of ways).

Knuckles started out with a goal. When he was invented, he came with a strong role–the guardian of the Floating Island, and the Master Emerald. This was in his very first game, Sonic 3 and Knuckles on the Sega Genesis.

Apparently this idea was too big for subsequent games, because Sonic Adventure 1 had the Master Emerald and the island. Sonic Adventure 2 had the Master Emerald only. And that was the last time any of that appeared in any games/shows.

Mine's bigger.
Mine’s bigger.

Now Knuckles is just this character who hangs around with absolutely zero goals. He’s become the musclebound marble of the trio, only good for a laugh. He went from being this driven, obsessed, paranoid dude with some spiffy real estate, to being a doofus with no purpose.

It’s valuable lesson in writing, really. Every character has to have a goal. It’s even better when everybody’s goals are at cross-purposes, because then you have fun conflict. If one guy doesn’t have a goal, he’s the one who usually gets killed off. But Knuckles can’t get the axe, because he’s one of the main Sonic cast. So he gets bounced from game to game, increasingly more useless.

Don’t do this to your characters. Give them something to do.

Writing life meme

I was tagged by Rachel Meenan, so here I go! Memes are so much fun. Maybe because they’re spelled “Me! Me!”

I’m going to throw some artwork in here, too, just to break up the monotony.

Info:
Name: Kessie
Age: 32
Gender: Female

A Selfie

kessie-newpic-small

Favorites:
Food: I’ve gotten to where I’m strongly omnivorous. I’ll eat anything. But if I had my druthers, I’d eat a different kind of stir fry every night of the week. Orange chicken, chicken and beef teriyaki, kung pao, peanut chicken, beef and broccoli … so many possibilities!

Book: This is hard, because I have so many. Usually it’s whatever I’m currently reading, so, I guess Harry Potter? But I have a slew of favorites from Diana Wynne Jones, Mary Stewart, and lots of others. Presently I’m very enthused about Rebecca P. Minor’s high fantasy series, which is funny, because I normally don’t like high fantasy. I think it’s because she focuses on a small cast of interesting characters.

Song: It goes by season. We’re getting into fall at the moment, and I start craving oldies rock. Especially the Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, when the winds of November are blowing. 🙂

Movie: I could watch the Lego Movie over and over and over. But we also enjoyed Epic, which surprised me at how good it was. Oh, and also the Guardians of Ga’Hoole. That movie was astonishingly deep. I keep thinking I’d like to watch it a couple more times. I’m still trying to decide what, exactly, the Flex is.

Band: Switchfoot! Nightwish! The Echoing Green!

Solo artist: Kevin Max. Aside from Michael W. Smith, I’ve listened to Kevin the longest.


Life:

Schooling: Some college, but as we’re homeschooling, I find my education is ongoing. This week we learned about the life cycle of iguanas. The kids all now demand pet lizards.

valors-worth-2b
Colored by me, lineart by Becky Minor

Reason behind your blog’s name: My Sonic the Hedgehog fansite was the Domain of NetRaptor, which is generic enough to have any amount of subjects tied to it. I still own the netraptor.org domain, so why not use it? Eventually I’ll have to get a domain of my name or something, but netraptor.org is friendly with Google, so for now, it stays.

Why you blog: Because it’s fun. I like having a way to keep in touch with family, and show off my artwork.

T-rex and pumpkins-sketch

I saw a picture with a cougar chewing on a pumpkin, and I thought–why not a t-rex?

Here’s my rough with the shadows and highlights.

trex-pumpkin-unfinished

I really tried to study skeletons for the way the light would fall on the face, in particular. Monitor lizards have a similar structure to tyrannosaurs (that I can find), and the light falls on their head in this funny wedge-shape.

Also the chest muscles. I did some comparative checking, and a reptile’s forelimbs (like an iguana’s) have a similar bone structure to the tyrannosaur’s. So I built the muscles all fat and bulgy, like a healthy lizard’s should look. I don’t see a lot of artwork that draws breast muscles on a tyrannosaur, but most animals have them. And the rex was supposed to have extremely strong forearms, so why not?

Anyway, more coming soon. This pic is sheer joy, beginning to end.

Godzilla-zon vs Hachette-turtle

The war between Amazon and Hachette is escalating. I’m sure by this time next year, nobody will remember this, so summary for posterity:

20140812-090044.jpg

Amazon wants Hachette (a big publishing company) to sell ebooks at 9.99 or lower. Hachette wants to sell at 14.99, or thereabouts. They’ve been deadlocked for months.

It’s like watching Godzilla-Amazon fighting a giant turtle.

Godzilla-zon: Flaming fireball of REMOVE BUY BUTTON FROM YOUR BOOKS!

Hachette-turtle: (closes shell tighter)

Godzilla-zon: Claw swipe of EXTREMELY SLOW SHIPPING!

Hachette-turtle: (snaps at opponent’s ankle) C’mon, just give us what we want.

Godzilla-zon: (roars to onlookers) THEY ONLY PAY THEIR AUTHORS FIFTEEN PERCENT ROYALTY!

Onlookers: Ooo, ahhh.

Hachette-turtle: (bites Godzilla-Zion’s leg) IF HE WINS, GODZILLA-ZON WILL EAT YOUR ROYALTIES AND YOUR CHILDREN!

Godzilla-zon: LIES! (Drops a huge pile of Kindle Unlimited on top of lesser monster Scribd)

Onlookers: Apple-bot and Google-beast, save us!

Godzilla-zon: ONLOOKERS, FIRE UPON HACHETTE WITH WEAPONS OF PUBLIC DISGRACE! I CAN’T OPEN THE SHELL ALONE!

(Onlookers do lesser battle among themselves)

How will it end? Who will triumph? FIND OUT SOON!

Babysitting trials

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I’ve been babysitting a four year old boy for more than a month now. He’s here ten hours a day, five days a week.

Today I woke up exhausted and was trying to figure out why. Then it dawned on me. Oh! I’ve been working a job. On top of my own four kids, housework, meals, and starting homeschool this week.

The kids have played a lot, though. It’s been good for my son, who has been surrounded by sisters all his life, to have another boy to play with. They rough house and gang up on the girls, and play Minecraft together.

Even though it’s only August, there’s a tiny bit of coolness in the air in the early morning. It’s like nature is tired of the heat. It’s only been 103 this week, with no humidity, which has been such a nice break. The trees are all droopy and their leaves are burned.

When it got up to 115, the eucalyptus trees started losing their branches. Big heavy branches, usually at night. Or when the wind blows after it’s been very hot. I don’t know the science behind it, but its interesting.

Woman in red, and chaos spear

I suck at humans, so I’m trying to practice more. I have a deal on with myself to get on Deviantart, click on the Photography section, and draw a person on the first page. Tonight, it was this one:

girl-in-red-sketch

Original image

I’m also working on a Sonic pic, since my DA followers all expect Sonic art, hee. I’ve got a story/pic serial going, featuring Silver the Hedgehog, because he never gets any love in the fandom. The current pic has some ornery perspective issues, though.

absolution-hunt-7sketch

Shadow is shooting a bolt of energy (called chaos spear) through the window of a train, and Silver’s just taken it in the face. There will be all kinds of shiny glass shards flying around, too. It’ll be a sheer joy to color. I just have to get the darned perspective/action flow right. I’m rusty on my Sonic characters.